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utzworld

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Everything posted by utzworld

  1. One thing I didn't mention: The "About Us" page was available on the old HJ site. Right now the old pages are still in the process of being merged over to the new site. That's why a lot of stuff is missing (About Us, Contact Us, our individual review blogs, etc.).
  2. Crap. My tone has upset folks (again) and caused another thread to get hijacked (again). To get things back on topic, I created this as another discussion place. Feel free to chime in over there if you want. Sorry, Alan, for spinning this thread out of control...(again).
  3. Rick Bonn's inital vision for the "new" HJ rubbed me the wrong way, being that I'm of the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school of thought. But we talked about it, though. I suspect we'll talk a few more times before the air is cleared.
  4. Sheesh...darn near everything I say around sounds like anger and shouting. Much more than one man's opinion. I can't win for losing, can I?
  5. Am I giving off a shouting or angry vibe? Totally not my intention. I apologize if I came across that way.
  6. Pardon me if I don't "get it". So 2 Grace Hill principals are now co-owners of Hollywood Jesus. What, exactly, is the big deal from your POV? I think I understand the gist of your answer(s) - that the integrity of the website is now in question. And, as I have continued to respond, that would be a true statement IF Grace Hill was indeed influencing what we do and how we write. Despite my endless rants and reassurances that this is not the case, my "defense" has fallen on seemingly deaf ears. To close out the matter (at least on my end) I will repeat what I said earlier: You have 2 Hollywood Jesus writers affliated with this group - as well as the Faith & Film Critics Circle (i think i'm still in F2C2). If there is indeed any "dirty laundry" going on at HJ - "dirty laundry" defined as Bock and Gartner "putting us on the payroll" by telling us which films deserve special attention, unnecessary praise, and whatnot- one of us will be the first to let you know. Darrel isn't one to mince words and (as much as I've been reprimanded by various A&F'ers) neither am I. If there is dirt, I will call it out myself. I've done it before (I b**ched and moaned the loudest when Rick Bonn came on board!). I'll do it again. Trust me...I'm sure David Bruce takes a deep long breath whenever he sees my phone number as an incoming call. I'm certain I get on his last nerve! You think so? Most of our audience couldn't care less who has the keys to the building. They just read the reviews - poor grammar and all. The very passion that Jeff admires is the thing that drives our particular audience in. Then again, the issue of who you guys think HJ's audience is and who our audience REALLY is are two different things. We're not targeting the Baher's or the CT crowd...or even the Movies Matter and Looking Closer crowds. We are clearly targeting the "secular/unsaved/worldly/insert your favorite non-Christian term here crowd". Our writing reflects that audience. Yeah, it's rough and unpolished, but that's no accident, either.
  7. I can't speak for Rick. I can speak about the aforementioned "old school HJ staffers". AFAIK, none of us has received a dime for our services. All I've ever gotten for what I do is an "In Good Company" Hat/Bag/T-shirt at that movie's press junket, and a trip to Seatte including 1 night's hotel room for the HJ Gathering last December. I've never gotten any money. Heck, I can't even stay overnight at hotels for press junkets because Orange County is considered "local", which also screws me out of that lucrative food stipend. Darrel, have you ever received any money for this?
  8. Employer? David Bruce doesn't pay us a dime to do what we do. We write on a volunteer basis. Strictly for the love of merging film and Christ. It's always been that way... ...and perhaps that's the missing link in this whole discussion. To set the record straight, the statement "we are not on anyone's payroll" is to be taken both figuratively AS WELL AS literally. Heck, that would also explain why some around here feel that our writing
