- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 19, 2010

Love of Community

“There’s an odd subculture of aficionados out there who adore any flavor of comedy that reminds them of their all-time favorite things: Monty Python, ‘Office Space,’ ‘Caddyshack’ and anything with Bill Murray or Chevy Chase in it. This crowd loves deeply unambitious characters prone to self-defeating or nihilistic asides, who nonetheless develop unexpectedly passionate responses to particular stimuli: ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Aliens,’ puppy parades, cliques of mean girls, wheelchairs you control by blowing into them, etc.

“For those who feel ambivalent about the mainstream way of life - and really, who doesn’t? - NBC’s ‘Community’ is the holy grail of televised comedy. Here you have a handful of misfits, lumped together by fate, bravely facing two years in a mediocre, infantilizing institution of always-trying-to-get-higher learning. ‘Community’ adeptly conjures all of the charms of its influences, from the clueless confusion and farcical antics of Chevy Chase’s Pierce to the idiot-savant buddy routine of Abed and Troy.”

- Heather Havrilesky, writing on ‘The best TV shows of 2010,’ on Dec. 13 at Salon

Love of privacy

“While interviewing two-time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey about his new film, ‘Casino Jack,’ Daily Beast writer Kevin Sessums asked the actor to discuss his sexual preference. ‘We gay men have always proudly claimed you as a member of our tribe, and yet you don’t proudly claim us back. Why?’ asked Sessums. To which Spacey replied, ‘Look, I might have lived in England for the last several years but I’m still an American citizen and I have not given up my right to privacy.’

“The conversation didn’t end there, though. The two debated the concept of privacy in relationship to journalism, touching on the hot-topic phenomenon of bullying - at which point Spacey said he would gladly make an ‘It Gets Better’ video. But the actor never backed down on his stance on his right to silence. ‘I don’t live a lie. You have to understand that people who choose not to discuss their personal lives are not living a lie,’ he said, adding later ‘No one’s personal life is in the public interest. It’s gossip, bottom line.’ “

- Adam Markovitz, writing on “Kevin Spacey addresses sexuality rumors: ‘I don’t live a lie,’ ” on Dec. 16 at Entertainment Weekly

Love of love

“The films of [Frank] Borzage are rooted in a vision of man and love that is distinctively Catholic. The first critics to note a consistent pattern of redemption and transcendence through love were Henri Agel and Michael Henry; both wrote from a Catholic perspective. In Henry’s words, Borzage is the Fra Angelico of melodrama, an eloquent metaphor that captures the essence of his work.

“The Swiss film scholar Herve Dumont, who has written the definitive biography on Borzage, ‘Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic,’ notes that the filmmaker was singularly private about his religious beliefs. As was the case with many other Catholic directors - Ford, Hitchcock, Coppola, and Wenders - their Catholic vision is embedded in their films. …

“When the work is viewed in its entirety over a short period of time, this becomes even more clear. Simply stated, Borzage’s main theme is the power of love to transform those who love. Love is a healing and redemptive force that propels the lovers and those who surround them into a transcendental dimension, a spiritual realm beyond death, time, and space. The quintessential Borzagean narrative involves a couple braving the storms of life … to find, through their love and suffering, a safe port.”

- Maria Elena De Las Carreras Kuntz, writing on “Transformed by Love: The Films of Frank Borzage,” on Dec. 16 at Inside Catholic