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About kenmorefield

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  • Gender
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  • Interests
    Disc Golf, Cards (especially Euchre), Literary Criticism,

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  • Occupation
    Professor of English
  • About my avatar
    Jane Austen's Emma: A Close Reading Companion
  • Favorite creative writing
    * George MacDonald * Lord of the Rings (but not the dreadful movies) * Riddley Walker * Wicked * Dune * Emma (anything Austen, really) * The Remains of the Day * Nero Wolfe * Billy Budd Tom Jones (but not the dreadful movie). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
  • Favorite visual art
    http://cynthiamorefield.comArtemisia Gentileschi

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  1. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    Just one voter's opinion, not a pronouncement or nothing...but I watched Umbrellas of Cherbourg, and I wasn't really feeling it for this list. I could be wrong; I have been before.
  2. Here are the honorable mentions: http://www.transpositions.co.uk/2018-arts-and-faith-ecumenical-jury-part-two-honourable-mentions/ It strikes me that this list would be right there with the finalists.
  3. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    FWIW, I re-watched Unforgiven, and I did think it more about economics, power, and trauma but not necessarily about aging. So no nomination for me (though it's a fine film.) Your mileage may vary.
  4. kenmorefield

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    Weirdest looking pandas I ever saw. And the kung fu was more like generic fighting. Other than that, a serviceable entry into a generic franchise.
  5. kenmorefield

    On the Basis of Sex

    I was at a pawn shop the other day and happened to pick up S1 and S2 of The Paper Chase on DVD. Oddly, the case that Kingsfield reams Hart for not knowing in the Pilot episode--he didn't know there was an assignment due on the first day of class--is the exact same case that Ginsburg aces in her first class scene in On The Basis of Sex. I was wondering if this was an inside joke or if maybe this was like some traditional first day at Harvard case...wonder if it has been mentioned in other law shows or movies. (It's about a doctor promising to fix a burned hand 100% and doing a skin graft from the chest leaving palm hairy.)
  6. kenmorefield

    Roma (2018)

    Welcome to the dark side, Nick. Always room for one more.
  7. kenmorefield


    I kinda, sorta want to be sympathetic to the not-a-franchise argument, but I also think that can be turned on its head. Is it not a franchise because it is singular, original, or a complete story? Or is it not a franchise because nobody really wants/wanted another Avatar movie? The best things about it--the visuals--are generic, and can easily be part of another story, another movie.
  8. Joel, thanks for your hard work on this. As I mentioned on Facebook, I like this list a lot. Not because it reflects all my choices, it doesn't. But it is a list that mixes World Cinema with American cinema, includes narrative and documentary, shows diversity (in my opinion) and does invite discussion about spirituality. Well done, everyone.
  9. kenmorefield

    The Mirror (1975)

    Hi Ian, thanks for your post. Although in no way required, I thought I'd mention that you are welcome to post an introduction in the "About You" forum should you care to let people here know a little about you and the genesis of your interests. There are quite a few Tarkovsky fans on this board, though as you've no doubt noticed, participation in this thread (and in general) has dwindled somewhat in the last few years. I appreciate the connections you've made to Hamlet. Thanks for that.
  10. kenmorefield

    Your current spiritual practice?

