Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Book Review: "Olivia and the Little Way"

Olivia and the Little Way
by Nancy Carabio Belanger
Illustrated by Sandra Casali LewAllen
Rochester, MI: Harvey House Publishing, 2008

"Olivia and the Little Way" by Nancy Carabio Belanger is a sweet story about a fifth grader who is struggling to follow St. Therese. Her grandmother is the person who first introduces Olivia to the wonderful example of St. Therese. She shares how she asked that saint for help in finding a nice man to marry who believed in God. She prayed a novena (a prayer repeated over the course of nine days)and then waited for a rose (the symbol of St. Therese) as a sign that her prayer had been heard. She waited three long years for that rose, but it finally came the same day she met her future husband.

Olivia admires St. Therese's little way of making small sacrifices and tries to emulate her as best she can. She prays to St. Therese for help in making friends at her new school and for guidance in making good decisions. Olivia is a real girl. She doesn't always do the right thing. She succumbs to peer pressure and gets in trouble with her parents. She keeps trying, however, and St. Therese does help both her and her friends out. Though it takes a while, she finally does get her rose.

This is a lovely story written for tweens, especially tween girls. It helps introduce readers to the Little Way as well as keep them engrossed with the storyline. One truly cares about Olivia and her friends in reading this book.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Movie Review: Bringing Up Bobby On DVD 10/5/10

For a dozen years, James Wyler has raised his brothers and sister since their parents died.   Andrea is married now, Dennis has numerous problems, and Bobby is still living with James and about to turn 16.   James has done a pretty good job of trying to teach Bobby Christian values.

It is now time for their parents' will to be read.   Andrea is greedy and hoping she gets everything.   Dennis hopes to get enough to pay off the 'anarchists' (part of his problems).

In addition to these issues, Bobby has a friend Eric who is dealing with an alcoholic mother.  Bobby also meets a girl named Liz in school. He likes to dress gothic, but he's been dressing  more like other students to impress her.  She challenges him him to show her who he really is.   That's exactly what he tries to do:  found out who he is.

A nice family-oriented movie with just enough quirkiness and humor to be entertaining.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pro-Life "Guerrilla Journalist" Lila Rose to be Featured on CNN Program Soon

Way to go Lila!

Lila Rose, the pro-life activist credited with using new media techniques to expose abuses at Planned Parenthood abortion activists, will finally receive some credit from the mainstream media. CNN, in a program devoted to what it calls "guerrilla journalists," will feature Rose's work.

Rose is the head of Live Action, a student-led pro-life group that has relied on the use of undercover investigations and hidden camera work to catch Planned Parenthood officials.

The abortion business staffers have been shown covering up cases of statutory rape and sexual abuse, misleading women about abortion's risks and dangers, and giving women erroneous information about the development of their unborn child.

The CNN program "Right on the Edge" will debut next month, according to an article today in WorldNetDaily.

The network talked about the new type of activist journalists like Rose who are "armed with video cameras and ideas," and "post their videos online to get their message directly to the public, bypassing the mainstream media."
"It's a new wave of what they say is old-fashioned guerilla (sic) journalism," said CNN, adding that it is done because there's a "growing distrust of the mainstream media among young conservative activists."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Reviewing "Let the Right One In": A Study of Evil

Oskar is a lonely and bullied 12-year-old. Eli is the 12-year-old girl who moves into the apartment next door. They form a friendship over puzzles and Morse code. Except that, as Eli tells Oskar, she is not a girl. He must discover for himself that those puzzling words mean she is a vampire. Naturally, one cannot have a vampire in the neighborhood without missing people and murders, which leads to an interesting and telling sideplot about someone who is attacked but lives through it.

This is a Swedish vampire movie and, as such, is somehow completely Swedish with contemplative photography, neutral colors, and the square, Ikea-ish buildings. It is also somehow completely a vampire movie in the truest sense of the word with evil dominating everything once Eli shows up. That evil is expressed through gore that is also somehow completely in line with a Swedish movie because we are as distanced as it is possible to be from it. Much more immediate is the bullying that Oskar must endure, which is an interesting contrast to the unworldly vampirish sort.

At one point we had to pause the movie for some reason and I told Tom that this was not the "great movie" I had seen praised by so many. He said, "Well you can look forward to the American remake. They'll probably have an explosion or two to liven it up." I had to laugh ruefully. How true.

However, our appreciation of this film grew greatly through reflection and conversation as we put together the puzzle pieces more completely. In fact, I am now going to be curious to see the American remake because we all wonder if the Americans will not somehow find it irresistible to muddy the moral message.

It is definitely worth seeing for the artistry and for the unflinching examination of evil, our attraction to it, our own muddling of what we know to be right and wrong in order to grasp what we find attractive, and the fact that we have the power to turn evil away or invite it into our lives. Oh, and for the cats scene in the apartment. Definitely for the cats scene. Never have cats been so ennobled in the fight against evil.

Caution for viewers: Rated R. There is, of course, vampire induced gore and violence. As well, there is a one second flash of nudity (Eli's genitals). Scott Nehring at Good News Film Reviews rightly points out that this is child porn. However, and this is a big however, the moment when this happens is well telegraphed. We know Oskar is going to look ... and with that warning ... we can not look. I avoided plenty of this movie's vampire violence in that way and wish I had done so for that moment of nudity. Having read Scott's comment, however, I was curious though wary about exactly what he meant. He's right. It adds nothing except some disgust. Do what I say, not what I do. Don't look.

Further reflections upon the message ... with POSSIBLE SPOILERS
(I have tried to do this without spoilers, but for those who want absolutely no clue about the story then this is something to skip.)

Unbelievably, I have seen this called a tender and pure love story. That is far from the case, if we are seeing it clearly and sorting out all the evidence that we are given right up to the very end of the film.

It can be difficult to sort out the evil and our feelings because we see that 12-year-old girl and want to find some redemptive value in the friendship she has with Oskar. Again and again we are shown her monsterish habits and yet somehow still shake them off because they come in the sympathetic guise of a pretty young girl. This leaves us turning against what our brains tell us to be true as we watch victims lured to their end and instead relating to Oskar, who is at best emotionally stunted since he wants not just relief from the bullies but the ultimate revenge which he is too weak and afraid to exact.

