December Spiritual Cinema – Dances With Wolves – 12/10 @ 7 PM

Dances With Wolves PosterThis year the middle school youth group will be studying “Popcorn Theology” and we are going to use our monthly Spiritual Cinema as an opportunity to watch some of the movies in their entirety. Our movie nights have always been open to people of all ages but we strongly encourage youth to attend with their parents.

For our next Spiritual Cinema on Friday, December 10 at 7:00 PM, we will watch the motion picture, “Dances With Wolves” (1990). The movie is 183 minutes, rated PG-13, and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 20 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

In Dances with Wolves Kevin Costner plays U.S. Army Lieutenant John G. Dunbar during and shortly after the U.S. Civil War. Following a victory with Union troops under his command, he requests an assignment to the western frontier and is assigned to an isolated military outpost. John waits patiently for other troops to arrive at the outpost, but they never do. With no means to communicate with his superiors, John bides his time by taking care of the outpost and himself, as well as writing in his journal. A nearby wolf begins to take an interest in John. At first, he tries to chase the wolf away, but eventually, the wolf becomes John’s unwitting companion. Later, John realizes that there is a nearby Native American Sioux tribe. Members of the tribe meet John, but since they do not have a common language to speak with one another, they are somewhat suspicious of him. Eventually, John learns how to speak Sioux and is adopted by the tribe after he helps them.  However, the tribe’s way of life is coming to an end and we get to make our own decision about which society is truly civilized and barbaric.

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November Spiritual Cinema – Contact – 11/5 @ 7 PM

Contact Movie Poster

This year the middle school youth group will be studying “Popcorn Theology” and we are going to use our monthly Spiritual Cinema as an opportunity to watch some of the movies in their entirety. Our movie nights have always been open to people of all ages but we strongly encourage youth to attend with their parents.

For our next Spiritual Cinema on Friday, November 5 at 7:00 PM, we will watch the motion picture, “Contact” (1997) which was written by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The movie is 150 minutes, rated PG, and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 20 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

One of the key themes in “Contact” is the conflict between science and religion. In the movie, a message discovered by radio telescope immediately causes conflict between scientists who would learn more about the message and others who find their beliefs threatened.  At the conclusion I believe the protagonist realizes that even science might require an element of faith.

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

– Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Description from Amazon.com:

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis’s Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these days–each is an expression of the heroine’s lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl’s eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)–her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination–turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand. Contact traces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact is exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from 2001 to The Right Stuff. Foster’s solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable–Contact is all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws, Contact deserves recognition as a rare piece of big-budget studio filmmaking on a personal scale. –Jim Emerson

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October Spiritual Cinema – Bruce Almighty – 10/14 @ 7 PM

brucealmighty2Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, October 14 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Bruce Almighty” (2003). The movie is 102 minutes, rated PG-13, and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 20 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

Bruce Almighty is a comedy about a TV reporter (Jim Carrey) who is convinced that the world is stacked against him.  After questioning the job that God is doing, God (Morgan Freeman) endows Bruce with divine powers and challenges Bruce to take on the big job to see if he can do it better.  Not surprisingly Bruce wildly underestimates how complex it is to try to answer everyone’s prayers and we are left with a relatively UU notion that people need to answer their own and each other’s prayers.  This month we will watch a portion of the movie in our Middle School RE class and I will be showing the movie it its entirety for both the Middle School students and the rest of our UUCK community.

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September Spiritual Cinema – Forrest Gump – 9/25 @ 6 PM

forrest-gump-52196a490f7381Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Sunday, September 25 at 6:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Forrest Gump” (1994). The movie is 141 minutes, rated PG-13, and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 20 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

Forrest Gump is a modern movie classic and has garnered across the board praise and awards including 6 Oscars for Best Picture, Actor, Director, Writing, Editing, and Effects.  This month we watched a portion of Forrest Gump in our Middle School RE class and I will be showing the movie it its entirety for both the Middle School students and the rest of our UUCK community.  To me, spirituality is a sense of awe and wonder and I personally find this movie extremely moving.  Despite being differently abled, Forrest demonstrates that he is capable of great achievements, service, and love. The movie is beautiful in so many ways and I hope people will consider joining us for a community viewing.

