Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Mollywood

Mollywood is the cute name devised for Mormon Cinema. I’ve heard it pronounced “Molly –Wood” and “Moe – Lee – Wood” with about equal frequency, but never mixed in the same conversation. Mollywood is a Utah Provo-centered phenomenon that seeks to exploit the success that Richard Dutcher experienced with his film called God’s Army about Mormon Missionaries in Hollywood California. The film cost around 0.25 million to make, and grossed around 2.6 million. It may still be the 22nd highest grossing “Christian” film of all time. With money like that to be made there was obviously some serious spirituality to be cashed in on in the film industry.

Sometime soon a film adaptation of Ender’s Game will hit the big screen. Ender’s Game is a Hugo Award winning science fiction story penned by notable Mormon author Orson Scott Card. Orson often puts his pen to paper to flesh out screenplays for Mollywood. Mollywood is in constant need of screenplays as they churn out film after film. 

Geoffrey Card wrote a novelization of Dutcher’s God’s Army, and he did a short book-signing tour of Deseret Book stores (one of at least two chains of Mormon bookstores) with his father.

In 2003 Mollywood popped out a film called The Work And The Story. This is a cute take on the title for a mega selling Mormon fictional history novel series called The Work And The Glory. It is comedic attempt to ask the question of who would take over as the leader of Mollywood if Dutcher left. In a mocumentary format a group of flawed filmmakers try to take the spot vacated by Dutcher when he is abducted.

In addition to Mormon-themed action and drama Mollywood churns out a constant stream of comedies.  "Baptists at the Barbeque", "The Home Teachers", The RM", and on and on and on.

In 2006 Mollywood popped out the unreservedly bad film Church Ball starring Gary Coleman. Gary had just moved to Santaquin UT in 2005. Santaquin is a shockingly rural farming community, and it’s population nearly doubled to a tad over 9,000 while Gary lived there. Something good did come out of Church ball as Gary met the 22-year old redhead Shannon Price on the set whom he, despite their 17-year age difference, wooed then wed (in 2007). Together, despite a celebrity divorce (in 2008), they lived in Santaquin till Gary fell down, hit his head, entered a vegetative state, and Shannon pulled his plug (in 2010).

According to Dutcher he effectively left the Mormon Church in 2007. After beginning work on a movie calle The Prophet about Mormon founder Joseph Smith Dutcher found out too much in the way of verifiably disturbing facts about the Mormon Church, and left. He actually popped out a couple Mollywood films after his deconversion, but since he has come out of the closet about his non-Mormonism he has moved onto more mainstream independent filmmaking.

Dutcher had a cameo appearance of himself in the film Singles Ward removed when the film was released on DVD. He had played the neighbor Wes, who knocks on the door while they are watching Dutcher's movie God's Army and declines an invitation to watch it because he was offended by the "toilet scenes". I don’t know how much of a plot hole the missing Dutcher left in the film.

Ender’s Game will apparently be released in 2013 by Disney, not Mollywood. Harrison Ford will play the part of Hyrum Graff; a character who was given the Mormon prophet’s brother’s name by Orson. Disney, with the purchase of Star Wars, is poised to become a greater Science Fiction powerhouse than it is now. We should have seen that coming when they got Michael Jackson to do that film bit for their mission to Mars ride.

Also getting into Science fiction was the 2013 Grammy winner Janis Ian. Janis considers herself a good friend of Orson. Janis is a lesbian who went to Toronto to marry her partner in 2003. She now has a stepdaughter by her partner, and two grandchildren. Orson is a vocal opponent of Gay Marriage.

“  So it is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.
  In order to claim that they are deprived, you have to change the meaning of "marriage" to include a relationship that it has never included before this generation, anywhere on earth.
Just because homosexual partners wish to be called "married" and wish to force everyone else around them to regard them as "married," does not mean that their Humpty-Dumpty-ish wish should be granted at the expense of the common language, democratic process, and the facts of human social organization.
  However emotionally bonded a pair of homosexual lovers may feel themselves to be, what they are doing is not marriage. Nor does society benefit in any way from treating it as if it were.” -- Orson Scott Card

“  Let me put it another way. The sex life of the people around me is none of my business; the homosexuality of some of my friends and associates has made no barrier between us, and as far as I know, my heterosexuality hasn't bothered them. That's what tolerance looks like.
  But homosexual "marriage" is an act of intolerance. It is an attempt to eliminate any special preference for marriage in society -- to erase the protected status of marriage in the constant balancing act between civilization and individual reproduction.
  So if my friends insist on calling what they do "marriage," they are not turning their relationship into what my wife and I have created, because no court has the power to change what their relationship actually is.
  Instead they are attempting to strike a death blow against the well-earned protected status of our, and every other, real marriage.
  They steal from me what I treasure most, and gain for themselves nothing at all. They won't be married. They'll just be playing dress-up in their parents' clothes. “ -- Orson Scott Card

Janis is more famous for her 1966 hit “Society’s Child” about an interracial romance harmed by the racism of others. Orson’s Mormon Church would not let blacks in until 1978. In 1978 Janis married the male Portuguese filmmaker Tino Sargo, and would remain his wife till 1983 when the internal pressure of abuse would drive her to divorce him.

