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States of Grace re-released

It was reported that STATES OF GRACE (previously God's Army 2), the controversial new film from Richard Dutcher, has been re-released in Utah this week. Over the next 2 months, it will open in select cities nationwide. The film has been a hot topic both in Utah and on BLOGs nationwide. Debates have flared about whether this film "goes too far" in its examination of the LDS culture. The violence is harshly realistic and the human tradegy far excedes expectations. You either love it or hate it. Who has seen it? Who's going to see it? Who refuses to see it? Let's talk about it...

For a list of Theaters Visit:

While watching this movie, I

While watching this movie, I had the closest thing to what I would call a spiritual experience in years. Go see it.

project mayhem

New York Doll

For my money you can't get a better "Mormon Movie" than New York Doll. Best documentary of last year by far. It almost made me want to be Mormon again!



dJake, No, I am not

No, I am not similarrly offended just by anyone performing the ordinace. For instance, I thought that "The Best Two Years" was pretty tasteful. I think that most of the Church filsm are tastefully done (especailly the new stuff). The Restoration film that the church put out was incredible. The Work and the Glory wasn't offended by, I just didn't totally love them.

I just don't like the way Dutcher puts his ordinaces in his films. Especailly (as I have stated) with Brigham City, it makes me just feel uncomfortable, the experience is meant to show a Bishop who CANNOT take the Sacrament (I am sure that rahal will correct me, it has been awhile). I jsut rmeember being really uncomfortable with it.

I am just confused as to how I got this topic so stirred up. All I ever was doing was stating my opinon and saying that I wasn't going to see the film because I don't like Dutchers films... Suddenly you get torn apart for stating your opinion, even though this board is just about that, stating opinons. I am not very good at "Writing" what my opinion is in a message and that is probably part of the problem. Rahall is a huge fan of Dutcher and he took it very personal that someone out there doesn't love Dutchers films.

Even my initial comment (the first one) was meant to be a bit in jest, not to be taken so seriously, so I am sorry to have taken up so much bandwidth and space on Mason's baord for a conversation of personal opinions. I'm not interested in people telling me why my opinion is stupid. It is just that, an opinion!

One of the Best Films of 2005

In my opinion, STATES OF GRACE was one of the best films of 2005.You can see my full list here.

I just hope that people will go see it just to get their own opinion about it. Don't worry about the critics or the haters or the people who claim you MUST see it. Just think about it and, if you go see it, tell us your opinion. (Murph, that's for you). For those of you who HAVEN'T seen it, have you at least watched the trailer for it? What did you think of it?

I'll stop if you'll stop calling me a girl!

I do believe that a LDS ordinance can be done tastefully so and I have seen it done before, not those movies where incredible, but at least they didn't offend me and make me feel icky. You mentioned the Work and the Glory and while I agree with you, I didn't LOVE the movie either, I wasn't offended by the way the ordinances were portrayed. It really has nothing to do with the ordinance itself, it has to do with the skill in which it is executed. Hey, I have seen extremely tricky subject matter handled by some people in a ridiculous way, but if done correctly it can be amazing. So I say, you should push forward, but knowing that you will never please everyone!!! :)

Now, Rahall:
I first want to say that, I can't comment on behalf of "Murph", but I have a feeling that his comments were purely in jest. He probably thought that this topic, and our bickering, was hysterical and he was just making a joke about it. You seem to be taking this WHOLE thing really, really personal. I find it funny that you are so offended by him "joking" "(they way I took it) about you having a crush on Dutcher, yet you called me a bigot without even thinking about it (I know you retracted it, but still "Golden Rule" is what you were preaching) I really think the ONLY people who should take this topic personally would be Richard Dutcher himself, and even he would laugh it off and say "You can't win them all", do you think HE would be writing me?

You are right, I don't clearly recall the end of Brigham City, that's because I only saw it once and I really don't care to see it again. All I DO recall was the way it made me feel at the time I saw it. Would it make you feel better if I watched Brigham City again and THEN told you that I didn't like it?

The reviewers who were calling States of Grace the "Mormon CRASH", I doubt they where saying that because of Religious reasons, but because of the story structure mostly, they both are multi-character studies with multiple story-lines that overlap and both were shot low-budget, off the map. Those are the only similarities I see on my end.

I swear I have been over this topic before and that I'm forgetting it really has more power in the controversy than I remember..

Then why are you still debating this? Just to try and change ONE persons mind...geez.

Frankly, I was trying to get this topic to drop. You have your opinion, I have mine. I was nicely trying to say "I respect that, now lets move on". But you have come back and brought up all this stuff, saying that I still don't have a logical reason for having my opinion. My reason for having my opinion is that IT IS MY OPINION! Sorry if that isn't good enough for you!!!