At the end of the movie, we are left with the contrast between the actions of the attack victim who could tell what she was becoming, the fate of Eli's original companion, and the deliberate luring (some might say wooing) of Oskar. In considering the fate of Eli's original companion, we see what Oskar's fate is. That fate is not any semblance of love. It is the result of cooperating with pure evil.

Movie Review: Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - PG13

Gordon Gekko is back after spending 8 years in prison. One of the first people he connects with is Jacob Moore, the fiance of Gordon's estranged daughter Winnie.

Gordon and Jacob have a common enemy:  Bretton James.  Bretton caused the downfall of Jacob's company, causing the suicide of someone close to Jacob.  Bretton also contributed to the evidence that put Gordon in jail.  
The common theme is, of course, greed. I did feel that Shia Labeouf brought some humanity and sincerity to the character of Jacob.  He is devastated when someone close to him commits suicide.  He also really believes in the new fusion energy startup that he is trying to help get started.  Gordon's motives, however, are always unclear.    I found the character of Winnie  to be very self-righteous and very slow to forgive.  She was the only character I didn't care for. Gordon's  character actually showed more about accepting people as they are.

I really enjoyed the integration of the characters with the story.  Although it is not necessary to have seen the original Wall Street movie to understand and appreciate this one, I think I did enjoy it more because I did see the original.  And yes, Charlie Sheen does make a very brief cameo as Bud Fox  :)
Very entertaining and worth seeing.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Movie Review: Alpha and Omega - PG

Kate and Humphrey are two wolves in the same pack, but she's an alpha and he's an omega.  They have fun together, but she is supposed to marry Garth, an alpha from the Eastern pack.  The two packs are rivals for the food in the valley, and their wedding is supposed to unite the packs.   While out goofing around, Kate and Humphrey are shot with tranquilizers and driven to Idaho to repopulate there.  Instead, they work together to find their way home.

I found the story very entertaining, as the wolves are portrayed as pretty fun creatures who sing and dance.  There is quite a bit of humor, quite clever, and not the crude type.

a very wholesome movie, entertaining for the whole family.

New Irish cartoon will feature main character with Down syndrome

A new children's cartoon in Ireland will feature "Punky" a six year old girl with Down syndrome. It promises to be a positive portrayal, treating her as just one of the family. This cartoon is perhaps a result of living in a nation where 90% of babies with Down syndrome are not aborted. Abortion is still illegal in Ireland, and a visiting US professor wrote an article about how casually children with Ds are accepted in Irish society.
The only US cartoon to feature a character with Down syndrome was Family Guy, which was a disaster, as it led to a disgusting song about the sexuality of girls with Down sydnrome. People with Ds are a novelty in this nation, and an object of ridicule, not simply members of the community as they are in Ireland.

Gerard O’Rourke from Monster animation says that the main character Punky is a playful six year old girl who lives with her family but she is slightly different to other children. O'Rourke told the Evening heard that judging from their research this is the first ever series where the main character has Down Syndrome.

"It was unique and scary to deal with the subject matter on a mainstream cartoon. Down Syndrome Ireland provided a great bedrock and they were completely behind the idea of us doing the show," he said.

He added: "We wanted it to be shown among mainstream cartoons. It's not like a special show being shown at a special time. It'll be shown in amongst Dora the Explorer and Peppa Pig."

Good for Mr O'Rourke! You can't accept a type of person you rarely see, so frequency of contact leads to acceptance. I have never faced rejection of Christina by children, merely curiousity.

Maybe American TV will carry the show and teach young people in the US what a child with Down syndrome is like, they would certainly have to search far and wide to find one here.

Read the entire story at Irish Central.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review: "Dear God, I Don't Get It"

Dear God, I don't get it!
by Patti Maguire Armstrong
Illustrated by Shannon Wirrenga
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2009

Why does God answer some prayers and not others? This is a question that plagues even adults. Sometimes, we pray so hard and think we know what God should do in our lives. And then, God does something else or He does nothing. What gives? For children, these questions can be even more acute. Without a lifetime of experience to rely on, God ignoring a prayer can be a faith-shaking incident.

That is the premise behind "Dear God, I Don't Get It." Patti Maguire Armstrong tells the story of sixth-grader Aaron Ajax. His father just lost his job and he has to move from Montana to North Dakota as a result. He prayed and prayed that this would not happen, and God just didn't pay attention. He has to leave his friends behind and while his younger brother Luke is making new friends easily, Aaron seems to only be making enemies. Nothing is going well for him. He concocts a plan to be a "hero" in order to get some positive attention, but that blows up in his face as well. Yet, God can use even bad things for good, and by the end of the story, everything has worked out, and Aaron decides that God knows what He is doing after all.

Armstrong writes with a good sense of humor that will appeal to the 8 - 12 age group that this book is targeted toward. It is a story with an important lesson on prayer for children, and the adults who care for them (and who might read this book with them). For those interested in delving into the story on a deeper level, there are discussion questions in the back.

Polish priest Fr Jerzy Popieluszko

Polish feature film about Blessed Father Jerzy Popieluszko. This is the trailer with English subtitles,
director Rafał Wieczyński, soon in theaters in Europe.

A story of a martyr Priest for freedom of Poland, beatified June 6, 2010 in Warsaw.
He was charged with "Abuse of freedom of conscience" by the Russian Communists UB [secret service] regime in Poland.
He was thrown into the boot of a car which was driven into Vistula River. It took several days to discover his beaten body.

His martyrdom had a huge impact on liberation of occupied under communist Central and
Eastern Europe, especially Poland.

Book Review: : "The Pawn" by Steven James

The central character is FBI agent Patrick Bowers. He is a widower (he's still mad at God about that) with a teenage stepdaughter he has trouble relating to. Pat is called into help catch a serial killer dubbed the Illusionist, who leaves a yellow ribbon and a chess piece at his kills.  

The case becomes more complicated when it is tied to the Jonestown massacre and apparently might involve the Governor of North Carolina (the story takes place in Asheville, NC). 

This is the first, but definitely not the last, novel of Steven James I've read.  He is masterful at diverting the reader from the true killer, and the twists and turns will leave you constantly wondering what is next, and who the guilty person is. 

Mr. James devoted more time to the plot than to character development, which was very successful, because we get a more detailed and entertaining story as a result.   The two characters we learn most about are Pat himself and his daughter Tessa.  However, we do learn enough about the killer's childhood and  life to life to see why he kills.  I like the plot twists at the end,and  especially that a relatively insignificant character plays a key role in saving people.

