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What should be eliminated? (UNOFFICIAL)


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This one wasn't too hard to decide. I also went with The Matrix, a movie that I love to death as an action fan, but that I find doesn't move me at all in a spiritual sense. The pseudo/intellectual dialogue feels as though the Wachowski brothers cracked open a copy of Bill Moyer's "Joseph Campbell The Power of the Myth", copied a few excerpts, but didn't delve into them. Maybe they should have studied Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" to extract some deeper meaning. But, after all the philosophical mutterings, what ultimately leaves me empty in a spiritual sense with The Matrix, is the conclusion that all problems can be solved with a good ass-kicking.

Star Wars:  Come on!  the FORCE?  This is a cheap plot device by a mediocre novelist and a worse screenplay writer.  The films were ahead of their time in look and feel, but spiritual?

The Force was revolutionary and audiences cheered wildly when Obi Wan

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Yeah, on the one hand, the prequels have reduced the Force to mere physics -- yet at the same time, characters in the prequels talk about "the will of the Force", so it seems the Force is not just another impersonal fact of life like electricity or gravity.

So the prequels have tugged the original film's "spirituality" in BOTH directions.

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Or it's simply a case of Lucas trying to have his cake and eat it, too. laugh.gif

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*As of 1999, bad decision making and writing on the part of the author has lowered the spiritual quality of the overall series... If you haven't seen them, do yourselves a favor and only watch Episodes 4, 5, and 6 (Ewoks not withstanding) for maximum spiritual value.

lol

Great disclaimer. Have you suggested it to Lucas?

Matt

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Lucas debunks the "mythic way of saying there's more than molecules in motion" by introducing molecules that can control motion.
Absolutely: put extremely well. Here's an Imaginarium take on the midichlorian mistake.

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Lord,

Please send someone to the boards -- in fact a small army of clear minded people with voting potential would get the job done well -- to help me in my solo fight against Dogma, the dumbest film on our list.

Thank you,

Amen.

-s.

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And, Lord, please bless the person who voted against Stevie.

Amen.

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I'm surprised. Do you feel it doesn't belong on THIS list, or does it truly not speak powerfully to you about faith, family and the human condition?

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Or, nix Attenborough's Shadowlands in favor of the (real thing) BBC production.

Several people express a preference for the BBC SHADOWLANDS. How come? (I've not seen it.) How is it different from the Antony Hopkins version?

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Well the guy that directed it, Norman Stone, is a practising Christian (in a British way - i.e. where that's being partt of a substantial minority that generally reflects some sort of genuineness)

Matt

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Well the guy that directed it, Norman Stone, is a practising Christian (in a British way - i.e. where that's being partt of a substantial minority that generally reflects some sort of genuineness)

Yes, I'd heard that. Spent time with Nigel Goodwin at a recent conference, picked his brain about Stone and his various projects.

But still, what about the film itself? Clearly, our list isn't about which film makers are the most Christian. (Not meaning to accuse you of such a thing: only trying to clarify. Certainly, a film maker's faith can subtly or significantly affect the spiritual aspects of a film. I guess I'm just wondering, how does that show itself on screen?)

Ron

Edited by Ron

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Well I've not actually seen it but was just trying to show why there might be a prefernce for Stne's version over attenborough's amongst a predominantly Christian film board.

Matt

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I voiced my views about Stevie in this thread.

The film was a bit voyeuristic, and I just don't think it will stand the test of time very well. I can't imagine folks talking about it in 20 years. The Top100 should include more enduring films.

It was neither so broad nor so well-done as to merit the exclusion of other, better, films.

I haven't seen even half of the films on the Top 100, so maybe someone else knows: Is Stevie the only documentary on the list?

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I would strongly want to nix The Sixth Sense. The problem with it is that it doesn't *have* any spirtiual exploration. Yes, it has ghosts in it which are interacting with the world and dealing with some of their issues in life. But that is their soul function. They are there solely to allow Osmont's character to assist them and to do whatever is necessary for their peace. What they signify isn't spiritual in their slightest: they are problems waiting to be solved. They're not even very difficult problems, either.

Unlike in Unbreakable and Signs where the mysteries at the heart of the films are purposely ambiguious, Sixth Sense has a clear problem and a clear solution. Nobody in the film needs to question themselves to reach that solution, nobody has to make sacrifices. They just come to terms with a bizzare universe which seems to have put Osmont at its centre. That's not spirituality: it's just a beautifully designed story involving dead people. And as such is a very satisfying watch, but doesn't really belong on this list. (I feel that, BTW, explains the film's comparitive popularirty over Unbreakable or Signs. It makes almost perfect sense at its end, and allows for a sense of self satisfied fufilment upon a second viewing. In short, it makes no demands on an audience and we feel a lot cleverer for having watched it even if we didn't guess the big twist. Because we feel at the end we have some big piece of information/knowledge which others don't have. In a similar, but more more sophisticated way, to how we all felt intellectually superior to the characters in Titanic because we knew that the boat would sink and Picasso became regarded as a very good artist)

Phil.

