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Anna J

Top 25 Marriage Films: Results and Blurbs

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Many Christians I know want a law/rule rather than a principle. They are easier, more concrete, more black and white.

Very much this. With a proviso.

Many Christians prefer the clarity and finality of absolute laws to moral principles with differing applicabilities to different situations.

And many Christians prefer the fuzziness and pliability of abstract principles to the inflexibility of moral absolutes.

In my view, moral reality includes plenty to make both groups uncomfortable.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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: I feel the weight of the objection that attendance would be construed as rejection of them. On the other hand, there is the equally intractable reality that attendance would be construed as some level of recognition of the event, as it certainly would be.

You know what this *does* remind me of? The thought I've put into the question of whether I would ever take a friend or daughter to an abortion clinic. I don't approve of abortion What. So. Ever, but, if there was the possibility of my friend or daughter being shamed or abused by protestors, I'd still want to protect them, and support *them* (even if I did not support *their decision*). And I guess I'd always hold out hope that maybe my friend or daughter would give their unborn child a last-minute reprieve.

See, that I could do. Escorting someone is not a solemn public act, as attending a wedding ceremony is. It doesn't have built-in ceremonial significance. I can walk with you on your way to do something I disapprove of. I can't sit in the pew at your non-wedding, because sitting in the pew means something.

Wow. That strikes me as somehow wrong on a few levels. Physically doing something (escorting someone) doesn't "mean something" in a way that passively sitting somewhere does? Does sitting in the waiting room while the person you escorted has an abortion mean something? Or would you not wait, just escort?

I'm genuinely curious as to the unpacking of that, but I don't want to derail the thread - we can move the reply somewhere more appropriate if you want.

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Many Christians I know want a law/rule rather than a principle. They are easier, more concrete, more black and white.

Very much this. With a proviso.

Many Christians prefer the clarity and finality of absolute laws to moral principles with differing applicabilities to different situations.

And many Christians prefer the fuzziness and pliability of abstract principles to the inflexibility of moral absolutes.

In my view, moral reality includes plenty to make both groups uncomfortable.

And I would further add ... if (when) forced to choose between the scylla of inflexible rules and the charybis of fuzzy principle, people act better and society operates better under the former than the latter.

Reasons being that (1) numerically speaking, the exceptions are outnumbered by the normal case (that's why they're called "exceptions"), (2) fuzzy principle has an easier time deluding oneself, bending it to accommodate to one's own advantage rather than genuine prudence, and (3) the current objective historical situation, where the social norms are antinomianism and relativism.

Edited by vjmorton

Yeah ... well ... I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there on that one.

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I know. Now let's talk about THE BROOD. Who rated it lowly?


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SDG said:

:In my view, moral reality includes plenty to make both groups uncomfortable.

Absolutely. It makes life tricky. But then there is grace that is with us when we fail.

VjMorton said:

:forced to choose between the scylla of inflexible rules and the charybis of fuzzy principle, people act better and society operates better under the former than the latter.

I'm not so sure about that. Inflexible rules leaves little or no room for grace and ends mostly in legalism. Which ends up with damaged people, which leads to a damaged society.

But the fuzzy principle also leads to problems, as it leads to no sense of right or wrong.... which ironically also throws out grace.

The answer is to have a high view of the moral law, but also a deep understanding of God's grace when we fail. Being the idea that God's grace is with us and can turn our failures into something good.

SDG said:

:Perhaps in the pressure of the moment I will rationalize some way to discover that I actually can attend one of these unions after all

I think the above might be a rational, at least it is for me (Edit: - not that I wouldn't still wrestle with the proper responses). Being my understanding of God's grace and its ability to work in peoples lives even when they've failed the moral law.

I know. Now let's talk about THE BROOD. Who rated it lowly?

There's another reason for a recount. smile.png

Of course I gave it a 5

KenMorefield said:

:I absolutely agree with this, and I appreciate your saying it.

Thank you. It very much encapsulates where I am at.

Edited by Attica

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I'm sure lots of people wondered whether THE BROOD was being pushed forth ironically, but I think it's truly one-of-a-kind.


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When I was more sure about my beliefs on homosexuality I had a lesbian friend. She came to me because I'd said something to effect of needing to love homosexuals more, etc. We became friends and texted back and forth for a while. She came to the point of texting me every day and I could tell she was quite lonely and needed acceptance of her choices/actions that people around her weren't giving. She began to ask me for advice for her relationship with her girlfriend and I, since I was convicted at the time of its sin, would not give her such advice, I even told her that in all honesty, I hope it didn't work out.