Content warnings include the gore of the murder scenes.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interview with Amish Grace Producer Larry Thompson (available on DVD September 14)

Leticia: I am very excited to talk to you about “Amish Grace”; I was very impressed by it.

Larry: Why, thank you very much.

Leticia: What appealed to you about that story?

Larry: Well, you know, I was so touched by this community, and the ability to offer absolute and immediate forgiveness in light of the tragedy that they suffered. It was almost inconceivable to me. And it was in the learning of the story and knowing more about it that I thought, this is just a fabulous potential movie because of the message that it has.

As a Catholic boy, I have been praying “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”. I realized that I’ve been talking the talk, but I didn’t even know what it meant, these people actually walked the walk and really evidenced their deep spiritual understanding of what the Lord’s Prayer is, and what’s required of us.

The movie’s not set out to tell everybody what they should do with their life, that if your child is killed you should immediately forgive the killer, we’re not preaching that’s what you should do, but we are showing you that these people did do it, and maybe offer some inspiration and hope to where it gets people to think.

Leticia: There’s nothing like the power of a true witness. Steve Greydanus, the film critic at National Catholic Register took the message very much to heart, and did apply it to his life.

Larry: That’s wonderful!

Leticia: Did you know that 40% of your audience of “Amish Grace” was Catholic?

Larry: No, I did not know that! I do know that it was the highest rated, most watched movie in the history of the network.

Leticia: I hope that you are going to build on your success by producing similar faith based films?

Larry: You know its interesting that you should mention that, I had lunch yesterday with Sr Rose Pacette (Daughters of St Paul who have an apostolate in the media) at their convent. She’s just absolutely wonderful, and she invited me to lunch over at their convent. And the network was so pleased by the results of this particular movie, they said, “OK Larry, next Palm Sunday is yours”.

Do you know I’ve been looking and looking and I can’t find a movie. I thought I had found it with the movie based on the book called “The Shack” and actually, I tried to get the rights to it, but it’s mired in a lot of legal problems, and I wasn’t able to do it. But I’m looking for the next movie that’s faith based. I’m looking everyday for stories for this.

Leticia: I think we all learned a lesson from the meteoric success of “The Passion” about the size of the Christian audience.

Larry: Well, you know, Leticia, I haven’t been one who’s been interested in making faith-based movies, I’ve been a very commercial producer and representative of talent my whole career, this is just a story that I saw and loved, and it was very difficult to sell it, it was very difficult to write, it was 13 drafts, it was difficult once it was finished being written, to convince the network they should air it because they were concerned that it was too sad, it was too depressing. I kept saying, “its not about the tragedy, its about the aftermath”, and that’s esoteric terms in Hollywood.

Its not like if you go to church on Sunday, in Chicago or New Orleans, but it is when you are pitching to Hollywood, because they don’t get it. Once they saw the film, oh, it was their idea, and even when it was about to air, they wouldn’t air it on Lifetime, they aired it on Lifetime Movie Network, and they didn’t want to give us a full budget, they gave us a smaller budget, because they just didn’t know. They just didn’t know, it wasn’t like their normal fare.

Of course, what happens? We get the word out, through groups like you and the Catholics who see it, and understand it, and spread the word, and then the movie has a life of its own on the air, most watched, highest rated original movie in the history of the Network.

Leticia: You mentioned “rage” in your book Shine, which gives advice on achieving your professional goals, you say it takes “talent, team, luck and rage”. Tell me more about channeling rage and who does it well.

Larry: I use ‘rage’ meaning its beyond that you hope something happens, or that you wish something to happen, or even if you have a passion for it to happen, if you really want to succeed, you really have, in your mind, have a maniacal tunnel vision, buy a one way ticket to where you’re going. You can’t have options.

Leticia: You’re talking about drive?

Larry: Yes, and Mel Gibson, in the making of “The Passion of the Christ”. He had that level of rage.

Leticia: Oh, he had that, but he’s having a difficult time channeling that rage lately.

Larry: You know, isn’t that true, but, you also have to separate the man from the talent, and the talent from the passion, just because he’s flawed, as we all are, doesn’t mean his intent and his passion for his message wasn’t pure.

I made “Amish Grace” and I think it’s a wonderful message for the world to enjoy, but I certainly don’t claim to be perfect, by any means, I’m learning myself from my own movies.

Leticia: I’m sure that passionate, talented people are very difficult to live with.

Larry: Right now, in the management division of my company, I represent stars from Joan Rivers to David Hasselhof, and William Shatner. I say to my wife some mornings, I say, “It’s only 9 o’clock, heck, I’ve already talked with William Shatner, Joan Rivers, and David Hasselhof”. I mean that’s not a day at the beach.

Leticia: No I’m sure its not.

Larry: But these are driven, talented, gifted people, who have there own charms, talents, toils, and demons and everything else, but to reach a level of success or to penetrate the consciousness, you have to have a level of commitment, everybody wants it but few people are willing to pay the price.

Leticia: That’s right.

Larry: And that’s what ‘rage’ is about, somebody who doesn’t have a choice and doesn’t see it as rage actually its just who they are and what they do.

Leticia: Or an inner passion for what they do

Larry: Exactly.

Leticia: Who do you think is the funniest person on TV?

Larry: You know the young kid who is on “The Big Bang Theory”? Jim Parsons, is that his name? He’s very funny. My humor is a little edgier than prime time television, I just finished doing a Comedy Central roast of David Hasselhof. This fall you’re going to be seeing William Shatner on a new series called. “Bleep, My Dad Said”. I think it’s very funny.

Leticia: Tell us bout your TV biopic of Oprah.

Larry: Actually I just got off the phone on that, that’s what I’m into as we speak. I think Oprah is probably one of the most fascinating people on planet earth and being from Mississippi myself which is where she’s from, I find it remarkable to go from a African American little girl in a rural Delta to the world stage as Oprah, that’s a fascinating journey.

Leticia: It sure is, why do you think she’s so popular with American women?

Larry: I think that she speaks a lot of truth to them and I think she’s gained their confidence and its interesting that 25 years later she’s coming to the end of her show as we know it, and I thought that this movie would be a three dimensional telling of her story and celebration of her life and something I think a lot of people would be interested in. Again she’s not a perfect person either.

