Criticism: Fall Mormon Movie Preview

Entertainment Weekly has released its Fall Movie Preview, so I think it’s a good time for a Fall Mormon Movie Preview, especially since a quarter of the lineup will already be out this Friday. Film titles lead to their trailers.

Mobsters and Mormons. Sept. 9.

Written by John Moyer, who wrote three previous Halestorm films (Singles Ward, RM, and Home Teachers), but this one is also directed by Moyer; the other three were directed by Kurt Hale. There’s already one positive review out, but the trailer doesn’t look promising. It looks to me as if it will be very much along the same lines of the previous Halestorm pictures ““ simply a scenario that allows for a lot of hit and miss jokes about Mormon culture. But who knows, perhaps by directing it himself, Moyer will be able to better execute his ideas on the screen.

God’s Army 2: States of Grace. September?

Word on the street was that it’s supposed to come out in September, but if that were the case, you’d think we’d have heard an official release date by now. We’ve already had some discussion on the trailer. It seems a bit melodramatic ““ but then that’s the nature of trailers. I really like what I see in strong themes of understanding others and coping with a dark past. I expect another powerful film from Dutcher.

The Work and the Glory: American Zion. Oct. 21.

I’m not a big fan of the books, even though I read them all for some reason, but I was pleasantly surprised by the first film. Considering the material it had to work with, I think it did just about as good a job as it could do. Interestingly, there’s a new director at the helm: Sterling Van Wagenen, who is perhaps best known for his 1992 film, Alan and Naomi, which I have never heard of in my life. The trailer does look handsome though. The screenplay is written by Matt Whitaker, who previously penned Saints and Soldiers. Allegedly it’s set for a national release in October, but I’m not sure how many theaters it’s actually going to reach. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how national it really is. And does anyone else think Joseph looks constipated in this picture?

Stalking Santa. Holiday Season.

A mockumentary of sorts about “sightings” of Santa Claus, much in the style of a documentary about Bigfoot. Made by Daryn Tufts (Eldon of The Singles Ward) and Greg Kiefer. I’m actually not sure if there’s anything Mormon in content. The trailer looks like fun, but if it doesn’t keep fresh, it could get old fast. Supposedly it’s going to be a theatrical release, but I wonder if it won’t just come direct to video like Tufts’ other recent documentary, American Mormon. Everyone loves a Christmas movie at Christmastime, but is it seriously going to try to compete with Harry Potter, Aeon Flux, Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong all at the same time?

8 thoughts on “Criticism: Fall Mormon Movie Preview”

  1. I’m curious to see how John Heder does in this upcoming “Just Like Heaven” movie. I know it isn’t a “Mormon film” at all, but I’m still curious. 

    Posted by danithew

  2. I heard a couple songs from the Mobsters and Mormons soundtrack the other evening and I found myself liking it. It’s jazzed-up hymns. You can hear samples here . 

    Posted by Heather P.

  3. SL Weekly has a brief review of Mobsters and Mormons .

    A scene from the screenplay was included in one of the issues of Irreantum. Some of the dialogue was funny, but it was hard to see how the premise could be sustained beyond the initial fish-out-of water joke. It’ll be interesting if other reviewers see the same virtues in it that the SL Weekly reveiwer saw.  

    Posted by William Morris

  4. jjohnsen:

    Could you tell us a little more about why? Is it just impossible for Mormons to make a good movie? Or is there something in the description of each movie that tells you they aren’t going to be worth seeing?



    Posted by Kent Larsen

  5. The Work and the Glory website just announced today that they plan to open in 80 cities across the country. That’s pretty impressive. I don’t know the numbers for the other films, but I believe that’s the widest opening for a Mormon film yet. 

    Posted by Eric Russell

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