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Joel Mayward

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Everything posted by Joel Mayward

  1. Strong seconds No Country for Old Men and World of Tomorrow. "Now is the envy of all of the dead."
  2. Hello jury members, Welcome to the 2018 Arts & Faith Ecumenical Jury! Here is our thread for nominating, seconding, and discussing films. Here's a statement Ken Morefield wrote up for our first jury in 2014, which I think is worth sharing again: I think the statement remains applicable--it's appropriately broad and ecumenical, while also having the particular faith-focused nature of this end-of-year-list. Here’s our timeline for this process: Nominations open on Thursday, November 1. To nominate a film, simply post the film title in the forum thread or email it directly to me (jmayward@gmail.com). All nominated films must receive a "second" vote from another jury member in order to appear on the voting ballot, which can happen either by posting “seconded” in the forum or via email, or a jury member nominating the same film. Non-jurors can also recommend films for nomination in this thread, but they must be seconded by two jury members. I will keep a tally of all the nominated and seconded films within this thread, updating it regularly as we go. You can use this same thread to discuss, advocate, question, process, or to direct folks to links to other threads or conversations about the nominated films. I'd encourage you to give your reasons behind nominating or seconding a film, especially during this nomination process—encourage us to check out great films we may not have seen yet! Qualifying films: a first-time theatrical, DVD/Blu-ray, streaming, or festival release in the 2018 calendar year. Even though I presently live in the UK, I am going by North American releases as I find them on IMDB. Thus, a film like Paddington 2 (2017 release in UK, 2018 in US and Canada) can be nominated, while a film like Columbus (2017 release in North America, and on our top 10 list last year, but just released in the UK a month ago) would not be eligible. Regarding questions of release dates (e.g. First Reformed was a festival release last year and on our nominations ballot, but had a much wider release this year) and what constitutes a “film” (e.g. Twin Peaks: The Return), I put full trust in the jury’s viewing and voting practices, and in the conversation we will have within the forum. Nominations will close at 11:59pm (PST) on Sunday, December 30. This is fairly late in the year for end-of-year film lists, but it follows our pattern from the previous two years. On December 31, I'll email jury members a link for a survey with all the nominated films that they can rank 1-5 (strongly disagree-strongly agree that the film should be on our jury's top 10 list). You are to vote only for films you have seen--if you haven't seen a film, simply leave that ballot blank or unranked. Again, how you rank/rate a film is entirely up to your discretion and judgment; I trust in the process. Per our practice in previous years, a film is eligible if it's been viewed by at least 50% of the jury. So, 9 out of our 18 jury members. This is so a film with high scores seen by a minority of jurors doesn't have an undue advantage (i.e. a film with only three “5” votes in total would have a higher average score than a film with ten “5” votes and one “4” vote, but the latter film would be a better reflection of the jury's collective opinion and film-viewing experience). If there are not ten eligible films that score “4” or higher on average, the foreperson (that's me!) reserves the right to look at film(s) that averaged over 4 but had less eligible voters. Voting closes on Monday, January 7. This gives a week for jury members to vote on the nominated films. After the totals have been added up using some math wizardry, I'll send out an email with the results. Then I’ll send you an optional second ballot with the ten finalists asking folks to rank them. This had a big impact on where certain films ranked in the final top 10 last year, so indicate on your first ballot if you'd like to receive this optional second ballot. If you choose not to ask for the second ballot, I'll base your rankings on your scores for this first ballot, giving equal weight to all films receiving the same designation/score. Finally, I'll solicit "blurbs" for the final list, as well as your Honorable Mention--a film which did not end up on the top 10 list, but you would like to see recognized. I love the Honorable Mentions, as it’s always very diverse and interesting. Here's our jury, listed alphabetically by first name, and with the website/"brand" I currently have for you (let me know if you want to update or change this, or if I’ve misspelled something): 1. Anders Bergstrom (3 Brothers Film) 2. Christian Hamaker (Patheos / Schaeffer's Ghost) 3. Evan Cogswell (Catholic Cinephile) 4. Gareth Higgins (The Porch) 5. Jeffrey Overstreet (Looking Closer) 6. Joel Mayward (Cinemayward / Think Christian) 7. Josh Cabrita (MUBI Notebook / Cinema Scope) 8. Josh Hamm (Freelance) 9. Josh Larsen (Filmspotting / Think Christian) 10. Ken Morefield (1More Film Blog) 11. Kevin Sampson (Picture Lock) 12. Melissa Tamminga (Seattle Screen Scene) 13. Michael Leary (Freelance) 14. Noel T. Manning (Cinemascene) 15. Peter Chattaway (FilmChat) 16. Philip Martin (Blood, Dirt & Angels) 17. Sarah Welch-Larson (Think Christian / BW/DR / Freelance) 18. Steven D. Greydanus (Decent Films / National Catholic Register) I'm excited to have Sarah, Josh L., and Philip as part of the jury this year, so welcome them to A&F! Looking forward to our discussion of these 2018 films, and for creating another unique end-of-year list.
  3. Rob, it will go live the week leading up to the Oscars...so, next week!
  4. Title: Opening Night Director: John Cassavetes Year: 1977 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079672/ YouTube No A&F Thread (!?) Title: Clouds of Sils Maria Director: Olivier Assayas Year: 2014 Language: English, French, German, Swiss German IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2452254/ YouTube A&F Thread
  5. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I haven't seen it yet, but Cassavetes' Opening Night might be a good fit for this list. Maybe some other Cassavetes films could work here too? I've only seen A Woman Under the Influence, but I get the impression that "midlife crisis" is an ongoing theme in his filmography.
  6. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I seconded Umberto D, as I was potentially going to nominate it myself, though I'm still trying to differentiate between films about old age or mortality and films about "growing up." Regarding Citizen Kane, I agree with Ken that it feels less like a film about "growing up" as simply the span of a character's life; for a similar entire-lifespan film which addresses the process of aging/growing up more, I think The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fits better. I nominated two Jason Reitman/Diablo Cody/Charlize Theron films, Young Adult and Tully. Reading Ken's note on High Fidelity and arrested adolescent vs crippled adult reminded me of the former, which is an interesting and complex (if ultimately tragic) film exploring what it means to get "stuck" in a certain emotional or social maturity. Both films address the supposed "golden age" of youth as an older person fantasizes about their past, while both affirming the goodness of aging and growing older.
  7. I second High Fidelity, Umberto D, and 35 Up. Ken's discussion High Fidelity as a film possibly more about arrested development than growing up reminded me of two more nominations: Title: Young Adult Director: Jason Reitman Year: 2011 Language: English IMDB Link YouTube Link A&F thread Title: Tully Director: Jason Reitman Year: 2018 Language: English IMDB Link YouTube Link A&F thread: N/A
  8. Joel Mayward

