“Five Things the Church Can Do to Fix the Culture Fast”

The church, like the world, is currently awash in the banal, the ugly, and the stupid. [Read more…]

Amour and Euthanasia: The New Chic

Somebody else is calling Amour what it is: propaganda for euthanasia. Back in the ‘70s the tear-jerker movies were about people dying of cancer. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, it was people dying of AIDS. For the 21st century, the new chic is euthanasia/assisted suicide/”mercy killing” movies. Million Dollar Baby, The Diving Bell and the [Read More…]

Oscar’s Impropriety

“In respect of character ….The second thing to aim at is propriety.” (Aristotle, The Poetics, II.XV) pro-pri-e-ty (/prəˈprīətē/) n. The state or quality of conforming to conventionally accepted standards of behavior or morals. It is without question the hardest concept that I have to cover every semester with my undergrads. But it is a key [Read More…]

Oscar Nominated Amour is based on a Nazi Film?

Not that anybody really cares anymore because with a half century of government school moral relativism and the persistence of demonically-inspired anti-Semitism, most folks today probably think that Hitler was just one more guy doing what was right for him and who are we to judge? But, for the record, the Nazis were mind-explodingly evil [Read More…]

Report from Sundance…. “Way, Way” Great

The Way, Way Back Written and directed by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash Starring Steve Carell,Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Maya Rudolph, Sam Rockwell, Liam James I loved this film.  It’s the kind of “little gem” project you hope to find at Sundance, but, sadly,  all too rarely do.   I sat through a lot of smut [Read More…]

“So You Think You Have an Idea for a Movie?”

Excuse the moment of shameless self-promotion, but people are always asking me if any of my courses are on-line or available outside the university/Act One bubble. Here are a few talks which are available for download, some of them free and a couple of them for what amounts to a piece of chicken.  That’s seventeen years [Read More…]

At Sundance….. Sloppily Stoking Mass Murder?

Stoker  Written by Wentworth Miller and Erin Cressida Wilson Directed by Chan-Wook Park Starring Nicole Kidman, Mia Wasikowski At Sundance…. This was one of the big premieres that everyone wanted to see, mainly because Nicole Kidman was in the house, but also because it is the first English language movie from the reputed Korean film [Read More…]

Twisted Oscar Amour

The biggest statement of this year’s Oscar nominations is the extraordinarily fawning attention being given to Amour; a very little French-language film written and directed by the ever-despairing Austrian director, Michael Haneke.  The best review I read of the film expressed the tone and “big idea” thusly: “Haneke is playing with the same themes of alienation and [Read More…]

Attn: Writers: “Crafting Movies That Matter: A Two-Day Conference”

For years, my friends in Hollywood and I have had one main gripe at every meeting, lunch, dinner and party:  Hollywood-based storytelling is broken, irrevocably broken, and the whole system needs to be rethought or the incidences of good movies at the theaters will continue to be more and more rare. The remote problem is [Read More…]

Sin in Storytelling

My friend Daniel McInerny (“Son of Ralph”) has a great piece just out on the depictions of evil and sin in art and storytelling.   There’s a nice big quote from me. Hollywood screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi sizes up the distinction between these two approaches in this helpful way: “The depiction of evil in art becomes [Read More…]