Sunday, February 22, 2009

Films that inspire

Antioch, CA

Tonight I stayed home and watched the Academy Awards. It was a very enjoyable evening until the second to last award. Sean Penn once again proved that to be an actor you don't have to be smart. He stated that those that voted for prop 8 should be ashamed of themselves but that those that voted for President Obama are a reason to celebrate. According to the polling information, stats released by the state of California and stats released by the LDS church - the people that voted for Obama and Prop 8 - are the same people. Sean Penn specifically stated that it was the voters that should feel shame. He should feel shame for an inability to comprehend who really elected a president and passed prop 8. My only hope is that Sean Penn gets called to the carpet just like Tom Hanks did. You simply can not say you love America and the rights of it's people to vote and then cast shame and "un-American" labels on people just because they don't vote the way you do. For example - I did not agree with those that voted for increased cage sizes for raised animals. But instead of crying foul, I have started increasing the cage sizes of my animals because I respect the law. Sean Penn should learn to respect others as well. Until then he just looks dumb for not being able to figure out that the African-American voters that voted for President Obama also voted for Prop 8.

Before I conclude my rant, I just want to state that I really love actors, actresses, and film. There were a lot of great movies presented tonight. I look forward to seeing some with my Dad (doubt, milk, slumdog millionaire to start), and I loved the ones that I saw and loved (the visitor, dark knight). Movies are so critical and important to inspiring greatness and to capture stories of hope. Over lunch today we discussed the influence of of Richard Dutcher's movies. Dutcher released God's Army and Brigham City before eventually leaving the LDS church. His movies challenged the stereotypes and process of a deep belief in God and how that can (and should) govern our lives. Dutcher eventually left the Mormon church (see farewell letter here), but before going he taught me about myself and allowed me to see aspects of me that I had never considered.
And that is what film should do. I am often heard commenting on how much I love and hate Aaron Sorkin. If you don't know, Aaron Sorkin wrote Sports Night and the first four seasons of The West Wing. His episodes were often very inspiring and educational and asks you to examine your belief system. There are some that say movies and TV are just meant to entertain, and I agree that sometimes that's right (though even Tropic Thunder was amazing with Robert Downey Junior) , but that is not the full purpose of film: The full purpose is to inspire and tonight we got to see some of that. I am so grateful for great writers and great directors and even dumb actors.

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