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” – Forrest Gump

Description from Amazon.com:

Stupid is as stupid does, says Forrest Gump (played by Tom Hanks in an Oscar-winning performance) as he discusses his relative level of intelligence with a stranger while waiting for a bus. Despite his sub-normal IQ , Gump leads a truly charmed life, with a ringside seat for many of the most memorable events of the second half of the 20th century. Entirely without trying, Forrest teaches Elvis Presley to dance, becomes a football star, meets John F. Kennedy, serves with honor in Vietnam, meets Lyndon Johnson, speaks at an anti-war rally at the Washington Monument, hangs out with the Yippies, defeats the Chinese national team in table tennis, meets Richard Nixon, discovers the break-in at the Watergate, opens a profitable shrimping business, becomes an original investor in Apple Computers, and decides to run back and forth across the country for several years. Meanwhile, as the remarkable parade of his life goes by, Forrest never forgets Jenny (Robin Wright Penn), the girl he loved as a boy , who makes her own journey through the turbulence of the 1960s and 1970s that is far more troubled than the path Forrest happens upon. Featured alongside Tom Hanks are Sally Field as Forrest’s mother; Gary Sinise as his commanding officer in Vietnam; Mykelti Williamson as his ill-fated Army buddy who is familiar with every recipe that involves shrimp; and the special effects artists whose digital magic place Forrest amidst a remarkable array of historical events and people.

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Spiritual Cinema – May 30, 2015

american_history_x_ver3Saturday May 30th at 6:00 pm  in Fessenden hall…we”ll be showing American History X,  a moving, powerful, drama of one man confronting his racist past in a attempt to save his younger brother from going down the same path….

WARNING…this film has graphic violence language, and  sexual situations.. and is not suited for people under the age of 17…No one will be permitted under that age without parental consent.

This movie is rated R …a short discussion will follow the movie….please feel free to bring  your favorite snacks to share…hope to see you there.

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Reminder, Spiritual Cinema – Jurassic Park is Tonight, Friday, November 1st

Jurassic Park Movie PosterPlease join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, November 1st at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Jurassic Park” (1993) which is based on the novel by Michael Crichton. The middle school youth group is encouraged to attend as they will watch a bit of the film earlier in RE. The movie is 127 minutes and will be followed by a brief discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. The Flippo family has volunteered to screen the movie in their home (this movie really needs surround sound to be appreciated) and they have room for at least 14 people. Please click this address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan Flippo at [email protected]. Also, if you are in need of of a ride or are willing to provide a ride to others, please tell Dan when you RSVP. People are welcome but not required to bring food to share during the movie.

Comments by Dan:

Our fourth UU principle calls us to a “responsible search for truth and meaning.” This of course raises the question of what is an irresponsible search for truth? If it is true, how can it be irresponsible? I think Jurassic Park does a wonder job demonstrating just how dangerous truth can be when we use our fantastic technology to alter our environment. This movie helps us to consider the ethical implications of scientific advancements and what policies and laws need to be in place. Genetic engineering is a challenging ethical question as the technology can also be used to treat horrible diseases and bring back species that we have made extinct.  I encourage people to read the following BBC article about the real, current scientific debate on efforts to bring back woolly mammoths:

Should cloned mammoths roam the Earth?

It seems to me that we live in a society in which technology is continuously presented as wonderful. We were less exposed to the negative aspects of technology which were inevitably there. One of my interests is to provide that kind of balance to these notions that cell phones and faxes are all wonderful and great. Isn’t it fabulous that we all have computers? Well, yes and no is my response.
I was particularly interested in that, in working on Jurassic Park that aspect of what are the negative parts. Because in talking with the people who were doing this kind of research what I was hearing was that the most responsible of them were deciding not to proceed down certain lines of inquiry which is really a new phase in science. Traditionally in science what the scientists themselves have said is: “I might as well do it, because if I don’t, someone else will. It is going to happen inevitably.” I think there’s recognition now, that it’s not so inevitable and it’s quite conceivable that if I don’t do this research neither will anyone else. It’s simply too dangerous.