We stopped talking after that. I don't regret my choice because my convictions being what they were at the time, I couldn't have done any other. I do regret how I said it though, and I also regret not standing a bit more strongly earlier in the relationship.

I don't lament anyone here who has a stronger conviction than I on what marriage is/should mean when it comes to homosexuals. I respect the conviction actually.

But I hope people can understand I don't share it, and that that more than anything is why I believe about marriage the way I do, and that I am not questioning other's stances or trying to change them. That's not my place.

I totally agree that the "I love you but" only works with many years of loving history.

Unfortunately I don't see much of the Church realizing that....we all think we have a right to say something no matter what the history is. In other words, I think there are some general things that should be said regardless of history, but some things of a more personal nature are best left said after history. To homosexuals though, the wound is so deep, that everything is personal. I don't think they're wrong to feel that way either, and like Attica, I'm not sure there is a right answer, or a way to say anything without someone getting hurt, but I do think that the best of all the possibilies is just to form relationships, and love, and let God guide in when to speak and when not to speak. And above all to not lose hope.

Also, thanks Attica for the affirmation. It's nice, and especially for a guy like me who deals with a lot of insecurities and inferiority complex, etc.

Edited by Justin Hanvey

"The truth is you're the weak, and I'm the tyranny of evil men. But I'm tryin Ringo, I'm tryin real hard to be the shepherd." Pulp Fiction

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Russ said:

:I'm sure lots of people wondered whether THE BROOD was being pushed forth ironically, but I think it's truly one-of-a-kind.

It most certainly is. It's coming from a very intelligent thinker and filmmaker, but is using exploitative horror conventions to help tell a very deep understanding of marriage and humanity. I suspect its lower rating might also be from lurkers who would dismiss it outright because its a "horror film" by that "terrible" "baron of blood" Cronenberg.

Justin Hanvey said:

:Unfortunately I don't see much of the Church realizing that....we all think we have a right to say something no matter what the history is. In other words, I think there are some general things that should be said regardless of history, but some things of a more personal nature are best left said after history. To homosexuals though, the wound is so deep, that everything is personal. I don't think they're wrong to feel that way either, and like Attica, I'm not sure there is a right answer, or a way to say anything without someone getting hurt, but I do think that the best of all the possibilies is just to form relationships, and love, and let God guide in when to speak and when not to speak. And above all to not lose hope.

I agree. We ride on the shoulders of those who have come before us and need to consider this when interacting with various groups. I'm somewhat involved in the truth and reconciliation movement in Canada, dealing with the native residential schools, where this is very much a factor.

Of course one way to do this is to engage them in their story, to hear what they are saying. Which then brings the question back to how films from the gay community should/could be engaged.

Edited by Attica

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: I feel the weight of the objection that attendance would be construed as rejection of them. On the other hand, there is the equally intractable reality that attendance would be construed as some level of recognition of the event, as it certainly would be.

You know what this *does* remind me of? The thought I've put into the question of whether I would ever take a friend or daughter to an abortion clinic. I don't approve of abortion What. So. Ever, but, if there was the possibility of my friend or daughter being shamed or abused by protestors, I'd still want to protect them, and support *them* (even if I did not support *their decision*). And I guess I'd always hold out hope that maybe my friend or daughter would give their unborn child a last-minute reprieve.

See, that I could do. Escorting someone is not a solemn public act, as attending a wedding ceremony is. It doesn't have built-in ceremonial significance. I can walk with you on your way to do something I disapprove of. I can't sit in the pew at your non-wedding, because sitting in the pew means something.

Wow. That strikes me as somehow wrong on a few levels. Physically doing something (escorting someone) doesn't "mean something" in a way that passively sitting somewhere does?

Yes, absolutely, and the whole objection seems to me to reflect a somewhat desacrilized, pragmatic, anti-ceremonial set of assumptions.

A congregation at a wedding, or whatever term would apply to the equivalent group at a civil ceremony, are not a mere audience. They are not passive, they are fulfilling an official function on behalf of the whole community. They are bearing witness. Their very silence, in the ceremony of the wedding, gives consent to it, recognizes it, accepts it on behalf of the community.

By their very presence they say to the spouses: This is no private thing you do, of no consequence to the larger world. It is not a whim, privately undertaken and privately to be renounced if you decide later on it was a mistake. We have seen; we bear witness. We all recognize that by this act you have undertaken duties to one another and to the community, duties that of course come with privileges. In principle, the community extends to you those privileges — we shall accord you the recognition and respect of a married couple, as opposed to a mere pair of fornicators — and hold you to those duties.

That is what a wedding is, and why there must be witnesses.

