Feature Films by LDS/Mormon Filmmakers and Actors
Weekend Box Office Report (U.S. Domestic Box Office Gross)

Weekend of November 7, 2003

[If table lines up improperly, use mono-spaced font, i.e. Courier]

Natl Film Title                Weekend Gross  % B.O. Theatrs
Rank LDS/Mormon Filmmaker/Star   Total Gross  Change  $/Thtr   Days
--- ---------------------------  -----------  ------ -------   ----
33  Bugs!                            119,063   -8.5%      27    241
    stars Papilio,                 6,147,316          $4,409
      a Great Mormon butterfly

51  The Legend of Johnny Lingo        26,185 +238.3%      27     73
    Gerald Molen (producer)          640,570            $969
    John Garbett (producer)

59  Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure  12,518  -17.1%       9   1004
    Scott Swofford (producer)     15,425,591          $1,390
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)
    Sam Cardon (composer)
    Stephen L. Johnson (editor)

65  The Book of Mormon Movie Vol. 1    7,961  -74.0%      15     59
    Gary Rogers                      975,721            $530
    Craig Clyde (screenplay)
    David Hales (co-producer, editor)
    Ira Baker (editor)
    Robert C. Bowden (composer)
    Actors: Bryce Chamberlain,
      Mark Gollaher, Jan Broberg Felt,
      Cragun Foulger, Jacque Gray,
      Kirby Heyborne, Michael Flynn

78  Galapagos                          2,956  -40.0%       4   1473
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)  14,185,417            $739

82  Cremaster 3                        2,240  -64.5%       2    199
    Mathew Barney                    496,343          $1,120

86  Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man   1,525  -51.0%       3   1277
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)  15,576,961            $508

99  China: The Panda Adventure           497  -33.5%       1    836
    Reed Smoot (cinematographer)   3,536,908            $497

JOHNNY LINGO BACK ON RADAR - This weekend's winner is "The Legend of Johnny Lingo," which came in at $26,185, a 238% increase over last weekend, grossing more this weekend than any other film on our tracking list. "The Book of Mormon Movie," which last weekend seemed a sure thing to reach the $1 million mark this weekend had on off week, playing in roughly half the theaters it was playing in previously, and may not reach $1 million until it opens in California this coming weekend. For those who are following the film's tour among the previously undiscovered pockets of Latter-day Saint filmgoers, after California, "The Book of Mormon Movie" is scheduled to open in Jacksonville, Florida on November 22nd, Tampa, Florida on November 24th and Anchorage, Alaska on November 28th.

BOOK OF MORMON MOVIE OPENING IN MORE STATES: The official website for Gary Rogers' "The Book of Mormon Movie, Volume 1: The Journey" notes that the movie will be opening soon in Alaska, Florida and California.

* * *

TODAY SHOW SUPERSTAR COMPETITION UPDATE - Sister Jodee Stott, an Ogden mother of 3, remains one of the 4 competitors on the "Superstar" singing competition on "The Today Show."

Jenna Webb, a Latter-day Saint from California (originally from Idaho), whose parents are currently serving a full-time mission in South America, was voted off. Jenna is probably the most attractive person among the original 8 competitors, but her singing was simply not as exceptional as the others.

Donny Osmond is hanging out at the competition on the Today Show today as a judge. The Today Show is currently showing a brief biographical sketch of Donny Osmond. Donny recently received an Emmy nomination as host of the game show "Pyramid." Donny is currently in New York doing a special Broadway edition of "Pyramid."

After Donny heard Sister Stott sing he exclaimed, "That proves that people from Utah have soul!"

Now Jodee Stott remains the only Latter-day Saint among the remaining finalists. The 8 competitors were chosen out of about 100,000 people who submitted audition tapes.

* * *

HEYBORNE/LYDE: TOGETHER AT LAST - Leading LDS Cinema actor Kirby Heyborne has completed filming of a new short film in which he co-stars with Michael Birkeland (who had major supporting roles in "The Singles Ward" and "The R.M." and co-stars in "The Home Teachers"). The film, titled "Hoops," was directed by prolific and mind-numbingly innovative filmmaker John Lyde.