    I finished writing Volume II of Jane Austen's Emma: A Close Reading Companion today. That in conjunction with reading Patricia Meyer Spacks's On Rereading has gotten me thinking a lot about reading as a spiritual practice that has informed and continues to inform my life.In her introduction, Spacks writes: It is hard for me to express what a balm this passage was. It put the finger on something and articulated something I've been struggling with for a long time and fumbled at talking about earlier in this thread: how (re)reading the Bible alienates me from so many others within my culture who call themselves Christian. That this is so, I've too often attributed to someone (usually them, rarely me) interpreting the Bible incorrectly, but I realize it may be something deeper...not how we interpret the Bible but how we read it. I don't read the Bible for security, at least I don't think I do, and I don't necessarily derive security from stasis. I've always understood, intellectually, how changes in the Victorian period or Modernism or Postmodernism engendered anxiety and alienation, but I don't know that I've ever before the current historical moment been enough outside of the current historical moment to observe those tendencies at play in the behavior, attitudes, and beliefs that many of my fellow Christians apparently just think of as normal. I've even heard arguments (or made them myself) that rereading the Bible is important because it provides the *opportunity* for re-encountering (God, Jesus), and I will confess that the lack of freshness in the encounters was spiritually disturbing and emotionally upsetting. But Spacks goes on to point out that although we talk about a text changing, what changes is what we bring to it. So if I don't re-encounter Jesus or God when reading the Gospel of Mark for the umpteenth time, perhaps that has less to do with the text losing its potency than the fact that I haven't changed as much since the last time I read it as I did between my first and second readings. There's a comfort in that in that it gives me a way forward with the discipline of spiritual reading. It needn't be/shouldn't be mandated reading in the hopes that I will somehow be reminded of the Jesus who hasn't changed since I was sixteen nor that I will randomly encounter the real Jesus in a passage I glossed over the first dozen times. Rather I can (and probably should) focus on reading that will prompt me to question, interact, wrestle...and hence grow. I've always felt alienated from people who had (or wrote) books about their fifty most comforting Bible verses or about what passage to read in such and such a situation. Knowing that "all things work for the good of those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose" did little for me when I was in the midst of some painful situation that the prooftexters wanted to remind me would work out just fine. But actually having to confront what I thought was meant by "Women should remain silent in the churches" prompted me to read more, think more, pray more, because I was looking for answers to questions I actually had rather than for re-assurances that my answers were as certainly true today as they were yesterday.
  11. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I offer the following as a personal comment rather than an admin comment. I'll cop to feeling ambivalent about Make Way for Tomorrow and Tokyo Stories, among others. Both are great films, and I understand why they are nominated. I do tend to see them as being less about old age than about young people responding to old age. The experience of having an elderly parent is, through much of cinema, a staple of the middle-aged experience. I get that these films also give us insights into the aging themselves and that we are not limiting ourselves to simply films about old age...but that's my personal bias/interpretation sneaking in. I can more easily see films like Amour, The Wife, 45 Years, or Before Sunset, which are actually about how the aging of the couple impacts the couple than films about young(er) people dealing with aging parents. I am, I hope, open to counterarguments or explanations/ideas.
  12. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I am reluctant to get outside the academic year for various reasons. Maybe to avoid the Easter issue, we could split the difference? April is voting month, with Round 1 being April 1-15 and optional round 2 (ranking 25 finalists) between April 16-30? As far as a cut off for a film's eligibility, I think I now realize that there is no good way of determining that in advance, because we don't know, exactly, how many voters there are and how widely viewed they will be. Perhaps we should decide on the threshold until after Round 1? If the cut off point isn't obvious, I could share data with the group (without titles) to get a sense of where that line should be. I suspect most people would probably trust me to make that decision myself, so that's an option. Or I/we could have a three person group decide so that there is no temptation, after the fact, to make that decision around a personal favorite entry.
  13. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I forgot to mention another option: --one round of voting only, but respondents rank every film seconded that they have seen. This is what happens in some critics' groups, albeit with a much smaller number of nominees. The plus side is that there is no need to tally how many have seen a film as that is built into the ranking (someone might rank a film they haven't seen higher than one they have seen and disliked but is rarely going to rank it very high). The negative side is that this tends to greatly favor those films that have been more widely seen, making it nearly impossible for the esoteric choices to score high.
  14. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    How does the following strike people? 1) Proposed dates: Nominations open until April 1; Round 1 Voting April 1-21; Optional Round 2 Voting (Ranking the Top 25 films from Round 1) April 22-28; announce list April 29th and begin assigning blurbs. This does have the downside that I am going to Ireland on May 13, so I'm running into end-of-semester, but I suspect there will be plenty of help if I need it and the posting/creation of a page isn't quite as urgent since we are not attached to Image's schedule. (We can discuss whether we want to do a book then, or we could set up the book contract before and assign chapters then.) Eligibility Option A: We set a threshold (to be determined) and state that if that percentage of voters haven't seen the film, it can't make the list.At the Ecumenical Jury, it is usually 50%, but given the fluctuations in membership here, I'm open to a lower percentage. (40%? 35%?) Eligibility Option B: We set a relatively low threshold for eligibility of a film, but adjust the film's score in Round 1 accordingly: For example, we set the threshold at 20%, but we deduct an amount (to be determined) from the film's total average score. Hypothetically, let's say that is 0.3. A film that had been seen by a smaller cadre but scored consistently higher, might see its score reduced from 4.5 to 4.2 but still make the list, over a film with a score of 4.0. One issue I see with Option B is it could incentivize people to inflate scores for films they perceive as not being widely seen, but those films would still need some strong consensus among its promoters. Still just brainstorming. Open to other ideas.
  15. kenmorefield

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    That seems low to me. I would think that a film, to be on the list, out to have been seen by a majority of people voting (51%), but I realize that might discourage some people from voting if they haven't seen a lot of films and don't want to be the cause of a film not making it. Could also end up in a list that is lowest common denominator--what people have seen as opposed to what they think best. Perhaps we could make having seen a certain percentage of nominated/second films a condition of voting? Or is that too exclusive? Right now we seem to have around 70 films that have been seconded, and a quick glance shows me about 10 I haven't seen, so I'm in like an 85% range (and I tend to think of myself, rightly or wrongly, as being fairly well read/viewed). Is 50% an unrealistic expectation? I am open to suggestions for how to handle this. Don't freak out if you disagree (please), just brainstorming here and realizing I have no realistic sense of how "typical" my viewing habits are in comparison to others who are participating. My goals are that I would like a list that is a true reflection of the people here, who are participating, not one that is a reflection of a handful of people here who have seen everything or that reflects only a handful of movies that everyone has seen.