Saw a couple of interesting films in August that might be useful in class.
Evan Almighty was something of a disappointment after Bruce
Almighty, but it wasn't a washout. The scene where Evan is persuaded
that Morgan Freeman (reprising his earlier role) is really God is useful
for "Images of God" classes, though the equivalent scene in Bruce is far
better and more focussed. Overall the film is passable entertainment,
genial and well disposed to faith, the main characters pray, and it's
less crude than Bruce. Apart from the scene already mentioned there's
an interesting exchange between God and Evan's wife when she is getting
frustrated at Evan's efforts to be a modern day Noah. The Ark scenes are
impressive enough, though the environmental message is a bit hackneyed.
I bought Saints and Soldiers in a sale after hearing some good
reviews, and it was worth it. It's a war film, set shortly after the D-Day
invasion when some American troops get caught behind enemy lines. One
of the soldiers is a religious person (a Mormon I think) and one a cynic,
leading to some interesting exchanges. There are sound human values in
the film, but it's not sentimental. The opening scenes and closing are
quite violent, but there's a lull in the middle that makes for good character
There was an appealing priest character in last Friday night's film on RTE
1. The Runaway Bride was a sharply scripted comedy with appealing
performances by Julia Roberts and Richard Gere in the leading roles and
a rake of great supporting characters played by Joan Cusack and Paul Dooley
among others. In one scene we learned that the runaway bride had abandoned
at the altar one guy who went on to become a priest. Despite the real hurt
back then he was now quite happy in his vocation.
drama series Prison Break is becoming more intense by the week.
Now that RTE 2 is showing double episodes it's like watching a movie every
Monday night. Last week's episodes had the main character becoming so
paralysed with guilt for all the unintentional destruction he has caused
that he goes to confession (to see this scene go to the videos
page). Michael Scofield is basically a moral character, worried about
how he has let the ends (freeing his innocent brother, who had been sentenced
to death) justify the means (allowing destructive people and forces to
be unleashed to further his plan). It's a rough show and well deserving
of the mature audience tag, but the moral viewpoint is way ahead of the
On holidays finally! Time to catch up on a few things. Gave my TY students
an exam at the end and included a music video with questions as I didn't
have time to do much of those this year. I offered them (boys) a choice
between Iron Maiden and James Taylor, and to my surprise a big majority
went for James Taylor singing Shed a Little Light, from the Squibnocket
DVD. The answers were quite perceptive. Also at the end of time I was
surprised to get a good few works of art with a religious theme. A few
were paintings/drawings but most were poems, with just one short story.
This was the best year yet for getting the art works. That same day we
had a visit from the Diocesan Advisor, who conferred certs from the Diocese
to those who had a reasonable body of R.E. work to show (Thanks Eileen!).
This certification is a great idea and I'd encourage more schools to take
up the opportunity. We displayed our arts work and our social commitment
work (Young Social Innovator, Special Olympics, Young Vincent de Paul
etc.). Without this it would have been very hard to get the students to
present a portfolio of R.E. work.
to start catching up on more music. New Bruce Springsteen music DVD is
just out. Live in Dublin features most of the songs from his Seeger
Sessions concerts, and some gospel numbers are included - e.g. Oh Mary
Don't You Weep, Jacob's Ladder, When the Saints Go marching in, This Little
Light of Mine. Not sure if it would be much use in school - not the
kind of music most of our students would be interested in I'd say. This
comes in DVD only edition or Audio CD edition or combined DVD/double CD.
I notice that Bruce's website
features a large picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Not sure why! The site
also features links to video samples from the DVD.