Kirby's real-life son, Maxwell, also has a short part in the film along with Ethan Lyde, the son of the director.

"Hoops" is about two brothers who have always been close until the older brother didn't go on a mission and the younger brother did. Now that the younger brother has returned home he tries to fellowship his brother and help him go on a mission.

Lyde's previous films include "The Field is White," "In the Service of God", "The Collectors" and the upcoming short film "Mariah's Prayer," which will soon be released nationally in the LDS Christian and general Christian markets.

Heyborne can currently be seen in all movies currently playing, and will soon be seen in all of the upcoming movies (except "The Home Teachers," which was originally slated to star him, but he changed his mind and dropped the role).

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"LIKEN THE SCRIPTURES": NEW "BOOK OF MORMON" LIVE-ACTION MUSICAL DVD RELEASED - [PRESS RELEASE] One South Studios is pleased to announce that "I Will Go and Do," the first episode of its Liken the Scriptures series, is now available.

A Marvelous Adventure!

Now you can sit down with your family and share the experience of what is being called "a marvelous adventure" (Joan Peterson, Sounds of the Sabbath, KOSY-FM 106.5, SLC).

The story opens in a Primary room, where a young boy (Garrett Summers) is having a hard time paying attention to the lesson. Instead of chastising him, a loving teacher (Joy Gardner, "Testaments") takes him aside and challenges him to use his very active imagination to make the scriptures come to life. Little does she know that his version of the story is a fully produced musical.

See the story of Nephi and his brothers on the quest to retrieve the brass plates from the fierce Laban as you've never seen it before -- through the eyes of a young boy. "I Will Go and Do" features the talents of Lawrence Bagby ("Hocus Pocus" and "Saints and Soldiers"), Merrill Dodge ("The R.M.") and introduces Jared Young as Nephi.

A Great Christmas Gift!

Uplift family and friends this holiday season by sharing "I Will Go and Do" with them. Priced at $19.95, the DVD or video makes a perfect stocking stuffer.

"I Will Go and Do" is arriving in LDS bookstores throughout November. It is also available online at

Stocking Stuffer Special: Order three or more copies of "I Will Go and Do" online at the website (see link below) and Shipping and Handling is free.

In a world where the values in entertainment are increasingly on the decline, we have done our best in "I Will Go and Do" to create what we hope will be an experience that is both uplifting and entertaining for the whole family. But for a small project like this to make it, we have to rely on people like you spreading the word with your family and friends. Please share this e-mail with others by clicking on the "forward email" button below (we won't add their address to our mailing list unless they specifically request it).

Thank you so much,

Dennis Agle
One South Studios

* * *

SAMPLING OF THE COUNTLESS NEWSPAPER ARTICLES AND REVIEWS THAT APPEARED IN NEWSPAPERS NATIONWIDE ABOUT THE ELIZABETH SMART MOVIE: TV critics nationwide were almost uninamous in their assessment that the Elizabeth Smart TV movie was a better, more interesting TV movie than the Jessica Lynch TV movie. But they generally didn't have high praise for the Elizabeth Smart movie, either. I liked it. I thought it was very accurate and interesting. The acting was fine. But it was journeyman work. Our sources tell us that the writer's sister is a Church member, and I believe that writer Nancey Silvers herself is either LDS or very familiar with the Church. But Latter-day Saint aspects of the Elizabeth Smart story were generally downplayed in the movie, as they were in most of the nation's news media. I don't recall that the name of the Church was ever even uttered during the telepic, nor was the "M" word used as far as I can recall. But the language of prayer and other details were right. The production could have done a better job with some onset details, however: Elizabeth Smart's "mother" appears in some long scenes wearing a sleeveless blouse. The movie definitely seems to have accomplished one of the primary goals of the Smart family: which was to tell the story their way. Prurient details were completely absent, and the movie made a point of showing that Elizabeth was restrained for a long time and tried many times to escape. She didn't just hang out with her kidnappers of her own accord. Clearly the people who wrote this wanted to put to rest speculation about why Elizabeth didn't just run away, because when she was finally rescued EIGHT MONTHS LATER she was not under restraint and gave a police officer a false name. There were a lot of letters to the editor which appeared in the major Utah newspapers criticizing the Smart family for cooporating with the production of the TV movie. But I noticed that without exception, these letter-writers HAVE NEVER HAD THEIR OWN TV SHOW OR MOVIE. So, yeah, it's just sour grapes.

