Friday Five at the Movies!
The RevGals Friday Five (just for fun) this week is all about the movies!
1) Is there a film that so captured your imagination that you couldn’t stop thinking about it? In what way(s) did it affect you?
It's not your typical this-affected-my-life-forever movie, but... The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. This Australian film recounts the adventures of a gay drag queen (Adam/Felicia), a bisexual drag queen (Tick/Mitzie), and a transgender drag queen (Bernadette) as they travel across the Outback from Sydney to Alice Springs for a gig at a resort managed by Tick's wife. They share stories as well as adventures on their odyssey, and as they come to know one another they form a bond of friendship and mutual support. I was struggling with my own identity when I watched this for the first time and found a way of naming what I felt--even though Tick is very different from me, I recognised his sense of confusion and eventual comfort with all of himself. It is also very funny. Warning to ABBA-phobes---lots of the soundtrack is ABBA cuts.
2) What religious/spiritual film has touched you? This could be something overtly thematic, like The Last Temptation of Christ, or something more subtle, like Enchanted April.
I actually have one of each. In the overtly religious category is Jesus, with Jeremy Sisto in the title role. Jesus is portrayed as very human--he laughs, he resists his call, he teases the disciples (and indeed some of Jesus' comments to the disciples can be read that way). Palestine is portrayed realistically too--the Jordan is the stream/creek it really is, for example. I have one quibble with it--some of the non-Biblical stories have crept in, such as Jesus resuscitating a sparrow as a child. Oh, and I have trouble with Debra Messing as Mary Magdelene, and that she is portrayed as a sex worker (because that's not Biblically accurate). But that is minor. More subtle is the old favourite Chocolat, with its themes of gratitude for God's blessings and willingness to follow where the Spirit leads and the difference one person can make...among others!
3) When the going gets tough, is there a film you turn to for distraction and/or to help shift your mood?
Yes, a couple, actually! Around Christmastime, it is Christmas Story. Other times it is Steel Magnolias; I love the strong characters and outstanding acting--what a wonderful collection of stars gathered for that movie! Tears every time. And sometimes it is Fried Green Tomatoes...
4) What is your all-time favorite movie?
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Again, excellent characters and world-class acting. The themes of taking care of each other, of the sense of an extended family, and of internal strength and knowing yourself... Jessica Tandy and Kathy Bates are stellar. Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary Loiuse Parker are amazing too. I just regret the movie producers toned down the relationship between Idgie and Ruth; Fannie Flagg had created a lovely partnership between them. I understand (with regret) why it was done, but still...
5) If you were to choose a film for viewing and discussion with your congregation, what would you choose?
Either of the two mentioned in 2). Another option would be For the Bible Tells Me So (heartbreaking and joyous at the same time)--it is a documentary examining the way Christianity has been used to harm and bash gay men, lesbians and bisexual people. It follows several individuals, some of them prominent in American Christianity, telling their stories through interviews with them and their families. I would love to do a sort of film festival series on Christian themes in popular movies--The Apostle, Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, It's a Wonderful Life....
Bonus: If your life were to be made into a feature film, who would you want to play you?
Hmmm. Young Mary Stuart Masterson in my teens; as an adult Meryl Streep, and more recently either Olympia Dukakis or Judy Dench.