MORE SPICY (OR COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT) BITS...
Sorry about the sporadic blogging. Blame it on the pneumonia. Or else blame it on the wildfires which just make the pneumonia that much more blameworthy. Or else blame it on the recent proliferation of conferences and trips. Just don't blame it on the insidious computer game Pharaoh - because I'm not ready to give that up yet.
Anyway, here are more bits and pieces of news...
...I saw the upcoming release Resistance last week. The unfortunate piece was written and directed by New Sensation on the Block, Todd Komarnicki, who is pretty public about his Christianity. Resistance suffers from many flaws in its script. Set amidst the terrors of Nazi-occupied Belgium, the film looks lovely but falls flat early on and then just meanders around for another 90 minutes. It has a less than daring message which I would summarize as "Nazis are bad" and a quixotic message about adultery that left me dazed and confused because I know the director can't be advocating adultery, but it sure looked good here... I have been getting a lot of criticism lately for criticizing projects that my brothers and sisters in Christ have been putting out there. So, I'm going to be brief and suggest that the best thing for us all to do about Resistance is pray that Komarnicki figures out what went wrong here and gets another chance to do better next time.
...Steve McEveety, producer of The Passion of Christ, was a featured speaker at the Act One/Reel Spirituality Mere Entertainment Conference last week. Steve noted that the film has been a life-changing spiritual journey for all of the principles engaged in its production. Regarding the distribution, he said that Icon had shown the film as a courtesy to FOX (they have a firstlook deal), but that they had not seriously pursued any other major studios. He said that in light of the firestorm surrounding the project, "it didn't seem fair to ask a major studio to have to take on all that."
...The Discovery Channel aired an interesting, and very respectful, documentary about exorcism tonight. Granted, it's part of their desire to air something creepy for Halloween, but still, the piece presented the priest-exorcist as being successful with demoniacs, where psychology failed. At one point, one of the priests attributes much of the depression and exigencies of life as being the Devil's handiwork. He notes, "There are two spiritual worlds - God and His angels, or the Devil and his legions. We're are all operating in either one world or another all the time." The tenor of the show was that the Devil is a hateful Person. I think it is interesting that an age that more and more seems to want to strip God of His Personhood, has no trouble investing evil with it.
...Judging Amy had an eminently fair treatment of "the scandal" last week. A priest is confronted in Amy's court by a boy who had been abused. The episode at first seemed like it was going to be same old weirdly gleeful pile-on against the Church for the scandal, but then, it became obvious that theboy was mistaken about this particular priest being his abuser. The priest was compassionate, even after having gone through the trauma of being falsely accused. The residue of the episode was that there are good priests out there too.
...My friend and frequent collaborator, screenwriter, Craig Detweiler has just published a book. Craig gave us a taste of Matrix of Meanings: Finding God in Popular Cultureat Mere Entertainment last week - and it was GREAT. Just a heads up for any of you smart people who are wondering what God has been up to lately. Craig knows.
...Somebody asked me today, "In honor of Halloween, what is the scariest movie you've ever seen?" Well, I guess that would have to be The Hours.
...I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Jim Caviezel (The Passion of Christ) and his wife Carrie last week. Jim is an incredibly intense person. One gets the feeling that Jesus is never more than one sentence away from his consciousness.
...The new show, Joan of Arcadia -- from my former RCIA student Barbara Hall - oh, did I let that slip? -- has been picked up by CBS for a full 22 episodes. Joan has won its timeslot every week since its debut. I lurk on a yahoo group of mostly 12-20 year old girls who love the show, and I am very encouraged by the discussion the show incites in their largely uincatechized little souls. The show is particularly good for such as these.
...I'll be in Washington, DC from Nov. 12-16 giving speeches here and there. I'll post particulars as soon as I can find all the info. I'm also going to be in DC scouting the location for our May 2004 Act One program. Yes, we'll be bringing our amazing faculty and program to the nation's capital next year. Applications open in December. Pass the word to any nascent screenwriters you know.