Monday, December 31, 2012

The Best Movies of 2012

















   As 2012 quick winds to a close I wanted to share with all of you what we felt were the best movies of 2012.  It was a hard choice to narrow down, and some of my favorite little gems didn't make it.  I used our Quality Rating and our Content Rating from when we reviewed the movie, as well as ticket sales per theatre opening weekend.  Then we considered weeks at those films were #1 in the box office.  To come to a conclusion on the 5 best I grabbed these 4 sources of data and combined them all to get an average score.  If you want more details on each movie, the link in the movie title will take you to our full review.  So here are our favorites!

#1 The Avengers: The top grossing movie of the year, and it broke several records.  With several Marvel build up movies, there is no wonder it was top of our list.  It was a major risk and undertaking, but it paid off!  We saw it twice in the theatres the week it came out.
 Although it is an action movie, it has a lot of lighthearted moments of humor. One of my favorites comes from Captain America, Chris Evans. When warned that Thor, Chris Hemsworth, and Loki are basically Gods Captain America responds, "There's only one God ma'am, and he doesn't dress like that."  The Avengers is available from Amazon and iTunes

#2 The Hunger Games: I went into The Hunger Games pretty blind to the whole story, but afterward I went out and read all 3 books.  I am really excited for Catching Fire to come out.  One of the shining aspects of the movie was the strong supporting cast. Great actors like Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland who know better than to attach their names to something like "Twilight." They add credibility to the Film. But I must say the two surprises were Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks.  Getting attached them from the film made their characters even more enjoyable when reading the books.  The Hunger Games is available from Amazon and iTunes

#3 The Dark Knight Rises: Although I preferred The Dark Knight when he wasn't "Rising" it was a great conclusion to an epic trilogy.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays rookie cop John Blake. He is one of the few Gotham city police officers who still has faith in the Batman. When Bane's plan begins to unfold, it is Blake who comes to the forefront of the film rather than Wayne. He becomes the protagonist the audience identifies with and as such saves this movie. If Acts 1 and 2 were paced a little cleaner, I would give this film a solid 5 Stars, but with the strength of the supporting cast and 3rd Act I just couldn't downgrade it to 4.  The Dark Kight Rises is available from Amazon and iTunes

#4 The Hobbit: One of the most anticipated movies for me this year.  It didn't quite have the commercial draw of the other films with no Catwoman/Black Widow eye candy or romantic story of star crossed lovers like The Hunger Games.   I don't think there is much doubt though that The Hobbit is going to be one of those movies that stands the test of time. Not only is it visually stunning, but the themes of hope, honor, friendship are transcendent and meaningful to all of us. When pressed about his desire to undertake his mission Gandalf's response sums up the meaning of the movie. "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage." The Hobbit is in Theatres now.


#5 Wreck-It Ralph: Our only entry that isn't part of a large franchise of films.  Wreck-It Ralph is smartly written, well acted, and beautifully animated. The world is truly an original idea where game characters travel through subway like surge protectors. John C. Riley's Ralph is endearing and lovable. He surrounded with other great character voices that really fit well. There are 3 main games the movie takes place in, and each one if stylized slightly different, yet all are amazing and immersive.  I am hopeful that there might be additional films where we can see more of the arcade games in the world.  Wreck-It Ralph is still in some Second Run Theatres and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

What were your favorites of 2012?  Where there any that didn't make our list?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Les Miserables (2012): Mormon Movie Review



Quality:
   Seeing as how Les Miserables came out yesterday, (now available on Amazon), you are either reading this as a fan of the musical who has most likely already seen the movie, or you want to see what all the hoopla is about.  If you are of the latter camp I am going to say you are in for one of the most moving pieces of cinema of this generation.  For those of you who love the musical and haven't seen the film yet I have one piece advice for you, forget everything you know about the musical!

   Prisoner 24601, known as Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman), is released from prison and breaks parole to create a new life for himself while evading the grip of the persistent Inspector Javert (Russell Crowe). Set post-revolutionary France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion.


