Showing posts with label Films. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Films. Show all posts

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Climate Justice - What is the story we are telling ourselves about climate change?

Chapter Nineteen
What is the story we are telling ourselves about climate change?

What does it mean to be entertained by a fictional apocalypse as we stare down the possibility of a real one? One job of pop culture is always to serve stories that distract even as they appear to engage—to deliver sublimation and diversion. In a time of cascading climate change, Hollywood is also trying to make sense of our changing relationship to nature, which we have long regarded from at least an arm’s length—but which, amid this change, has returned as a chaotic force we nevertheless understand, on some level, as our fault. The adjudication of that guilt is another thing entertainment can do, when law and public policy fail, though our culture, like our politics, specializes in assigning the blame to others—in projecting rather than accepting guilt. A form of emotional prophylaxis is also at work: in fictional stories of climate catastrophe we may also be looking for catharsis, and collectively trying to persuade ourselves we might survive it.

Wallace-Wells, David. The Uninhabitable Earth (p. 144). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

In this time of climate warming due to carbon emissions and the resulting climate change, what are the stories that we are telling ourselves about what is happening?

If you look at the movies where the box office hits are based on comic book superheroes and horror films based on robots and space aliens, an observer might wonder what are these projections that the public finds so entertaining that they will spend money and time to watch these scenarios portrayed and told for entertainment and distraction from the unconscious eco-anxiety which has infected the public conscious and unconscious?

David Wallace-Wells suggests that this entertainment is the unconscious projection of guilt, but another hypothesis is that it is a sublimation of fear. Heroes and villains are depicted and creative narrative tension is created which is diverting as we sit in darkened air conditioned theaters eating our buttered popcorn and sipping our sugary soft drinks.

The band is playing and the fiddles are fiddled as Rome is burning. Are there any realistic stories about climate change that help us deal with the moral issues of stewardship for the eco-systems which we inhabit? Flying off to Mars and inhabiting space stations as a substitute for life on planet earth seems childishly fanciful and an abdication of responsibility.

If you are interested in learning more about novels and films that deal with climate change use the search phrase, “cli-fi.”

Sunday, March 24, 2019

After Church on Sunday 03/24/19 - Film, Gloria Bell

After church on Sunday I went to see Gloria Bell with Julianne Moore.

Waste of time.

Gloria is a divorced woman in her 50s looking for love in the dance clubs. Doesn't find it and has nothing else in her life either.

I was hoping that Gloria would grow up but all she does is grow older.

Her kids are leaving her to get on with their own lives and she seems to think that she will find salvation in special relationships, but alas, they are empty and meaningless even if there does seem to be a half hearted effort by Arnold, also a divorced person,  who can't seem to separate from his ex and his two grown daughters. Arnold says the "right things" to Gloria, but his heart isn't in it and Arnold leaves her high and dry going back to his family.

At the end of the movie, Gloria is smoking more pot and back in the dance clubs.

This film earns a 2 out of 5 on the UU A Way Of Life movie scale. I don't recommend it.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

After church on Sunday, 03/17/19 - Green Book

After church on Sunday, 03/17/19, I didn't go to the demonstration in front of the local Muslim Mosque to show solidarity with Muslims after the horrific killings in New Zealand, and I didn't go to the workshop at the Methodist Church on social justice policies. I went instead to the local art film theater to see Green Book.

So far, it seems like a great decision. I loved the movie, Green Book. It is inspiring, funny, down to earth, informative, and entertaining. It did win the 2018 Academy Award for the best film, and Mahershala Ali won the award for best supporting actor for playing the role of Dr. Donald Shirley.

The creative tension is developed between Dr. Shirley, an African American concert pianist, touring in the deep south of the United States in 1962 during the time of segregation, and his hired driver and body guard, Tony Vallelonga, who is a prejudiced Italian from Bronx.

A friendship and mutual regard develops as the two men spend two months on the road together ending on Christmas eve in Birmingham, Alabama.

This movie demonstrates how discriminatory behavior, and prejudicial beliefs change when we get to know people personally as human beings. The movie demonstrates how human relationship facilitates the awareness of the inherent worth and dignity of every person.

I do want to demonstrate my solidarity with my Muslim brothers and sisters, and I do care about social justice issues, and I am not sure whether my decision to spend my time at the movies watching Green Book was the best experience by comparison to my other options for spending time after church, but I am a better person for having seen this movie and knowing that it has gathered acclaim in our country and the world.

