During curtain call after Thursday’s preview performance of Hadestown, something special and moving happened.Read More
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stunned me this week by announcing that it was dropping its infamous 2015 “Policy of Exclusion” (as it is commonly known among groups who consider it infamous).Read More
I’m a sucker for live televised events, so I found myself tuning in this week to the General Conference Commercial Event the Apple corporation throws from time to time.Read More
I’m a big fan of Gimlet podcasts. But I won’t be downloading or listening for the time being.Read More
it’s not surprising that Marvel fanboys tried to crash Captain Marvel.Read More
I first fell in love with musicals when my older sister introduced me to the choreography of Bob Fosse. She brought home rentals of movies like Damn Yankees! and Sweet Charity, two movies that taught me that the musical genre could be as abrasive as it was flashy.Read More
In honor of Marvel’s latest superhero release, Captain Marvel, I’m dedicating today’s newsletter to the best superhero films ever made. I was going for a top 10 list, but I ended up needing to include 20.Read More
Emma Thompson was going to lend her voice for the upcoming animated film Luck. Then the film’s studio, Skydance, put John Lasseter in charge.Read More
Of all the Best Picture-nominated films, the one I think should win on Sunday is a superhero movie. If I could nominate any movie from 2018 to receive the Best Picture award on Sunday, it would be a superhero movie.
And those are two different movies.Read More
Trying to watch every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in chronological order is a task fit for a superhero.Read More
Disney dropped the first teaser trailer for Frozen 2 (or is it Frozen II?) on Wednesday and I’m still picking my jaw up off the ground.Read More
My friend Chris Wei has a lot of good suggestions.Read More
Pixar teased a reimagined, empowered Bo Peep this week in promotional material for the upcoming Toy Story 4.Read More
Hey fam. A lot has changed since the 2016 election in the United States.Read More
As 2018 wraps, it’s time for me to reflect on my favorites of the year with some 2018 YEAR-END LISTS!Read More
I wrote about the upcoming return of LoveLoud:
Last year, the first LoveLoud Fest drew a crowd of more than 17,000 people to the Brent Brown Ballpark in Orem, generating cheers not only for Imagine Dragons and Neon Trees but also for calls for more inclusion for LGBTQ+ individuals in Utah and throughout conservative religious communities.
Organized by Imagine Dragons frontman Dan Reynolds, the festival was created “to help ignite the relevant and vital conversation of what it means to unconditionally love, understand, accept and support LGBTQ+ youth in an effort to keep families together,” an official FAQ states.
Saturday, the festival returns in a new location — Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City — which has the capacity to more than double last year’s attendance.
“It’s really just a numbers thing,” Reynolds said in a recent phone interview. “We wanted to get as many people in as we possibly could.”
The effort was endorsed last year by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the church’s continued support is an open question.
“We applaud the LoveLoud Festival for LGBT Youth’s aim to bring people together to address teen safety and to express respect and love for all of God’s children,” the church’s statement from 2017 reads. “We join our voice with all who come together to foster a community of inclusion in which no one is mistreated because of who they are or what they believe. We share common beliefs, among them the pricelessness of our youth and the value of families. We earnestly hope this festival and other related efforts can build respectful communication, better understanding, and civility as we all learn from each other.”
The Daily Herald requested a comment from the church in light of the return of the festival and received a new statement, which reads in part, “We remain committed to support community efforts throughout the world to prevent suicide, bullying and homelessness. Every young person should feel loved and cared for in their families, their communities and their congregations.”
But the church’s statement this year does not name the festival, and the church did not clarify — after multiple requests for clarification — the current status of any relationship between the LDS Church and LoveLoud or an update to last year’s endorsement.
“God’s message is one of hope and we want our LGBT brothers and sisters to know that they are loved, valued and needed in His church,” the statement continues.
In this column, I spoke with Dan Reynolds about his faith (and his mom):
On a recent phone call with Imagine Dragons lead Dan Reynolds, I asked him about his Mormon faith.
Specifically, is it harder to stay in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a rock star or as an LGBTQ ally?
“To be honest with you, I don’t think it’s hard for any of that,” he said. “Because I really was raised to just do whatever you felt in your heart, regardless of what people think. I really feel like my mom is like the most punk rock woman I know. Which sounds like a real funny thing. She’s this woman that raised nine kids and is super Mormon, but she’s also super intelligent and powerful and did whatever she wanted to do regardless of what people around her thought, and I really get with that.”