Leticia: Yes, I believe she had suffered abuse in her family and she overcame that and I think that’s one of the reasons women love her.

Larry: Oh I think so too, I think they see her as an early victim who overcame many challenges.

Leticia: Can you hint at who’s playing Oprah?

Larry: No, I don’t know that myself yet. I’m open not only to recognizable stars, but I’m also thinking in terms of an unknown.

Leticia: Your book division is an interesting, how did you get involved in that?

Larry: Well, you know when you have an idea and sometimes you think it’s a movie and you find out its not, maybe its TV movie maybe it’s a feature film maybe it’s a book or an album, you never know. The ideas we have and the projects that interest us sort of take a life of their own and we follow that to where you can get it distributed, it’s all about distribution. If you have a great idea and no one to finance or to buy it you don’t have anything.

Leticia: And that’s where you come in.

Larry: Yeah that’s what I do. We’re sorta like water, when you turn over a bucket of water, and it just go wherever it’ll go, and we have to follow it sometimes.

Leticia: That’s right, you follow it to see what’s ahead, and you have such a good reputation I’m sure if you back something it would sell.

Larry: Well we try; I mean you do this long enough that you start to sense a pattern of what you think people will buy. I’ve done 23 movies and every time I sell or pitch the next idea, on one hand they are counting on me to pitch up something that’s going to get a high rating or have a big box office, however, it’s a very fickle public, and it’s very difficult. There are so many factors that none of us control. But you know what? The truth of the matter is that if it’s a great story the water will find an outlet, and it’ll reach the public.

Leticia: What do you think are the elements of a great story?

Larry: I think it’s a story in which the viewer can relate to in some way to their own life. The telling of a story has to be historically from people sitting around a campfire and telling a story to going to see movies like Avatar, its all about storytelling its all about people listening to other people’s adventures or experiences and being able to extract from the story the emotional journey the characters went through and apply it to their own life. We will never as an individual, experience all the things that all the characters went through in all the stories we’ve ever seen, but by absorbing and witnessing their story and adventure and emotional life we are enriched, we are prepared, and it enlightens us to who we are as people and who we are as a civilization and as human beings. I think a good story does that. If the story doesn’t allow the viewer to be entertained, to learn and get lost within the characters it’s not doing its job.

Leticia: Well you know who else was a good story teller? Jesus.

Larry: He was the best.

Leticia: He recognized the power of a good story.

Larry: It’s interesting that you say that because He used a parable to tell His story, and a movie is a parable.

Leticia: And I think Catholics are essentially gifted at that because we acknowledge that the faith is shown not explained. Some of the Protestant movies are a little bit talky; movies made by Catholics are more symbolic like The Passion.

Larry: Exactly right. My gosh, you are quite a student of this!

Leticia: I have been working on a script of my own and trying to understand what makes a good story. You show your point, f you can’t make your point through characters and storyline forget it!

Larry: Exactly.

Leticia: I’m used to a tough audience as a classroom teacher, if you don’t reach your audience in the first five minutes, you’re dead!

Larry: (laughs) it’s truly a pleasure, I mean it!

Read more about Larry Thompson and his work here.

Reviewing Secretariat: "He holds not back at the sound of the trumpet."

Do you give the horse his strength, and endow his neck with splendor?

Do you make the steed to quiver while his thunderous snorting spreads terror?

He jubilantly paws the plain and rushes in his might against the weapons.

He laughs at fear and cannot be deterred; he turns not back from the sword.

Around him rattles the quiver, flashes the spear and the javelin.

Frenzied and trembling he devours the ground; he holds not back at the sound of the trumpet,

but at each blast he cries, "Aha!" Even from afar he scents the battle, the roar of the chiefs and the shouting.
Job 39:19-25
These are the opening words of the movie, Secretariat. It is part of God's speech to Job when asking him where he was when God made the world. Unusual as it is to hear a long passage from the Bible quoted when showing us a racehorse glorying in running, it is nonetheless a perfect definition for the true story of Secretariat and his owner, Penny Chenery.

In 1969, Penny Chenery is a Colorado housewife and mother when she must take on the management of her ailing father's Virginia horse stables. Struggling to make ends meet, she hires veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich) who is haunted by past big losses. When a crucial decision must be made about which colt may become a winning racehorse she goes against conventional wisdom in what will become a pattern for the future. Using her hard won knowledge, innate sense of what is right, and stubborn determination to never give up, Penny Chenery makes great inroads into the male-dominated business.

There are inevitable strains on family and marriage as Chenery continually commutes and runs the business as well as being a wife and mother. These are not a large part of the movie but are nonetheless important subtext for what Chenery accomplishes, as is the parallel journey with a daughter who is discovering her true self. Although most of the attention is on Chenery's struggles, we also become well acquainted with that incredible horse, Secretariat, including his prodigious appetite, trademark late start from the gate, sheer joy in running, and endearing love of the limelight.

It is no secret that Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, but just as in watching the movie Apollo 13, knowing the outcome in no way detracts from the tension when viewing this film. This is a true story that reads like a work of fiction with myriad unbelievable twists and turns. I remember watching the three races in which Secretariat ran and the truly amazing performance he gave at The Belmont, in the crowning victory. However, I had no idea of what was at stake or the road traveled to get there and this behind-the-scenes story was fascinating.

The overall message is that we must live life to the fullest, joyfully, and to strive with all that is in us to do our utmost. Emphasizing that message was the unashamed reference to religion in the movie. From the beginning when the book of Job is quoted at length, to joyous gospel songs at two crucial scenes, to the stable hand Eddie's comments about lifting each other up, there is a definite subtext of faith which is as rare these days as it is welcome. This is skillfully done without ever clubbing the viewer over the head, which is also welcome.

This is not a perfect movie. The missteps seemed to always be in a desire to "help" the audience understand the movie better. I am not sure whether it was the director or studio who felt that the audience wouldn't understand the speed and power of the horses in some of the close racing scenes without using modern editing techniques (removing frames perhaps?) to make the motion seem faster. The overall effect, however, was to give us less to see of the very thing that they wanted to celebrate, namely the power and speed of these graceful animals and their riders as they compete. Reality, in this case, did not need enhancement. Likewise, when one of the daughters said her mother was "Awesome," I winced. Not in 1973. She'd have said her mother was cool or groovy. We get it. Stay in character. Conversely, the place where we could have used the help was in including a long shot of the end of the Belmont race, where one really needs a visual demonstration to understand the enormity of just how that race turned out. However, these are relatively minor flaws and easily overlooked.

