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daurril media: Sister Mary Explains It All (2001) (TV)


 

SM Ignatius: Is the Play the Thing? (IMDb published comment 5/29/01: also monitored for discussion at the St Pete Times )

 

"Sister Mary Explains It All" (Showtime )  is a medieval morality play unfortunately advertised as comedy - an encounter among "types" played therefore with extravagant gesture.  Sister is publicly confronted by certain ordinary Catholics, construed in turn by her as a faggot, a whore, a murderer, and a wife-beater with a bladder problem.  Mutual respect is no longer an option.  What Diane Keaton should have done next in the context of this action to "method" the distress of her character's soul is beyond me.  Finally she is just seen "stopped" among the artifacts of her ministry (and contrast that with the start when she was shown moving comfortably among them): what else we could ask Keaton to do for us (or do better).  Plus it gave us a chance to listen to the music, lately thank God all around us in Church.   

 

Whatever the long-range value of her guidance, her young wards may have typically perceived Sister as a something of a stand-up freak.   We might not be comfortable with that assignment but we are neither the alleged victims.  Sister as player must negotiate for their sympathy, not ours.  With geometric (if she can) precision.  It is a 2-party game: everyone may not be left standing.  Sister could seek from us as a different audience some inappropriate engagement to pull her dogmatic fat out of the fire.  Keaton will not play us that way.  Psychologism is not an option: authority is responsible for the its own misuse, we are not serving on the Caine. 

 

I had not made myself watch everything Keaton has done (though I tend to confuse her with Elaine May;  Woody, Warren and Al might not).  In SM she introduced a character that could become one of the staples of her theatrical persona.  It may only be a parody on Keaton's own relationships, but who ever denied her sense of humor.  I do not want Keaton not to be Keaton.  Yes, she can be frenic, but she also looks good as an icon. 

 

This is after all only a play. The Church in modern times sustains realistic and even favorable exposure in the public square, from Mass Appeal (1984) through the two Sister Act(s).  I  recall a local TV priest inviting Catholics to disable the parking lots where Martin Scorsese' (1988) "Last Temptation" was playing.   How sad.  Isaac Asimov had given us to know that - at the time of Rome's original decline - most of Western Christianity  effectively survived and understood Christ according to Scorsese, not Nicea.  And even Showtime has done it right again.  I have added "Sister" to a critically important collection that began last year with Neil LaBute's Trilogy ("Bash ..."), that for which my enthusiasm has already gotten me into trouble. 

 

It is too late to take the failure of certain of the Church's parochial features out on Keaton or her cohorts.  Real survivors among us early on rejected 1864's dogma, and the leading proponent of that rejection in America was recently encardinated by John Paul.  The notion of Magisterium that fueled Ignatius' "insanity" is parcel to only one of five or six nearly distinct models said to constitute the Church. The personification and interaction of these models might generate some truly exciting theater.  Neither Life nor Theater is after all is only about the decline and fall of monads.

 

Other reviewers may be embarrassed by Keaton's Ignatius, as some Catholic clergy felt  Scorsese's Christ compromised their personal divinity.  (Certain Shakespeareans may likewise not enjoy Puchino's Richard III.)  Keaton's Ignatius is not only forgivable, she may incidentally have reconciled my worst nun encounters to me, which I did not expect to occur in only one human lifetime.  The goal of Catholics is neither to polish nor diminish the icon of Sisterhood:  it is far more imperative for members of the Church to accept our now more modest Pilgrim goal, that is to find and advertise the continued presence of Christ among us.  

 

daurril

 

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Tampa, Florida 

 


Sister Mary Explains It All
75 minutes- USA, 2001, Premiere, iTV, (CC), In Stereo, Adult language, adult situations, violence

Directed by Marshall Brickman and starring
Diane Keaton, Brian Benben, Wallace Langham
Laura San Giacomo, Jennifer Tilly

Adapted from the play by Christopher Durang. A wily nun has one more lesson for four former students.

 
Sun  May 27  08:00P   SHOE- Showtime
Mon  May 28  07:15A   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Mon  May 28  10:00P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Thu  May 31  07:30P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Fri  Jun  8  08:00P   SHOE- Showtime
Sat  Jun  9  04:15P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Fri  Jun 15  07:00P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Thu  Jun 21  11:00P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2
Mon  Jun 25  10:00P   SHOE2- Showtime # 2

6/4/2001 Exhumed Pope Venerated, Displayed.

Pallbearers carry the mummified body of Pope John XXIII, wearing a lifelike wax mask, in St Peter's Square for a procession by Pope John at the Vatican on Sunday. John was pope from 1958 to 1963. The ceremony, exactly 38 years after his death, marked a renewal of the ancient Roman Catholic practice of venerating holy role models by displaying their remains.

Tampa Tribune, AP Photo

last updated March 9th, 2002