   I posted a few weeks ago about how I [was] Starting to Worry About Les Miserables.  If you constantly compare the musical to the film you will be let down on a musicality standpoint as many of the actors are better known for that then for singing for a reason.  But that is merely one thread in the tapestry of the film version.  

   I wanted to highlight four scenes that were the best experiences for me, and I'd like to see if they were the same for you.  I immersed myself in Les Mis soundtrack, video clips, and stage recordings, and it was a bit of a mistake.  Although I did not love Hugh Jackman's musical performance, his acting carried over and help to move me.  Particularly in Val Jean's Soliloquy where is wrestles with his hatred for the world, and yet tried to reconcile himself to God.  The cinematography as he paces back and forth with the music away and toward the reliquary was masterful.  

   One of the best known and best loved songs of Les Miserables is I Dreamed a Dream sung by the character Fantine.  You may remember the sweet and triumphant version that help Susan Boyle raise to internet fame.  But with all the cheers of the audience you might miss the words and meaning of the song.  It is of despair and sorrow and Anne Hathaway makes you feel that.  Our theatre audience applauded at the end of it.    
  
   My favorite character of the musical version was Javert.  Russell Crowe's version of him does not command respect the same way the stage version does, but his scene of The Confrontation with Hugh Jackman was great feat of sing fighting.  If they had added dancing, I think West Side Story would have been jealous. 
   In this film version though Eddie Redmayne should have been top billing.  One of those actors you know the face of, but can't name anything he has been in, this will be his breakout role!  As a tenor myself this has always been the role I wanted to play.  (That or the Army Officer at the Barricade.)  As he sits alone at Empty Chairs at Empty Tables he makes you feel his sense of loss.  As he stares into the camera with tears rolling down his face I'll admit it was the scene made them roll down mine.

Content:
  As with a story about "The Miserable" the character encounter some depressing circumstances.  The final act of the movie takes place during a revolution where many are killed.  Although the deaths are not bloody or graphic, they do carry hard impact for the ones who come to be beloved characters.  The innkeeper played by Sacha Baron Cohen is very entertaining (and the only character who actually has a French accent), but his Master of the House has the two obscenities and has shows two character having sex. One of them being Santa!  It also features characters drinking, but not is positive light.  There is also (Spoiler) a scene where Fantine submits herself to prostitution.  Although there is no nudity in the movie, the scene is very disturbing.  It is not graphic or profane, just 3 short thrusts shown from the shoulder up.  But the emotional weight is very adult and would not be appropriate for younger audiences. 


Conclusion: If I were to rate the transition from stage to screen I might drop a star for some changes that I'll highlight in a later posting, but as a standalone film it was a wonderful experience. There are themes of redemption, mercy, courage, comradeship, duty, fatherhood, and love unrequited. Anyone could find a character to associate with. If you haven't seen it yet, I would make plans to do so this weekend.

This post is sponsored by Amazon.com. If want to add a great movie to your DVD library, get your copy at Amazon today! If you already have it; here are some other ways you can help support us and keep the reviews coming!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Family Friendly Christmas Movies on Netflix






   This was a lot harder to make than I thought!  I wanted them all to be Netflix, but to be honest these isn't a ton of quality movies.  They have a bunch of cheesy, ABC Family, Hallmark Channel, mediocre TV Specials, but I searched and scoured and found these rare gems!

   If you aren't a Netflix subscriber yet, you can try it out with our free Christmas Trial Offer!  Try out these movies and if you didn't love them, just cancel.  Or check out some other family friendly films on Netflix.



   The Nightmare Before Christmas: Although it also doubles as one of my favorite Halloween movies.  The story of how Jack Skelington, tries to bring the joy and magic of Christmas to a land that has always known the fright of Halloween is heartwarming and enjoyable.





   Dreamworks Holiday Classics: Four Animated Shorts (about half hour each) that feature Christmas and Holiday stories about some of your favorite characters.  One of my favorite things Dreamworks has done for these is keep up the productions value.  The animations look just as great, and I am pretty all the original voice actors have returned.  I am still a little jaded from the sequels and specials Disney tried to pass off in my youth.  Return of Jafar was just shameful!


