SpotLight, Book of Mormon, Hasa Diga Eebowai, and the Slingshot

She Said

Tonight’s Agenda

Movie, “Spotlight;”   Slingshot Lounge


Don’t expect cliffhanging hysterics at the conclusion of the movie, “Spotlight.” Rather, the audience is left with a simple black and white screen and the staggering data of the number of Catholic priests worldwide who have exploited and abused the youngest and most defenseless members of the Catholic church. The fact-based story told in “Spotlight” of the sexual abuse of children by the Catholic church, is both stunning and very sobering.

The audience was notably quiet as it exited the theater. It is hard to dismiss facts.

The title of this film is derived from an investigative branch of the Boston Globe called the Spotlight team. Its assignment: investigate accusations of sexual abuse related to a Boston priest and the cover up of his crimes by the Catholic church.  Like Woodward and Bernstein from the comparable film, “All the President’s Men,” the Spotlight journalists uncover a problem that is far more pervasive and virulent than originally imagined.

The Spotlight story does not rely on or require sensational or outrageous performances to penetrate the audience psyche with the degree of evil and harm that has resulted literally at the hands of the supposed most pious individuals in our society. The facts themselves are inherently outrageous and appalling.  Rather one sees the tedious, long, and often dull hours required of dedicated journalists to arrive at the truth.  But the film is never dull as the journalists diligently and bravely uncover the seeming disregard and deceit of the Catholic church towards its victims and society at large.

This is an important film at many levels.  I may sound like an old geezer, but in these days of obnoxious sound bites,  flashy headlines, and theatrical newspeople, it is refreshing to see the portrayal of disciplined and methodical professional journalists and the telling of a news story with depth, context, research and facts.  (Which is why I continue to subscribe to my daily newspaper).  Determining the truth of a news story is often complex and requires greater depth and context to fully understand  its meaning.  “Spotlight” tells the story-not just the headlines-of a very significant news event of our time.

The “higher calling” of this film, however, is not only about bringing attention to the corruption of power or the altruistic performance of a team of investigative reporters. This film demonstrates the responsibility we have as citizens to protect each other, particularly those individuals that do not have the power to protect themselves.  As the extent of the sexual abuse is revealed, one cannot help feeling a sense of shame  that  a problem of this extent had so few individuals speak out on behalf of the victims, and so many individuals protecting  the perpetrators.  The film reveals not only a corruption within a church, but a corruption of our greater humanity.

Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and John Slattery are just a few of the actors working with the “Spotlight” team.  None of them play glamorous or attention seeking characters.  No tight skirts, extramarital flirtations,  or excessive consumption of alcohol.  The power of their performances lies in their humility and professionalism as they diligently commit themselves to getting to the truth of the story.  

“Spotlight” is up for best picture.  There has not been a film in recent memory where I felt such a factual,  honest, and shameful depiction of an aspect of our society. The film inspires questions about truth, responsibility, justice, courage, and spirituality.  These are themes worthy of an Oscar. It was definitely my favorite movie of the year.

Too tired to figure out some new eating establishment to try for dinner, we decided to return to our favorite reliable, Slingshot Lounge.  As much as I was dying to try the Mac and Cheese, I was feeling a burger and fried cauliflower that evening. I still think this is one of the best burgers in town.  The fried cauliflower is always delicately fried and so delicious.  My cocktail tonight was a combination of champagne, brandy, and fresh blood orange juice:  yummy!  We split a salted caramel brownie for dessert:  not too gooey, not too salty, but just right.  

I am always amazed that the two of us can order drinks, an appetizer, two entrees, and split a dessert and have a bill of less than $50.  While there may not be a huge serving staff here,  I am willing to sacrifice some personal attention for very good food and reasonable service at an affordable price point.

He Said

We had a religious weekend

Spotlight is a powerful movie. It is a newspaper investigation, like All the Presidents Men, about uncovering the massive child abuse that took place in the Catholic Church.

Not only was the Church protecting child rapists in Boston, but across the US and the world. Click this link, from the end of the movie, of all the cities where the Church protected child molesters.

The movie deserves its nomination for an academy award. It was the kind of movie to discuss over food and drink, so back to one our favorite spots, the Slingshot. Still the best hamburgers in Portland and a great place for a Hauser (pint of Oly and a shot of whiskey) and curse the evils of the world.

One kevtch for this and every bar.  More often than not they give one, and only one, cocktail menu.  Why?  Then, while one person is reading the drink menu, the waiter asks what we want for drinks.  That process would be speeded up if everyone had a drink menu.

I will note that I always seem to park in from the the marijuana dispensary. If anyone notes my car, with its distinctive license plate, please note, I am NOT in the pot bar. I’m at the bar bar. But it is probably getting to be impossible to park in Portland and not be within walking distance of a pot bar.

The next night was the Book of Mormon.

We had a nice dinner at Swine. Why Swine? We have been there may times in the past for post show food and drink and it was convenient. I like to be within walking distance of the venue. As part of the proof that I am getting senile, as we walked from the bar to the Schnitz I noted there were no crowds. And no mention of the show on the marquee. And then I looked at the ticket. Keller Auditorium. I read the words Keller Auditorium. My brain said Schnitz. We were in the wrong part of town. We made it to the show with time to spare but damn.

We saw the Book of Mormon in New York about a year ago and it was one of Kerry’s favorite shows ever, so when it came to town we had to see it again. This show was very different than the NY show.

In New York the show was funny and kind of uplifting. But in Portland, because I knew the basic play and production, I could pay attention to the content. The play is a vicious attack on religion and belief, using Mormons as a metaphor for all belief. It is kind of like a Lily Allen song, savage lyrics with cheery music. I loved it much more the second time. And after seeing Spotlight I really could appreciate the whole concept of Hasa Diga Eebowai.

I really recommend the show: funny, catchy music, good production, obscene, and profane. I would expect nothing less from the makers of South Park. But I can’t help but wonder how the show, which had a standing ovation, would be received if the audience just read the script and did not have the dance and music to soften the content.

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