I was stunned when director Randall Wallace appeared at our preview screening. He spoke feelingly about his pride in making a family movie celebrating time honored virtues which anyone in America could watch. He can be rightly proud of this accomplishment in telling an incredible story in a captivating, inspirational way. As the movie began I was reminded of the movies that Disney used to make long ago. Toward the end, it had surpassed them in the richness of the storytelling.

The question on everyone's mind going into this movie is most probably, "How does it compare with Seabiscuit?" I can tell you that it would be like comparing apples and oranges. Both are enjoyable in their own ways. Seabiscuit was more of a period piece and multiple character study. This is a straight forward, inspirational movie of the same sort as The Blind Side. The actors are not called upon to stretch their talents in part because they are telling a straight forward story. The possible exception to this might be John Malkovich who, for a change, was not playing John Malkovich as is the trend lately. He turned in a charming and likable performance as the quirky, flamboyantly dressed, but overall normal trainer.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Like Dandelion Dust (2010)

Should I see it?


Disclaimer: I need to acknowledge that the producers of this film also operate, a site which reposts some of my reviews.  I have no financial or other business interest in this production and am reviewing this as I would any other film.

I did not have high expectations.  This is a "Christian film" about families and parenting and whatnot.  Heck, it has a dang flower in its title.  When I sat down I was prepping myself for an overwrought flick with more cheese than the Wisconsin State Fair.

I was wrong.

This is a strong movie from opening to close.  It is very impressive and I expect it will do well.

Rip Porter (Barry Pepper) has just returned from a 7-year stint in the hoosegow for beating the Mrs.  His wife, the grossly over-optimistic Wendy (Mira Sorvino), has waited for him to finish his sentence.  Apparently, Rip was sweet for a moment prior to the drinking and the pummeling, as Wendy was pregnant when he was sent off to jail.  While he was locked up, she adopted out their baby son.

When Rip returns he learns of the adoption and due to a paperwork error, is allowed to demand his child back.   Rip's son, Joey (Maxwell Perry Cotton) currently has an idyllic life with a loving mother Molly (Kate Levering) and a wealthy, attentive father Jack (Cole Hauser).  The state sides with the Porters and Joey is forced to begin visitations prior to his eventual permanent relocation to the set of Hee-Haw. 

This conflict may seem to be a little inorganic - it is.  There are many moments where the film has to stop and characters explain why this logical conclusion won't work or this logical course of action can't be taken.  It is a distraction.  I found it to be a forgivable one given that this stark conflict is undeniably engaging (in particular for parents) and provides rich ground for the actors.

I give a great deal of credit to director Jon Gunn (Mercy Streets).  Gunn has shown an even hand for material that many directors would have overplayed.  In some cases he allows his scenes to slip towards melodrama (it is pretty much unavoidable) but just enough to tugs at the audience.  For the most part, his patient delivery allows his scenes to develop naturally.  This allows his actors the space they need to work and to flesh out their characters.  The result is a cast-wide performance that rivals anything you're going to see this year.  Usually you will find one, perhaps two strong performances in a film.  Here, the entire cast is outstanding.  Even in what amounts to a minor role as the hapless State Agent with a heart of gold, actress L. Scott Caldwell provides a very human, convincing performance.  Usually, this kind of role is functionary and forgettable.  She had me feeling sorry for her - rooting for her to do the right thing. 

The main cast is very strong and provides Oscar-worthy performances. Mira Sorvino and Barry Pepper will likely get wide praise for their work - and they should.  They managed the hard task of making Rip and Wendy into something other than slack-jawed hicks and give them a wider appeal.  This is not an easy task given that they are not presented as being villains, but troubled people wanting an better life.  They are committing a wrong, but Pepper/Sorvino make us still sympathize with their cause.  How often can you say you've watched a movie and you could find yourself rooting for the wrong people to win?

Countering Sorvino and Pepper is Cole Hauser and Kate Levering.  Hauser is the real surprise in the film.  From what I have seen, most of his previous roles have not provided him with much dramatic depth to explore - there is only so far one can go with productions like The Cave or 2 Fast 2 Furious. In this film, Hauser shows that he has often been underused.  Jack is not a simple character.  Jack is given all of the action for his family's side of the conflict (Molly is a reactionary presence).  Hauser needs to both be likable enough for us to want Joey to end up with Jack.  Conversely he also needs to be a big enough jerk for Rip and Wendy to fuel our sympathy for them as well.  Hauser balances these conflicting goals and gives what I see as the best performance in a cast full of memorable performances.

I've complained for years the Christian film has been too focused on the sermon and not enough on the audience.  This film is a perfect example of what Christian filmmakers should be doing - MAKING GOOD MOVIES WORTH WATCHING.  We need more Christians filmmakers and less Christian films and this production is a good example of what that looks like.

This is a relatively small film.  It may not yet be playing at your local multiplex.  It should be.  To find a showing near you, follow this link:

Visit the official website:

Click here to buy your copy of 
You Are What You See:
Watching Movies Through a Christian Lens

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review of Where do Priests Come From?