Having had my first principle values affirmed and promoted, I feel grateful and blessed.

I give this movie 10 out of 10 stars and highly recommend it to audiences, 10 and up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Movie - On The Basis Of Sex

On The Basis of Sex is a movie about Ruth Bader Ginsberg's early life and career establishing her expertise in  advocating for women's rights in the U.S. in the later half of the twentieth century.

It is a five out of five on the UU A Way Of Life ministries movie scale and is highly recommended.

Editor's note:
This is not only a biographical story about RBG but a good example of how social change is made in an intentional and deliberate way.

The norms, attitudes, beliefs, practices of a society are highly influenced in a democracy by the "rule of law." The impact of the changes in women's rights in a patriarchal society made by Ruth Bader Ginsberg's and others efforts are enormous. What is taken for granted today and "just the way things are" has not always been the case, and the recipients in todays society of the changes made by those who came before us deserve recognition, acknowledgement, and support.

This movie is informative on multiple levels and inspirational. It filled me with gratitude for the work that has been done to improve the lives of people in our society by what are called in Unitarian Universalism, "Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love."

Sunday, October 28, 2018

UUAWOL film review - The Old Man & The Gun with Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek

On this rainy Sunday afternoon, The Old Man & The Gun was sold out at the 1:40 PM showing at the Pittsford Cinema in Pittsford, NY, 10/28/18, with no one in the audience under 50 and many struggling to enter and exit the theater with walkers.

Old Man & The Gun is based on the true life story of Forest Tucker who made a reputation as a bank robber and prison breaker in the 70s and 80s. There is a minor love story when Forest, in his 70s, has a romantic interlude with a girl friend, Jewel.

The film is comedic, romantic, for Forest is a charmer with good manners even as he is robbing banks, but short on meaning as Forest can't seem to master his addiction as, once out of prison in his 70s for his last string of robberies, settles in with Jewel and then goes out and robs four banks in one day, apparently, just for the fun of it.

The film includes some fine actors such as Redford, Spacek, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, and Casy Affleck, but the story, other than minimally entertaining for the farsical nature of it, has no redeeming social value that I can see.

The only value derrived from viewing this film on Sunday afternoon is that it was better than watching football.

Unless you would be willing to settle for mindless entertainment, I would skip this film and find something more meaningful to do with your time.

On the UU AWOL 10 point film scale,  The Old Man & The Gun, earns a 5.

Friday, August 31, 2018

UUAWOL and the movies

How you doing with your death anxiety?

Want to tackle one last challenge before you depart this earthly coil? How about a walk on the Appalachian Trail with an old friend trying to recover from years of alcohol misuse whom you haven't seen in 40 years?
A Walk In The Woods is a "coming of age" movie for senior citizens wanting to make the most of the years left before decrepitude limits their ability to explore the external world.

A Walk in The Woods is more about the management of existential anxieties than about hiking the Appalachian trail. Thus, it is a movie for grown-ups who have lived life and are not quite yet ready to die, and want to make sense of it all.

Beautiful movie which earns an 8 on the UUAWOL 10 point scale. It is available on Amazon Prime.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Film recommendation: "A Most Violent Year"

UUAWOL will be more regularly posting movie and book reviews about movies and books that have something significant, uplifting, inspirational, and informative to teach us about the human condition.
One such movie is A Most Violent Year but the film's title is misleading, because this film is not about violence but about moral rectitude.

The main character, Abel Morales, says at the end of the film, sounding like a Buddhist which he probably does not identify with or even know anything about, " You should know that I have always taken the path that is most right. The result is never in question for me. Just what path do you take to get there, and there is always one that is most right. And that is what this is."

The UU principle this film best exemplifies is the second, "Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations." This film might lead to a good discussion afterwards about UU principles.

I give A Most Violent Year a 4 on the UUAWOL 5 point scale. For more click here.

If you have recommendations and/or reviews of films and books, please send them to me at or leave the suggestions in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Two Family House - a movie depicting the living of the fourth principle: a free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Buddy Visalo (Michael Rispoli) is a guy with a dream as big as his heart. Defying everything and everyone, including his wife (Katherine Narducci), Buddy decides to follow his dream. When he meets a woman who truly believes in him (Kelly Macdonald), he must choose between the only life he's ever known and his desire for happiness. A tender, romantic comedy in which two people discover that happily ever after can come from the most unlikely place. "This rich romantic comedy, with its message of love and tolerance and hope and its great old tunes, won the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival and seems destined to capture many more fans..."(THE NEW YORK TIMES).