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    That's interesting, Peter. I know humor can depend on one's cultural context, so I wonder if some of the jokes just didn't work for the British audience, as opposed to a Canadian or American (even though those latter cultures also differ in their humor). The most engagement I heard was when Hiccup and Astrid flew into the hidden world for the first time--lots of "whoa!" moments from the kids around me.
  9. Joel Mayward

    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

    FWIW, here's my mostly positive review. The animation is truly remarkable, especially noticeable with the natural elements like water, sand, grass, and clouds. But I really struggled with the central conflict here, or lack thereof, and the villain felt pretty silly to me. In the first film, the Vikings and dragons have to overcome their prejudice, as well as a Satan-like monster keeping the dragons in bondage, so it's a film of liberation. The second and third films, while still keeping themes of love and freedom within the narrative--like Peter's point about "letting go"--often give more attention to battle sequences or adolescent humor. Still, the original film is still one of the best uses of 3D I've experienced in the theaters where I found the added dimension of depth truly enhanced the film rather than distracted from it (other films on that small list for me: Hugo, Gravity, and Valerian), and I wish I could have seen this in 3D too.
  10. Title: The Wrestler Director: Darren Aronofsky Year: 2008 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1125849/ YouTube A&F thread
  11. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    Regarding Ken's comment, I've considered The Fountain, but will probably nominate The Wrestler over it for this "Growing Older" theme. Regarding Evan's comments, I've only seen The Age of Innocence (I've started and given up on Barry Lyndon numerous times over the years--I think I'll need to see it in a theater to keep me focused), and I think it *could* work for this, although I'd agree that it's only in the latter scenes where the "growing older" aspect is most present. I seconded Anders' T2 Trainspotting nomination after watching the film last night, and while it doesn't have the "lust for life" of its predecessor, I think that's precisely the point. Thematically, I'm not sure I can think of a better film which revisits the same characters--played by the same actors and with the same director--20 years later. It really examines life in one's mid-40s and how much has truly changed, not just for these characters, but for the world in general from 1996 to 2016--it's not just the four guys who have grown older and changed, Edinburgh itself has also grown and changed.
  12. Joel Mayward

    Your current spiritual practice?

