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.
I hope to see more of this kind of film.
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.
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
Columbo, season 1
The Fugitive, season 4
The Dick van Dyke Show, season 4