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For years, Crash was my favorite movie of all time. While it isn’t anymore, I still find it to be a remarkable movie with challenging questions for our lives. While some will say that it is simply a movie about race relations, it is so much more than that. It’s about prejudice in the more broad sense, about challenging expectations of good and evil, of recognizing the beautiful individuality of every person, that each and every one of us has the possibility of heroic feats… and embarrassing evil.

It is at the same time a cynical movie and and endearingly hopeful. It shows what we can be at our worst (and how prevalent that is in our world) but that even the worst sinners have opportunities for redemption.

For me, it’s a reminder that every moment is an opportunity for holiness, that it doesn’t matter what I did before, I can still return to God. But opportunities are not guarantees.

Crash is rated R and is not something suited for children, but for the mature teen or adult, it is the sort of the movie that can be discussed for ages.

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Disney is one of the largest, most influential companies in the the entertainment industry. For decades, it has created imaginative uplifting stories for children, transporting them to another world, a fairy tale world.

It’s awful, really.

Not in the “magic-is-bad-we’re-polluting-our-kids-brains-with-anti-Christian-paganism” way that you might hear from evangelicals, a la Harry Potter, but in the “this-is-shallow-story-telling-that-is-white-washed-and-misogynistic-rarely-having-any-moral-import-for-our-world” sort of way. For Br. Tito and I, Disney fairy tales do precisely what our show seeks to avoid: providing an escape from reality.

Which is why we both like the movie Shrek so much. Basically an hour and a half of subverting Disney, everything about the movie seeks to use the common tropes of fairy tales to make fun them and show how ridiculous they are. The main character, Shrek, seems to embody our own voice, going through a fantasy world with skepticism and confusion, pointing out the absurdity of it all while the people around his cling to what makes a better story rather than what is real.

It’s a deep kids movie, I’ll give it that.

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Everyone loves St. Francis. Really. Everyone. Throughout history he has been lauded by Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and people of good faith, environmentalists and hippies, even a 19th century business tycoon. His appeal is far and wide, and the images depicting him are as diverse as any saint.

Meaning… that when people try to make movies about him—and they do—they are going to be all over the map.

In honor of St. Francis week, Br. Tito and I watched two famous Franciscan movies (Brother Sun, Sister Moon and Francesco) to see how popular media has portrayed Francis is the past. Admittedly a bit underwhelmed, we spend the second half of the podcast imagining our own Franciscan movie.

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Bill Murray is charming in whatever he does. It’s no wonder, then, that even when he plays a low-life sleaze, Hollywood is going to try to make him out to be a saint, and many will believe them. That’s what happened in St. Vincent, and it almost worked on Br. Tito and I.

In this week’s podcast, we look at what the movie presents as the path to sainthood, and discuss how it aligns with our own notions.

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Most movies are underwhelming to me. Remakes. Weak adaptations. Shallow concepts. Cheap CGI. The movie industry realizes that people are far more likely to spend money on what is familiar than what is innovative, and so it often chooses not to take a risk. Let’s just do Rocky 34 instead of coming up with something new!

Arrival is an exception to this trend. One YouTube video essay that I like called it the “response to bad movies” and I can’t agree more. It is unlike most movies you will ever see, captivating and beautiful, challenging the viewer’s expectations by turning the world on it’s side (even the shape and position of the alien space ships, long and upright, undermine our expectations!) The movie messes with time and language to create something that is in one sense overwhelming complex and confusing while watching, and yet elegantly simple at its core. Like the picture of a puzzle, unclear and allusive when just a pile of pieces, it is not until the final piece is put into place that the individual pieces have any meaning… but without those individual pieces, there would be no whole.

If you haven’t seen it yet, I cannot recommend it enough to you. At this point in time, Arrival is my favorite movie. I’ve seen it half-a-dozen times (twice in theatres, in fact) and it never ceases to move me. I get chills even thinking about it now. Because so much of the movie rests on how the movie ends, it might be good to watch it first before listening to the podcast, but that’s up to you. Just know that we hold nothing back in this episode, and spoilers are plentiful!