Madwoman Out of the Attic

a feminist trudging forward in a patriarchal world

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Dutcher's gone

I'm sad. Richard Dutcher, maker of Brigham City, God's Army, and States of Grace, and the only decent Mormon filmmaker that I know of, has left the Church. I wonder what the straw was that broke the camel's back. I wonder how related his leaving is to his frustration over the current status of Mormon cinema. This is a sad for for all of us LDS who crave works of art that deal thoughtfully with LDS history, doctrine, and culture.

But as sad as his leaving was, even sadder is the vitriolic and hateful response of Keith Merrill, an LDS filmmaker that works for the Church. See his disturbing opinion piece here. Sad all the way around.


Blogger amelia said...

i personally found dutcher's "farewell" a bit condescending and self-aggrandizing.

but merrill's response. wow. just wow. how can an intelligent person think that such vitriol would do anything but earn him scorn? perhaps i do him too much credit assuming he may be intelligent.

and i take serious issue with his assessment that only the audience determines greatness. complete nonsense. popularity is not an indication of artistic merit. that's not to say i think dutcher's films are great. i think they're okay (the ones i've seen; i haven't seen them all). they're better than the emotional schlock that i encounter through most official church films. but to aspire to be at the top of a list of acclaimed filmmakers who deal with spiritual matters? just a little misguided in my mind. greatness comes through making art, not aiming for the top.

which is all a really long way of saying that it's too bad about dutcher, but whatever works for him. and while he came across to me as a bit pompous in his "farewell," merrill's diatribe is totally unworthy of print.

4/16/2007 9:08 AM  
Anonymous BW said...

If you post a link to Merrill's rant, you should at least post a link to his appology:
I feel sorry for Dutcher. His films were mediocre and now he is submerging into hard R blood and gore.
Regardless of religion, politics or any other view. I cant see how anyone can take pride in creating that kind of explotative trash.

4/18/2007 9:15 AM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Yes, i agree that dutcher came off a bit pompous. But maybe great ambition and vision are inseparable from some pompacity?

BW, thanks for the link. When I wrote the post, I don't think the apology had come out yet. Good for Merrill for sending it in. But too bad he didn't sleep on his original response in the first place.

I don't know what Dutcher has on tap next. For me, an R-rating does not necessarily mean exploitative trash, but if it is just a blood and gore fest, it's too bad he's wasting his talent on that.

4/18/2007 10:34 AM  
Blogger amelia said...

i have to ask where assertions that dutcher is "submering into hard R blood and gore" are coming from. i've never encountered, or heard of anything, from dutcher that would even begin to deserve such an assessment. is this simply a reactionary accusation that if he's saying what he said in his farewell, and leaving mormonism, he must therefore be descending to making nothing but trash? or is there concrete evidence to support the accusation? (and i agree with caroline. an R rating is not an absolute marker of "trash"; there's far too much PG and PG-13 trash out there and too much R good for that to be true.)

4/18/2007 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The incident is sad all around.

The "hard R" term is rather laughable to me. I had never heard it before Merrill's unfortunate rant. I think by using the word "hard" people like Merrill are trying to bring up connotations of "hardcore" which is usually linked with pornography. I have to agree with Amelia that an R rating is not a marker of "trash."

4/18/2007 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, "hard R" is a new phrase, they have only been using for it about 20 years to describe raunchy movies that are as close to the line of NC-17 or X as possible. There are only about 144000 hits if you google the term.

4/21/2007 7:31 PM  
Anonymous T.W. Linsley said...

Yeah I've worked in the industry for most of my life and "hard R" is a legit term. I also read the script to his new film, it's pretty rough. Even Dutcher has said "if it doesn't get an R-rating I'm not doing my job". Really all this is is publicity for his next project. He's working every angle.

5/10/2007 11:43 PM  

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