Thursday, December 24, 2015

TRUMBO: Fear Should Not Trump our Rights

I had to do a second take when I first saw the movie title on a marquee. With Donald Trump running for President I first thought that this movie was about him. The film is called Trumbo, not Trump, but I think Donald Trump needs to see this movie. As well as anyone else who feels recent terrorist threats should cause us to set aside our First Amendment rights.

This movie, directed by Jay Roach, is about what happens when a group of people in power let fear grip and rule at the expense of our human rights. It happened in America back in 1947, when Dalton Trumbo, played brilliantly by Bryan Cranston, and a number of other Hollywood screenwriters and artists were blacklisted and put in jail for their political beliefs. Those jailed were registered as members of the U.S. Communist party. This was a time in history, called the Cold War, when America stopped seeing the U.S. Communist party as an economic system or a legitimate political affiliation, and instead saw it as a symbol of the Soviet Union and a threat to our way of life.

As I watched this film, I couldn’t help but think of what our country is going through right now regarding the Syrian refugees and pray that we don’t go down that path of fear. I can understand people being afraid, sometimes I, too, feel afraid. Yet fear should never trump our American rights, and this film helps to remind us of this truth.

Some of our Republican candidates are operating strictly from fear. Trump wants to ban all Muslims from our country and deport the ones already living here. Bush and Cruz want to only let in ‘Christian’ refugees. Huckabee wants to put the refugees in ‘encampments.’ I guess he’s forgotten about what we did to the Japanese during WWII.

The film Trumbo is different than our current situation in that the people affected were not refugees, but U.S. citizens, and yet if we aren’t careful we could find ourselves ‘blacklisting’ the Muslims that live right here in our country; who knows, maybe some of them are even screenwriters.

After Trumbo got out of jail he lost his house, and was forced to downgrade and move his family. None of the major studios in Hollywood would hire him. However, he managed to find ways to write screenplays as a ghost writer. His films Roman Holiday, with Ian McLellan Hunter as the front writer, and The Brave Ones, written under Trumbo’s pseudonym Robert Rich, even won Best Picture awards. Trumbo had to watch the Award shows from the TV in his living room without being able to claim or take credit for the prize he so deserved.

The blacklist began to turn around in 1960 when director Otto Preminger (Christian Berkel) announced he would credit Trumbo for his film Exodus, and Kirk Douglas (Dean O’Gorman) hired Trumbo to write Spartacus and put his name on the script. However, it was the action of a President that totally sealed the deal of ending the blacklist debacle. President J.F.K’s crossing the American Legion picket lines to see Spartacus sent a message to the country that this time of persecution was finally over.

Trumbo is a film that reminds us of the freedoms for which our country stands, and how careful we must be to hold on to those, even in a time of fear and uncertainty. It also shows us how powerful the actions of a President can be in moving a country forward. It is definitely a movie that some of our Presidential candidates need to see, and soon!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Identifying One's Personal Story

I received a wonderful email today from a reader of my book Reel Transformation: Your Life Now Playing.

      " Yesterday I was on the phone with my stepdaughter and shared with her some of the passages from your book that affected me profoundly.  The result was that she would like her own copy of the book. 
        The simplicity of your phrasing creates a clarity of thought that deeply impacts the reader.  I found myself thinking over and over again, “That’s me!  That’s my story!.”  
         Thank you for the words that identify my struggle.  I am stuck in the rut of habituation, living a mistaken identity, my inner dialogue has me stuck in self-doubt, and I am hanging out in the wilderness.
         Hopefully death and rebirth are not too far away.  I anxiously await transformation and the journey home.    The wilderness is not a fun place to be.

I agree Virginia, the wilderness is not a fun place to be, but isn't it wonderful to know that it is just a phase of transformation you are walking through and home is never far away. While I’m not thrilled that Virginia is in the wilderness, I am glad that my book could provide her with some insight into her journey and her personal story, and grateful she let me know how much my book has helped her. Thanks Virginia.

Saturday, February 14, 2015


My blog has been neglected of late. I've been very busy in rehearsals for the Sun City Follies. However, I found this article which I'd like to share with you, and hopefully I'll be back writing my own posts soon....enjoy.

Reprinted from Matthew Welsh's Spiritual Media Blog Newsletter. 
For more information about Spiritual Media Blog please visit

One common theme that shows up in movies that really inspires
me is serendipity - in fact one movie I enjoyed that explores these
chance encounters is a love story aptly named Serendipity.