? Michael Crichton, Interview in “Beyond Jurassic Park”

Movie Trailer

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Family Movie Nite Returns on Oct 11th at 7:30 p.m. in Fessenden Hall

Galaxy Quest Movie PosterFamily Movie Nite returns on Oct. 11th at 7:30 p.m. in Fessenden Hall! We will show the funniest Science Fiction films ever made! We will start with Galaxy Quest, then on with cartoons,short subjects and more. This is a pot-luck affair,so be sure to bring your favorite comfort foods. If you have any questions, contact Cheryl Spoehr at 330-274-7333.

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September 13th Spiritual Cinema – Contact, by Carl Sagan

Contact Movie Poster

This year the middle school youth group will be studying “Popcorn Theology” and we are going to use our monthly Spiritual Cinema as an opportunity to watch some of the movies in their entirety. Our movie nights have always been open to people of all ages but we strongly encourage youth to attend with their parents.

For our next Spiritual Cinema on Friday, September 13 at 7:00 PM, we will watch the motion picture, “Contact” (1997) which was written by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The movie is 150 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Previously Dan Flippo has shown this movie in his home but we will be showing the film at the church to allow more people to attend. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

One of the key themes in “Contact” is the conflict between science and religion. In the movie, a message discovered by radio telescope immediately causes conflict between scientists who would learn more about the message and others who find their beliefs threatened.  At the conclusion I believe the protagonist realizes that even science might require an element of faith.

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

? Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Description from Amazon.com:

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis’s Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these days–each is an expression of the heroine’s lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl’s eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)–her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination–turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand. Contact traces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact is exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from 2001 to The Right Stuff. Foster’s solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable–Contact is all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws, Contact deserves recognition as a rare piece of big-budget studio filmmaking on a personal scale. –Jim Emerson

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Spiritual Cinema this Friday, May 10 – Glory

GloryMoviePosterPlease join us for Spiritual Cinema this Friday, May 10 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Glory” (1998). The movie is 122 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. This month we will be screening the movie at the church. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan

Robert Gould Shaw came from a strong Unitarian family and is a strong example of a man who lived his ideals.  He was an abolitionist who volunteered to lead an all african-american military unit, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, during the US Civil War.  He gave his life to his country to secure equal rights for all people regardless of race.  The movie is very moving and inspiring.

Recommended Reading from UUWorld

Movie Trailer:

Amazon.com Description

One of the finest films ever made about the American Civil War, Glory also has the honor of being the first major Hollywood film to acknowledge the vital contribution of African American soldiers to the country’s historic struggle. Based on the books Lay This Laurel, by Lincoln Kirstein, and One Gallant Rush, by Peter Burchard, and the wartime letters of Robert Gould Shaw, the film tells the story of the 54th Regiment of the Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-black unit comprising Northern freemen and escaped slaves. Under the command of Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), the 54th served admirably in battle until they made their ultimate demonstration of bravery during the almost suicidal assault on the Confederate Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, on July 18, 1863. Glory achieves its powerful impact by meticulously setting up the terrible conditions under which these neglected soldiers fought, and by illuminating the tenacity of the human spirit from the oppression of slavery to the hard-won recognition of battlefield heroism. Although Denzel Washington deservedly won an Oscar for his supporting role as a runaway-slave-turned-soldier, Glory faced some tough competition at the 1989 Academy Awards (against popular hits like Driving Miss Daisy and Dead Poets Society) and was shut out of nearly all the major categories. Since then, it’s been duly recognized by historians and critics as a classic film of its genre. –Jeff Shannon
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Spiritual Cinema Moved to Friday, April 12 – The Da Vinci Code

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema this Friday, April 12 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “The Da Vinci Code” (2006). The movie is 174 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. This month we will be screening the movie in Dan Flippo’s home, 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson OH 44236Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan

Since it is Easter, I thought it would be interesting to watch a movie that brings up many controversial questions about Jesus Christ.  For two thousand years there has been a debate over whether Jesus Christ was a man, god, or both.  Originally, the term “Unitarian” was intended to be an insult of American liberal ministers who questioned the holy trinity concept of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.  Famously Thomas Jefferson created his own version of the Gospels in that time period eliminating all miracles and ending at the crucifixion   While I am aware of the creative license that Dan Brown used while writing the Da Vinci Code, I believe it is very effective at raising questions about how much of the gospels is based on historical events and whether it is possible that there are living descendants of Jesus.  Ours is a faith that welcomes these questions and I hope you will join me in a discussion of the historical Jesus after the movie.