  9. AT: Excuse me while I defend my house. When you get right down to it, you shouldn't expect any less from me. Once again, we are not on anybody's payroll. If you read our reviews (other than Darrel's), this fact would be OBVIOUS. On the other hand (and, once again, this is a long standing David Bruce/Greg Wright practice that was set in stone LONG BEFORE Grace Hill came into the picture), with our audience demographic being what it is, we are called to a different standard of writing. It has never been enough for us to say "I like this movie/I hate this movie". Heck, we're damned if we do, we're damned if we don't. If we say "I like this movie," and the A&F - as well as the Baher-ites - don't, then we're not upholding proper Christian ethics and standards. If we say, "I hate this movie" while the rest of the world (the Biblical definition of "the world") embraces it, then we're nothing more than a bunch of Holy-rollers looking for sin at every turn. It's a hell of a fine line. What are we supposed to do, then? We do what we've always done. We do what David has always encouraged us to do. We say, "Parts of the movie were good. Parts of the movie were bad. BUT, here are some elements in the film that A. parallel our relationship with God, B. we relate to on a human level, C. help us understand God's love in a way we've never thought of", D. (my personal style of writing!) point out the flaws in American Christianity that may have prevented you from considering a relationship with God. Bottom line: We do the opposite of the Baher Critical Approach - We look for Christ in everything. And, of course, everything means EVERYTHING. This has been our attitude long before many of us knew Grace Hill Media existed. Our hope is that this attitude will remain as we go forward into the future. The more I think about it, the more this notion of our work being tainted by our affilation with Grace Hill is a friggin crock! Using that logic, maybe we should start to question the integrity of Looking Closer as a result of their head writer's affiliation with Christianity Today. Talk about conflict of interest!
  10. HJ has been partnering with Grace Hill for a while now. From my POV, all they've done is gotten us in the door for screnings and press junkets. As I said before no one from Grace Hill has advised me or any other HJ staffer on what to put in our reviews. Regular viewership of my peeps' reviews will clue on in to the truth of this fact. Quiet as its kept, with the exception of Darrel, I doubt that most of you even read us regularly (my stuff included). If that is not the case, let me know. As I said in another thread, I just assume that you sophisticates toss us on the trash heap of simplicity because our reviews aren't "deep" enough for ya. I eagerly anticipate being corrected!
  11. If you look very very carefully, Jeff, NONE of the HJ regulars (myself, Darrel, Mike Furches, Maurice Broaddus, Elizabeth Leitch, Mellisa Ledman, Mark Stokes, and others) have reviewed the film. Maurice did a commentary paralleling Superman with Christ, but NONE OF US have submitted a review of this film as of today (6/27/06 - 9:56 AM PST). The reviews that you see are from OUTSIDE SOURCES and, once again, not from any (original) member of the Hollywood Jesus staff. David Bruce's policy from the time I first joined the team has been to build pages and start discussions of any given film long before it's released...he launched discussions for "The Passion Of The Christ" long before Mel Gibson even found a distributor. In the future, and in light of the fact that 2 Hollywood Jesus representatives are members of A&F, I would hope that you or anyone else would check with the aforementioned HJ sources before airing commentary and making inaccurate assumptions such as this. P.S. All of y'all should know by now that I'm not on anybody's payroll. I dance to the beat of my own Drummer. Neither Grace Hill nor David Bruce has ever influenced a single line of any of my reviews. That, my friends, Will Not Change.
  12. "Rick" would be Rick Bonn. Never heard of him until he introduced himself as our new Editor In Chief. As for the "what's going on @ HJ thing", I'm still trying to figure that out myself. Although Jeffrey's snooping has me totally believing that we, the HJ writers, were not given the full story. And that bothers me...a lot.
  13. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I meant to post that but I've been busy with work/life to hang around here much this week. This Universal deal is in addition to the 3 picture deal his company has with Paramount. The second film - "Black Snake Moan" (Craig Brewer's post "Hustle & Flow" sophomore jinx test) is supposed to hit screens in 2007. I don't know what the third film will be. Singleton solely financed "Hustle & Flow" and got about $25 million in box office (not to mention DVD sales). That, coupled with the surprise $70 million gross of "Four Brothers" last summer has put him back in the game. I'm curious to see what his next directed film is.
  14. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    You do have a point. And maybe you're right. Of course, we'll never know till we get to Heaven, I guess.
  15. utzworld

