March 27, 2019

MOVIES: "UNPLANNED"



Yeah. I saw it. Here are my endorsements. (In theaters March 29, 2019.)
#ShoutYourUNPLANNEDexperience

--"'Unplanned' is the film event of the twenty-first century."

--"'Unplanned' 'goes there' like no other film--with love and compassion--proving 'love is stronger than death.'"

--"'Unplanned' is a victory for all who want take a second look at what abortion really is. This is a win-win film!"

--"Truth wins. Forgiveness wins. Love wins. Life wins."

--"If you think this is a typical 'Christian film'? Guess again. It's fair, it's gritty. It's real."

--"Hard to watch? Only because, as Abby Johnson says, 'Abortion isn't pretty.' But abortion will not have the last word. Not in this film, not in history.'"

--"With serious talk of the horror of infanticide on the horizon, 'Unplanned' couldn't come at a better time."

--"This would be a horror film--if love and life didn't win in the end."
____________

The new feature film, “Unplanned”—the true story of Planned Parenthood director, Abby Johnson, who turned pro-life—is phenomenal. It’s rated “R” due to the violence that is abortion, or as Abby says in the film: “Abortion isn’t pretty.”

As is the trend today, the film is not chronological. It starts with the abortion that changed it all, the abortion Abby witnessed on an ultrasound machine, watching a baby struggle and fight for its life before it was suctioned out of the womb and reduced to pulp. We get bits and snatches of Abby’s life before working for the abortion industry, her own two abortions that she needed to justify by joining the anti-mothership itself:  Planned Parenthood.  Perfectly seasoned with just enough candid voiceover (a film like this really needs some narration of what the protagonist’s intentions are), we learn two mind-boggling mysteries. 1)  Abby really was na├»ve, was deceived as to what abortion is (she was convinced the fetus doesn’t feel pain, and that’s what she based her support for abortion on). 2) She, along with many of the southern, Texas women working at the clinic, were Christians and some even believed they were doing “God’s work,” helping “women in crisis.”

The film is incredibly fair to pro-aborts. It speaks from within their fatally-flawed logic. Good arguments are given to “the other side”—the problem is, those arguments will never be good enough. "Unplanned" also depicts the brand of shrill, shrieking, hostile, insulting pro-lifers who get few flies with their acrid vinegar—as they protest outside Abby’s clinic. The heroes of the film are the kind, prayerful “40 Days for Life” vigil-keepers at Abby’s Planned Parenthood who befriended her from the very beginning, before she rose up the ranks to become the PP director. When Abby’s eyes were finally opened, she knew exactly where to go, who to go to, who she could trust.

Although “Unplanned” has the look, feel and soundtrack of a typical “Christian film,” the rest of the content does not. This is a gritty film that “goes there” with no “easy” God solutions. Cheryl (Robia Scott, a Madeleine Stowe lookalike)—the PP director before Abby took over--gives an icy, Oscar-worthy performance. All the acting is superb, in fact, as well as the dialogue, which completely avoids platitudes, soundbites and catch-phrases of any kind. “Unplanned” is not the idea or theory of the rightness or wrongness of abortion, it is the everyday, lived business of abortion. Nowhere does the fact of a de facto ideology of abortion come to light more clearly than when Abby is given a baby shower in the abortion clinic. It’s a baby if I want it. It’s a baby if I say it is. If I don’t want it or say it isn’t? It’s not. No incongruity there! The “triumph of the will” is on full display but in a subtle, mundane way (“the banality of evil”). The “impose” worldview is hard at work: Nothing “is what it is” or has any value until I say so, until I impose my ideas, meanings and values on that thing or person. I am not only the master of my own destiny but the master of everything and everyone around me. I am speaking of the social engineers of abortion. The film also shows many young, lost, confused, unsure, scared, hesitant women who have assumed that because it’s legal, it must be OK. Also, the fact that everyone in the clinic wears scrubs and a (surly) doctor performs the procedure, what could go wrong?

“Unplanned” will educate you about abortion. Educate you about facts you may not have known. You will be educated by someone who directed one of the largest Planned Parenthoods in the Western Hemisphere for eight years, until she was asked to assist with an abortion—for the first time--and saw the ultrasound….

I met Abby shortly after she turned pro-life and know many more of the details or her amazing conversion. The film is incredibly faithful to her story. Not only that, this was a difficult film to make in every way: the writing, the acting, questions of what to show/how much to show/how to show it, the editing, etc.--and the filmmakers succeeded, far better than I would ever have dreamed. This may not be a “perfect film,” but it’s a “perfectly made film.” It’s everything it needed to be. One would even have been able to call it “entertaining” because of the almost unbelievable story-line and plot twists, the way it draws you in and never lags--except that this is a story of death and destruction of the lives of women and children on a massive scale.