Movie Trailer:

Amazon.com Description

Critics and controversy aside, The Da Vinci Code is a verifiable blockbuster. Combine the film’s huge worldwide box-office take with over 100 million copies of Dan Brown’s book sold, and The Da Vinci Code has clearly made the leap from pop-culture hit to a certifiable franchise. The leap for any story making the move from book to big screen, however, is always more perilous. In the case of The Da Vinci Code, the plot is concocted of such a preposterous formula of elements that you wouldn’t envy screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, the man tasked with making this story filmable. The script follows Dan Brown’s book as closely as possible while incorporating a few needed changes, including a better ending. And if you’re like most of the world, by now you’ve read the book and know how it goes: while lecturing in Paris, noted Harvard Professor of Symbology Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) is summoned to the Louvre by French police to help decipher a bizarre series of clues left at the scene of the murder of the chief curator. Enter Sophie Neveu (Audrey Tautou), gifted cryptologist. Neveu and Langdon team up to solve the mystery, and from there the story is propelled across Europe, ballooning into a modern-day mini-quest for the Holy Grail, where secret societies are discovered, codes are broken, and murderous albino monks are thwarted… oh, and alternative theories about the life of Christ and the beginnings of Christianity are presented too, of course. It’s not the typical formula for a stock Hollywood thriller. In fact, taken solely as a mystery, the movie almost works–despite some gaping holes–mostly just because it keeps moving. Brown’s greatest trick was to have the entire story take place in one day, so the action is forced to keep moving, despite some necessary pauses for exposition. As a screen couple, Hanks and Tautou are just fine together but not exactly memorable; meanwhile Sir Ian McKellen’s scenery-chewing as pivotal character Sir Leigh Teabing is just what the film needed to keep it from taking itself too seriously. The whole thing is like a good roller-coaster ride: try not to think too much about it–just sit back and enjoy the trip. –Daniel Vancini
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Reminder: Spiritual Cinema This Saturday – The Wave

How evil are you? What are you capable of when under pressure from authority?

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Saturday, November17 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Die Welle (The Wave)” (2008). The movie is 107 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. This month we will be screening the movie in Fessendon Hall. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Please consider reading the following related article written by Ron Jones, the teacher who conducted the real-world social experiment in 1967 prior to the movie night:

The third wave, 1967: an account – Ron Jones

Comments by Dan:

Our next movie will examine a very difficult question, “How could the German populace claim ignorance of the slaughter of the Jewish people? How could the townspeople, railroad conductors, teachers, doctors, claim they knew nothing about concentration camps and human carnage? How can people who were neighbors and maybe even friends of the Jewish citizen say they weren’t there when it happened?” In 1967 an American teacher named Ron Jones sought to find out the answer to these questions through a social experiment in his high school class.  The movie we will watch is a fictionalized story based on those real events. The conclusion I draw from the article and movie is that the seeds for fascism are a part of the human condition and it is only through a respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every individual that we avoid dictatorship.

“You thought that you were the elect. That you were better than those outside this room. You bargained your freedom for the comfort of discipline and superiority. You chose to accept that group’s will and the big lie over your own conviction. Oh, you think to yourself that you were just going along for the fun. That you could extricate yourself at any moment. But where were you heading? How far would you have gone? Let me show you your future.” With that I switched on a rear screen projector. It quickly illuminated a white drop cloth hanging behind the television. Large numbers appeared in a countdown. The roar of the Nuremberg Rally blasted into vision. My heart was pounding. In ghostly images the history of the Third Reich paraded into the room. The discipline. The march of super race. The big lie. Arrogance, violence, terror. People being pushed into vans. The visual stench of death camps. Faces without eyes. The trials. The plea of ignorance. I was only doing my job. My job. As abruptly as it started the film froze to a halt on a single written frame. “Everyone must accept the blame No one can claim that they didn’t in some way take part.”

? Ron Jones, The Third Wave

As a bonus, here is the 1981 After-School Special that covers the same story.  The production values are much less than the German movie but this might be interesting for people who don’t like subtitles.

