Random thoughts on most things from A. M. Craig.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mad Man


A couple years ago I took an LDS Cinema class. It was only offered once. I've mentioned it before, but I just came across a recording of the highlight of the semester. Richard Dutcher, of God's Army and Brigham City fame, came and lectured to our small class.

Now, this was the highlight not because I love Richard Dutcher (though Richard Dutcher certainly loves Richard Dutcher). On the contrary, I really don't like a lot of what he does in his movies. His films are invariably narcissistic, profane in a classical sense, and while they deal with issues of "Mormonism", they do not represent the faith and religious identity I have formed from this church. That sounds harsh, but I've never really enjoyed his no holds barred style. His films have always left me furrowing my brows, in either confusion or annoyance. I knew a guy who worked on Brigham City, and I guess a lot of the cast and crew felt much the same way. Probably more so.

No, him coming was a pleasure because of his outlandish style. I took six pages of notes, and if I ever find them (they may have been destroyed in a flood at my house a year ago) I will scan and post them here. Most of what I wrote was direct quotes. He had the most extreme things to say, and he would just say them so matter-of-fact-like. Things like, "Mormons don't watch enough rated R movies" and "If Joseph Smith were alive today, he would be disgusted with The Church."

It was also odd, because he would make perfectly reasonable, even insightful comments, and then follow them up with these extreme conclusions. And it sounded like his life had been much the same as his musings. He had at times been in Elders Quorum Presidencies, and at other times been totally inactive. Not just once of each, but vacillating back and forth. He asserted in that lecture that he would spend the rest of his life making LDS Cinema, regardless of the monetary costs. Unfortunately, he may have decided on the other end of that spectrum for good. On April 13, 2007, the Provo Daily Herald, published an open letter from Dutcher on its editorial page entitled, "Richard Dutcher: 'parting words' on Mormon movies" where he announced, "I am no longer a practicing member of the church." As controversial as he was, it is always sad to see somebody give up on the church that means everything to me.

Regardless, here is a recording of the lectures from when he spoke to our class. There are three sections, because he spoke for about three hours, and mini-discs only record an hour a piece. The mic was in the middle of the class, he was at the front, so the audio fidelity is not great. I hope you have headphones or some nice speakers.

These were recorded on the evening of March 28, 2006, in the Spencer W. Kimball Tower on BYU campus.

Richard Dutcher Lecture Part 1

Richard Dutcher Lecture Part 2

Richard Dutcher Lecture Part 3

Enjoy.

4 comments:

Becky said...

The guy always struck me as a wacko.

I certainly don't know it, but I wouldn't be surprised if his character in Brigham City was a bit autobiographical.

Too bad to hear of his current status, though. I some ways he kick started the whole Mormon cinema thing.

- Richard on Beck's computer

pc said...

Why does his hand mimic holding a doobie ?

Austin said...

I believe that is a wave, a regrettable farewell gesture.

pc said...

Oh, I assumed that Richard Dutcher was a more sinister simeon, I mean, he has the John Lennon perfectly round spectacles, it seemed like a logical leap to say he shared some hippie love with the ganja. No offense, Mr. Dutcher, that's just my prima facie opinion. And for the record, I did like the missionary toilet scenes in "God's Army."