As we reflect on the fourth principle this month on UU A Way Of Life on line magazine no movie could be more appropriate than Two Family House, a movie in which Buddy Visalo defies his family, his ethnic group, the conventions of society to follow his heart in his search for truth and meaning. I highly recommend this movie which is available streaming on Netflix.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

UU A Way Of Life at the movies - The Fault In Our Stars

From the IMDB web site:

Hazel and Augustus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous, given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.

This is a movie about life, death, love, and relationships, mostly teenage romantic relationships when the teens are dying of cancer. It's a tearjerker and emotionally manipulative and too long, 126 minutes.

The deeper themes that could have been explored such as parents losing children just as their child is coming of age, the support of friends and community, the inherent injustice of young people dying before their allotted 3 score and 10 were not really dealt with. The Fault In Our Stars is a teen romance movie with a macabre twist, and that supposedly is worth the price of admission.

I wanted to like this movie. There isn't much on this summer except insipid kids movies, movies about aliens, demons, super heroes, and rogue cops. They don't seem to make interesting movies for grown-ups any more, and I was hoping this might be one, but alas, it is disappointing.

If you are up for a good cry and watching two teenagers dying, then this movie might be for you, but I can think of about 10,001 and other things to be doing with your summer days more enjoyable like playing bocce or croquet.

Monday, June 23, 2014

UU A Way Of Life at the movies - Lars and The Real Girl

Lars and The Real Girl is one of those quirky, independent films with a questionable plot that could be either really good or a waste of time. Lars and The Real Girl is really good and available on Netflix steaming.

Lars displays symptoms of social phobia and Asperger's Syndrome. He is anti-social and shrinks from human touch. He buys a sex doll through the internet not for sex but to keep himself company. His brother and sister-in-law who live next door seek medical advice from the family doctor and with her advice decide to play along with Lars' delusion which becomes quite complex leading to his taking his toy partner to church, office parties, shopping, and Bianca (the doll's name) becomes incorporated into the fabric of the community's life. In other words, out of their love and compassion for Lars the whole community plays along with Lars' delusion.

Now, this folie au deux as it is called, meaning when two or more people are caught up in a delusional system, comes across as very loving, moving, and compassionate. As weird as the whole premise is, this movie is full of grace, and one is struck with the idea that while Lars' relationship with Bianca, the sex doll, is dramatically weird in that it is a deluded projection of his own mind, it is no different that the kinds of "special" relationships that "normal" humans create with their live, flesh and blood partners. There are scenes where Lars is arguing with Bianca about matters of how she spends her time, and her attentiveness to him, that occur every day with real couples and are just as silly. Lars' projected and delusional relationship with Bianca is analogous to the special love relationships that we create with real people without being aware that our grasping, possessiveness, jealousy, control issues are a manifestation of our own ego desires rather than the presumed dynamics of true love.

Lars and The Real Girl can be viewed on multiple levels and the meanings one makes of his or her viewing can be very rich and deep. The movie exemplifies many UU principles such as the inherent worth and dignity of every person no matter how crazy, compassion in our human relations, search for truth and meaning, our interdependence with one another, and acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth. It is a movie well worth watching and I give it an 8 on a 10 point scale.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

UU A Way Of Life at the movies - Virginia

Virginia is a lovely film available on streaming Netflix. Here is a brief synopsis from IMDB:

Virginia is a charming, yet mentally ill mother whose greatest love is her protector and illegitimate son, Emmett. But her longest love belongs to the local-married-Mormon Sheriff, who is running for public office and might very well be Emmett's father. This boardwalk town's well-kept secrets are threatened when Virginia's son begins a romantic relationship with Tipton's daughter. 

Jennifer Connelly plays the part of Virginia and Ed Harris plays the part of her married, Mormon, Sheriff lover, Richard Tipton. The movie story line demonstrates that life is not what it appears and that love is not adherence to conventional norms of society or religion. The film forces you to look deeper in the lives of the characters and their intentions and motivations are often not what they appear. The film is comedically poignant in many places

It is well worth watching and I give it an 8 on a ten point scale.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Luther, the film

Luther which was distributed in 2003 is worth seeing by any one interested in the history of Christianity in the west. I enjoyed it and recomment it.

