Tag: Movie review

Call Me Dancer Movie

| March 25, 2024 | 0 Comments

Jenny Hauge, Steve Berk’s wife, invited us to a documentary at the Silver Theater this evening. It’s called Call Me Dancer and it was great. It’s about a young Indian man who follows his dream to become first a ballet, then a modern, dancer. It was brilliant. A tremendous story told in real time.

The young man overcomes a number of obstacles to achieve a career in dancing. He was under significant pressure to choose a career that would allow him to support his parents. His father was a cab driver. He was forced to compete against another dancer who was more naturally gifted than him. He injured his shoulder in a way that required surgery. The producer/director followed him for five years. So, when all of these challenges occurred, it was not preordained that he would over come them.

There are vivid characters in the story, including the main character, the dancer (whose Indian name i can’t recall). His teacher/mentor was an Israeli who couldn’t find work in Israel and moved to India where there was no real tradition of ballet. His parents and grandparents are also compelling, demanding but loving.

The movie was followed by a panel discussion including the producers and the main character. He was as charismatic in person as he was in the movie. I didn’t know what to expect, which is a great way to see a good movie.

Hillbilly Elegy – The Movie

| November 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

Rita and I watched Hillbilly Elegy on Netflix last night. I didn’t know much about the movie, but was familiar with the book. I had a vague negative sense about it. I know it was a phenomenon when it first came out. Not having read it and just knowing about it from reviews and news coverage, it seemed that, at first, it was hailed as an explanation for the alienation in rural America that explained the election of Trump. Then, I got the sense that opinion changed a bit and the author, JD Vance, had become an apologist for Trump voters, that he down played race and based their support of Trump on economic factors. I happen to believe that race plays a very large role in Trump’s support, so I was not really up for an apologia for the moral standing and victim hood of Trump voters. To be fair, my views of the movie and the author of the book were not based on anything I knew or could point to. Which is another way of saying they could be totally wrong.

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| January 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

The Real Philomena

Philomena is an outstanding movie.  It has a plot that is full of surprises and a sensibility that is deep and spiritual.  It tells the story of a Irish woman whose son, born out of wedlock, was ripped from her by nuns in Ireland who were, at best, misguided and, at worst, evil.  Because it dares to expose a true story of bad behavior by the Catholic Church, it has unified both anti-Catholic atheists and conservative Catholics in their interpretation of the film.  Both claim that the nuns represent the Catholic Church and that their evil is the Catholicism’s evil.  Of course, the Catholic critics applaud the movie and the fundamentalists denounce it.

I saw a different movie.  For me, Philomena represents Catholicism.  I draw a distinction between the institutional Church, a human organization, and the so-called “body of Christ,” which is the congregation of the Church.  Obviously, throughout history, the Catholic Church has committed some serious atrocities, from the Crusades to the Inquisition to recent clergy abuse of children.  But I consider true Catholicism to be based on the actual life and teachings of Jesus, not what was decided by a bunch of bishops at the Council of Trent.

By that standard, Philomena represents my Church, or at least the Catholic religion that I observe.  She suffered at the hands of the sanctimonious nuns, just as Jesus suffered at the hands of Romans and sanctimonious Jews.   And, in the end, Philomena forgave her tormentors, as did Jesus.  And she remained faithful, despite doubt.

The best thing you can say about the nuns is that they were profoundly misguided.  What they did was beyond sinful. And the fact they continued their crime was unforgivable…..except by a true Catholic.    But it was people like them that Jesus denounced the Gospels.

Philomena is the only Christ-like person depicted in the movie.  That said, I also admired the atheist reporter, who was fairly principled, albeit cynical, in his atheism.  Not to mention, very funny.

Nevertheless, despite the tremendous suffering that was visited upon her, Philomena forgave the evil nuns and chastised the reporter for his justifiable anger.  Her behavior epitomized the words of Jesus on the cross, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24).  That’s about as Christian as you can get.

Movie Review – The Way

| January 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

Martin Sheen is known to be a devout Catholic.  I describe myself and an observant Catholic who aspires to be devout.  So, I went to see Sheen’s new movie, which was written and directed by Sheen’s son, Emelio Estevez, with certain expectation and  some concerns.  My expectations were that it would be a religious movie, since it centers on a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago.  I’d never heard of this apparently well know trail along which pilgrims have traveled for hundreds of years.  It is described in the movie in fairly mystical, but not religious, terms.  My concern was that the religious aspect of the movie would be depicted in a smarmy, emotional way.  I imagined this as a bit of a proselytizing project of Sheen, which was supported by the fact that Sheen and his son appeared at Catholic University last year on their promotional tour.  Frankly, I enjoy watching Martin Sheen, but I have seen him in roles that are a bit over the top. Continue Reading