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Joel Mayward

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About Joel Mayward

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    pastor | theologian | film critic

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    St Andrews, UK

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  • Occupation
    PhD Candidate, Pastor-Theologian, Film Critic

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  1. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    I think this idea is really fantastic, but probably too complicated to make it actually happen. Just the process of narrowing down the life stages to include, then the range of films for each stage/transition...it sounds like it'd take quite a bit of work. But it's not trash. I nearly listed Umbrellas in my above post, but I figured you'd bring it up at some point. It might be worth considering, although the life stage of the couple in that film are adolescence into young adulthood.
  2. Joel Mayward

    Trashing CDs and DVDs

    Good question: how *do* film critics go about destroying screeners? AFAIK, there aren't simple ways to recycle the discs themselves. Do some critics actually mail them back to the studios?
  3. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    While I think there are so many great films which could be included here, the first that popped into my head was Twin Peaks: The Return. Agnes Varda comes to mind too--Andrew mentioned Visages Villages. Other possibilities (these lean towards more recent films): A Serious Man, Lost in Translation, Before Midnight, Synecdoche New York, Moonstruck, Ishtar, This is Martin Bonner, Le Havre, The Lost City of Z, Cameraperson, The Visitor. These aren't all examples of a "well-lived life," but rather characters who wrestle with the question of personal meaning and vocation in that second half of life, whether the trajectory they're on is where they want to be headed, and if meaning, love, and significance part of their story.
  4. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    I haven't read the Rohr book, but this sounds strikingly similar to Walter Brueggemann's cycle of spirituality in his little book "Spirituality of the Psalms": orientation (life in the Promised Land) - disorientation (exile and disintegration) - new or re-orientation (return to the Land, but with a new identity/perspective). And I think those concepts would map onto Fowler quite well.
  5. Joel Mayward

    Madeline's Madeline

    Great review, Andrew--I could have guessed at some of the psychological and mental health issues on display, but you give some really helpful language for understanding it better. I viewed the film more philosophically/theologically/pastorally (as is my wont), a film about identity and interpretation (and self-interpretation of one's identity), about performance and authenticity and the real self. I need to revisit the film again but I've wondered how much we're supposed to view the characters of Evangeline and Regina literally vs. figuratively/metaphorically. As in, are Evangeline and Regina real persons, or representations of persons (or personalities) within Madeline's interior?
  6. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    I like a phrase both Andrew and Darren used in describing the concept of aging: growing into the "second half of life." I'm open to the "Crime and Punishment" theme too, and think it would certainly be timely and appropriate regarding our political culture. One other possible theme I think could be interesting: Films about Borders. These are places of divergence and distinction, lines in the sand (both literal and figurative), and even the liminal spaces where borders blur and merge, a place of nepantla (a Mexican-Aztec phrase about "in-betweenness" or "in-the-middle-of-two-worlds"). The Mexican-American border is one of the more volatile places and subjects in our present political climate; speaking into this conversation via cinema could be fruitful and enlightening.
  7. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    Perhaps it's due to my reading a lot of Paul Ricoeur's philosophy about time, memory, and narrative identity over the past year, but Andrew's "Growing Older" suggestion also reminded me of transformation. Per Ricoeur, I think of our own experience of time as a personal life narrative, an emplotted life in which we interpret and re-interpret ourselves and events, and how cinema both depicts this transformation-through-time, and can make us more aware of the passing of time itself via a film's aesthetics. These are "time travel" films, but not in the same way that one might traditionally imagine time travel; to use Ricoeur's language from his final post-humous book, it's about "living up to death."
  8. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    Oh, that could be interesting. Would this be films about "Elderly People" as a particular life stage, films specifically about the experience and process of aging itself (perhaps with a growing awareness of mortality) which might not be limited to "elderly" people, and/or films which feature a key elderly character but aren't necessarily *about* aging or mortality?
  9. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    The Coming-of-Age topic is just one I've suggested in the past and was frequently the #2 choice in previous Top 25 votes. So, I'm suggesting it now mainly in jest--if it hasn't gained public traction in the past, maybe there's a good reason for that. I like this idea, as long as it doesn't take its toll on the organizers.
  10. We have a Top 10...but it's not ranked yet, and thus not public. Jury members, I've emailed you a ballot for ranking the ten finalists. Then I'll collect your blurbs and Honorable Mentions, and we'll have a two-part post with the 2018 Top 10 and our jury members' Honorable Mentions in the week leading up to the Oscars in February.
  11. Joel Mayward

    2019 List Preliminary Discussion

    Or it would just mean finally doing a Top 25 Coming-of-Age Films list. Also, I am still in favor of a book companion to the Top 100, if that's doable. And whether we do a Top 25 or a Top 100 this year, I'm on board. I'd also be in favor of including some sort of "spiritual" or "transcendent" language, one which could be inclusive enough to be broader than just "particular brand of Christian spirituality" but also addresses that mysterious, intangible soul of cinema.
  12. Joel Mayward

    Oscars 2019: Best Cinematography

    That's a great list of nominees.
  13. Joel Mayward

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    This is true, albeit not unprecedented. And could Mutiny on the Bounty and LOTR be considered here, at least as film adaptations of an event/book which had already been made before?
  14. Joel Mayward

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    I should suggest she watch Green Room for a open-hearted road trip movie about overcoming racist beliefs. Regarding predictions, I agree with Evan that A Star Is Born ticks all the right boxes for an Oscar Best Picture winner--celebrates the entertainment industry (kinda), attractive stars in romantic roles, great music, and a great box office showing made me think it'd take all the awards.
  15. Joel Mayward

    Oscars 2019: Best Picture

    I don't doubt it--I can see why both Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book are big crowd pleasers, even as they aren't Joel Mayward pleasers. My mother-in-law sent me an email 10 minutes ago saying she had been talking to a friend at church and mentioned I was a film critic, and her friend just had to ask me how I felt about about "Green Door".