    At the risk of making my personal experience into a broad generalization, I can attest that this accurately describes my own pastoral ministry experience and training in the three evangelical churches where I served (not as much in the mainline Protestant church, which had different issues, but actually was fairly aware about mindfulness, mental health, and genuinely helping people). For the most part, the proposed "solution" to many of these issues and experiences is participation in a) Christian, Bible-based therapy and b) community (meaning, a small/cell/home/life group or a Bible-based course/program). Theologically and historically, I can see how relationships-and-Bible-via-programs became normative in North American evangelical culture during the past few decades. So I think M. is onto something about language as being a culprit for poor practices despite seemingly good intentions, but (and I think M. may agree) there's also something about the practices themselves, the images and actions and reactions and awareness. I'm trying to come up with a concrete example of what I mean, and I'm coming up blank at the moment, but something about more than just new definitions, like a new imagination for what is. And I'm hopeful that such a reimagining of both language and practices can occur, and perhaps the poetic and aesthetic is more critical than ever in recovering/discovering them.
  13. I'll second T2 Trainspotting.
  14. So, some news: I am planning on attending the Cannes Film Festival this upcoming May. The Dardennes are my primary research topic for my PhD, and their film Ahmed will almost certainly premiere at Cannes this year (barring some unlikely or unforeseen circumstances). So, I aim to see their new film, and hopefully get an interview with them, because...research. The press accreditation opens on February 1, and I have a few media outlets I've contacted in order to cover the festival. Even if I can't get press accreditation, I should be able to attend as a graduate student studying film (and hopefully my membership in OFCS will be useful too). Either way, the plane tickets have been purchased and accommodations have been secured. I am probably over-prepared and thinking way too far ahead, but such is my personality. And I'm thrilled; if this works out, it is a dream come true. Has anyone here at A&F attended Cannes before? If you have any tips on travel, the Cannes festival culture, things to see or do (or avoid!), or stuff I wouldn't even know to ask about, I'd be grateful for your wisdom.
  15. Joel Mayward

    72nd Festival de Cannes (2019)

    Thanks so much for this, Darren. That helps with my expectations. I've been in contact with Les Films de Fleuve since July, and get responses which are polite versions of "they're busy making Ahmed, so we'll let you know." I've sent emails, not letters--did Danny mention why a letter instead of email? My main goal at Cannes is to see Ahmed--might be one of the only chances to see it in that version, if they do what they did with The Unknown Girl and edit it later--and *maybe* make a face-to-face connection with someone in their company/group in order to possibly set up a trip to Liège, as there are some archival things I'd like to check out. Honestly, I'd love to someday bring them here to St Andrews to have a conversation/screening with the Film Studies and Philosophy departments, but that requires getting a hold of them first.
  16. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    Unforgiven could work, especially as it serves as a meta-commentary on Eastwood and the Western genre as well, how both have grown older and changed in that aging process.
  17. Joel Mayward


    I watched Avatar in the theater, then never revisited it, and I have little desire to do so now. Can't imagine that it's improved over time; the story was so painfully simplistic that it relied on spectacle and visuals, especially the use of 3D and CGI, technology which has improved to the point where it's almost the norm. It's one of the few times the Academy got it right when The Hurt Locker and Bigelow won the Oscars instead of Avatar and Cameron. And looking it up now on IMDB, I had completely forgotten that Michelle Rodriguez was in this.
  18. I second Toy Story 3. A great, unconventional nominee for this list.
  19. I second Things To Come and Another Year.
  20. Title: A Quiet Passion Director: Terence Davies Year: 2016 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2392830/ YouTube Link A&F Thread Title: My Happy Family Director: Nana Ekvtimishvili, Simon Groß Year: 2017 Language: Georgian IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5791536/ YouTube Link No A&F Thread Title: Moonstruck Director: Norman Jewison Year: 1987 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093565/ YouTube Link No A&F Thread Title: When Harry Met Sally... Director: Rob Reiner Year: 1989 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0098635/ YouTube Link (a montage of just the older couples sharing their stories) A&F Thread
  21. Title: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Director: David Fincher Year: 2008 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0421715/ YouTube: Title: Synecdoche, New York Director: Charlie Kaufman Year: English Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0383028/ YouTube: A&F thread.
  22. I second Lost in Translation and Summer Hours. I'd have to see Mirror again with the "Growing Older" notion in mind before nominating it--I love the film, I'm just not sure it fits this theme as well as it does "Memory."
  23. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    This should be the new name for any future guideline of including trilogies/series as one voting unit.
  24. Joel Mayward

    Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

    I like the notion of a "guideline" rather than a rule, at least to open it up for discussion. For instance, I agree that the Antoine Doinel saga could merit consideration as a whole, but I specifically nominated Before Midnight precisely because that film tackles aging/maturing/mid-life in a way that the previous two films don't. Now, I *love* the Before trilogy (my favorite trilogy), but I can't quite see Before Sunrise on a "Growing Older" list, while Before Midnight feels essential to me. Same with some of Apted's Up series--the later installments, maybe, but I see 7 Up and 14 Up in the "Coming of Age" genre. So, perhaps it just depends on the particular series/film, and we can discern together in our ongoing conversation. Andrew, all the best on your travels, and hope the time with your family is beneficial!
  25. Title: Before Midnight Director: Richard Linklater Year: 2013 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2209418/ YouTube Link: A&F thread on the film:http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/topic/27267-before-midnight-aka-before-sunrise-3/ Title: A New Leaf Director: Elaine May Year: 1971 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067482/ YouTube Link: A&F Thread: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/topic/28124-a-new-leaf-1971/ Title: The Lost City of Z Director: James Gray Year: 2016 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1212428/ YouTube Link: A&F thread: http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/topic/25190-the-lost-city-of-z-2016