Where do Priests Come From?
Written by Elizabeth Fiocelli
Illustrated by Shannon Wirrenga
Reviewed by Christine Capolino
Recently, my sweet, compassionate, blink-and-she's-grown-up-niece married her beau, a young gentleman who is her complement-in-kindness, in a fairy tale setting at the foothills of the Catskills. What was so remarkable though, about their nuptials, was not so much the stunning, pearl encrusted, ivory gown. Not the breath taking views of the sun sinking into the Hudson from the reception venue, periwinkle sky laced with chunky marshmallow clouds, just narrowly escaping Hurricane Earl's predicted drama. Not the impeccable toasts, sometimes bittersweet, sometimes humorous, presented by maid of honor, best man and father of the bride. Not even the fact that the couple married in the Roman Catholic church where the bride's family has decades of history and where the bride was conferred all of her sacraments is cause for the incredulity of this event. Oh, those combined to make an extraordinary day for the couple and all the guests, without question.
No, what made this wedding remarkable indeed, is the fact that the bride and groom secured the catering hall, the florist, the gown, the limo service and the photographer almost two years in advance, as they chose to delay their nuptials, scheduling their wedding day around the celebrant. The Priest! Even more extraordinary? The celebrant is a friend of the couple, from The College of the Holy Cross, who after receving the call to the priesthood, continued to the seminary and received the Sacrament of Holy Orders just months ago.
Imagine the added graces of receiving the Sacrament of Matrimony at a Mass officiated by your friend, who answers God's call to a vocation? Imagine. That was truly the beauty of this couple's marriage vows. Beauty that each congregant felt, due to the tenor of personal touches brought by this man of God to the Mass. Undeniably. Additonally, beauty in our collective witness to the sheer power of vocation. Particularly during these many troubling years for our Church. It appeared to me in a very real way, that collectively, WE are the Church. And across generations, we are learning to heal and move forward.
I felt it a privilege to be asked to review Where do Priests Come From? Practical and informative, Elizabeth Ficocelli's flowing text and Shannon Wirrenga's engaging illustrations offer a delightfully inside journey from the steps a boy may take as he is called to a vocation, to the details of his years as a seminarian and finally, to his ordination.
I love how Mrs Ficocelli introduces the notion of vocation as one of many options that boys may consider as in "They may have dreamed of becoming an astronaut, a doctor or a fire fighter. But somewhere along the way, these young boys also thought about being a priest."
The author clearly and beautifully plants seeds of vocation as a life option among all the lofty dreams that young boys enjoy, when she states that "these boys listen to God's voice in their hearts" to discern their calling and yet sometimes the boys may be "all grown up" before considering the priesthood.
A seminarian's training is demystified as well by the discussion of time spent as a lector, an acolyte and a deacon before ordination. Also, clearly explained are a priest's vows of celibacy, as the freedom to serve God's people; obedience, as the promise to do God's will and follow the Church's teaching; poverty, as the living of a simple life with other priests.
Where do Priests Come From? contains much information regading the type of work a priest may do, how a priest enjoys leisure time and which order he may choose to enter. Additionally, a glossary of words key to the understanding of the book's messages is included.
The author continues to make the priesthood real to children toward the conclusion of the book, by stating that "because a priest is still a man, he goes to confession to be strengthened." This gave me pause to remember last year when my younger son received for the first time the Sacrament of Reconciliation in a community service at our church. He was floored to witness his favorite parish priest - with whom he chats incessantly at every opportunity about all things Jesus and soccer ( ! ) - receiving the sacrament himself! What an awesome sight for a child to witness...for any Catholic...for any individual. As the author tells us, a priest is "a man who makes Jesus real to others, through word, example and the sacraments."
And couldn't we all use more of God's graces in our daily lives as well?
For more information or to place an order for Where do Priests Come From?, please contact the publisher at or (248) 917-3865. Please inquire about bulk rates for vocation awareness programs and for religious education classes.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Book Review: "Sworn to Protect" by DiAnn Mills

Danika Morales is a Border Patrol agent in McAllen, TX. She is also a widow with a daughter, Tiana. Danika is dedicated to enforcing the law, but she balances the requirements of her job with her Christian faith. 

Her faith is also evident in her relationships;  her relationship with Jacob, her deceased husband Toby's brother, has steadily deteriorated in the two year's since  Toby was murdered.  She doesn't know what is wrong with Jacob, but she continues to pray for him and his family.  
Danika also begins a relationship with Alex Price, a doctor at a local hospital who often treats illegal aliens.  He is also Christian, and when one of them is injured, they actually pray together.

Danika soon has a lot more to pray about:  one of her family members is kidnapped and she herself  is  threatened.  At the same time, the Border Patrol is trying to find a rogue agent who is disclosing Border Patrol information.   As Danika faces these events, she also tries to determine if they are related to her husband's  murder.

I like the way Ms. Mills integrates character definition with the story development.  There are many different parts to the story, and they are woven together in a way that builds the suspense.  I really enjoyed this story and the way it portrays someone facing difficult circumstances with God's help.   I look forward to Ms. Mills' next book.

Fr. Robert Barron to launch national Catholic television show on WGN America

Fr. Robert Barron of the Archdiocese of Chicago will begin broadcasting a weekly national television show on WGN America to reach Catholics and others searching for Christ. He will be the first priest since Archbishop Fulton Sheen to have a regular, national program on a commercial television network.

Fr. Barron, a professor at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, runs the global media ministry called “Word on Fire.”

His WGN America show will be titled “Word on Fire with Father Barron.” It will premier at 8:30 a.m. Central Time on Sunday, Oct. 3. It will also run on WGN Chicago at 9:30 a.m.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Movie Review: The Mysterious Islands

I have to admit that before I reviewed "The Mysterious Islands",  I was skeptical of two things: how entertaining would a documentary be?  How will they confront Darwin's theory of evolution?   The question of entertaining was answered by the breathtaking scenery and many species of animals that are showcased.  The whole movie is told from a Christian perspective.
 For me, the key to understanding the debate between Christianity and evolution  is in remembering the distinction between evolution and adaptation.  

The term "mysterious islands"  refers to the Galapagos  Islands, which is where the research team is working to disprove evolution.  Darwin theorized that life began in a pond, where micro-organisms evolved into the animal and human forms that now exist.  This is countered with the creation account in Genesis.  Just as Darwin makes assumptions, there are things we take on faith, that can neither be  proved or disproved.

The case against evolution is stronger than I expected.  For example:
  • an iguana that adapted to the water, as opposed to the land-based iguanas we are used to.
  • a flightless bird whose short wings allow it to feed in the water. (these two adapted, rather than evolving into another species).
  • lava from a volcano proves that the earth is not old enough to support evolution.
  • salt levels in the ocean do not support evolution.
My favorite part was when they took aim at eugenics, which developed out of evolution.  They named H.G. Wells, Margaret Sanger and Hitler as eugenics supporters who believed some people were more worthy of life than others.
The researchers are Christians who value life and acknowledge God as our creator.  I think they did a very effective job.  