One part of the Elizabeth Smart I found interesting was the part where people were disgusted by at former Salt Lake Tribune "reporter" Michael Vigh for publishing completely fictitious stories about Elizabeth Smart's father and uncle being part of a gay sex club. The movie actually mentioned Michael Vigh by name. Unfortunately, it didn't have an actor portray Michael Vigh. Possibly there was no actor who would stoop that low. I would have liked to hear discussion about Michael Vigh stealing puppies from terminally ill Vietnamese children and making coats out of them to donate to a Ku Klux Klan fund drive. Unfortunately that part was left out because, unlike Michael Vigh's writing, the Elizabeth Smart movie was fact-based.

Michael Vigh claims that he now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, although I have not been able to find his byline in any Nevada newspapers.

Here is a letter by Evan Hurst of Salt Lake City that appeared in the Deseret News (3 Nov. 2003,,1249,525035257,00.html), responding to a letter that Michael Vigh actually had the unmitigated gall to write:

Michael Vigh is a real piece of work. Last year he promoted sleazy innuendo and rumor to besmirch the Smart family. He succeeded in getting his filth onto virtually every supermarket checkout stand in America. Now he seeks vindication for his conduct when the Smarts stand to make some money in making sure that the story is set straight. The Smarts aren't just selling books; they are also reclaiming their good name. I fail to see the shameless marketing of Elizabeth as alleged by Mr. Vigh. The Elizabeth Smart story would have been told in the media of this nation regardless of the actions of the Smarts. It was much wiser on their part to get the truth out first rather than leave the story to the Michael Vighs of the world.

Deseret Morning News (Scott D. Pierce),1249,525036373,00.html,1249,525036893,00.html,1249,525037165,00.html

Salt Lake Tribune (Vince Horiuchi)

San Diego Union Tribune (Robert P. Laurence)

Washington Post (Tom Shales)

Dallas Morning News (Ed Bark)

Toronto Sun (Bill Brioux)

Elizabeth Smart and Jessica Lynch were two of the biggest newsmakers of the year. The head-to-head airing of the TV movies based on their stories was also a major news story, and it seemed every TV columnist in the country, as well as many general and political columnists, wanted to weigh in with their opinions of the movies and the stories. Many wrote about how fame and tragedy today is exploited and used and utilized. There were countless articles about Elizabeth Smart and the TV movie about her in newspapers at this time, and we have only offered the barest glimpse at topic which has America riveted with interest.

ELIZABETH SMART MOVIE TROUNCES COMPETITION; LORIN WOOD HELPS THE OTHER TEAM - The Elizabeth Smart movie trounced the Jessica Lynch movie in TV ratings. Interestingly enough, despite the fact that was forced to declare the Jessica Lynch movie an enemy combatant for going up against our girl in Prime Time, there was at least one Latter-day Saint who worked for the Other Team. Lorin Wood, a Latter-day Saint and BYU student who has considerable work in art departments on movies, was a matte painter for the Jessica Lynch movie. Wood's own website is at:

* * *

NEW MERIDIAN REVIEWS - A new detailed article by co-webmaster Thomas C. Baggaley has been published at Meridian Magazine.

Baggaley, a film composer by trade, reviews a new live-action musical based on 1st Nephi from the Book of Mormon: "I Will Go and Do", the first in the "Liken the Scriptures" series.

Also reviewed: an animated film "Because Sunday Is Special," a children's Primary song sing-along DVD, and the Book of Mormon on DVD, and maybe more...

Check it out... Find out which films Baggaley slices, which he dices, and which one he hails as an triumph of epic proportions.

* * *

POWERLESS: BRITISH LATTER-DAY SAINTS' UPCOMING DRAMATIC THRILLER: 2004 RELEASE PLANNED - The official website is online for "Powerless", an upcoming dramatic thriller made by British Latter-day Saints:

I checked out the teaser trailer available on line. This is a VERY impressive-looking film. I can't wait to see it.

