Jerry L. Holsopple Archive

Tangerine and Risttuules (In the Crosswind)

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July 8, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

What does it mean to have a homeland and to long to return to it, or to choose to stay where you are because you have buried too many family members to pick up and leave again? What is worth sacrificing for your homeland? Two recent Estonian films flirt with answers to that question with very different narratives and styles. Two recent Estonian films flirt with answers to that question with very different narratives and styles. Tangerine opens in 1992 with a saw blade running through a board as Ivo makes another tangerine crate. He is Estonian but has lived […]

Hello, My Name is Doris

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April 15, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

Doris Miller (Sally Field), on the heels of her mother’s death, meets John Fremont (Max Greenfield) on a crowded elevator on his first day of work. After stealing a pencil from his briefcase, she begins to fantasize that he felt the same sparks of romance that she did as she gazed into his eyes. The film attempts to turn the normal Hollywood script on its head—where it has become normal for an older man to seduce or fall for a much younger woman. Doris, we learn, chose to take care of her mother rather than pursuing love. Now she wants […]

Aoife O’Donovan

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March 4, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

As a photographer I often seek the magic hour to shoot photographs, the hour when the light bends during its passage through the atmosphere and the color of this light becomes warmer-toned and the shadows grow longer and more intriguing. With that in mind I was curious why O’Donovan would name her newest album with that moniker. O’Donovan inhabits the music of her roots, and not all is darkness. “Porch Light” exposes the struggle between the urge to live totally self-sufficiently and a life that is lived with a commitment to another human. You wanna live a life of restlessness […]

Sierra Hull

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February 5, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

Sierra Hull has been wowing audiences with her mandolin skills since she was a teenager. It was years ago that I had the chance to see her live in concert. Then she already played with amazing skill, but she also shared the space generously with her band, and created a fully entertaining experience. Hull hasn’t released a CD in five years—time for her to embrace the questions and quests that come with traveling through the early 20s of life. Weighted Mind opens a window into what those five years contained. Hull is now so much more than an amazing mandolin […]

The Big Short

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January 8, 2016 Jerry L. Holsopple

The Big Short, a film based on a nonfiction book by Michael Lewis, is crammed with information that seems more akin to a documentary. But it still maintains an entertaining story line. Pure greed is the only motivating factor offered as explanation of what led the big banks and rating agencies to deceive customers and place the whole economy in a fragile state. Director Adam McKay goes all out as characters or celebrities, including chef Anthony Bourdain, speak directly to us as they explain how the housing bubble came to be and how it brought down the whole economy. Given […]

The Hunger Games: The Mockingjay Part 2

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December 4, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

The Hunger Games series slogs to an end with the second part of the Mockingjay. If you have seen the previous three films you need to see this film to bring resolution, which is what the producers were counting on when they split the third installment into two. That seems to be the standard approach with these epic stories, which in essence is what Katniss discovers as the series draws to a close and understands how both sides in this battle have attempted to manipulate her for their own purposes, just as we are manipulated to pay for one more […]

Four Screenings at the Avalon Theater, Washington, D.C.

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November 6, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Nelly (Nina Hoss), a German nightclub singer, but also a Jew and a death camp survivor, enters occupied Berlin at the beginning of Phoenix to have her face reconstructed after the disfiguring caused by a bullet wound. She emerges with a new face, one at least different enough that her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), doesn’t recognize her. She discovers that she now has a claim to considerable wealth because all of her family has been killed in the camps. Johnny, believing she is dead, wants to get some of this money. Nelly, instead of claiming to be herself, enters into […]

A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story

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October 9, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Like its protagonist, the documentary A Brave Heart remains upbeat and positive throughout. Both could have justifiably wallowed in the pain, which would create empathy in many viewers, but would not win our respect. In an age obsessed with appearances, Lizzie lives fully in the body she has been given. From birth, Lizzie Velasquez has suffered with a rare syndrome, actually undiagnosed until she was an adult, which gives her unusual facial features and makes it almost impossible for her to gain weight. When Lizzie was in high school, she discovered a YouTube video titled “The World’s Ugliest Woman,” which […]

The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

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September 4, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

I slipped into the seat early—like normal—and watched the stream of trailers. Almost every trailer noted its film was based on a true story, or was “the” true story, or that it revealed the hidden true story.  Watch, have some laughs, enjoy the ending, and forget it by tomorrow. I watched three minutes of climbers trying to survive a trip down Everest, 33 miners trapped for 69 days in Chile, and the secret soldiers of Benghazi, who apparently rescued the Americans at the embassy. Being based on a true story seemingly validates the expenditure of making a movie and should […]

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

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August 7, 2015 Jerry L. Holsopple

Take some witty dialogue from the 2007 movie Juno, mix with the movie-making madness of The Science of Sleep (2006), add teenage coming-of-age drama plus a diagnosis of cancer, and you have Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. A typical coming-of-age romance between an awkward adolescent boy and a cute young girl, but then we see the effects of chemo, and we quickly come back to reality. Greg Gaines, the Me of the title, describes the narrative early in the film as “this is a story of my senior year in high school and how it destroyed my life.” […]

About The Author

Jerry L. Holsopple

Jerry L. Holsopple is Professor of Visual and Communication Arts at Eastern Mennonite University with a PhD from European Graduate School. This fall semester 2015, Jerry is Artist in Residence at the Luce Center for Art and Religion, part of Wesley Theological Seminary. He spent a year as a Fullbright scholar in Lithuania. In 1998, he was instrumental in launching Third Way website.

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