Does sitting in the waiting room while the person you escorted has an abortion mean something?

It does not. It's a naked, pragmatic, unceremonious act.

I'm assuming, of course, that prior to the trip I have not only made known my beliefs regarding the sanctity of life and done everything I can to dissuade the mother from her course. I'm assuming that my beliefs are sufficiently known that she recognizes the grief I take to myself in accompanying her, that there is no danger of her misconstruing my accompaniment as any kind of tacit consent. Since this is a private act, the understanding between us is sufficient (unless I'm liable to be recognized going into the clinic and my presence should give scandal).

I suppose in the case of the "wedding" I could have the equivalent discussions with the couple, and also with all of the guests (let's assume a small ceremony!). But even then, the language of ritual and ceremony is what it is. A same-sex union is an affront to marriage, and there is no way I can honor marriage and at the same time bear witness to a same-sex ceremony of this sort.

As a postscript: I say I could do this, right now, as a lay Catholic, a private individual. Could I do it once ordained to the diaconate? I would have to rethink that. My impulse is to say no.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: See, that I could do. Escorting someone is not a solemn public act, as attending a wedding ceremony is. It doesn't have built-in ceremonial significance. I can walk with you on your way to do something I disapprove of. I can't sit in the pew at your non-wedding, because sitting in the pew means something.

Huh, interesting.

I note, though, that you allow for the possibility of causing "scandal" -- of being seen -- and of course, one of my chief reasons for accompanying my friend or relative (if I did, in fact, accompany her) would be to support her in the face of possible abuse from onlookers. So would there not be something "performative" about *that*? About walking alongside here in the presence of *those* witnesses? It's not a sacrament, and it's not ceremonial in the strictest sense of the word perhaps, but it's not exactly a *private* expression of friendship or whatever.

: A congregation at a wedding, or whatever term would apply to the equivalent group at a civil ceremony, are not a mere audience. They are not passive, they are fulfilling an official function on behalf of the whole community. They are bearing witness. Their very silence, in the ceremony of the wedding, gives consent to it, recognizes it, accepts it on behalf of the community.

And now I'm flashing back to that great Orson Welles bit about "audiences" on the Dinah Shore show from way back when:


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I note, though, that you allow for the possibility of causing "scandal" -- of being seen -- and of course, one of my chief reasons for accompanying my friend or relative (if I did, in fact, accompany her) would be to support her in the face of possible abuse from onlookers. So would there not be something "performative" about *that*? About walking alongside here in the presence of *those* witnesses?

Unless I would be likely to be recognized and known, I wouldn't worry about that. The "scandal" (in the technical moral sense of bad example) is minimal, I think. Of course all acts have a never-ending cascade of consequences, including bad consequences, but in this case the bad effects on protesting strangers is sufficiently remote and minor that it's not a significant moral consideration. My main concern would be the effect, one way or the other, on the friend or relative.

And now I'm flashing back to that great Orson Welles bit about "audiences" on the Dinah Shore show from way back when:

Ha! That's awesome.


“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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: I feel the weight of the objection that attendance would be construed as rejection of them. On the other hand, there is the equally intractable reality that attendance would be construed as some level of recognition of the event, as it certainly would be.

You know what this *does* remind me of? The thought I've put into the question of whether I would ever take a friend or daughter to an abortion clinic. I don't approve of abortion What. So. Ever, but, if there was the possibility of my friend or daughter being shamed or abused by protestors, I'd still want to protect them, and support *them* (even if I did not support *their decision*). And I guess I'd always hold out hope that maybe my friend or daughter would give their unborn child a last-minute reprieve.

See, that I could do. Escorting someone is not a solemn public act, as attending a wedding ceremony is. It doesn't have built-in ceremonial significance. I can walk with you on your way to do something I disapprove of. I can't sit in the pew at your non-wedding, because sitting in the pew means something.

Wow. That strikes me as somehow wrong on a few levels. Physically doing something (escorting someone) doesn't "mean something" in a way that passively sitting somewhere does?

Yes, absolutely, and the whole objection seems to me to reflect a somewhat desacrilized, pragmatic, anti-ceremonial set of assumptions.

I've responded at some length here so as not to derail this thread.

I will ask here though, since I think it pertains to our overarching discussion about what a film list about marriage films is: do any of the films that made the list address specifically the ceremonial aspect of marriage (as I noted in a previous post, I've only seen 1 film that made the actual list)?


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Does anyone know what the record is for number of threads spun off a single thread?

Regarding the ceremonial aspect of marriage: I did wonder if someone might nominate Breaking Dawn part 1, since people were talking about how beautifully the wedding in that film was shot.