Story: When Sarah left her London home for a remote house in the Welsh mountains, she thought it would change her life. Little did she know it might just save her life. When a rogue terrorist attack renders Britain powerless, Sarah and her family are left alive, but alone. Using what resources they have they must learn to survive in a new and unfamiliar world. However they will soon find that their past is as uncertain as their future. 2004 release planned.

* * *

FROM HALESTORM, IT'S LATTER-DAY NIGHT LIVE - Mailing from HaleStorm Entertainment:

It's Latter-day Night!, a stand-up comedy concert film that the whole family can enjoy! You've seen them perform in comedy clubs across the nation. You've seen them in such films as The Singles Ward, The R.M. and Charly. Now, five of the leading LDS comedians unite for one unforgettable performance of clean, family-friendly comedy! DVD special features include:

- Behind the Scenes of It's Latter-day Night!
- Fun With Chunga
- Trailers for The Home Teachers and The Best Two Years

It's Latter-day Night is now available at for the super low price of $16.95 DVD / $14.95 VHS! It's the perfect gift for anyone who likes to laugh! (Sorry, Uncle LeRoy.)

NEW JOHN MOYER FILM; MOBSTERS AND MORMONS - The following has been added to the Announced page, ( at the request of the writer:

The Western-Relocation Program. Written by John E. Moyer (writer of "The Singles Ward", "The R.M.", "The Home Teachers"). The story of a dysfunctional mobster family placed into the witness-relocation program among an all-Mormon community in Utah. Shooting to begin late spring 2004.







BATTLESTAR GALACTICA MINISERIES - New trailers and other info about the new Sci Fi Channel "Battlestar Galactica" miniseries, a remake of the LDS-inspired science fiction hit series which was created by legendary Latter-day Saint TV producer Glen L. Larson. Note that Larson was not directly involved in the production of the new miniseries. Larson talks specifically about the LDS influences on the series in a featurette included on Disc 1 of the new 5-disc complete series Battlestar Galactica box set, released last month.

* * *

STEPHEN GROO SEEKS ACTOR, ACTRESS, COMPUTER GRAPHICS VOLUNTEERS - Latter-day Saint filmmaker Stephen Groo, a graduate of Brigham Young University, is looking for male and female actors for my upcoming new film "Time To Duel," based on the hit cartoon Yugioh. He is also looking for computer graphic specialists....

Those interested can contact Groo at:

Actors should be prepared to send headshots, resumes, and contact numbers. Ages: 20 and up...also, people from Salt Lake and Utah County area through Payson. This is volunteer work.

Stephen Groo,
Wolf Productions

* * *

CASTING UTAH SHORT FILM: SPY HOP PRODUCTIONS - [forwarded from Michelle K. Wright,]

John Foss here, could you please send this to all of the contacts you are able to inform them of these auditions? This is a volunteer opporunity with Spy Hop productions and we hope to have a good turn out.

Thank you.

Short Story Film Adaptation at Spy Hop Productions is making a 5-10 minute short based off of the children's book "Make Way for Dumb Bunnies"

They are in the need for 7 talented actors for the following roles:

* Roger Bunny (Lead, Ages 25-40, male) father figure, clumsy (Homer Simpson personality traits)
* Jessica Bunny (Lead, Ages 25-40, female) mother, curious, delusional, ditzy, big hair, big glasses
* Buster Bunny (Lead, Ages 7-12, male) son, well-trained, fun, weird *Pool Manager (Principle, Ages 19-30, male) authoritative,confrontational
* Little Girl (Principle, Ages 6-13) adorable, sweet, kind, yet bold *Moviegoer #1 (Principle, Ages 40-70, female) huffy, annoyed *Moviegoer #2 (Principle, Ages 40-70, male) disruptive, grumpy

The auditions will be held Tuesday, Nov. 11 from 4-6 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 13 from 5-6 p.m. at:
Spy Hop Productions
353 West Pierpont Avenue #200B
Salt Lake City, UT 84101

Bring a headshot and resume. This will be a cold read so come prepared from the character descriptions.