The fence between the abortion clinic and the pro-lifers becomes a poignant symbol throughout the film and is well utilized, as are so many other cinematic storytelling devices.

A few minor drawbacks: the actress who plays Abby could’ve come across as a little more strong-willed (as is the real Abby); the soundtrack is cloying at times, at other times when scenes was screaming for silence, snatches of bombastic Christian songs are plopped in. The immediate aftermath of Abby’s conversion was almost anticlimactic in its ho-hum normality. But maybe that was the point. No trumpets went off, no awards were handed out. But little by little the personal and public triumph grows, with all the love, gentleness and sweetness of hundreds of red and white roses.

OTHER STUFF:

--The abortion on the ultrasound is not an actual abortion. Authentically simulated.

--Should I bring young people to see this film?
This is what I told one mum:

Only a parent knows each child and what they can handle. I would say a mature 13 year old who already knows what abortion is and has a steady fare of today's media could handle. A sheltered child? Maybe not so much. Nothing terribly graphic except an ultrasound (shown 3 times) of a baby being sucked out of the mother's womb (baby loses a leg in the process)...then we see a closeup of the blood and "pulp" in the tubes. It should be rated "R" because abortion is a horror, of course. Also lots of women in distress and some blood and gore when a woman takes the "morning after pill" and it doesn't go so well.

--Anyone who goes to see this film and has participated in an abortion in any way is going to be deeply moved and may want to avail themselves of counseling/healing. Here are some organizations that can help:

www.hopeafterabortion.com  (post-abortion healing)
www.SistersOfLife.org  (help for women in crisis pregnancies)
www.rachelsvineyard.org (retreat for men & women wounded by abortion)
www.heartbeatinternational.org (the largest worldwide network of aid to pregnant women)

--Remember, many on the pro-abortion side outright lie that pro-lifers are not concerned about the woman and only want the baby to be born. “Catholic Charities” (the charitable arm of Catholic dioceses in the USA) and many other organizations (see above) have all kinds of assistance to mother and child before, during and after birth, including housing, job training and child care.


--After landing role of Abby Johnson, "Unplanned" actress finds out she was almost aborted. (Here she also states that she's willing to be blacklisted in Hollywood for taking the role.)









March 8, 2019

WHAT'S AT STAKE WHEN A CHILD SELF-IDENTIFIES AS "TRANSGENDER"


Can a Child Really Self-Identify as Transgender? (The Silencing of Discussion, Therapy, Debate, Research--4,500% increase of ROGD in girls--Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria--Using Suicide as a Threat)

A Brave "Inclusion Expert" Educator Stands Up For Youth:

The role of online/digital/social media in ROGD:
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202330




March 1, 2019

MOVIES: "UNPLANNED"




Yeah. I saw it. These are my endorsements. (In theaters March 29.)
#ShoutYourUNPLANNEDexperience


--"'Unplanned' is the film event of the twenty-first century."

--"'Unplanned' 'goes there' like no other film--with love and compassion--proving 'love is stronger than death.'"

--"'Unplanned' is a victory for all who want take a second look at what abortion really is. This is a win-win film!"

--"Truth wins. Forgiveness wins. Love wins. Life wins."

--"If you think this is a typical 'Christian film'? Guess again. It's fair, it's gritty. It's real."

--"Hard to watch? Only because, as Abby Johnson says, 'Abortion isn't pretty.' But abortion will not have the last word. Not in this film, not in history.'"

--"With serious talk of the horror of infanticide on the horizon, 'Unplanned' couldn't come at a better time."

--"This would be a horror film--if love and life didn't win in the end." 



MOVIES: "BLACK PANTHER"




Multiple Oscar-winner “Black Panther” is a triumph for Marvel Comics and African-American filmmaking, as well as Black youth the world over. “Entertainment Weekly” quotes a Black teen after screening BP: “So this is how white people feel all the time?” Each Academy Award (costume design, production design, original musical score) was well-deserved, although I didn’t think there was anything terribly new about the heroic, dime-a-dozen soundtrack with just a few African drums thrown in. I was expecting something much more distinctive, more of a stand-out, something hummable.