    Last Holiday

    Blame it on the Hollywood Jesus site redesign - still in progress and no earthly idea when it all will be completed. ::pinch::
  16. FWIW, the argumentative side of the thread was done at post #14. There have been 115 posts since then. None of them argumentative. Dang...I must be wearing the "Angry Black Man" hat a little too well 'round here. Oh well. Blame my avatar!
  17. That's not fair. A&F can be a scary place, but it is what we make it. The standard is what's worth saying, and reading, not what's most complex. Nobody's getting censored on A&F for simplicity . . . ...but it'll sho-nuff get you ignored! I've noticed the absence of several A&F regulars as I retrace the steps of modern African American Cinema in the A Black Thing thread. Either the "sophisticates" could give less than a damn about the impact of "Boyz N The Hood" on my life or my writing isn't complex enough for them. Since I'm undoubtedly missing the boat for the umpteenth time, school me, somebody! 8O
  18. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    When I'm gone to Heaven, hopefully Ben will keep these words etched in his memory as he remembers his daddy.
  19. Why should your goal be that A&F bebetter than any other place for discussion of Christian faith. Why not accept the fact that the Lord has drawn you a specific audience and rejoice in that. And, at the same token, rejoice with other sites for the audiences that they draw. When(if)ever they hand me the keys to the HJ Forums, do understand that we will not be in competition with A&F. I will do the best I can to foster intelligent and thought-provoking conversation to serve the Lord and our audience - using A&F as a role model of what we could...and SHOULD...be. Once again, I question your motives behind making A&F THE ONE AND ONLY SPOT for faith-based discussion. As I've said, we're not as "sophisticated" as you and the gatekeepers at A&F. But, as we approach our 10th year anniversary, we know which pond He's directed us to fish in.
  20. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I doubt that the film on the marquee was an intentional "tip of the cap". It was probably just a coincidence - that movie may very well have been playing at that theatre when that shot was filmed. In fact, a fun game that I play when I watch it again (maybe 5-6 times a year) is spotting all the films shown on the various theatre marquee. One marquee has a double feature of "Patton" and "M*A*S*H*". I even managed to spot "Cotton Comes To Harlem" on one marquee while watching the TCM airing. Naah...he even stared during the early cop banter. Don't steal my joy!!! ::w00t::
  21. Didn't y'all read our tagline? Pop Culture From a Spiritual Point Of View. That's our focus, in a nutshell. Surely we shouldn't be labeled as second-class citizens in the realm of Christian-based criticism because we aren't as "cultured" as the rest of y'all...right? ...Yet. I've volunteered for that job. If they give me the keys, I'll sho-nuff clean things up. Total chaos. In a nutshell (and straight from the horse's mouth himself), the site redesign is still in progress. They're still hammering away blending the old stuff with the new stuff. It'll take a bit longer than DB hoped, but it will get there.
  22. Don't EVEN get me started!!! Now you know why I spend the gist of my time lurking over here! I'm pressing the new editor in charge (alongside of David) to become a forum moderator so I can clean up most of the (crap!) discussions out there. Looks like us at A&F are the only Christians on the planet capable of having intelligent discussions about film. Dang...
  23. utzworld

    A Black Thing

    I got home from Bible Study about 10 minutes after "Shaft" started, and therefore missed Osborne & Bogle (the aformentioned gentleman)'s comments. What did he say? I'm dying to know - after all, we are talking about my favorite movie, here! I forgot to mention what is arguably one of my proudest moments as a father. I'm holding the baby while watching this - and Ben's face was totally glued to the screen soaking it all in! Now I can dig that!!!
  24. A Samson film...done correctly, could be BIGGER than "Braveheart"! I'd be yelling and clapping in the theatre like opening night of Star Wars Episode 3!!!
  25. :sleeping: What-ever...
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