Please distribute this URL as you see fit. By Ted Baldwin

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Family Fundamentals

CONTAINS
SPOILERS
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A flawed documentary with a brutally insensitive look at the shattered lives of people dealing with gay children.
The director could not decide if he wanted to totally take advantage of hurt and suffering people or not. Ooops, looks like opportunity got the best of him - he could not resist.

Overall, this guy needs to treat these people not as objects for derision, but as human beings. And sometimes you just need to turn the camera off.

Aside from that, there is a beautiful shot of horses on snow in Utah about halfway through the film...
     Just saw this at the new REEL IDENTITIES film festival in New Orleans.

I fault the director on this one.

Supposedly because of the narrow and prejudiced view these people have, they are fair game for the director and his intended audience. What he ends up showing us is his own narrow view in a film that is too long for its content and no where near long enough if the content were on target.

I believe in treating people decently, and exposing their flawed thinking without taking advantage of them.

I saw, and felt for the pain of people who did not really know what to do with the fact their child was gay. I have known just a few people like that. It was too much for them, they believed the lies and hand-me-down demonization of Gay, Lesbian and Transgendered people (Did I leave anyone out?).
To try and make the world fit their view of God, instead of accepting that maybe God has other plans in mind for their child, they turned somersaults to change things. Finally acceptance came, as it should, and the emotional siege lifted.

We don't see that here, nor see its potential. Why did the director not try to show a family that had been through this and came out okay on the other side?

Unfortunately for the film, two of the three families were seen only through the eyes of the child - as the director failed to get them on camera to tell their side of the story. Getting the gay side is okay, but we already know what they think, and simply rehashing their pain is not worth the effort.

Apparently, because of the snickers and guffaws from some of the New Orleans audience, the suffering of the people the director did get on tape was considered sport. For this too, I fault the director.

Where was cogent analysis of their views? Where was the (truly enlightened) Psychiatric or Spiritual Professional to say here's why they feel this way, it's normal for them to be upset and act out in religion or other ways? (Normal for them to feel this way does not excuse inhuman behavior towards their children, TYVM.) Where was the Gay Sage to elevate this to a dialogue instead of a freak show?

It is not like this guy did not have the resources to do the film, the credit list is as long as an Indiana Jones Outing, a veritable check list of left-oriented right (by right I mean PC) sounding organizations. He is apparently just not capable of imbuing balance in this work, of exercising judicious restraint in exposing the innermost feelings of people that are just plain wrong - except that is the way they feel.

No amount of expose will change anything about them - instead it is like a peep show museum where us enlightened folk get to look at the educated chickens scratch out the answers to complex math problems in the crap covered floor of their cage. We know what they think going in, and we don't get much new information going out.

By following through on the anti-gay philosophy, tracing it to its roots' end, showing it to be emotional instead of intellectual, the director could have pulled off a reconciliation, if not for the people in the film, then for the audience, who undoubtedly deals with such senseless bigotry in their own lives. They don't need a textbook on justifying more separation from the family.

I think the director is so far removed from understanding the real basis for the opinions of these "fundamentalist" people in the movie that he does not see (peculiarly, in his own film) that their world was not just inconvenienced by the gayness of their offspring, it was irretrievably shattered. For that, I take him to task.

One positive spot, a gay Republican was allowed to state his views, and there was even a picture of him as an openly gay man assisting President Bush with the transition into office.

Hey WAIT A DANGED MINUTE!!! I heard Bush was a Neanderthal HOMOPHOBE! Why is his hand on this gay guy's shoulder, why are they both smiling? Can it be all of the hype we have been spoon-fed about how retro this administration is, simply is not true?

Sigh. Is this film, en totale, more evidence that liberals are tolerant of everything except conservatives? Gee, maybe we humans are all more alike than we think.
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B-1 Bob Dornan with a gay republican, one of the subjects of the film. Despite the director's best efforts, the guy comes across as knowing what he is doing. Most of the audience in New Orleans was respectful of his stance.

There is one point in the film where Dornan is blasting gay people (Not "gay", "sad" people) -and he loses his mantra. He actually breaks himself up a little, forgets his angry face, like he does not mean the anti-gay stuff he has been spewing. At that moment I knew he was/is a fraudulent anti-gay spokesman (not that we need sincere ones). He does not believe it all himself - it is just a verbiage game...
Shame on Dornan. He is an opportunist as coldly calculating as any I have seen, never minding the fact that anti-gay rhetoric is foundationless. 
PRODUCTION RANT

The present trend of lionizing anyone who grabs a Canon XL1 and "makes" a movie has to be put to a swift and permanent rest. Give the guy a damned tripod. EVERY single shot in this damned film was hand held subjective shaky cam. Sorry - it is not more authentic that way - it is cheap and unprofessional.

"Oh well, we weren't GOING for the PROFESSIONAL look!

Steady camera work, basic lighting and smooth editing is not just fluff, it is as basic to film as proper spelling is to writing an essay. IF YOU DON'T KNOW HOW TO SPELL YOU CANOT COMMUCINICATE WEL.


WELL, what about NYPD Blue? It has a shaky cam...

Yes, but they know so much about what they are doing it is an intentional effect, not an accident, and not from laziness.

I don't care how avant garde your work is, you have to know what you are doing and if you know, you have to care. (Not obviously, this guy has made many films before this one.)
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