Time for another quick batch.
As a film critic in flyover country, I’m obliged to endure more than my fair share of movies that are marketed as uplifting, God-lovin’, non-threatening fare. As a film critic in Utah in particular, that includes the local cottage industry in independent movies pitched specifically at the majority Mormon population (the “Mo-movies”). If you are a big-city cinema buff whose movie-going diet consists either of Hollywood or art-house releases, this sub-genre might be nothing but an amusing rumor to you. And it probably would not surprise you at all to discover that most of these movies … let’s see, what’s the technical term I’m looking for? Oh yeah: Suck ass.
This suckage manifests itself in an impressive array of ineptitudes. Directors avoid niceties like pacing. Cinematographers treat focus as a suggestion. Actors read lines as though they were only pronouncing words phonetically without understanding their meaning. And the scripts. Oh most merciful Lord of Hosts, the scripts . . .
Questions of faith can be as complex and compelling as any part of human existence, yet those stories rarely make their way to our screens. Rare is the writer/director like Mormon auteur Richard Dutcher who takes seriously the task not just of congratulating his viewers for believing in the same things, but of exploring the knotty intersection between our souls and our lives.
So come on, filmmakers—give faith a chance. You don’t need to surrender the subject to the hacks. I’m begging you.
MAR 16 UPDATE: Shia LaBeouf confirms the rumour here.
“It’s nuts. It’s like these rumors are spiraling out of control,” proclaimed LaBeouf. “Look, there’s no deal on the table. If it was on the table, I would love to. It’s like a dream come true to be in that project, but it’s a rumor at this point. These things happen, but it’s wild that it was in Variety; it’s weird.”
While no stranger to casting gossip, LaBeouf is holding out hope, however, that this one may come to fruition.
“I’ve been through it before, though” explained the actor. “I was rumored to be Jimmy Olson in Superman Returns. I’ve been through the rumor fallout thing before, so I’m not putting too much weight in it. You hope, of course. But is it solidified? No.”