Spy Hop is a not-for-profit agency, geared to teach aspiring youth artists about media production (radio, internet, film/video, etc.), thus there will be no pay because this is a student project. The youth making this film will be applying their knowledge and skills they have acquired so far. They need your professional talent volunteered for this endeavor. This is a silly, funny short that you will love to own afterwards. The shooting dates are for a few hours each day and/or evening on the 20th, 22nd, and 23rd of this month.

Come and audition, we hope to see you there.

John Foss
Spy Hop Instructor

* * *

DANSIE SHOWS HIS "COLORS" - Hello all. It has been along time since you have heard from me. I have been hard at work in my home studio working on an exciting project that is due for release in about 2 weeks, with long-time collaborators COLORS (

In February of 2003, COLORS gave their final performance, and 9 by 9 Projects captured this amazing spectacle with 6 cameras. Well, I found that the challenge of editing 6 cameras can be tough, but ultimately rewarding. We have compiled over 2 hours of video from the final concert and bonus features, including their first performance 10 years ago and the original documentary that we produced in 1999, to produce our biggest project yet, a DVD that will be included in their new CD / DVD Combination called COLORS LIVE! releasing to stores mid November, through Excel Entertainment. It has been a delight to work with Russell, Ryan and Brian for the past 5 years and become the best of friends, I feel like one of the band!!!! Look for this in stores soon!

I would also like to remind you that as soon as the end of November, 9 by 9 Projects website will be on-line, with information on the new services we will provide, including some exciting new features for actors and voiceover talent, a new product called Get Reels which is a new innovative demo reel, which compiles all of your demo materials into a fun, interactive source, at an inexpensive cost. Product sheets will be available soon.

Other products and services will include: video/audio scripfting, shooting, editing, compression and DVD Authoring. Digital Video Workshops will begin next year, with special classes on techniques for shooting digitally and in special cases such as preparation for the 35mm transfer.

Also 9 by 9 Projects Digital Film Productions, which is continuing full speed with its Some of Life's Little Lessons film series, which is currently in post-production. We have had the pleasure of hooking up with a remarkable composer named Rob Elliot ( who has written us an incredible theme song which can be heard on the website. We will be shooting a music video and using it to (hopefully) secure distribution rights soon. Rob is the composer for the upcoming LDS film Eat, Drink and Get Married and is quite talented and I am very lucky to have gotten his help.

All information can be seen at or

Please note: is no longer a valid e-mail address.

Please send all inquires to


Tucker Dansie
9 by 9 Projects

* * *

NOTICE POSTED BY CORY SWENSON, ACTOR SEEN IN "THE SINGLES WARD" AND "THE R.M." - This E-Mail is to let you know about auditions for Pillow Talk at Hale Center Theater Orem. It's kind of late notice, but we definitely wanted to let you know in case you are interested. Here is the info:

Hale Center Theater Orem will be holding auditions for .Pillow Talk. the classic Doris Day comedy on Saturday November 8th, from 10:00 am . 12:00 pm by appointment. The comedy will be directed by Eric Jensen and will run from December 29 . February 7. The theater would prefer to single cast this production and are looking for women 25-60 years and men 25-50 years. Actors should be prepared to read cold from the script. For more information and an appointment call the theater box office at 226-8600.

If you want to audition and can't make an appointment due to the office being closed, just come sometime between 10 to 12 on Saturday and we will squeeze you in.

We hope to see you there!

* * *

LOCAL CHURCH LEADER DISAGREES WITH "TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL": "The Columbian," a newspaper serving Clark County in Washington state, ran a lengthy article titled "Tuning in to a higher power: Divine intervention hits pop culture" (written by Tricia Jones, 9 November 2003, The article discussed in some detail how movies, TV and pop culture in general have portrayed Heaven, deity, and heavenly beings such as angels in particular.

Among the many people interviewed for the article were Malena, a Mormon "spiritual advisor" in Los Angeles:

Malena, a Los Angeles-based spiritual advisor who goes by the single name, embodies the example. She grew up in the Mormon faith, went through a phase of born-again Christianity, and studied various religions before deciding on a spiritual path made up of elements she considers to be the best among all faiths.