      This phenomenon is one of the life's great mysteries.  You
know, why do certain people show up in our lives at the time they
show up or why have we been drawn to a particular place, idea or
event?  I think these might be clues from the Universe about how
to manifest our destiny.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe describes this when he says. . .

      "The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence
moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never
otherwise have occurred . . . unforeseen incidents, meetings, and
material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have
come his way."

       These opportunities may reveal themselves in the form of 
unexplainable coincidences.  For example, you may just happen to
come across an acquaintance or stranger who has a business
opportunity for you.  Or, you may hear a song on the radio, read a
book or watch a movie with a message that is perfectly applicable
to your current life circumstances.

      Whether you call these meaningful coincidences Divine
Providence, Synchronicity, or Serendipity, it can be very helpful
to pay attention to them because they are hints about the next step
or opportunity you should take or simply pleasant signs that we
are on the right track =). 

In Love and Light,
Matthew Welsh, Esq.
Creator of
--The News Source for Spiritual Entertainment--

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Friday, January 30, 2015

Williamson County Sun Interview

(Pre-edited article appearing in the 1/25/15 Williamson County Sun)
While serving as a Georgetown Unity minister, Cindy B. Wright frequently illustrated spiritual lessons by citing examples from movies. Retiring from her pastoral responsibilities spanning more than 20 years in various states, she incorporated these stories in her new book, Reel Transformation. She currently resides in Sun City with her husband, three cats and a dog.
She agreed to discuss her book’s contents with The Sun:
Q. What inspired you to turn to writing and why did you focus on the cinema?
I have always been a writer. I’ve written church newsletter articles and my Sunday talks and now blog articles. I’ve also been an avid movie fan and make it a point to go to the movies as often as I can, at least once a week. What moved me to write my book Reel Transformation was the pattern I kept seeing when I went to the movies. A character would leave home and go off on a journey (either literally or metaphorically) only to encounter challenges and struggles. At some point the character would experience a shift or transformation and then return home changed. It is the typical Hero’s Journey and it reminded me of the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son who also left, went through some wilderness experiences, and then came back home changed. This pattern can be seen again and again in films from various genres…like The Wizard of Oz, Lion King, Harry Potter, in Science Fiction movies like Contact and The Matrix, in comedies like Groundhog Day and even Romantic films such as Magnificent Obsession. I have read numerous books about spirituality in the movies, but I didn’t see anyone writing from this perspective. So, I felt moved to answer the CALL to write Reel Transformation: Your Life Now Playing.
Q. How did you use movies as a minister and how did your parishioners react?
I often used examples from the movies to illustrate a point in my talks and sometimes even showed a short movie clip. My congregation loved it! My experience as a minister taught me that people will remember a story way longer than any words I say, and movies are a powerful medium for storytelling. The first movie clip I ever used was from Indiana Jones. This was way before churches were using LCD projectors and Powerpoint. I had to put a TV and a VHS recorder up on the platform. I showed the scene where Indiana stepped off the cliff even before he could see the bridge appear. I used it to illustrate my talk about moving out in faith. My congregation remembered that clip for years after that talk!
Q. Did you ever come across something unusual or fascinating when researching your
One thing I discovered is that there is a supplemental therapy in the psychological field called Cinema Therapy. Many Psychologists will recommend to their patients that are struggling with a certain issue that they watch a particular movie and then come back to therapy to discuss it. For instance, if a patient was dealing with issues of anger the therapist might recommend the film The Upside of Anger or if they were working to get free of addiction the therapist might suggest Days of Wine and Roses, or depression, Harold and Maude…and so on. Sometimes it is easier to see your own behavior reflected in a character in the movies, because it allows you to step back from your own problems and it provides some often needed perspective.
Q. What portion of your book did you most enjoy writing and why?
I really enjoyed writing all of it. I loved finding movie quotes to head up each chapter. I loved finding movies from different genres in Section II and then showing how the character went through each of the stages. I especially loved researching and reading other books that related to spirituality in movies. I have acquired quite a library of about 60 books about spirituality and film. And now my book has joined them on that shelf and that feels great!
Q. What do you hope readers come away with after reading your work?
The subtitle of my book is Your Life Now Playing. My prayer is that people will begin to watch movies differently and more consciously. That they will see their own life’s journey in the characters up on the screen. If I can understand that Dorothy’s feeling of Divine Discontent singing about Somewhere over the Rainbow is really a CALL for her soul’s growth, then I might recognize that in myself, and find some comfort, when I’m experiencing that same feeling of discontent. I also continue to write about movies in my blog: so I hope people will find me there.
Click here to find Cindy's book or click on the photo of her book in the right column of this blog.