Category Archives: Television

Nuns and Me

Sound of Music abbey



The Trouble with Angels

Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows
The Singing Nun
A Nun at the Crossroads
The Flying Nun
The Nun’s Story
Lilies of the Field
Yours, Mine and Ours
The Sound of Music
A Change of Habit
(and countless episodes of television programs when religious people were sincere and not the perps, for instance: Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Big Valley.)

My friend Mo and I were talking about the Christian faith, and she mentioned that her mother had been a nun before she married Mo’s dad (obviously it was before, but I didn’t know how else to phrase the sentence). I knew Mo had gone to Catholic school, but wow, this was a really fascinating aspect to my friend.

I told her that if I hadn’t been Southern Baptist, I would’ve become a nun. Certainly I would’ve if I’d been Catholic.

Nuns were absolutely fascinating to me as I was growing up; in fact, they still are. Women who devote their total lives to serving Jesus, whose very clothing is a constant reminder of who they are and what they are about.

Beginning in the mid-60s, my friend Carol Ford and I went to the movies together a lot. And if it had nuns in it, that was a sure thing. I even drug her to “A Nun at the Crossroads”, an Italian/Spanish film dubbed in English with very violent themes.

Sometime about midway through that list of movies at the top, Carol and I became candy stripers (teenage volunteers) at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. It’s the largest one in town and I was more familiar with it than the others, and well, if you’re 14 and you can’t be a nun, it just seemed the thing to do.

At least I could be around them.

Before or after duty, I would go and sit in the chapel and pray. There was such a holy atmosphere in that place and I really loved it.

In fact, I loved nearly everything about St. Francis and for someone who can’t stand anything squishy or biology or health class or science in general (and specific), that’s pretty good.

Many people I’ve known have an aversion to hospitals but I never did – until last year. After 17 days in one and all the pain and misery and lack of privacy and dignity, well … to quote Long John Silver, it “just plain gives me the shivers.”

But, nuns?

I still love nuns.

P.S. Oh, Carol who was more Assembly of God than Baptist, married a Catholic, converted, played a nun in her church’s production of The Sound of Music and sent her children to Catholic school.

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Movies and Vintage Television, March 2010

Movies

At the Theater
The Grace Card (2011), Louis Gossett Jr., Michael Joiner, drama/faith. Mac is an angry white policeman who resents black people. Sam (a black preacher and senior officer) is his new partner. It is the story of what unresolved guilt and anger can do and the power of inner healing and forgiveness.

Calvary Church in Memphis was inspired by Sherwood Pictures, which made Fireproof and filmed The Grace Card for around $200,000 (according to IMDB). This is an incredible achievement outside of Hollywood. Apparently the excellent Mr. Gossett was the only one who’d acted in a movie before. He lends weight and dignity to anything he’s in. I could watch him read the phone book.

Some of the actors could’ve used a little more coaching but Michael Joiner is excellent as the angry cop. It’s hard to believe that Joiner’s regular job is stand-up comedy, because there’s nothing funny about Mac. He was really convincing as the tough man who’s teetering on the edge.

Here is the official website.

I hope to see more of this kind of film.

On DVD
Darling (1965), drama. Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey. For years I’ve seen this film mentioned on the “Best” lists, but never had the opportunity to see it. Julie Christie won an Academy Award for her portrayal of an absolutely morally bankrupt young English woman and her morally bankrupt acquaintances and conquests. It is an sordid, ugly story and I’m sorry I watched it. I felt like I need to have a bath just to wash it off.

If this is typical of the best that Hollywood (and by that I mean all professional film-making because this was an English production) can do, I’ll take the purer, even though less “professional” effort of companies like Calvary or Sherwood any day over.

NOT RECOMMENDED

Online
Convicts (1991), Robert Duvall, James Earl Jones, Lukas Haas; drama written by Horton Foote. Hulu. One of Mr. Foote’s stories about the Texas coast in the early years of the 20th century. The main character is Horton’s father as a 13 year-old-boy who is having to work for his living, since his mother’s new husband doesn’t want him around. Horace is learning that life and some people are unfair, but that others (who are poor and have nothing to gain from you) are kind. If you enjoy Mr. Foote’s stories and style (which I do), you may want to give it a try, but be warned: there are gritty and unpleasant scenes. Go here for more information and clips.

RECOMMENDED WITH RESERVATIONS

Vintage Television
Columbo, season 1
The Fugitive, season 4
The Dick van Dyke Show, season 4

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Movies and Vintage Televison, February 2011

Movies

On DVD
*The Conquest, Martin Sheen, Trevor Howard. This idiotic attempt to NewAge the Catholic Church is so awful that even imdb doesn’t list it. It just goes to show that even some things are not worth $1.00 at the dollar store. Poor Trevor Howard.
DEFINITELY NOT RECOMMENDED – can there be minus stars?

*I Remember Mama (1948), Irene Dunne, Oscar Homolka, family/drama, go here for part I.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – an absolutely wonderful film for the whole family.

Online

*Remember the Night (1940), Barbara Stanwyck, Fred MacMurray, comedy/drama/romance, youtube, go here for part I and here for a insightful review by a Hollywood screenwriter.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

*51 Birch Street, documentary filmed by the son of a couple whose marriage isn’t what it seems to be; Hulu.

RECOMMENDED, with reservations.

*The Gay Sisters (1942), Barbara Stanwyck, George Brent, drama/romance, youtube, go here for part I.
RECOMMENDED

At the Theater

*The King’s Speech, go here for official movie trailer. Incredibly well done account of Queen Elizabeth’s father overcoming his severe stuttering affliction.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – on this rare occasion I forgo my reticence over the R rating. It is for hard language in one scene, and it’s pertinent.

*Voyage of the Dawn Treader, go here for official movie trailer
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (has some intense scenes that may frighten younger children)

Vintage Television
*Dragnet, 1952
*The Outer Limits
*The Fugitive, season 4
*Rawhide, season 1
*The Wild, Wild West, season 1
*The Loretta Young Show
*Hazel, season 1
*Columbo, season 1

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Filed under Entertainment, Movies, Television