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Joe Ezterhas on his "Damascus encounter"


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Quasi-ahem?

"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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From the linked article:

"I find it mind boggling that with nearly 70 percent of Americans describing themselves as Christians, and witnessing the success of The Passion of The Christ and The Chronicles of Narnia, that Hollywood still doesn't do the kinds of faith-based and family-value entertainment that people are desperate to see," Mr. Eszterhas said.

Mind-boggling indeed, considering the source!

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Ah. Thanks.

I loved this:

One miracle Mr. Eszterhas has hoped for but not seen since returning to Ohio is to see his beloved Cleveland Indians win the World Series. But he is using the Tribe's woes as a lesson in faith and patience for his children.

There are endless teaching moments in the history of the Cleveland Indians. In Cleveland sports in general, for that matter. How long, O Lord?

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Wow. Joe Ezterhas? I guess if God can save me, He can save anybody. But - Joe Ezterhas? Whoa.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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Wow. Joe Ezterhas? I guess if God can save me, He can save anybody. But - Joe Ezterhas? Whoa.

Joe Eszterhas was a Journalism/Creative Writing major at Ohio University a few years before I arrived on the scene. The stories about him were legendary. Let's just say that he had a high opinion of himself and his work, that the professors I encountered found him fairly unteachable, and that he was very good at promoting Joe Eszterhas. He dropped out midway through his college tenure. I hope his subsequent conversion has somewhat tempered his views.

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Joe Eszterhas was a Journalism/Creative Writing major at Ohio University a few years before I arrived on the scene. The stories about him were legendary. Let's just say that he had a high opinion of himself and his work, that the professors I encountered found him fairly unteachable, and that he was very good at promoting Joe Eszterhas. He dropped out midway through his college tenure. I hope his subsequent conversion has somewhat tempered his views.

If Joe was evaluating his commercial prospects, his self-assessment is hard to fault. Not a lot of writers in his income bracket. If he was assessing his artistic prospects, that is a little bit trickier I admit.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today at the Washington Post's OnFaith site, Ezterhas has written something more beautiful than all of his scripts combined:

I cried and begged God to help me . . . and He did. I hadn't prayed since I was a boy. I had made fun of God and those who loved God in my writings. And now, through my sobs, I heard myself asking God to help me . . . and from the moment I asked, He did.

I didn't at first understand why He did. I didn't deserve His help, I thought. I was unworthy. I ignore Him for forty years and then suddenly I ask Him to help me and He does? It took me some time to understand that God helped me because He loves me. Because even though we don't deserve God's love, God loves us - all of us.

Not only did He give me the strength to be able to defeat my addictions, He saved my life. My throat surgeon, Dr. Marshall Strome, told me seven years after the surgery that I am "cured." Not that I am in remission, but that I am cured. That my throat tissue has regenerated so remarkably that even a doctor examining my throat wouldn't be able to tell that there was ever cancer there. Dr. Strome, who had removed about eighty percent of my larynx, called this "a miracle."

I call it that, too. Why did God save the life of a man who had trashed, lampooned, and marginalized Him most of his life? Why did He take the time and the trouble to save me? It certainly wasn't because I had written Basic Instinct and Showgirls, right? Was it because my wife and I had four little boys we were trying to raise? Possibly.

Or was it God's divinely impish sense of humor? "Who, you? You're praying? After

everything you've done to break my commandments and after every nasty, unfunny thing you've written about Me and those who follow Me - now you're sobbing? Praying? Asking Me to help you? Hah! Okay, fine, I'll help you. But if I do, know this: My help will obliterate the old, infamous you. You'll wind up turning your life inside-out. You'll wind up stopping all of your excesses. You know what will happen to you? You'll wind up telling the world what I did for you. You'll wind up carrying my cross in church. Yes, I make all things new - and you will be new, too."

Well, I thought I heard God saying all those things to me . . . and then all of the things God said would happen . . . did. My life has turned inside-out.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Well, I'm in tears.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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Tell me about it.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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Um... well... they are small amounts of saline liquid that kind of emerge into the eyes during periods of intense emotions. What more do you want to know?

:)

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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  • 3 weeks later...

"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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  • 10 months later...
Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and the Associated Press all say that Eszterhas is working on a screenplay about the Virgin of Guadalupe for Mpower Pictures, the company founded two years ago by Steve McEveety (a former producer of many Mel Gibson films, including Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ; since then, he has also produced Bella, The Stoning of Soraya M., and so on).

"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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