Description from Amazon.com:

Germany today. During project week, a popular and unorthodox high school teacher, in an attempt to stir up his lethargic students, devises an experiment that will explain what totalitarianism is and how it works. What begins with harmless notions about discipline and community builds into a real movement: The Wave. Within days, The Wave s uniformly attired students begin ostracizing and threatening others, and violence boils just below the surface. Sensing danger, the teacher decides to break off the experiment. But it may be too late The Wave has taken on a life of its own and is out of control. Based on a true story, THE WAVE chillingly shows just how easily the seeds of fascism can be sown.

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October 26 Spiritual Cinema – Dogma

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, October 26 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Dogma” (1999). The movie is 130 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. This month we will be screening the movie in Fessendon Hall. Please RSVP to Dan Flippo at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

This movie is perhaps the most sacrilegious movie ever created and is a hilarious spoof on Catholic Dogma.  After the movie we will discuss some of the dogma’s involved and how they compare to  the views of those attending.

“Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.
Bethany: Having beliefs isn’t good?
Rufus: I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier…”

? Dogma

Description from Amazon.com:

Kevin Smith is a conundrum of a filmmaker: he’s a writer with brilliant, clever ideas who can’t set up a simple shot to save his life. It was fine back when Smith was making low-budget films like Clerks and Chasing Amy, both of which had an amiable, grungy feel to them, but now that he’s a rising director who’s attracting top talent and tackling bigger themes, it might behoove him to polish his filmmaking. That’s the main problem with Dogma–it’s an ambitious, funny, aggressively intelligent film about modern-day religion, but while Smith’s writing has matured significantly (anyone who thinks he’s not topnotch should take a look at Chasing Amy), his direction hasn’t. It’s too bad, because Dogma is ripe for near-classic status in its theological satire, which is hardly as blasphemous as the protests that greeted the movie would lead you to believe.

Two banished angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) have discovered a loophole that would allow them back into heaven; problem is, they’d destroy civilization in the process by proving God fallible. It’s up to Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), a lapsed Catholic who works in an abortion clinic, to save the day, with some help from two so-called prophets (Smith and Jason Mewes, as their perennial characters Jay and Silent Bob), the heretofore unknown 13th apostle (Chris Rock), and a sexy, heavenly muse (the sublime Salma Hayek, who almost single-handedly steals the film). In some ways Dogma is a shaggy dog of a road movie–which hits a comic peak when Affleck and Fiorentino banter drunkenly on a train to New Jersey, not realizing they’re mortal enemies–and segues into a comedy-action flick as the vengeful angels (who have a taste for blood) try to make their way into heaven. Smith’s cast is exceptional–with Fiorentino lending a sardonic gravity to the proceedings, and Jason Lee smirking evilly as the horned devil Azrael–and the film shuffles good-naturedly to its climax (featuring Alanis Morissette as a beatifically silent God), but it just looks so unrelentingly… subpar. Credit Smith with being a daring writer but a less-than-stellar director. –Mark Englehart

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September Spiritual Cinema This Saturday – Creation: How Darwin Saw the World and Changed It Forever

 

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Saturday, September 15 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Creation: How Darwin Saw the World and Changed It Forever” (2009). The movie is 108 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 14 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Please consider reading the following related article from UUWorld prior to the movie night:

“Natural faith: How Darwinian evolution has transformed liberal religion” by Rev. Dr. William R. Murry, former president of Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago

Comments by Dan:

Our next movie will continue some of the themes brought up last month when we watched “Contact”. The movie “Creation” focuses on a similar conflict and synthesis of science and religion.  The movie focuses on the conflict Charles Darwin’s research causes with his own faith and his wife’s.  The film is based on “Annie’s Box,” a biography penned by Darwin’s great-great-grandson Randal Keynes using personal letters and diaries of the Darwin family.