I am just having a hard time understanding why you are so invested in this. I mean, I admire your passion, but are you getting a kickback from Dutcher or something? Are you looking for an acting gig in his next film and thinking this will get you a "show of good faith" audition?

Also, did it ever occur to you that the MORE you debate me on this and the MORE you tell me that my opinion is stupid, the LESS I have a desire to see Dutchers movie? Dutcher used to have a chance for my ticket money, until rahall came along! :)

The ONLY reason I am still responding to this topic is because if I don't, you will think that I have tucked my tail between my legs and run away. Frankly, I am more interested in discussing the reason behind why you don't think it is okay for people to have their own opinion.

Oh, and the other reason I am still writing, is to let you know that I am NOT a she...but thanks for passing assumptions. Now I have passed assumptions on your favorite movie and you have passed assumptions on my sex...Can we drop it yet? I don't have the time (or the desire) to try and explain to someone what an opinion is, over and over and over again.

Now, for Minority:
I HAVE seen the trailer, and yes, I think aesthetically the cinematography looks great, very impressive. But, I won't go see it just because of nice cinematography; anyone can get a decent DP with a little money or a little pull. Besides, I saw enough movies in film school that sucked, but the teacher thought we should watch them just because a gaffer knew how to use a HMI well.

I think you should retract your comments! :)


Why do you CARE??????????????? What I would like you to do is get a dictionary and look up the word sarcasim, it might make you feel better about this whole discussion.

If you are truly interested in my point by point debate (although I highly doubt you care about anything except for your own personal bias, but that's okay, me too!) here it goes:

Do you make an exception for negative content in non-religious films if it advances the story in a positive way?

Negative content in any film doesn't bother me, not even in "Mormon Films", but when it is handled poorly it is just stupid and offensive, not offensive to my moral code, but offensive to my filmmaking code. Do you think pornography or drugs or (pick your poison) in films is offensive? If so, do you automatically decide not to see a porn (or whatever kind of) movie because "you heard it might have something that offense you" in it? Of course you do! Could I convince you otherwise? Of course not, it is called convictions, the one thing that I do admire you for!

Do you believe the Church should be the only organization putting out films that portray ordinances?

I believe in free-agency. Their agency to make whatever kind of movie they want, my agency to NOT see it.

Which commercial films (not made by the church) do you remember portraying ordinances that did not bother you?

None....yet. Every "LDS ordinace" that I hold sacred that has been portrayed in a film has bothered me in one way or anther. Some bother me because I think they are tacky, others becasue I think they are out of place, others because they aren't well done and still otehrs becasue they feel like a cheap gag. The Work and The Glory (the least of the offensive ones) I just thought wasn't very well done, but it didn't offend me morally, I was just bored. I don't consider myself to have a bias to LDS films anymore then you might have a bias to porn films.

Why exactly do the portrayals of ordinances in Dutcher's films bother you?

I think I have answered this plenty of times, but I will comply. They bother me because when I watched Dutchers films I felt uncomfortable. I can't tell you "oh this particular thing or line that was said, it is offensive to society becasue of...blah blah blah", all I can tell you is it made ME uncomfortable, ME!!!

Anything else?

And yes, I was joking about you getting paid by Dutcher, as was Murph about you having a crush on him...I know a great Doctor who can prescribe you some chill pills.


Didn't I just answer your questions? I knew it wouldn't be good enough for you, why did I even bother?

the only reason you've offered is the reason itself - that you feel uncomfortable.

Again, is this a problem? I'll ask you again, have you ever seen a porn film? If you haven't, will you ever watch one? If not, why not? Do you KNOW FOR A FACT that it will make you uncomfortable?

When I was at film school one of my friends asked me to try some Extacy. I said no, he said "how do you know your won't like it if you don't try it?". I understand exactly where he is coming from, but if I am NOT comfortable with it, then I don't have to do it or watch it or whatever! I don't have to have a reason, in fact with Extacy I don't have a reason, becasue I have never tried it so I can't say if I WOULD like it or not.

Also, I can't stand when people throw "doctrine" in my face, especially when you don't know anything about me. Doctrine should be used to teach and uplift, not to tell someone that you think they are a bad person and doing something wrong (again an opinion). And when the handbook on families refers to sarcasim as destoying a "good relationship", I don't think ours (mine and yours) constitutes as one of them.

The other problem I have is challenge me on point for point YOUR questions, and I complied in my last message, answering them, point for point. But all of my questions go unanswered. All you do is complain that I haven't answered you well enough. I guess you thought that they were retorical.

I'm getting tired.

Good times!