Kung Fu Panda Holiday: This film is along the lines as the other Dreamworks features.  The original cast is back too.  Some of the comments I saw seemed to take issue with the fact that they do not refer to it as Christmas, but as the Winter Holiday Feast.  I do feel like a lot of films are starting to stray from this, for take Christ out of Christmas.  But I am not really bothered here since story takes place is historic China.  A Christmas dinner would not be historically accurate.  Although some conspiracy theorists think Jesus did visit China.



   VeggieTales: St. Nicholas: A Story of Joyful Giving: I always love Veggie Tales movies because they don't often shy away from Judeo-Christian themes taught in their stories.  Very often they even reference the Bible verses the stories come from.  In this tale we learn about the tale of St. Nicholas and his desire to show charity to those in need.  It is a little kiddied up from the original story similar to how their episode of King George and the Ducky teaches the principles of King David and Bathsheba.

   White Christmas:  Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby are in true form.  Most of their lines together they just made up as they went.  It is a great classic that brings us back to a day when actors where true artists who sing and dance without auto tune, or a bunch of quick edit jumps.  






Honorable Mention: Polar Express
One of our most loyal fans on our Facebook Page suggested Polar Express.  I haven't seen it yet.  All I know about it is that the book is famous, some of the musical numbers that I sang with the Mormon Choral Organization, and that every adult character is voiced by Tom Hanks.  Also that everyone who has seen it, loved it.  It is going to be on my Instant Queue and it should be on yours too!  



Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Holiday (2006): Mormon Movie Review


Quality: 
 Working on a Blog Post about Family Friendly Holiday Movies on Netflix.  In the background my adorable wife is watching The Holiday.  Regrettably it wont make the list because it not streaming on Netflix and not too Family Friendly.  But it is a great movie. And right now it is only $4.75 at Amazon.com!

   I just wanted to give a few notes though because it is on my mind. 
In London, Iris Simpkins, Kate Winslet, writes a wedding column in a newspaper and nurtures an unrequited love for her colleague Jasper Bloom, Rufus Sewell (who always seems to play some sort of slimy character). Near Christmas, she is informed that Jasper is engaged to marry another colleague, and her life turns upside down.

   Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, the movie-trailers maker Amanda Woods, Cameron Diaz, has just split with her unfaithful boyfriend Ethan, Edward Burns, and wants to forget him. Through a house exchange website, Amanda impulsively swaps her mansion for Iris' cottage in Surrey for the holidays. While in Surrey, Amanda meets Iris' brother and book editor Graham, Jude Law.  Meanwhile, Iris meets her new next door neighbor the ninety year old screenplay writer Arthur, Eli Wallach, who helps her retrieve her self-esteem.  She also meets film composer Miles, Jack Black, who is in a dysfunctional relationship of his own.

   We watch it once a year just because it is a cute Holiday movie about romance, both young and old.  There are some tender moments when Arthur speaks with devotion about his long past wife, and the new romantic relationships that develop between the characters.  Because the women in the movie are a bit neurotic; what is meant to come off as quirky seems just corny (which Iris refers to herself as during the film).

   The men really shine out though.  Jack Black has found the happy medium between the over the top physical comedy of Nacho Libre, and the laughably serious role he play is King Kong.  He is charming and endearing, but still gets a laugh in each scene.  It is also great when he explains his love for movie score (which I share).  It is easy to buy into his passion because he is actually a musician, but I wouldn't recommend his Tenacious D music unless you get a radio edit.  This movie's soundtrack was written by Hans Zimmer and is a great extra set piece to the film.  Jude Law is as fetching as usual.  I am sure my wife would have married me 6 months sooner if I had an English accent.  While his character comes off as a bit of a playboy, we soon learn he has a softer side that he plays very well.  

 Content:
 The Holiday is a great date movie for adult couples, but be warned that some of the characters pursue inappropriate relations.  Although nothing is shown, they talk about wanting to do it openly, then it cuts to them lying in bed afterward.    They do go for the obligatory F-bomb, which really bugged me because it really wasn't a bit moment.  Almost as if it slipped out, but it was a really good take so they kept it.  There is a touch more milder obscenities, but not many.  There is a great deal of the use of the name of deity though.  Character drink to deal with problems, in social settings, and get completely "knackered" with little consequence. 

Well, this was meant to be a short review, but I got a little long winded.  I'll try to add some photos tomorrow and spruce it up.

So check it out!  If you order today, you will probably get it by New Years.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012): Mormon Movie Review


Quality:
   Last night we attended the midnight showing of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. (now on Amazon)  I have been excited about this movie for the past 7 years and have been listening to the soundtrack all week in preparation   We chose to see the High Frame Rate 3D version of the film because that was how director, Peter Jackson, wanted it to be seen.  With our group was children's artist Parker Jacobs.  We passed the time watching him draw his Daily Doodle.  His children's book The Goon Holler Guidebook will be the subject of an upcoming review.

   If you are new to the The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings story, Bilbo Baggins, Martin Freeman, is swept into a quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug. Approached out of the blue by the wizard Gandalf the Grey, Ian McKellen, Bilbo finds himself joining a company of thirteen dwarves led by the legendary warrior, Thorin Oakenshield, Richard Artimage. Their journey will take them into the Wild; through treacherous lands swarming with Goblins and Orcs, deadly Wargs and Giant Spiders, Shapeshifters and Sorcerers. Although their goal lies to the East and the wastelands of the Lonely Mountain first they must escape the goblin tunnels, where Bilbo meets the creature that will change his life forever.

   If you are already a fan, you will be pleased with at additional story aspects outside the original novel.  In the book of The Hobbit the narrative is mostly from Bilbo's point of view.  We learn from The Lord of the Rings and it's many appendices and other writings that there is actually a lot going in the world at large.  I learned a lot from playing The Lord of the Rings Online.  It is free and goes into a lot of detail on the Dwarf back-story   Putting this in the movie really shows how essential their quest is, and there is more at stake here than just a pile of Gold.  You may need to go back  back and re-read or ask a nerd friend about some of it though because they don't always give enough information to someone who is new to the story, or a little rusty like myself.

   Seeing the High Frame Rate version was visually stunning!  I am not a huge fan of 3D.  It is often done poorly with the action blurred or so gimmicky it it detracts from the immersion. At certain times the refresh rate seemed to be off a bit and slower actions looked they were at 1.5x speed.  It was a little distracting at first I admit.  That might have just been my theatre though.  I'd love to hear your experiences in HFR.  Where the HFR 3D really gets put to task is in the action sequences.  It was amazing how crisp and clear the fight choreography was.  Often battle scenes in movies are at such a rapid pace you get the idea there is fighting, but it is never really clear what is going on.  Not the case here.  As a result there is a much stronger emotional investment in the action because you can clearly see the danger our characters are in.  The technology is not perfect yet but worth the price of admission.  I would probably skip the 3D if you didn't intend to see HFR, or it isn't available. 

   I never cared much for the Dwarves in the books.  I wan't sure how they would make us care about each one of them.  Especially Thorin, who was a bit of a jerk in the books.  The cinematic directing really helped show his character.  He is always first into the fray and often put himself at risk to help the members of his company.  In the trailer he asks for "Loyalty, Honor, and a Willing Heart.  As the adventure progresses we see he also gives that back to to his company in return.  

   A lot of clever work was done to help individualize the other 12 dwarves.  Although I still could not name them all, I can distinguish their character traits.  Giving them tiny, yet revealing lines here and there helps makes this distinction.    

   I am not a huge fan of the overuse of CGI.  Parker and I were talking about this before the movie started.  Even though Chewbacca's face doesn't move much, he is so much more believable than Jar Jar Binks because he is physical.  I see a Chewbacca costume and I think Chewbacca!  I see a Jar Jar costume and I think, oh a Jar Jar costume.  


   In the Fellowship of the Ring Gollum looked completely unbelievable.  The character design for the Two Towers was a 100% improvement over the first film, but still Gollum wasn't real yet for me.  Now a decade later they have perfected it!  My suspension of disbelief was at an all time high.  I was second guessing myself.  The Riddles in the Dark scene was wonderfully done.  Martin Freeman (Bilbo) and Andy Serkis (Gollum) played well against each other.  the emotional roller coaster as Bilbo comes upon a dangerous situation, to the lightheartedness of a game of riddles, you forget the mortal danger Bilbo is in.

Content:











  If you have seen any the Lord of the Rings films you will have a good idea of the content in store for you.  The Hobbit is void of coarse language and sexual content.  Although character do drink and smoke "pipe weed" and there is a reference to eating mushrooms.  The action is intense, but not overly graphic.  Heads to get chopped off though.  It might be a bit too much for younger audiences.  

   I don't think there is much doubt that The Hobbit is going to be one of those movies that stands the test of time.  Not only is it visually stunning, but the themes of hope, honor, friendship are transcendent and meaningful to all of us.  When pressed about his desire to undertake his mission Gandalf's response sums up the meaning of the movie. "Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage."

This post is sponsored by Amazon.com. If want to add a great family friendly movie to your DVD library, get your copy at Amazon today! If you already have it; here are some other ways you can help support us and keep the reviews coming!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Women Wearing Pants to Church


   So this Sunday, December 16th, a group of feminists want Mormon women to wear pants to church in protest, to what they feel is, a lack of equality in the church.  There is a lot of discussion on this on the internet about this and I wanted to chime in.  Richie T. from The Cultural Hall Podcast interviewed Kimberly Batista about the Facebook event she helped to create.  Richie does a great job being neutral, and making points for both sides of the argument.

   I wanted to chime in on the conversation and invite you to share your thoughts as well.  I have spoken on issues in the past that really irked me that you can read about as well. I had two separate issues on the event.  Nothing in the Church states there is a dress code in regard to appropriate dress. (Other than modesty standards)  I always prescribed to the mantra of wearing your "Sunday Best" to church.  Now, in the US a female suit is not the social norm.  Same with bow ties, beards, or sneakers. But if your "Sunday Best" is a pair of slacks then by all means, wear your "Sunday Best."   What I do take issue with is that they are using the Sunday worship service as public forum to protest an issue, or just to draw attention to yourself rather than the Savior.

   My second issue is some of extreme views of feminism.  It would not be fair for me to comment on someone individual experiences, but I do have feelings on the statements by many who are outspoken on this issue.

   In a past The Cultural Hall also interviewed Lisa Butterworth of Feminist Mormon Housewives.  And I liked that she spoke about self esteem for women, but then she sort of went on a rant of things she took issue with.  She spoke about wanting a larger share of the power in the Church, wanting larger Mother's Rooms, basketball courts were designed for men, an office for Primary or Relief Society Presidents, more storage space for Young Women. 

In the comment section "Luke B." left the following:
   "While it’s true that Relief Society and Young Women’s presidency don’t have offices in our church buildings, Lisa failed to mention that the High Priests, Elders Quorum and Young Men’s presidencies also do not have designated offices and have to meet in whatever room they can.

   In fact, the Relief Society room normally the nicest room in a church. So saying the rooms were obviously designed by men, for men is kind of ridiculous. Also, for the record, not all men like playing basketball, and implying so is kind of sexist."


   Being in an Elder's Quorum Presidency right now I can vouch for this.  We don't even have a room.  We constantly get bounced around the building based on the needs of the other auxiliaries. We used to have presidency meeting in the kitchen, were interrupted so often we started having it in our homes.  In my parent's ward there is a member who is called as the Troop Quarter and it his calling to store all the scout junk in his garage.  I would love to have a night each month all the Elders got together and had a dinner, and entertainment, and projects, but our annual budget is $0.  the Mother's Room isn't big enough?  Where is our Father's room?  I have to change diapers on plastic fold down table in a bathroom stall.  It isn't a sexist issue, it is just a facilities issue.  We are out growing our buildings, and that is a good problem to have.  During my mission I served in areas where the congregation met in a community rec center.  Church got cancelled every time there was a birthday party booked there.  We are very blessed.

   If women they really want to fight for equality, they should be trying to get us men some of those things.  Now I really don't women have all these things.  Women should have the nicer meeting room, they should have a place to nurse their babies, they should have Homemaking (I'm old school).  But maybe if women truly want a share our "power," instead of wanting to pass the sacrament and be Bishops they can show up on Saturday morning moves and help load the truck.  They set up their own tables and chairs for Relief Society night, they can go lock up the building each night when it is dark and scary, they could only count visiting teaching if they visit in the home, and not merely mail the monthly message.  They can make the first visit to a new family in the ward, just in case they are hostile.

   Her comments were a little disparaging toward men.  I really took issue with her tone.  I feel like there is nothing Satan wants more than to destroy the family unit.  He has been on the attack toward men for ages in an effort to demonize Fatherhood.  Elder D. Todd Christofferson talked about it in the last Priesthood Session of General Conference.  It is often in the media that Fathers are inept, unreliable, and not needed.  During the dawn of television we had programming like "Father Knows Best" where the Father was the voice of reason.  Now, with shows like Family Guy you would be hard pressed to find a Father who is leading his family.  I don't know if our current epidemic of absent fathers is art imitating life or the reverse, but they have certainly gone hand in hand.  


      I believe that gender is part of our divine heritage.  There are things that are geared for women and things that are geared for men.  My wife plays Bunco and has a Book Club.  I go to movies with my buddies and play video games.  Now I might want to play games too, but I would start my own game night.  I would not insist they let me in.  Same goes for the women who have their Relief Society Sorority and men have their Priesthood Fraternity.  We both work toward building up God's Kingdom, but we do it in different ways. 

    
Now Satan is trying to get women to fill the role abandoned by most men.  That then leaves the role of motherhood either vacant or severely diminished. I do great with my kids.  We have fun, we learn, go out and do things together.  But my wife is the nurturer.  She is kind, tender, creative, spiritual.  I could never fill the role my wife plays as their mother, and I would never expect her to fill mine as father.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I Am Starting to Worry About Les Miserables


   There are typically 3 types of screenings movies will do before they come out in the theatre.  Test Screenings, when a movie is in "rough draft" and the producers want to see how the movie is received by audiences before it is released to the general public.  Usually audiences are asked to give feedback after the movie ends.  For movies that do not test well edits or re-shots are done to fix things that do not resonate with the audience.  Press Screenings, for professional critics who write for big news outlets.  And lastly Hype Screenings.  These are when the film makers know they have a great movie on their hands and want to get the word out.  This was how we saw Rise of the Guardians. (Our Review)  

   When Les Miserables started releasing You Tube clips of some of the musical scenes I got really excited, then I started listening and my heart kind of sank. 

Update: The soundtrack is available on iTunes Now!


   When the first Trailer came out a few months ago I was really excited with the way they did "I Dreamed a Dream."  It usually done so sweet and flowery, but it is not a sweet and flowery song.  It's about less of hope and despair.  I loved the way the voices were recorded on set so it really natural and not over produced ala High School Musical.  Anne Hathaway's sorrow is easily conveyed yet sung beautifully.  

   I was against the cast of casting of Russell Crowe from the start.  After some videos I saw on YouTube I didn't think he had when it takes.  He is an excellent actor, but his voice is not the bold commanding presence of those who can be found on the Anniversary Concerts.  


   I really liked "At the End of the Day."  It was that balance of song and drama.  But the chorus drove me crazy.  They sounded like an overzealous Ward Choir trying to do the Hallelujah Chorus.


