Would you like to watch movies together and talk about them afterward? I have hundreds of them in my video collection, and access to almost everything else via streaming. If you are interested, let me know, and let’s talk. I have some ideas about what you will likely find interesting (see below) and am very much open to your nominations.
Here’s one example of a movie that has a lot going for it: Bulworth, 1998, starring Warren Beatty and Halle Berry. It’s a romantic comedy, but the issues are plutocracy, and the media, and the B.S. everywhere, and the state of race relations in America, including crime, and police misbehavior, and the Black Church and Black culture. All of which are still happening in 2021 of course. It’s light-hearted and serious at the same time. And it has an old Black street person who serves as a one-man Greek Chorus. It’s funny and charming, with good performances by the cast, many of whom you will likely recognize, like Oliver Pratt, Don Cheadle, Sarah Silverman, Sean Astin, and many more.
The treatment of the race issues is both respectful and full of humor. Half the cast is Black, which keeps this honest liberal story even more honest. There will be plenty to talk about after the lights come up.
Here are some other suggestions:
Brother’s Keeper, 1992, a documentary about the four semi-literate Ward brothers in upstate NY, and a trial to determine if one of them did a mercy killing of another brother, and their community’s response.
Groundhog Day, 1993, now famous for religious examination of what Bill Murray’s character learns from having to repeat the same day, until he ‘gets it.’ Lots of Murray-style humor, but also serious.
Crumb, 1994, a documentary on the odd but very interesting life and career of Zap Comix artist Robert Crumb and his traumatized family. His brother Charles’ high IQ and precarious EQ (emotional quotient) are poignant to see.
Doubt, 2008, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Meryl Streep, with Amy Adams, in a contest of wills regarding the liberalizations under Vatican II, and suspicions of clergy misconduct. We meet actress Viola Davis for the first time as the mother of a bullied Black boy taken under the wing of the priest. What she says to Streep’s strict character is a revelation.
When We Were Kings,1996, a documentary on Muhammad Ali and the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle, narrated by Norman Mailer and George Plimpton. The talent of the Black-Powered celebrities is a bonus.
The frequency of Movie Night could be once a month, or twice a month, on Fridays, perhaps alternating with Kathie’s Friday Happy Hour. Fresh popcorn will be served.
Another fall offering is the adult education series, Building Your Own Theology: Ethical problems in 2021.
This and the movies and normality are awaiting release from COVID-19 + Delta restrictions on gatherings. How long must we wait? Not long, we hope.
Rev. Leland Bond-Upson