First, let me tell you that I respect you for trying to change my mind about this film. I am sorry if my sarcasim hurt you, I just can't figure out why this topic is so important to you. I think you mis-intererupt alot of what I have to say, and it upsets you and you go off. Let me try and clear some things up.

By asking you if you would be comfortable seeing a porn film, I was never comparing one of Dutchers films or a Spiritual film to a porn film. I was merely trying to put you in the same place I have been put in. I am in the position where there is a film that I don't want to see, a film that has elements that I am uncomfortable with.

Just like the porn film you saw when you were young, it made you NEVER want to watch a porn film or ANYTHING with nudity again. Or perhaps your Spirituality or Religious beliefs play into this as well. There are a TON of films out there with nudity and drugs, that are great and powerful films, but you will not see them because it is part of your moral believe system, and that is okay. Should I name some?

I completely agree with you 100% about the R-rating thing. The American rating system doesn't even exist in places like Canada, where I went to film school, so how can this rule apply? It cannot. And the rating system in America is so messed up anyway, that most PG-13 films are worse then the R rated ones. I DO believe that you should be making your own personal choice on those films. You mentioned that you have been convinced more the once of a films ingrity, because you gave it a chance, even though you thought it would offend you. So, where do you get your info? Or do you just give it a try? Do you go to a pron film and just "Try it out"? Of course you don't, you have already decided!

Do you believe the Church should be the only organization putting out films that portray ordinances?
I believe in free-agency. Their agency to make whatever kind of movie they want, my agency to NOT see it.

How was this question NOT answered adequately for you? I can't win with you, it is so frustrating, if I don't answer just how you want, then I lose. I was NOT speaking of Dutcher, I was saying that No, I don't believe that the Church should have the monopoly on films portraying ordinances. Anyone SHOULD (and can) be able to do it, that is free-agency, and also free-agency is me being able to choose NOT to see one of those films, based on my personal preference.

Do you really, truly believe that I could see States of Grace at this time with a truly open-mind? I don't think I can. This film, which when i first commented was not something I would see in the theatres, was a viable options for rental. But because of your consistent pushing, prodding and arguing, I will not even rent it, because I will not be able to watch it with an open-mind. It has been tainted for me.

Here it is:
From what little I know about States of Grace, the film seems to juxtapose a lot of the "ordinaces" and "spirituality" of the Church with a lot of depressing stuff, just like Brigham City did. That is not the way that I want to be uplifted. I don't choose to see the LDS church uplifted by gang fights, guns, drugs, etc. I want to see it in a positve light. Yes, I know that it can be a powerful experience when brought from the negative to the positive, but that just isn't for me. For some people, that WANT and NEED to see these powerful messages to uplift them, but for me, I would rather not. I have been through enough negative in my life that I don't need MY Religion and the Negative to collide on film.

At the end of the day, kneeling with my family in prayer and watching my daughter ask Heavenly Father to blessing her daddy when I have a migraine...that is all the "uplifting" I need.


Guess what rahall, you win. I will go and see your precious movie. But,if I hate it then will you tell me that I must have not watched it with an open mind? Will you tell me that I don't know anything about movies? Will you tell me that I am an idiot? Will my opinion then STILL be wrong? So, if I don't like the movie will you consider me unfaithful?

A whole lot of faithful saints have praised this film very highly and positively, again akin to virtuous, praiseworthy etc.

p.s.-I'm not really going to see it. And if you thought that I was blaming you for tainting this film, that's ridiculous, I never blamed you, I blamed this argument. Just like when a movie gets hyped up and then you see it and you are disappointed...I don't blame the person who hyped it, I blame the hype. Again, you take everything too personal!


because the themes this argument plays on - right or wrong? - victory or loss? - sin or virtue? - are universal.

You are dead serious aren't you? Oh my goodness. I don't know what else to say.


The reason I have nothing to say is because I cannot believe that you actual think that our "discussion" contains the themes of sin or virtue, victory or loss. So, who is the sinner here? Apparently it is me becasue I won't go see your favorite movie.

Yep, I don't know what to say.

can't write anymore, gotta

can't write anymore, gotta go repent.

tell me again

Tell me again why I am not allowed to have my own opinion about, when you have your own opinion about BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN? Neither of us saw their other movie, all that we know about each movie is what we have read, yet we are making our own decisions NOT to see them because they contain scenes that we choose NOT to see. I am not pushing you to see THAT film, so why are you pushing me to see this? You have your opinion NOT to see Brokeback, I have my opinion NOT to see STATES of Grace. Again, why can't we leave it at that?

You said you would see Brokeback if it were edited, seriously? Can I ask your opinion on CleanFlix (not to open another can of worms, but it might help me understand better)?


