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All The Difference In The World – Leap Of Faith

Leap Of Faith is a conflicted movie.
A cynical look at manufactured religion transforms into something else.
Crippled teenager Boyd (Lukas Haas) interacts with Jonas Nightingale (Steve Martin) when a miracle show experiences what seems to be a miracle:

Jonas:
Look, I run a show here. It’s a lot of smoke and noise and it’s strictly for the suckers. I’ve been pulling one kind of scam or another since I was your age, and if there’s one thing I know it’s how to spot the genuine article because that’s what you’ve got to watch out for. Not the cops, you can always get around the cops. But the one thing you can never, ever get around is the genuine article, and you, kid, are the genuine article.
Boyd:
Are you saying you think you’re a fake?
Jonas:
I know I’m a fake.
Boyd:
Well, what difference does it make if you get the job done?
Jonas:
Kid, it makes all the difference in the world.

One of my friends from college days and I used to wonder about working the phrase ‘aluminium siding’ into one of our sermons, but to the best of my knowledge neither of us ever did.


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From Whence These Dire Portents Around – Sunday Songs

Alfred Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much features a scene that takes place during a church service.
To identify much more about than that may than that may constitute a spoiler.
While it may sound like generic droning, the congregation are singing an actual hymn, chosen with Hitchcocks usual care and sense of humour.
The spiritual testimony and challenge that Charles Wesley intended in the lyrics of From Whence These Dire Portents Around is marginal to the master director’s intent, but the first line is pointedly appropriate.

This youtube clip is from the movie and apparently features the first and last verses.

The lyrics:
1
From whence these dire portents around,
That strike us with unwonted fear?
Why do these earthquakes rock the ground,
And threaten our destruction near?
Ye prophets smooth, the cause explain,
And lull us to repose again.
2
“Or water swelling for a vent,
Or air impatient to get free,
Or fire within earth’s entrails pent”;
Yet all are ordered, Lord, by Thee;
The elements obey Thy nod,
And nature vindicates her God.
3
The pillars of the earth are Thine,
And Thou hast set the world thereon;
They at Thy threatening look incline,
The center trembles at Thy frown;
The everlasting mountains bow,
And God is in the earthquake now!
4
Now, Lord, to shake our guilty land,
Thou dost in indignation rise;
We see, we see Thy lifted hand
Made bare a nation to chastise,
Whom neither plagues nor mercies move
To fear Thy wrath or court Thy love.
5
Therefore the earth beneath us reels,
And staggers like our drunken men,
The earth the mournful cause reveals,
And groans our burden to sustain;
Ordained our evils to deplore,
And fall with us to rise no more.


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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a beautifully shot movie, with an aching story of love deferred to duty.


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This Is My Third – The Trouble With Harry

Alfred Hitchcock’s comedy/mystery The Trouble With Harry.
Harry didn’t seem to be a good man, but he did prove hard to keep down.

Jennifer Rogers (Shirley MacLaine) : I’ve never been to a home-made funeral before.
Capt. Wiles (Edmund Gwenn) : I have … it’s my third. All in one day…


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Juggling Wolves – Rear Window

Grace Kelly plays Lisa Carol Fremont (perhaps the archetypical Hitchcock blond) in Rear Window.
There is an unaffected world-weariness in her dialogue as she and Jimmy Stewart’s L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jeffries observe firstly the lonely woman they have nicknamed ‘Miss Lonelyhearts’, and then a young aspiring dancer they have nick-named ‘Miss Torso’ entertain some gentlemen callers.
Kelly was a good actor, but perhaps these lines were somewhat familiar to her experience as well.

Jeff: ‘Miss Lonelyhearts.’ Well, at least that’s something you’ll never have to worry about.
Lisa: Oh? You can see my apartment from here, all the way up on 63rd Street?
Jeff: No, not exactly…but we have a little apartment here that’s probably about as popular as yours. You remember of course ‘Miss Torso,’ the ballet dancer. She’s like a Queen Bee with her pick of the drones.
Lisa: I’d say she’s doing a woman’s hardest job – Juggling Wolves.
Jeff: [watching ‘Miss Torso’ briefly kiss one of the men on the balcony] She picked the most prosperous-looking one.
Lisa: She’s not in love with him or any of them.
Jeff: How can you tell that from here?
Lisa: You said it resembled my apartment, didn’t you?


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Brush Up Your Shakespeare

Kiss Me Kate provides both homage to and playful subversion of William Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew by interpreting it by a Cole Porter musical.
I love Howard Keel and Ann Miller, Kathryn Grayson is wonderful and a young Bob Fosse gives us a glimpse of what will come.
The affectations of 3D staging aside. (Things get randomly flung directly at camera)
Keenan Wynn and James Whitmore (last seen in the movie marathon in a very different role in the Shawshank Redemption) provide threateningly comic relief who begin the wrap-up of proceedings with the timeless advice to Brush Up Your Shakespeare.


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Mystery Men – A Victory For All The Other Guys

Mystery Men came out before the great super-hero movie glut of the last ten to fifteen years.
So it doesn’t send up the genre so much as anticipate it.
It was an odd choice to make side characters from an independent alternate comic book into a mainstream movie; we’re still waiting for Flaming Carrot the Movie.

Anyway, here’s how three of the characters characterise the outcome of their struggle with evil to the waiting press:

The Shoveller:
I think we would all like this victory to go out to all the other guys, and I’m talking about the people in this city who are super good at their jobs but never get any credit. Like the lady in the DMV – that’s a rough job.
Invisible Boy:
To the people that remember jingles from tons of old commercials.
The Bowler:
And uh, uh, people that support local music and seek out independent film.
The Shoveller:
And the guy that drives the snow-plow.