Meet the Mormons, Prequels

What with all the hubbub around the new epic “Meet the Mormons,” a fantasy thriller of extraordinary depth and intrigue, I present the Prequels.

Apparently, folks were still getting the hang of watching “moving” pictures, so these are barely qualifying as “moving.”  I mean, sloooooow.  And emotionally the equivalent of a cement injection straight into the hypothalamus.

Set aside about a week to watch these “films,” which are mostly about death, and how SLOW we move towards it, especially when watching old Mormon movies.

First, the grand myth, Search For Truth.  Less concerned with the search than with the conclusion, I’m afraid.

Still frame from: Search For Truth

The inspiration for a little known film, Star Wars, this brilliant postmodern undoing of the space fantasy genre stands alone in the firmament of Mormon film.  And for the first use of the “Agnostic Pirate” character, who would dominate YouTube satires in later years.  Tommy Monson plays Isaac Newton, in his first but certainly not last effort at acting.  Almost as slow and dull as a PBS documentary, or that dreadful Cosmos series.  But worth watching, and not insincere, nor stupid.

Still frame from: Of Heaven and Home

Of Heaven and Home

A classic tale of intrigue, deceit, revenge, and lust.  And Home Teachers.  The inspiration for Brokeback Mountain, believe it or not.   Explores how bad things happen to bad people, and by “bad people,” they mean, your kids.  You know who you are, fighting the Lord’s Home Teachers and their honest attempts at surveillance and inquisition, and maintaining a perpetual presence in one’s home, even during the holidays.  Notable for introducing “Jocko” in the Provo vernacular, an early term for a True Blue Mormon.  And for Mitt Romney’s film debut as the lecherous home teacher Dave.

Still frame from: Measure of a Man

Measure of a Man

Classic noir treatment of the seedy underbelly of Provo, Utah.  Acting is off da hook.  This one got me off the sauce permanently.  I mean Root Beer.  At the Drive-in.  With Hal and Blaine.  Gives me the jumps.  Dialects alone make this worth watching, along with the creepy internal monologues.

Still frame from: Welfare Another Perspective

Welfare: Another Perspective

Worth watching for the car chases, knife fights, and exploration into the darkness of humanity.  And for the closing monologue, too.  And watch out for the jogging family.  Yikes.

Still frame from: Up In Smoke

Up In Smoke

It’s Humbar Time: I’d Rather Have It Than Pie.  As honest a documentary as the later “Meet the Mormons.”  Which is to say, both brilliant satires, with many levels of interpretation.  Watch for the Bruce McConkie cameo.

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Time Pulls The Trigger

Another dramatic film with a complex, nuanced message about life and death, and all that makes us human.  Winner of the Academy Award for best educational animation in a motion picture, 1960.  Seriously, the animated sequence 10 minutes in is a trip.  Think Fantasia reimagined by J.Edgar Hoover.  Then Mickey Mouse gets poisoned by a remorseless dude in a suit.