Category: Fr. David Guffey, C.S.C.

“Boyhood” and “When the Game Stands Tall”: Cinema Looks at Boys Growing Up

images-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It might seem odd to put Richard Linklater’s ground-breaking film Boyhood next to the fairly straightforward inspirational sports film When the Game Stands Tall directed by Thomas Carter, but both from very different perspectives show young men growing up and the mixed roles the adults in their lives play.

When the Game Stands Tall tells the story of Coach Bob Ladouceur and his De La Salle High School power house football team whose winning streak reached to 151 games.   The coach played by Jim Caviezel, repeats over and over that the winning streak is not the most important thing about the program he runs.   A reporter asks him “25 years coaching this team, favored to win your 12th consecutive championship, 150 wins, how’d you pull it off?”  Coach responds, “Winning a lot of games is doable, teaching kids there is more to life, that’s hard.”  Ladouceur creates a culture of pride, of accountability and of love of community in his players by his own example, by his teaching and attentiveness to them.   He is an adult who is present as an adult to the needs of the children entrusted to him as students and players.

 

When watching Boyhood, you keep wishing and hoping that Mason will have this kind of adult in his life.  Linklater’s film chronicles the life of Mason, played by Ellar Coltrane from the age of 6 to 18 and was filmed over 12 years with the cast including Ethan Hawke as the boy’s here-and-not-here father and Patricia Arquette as his struggling single mother.   The adults in Mason’s world drag him along as a bystander or baggage on their journey to find themselves.   His father played by Ethan Hawke is the largely absent, cool dad who shows up when he is in town, with gifts and advice and laughs.  Mason observes his hard-working Mother’s romances turn into marriages and implode into alcohol fused disasters.  He lives ever in someone else’s home and without a safe place of his own.  He forms friendships and then is repeatedly torn from them in successive moves.

The adults in his life love him in their own way, but they are not accountable to each other and not to him or his sister Samantha (played by Lorelei Linklater).   They parent on their own terms almost as a sideline to the bigger work of finding themselves.  Mason and his sister seem to get in their way at times.  In fact, in several separate cringe-worthy, Mason’s parents tell him that he was “a mistake.”  The words come in the guise of advice to use contraception, “you don’t want to make the same mistake your mom and I did.”

With the little guidance he gets from his family and the force of his own lovely personality, grace works in boy and you see an artist developing from the chaos of life.  After the credits role, you care enough about him to wonder how he will form family and navigate his way to adult life when he has had so few positive role models.   Will Mason find a home?  Is he prepared to create one?

There is no one really who calls him to excellence or to be his best self.  Would that the Mason’s of the world could have one of the Coach Bob Ladouceurs of the world as a mentor to help them believe in the meaning and purpose of life and experience the power of sacrificial love.


Coach Ladouceur gives a locker room speech in which he says that his mission is to help them grow up to be men that others can depend on.   Sadly, Mason in Boyhood, is not alone among teenagers in lacking adults in their lives with such a mission.

 

EWTN, the Global Catholic Television Network, Set to Open West Coast Studio at the new Christ Cathedral in Orange County

EWTN LogowebWe here at Family Theater Productions are excited to hear EWTN is opening a west coast studio at the new Christ Cathedral in Orange County.  EWTN broadcasts Catholic and family programming around the world, through television, radio, and the internet, while inspiring and educating the faithful.

The announcement was made by EWTN Chief Executive Officer, Michael Warsaw and Bishop Kevin Van of the Diocese of Orange at the Napa Institute being held this week.

Christ Cathedral. Photo credit: Diocese of Orange

Christ Cathedral. Photo credit: Diocese of Orange

Christ Cathedral is the formal Crystal Cathedral that was built by Dr. Robert Schuller , the television evangelist who hosted the “Hour of Power”.  After the TV ministry went bankrupt in 2010, the Cathedral was bought by the Diocese of Orange to be turned into a center of Catholic worship and outreach throughout Southern California and beyond.

The new studio will be operational and begin broadcasting news and Masses by the end of 2014.

Michael Warsaw added that the new west coast studio location will be an asset to the development of their programming by giving “EWTN a presence in an area of the country where the Network will be able to execute programs that would be difficult to produce elsewhere, particularly for our Spanish-language channels.”

We welcome EWTN to the west coast and offer them our prayers in this new endeavor.  National Director of Family Theater Productions, Father David Guffey, C.S.C. adds “EWTN has been a long time friend of Family Theater, one of our major broadcast partners who regularly play our TV and film content.  We congratulate EWTN and welcome them to the very rich, sometimes challenging media environment of Southern California.  Our prayers are with them in this new venture.”

Chef – The Word of Mouth Foodie Film that Could have been the Family Film of the Summer

Stars Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony and John Leguizamo in Chef

Stars Jon Favreau, Emjay Anthony and John Leguizamo in Chef

Jon Favreau’s film Chef opened in theaters May 9, 2014, and it is still in theaters today, performing solidly against more intensely marketed summer block buster fair.  So far it has brought in almost $26 million, not bad for an independent film.  Word of mouth has brought adult audiences to the film in much the way that it did for Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in the summer of 2012.

I was one of the people who plopped down the twelve bucks to see it and was happy I did.  I am glad the film has done as well as it has.  It could have done so much better.

On coming out of theater amid a crowd of middle-aged film buffs and food lovers, I thought to myself this film is about 50 f-words and two short scenes away from being the family film of the summer.  This could have been a +$100 million dollar film and a tremendous gift to audiences.

