Recovering from a wee surgical procedure this week, and in the wake of the Oscars last weekend, I’ve been mindful of movies in all their assorted incarnations. For today’s ff, I hope you’ll share with us some of the movies that tickle your fancy!
1) Is there a film that so captured your imagination that you couldn’t stop thinking about it? In what way(s) did it affect you?
I call these “film grenades” where you watch and then later the thoughts about it just keep coming. I wish I could remember one off the top of my head right now. I will say that this weekend I was catching up on some Oscar films and I watched Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett won Best Actress, and it was well-deserved. Her performance was beautiful, emotional, nuanced and she put herself out there. The film is Woody Allen’s take on A Streetcar Named Desire and Cate’s Jasmine was his Blanche DuBois. Allen jumped back and forth between flashbacks of Jasmine’s life in New York and her new life in San Francisco and we saw what caused this already fragile woman to slowly lose her grip on reality.
I also watched 12 Years a Slave. Wow. Heavy, but so beautifully done. Also using a non-linear time sequence, Steve McQueen tells the story of Solomon Northrup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery after being a free man for years. Chiwetel Ejiofor gave a ridiculously good performance as we see him learn to cope with this increasingly horrible situation. He is sold to 3 different masters who become increasingly depraved until he is ultimately forced to beat a fellow slave or have all the other slaves shot. To me it is a reminder that racism in this country has such deeply held roots and is a systemic issue to this day.
2) What religious/spiritual film has touched you? This could be something overtly thematic, like The Last Temptation of Christ, or something more subtle, like Enchanted April.
One of my favorite spiritual films is one that no one has seen or heard of. It was the first of the now defunct Project Greenlight, a screenwriting contest that was sponsored by Ben Affleck & Matt Damon after they won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting. The winner of the contest got to have their film made. The result of the first contest was Stolen Summer, a film about an 8 year old boy who belongs to a large Irish Catholic family and his friendship with the son of the local Rabbi who has been diagnosed with leukemia. It’s a delightful look at interfaith relationships through the eyes of children and I highly recommend it.
3) When the going gets tough, is there a film you turn to for distraction and/or to help shift your mood?
Depends. Sometimes I like to wallow and watch depressing movies. If I’m looking to distract, I’ll go to classics like Sound of Music or Pillow Talk.
4) What is your all-time favorite movie?
Out of Africa
5) If you were to choose a film for viewing and discussion with your congregation, what would you choose?
I’m currently between congregations, but if I were going to choose a film to discuss with my congregation, it would be The Big Kahuna. Or maybe just this scene. This is why:
Bonus: If your life were to be made into a feature film, who would you want to play you?
While I’d like it to be Angelina Jolie, the more realistic choice would be America Ferrera.