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Mission or Magnolia


Should I show "The Mission" or "Magnolia" for Javaflix?  

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I'm trying to choose the next movie for my movie discussion group. It's a mostly christian group, pretty liberal minded. I'm torn between "The Mission" and "Magnolia". I will eventually show both it's just right now the group is floundering and I'd like to choose the one that will be the most attractive and also have a larger impact.

"I am quietly judging you" - Magnolia

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I'd say it's a close call. Magnolia might get an edge with a younger, more post-mod audience. But I think The Mission is overall more powerful and deals with some questions of the purpose of the church.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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I'd argue for The Mission, mainly because I've never seen it. I'm willing to be that more people have seen Magnolia than The Mission.

I'd vote (not argue) for The Mission also, but for the opposite reason -- because I have seen it, though I haven't seen Magnolia.

“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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No wonder I'm the only one for Magnolia. The Mission bounced right off of me. I'm tempted to think that Mag has many more fragments that can yield some thoughtful discussion almost on their own without ruining continuity or the greater storylines (See "Movies In Ministry" Protocol).

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Wow. You can't go wrong with either - two very powerful films.

In THE MISSION there's a tension between two ways of living out the faith - warrior / priest, resistance / non-resistance - that might have particular resonance with your country at war these days. With that questin being a central one in my life, the movie shook me very deeplywhen I saw it. Incredible stuff on all that II Cor 5 stuff about being a new creation in Christ, reconciliation, ambassadors for Christ, all that - also very much at the core of my own personal faith, so it's a very big movie for me. And GORGEOUSLY filmed. Stunningly acted. Powerful score. Extraordinary film.

But MAGNOLIA's packed, too. As someone commented already, so many story lines, so many interconnections, touches of grace, lots to unpack in discussion. If you pick this one, check out Doug Cummings' review (posted or linked in another thread, somewhere) - it's got lots of good detail that could well equip you to lead a good discussion of the film.

I've posted a couple hundred of my Soul Food Movies write-ups at letterboxd

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If you're group is struggling at the moment I'd say go for The Mission. There ar scenes in Magnolia which will repel people and could cause you to lose a member or two at a time when you can't really afford to by the sound of it.

Then once people are a bit more with you you can show Magnolia as its is a great film worthy of discussion.

Matt

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That is a good point. There are spots in Magnolia that may sidetrack the group in strictly moral issues if there are a few people that can't handle the "f" word every ten seconds when Tom Cruise is on the screen and a litany of illicit moments that really do add to the course of the narrative. I hang out with a fair-minded bunch of Christians that all are big P.T. Anderson fans, and I would still hem and haw at showing that for a film discussion group.

On the other hand, if you think you can get away with it, it is an important contemporary film and will hit your Christian viewers pretty hard in some certain spots. The last scene alone will be sure to cause some great theological reflection.

Tough call mate.

(I have to get used to calling people mate, because that is what they say in the UK.)

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Tough call mate.

(I have to get used to calling people mate, because that is what they say in the UK.)

And you punctuated it correctly too, with no comma before the "mate." Good show.

“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 have to get used to calling people mate, because that is what they say in the UK

Why - are you coming over?

Matt

Yep. Edinburgh, I will post about it in the About Us section in a few days as soon as my next step goes through.

Cheers.

(Sorry to hijack the thread. My apologies mate.)

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Magnolia all the way.

The Mission is way too easy. Not that it's not a great film, but it's strength is around themes that are central to the Gospel (justice, grace, etc) but obvious (it's called the mission) and set in a distant time and place.

Magnolia, on the other hand, is surprising and contextualizes central Gospel themes (forgiveness, the miraculous in the face of rationalism, etc) in the world of now like few films in recent cinema.

The times that I've done Magnolia for our film and theology groups have been some of the best. (Yes people stay to talk for a couple of hours AFTER the 3hr 8 min runtime).

Your choice should probably be determined by what your goals are. There are plenty of great films like the Mission that I would never show to my audience because other films bring the Gospel to them with more immediacy. (e.g. We will NEVER watch Babette's Feast though it is a great film with huge Gosepl themes).

This quarter for example, I'm doing:

Whale Rider

Donnie Darko

Tupac Resurrection

Previously I've done:

Magnolia

The Sopranos

Fight Club

Frailty

The Matrix (there really is only 1)

Signs

Smoke Signals

Holes

The Two Towers

Finding Nemo

Bowling for Columbine

Monster

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