Still in Theaters.   Dont' go hungry.

Still in Theaters.
Don’t go hungry.

In the film, chef Carl Casper (played by writer/director Jon Favreau) has an angry melt-down at a harsh food critic in the middle of the restaurant in front of his employer (played by Dustin Hoffman) and a room full of customers.   The chef is fired and left without prospects for his career.  At the same time, he has been the stereotypic neglectful divorced dad, arriving up late to pick-up his son (Emjay Anthony), not showing up for events.  At the suggestion of his ex-wife, played by Sophia Vergara, he starts a food truck business, involving his friends (including one played by the great John Leguizamo) and more importantly, his son.  They drive the truck from Miami to LA, cooking all the way.

The film is not a deep story but an enjoyable father-son, on the road, rags to riches, buddy film.  People who love any of these will love this movie, but they have to be over 18.  This film has an R rating, for language, a mild drug scene and some crude references.  Yes, most kids have seen and heard worse, but also yes, there are parents who still will not consciously choose to expose their children to these, especially when paying movie theater prices.

If the language had been tempered just a little, and a few scenes altered this could have been a hit family film in a summer where the cineplex has not offered much to parents with children.  A filmmaker with the talent of John Favreau, (IronMan, Elf, upcoming Disney Junglebook)  could have made this as real as it was but with language that would have made for a more inclusive audience.

I wish he had, because I would have loved to take my niece, who in her early teens is a fan of the food channel and loves cooking.  I encounter more and more kids who tell me they want to be a chef when they grow up.  It would have been great to send them and their parents to a movie about a chef in the process of growing up himself.

Instead their parents and grandparents will go alone and they are in for a treat.

 

REV. DAVID GUFFEY, C.S.C., NAMED NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF FAMILY THEATER PRODUCTIONS

frdavidFr. David Guffey, C.S.C. has been named the new National Director here at Family Theater Productions.  We could not be more excited!  Fr. Guffey comes with years of experience in the film and television industry, including a Masters in Film and Television from Loyola Marymount University and several years as our Head of Production.

He has many credits here with us at Family Theater, including several of our Manifest Mysteries series…”Carrying On”, “You Will See”, “Finding Mary”, and “Assumptions”.  He also has spearheaded efforts to increase our presence on the internet by creating content for our Youtube page, social media, and our ministry websites.

As National Director he will be responsible for all activities of Family Theater Productions, both media production and outreach.  Our outreach efforts to young Catholics and other Catholics in the entertainment industry includes Prayer & Pasta, Bible Study, a weekly Holy Hour, daily Rosary, daily Mass, and spiritual direction.

We are very excited about the future here at Family Theater Productions with Fr. Guffey leading the way.  If you are interested in attending any of our events, be sure to check out the calendar on our website.

Ancient Texts Coming On-Line: Vatican Digitizing 82,000 Works from Its Library

Within the confines of Vatican City are documents from the second to the twenty-first centuries collected and preserved by the Catholic Church.  Because of their age and value, many of the books have been carefully guarded with limited access.   Within two years, anyone with a computer will be abel to access them for free.    The documents are being professionally scanned and then will be made available through a Vatican Website.  According to Rome Reports, the project is being done in collaboration with a Japanese IT company.

For Catholics, the search for knowledge is an inherent part of the Christian Faith.   The documents will hopefully help people explore our past and the ways that God’s grace works in history, culture and science.  As Pope John Paul II says in  Gift and Mystery: On the 50th Anniversary of My Priestly Ordination:

“Thanks to meetings and discussions with experts in the natural sciences, with physicists and biologists as well as with historians, I have learned to appreciate the importance of those other branches of knowledge which involve the scientific disciplines; these are likewise capable of attaining the truth from different perspectives. The splendor of the truth–Veritatis Splendor–constantly needs to accompany them, enabling people to meet, to exchange ideas, and to enrich one another.”

 

Watching Movies Together Cut Divorce Rate in Half- A New Study

One of the suggested films for couples to view together

One of the suggested films for couples to view together

 

At Family Theater Productions we have always believed the slogan we created for our radio programs in the 1940s: “The Family That Prays Together Stays Together.”    A recent report shows that  ”The couple that watches movies together, stays together.”  A study of 174 newly married couples showed that a couple watching movies together and talking about it for a half hour afterwards was as effective in keeping a marriage together as other much more in depth and demanding programs.  In fact over the course of the three year study the divorce rate was cut in half.   Professor Ronald Rogge of the University of Rochester and a team of researchers recently published the findings in the Journal of Clinical and Consulting Psychology.

A group of couples either participated in a series of seminars and workshops with communication skills and in depth conversations about issue pertaining to marriage or they were asked to watch a film and then have a discussion using a simple set of questions as a guide.  The movie night discussions required less time and were more effective than the more intense program.  ”It’s incredibly portable. There are really great marriage intervention programs available now but most require trained therapists to administer them. If couples can do this on their own, it makes it so much easier to help them,”   Rogge said  in an article on the University of Rochester Website.

Researchers provided a list of suggested films encouraging couples to view  just five films.   Included in the list:  Anna Karenina (2012), As Good as it Gets (1987), Gone with the Wind (1939) and many others including comedies and dramas.  You can download the list of suggested films and the questions for discussion afterwards.

Are there any films that have helped your marriage relationship grow?  What movies would you add to the list?  Let us know.

Download for Free

Download for Free