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Does anyone know what the record is for number of threads spun off a single thread?

laugh.png

Regarding the ceremonial aspect of marriage: I did wonder if someone might nominate Breaking Dawn part 1, since people were talking about how beautifully the wedding in that film was shot.

Is that a joke? I haven't seen that one either, but I just can't imagine... huh.png


"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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Yes, it's a joke. I usually avoid emoticons. You would understand if you met me in real life: my voice is sort of deadpan, so I try to make an asset of it.

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do any of the films that made the list address specifically the ceremonial aspect of marriage?

If I recall correctly, The Family Way opens with the preparation on the couple's wedding day, and the opening title sequence culminates with the marriage vows at the altar.

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Yes, it's a joke. I usually avoid emoticons. You would understand if you met me in real life: my voice is sort of deadpan, so I try to make an asset of it.

Well played.

do any of the films that made the list address specifically the ceremonial aspect of marriage?

If I recall correctly, The Family Way opens with the preparation on the couple's wedding day, and the opening title sequence culminates with the marriage vows at the altar.

Peter?

Ooh... Not looking back at the nomination list, I don't recall we nominated Father of the Bride, the original or Steve Martin remake, or their sequels? That occurs to me because while discussing the wedding congregation, the family and parents are, of course, most closely tied to that abstract group and the day-to-day life of the married couple. I'm sure there are other examples of films that focus on that aspect, but those popped to mind and I generally think comedies are given the short end of the stick on these lists.

Edited by Darryl A. Armstrong

"It's a dangerous business going out your front door." -- J.R.R. Tolkien
"I want to believe in art-induced epiphanies." -- Josie
"I would never be dismissive of pop entertainment; it's much too serious a matter for that." -- NBooth

"If apologetics could prove God, I would lose all faith in Him." -- Josie

"What if--just what if--the very act of storytelling is itself redemptive? What if gathering up the scraps and fragments of a disordered life and binding them between the pages of a book in all of their fragmentary disorder is itself a gambit against that disorder?" -- NBooth

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... I generally think comedies are given the short end of the stick on these lists.

No kidding. It makes marriage look pretty grim. There are a few upbeat titles, but Hobson's Choice is the only certifiable comedy on the current list. Maybe some of us should go back and watch Sullivan's Travels again?


There is this difference between the growth of some human beings and that of others: in the one case it is a continuous dying, in the other a continuous resurrection. (George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie)

Isn't narrative structure enough of an ideology for art? (Greg Wright)

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... I generally think comedies are given the short end of the stick on these lists.

No kidding. It makes marriage look pretty grim. There are a few upbeat titles, but Hobson's Choice is the only certifiable comedy on the current list. Maybe some of us should go back and watch Sullivan's Travels again?

Another reason to rethink The Incredibles, too.

Which reminds me, I never responded to this:

:My experience of The Incredibles is much different. All the mundaneness of the second act in particular; the chaotic family dinner, with Helen wearily trying to engage Bob in family business; the before-and-after distance between Bob and Helen over Bob's "bowling nights"; Bob's whole midlife crisis; Helen's conflict between domestic fulfillment and frustration; her subtly paralyzing conflict between her need to trust Bob and her concerns about what secrets he's keeping; Bob's obliviousness to Helen's issues; the joy (at first on one side only) of reunion and reconciliation; the underlying reality, despite all the conflict and bickering, of mutual need and unshakeable commitment ... good Lord, if this isn't the stuff of marriage, what is?

Yep. And its incredibly mature for an animated film, which is one of the things that puts it towards the front of the pack.

Yes, what's so extraordinary is how the film makes such emotionally complex, mature territory accessible to younger viewers while still remaining potent to adults. It's one of the best marriage-themed family films ever.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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I'm sure there are other examples of films that focus on that aspect, but those popped to mind and I generally think comedies are given the short end of the stick on these lists.

Which is a shame, since marriage is a subject perfect for comedy.

I nominated THE SEVEN-YEAR ITCH (which wasn't seconded) and UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (which was seconded, but was only 80th in the final ranking).

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Good point about comedy.

And yeah, The Family Way begins with morning-before-the-wedding stuff, leading up to the wedding ceremony itself (and some talk *about* the wedding during the reception afterwards, e.g. "You're not done proper if you're not done in church, that's what *I* say"), but I'd be surprised if none of our other films touched on similar elements. And I'm not sure it's all *that* big a concern of *that* particular film.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I consider IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE to be a comedy, though a dark one. I would have been happy to see UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (Sturges) or SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS on the list.

Edited by Russ

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