To learn more about the film, click here.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Doubt, the film

I had put it off and last night finally decided to watch the film, Doubt. The story takes place in 1964 in a Catholic church in Brooklyn when the Principal of the parish school, Sister Aloysius, accuses Father Flynn of molesting the only African American gay student, Donald Miller. Sister James, Donald's 8th grade teacher gets into the fray and wavers back and forth between thinking Father Flynn is guilty and innocent.

Sister Aloysius is a tough old, crack em along side of the head, nun who runs what she thinks is her school with a velvet fist. Father Flynn posits that she doesn't like him and wants to get rid of him and ruin his reputation as a priest for reasons that aren't clear. Sister Aloysius is certain that he is molesting Donald Miller but can't prove it and there rests the nexus of the plot.

I put off watching the film even though it had been highly recommended by friends and had been nominated for scads of Oscars because I was afraid that I would experience it as tedious and dissatisfying which is exactly what my experience was.

I was an altar boy since age of 7, and was in minor seminary until age 19. I got to watch the inimate lives of priests and never once saw, or became aware of, anything improper. Looking back now on my minor seminary days, maybe there was some hanky panky going on, but if it was going on it was very discreet and the objects of the priests lust were 17,18, and 19 year old students.

At the end of the film, the certain Sister Aloysius cries out wracked with sobs to Sister James that she suffers terribly from doubts. It is a the poignant scene in the film, and it is the way the film ends. It should have been where the film began. The doubts that Sister Aloysius sobs about seem to be much more than whether Father Flynn is a pedaphile. I got the sense that like Mother Teresa she is referring to her faith, vocation, the church, the belief in God.

I would invite Sister Aloysius to the Unitarian Universalist faith but she would have to lighten up and become less judgmental.

I don't recommend this film. I think it is a trivial treatment of the problem of pedaphilia in the church, and the crisis of faith that any true believer has as they grow up in their spirituality.

I would give it a 2 or 3 on Markham's movie must see scale.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Blind Side, the film

I finally went to see the Blind Side yesterday at a dollar theater and it was pretty good. With over 30,000 votes the Internet Movie Data Base rates it at 7.7 out of 10 and that would be my rating as well.

As you probably know, Sandra Bullock won the Oscar for the Best Actress for playing Leigh Ann Tuohey.

The film is about a true story of a white family in Memphis Tennessee who take in a large young African American teenager who is homeless and who winds up becoming an NFL football star.

I had avoided the film because I thought it would be just another saccharine, sentimental film about underdog sports teams who finally with a great deal of heart win the big game.

However, this film is about more than sports. It is about a woman who moves outside of her comfort zone and her social clique to act with love, compassion, and empathy towards another human being.

The film is about the inherent worth and dignity of every person. it is about justice, equity, and compassion in human relations. It is about the acceptance of one another and encouragement in each other's spiritual growth. It is about the facilitation of a community for all people with peace, liberty, and justice for all. It is about making the world a better place a few souls at a time, and it is about a woman and her family who is a modern day saint.

You have to give admiration and gratitude to Leigh Ann Tuohey, and her husband, and her children. They are great people. If there were more people like the Tuohey's and their adopted son, Michael Oher, the world would be a far better place.

I highly recommend this film.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Book Of Eli, the film

Let me say at the beginning that The Book Of Eli is a silly and stupid movie. Save your money. The only thing worth the ticket price is Denzel Washington's portrayal of Eli.

The story is post apocalyptic with the required marauding gangs on motorcycles that pillage and rape. And of course, Eli, the man of God, kills all the bad guys with this machete, his guns, and his bow and arrow.

He is taking "the book" (the bible) west to an unknown destination because some voice told him to. He has been on this pilgrimage for 30 years. Oh yes, there is a pretty young thing, half his age, who wants to have sex with him and looks seductive and alluring enough, but Eli has the masculine discipline to refuse and she falls in love with him and follows him on his pilgrimage and takes up his cause in the end.

As a morality tale it leaves a lot to be desired. The bible didn't save us the first time, and the message of the film is that it will the second but gives no clear idea of why this would be.

Save your money, but the fundies will go nuts with its apocalyptic and biblical themes.
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