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What if Siskel and Ebert had been Latter-day Saints? What movies would they choose to see and which ones would they skip? How would their faith influence their film reviews? Would the appropriateness of cinema content and the prevalence of Gospel-friendly themes be as important as artistry and entertainment value? Most importantly, would Church members be more likely to use their movie reviews than those of other critics?
The answers to these questions are the driving force behind “Mormons at the Megaplex,” a joint project between Grady Kerr and me. Grady is a devout Latter-day Saint and media buff who operates the website Mormon Media Reviews. My site is Mormon Movie Guy. Though we both review current Hollywood releases from a Latter-day Saint perspective, our relationship has always been friendly, not competitive.
When Grady had the idea to start a podcast and a joint website, I jumped at the opportunity to talk about movies and the Gospel with my buddy. The podcasts, which are available for free on iTunes and YouTube, give Church members the reliable opinions of “two witnesses” on whether a particular film is worth your time and money. I say “reliable” because we both strive to live our faith and are passionate enough about cinema to know what we’re talking about. We also try to keep the podcasts light, entertaining, and fun. Occasionally we’ll have guests on the show; recently we invited Tim Bartholomew from Upcoming LDS Films to discuss noteworthy Mormon Cinema on the horizon.
We want to be your #1 source to turn to when making a decision about whether or not to go to a film, and we need your help. Though sometimes we skip movies based on content, often we don’t review a film because we’re busy and pay for our own tickets. The cost quickly adds up for 4-6 movies a month for working family men. What’s more, we don’t record our podcast as regularly as we’d like.
If you believe in what we’re trying to do, would you pledge a few dollars to our Kickstarter fund? For the price of one matinee ticket you can help fund us for a year. We’ll both be able to purchase Movie Passes, which will grant us unlimited movies at theaters nationwide (which means many more LDS-perspective film reviews for you and your family). Meeting our goal will also allow us to record a new podcast every other week.
Depending on the amount of the pledge, contributors will be thanked on the air, given six months free ad space on our site, have their products reviewed on the podcast, and/or given a free signed copy of my book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families. For details, and to make a pledge, please visit our Kickstarter page.
Here’s a little sample of our work. To find more podcasts and reviews, please visit https://mormonsatthemegaplex.blogspot.com/. Enjoy, and we’ll see you at the movies!
Jonathan Decker is a husband, father, and licensed marriage and family therapist. He reviews Hollywood, and LDS, films at his website www.mormonmovieguy.com. Jonathan’s book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, comes out September 10 and is now available for pre-order.