Rediscover Some Great Movies with Ed McNulty
This week, we are celebrating Edward McNulty’s 30th anniversary of his Visual Parables Journal by publishing Ed’s personal reflections on his decades of moving between movie theaters, his role as an online journalist and his ongoing work with congregations and conferences. Here’s a tip: Have a pen and paper handy as you read this column because you’ll want to note some of the wonderfully thought-provoking films Ed mentions. After reading his column, you’ll have a couple of months worth of spirited viewing ahead of you—and maybe even a great program for your small group or congregation!
Also, this week, our Front Edge Publishing column describes Ed’s latest book, Jesus Christ Movie Star, which has enough material for an entire discussion series on the many ways moviemakers have portrayed Jesus. It’s a perfect book for individual reflection or group discussion.
All We Need Is Love?
A REAL-LIFE VALENTINE’S CARD—Columnist Martin Davis writes a heart-felt affirmation of enduring love, this week, to mark his 35th wedding anniversary with his wife Thelma. He writes: “I wish that I could tell you that all you need is love to make it this long. … This Valentine’s Day, I would like to share a list of survival tools that have been important for my wife and me over the long haul.” After you read this column, you’re likely to want to share it with friends—as well as someone you love.
A VERY POPULAR HOLIDAY
HOLIDAYS & FESTIVALS columnist Stephanie Fenton reports on a recent poll that shows more Americans get excited about Valentine’s Day than get excited about Christmas. That may be because Valentine’s Day is cheaper. In fact, Stephanie’s column includes links to some great food and DIY ideas plus some “awesome friend gifts” as well.
Mahayana Buddhists recall the death of Buddha
PARINIRVANA DAY—The day Buddha reached complete Nirvana—Parinirvana— is observed by Mahayana Buddhists on Parinirvana Day. On this day, temples are opened to laypersons, laypersons bring gifts to monks and nuns—all focused on the teachings of Buddha.
Care to see all of our Holidays & Festivals columns? It’s easy to find our annual calendar of global observances. Just remember the address InterfaithHolidays.com
SUZY FARBMAN shares a personal story this week about the power of the traditional Jewish prayer for healing. The ancient prayer includes the words:
May the source of strength
Who blessed the ones before us
Help us find the courage
To make our lives a blessing
FAITH & FILM
ED McNULTY, for decades, has published reviews, magazine articles and books exploring connections between faith and film. Most of his work is freely published. Ed supports his work by selling the Visual Parables Journal, a monthly magazine packed with discussion guides to films. This resource is used coast-to-coast by individuals who love the movies and by educators, clergy and small-group leaders.
Among Ed’s free reviews and columns are:
- THE LAST FULL MEASURE—Todd Robinson’s The Last Full Measure includes combat scenes, but it is not your usual war movie. Instead it is about the aftermath of the Vietnam War, dealing with a 30 year long attempt by veterans to obtain the Congressional Medal of Honor they fervently believe their heroic comrade deserves. (4 out of 5 stars)
THE SONG OF NAMES—French Canadian filmmaker writer-director François Girard, who gave us the exquisite The Red Violin in 1998, gives us another film in which a violin is important. Instead of transpiring over several centuries, this film spans the years from Hitler’s invasion of Poland to the night of a concert in 1951 to the 80s when a mystery is at last solved and a broken relationship—and heart—is restored. (4 stars)
- LES MISERABLES—Don’t confuse this 2019 French film with the Victor Hugo classic, except in the film’s underlying theme. Ed gives this provocative story about France’s present-day oppressed minorities 5 out of 5 stars and says it’s well worth making an effort to see this movie.
- DOLOMITE IS MY NAME—Ed writes, “This is one of Eddy Murphy’s funniest movies, but due to its extremely vulgar language and nudity, not one that I can recommend for any faith group to discuss. Director Craig Brew and the scriptwriters seem to be trying to outdo Quentin Tarantino in the use of the F word, so be forewarned.” He gives the film 4 out of 5 stars.
- 1917—Ed writes, “The action in most WWI films is confined to the trenches, but Sam Mendes epic is a journey film—one of just 9 miles, but given the obstacles, the trek couldn’t be more difficult and harrowing if it were 900. It is a race against time, and the stakes are high.” He gives the film 5 out of 5 stars.
- JUST MERCY—”Within ten minutes into the film I knew it belonged near the top of my annual 10 Best Films list,” Ed writes. (5 stars)
- THE TWO POPES—”Brazilian director Fernando Merilles (City of God and The Constant Gardener) makes theological discourse exciting in this speculative film about the encounters between Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce) and Pope Benedict XVI (Anthony Hopkins).” (4.5 stars)