Malena said anyone who believes in a higher consciousness is usually thankful to see media coverage on the aspects of spirituality.

"As long as directors keep depictions close enough to basic religious principles that the movies are believable, I think people can receive inspiration from them," she said.

Often, however, the drive for higher ratings on TV or bigger box office receipts takes precedence over enlightenment. Malena points out that the entertainment industry is sensitive to social currents linked to the spiritual realm and is quick to capitalize on them.

"Some of (the presentations) are very similar to those described in traditionally held beliefs, and others are wild examples of the imaginations of Hollywood special effects wizards," she said.

Also interviewed for the article was a current stake president in Washington:
Kenney McEwan, stake president, Vancouver Washington West Stake, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

While he attends few movies and watches very little television, McEwan is certain that Hollywood scriptwriters don't depict life, or an afterlife, as they really are. He regards shows such as "Touched by an Angel" as phony.

What McEwan does believe are the teachings of his church. He said Latter-day Saints believe in not just a heaven or a hell, but different degrees of glory. The highest level of glory is reserved for those who are married in the Temple and sealed to each other for eternity.

"We believe between death and resurrection there is a spirit world and there is a great deal of work to do with spirits who have not accepted the Church of Jesus Christ, who have not accepted Christ's gospel," he said. Spirit work can be completed on behalf of the spirits by those on Earth.

Spirits able to pass on to a degree of glory have a destination ahead of them that McEwan can't describe. Nor does that bother him.

"It is a family environment," he said. Much more than that, "it's not important for us to know."

This article lists and briefly describes a number of major movies in which Heavenly beings have interacted with people: Topper Returns (1941); It's a Wonderful Life (1946); The Ten Commandments (1956); Oh, God! (1977); Heaven Can Wait (1978); Field of Dreams (1989); Michael (1996); Meet Joe Black (1998); Dogma (1999); Bruce Almighty (2003). Television series such similar themes are also listed: Highway to Heaven (1984-89); Touched by an Angel (1994-2003); Early Edition (1996-2000); Brimstone (1998-99); Providence (1999-2003); Six Feet Under (2001- ); Tru Calling (2003); Joan of Arcadia (2003); Wonderfalls (in production); Dead Like Me (in production). It is interesting to note how many of these were made by Latter-day Saint filmmakers or actors.

Oddly enough, the article stated about the classic 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments" which starred Charlton Heston as Moses:

It's a mystery to this day who supplied the voice for God in this biblical epic, which tells the story of Moses leading the Hebrews from Egypt. Many suspect it was director Cecil B. DeMille, who did a silent version of the story in 1923 and was sometimes accused of behaving like a semi-deity.
Well, it's really not a mystery. The actor who provided the voice of God in "The Ten Commandments" was none other than Delos Jewkes, a pioneering African-American actor and a convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brother Jewkes died in Provo, Utah in 1984.

Which just goes to show you... If you go looking for God or spirituality at the movies, you're probably going to run into Mormons.

* * *


CHRIS HICKS AVOIDS "LOVE ACTUALLY" FOR ITS PRO-PORN STANCE - Chris Hicks, a Latter-day Saint and the former Deseret News film reviewers (now feature editor for the paper) describes how he was interested in seeing the "Love Actually" (which was NOT made by Latter-day Saints), until he read more about the raunchy content and pro-porn content. He further decries the morally bankrupt content of so much of today's film fare. See the article at:,1249,525036204,00.html

Other reactions by LDS reviewers to non-LDS movies... Eric D. Snider, the former movie reviewer for the Utah County Daily Herald, gave a D+ to the Cuba Gooding Jr. movie "Radio." Nationally, most critics have panned this movie. But to be fair, many moviegoers, including many Church members have liked it, and it does not have much in the way of objectionable content. "Radio" is rated PG.


Snider concludes his review:
"What we have here is a movie that is not claw-your-eyes-out bad, but not worth seeing, either. Is it uplifting? Sure, I guess, in a bland sort of way, like seeing a mediocre junior high school production of "The Miracle Worker." "Radio" mostly just needs to be tuned out and forgotten."