WOMEN OF WAKANDA

Wakanda is a fictional small country in Africa (thought by the rest of the world to be a Third World country with little power, resources or influence). But in reality, they are a highly-developed technological society, also harboring the world’s strongest substance, vibranium, which obviously gives them an advantage in battle. Battle with whom? Only four of the five warring tribes in the area put themselves under the Black Panther (that consummate all-around actor, Chadwick Boseman) as their king-ruler.  His generals are all fierce, high-tech-spear-wielding women. His mother (the ageless Angela Bassett), sister and ex-girlfriend (Lupita Nyongo) are all formidable women to be reckoned with. His mischievous, scientific sister runs a James Bondesque lab for weapon gadgetry. However, there is a harmonious blend of ancient, primitive Mother Africa with her incomparable landscape (and some rhinos)—why would you give that up?—and the ultra-modern: skyscrapers and electronics. Dress, accessories and bodily adornment is a colorful pan-African mix.

I SEE WHITE PEOPLE

There are a few white people in the film, side characters—but they are not tokens, fools, whipping boys or scapegoats. A few are accurately villains in a way only white people (meaning those in power, those who, at the moment are privileged/at the top of the food chain) can be (i.e., stripping/robbing others of their cultures, cultural appropriation). But the film doesn’t take the tack of dismissing Caucasians as “the problem” (a form of continued enslavement/subjugation?)—rather the film wants the Black community to find their own solutions within. Not everything in BP is a thinly-veiled reference to a real-life twenty-first century inequity. This is a fun, fantastical adventure as it should be! But one can certainly draw parallels without too much trouble.

TO FIGHT OR NOT TO FIGHT

The conundrum, question and quandary of violence is always lurking beneath the surface. “Wakandans only fight when necessary.” One character even chooses a path of self-destruction in the face of being wronged. It seems the film is sympathetic to his choice, but that will not be the route the film will propose. The film proposes overcoming together, not despairing alone.

The mythology of Wakanda is straightforward enough and not too complex. The intricacies of the story lie in the family ties (including the Black Panther’s deceased father), the loyalties (or not) to Wakanda, the prospect of revenge and the Black Panther’s throne being challenged, and finally the future of Wakanda potentially thrown into disarray: “I don’t want to serve my country, I want to save my country!” Wakanda needs to be strong together before it can help the rest of the world.

WHO RETELLS THE STORIES RULES THE WORLD

BP is good-hearted with a large view and a true social consciousness. There is deserved, justified anger toward colonialism, but it takes the high road and transcends injustice by controlling the narrative to the point of having the upper hand and the ability to condescend, but chooses not to! Kinda brilliant.

BP is a clever, clever meta-retelling, reclaiming of Black power at the top and the bottom, even to the point of Wakanda “taking responsibility” for “creating monsters” because they abandoned “their own” in the world (along with the rest of the world). “Wakanda is strong enough to protect itself AND help others.” The implication is that not only should Wakanda NOT take up arms and fight colonizers the world over, but rather help the poor things. Otherwise, there’s always the danger of “becoming like the people you hate.” And isn’t that always the dilemma? Falling into the master-slave dynamic, the Marxist oppressor-victim relationship—as though there were no other choices? Just an endless cycle of the victim becoming the oppressor becoming the victim becoming the oppressor.


#OscarsNotSoWhiteAnymore

Oscars 2019 seemed to be a sincere effort to listen to African-American stories with new ears, eyes and heart. Although Hollywood is international, it’s also American, and there are the proverbial “two Americas”: black and white. The Black stories brought to the fore are not only the older stories of the horror of U.S.-style slavery (a particularly heinous form of human slavery)—but more recent grievances—and not only grievances and reactive stories, but fresh, proactive stories. Spike Lee’s speech, Congressman John Lewis’ speech, “BlacKkKlansman,” Barbra Streisand’s speech, James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Green Book” winning Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor/Actress awards didn’t feel patronizing. It felt like recognizing true achievement and honoring diversity. I know not everyone will agree with me, but at very least it seemed like a step in the right direction. But of course, I’m not Black.

MORE OF THIS, PLEASE

I want to see a sequel to “Black Panther” with the BP on the streets fighting injustice on the micro-level, teaching kids or something. I think there’s so much potential for a sequel to go in any direction it wants after doing the macro thing with this “first” filmic tale. All I can say is: “Wakanda forever!”

OTHER STUFF:

--Not that BP takes itself too seriously, but I wouldn’t have minded a TAD more humor.

-- I’ve often heard people say: “Slavery is long over!” As though it should be forgotten, as though there were no fall out, as though attitudes have completely changed, as thought it weren’t just a few lifetimes ago (I met a woman in her 90’s in the 1980’s whose MOTHER was a slave as a child. Think about that). I also heard that after “Twelve Years a Slave,” Hollywood is kind of tired of slavery movies. Tired? We’ve only just begun! Can there be too many World War 2 stories or Holocaust stories? Now, more than ever, we need to tell these stories. Now that we have such an incredible screen story tool box of MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES.