Video Clips

Blog June-August 2007

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 development.

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.

Meanwhile, 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 competition.

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.

Can't wait 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.