Recently Orson wrote a Superman comic, and an artist disgusted by his vocal stance on homosexuality publicly refused to draw for it. Janis maintains that Orson is not homophobic because he is nice to her. She goes further to suggest that even if he was he is a good enough artist to ignore his homophobia.

“  I suppose we'd also have to discount Wagner because of the Nazi connection? James Joyce and Ezra Pound for their anti-Semitism? Thomas Jefferson, who believed slavery was God-intended? Most, if not all, of the founding fathers, who considered black Africans sub-human?
  Continuing in that vein, we should probably discount Picasso, a sexist pig. And Beethoven, a royalist and a snob if you ever met one - and if memory serves, an anti-Semite.
Not to mention the current pope, who's called homosexuality as big a threat to the world as global warming, and warned that it would destroy civilization as we know it if gays were allowed to marry.
  Should I discount every faithful Catholic writer, dump Tennessee Williams, Madeleine L'Engel, Flannery O'Connor, because their religion's figurehead is a lunatic? Sorry if you're Catholic...
   -grin-
  Scratch any artist, in any form, and you'll find things you don't like. You can't judge art by the artist; it has to be judged seperately, on its own merits. The artist himself has to be taken in the context of his times, and of his own culture, including his religion.” -- Janis Ian

So, since Orson is a science fiction writer his opinions on things like people should not be important.  So what if he thinks Janis is stealing from him what he treasures most.  What is most important is his writings on science, since this is a critical part of his chosen art form.

"Global warming is, in other words, somewhere between Piltdown Man and cold fusion on the scale of fake science."  -- Orson Scott Card

"  But, fortunately, science somehow manages to muddle along past its occasional idiocies. Piltdown Man gets exposed; cold fusion goes away; the Ophelia complex stops getting mentioned and we don't have to take our daughters to work any more and boys can be called on in the classroom without it being regarded as sexism.
  Still, isn't it annoying that when the frauds perpetrated by the Established Church of Political Correctness are not so much exposed as forgotten?
  If you do the slightest thing that smacks of political incorrectness, they're out for your blood, howling that you must lose your job or your business has to be boycotted, for the American Leftaliban is the most intolerant group that has ever had control of the American establishment.
But when the gods and prophets of the leftist elite are exposed as fakes, they are quietly ignored. Nobody loses his job. In fact, the elitists act as if nobody ever believed what they used to insist on with the utmost fervor.
  In the real world, when you use establishment power to perpetrate a fraud – by, say, hiding exculpatory evidence in a highly publicized rape case that turns out to be completely faked up – there are lawsuits and people lose their jobs and huge sums of money change hands.
But when the serious scientists finally prevail over the true believers, and the bubble of global warming is finally popped for good, there'll be no cover of Time or Newsweek saying, "How   Could We Have Been So Stupid?" or "Why Didn't Somebody Insist on Evidence?"
Instead, it will just ... disappear.
  It's already happening. Haven't you noticed how the most sophisticated believers now speak of "climate change" being our great problem instead of "global warming"?" -- Orson Scott Card

"Meanwhile, the interesting science -- i.e., the science that actually works as an explanation -- is overwhelmingly heliogenic: The sun is directly and solely responsible for the overall patterns of warming and cooling that have dominated Earth, during and between ice ages, for millions of years."  -- Orson Scott Card 
So Orson has a special insight into the science of climate change.  One that allows him to discount the consensus.  He goes on at length about how the public should demand proof, and the subtext of such popular demands is that the public should demand proof that they can understand.  The validity of proof should be decided by people who have not bothered to study the material...in fact the standard for public proof is usually making things understandable to someone with a sixth-grade education. 

If Orson's idea of acceptable scientific proof rejects anything that requires any level of even sophomoreically advanced theoretical musing I can only believe his science fiction work rely more on suspension of disbelief than science.  I've only read one book by him.  It was called Lost Boys and invoked a ghostly child interfacing with the victims of a pedophilic serial-killing landlord communicating through a computer game from their shallow graves under the protagonist's house.  In the middle of it Orson describes in some appropriately PG detail the protagonist impregnating his wife while she is on the phone with the ward's relief society leader.  Mormon porn I guess.

However, if we think of Orson's work as fantasy as opposed to science fiction, his belief system and opinions can reinforce our opinion of his work.  Certainly being able to suspend disbelief in your daily life should only be a plus for someone who is attempting to get others to do it while reading his work.  This may be why Mormons make such great fiction writers.  Orson will take his vaulted place amongst Mormon fiction writers like at Stephenie Meyer (Twilight series) or Joseph Smith (Book of Mormon) who have also had their works made into movies.



No comments: