Professional Enfant Terrible Bill Maher has a new movie called Religulous in which he attacks religion, religious beliefs, and believers.
Beliefnet founder Steven Waldman discusses his decision to run ads for this movie on his blog. He says the movie is “funny, offensive, slippery, and more challenging than I expected.” He accepts the creation of a “Disbeliefnet” website as a compliment.
We have great confidence in the power of faith and the sincerity of believers. In the movie he casts believers as being a) against free speech b) humorless and c) idiots.
Let’s show him that he’s wrong on all counts. If you see the movie, please come here, Movie Mom, Idol Chatter, or to our forums – a hot discussion is already going on here — not only discuss it but also to speak about what faith or spirituality means in your life. Tell us how faith, or your spiritual practice, has made you a better person or your world a better place. If you hate the movie (as many of you will), prove Maher wrong.
Like Waldman, I believe that faith is not worth much unless it can withstand attacks by non-believers. And like many religious leaders, I believe that believers often fail to live up to the principles of their denominations, and appreciate those who expose hypocricy — that makes us stronger and better. I will be seeing the movie tomorrow afternoon and posting my review Thursday night. I look forward to your reactions.
Newman never stopped believing he was a regular guy who’d simply been blessed, and well beyond what was fair. So he just kept on paying it forward…Today there are 11 camps modeled on the Hole in the Wall all around the world, and seven more in the works, including a camp in Hungary and one opening next year in the Middle East. Each summer of the four I spent at Newman’s flagship Connecticut camp was a living lesson in how one man can change everything. Terrified parents would deliver their wan, weary kid at the start of the session with warnings and cautions and lists of things not to be attempted. They’d return 10 days later to find the same kid, tanned and bruisey, halfway up a tree or canon-balling into the deep end of the pool. Their wigs or prosthetic arms–props of years spent trying to fit in–were forgotten in the duffel under the bed. Shame, stigma, fear, worry, all vaporized by a few days of being ordinary. In an era in which nearly everyone feels entitled to celebrity and fortune, Newman was always suspicious of both. He used his fame to give away his fortune, and he did that from some unspoken Zen-like conviction that neither had ever really belonged to him in the first place.
Entertainment Weekly has a fine list of Newman’s best performances. His best-loved films are probably the two he made with Robert Redford, The Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. He was always superb as a flawed or damaged hero, as in The Hustler, Hud, and Harper. I enjoy his leading man performances in light romances like “A New Kind of Love” and “What a Way to Go.” But he was at his best in drama, and like many of the flawed characters unexpectedly seeking redemption he played, he kept getting better.
He was a lawyer no one expected to be honest in “The Verdict.”
And a man who was not going gently into old age in “Nobody’s Fool.”
Adam Bernstein’s perceptive obituary in the Washington Post sums up his career, calling Newman “the prime interpreter of selfish rebels.”
Newman had built up a critical reputation of imbuing stock characters with an intelligent restraint that often was not associated with the more flagrant of the Method acting followers. As examples, reviewers pointed to his work as boxer Rocky Graziano in “Somebody Up There Likes Me” (1956) and an Army officer accused of enemy collaboration in “The Rack” (1956). He brought a vulnerability to roles that emphasized his physique, notably in “The Long, Hot Summer,” based on stories by William Faulkner, and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (both 1958), from the Tennessee Williams play.
And Lithwick, who worked at his camp, sums up the man:
Hollywood legend holds that Paul Newman is and will always be larger-than-life, and it’s true. Nominated for 10 Oscars, he won one. He was Fast Eddie, Cool Hand Luke, Butch Cassidy. And then there were Those Eyes. But anyone who ever met Paul Newman will probably tell you that he was, in life, a pretty regular-sized guy: A guy with five beautiful daughters and a wonder of a wife, and a rambling country house in Connecticut where he screened movies out in the barn. He was a guy who went out of his way to ensure that everyone else–the thousands of campers, counselors, and volunteers at his camps, the friends he involved in his charities, and the millions of Americans who bought his popcorn–could feel like they were the real star.
In honor of the upcoming election, a bi-partisan listing of classic movies featuring those two symbols of the political parties, the elephant and the donkey, with a tip of the hat to cartoonist Thomas Nast, who first assigned those animals to the Republicans and the Democrats.
1. Dumbo You’ll believe an elephant can fly in this charming animated Disney classic about the little elephant with big ears (NOTE: some ethnic humor that is insensitive by today’s standards)
On Monday, Dad and Professor LaMay participated in a panel discussion at the Paley Center for Media (formerly the Museum of Television and Radio) about the history and future of the debates with the producer of the Kennedy-Nixon debate, Don Hewitt (who would go on to produce “60 Minutes”), and Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter. From the audience, Kennedy advisor Ted Sorensen recalled briefing the candidate and former debates co-chair Rita Hauser, who recalled the 27-minute audio breakdown in the Carter-Ford debate and the wry comment by one-time Presidential candidate Eugene McCarthy that he didn’t notice.
In today’s op-ed, they describe the improved format of this year’s debates,
designed to get the candidates to talk directly to each other, rather than to the moderator. The 90-minute forum will be broken into segments, each devoted to a particular subject. This new format is a direct response to voter preferences and can only improve what are already the most genuine events of a campaign that is otherwise a carefully scripted and uninformative run of television news sound bites and (mostly negative) advertisements.
And they respond to criticism that the candidates merely recite canned answers:
The televised debates are the only place in the modern campaign where voters get the opportunity to compare the candidates and their views and see them think on their feet. Yes, the candidates will anticipate questions and prepare answers in advance. Who would expect otherwise? This is the biggest contest on the American electoral stage.
More important than what happens in the debate is what it means for American citizens.
You are smarter than the pundits and political professionals. After you watch tonight’s debate, turn off your television and avoid the spin that follows. Talk about the debate with your family, co-workers, friends, neighbors. Then go see what the pundits have to say, and whether you think they got it right. It is your judgment and your vote that counts, not theirs.
Finally, we confidently predict the winner of tonight’s debate and those still to come: the American voter.
Critics: Which Movied Get Childhood Right? Thanks to Sam Adams and Indiewire for including me in their survey of critics about our favorite movies from the perspective of a child. Here was my answer:
"To Kill a Mockingbird" somehow captures the voice of the novel in allowing us to see ...
Trailer: Honeyglue [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHHQD3RfCA[/youtube]
"Honeyglue" follows the story of Morgan (Adriana Mather), who flips her conservative, protected life upside down after learning she has three months left to live. She sets out on ...
Interview: Jalmari Helander and Onni Tommila of "Big Game" Big Game, now in theaters and on VOD, is an exciting action movie about Oskari, a Finnish kid on a solo hunting trip, who has to save the President of the United States when he is ejected from Air Force One during an attack. I spoke to ...
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