‘Thelma & Louise’ 25 years later still poses a challenge to male entitlement

I first saw "Thelma and Louise" while studying for a master's in education in media studies in London in 1995. We gathered to watch the film and not one male student of the 12 or so in our class showed up for the screening. Not one. What were they afraid of? When we asked some of them, they just shrugged. "Thelma and Louise" was hugely successful when it opened in 1991. It is critically acclaimed as a feminist, or neo-feminist film, or a road trip film for women.At least one convent critic … [Read more...]

Stories that invite us to be cultural mystics

After more than six decades of life, I am still startled by the profound empathy for humanity often revealed in stories told through sight and sound. Cinema, and increasingly episodic stories on television and the Internet, brings the human face of my brother or sister up close and personal so that I experience the joy and pain of all human living and make a difference in the world.The fact is cinema has a sacramental quality, outward signs of inner realities, that Sr. Nancy Usselmann,* a … [Read more...]

Pope Francis invites us to reflect mercy in our speech and in Tweets for World Communications Day 2016

 One of the best-kept secrets of the Catholic Church is that we have a beautiful tradition of teaching about communication and media that goes back to the 1930s and continues through today. This teaching covers speaking with one another in the family, parish and community, to evangelization, to all the means of communication including radio, television, movies, social media and the culture they create.Back in 1963 one of the Second Vatican Council documents issued by Pope Paul … [Read more...]

8 films and mini-series to see before you vote

My ears perked up back in March when Texas Sen. Ted Cruz defended his wife, Heidi, after Donald Trump threatened to "spill the beans" about her. Cruz came back with a threat of his own that sounded like it was straight out of the 1995 film "The American President" when President Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) stood up for his girlfriend (Annette Bening) to his opponent Sen. Bob Rumson (Richard Dreyfuss) who had defamed her: "You want a character debate, Bob? You better stick with me, 'cause … [Read more...]

TCM Classic Film Festival April 28-May 1, 2016 Hollywood

 If you are a film buff and like classic films from every era, don't miss the upcoming TCM Film Festival April 28 - May 1st.What's really cool is that I will be introducing "The Song of Bernadette" on Saturday evening, April 30 and "The King of Kings" on Sunday, May 1 (this year marks the film's 55th anniversary.) There are a few more of my favorite films playing such as "The Keys of the Kingdom." It's an excellent slate of films.Click here for all the films. The site is very … [Read more...]

The power of movies about nuns: “Seeing the Light, Hearing the Call…”

I am so pleased to announce the publication of a superb article at the University of Nebraska's online Journal for Religion and Film about how movies about nuns influenced many young women in their discernment and decision to enter religious life. The article," Seeing the Light, Hearing the Call: Women Religious as Spectators and Subjects of Popular Nun Films" is by Professor Maureen Sabine of the University of Hong Kong. It follows her 2013 book: VEILED DESIRES: INTIMATE PORTRAYALS OF NUNS IN P … [Read more...]

The Catholic Legion of Decency – a bibliography

I am posting this bibliography as a reference to the Turner Classic Movies series "Condemned" that I am hosting on the Thursdays of March, 2016 (17 of the 27 films, that is.) Please feel free to add titles that I may have missed and refer to my previous post with a paper on the history of the Catholic Legion of Decency. These titles are listed on Amazon but some are no longer available or are very expensive; a library may be your best bet to reference these.Catholic Crusade Against the … [Read more...]

Statement from Daughters of St. Paul: “Condemned” series on TCM hosted by Sr. Rose Pacatte

Statement from the Daughters of St. PaulBeginning on Thursday, March 3, Sr. Rose Pacatte, the founding Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies in Culver City, CA, will be providing introductions and commentary on a series of films for Turner Classic Movies (TCM) entitled “Condemned.” While the title is provocative, the subject consists in twenty-seven films that were condemned by the Catholic Legion of Decency between the years 1933 – 1965, and then some in the following years … [Read more...]

“Censoring the Silver Screen” a History of the Legion of Decency

This paper was written by Sister Nancy Usselmann, FSP in 2013 as a Church History project. It's a good overview of the history of the Legion of Decency in view of the upcoming series on TCM "Condemned" that I will be hosting (all the Thursdays of March, 2016).HISTORY OF MOVIE CENSORSHIP IN THE UNITED STATESLong before the Catholic Church became officially involved in rating the morality in films, the Motion Picture Industry itself had developed it’s own form of self- censorship due to … [Read more...]

‘Jurassic World’ – No dinosaurs with pink feathers, but questionable ethics

 Below is the feature article I wrote on the science and philosophy in "Jurassic World" but I want to add a couple of things. First, the engineering science of Dallas Bryce Howard's high heeled shoes ought to have been mentioned. She wore them throughout and I think she even walked backwards sometimes. This feat defied nature. I would have mentioned the dinosaur brain science but I was not able to hear everything that Professor Horner said about this at the press day event. But it was … [Read more...]


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