Snider also gives a "D+" to the Meg Ryan porn flick "In the Cut"


Snider begins his review:
"If there ever was an era when America wanted to see Meg Ryan naked -- and this is doubtful -- it surely ended 10 years ago. Yet here comes "In the Cut," a flat, pretentious psychodrama in which Meggers does the full monty, for several seconds, and then she keeps being topless for what seems like hours, and then again later on, for no good reason. She looks fine, especially for a woman of 41, but this is not the way we want to see cute and perky Meg Ryan. Meg Ryan needs to have clothes on. I'm just sayin'. Oh, but there are more reasons to dislike this movie..."

There's no getting around the fact that Meg Ryan was apparently conned by the director (or willing made a stupid decision) into making a blatantly exploitational porn film. (It is blatantly illogical the way that many entertainment writers do not recognize certain films as porn simply because of the stature of the directors and actors involved, even though movies with identical amounts of sex and nudity would be labeled pornography if made by lesser-known actors and filmmakers.)

You'll recall that the local (not necessarily LDS) reviewers for the Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News were united in panning "Radio" and "In the Cut", giving 1.5 out of 4 stars to the movies.

So here's the philosophical question, a question which movie reviewers, because of their professional positions and the peer pressure from their profession are incapable of even asking, much less answering, but which a FORMER reviewer such as Hicks is at least able to approach [see his column - URL above]:

"Radio" and "In the Cut" received the same scores in their reviews from local reviewers. They have roughly the same high percentage of negative reviews as tallied from hundreds of national reviewers on So as much as it is possible to say something like this, these two movies can be said to be essentially equal in terms of artistic merit. Which is the better movie?

The answer: "Radio."

Based on the aggregate (but certainly not unanimous) opinion of local and national movie reviewers, "Radio" and "In the Cut" are both artistically objectionable. "In the Cut" is also a morally objectionable movie. Although "Radio" has some morally objectionable content, it is NOT in the whole a morally objectionable movie.

"Artistic merit" is only half of the movie's overall merit. Actual moviegoers (not movie reviewers) weigh moral content more heavily than "artistic merit." Certainly among Latter-day Saint moviegoers, the majority does this. The lighting choices, the quality of the acting, and camera angles matter less to most LDS moviegoers than whether or not the movie has vulgarity or profanity, whether or not it depicts sex, whether or not it had nudity. LDS moviegoers also weigh the overall moral tone and message of the movie, although whether or not they give these broader concepts more or less weight than the MPAA-observable details such as nudity, sex, language depends on the person.

Non-LDS moviegoers also judge a movie based on its moral and thematic content, and not just its cinematic merit, although they do so based on their own belief systems and personal tastes. Skateboarding fans may think a movie is awesome simply because it features skateboarding. Horror movie fans may love a movie simply because it is particularly gory. Radical abortion rights types may love "Cider House Rules" largely because the protagonist is an abortionist. Southern Baptists are particularly fond of "Birth of a Nation." Some anti-Mormon people react strongly against even the best-made LDS Cinema movies simply because they don't like Latter-day Saints.

But many movie reviewers strive to block all moral decisions out of their decision making, which is anti-holistic and in many ways dishonest, but it's how the game is played. They do this even though doing so yields opinions which do not reflect how the majority of moviegoers feel. Many honest reviewers, including Roger Ebert, are very forthright about the fact that what they do is a purely subjective, personal, opinion-based task. Ebert frequently points out, often in responding to letters from readers, that his reviews are based on his personal reaction to a film.

All of which means that "Radio" is only "half bad", but "In the Cut" is "all bad".

Simplistic? Maybe. But this is how real moviegoers judge movies. We don't notice or don't care about a stray boom mic in the frame or mismatched film stock during one scene. We do notice if this is a movie ridicules our ethnicity or religious affiliation, promotes adultery, or if it uses language we find objectionable.

If you're a filmmaker, you really don't have any say in the matter. A filmmaker can not decide what matters to moviegoers any more than a doctor can decide what matters to patients.