   "Who Am I?"  He can't be Jean Valjean because I don't think any of those notes were in the original score.  There is a problem that I am noticing where people start sing talking their songs instead of singing them.  It started in the theatrical version of Phantom of the Opera during Raul and Christie's romantic exchange in Masquerade, but made famous by Ke$ha.  I can bear this sometimes as a song is building, but when we get to the climax of the song the great declaration is simply whispered.  Such a waste.  I can only hope he picks it up on the 24601.


   All you naysayers to Taylor Swift are about to eat your worlds.  Amanda Seyfried has the voice of a waif with her forced vibrato.  Eddie Redmayne does a perfect job of balancing the sing talk as he flubs the words in nervousness.


   Samantha Barks will save this movie.  One of the best choices they made was casting someone from the stage version of Les Miserables.  Her voice is full and emotional, and her acting and facial expressions really sell it.

I want to love this movie so bad!  I hope that the music I am not seeing is groundbreaking and that the excellent actors can carry the film.  What are your thoughts? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Yo Momma so Mormon: A Discussion



The Situation: 
  So I have gotten a little bit of backlash from a meme photo we re-posted on our website.  The source image is an old timey 19th century era photo of two women. The comment says above "Yo Momma so Mormon..." And below is said "She Thinks Joining the Tea Party is Against the Word of Wisdom."

   Now I am a firm believer in the John Bytheway principle that you can make fun of the culture, but not that doctrine. Even though the photo has gotten 42 "Likes" on the original post and another 40 on the re-post. It also had 23 "Shares" and several positive comments, but there was a vocal minority of reader who took offense to the photo. I thought it would be good for us to discuss this issue openly.

Why I Find This Funny:

   When I was in middle school "Yo Momma Jokes" were at their height of popularity. The sophomoric jests all begin with the phrase; Yo Momma so fat, stupid, poor, etc.  We would riff back and forth, but we never meant disrespect the other kids mom. Heck we had usually never even met them. It was more about who was the most creative, or who stayed up past Saturday Night Live to watch Showtime at the Apollo on Saturday nights. So the Yo Momma really brought me back to those times.    When I first heard the word Tea Party my first thought was the Word of Wisdom. It's just part of the connotation that word carries for me.  That is the source of the comedic punchline.  The idea of the Mormon who is so zealous in their observance they lose sight of the spirit of the law.  

What People are Saying:   
   Some people have gotten really offended by this.  Once person even made a formal Facebook complaint and has urged others to do that same.  I am choosing to withhold names, but all these comments are publicly visible on our Facebook Page.

"This sort of "stuff" offends me. Some will say it is tongue in cheek..I disagree..it is sending a mixed message..LDS women do not wear these old hair dos or dress styles, we are not frumpy and uninformed..
I find your innuendo out of touch, invasive and insulting."

"It's offensive, mean and hurtful to those of us who are LDS (and TEA party activists too!) and completely go against what the TEA party values :("

Why I Think People Are Overreacting:
   I know that the Tea Party get it's name from the Boston Tea Party, and not the social gatherings created from the imaginations of little girls.  Drinking tea is not one of the tenants of the organization and if anything this, should be boycotted by the organization as symbolism.  

   I was curious if the author of the first comment would be as offended if the photo was of just a bunch of modern day women.  I am pretty sure no one thinks people still dress up like the Gibson Girl.  I know I would be just fine if someone made a meme that referred to Mormon men and used an image of a Pioneer.  It is part of my heritage and I embrace it. 
And is there anything wrong with being "So Mormon?"  My children's Momma is so Mormon, she make sure they always wear their Sunday best to church and the gospel is taught in the home.  That is why I married her.

   I also really don't understand why this would go against Tea Party values.  I really like the Tea Party.  I don't agree with everything, but I am a strong conservative and find common ground in many aspects of the movement.  The common Mormon person doesn't really think the Tea Party violates the Word of Wisdom.  

What do you think?     
   Let us know your thoughts.  Should I take the photo down?  Is it offensive to Tea Partiers, Women, and Mormons.  Let us know in the Facebook Comment section and keep the conversation going.   
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