“There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”

? Charles Darwin (1859). On the Origin of Species

Description from Amazon.com:

More than 150 years after its publication, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and its theory of natural selection remain the subject of much debate; the divide between those who accept Darwin’s ideas as incontrovertible science and those who consider them blasphemous may be wider now than ever. Released in 2009, director Jon Amiel’s Creation goes right to the heart of the matter–indeed, right to the heart of Darwin himself. As portrayed by Paul Bettany, the Darwin who has returned to England following his voyage aboard HMS Beagle is a man for whom “deeply conflicted” is a barely adequate description. Well aware his theory is “perhaps the most powerful idea ever to occur to a human mind,” he is caught between the scientists who insist that he has “killed God” and the religious conservatives, including his wife Emma (Jennifer Connelly), who counter that his very soul will be in peril if he finishes and publishes his book. What’s more, he is haunted, sometimes literally, by the death of his favorite child, Annie (seen in frequent flashbacks), and its effect on his marriage–in fact, it is this personal angle that dominates the film. But while the toll his work has taken on his health, his faith, his family, and his very sanity is obvious, he also knows that it is far too important to ignore. Creation is not a documentary; liberties have been taken, and there are multiple sequences, including Darwin’s nightmarish fever dreams, that are clearly the invention of the filmmakers. But Bettany and Connelly, who are a real-life couple, are both superb; the cinematography is gorgeous; and various scenes illustrating the notion of “survival of the fittest” in nature are riveting (there won’t be a dry eye in the house when Darwin tells his dying daughter about the fate of an orangutan captured in Borneo). And while the tone of the film would seem to favor science over religion, the DVD includes numerous bonus features in which both sides have their say. This one is not to be missed. –Sam Graham

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August Spiritual Cinema – Contact, by Carl Sagan

Contact Movie Poster

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, August 10 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Contact” (1997) which was written by the late Dr. Carl Sagan. The movie is 150 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. Dan Flippo has volunteered to screen the movie in his home and has room for at least 14 people. Please click his address for a map or directions: 2650 Easthaven Drive, Hudson, OH 44236. Please RSVP to Dan at [email protected].

Comments by Dan:

One of the key themes in “Contact” is the conflict between science and religion. In the movie, a message discovered by radio telescope immediately causes conflict between scientists who would learn more about the message and others who find their beliefs threatened.  At the conclusion I believe the protagonist realizes that even science might require an element of faith.

“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”

? Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

Description from Amazon.com:

The opening and closing moments of Robert (Forrest Gump) Zemeckis’s Contact astonish viewers with the sort of breathtaking conceptual imagery one hardly ever sees in movies these days–each is an expression of the heroine’s lifelong quest (both spiritual and scientific) to explore the meaning of human existence through contact with extraterrestrial life. The movie begins by soaring far out into space, then returns dizzyingly to earth until all the stars in the heavens condense into the sparkle in one little girl’s eye. It ends with that same girl as an adult (Jodie Foster)–her search having taken her to places beyond her imagination–turning her gaze inward and seeing the universe in a handful of sand. Contact traces the journey between those two visual epiphanies. Based on Carl Sagan’s novel, Contact is exceptionally thoughtful and provocative for a big-budget Hollywood science fiction picture, with elements that recall everything from 2001 to The Right Stuff. Foster’s solid performance (and some really incredible alien hardware) keep viewers interested, even when the story skips and meanders, or when the halo around the golden locks of rising-star-of-a-different-kind Matthew McConaughey (as the pure-Hollywood-hokum love interest) reaches Milky Way-level wattage. Ambitious, ambiguous, pretentious, unpredictable–Contact is all of these things and more. Much of it remains open to speculation and interpretation, but whatever conclusions one eventually draws, Contact deserves recognition as a rare piece of big-budget studio filmmaking on a personal scale. –Jim Emerson

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July 20th – Deserting Heaven – Spiritual Cinema

Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, July 20th at 7:00 PM. We will watch the independent motion picture, “Deserting Heaven”. The story is about the ill fated love affair between Peter Abelard, the the best known philosopher of the early middle ages, and his brilliant student. Abelard bucked the Platonic philosophy that formed the basis of the theology of his time, and ran afoul of the Church. He also made an enemy of the uncle of his student who made sure that he would never marry his niece. The movie deals with questions of theology that are still very relevant for Unitarian-Universalists to think about. Joel Slater has volunteered to screen the movie in his home. Please RSPVP to Joel at 330-673-3789. Snacks will be provided.

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