I highly recommend this movie, especially for parents whose children may be attending a school in which they are taught evolution.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Book Review: Stories for the Homeschool Heart

Stories for the Homeschool Heart
Compiled and Edited by Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas
Waterford, MI: Bezalel Books, 2010

As the title suggests, “Stories for the Homeschool Heart: Heavenly Stories of Inspiration, Hope and Joy” is a compilation of stories by homeschoolers and friends of homeschoolers intended to bring support and encouragement to others traveling the homeschooling journey. Patti Maguire Armstrong and Theresa A. Thomas have done a commendable job putting together this treasure-trove of stories. Some of the featured writers include Armstrong and Thomas themselves as well as pro-life blogger and speaker Leticia Velasquez, Catholic Exchange editor Mary Kochan, author Nancy Carpentier Brown, creator of the Little Flower’s Girls Club Rachel Watkins, and author Elizabeth Foss. Divided by topic, the stories discuss things such as being called to homeschool (for most of us it comes as a surprise. God really had to hit me over the head with a 2 x 4 to get me to do it), lessons learned, faith, prayers answered, and the fact that learning never ends.

The section that spoke to me most was “It’s Not Always Easy.” I think sometimes homeschoolers try so hard to put a positive spin on homeschooling (and there are many positive things) that we hesitate to acknowledge all the hard days that can come along with the territory. It can be comforting to know that others struggle and yet manage to keep going. In particular, the section “A Word from your Father” featuring encouraging Bible verses is so helpful it should be taped onto every homeschoolers wall or refrigerator for a pick-me-up on tough days.

The writers of these stories are all incredibly faith-filled people whose life journeys have led them to homeschooling, some for a season, some for many years. The only caveat I would offer to readers of this book is that the vast majority of stories are from people with large families. As a Catholic homeschooling mother of two, I feel it is important to acknowledge that Catholic homeschooling families can come in all shapes and sizes. Overall, however, “Stories for the Homeschool Heart” is a great gift to the Catholic homeschooling community and I thank Armstrong and Thomas for bringing it to fruition.

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Amish Grace available on DVD September 14

This film based on the book "Amish Grace; How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy" premiered this Palm Sunday on the Lifetime Movie Channel. The audience of 4 million broke all previous records for the channel. Grace Hill Media informed me that 40% of the audience was Catholic. Now the DVD is being released and Catholics once again have a chance to 'vote with their feet" and buy a uniquely Christian family film.
See my review here;
They called themselves the ´plain people´ and are characterized by their distinctive lifestyle and dress. They are the Amish of Lancaster County, PA. Still living without electricity or motor vehicles, and within a closed community, the Amish attract a lot of attention from tourists who are curious about why they live without modern conveniences and dress in traditional garb. On October 2, 2006, in Nickel Mines, the Amish attracted an entirely different type of attention. Charles Carl Roberts, backed up his pickup truck to the the community´s one room schoolhouse where he proceeded to tie up and shoot 10 girls execution style, killing five, before taking his own life.

The innocence of the girls Charlie shot and his own admission that he was a sexual predator with intent to abuse again, held the world in the grip of horror. This was the third school shooting that first week of October 2006; however it stood apart from the others by its diabolical nature. The shooter had deliberately targeted the pacifist Amish community because their lack of technology meant that they were more vulnerable. He knew this because for years he had driven a milk truck, collecting milk from their farms. They trusted him and he betrayed their trust by shooting of their girls in a premeditated assault because as he stated in his suicide note, Charlie was mad at God for taking his newborn daughter who died 10 years earlier.

Rather than recoiling further from ´the English´, the Nickel Mines Amish community visited the home of Charlie Robert the afternoon after the murders, offering his widow Amy their condolences and telling her that they forgave her husband. It was an unprecedented act of mercy that left the local news team flummoxed. A reporter for the local news station is sent to cover the story and becomes involved in the life of Ida Graber, an Amish woman who is struggling to forgive her daughter´s killer.

At first she is curious about the true motives behind the extraordinary act of kindness on the part of the community elders which include Gideon, Ida´s husband. Because Ida has trouble accepting their actions, she suspects that they do not represent the wishes of the entire community, and that they are imposing the impossible upon their members. Ida has come to the end of her rope, and begs to be driven to her sister Emma´s home in Philadelphia, ending her marriage, since her husband will shun her, as her sister was shunned when she left the community to marry a non-Amish husband.
She forms a friendship with Ida, offering her a way out of the Amish community. Kimberly Williams-Paisley is Ida Graber, the Amish mother or a slain 14 year old whose crisis of faith is less than believable, a case of Hollywood trying to make sense out of a culture which mystifies them. Let the mystery stand, the Amish have their own reasons for remaining apart from the world, and the film does an admirable job revealing the true nature of the Amish.
Tammy Blanchard is passionate as Amy Roberts the widow of the murderer Charlie who was conducting a prayer meeting while her husband was shooting school children. She is s a good wife and mother, who is devastated by her husband´s crimes. She is profoundly moved by the compassionate visit of the Amish on the very day of the murder/suicide, and becomes a distant friend of the community as they rebuild the New Hope schoolhouse.
In the opening scene, the Amish community gathers for a Sunday service and the Deacon says than an English man asked him why they keep themselves separate. He explains, "We are separate, so that we do not stray. Someone who boasts that he is a Christian must walk in the path of Christ. Then he said to me, ´cqn you not walk In path of Christ and watch television too?´ (laughs) I said, well, would be quite the trick. How can we keep our minds on God if we are distracted by worldly pursuits? We cannot. We keep our lives simple so that our path to Heaven will be wide open for us. Let us lift our voices now in expectation in arrival in our true home".

The Heavenly-mindedness of the Amish is the inspiring theme of Amish Grace, and even the faith of a practicing Christian like Amy Roberts pales in comparison to the glowing example of faith in God and unquestioning obedience to His will seen in the Amish community.

No direct violence, nudity or strong language. Highly recommended for the whole family, since the shootings are not portrayed in the film and sexual abuse is not mentioned, however the discussion of murder may be frightening for younger children.

Eduardo Verastegui filming "Cristiada" with all star cast

When I interviewed Eduardo in August 2009, he said he was looking forward to working on a film about the brave priests in Mexico during the 1920's, called Cristeros, who became martyrs for the Faith.
He is now in Mexico, with Eva Longoria Parker,Peter O'Toole, and  Andy Garcia filming "Cristiada".