The Mormon singer has been in headlines since organizing the LoveLoud concert last summer, which brought performers and activists together to raise support for LGBTQ youth within Mormon communities. The story of the concert was the subject of the HBO documentary “Believer,” which is available to stream now, and July 28 will mark the return of the concert to Utah.
With LoveLoud, Reynolds is carving his own path as a “punk rock” Mormon.
“I identify with people who follow their truth regardless of what others think,” he said. “Being a Mormon missionary, for me, when I was a Mormon missionary, felt like it was my own punk rock thing. It wasn’t cool. People throw Slurpees at you, you’re this stupid guy in this white T-shirt with a name badge, and people make fun of you. And so for me, I feel like my definition of punk rock is following your truth regardless of the popularity of it.”
In this column, I hoped to catapult some of the momentum of the new HBO film "Believer" toward other fine LGBTQ+ Mormon documentaries that feature queer folks as the protagonists.:
The new documentary “Believer,” which features as its main subject Imagine Dragons lead Dan Reynolds, debuted Monday night and is now available to stream on HBO.
The film follows Reynolds, a well-known member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as he wrestles with his growing sense of responsibility to use his fame to speak out as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community — and particularly, to challenge some of his own church’s polices and teachings.
“I am a privileged, white male in 2018 who’s just trying to contribute in my own way that I can, which is from my culture, and that’s Mormonism,” Reynolds said in a recent phone interview. “And that happens to be a culture that has been at odds with the LGBTQ community.”
I relate to Reynolds’ position as a straight Mormon who feels frustrated by the LDS Church’s policies and teachings regarding homosexuality and who hopes for change. Seeing the film at Sundance this year was something of a transcendent experience for me, because it was thrilling to see a movie on such a large scale (HBO! Film composer Hans Zimmer! Imagine Dragons!) talk frankly about concerns I have felt palpably since I was a student at BYU.
But “Believer” is far from the first documentary to highlight stories or concerns of queer Mormons, and it’s worth trying to wrangle some of the attention a movie as big as “Believer” can generate toward other movies that, unlike “Believer” feature queer people as their main protagonists.
In this column, I unpack some of the ideas in "Incredibles 2":
In my review last week for “Incredibles 2,” I talked about how the movie was smart in the way it dealt with realistic family struggles and dynamics.
I wanted to also talk about another way the movie is smart, which is a meta commentary on the superhero film genre itself, but to explain that involves spoilers, so I decided to wait a week. Don’t read this column until you’ve watched the movie. And by the way, please, please do watch this movie! It’s really, really good.
When the first film came out in 2004, the fact that it was a superhero movie at all made it kind of fresh. “The Incredibles” didn’t mark the beginning of the superhero genre, but it did come out just before the genre would explode into what it still is today: an all-out takeover of blockbuster entertainment, with movie studios wrestling over rights to comic book properties and racing to make the next sequel as soon as the first origin story is released.
Superhero movies have taken over the world of Hollywood, each with inflated budgets and inflated demands of box office returns on those investments. In 2004, only two of the top 10 highest-grossing films were superhero movies (three if you count “The Bourne Supremacy,” which I don’t). In 2017, five of the top 10 were superhero movies (six if you count “Despicable Me 3,” which has a supervillain as its main protagonist).
I wondered how, or if, writer-director Brad Bird would comment on how things have changed in the genre with “Incredibles 2.” And I was thrilled to see that he has definitely come up with something fresh to say.
In this column, I share my love of the new, terrifying horror film "Hereditary" -- and I overshare about a problem I had in high school:
I missed seeing “Hereditary” at Sundance this year, so I was eager to finally see it in its theatrical run, which is now playing.
It’s a horror film that was filmed in Utah — a combination of one of my favorite genres and one of my favorite places — and it’s not only the year’s scariest movie so far, but one of the best, period.
Before I get into some of the specifics of “Hereditary,” like the incredible central performance by Toni Collette, I feel like sharing a rather strange element from my own past I have trouble understanding, which centers around another horror movie starring Toni Collette: “The Sixth Sense.”
The biggest twist is not what happens at the end: It’s how my life got twisted after seeing it. “The Sixth Sense” seriously messed me up.
Here’s what happened. I was writing for the middle school newspaper, and my assignment was to write a personal column about movies (I got the bug early). It was 2000 or 2001, and “The Sixth Sense” was new on VHS tape, so I was given the assignment to go watch it and write something about it.
I only accepted the assignment because I assumed my parents would make me turn it down again. But that day after school, the conversation didn’t go as planned.