Man, I know the_narrator is very childish with his "I had sex with your mom" attacks (when I got one, man, I was not expecting something like that). Just don't pay attention and he will eventually get tired and go somewhere else to get some troll love.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

Not that bad

It's just a childish joke. Take it like you would from a middle-schooler, it really doesn't go above that rating.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare


Sounds pretty adult to me ;)

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare


Not to start a whole other topic, but I think Cleanflix is the devil. I think they are hilariously hypocritical. Rahall, I won't be replying to this, I don't have the time, but I wanted to leave you with a comparison, much like Minority Films.

Don't you think that using Cleanflix is just asking someone else to sin? Who do you think makes the edits? If YOU believe that seeing those things is not moral, then in turn you are asking someone else to do it for oyu, in order ot take out the objectionable parts so that you can then not go against your OWN morals...Don't you find a strange irony in that? I would think that in your world that would be even MORE of a sin. Just a thought.

did you catch the beautful

did you catch the beautful rendition of a poor wayfaring man of grief after the credits?

project mayhem

Makes sense

I was more curious than anything because we are in the process of putting together a movie which would involve Mormon culture and as one scene has been written, a sacrament meeting.

I loved the Work and the Glory books but the movies never really spoke to me. Granted, I was pretty tired when I watched the first one and have no real memory of it, but that to me is a sign that there was nothing truly spectacular about it. Maybe I need to watch it again to be sure. Maybe I just need Quentin Tarentino to make a movie about being LDS to get my juices flowing.

I won't see it

For the record, I won't be goign to see this film. Brigham City made me feel icky, and my parents saw States of Grace and were offended. They relayed info about a scene that inter-cuts a little girl getting shot with a guy getting confirmed after baptism. That is my whole problem with Dutcher, he is taking these sacred moments and sending them out into the world, especially intercutting them with inappropriate things. That is fine for some people, but not for me. The sacrament scene at the end of Brigham City was it for me.

Some people might not consider these things sacred and I think that is part of the problem, we dont' consider them sacred anymore....

I haven't seen New York Doll, but I don't think it is showing sacred things, nor is it really even pushing the Mormon agenda, that is going to do more "Missionary work" then you will ever know.

dutcher and the return of ritual

the early saints of j. smith's and b. young's time loved the church's ritual. it wasn't just a sunday aspect of their lives, but ritual was a part of their daily living experience. the salt lake temple is drastically different from the modern temples with their use of symbolism i the architecture. handsclaps, eyes, pyramids, beehives, astrological symbols, etc adorned the building. today, they are nice pretty white buildings. normal for the public, symbolic for the sacred.

i see the same thing occurring in the rites of the church today. for some reason the rites must be removed from our public lives and kept solely for the sacred aspects of our lives. mormonism shouldn't have a distinction between the two (this distinction is more align with the lutherans). can (or should) a movie be authentic without the common rituals of it's members? i'm not talking about secret/sacred temple rituals that are purposely removed from the public arena, but of rituals such as baptisms, confirmations, communion, etc that any non-mormon can be priviledged to witness.

dutcher's movies not only keep the authenticity of the religious experience by showing them, but place them in a context which shows (at least for him) what those rituals mean to the people participating in them. i gave plenty of blessings on my mission. i did service in a hospital twice a week in honolulu where we were constantly asked by mormons visiting from other islands for help in assisting with blessings. these were not meaningless ordinances or meaningful only as an ordinance, but were valuable as a practice that brought their faith and physical world together. look at the blessings portrayed in god's army. they are not just thrown in their for shock effect, they are portraying the very real reliance that people had in god. the blessing was not merely a prayer, it was the ritualistic bridging of the world and the divine. look at brigham city. without the sacrament, the movie has a completely different meaning. the same goes with states of grace. the ideas of covenants and the roles they play in the characters lives. the role grace plays. i think the confirmation/murder scene is beautiful in how it depicts the two contrasting worlds in which we have to simultaneously live in.

i don't think that it's a problem of people not seeing the ordinances as sacred, but not sacred enough. they are becoming less and less meaningful for the entirety of the members lives - something to be reserved for corners of chapels, rooms, and testimony meetings.

project mayhem

Thanks for this comment

Thanks for this comment Narrator. I am learning alot from you guys. I agree that the ordinances (I don't like the word rituals) are not sacred enough. But, I still jsut don't think they have a place in a movie. In Brigham City the Sacrament scene at the end felt like a cheap gimmick and made Sacrament feel not so sacred as I watched it. That is what it all comes down to in the end.

It is sort of like that movie "The GIrl with the Pearl Earring". A Beautiful painting, but the movie took all of the mystery behind the painting away (whether is is real or not). Now, I can't look at the painting in the same way.