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WriterAndrew

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About WriterAndrew

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    WriterAndrew

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    Teacher
  • Favorite movies
    The Fountain, Magnolia, Double Indemnity, Star Wars, Do The Right Thing, Paddington 2, It's Such A Beautiful Day, The Act of Killing, The Truman Show

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  1. WriterAndrew

    Corpus Christi

    I liked it overall, but I didn't find the ending as compelling as the first half. It felt to me like it was building towards something transcendent that it didn't quite reach.
  2. List submitted. There's definitely some recency bias, simply because I might be younger than a lot of people on this forum, and because I was hesitant to nominate films that I don't have a particularly strong memory of, even if I vaguely recall them being "spiritually significant" to me at the time. My breakdown by decade: 1930s – 2 1940s – 2 1960s – 2 1970s – 1 1980s - 3 1990s – 4 2000s – 2 2010s - 9
  3. I finally got around to watching this the other night after hearing about it for years from @Gareth Higgins. Wow. What a stunning and beautiful film. When it ended, my girlfriend was in tears of sorrow and anger at how Bark and Lucy's children treated them and the fact that they would likely never see each other again. I was in tears because of the fullness of their love and the desire that I, too, might live a full life. I'm not sure I've ever seen a film that feels both ice cold and incredibly warm at the same time, at least not to this extent.
  4. Thanks for linking to your review, Ken. It delved into some nuances I hadn't considered, particularly around gender. I think you're right that the film does subtly support patriarchy, yet I'm willing to forgive that based on the time in which it is set and the fact that, as you point out, at least its patriarchy is not outright abusive. I'm not sure I feel that the idea that More is "too perfect" to be a fair criticism -- or rather, to be a criticism at all. While it's certainly not uncommon to see heroes who are purely "heroic" or "good" in a superficial way, I think it's far more rare to see characters who are purely admirable that feel relatable and multi-dimension, as characters like More and Jaggerstater do (at least to me). Perhaps it's because that in both A Man For All Seasons and A Hidden Life I get the impression that, while the men are firm in their convictions, they grew to point over a long period of time, through careful thought and prayer and reflection. They are not simply "the good guy." I'm reminded of what C.S. Lewis wrote in his Preface to Paradise Lost when considering the character of Satan and how much easier it is to write evil characters than good ones: "To make a character worse than oneself it is only necessary to release imaginatively from control some of the bad passions which, in real life, are always straining at the leash... But if you try to draw a character better than yourself, all you can do is to take the best moments you have had and to imagine them prolonged and more consistently embodied in action. But the real high virtues which we do not possess at all, we cannot depict except in a purely external fashion. We do not really know what it feels like to be a man much better than ourselves. His whole inner landscape is one we have never seen, and when we guess it we blunder. It is in their 'good' characters that novelists make, unawares, the most shocking self-revelations. Heaven understands Hell and Hell does not understand Heaven, and all of us, in our measure, share the Satanic, or at least the Napoleonic, blindness. To project ourselves into a wicked character, we have only to stop doing something, and something that we are already tired of doing; to project ourselves into a good one we have to do what we cannot and become what we are not." Perhaps part of the reason I respond to movies like this is that they seem to be doing the impossible: presenting someone I judge to be far better than myself in a way that seems not so far out of reach.
  5. Just wanted to pop in and say that I saw this movie for the first time today and quite loved it. I know @kenmorefield has written and spoken about it at one of his favorites, and I can see why. There's something very refreshing about stories in which the central conflict is simply around people's integrity, or lack thereof. They make me want to be more accountable in my own life for my actions, particularly those which may not align with some of my professed values. I'm sure the fact that I've been reading Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience" with my students and discussing the merits of living entirely by one's conscience is also a factor. I was reminded of another, more recent film, which also centers on a man who refuses to swear an oath of allegiance: Malick's A Hidden Life. I'm struck by how, in both films, the protagonists do not judge those who disagree with them, provided they can reasonably assume the person person is also acting on their respective conscience. This is something I struggle with in my own life when I encounter people of opposing views, and films like these make me more willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, morally speaking. I'm struck by how More ultimately had more faith that the law would save him, often using technicalities to his advantage, but ultimately the law was not on his side. Jaggerstatter, in contrast, seems to know that if he is to keep his life it will only be because the law is ignored or bypassed. I feel like there have been a plethora other films recently that also focused on "men of conscience," or at the very least, men who were willing to sacrifice their careers (if not their lives) in combating injustice and immorality by the state or by corporations. Last year also gave us Dark Waters... though others have faded from memory. Perhaps I'm sensing a trend where there isn't one. However, I wonder if we might not see more films about "individuals fighting the system" and the true cost of "resistance" in the future due to our current political moment. Anyone had any thoughts on this?
  6. I found the film to be very enjoyable -- probably my favorite of 2020 so far -- and deserving of more consideration. While it's true that it still presents violence as entertaining and a "solution" to particular problems, there are also moments where the violence is rightly portrayed as horrific and traumatic (therapy may be a punchline, but it's also presented as a positive influence in that character's life). It's certainly trying to have its cake and eat it, but I think that it mostly succeeds, simply because it's willing to directly engage with the issue thematically and try to craft a popcorn movie amidst it all. I'm trying to remember the last time I saw a film of comparable budget that brings up the MLK/Malcolm X dichotomy regarding violence, features a scene of a main character praying, and ends with the other main character allowing himself to be physically beaten rather than inflict further pain. Of course, the scene in which Smith persuades Lawrence that God actually <i>wants</i> him to be violent is pretty offensive... but is that not the underlying myth of our culture? And ultimately, he himself chooses another path. So while it's not perfect, it gets a lot of credit from me just for diving headlong into the messiness of these issues.
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