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Shantih wrote:

: But that is their soul function.

Tee hee. Nice slip! FWIW, as I have explained elsewhere, I believe the whole dead-people thing is just a surface element in The Sixth Sense -- the deeper, and I would say more spiritual, element in that film is the way it depicts love casting out fear.

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I would strongly want to nix The Sixth Sense. The problem with it is that it doesn't *have* any spirtiual exploration. Yes, it has ghosts.... They just come to terms with a bizzare universe which seems to have put Osmont at its centre.

Interestingly enough, it's not the ghosts that make the film spiritually significant: it's what the central character goes through, coming to terms with his own life. Without wanting to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen the film (and therefore being vague here), it's the things he makes peace with that are the film's centre, and - for me, at least - have a lot to do with "ultimate things."

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it's not the ghosts that make the film spiritually significant: it's what the central character goes through, coming to terms with his own life. Without wanting to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen the film (and therefore being vague here), it's the things he makes peace with that are the film's centre, and - for me, at least - have a lot to do with "ultimate things."

Ron, my man, replace "ghosts" with "memories" and you'll have the best reason I can think of to include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on this list. (I just saw your note of disapproval on pp.1) That film (which I might have hesitated to include on the list only because of its newness and the fact that not only has it not had an opportunity to stand the test of time, it hasn't even stood the test of video) is all about finding satisfaction in spite of (and in) the messier parts of human frailty and emotional soul-baggage. Kaufman has been playing around so long with this theme of the impossibility of two souls to connect (in large part becuase of the inability of any one soul to rise above self-awareness and ego) that we couldn't see it coming: Yes, human relationships are difficult, but they are also where our existence is forged. And it is worth it, warts and all.

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Well put Russell, and the film finally legitimizes the "Spike Jonze cool movie video aesthetic" as an art form that can produce extended films that are really beautiful and engaging to watch. There are a lot of levels on which Eternal Sunshine is a great pick for our list.

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it's not the ghosts that make the film spiritually significant: it's what the central character goes through...

Ron, my man, replace "ghosts" with "memories" and you'll have the best reason I can think of to include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on this list....

Oooh, nicely done!

Fact is, I liked SPOTLESS a lot, and expect to be watching it again some time. When I do, I'll keep this thought in mind.

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I think if we're gonna question films like 13 conversations, Signs, The Passion of the Christ,we certainly need to question Magnolia. I think the The Royal Tennenbaums is a far more worthy tale of forgiveness than Magnolia is.

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Out of so many films, I think we should be allowed to vote for at least 3, or else your results aren't neccesarilly going to say too much.

Mine would be

The Matrix

American Beauty

Fight Club

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Ooh! That's good to hear. I'd be intrigued to listen in to those discussions.

I wonder if this list is ever going to become definitive, a percentage of it probably will.

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Since 30% of the poll says to dump American Beauty and folks have said:

I don't mind sharing the movie I voted off the list: It's "American Beauty," which I've disdained here from day one.

But my vote was only the second so far, and the first was for ... "Stevie"! I can see how someone might not have cared for that film, but it's so clearly a work of spiritual depth, showing sin and its consequences, as well as healing and forgiveness, that I can't fathom why anyone would vote it off the list.

I know, I know: Some think "American Beauty" shows some of those same traits. But it's fake; "Stevie" is the real deal.

Just wanted to voice my surprise.

and

I'm also in agreement about American Beauty even though there were many things I liked about the film. Whatever good I discovered was eventually eclipsed  by the overbearing, preachy stereotypes (the melodramatic, angst-ridden daughter, the bigoted, homophobic military man, etc...) that always seemed more in keeping with your standard issue movie-of-the-week than an oscar-caliber film.

Perhaps it's time to put up a defense.

I got Useless Beauty for Christmas and have just started in. (It's a book about Ecclesiastes and film). Johnston has one of the chapters on AB (which I haven't got to yet), but he has this paragraph early on in discussing some of the films that reflect Qoheleth's themes):

There is perhaps no better example than the 1999 Academy Award-winning movie American Beauty which calls into question our contemporary obsession with producing "beauty" while simultaneously suggesting that there is another more fragile beauty that is present for those who have eyes to see it. Lester's voice-over as the movies beginning and end serves in a similar way to the opening and closing poems of Ecclesiastes, bookending what happens in between:"It's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. . . . I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life." (p.21)

That Johnston makes this statement may not make AB a shoe-in to stay on the list, but perhaps it will encourage some of those who want it gone to watch it again in light of what he's said.

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I think its generally accepted that its a good piece of dialgoue but what is objected too round here is the way the film wants to have its cake an eat it, playing for laughs with the scenes of Lester being self centered, bfore coming up with that conclusion.

Matt

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OK, I get why so many people don't like American Beauty (I violently disagree with them, but I get it). But in a similar vein, it seems to me is Bad Lieutenant which I haven't heard much opposition to. (The poll shows 16 votes to dump AB and 1 to dump BL.) Actually, maybe not all that similar since I find AB far more rewarding and redeeming, and find BL pretty unworthy of the list.

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