You can follow the progress of the film, at the film's blog here.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

At father's urging, Estevez makes film he sees as metaphor for life

Actor and director Emilio Estevez reluctantly went to Spain to tell a story about how faith, hope and walking are all part of the American way of overcoming hard times.

The movie has "no nudity. There are no explosions. There are no car chases," said Estevez. "It's about people. It's about this community of broken souls. And there's a ton of humor in it."

Estevez told The Catholic Register, a Canadian weekly, that his new film "The Way" is about American spirituality. The story follows four characters walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, or the Way of St. James, through Spain.

"Americans are searching for something. The Camino serves as the ultimate metaphor for life," said Estevez

Excellent video makes an important point

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Movie Review: Eat Pray Love

Julia Roberts is Liz Gilbert, a married woman who is unhappy in her marriage.  When she tells her husband, he literally begs her to try to work things out.  Despite his willingness to try, she decides to go travel and "find herself".   She has a brief affair with David Piccolo and that doesn't last, so she then goes to India, Rome and then back to India. She tries Hinduism in India, but the majority of the movie is watching Liz and her friends eat.  It's not pretty, in more ways than one.  

I found Julia's character Liz to be very selfish, and totally consumed with self-gratification.  She is clearly looking for happiness.  She strikes me as an obviously depressed person, full of self-pity.

I usually like Julia Roberts' movies, but it's been a while since I found a movie so tough to sit through; in fact, I made it about two thirds  through and left.  I couldn't take much more of watching people stuffing their faces  and feeling sorry for themselves.

One positive thing I could say about this movie is that it reminded me how glad I am that I'm Catholic.

One word: Disappointing.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Review: Breach of "Trust" by DiAnn Mills

Paige Rogers is a librarian in the small town of Split Creek, Oklahoma. What no one there knows is that she is a former CIA operative. She is one of two survivors of a failed mission which killed the rest of her team.  The other survivor is Daniel Keary, who she believes betrayed their team.  Unfortunately, Keary is about to be elected Governor of Oklahoma.

Paige has become  quite at home in Split Creek.  She has also become a Christian, trying to follow God's will for her.  She has also developed a relationship with Miles Laird, the local football coach.  He is also a Chrisian.   They both face each situation as a Christian.  Throughout the story, each of them is constantly praying for God's guidance and, more frequently, for others who need prayers.

When Paige is called back into service by the CIA, it is fascinating to see her struggle to reconcile the super CIA operative she was/is with the Christian she has become and is committed to being.  It  was refreshing to read a good mystery with two characters falling in love without hopping into bed right away.  Paige is also hesitant to get too close to anyone and  endangering them because of her past, and the threat it poses  to her  today.

The characters were particularly well-defined and integral to the story.  I enjoyed "Breach of Trust" tremendously and I am truly hoping it will one day be made into a movie. 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Song that hurts

When a young woman with Down syndrome was features on "Family Guy", as a date for Peter Griffin's son, I was cautious. As the mother of a child with Down syndrome, I welcome media opportunities for our kids, the more people see individuals with Down syndrome leading normal lives, the more accepted they will be in society.
 We were big fans of the show "Life Goes On" starring Chris Burke, an actor with Down syndrome in the 90's,  before my daughter was born. Chris' character Corky was a happy, well adjusted teenager who just happened to have an extra chomosome. Sometimes Down syndrome was a issue, as when he wasn't able to play football with his Dad, due to his spinal instability, and Patti LuPone, as Corky's Mom, did a great job of sensitively discussing the pain of having restrictions put on his activities. This gave society a positive, yet realistic view of life with Down syndrome. And although, I don't like the downward trajectory of morality in the show"Secret Life of the American Teenager", I do appreciate the fact that Grace's adopted brother has Down syndrome. The more postiive TV and movie roles we can give to people with Down syndrome, the less strange they seem, and the less likely babies with Trisomy 21 will be aborted. The abortion rate is currently a tragic 90%.

Sadly, the Down syndrome community which has become more vocal in recent years, in defending the rights and dignity of people with Trisomy 21, dropped the ball over the recent episode of "Family Guy". Because the girl dating Peter Griffin's son was mocking Sarah Palin (she was the daughter of the Governor of Alaska) they seemed to feel awkward protesting her inclusion in the show. The Down syndrome community didn't support Palin, they are not pro-life and she seems to embarrass them. So, when the song "Down Syndrome Girl" denigrating young women with Down syndrome was nominated for an Emmy, the only protest the Down Syndrome Congress coud muster was to request that the  horrible song not be performed at the ceremony. Too little, too late.

Here are the song's despicable lyrics:
"And though her pretty face may seem a special person's wettest dream ...

"You must impress that ultra-boomin', all consumin', poorly-groomin' Down Syndrome girl ... You wanna take that little whore and spin her on the dancing floor ... My boy, between the two of us we'll get you on that shorty bus. ...

"Now go impress that super-thrilling, wish-fulfilling, YooHoo-spilling, ultra-swinging, boner-bringing ... as of Monday shoe lace-tying ... just a little crooked walking, coyly-pouting, booby-sprouting ... happiness and joy-creating, Down Syndrome girl."
No song with those degrading lyrics could be even considered for an award if it were about gays, or a religious, ethnic or racial group. Only vulnerable people who lack the ablility to stand up for themselves are subjected to this type of humiliation. I hope that young men who hear this song do not consider my beautful daughter an easy target, it is a sad fact that children with disabilies are already subjected to more sexual abuse than others.

If the Down syndrome advocacy community were pro-life as they should be (what kind of advocacy group stands by while 90% of babies with Ds are aborted?) they would be proud of Sarah Palin, her courageous choice to give birth to Trig while she was governor, and the positive publicity he has brought to those with an extra chomosome. When the National Down Syndrome Society, and the National Down Syndrome Congress came out with a document entitled, "Towards Concurrance" in 2008 which stated that they are NOT pro-life, their strength to defend the vulnerable was undermined, allowing such outrages to continue.We who know the blessings of loving someone with Down syndrome have formed two pro-lie Down syndrome advocacy groups: Keep Infants with Down Syndrome, (KIDS) and The International Down Syndrome Coalition for Life (IDSC for Life). Both groups support the right of children with Trisomy 21 to be born, and live with dignity. We disagreed with the character from the start, as it was merely a ruse to mock Sarah Palin and her son Trig.
Read a post a the blog The Statesman about the song here.