Saturday, August 12, 2006

Thoughts on Dutcher, Evenson & LaBute

I went to Sunstone's Dutcher/Evenson/LaBute smackdown, and I decided I'm tired of LaBute. He was interesting to me when he had one foot still in Mormonism, but he's now left the church, and I just find that I'm not very curious or intrigued about him anymore. I'm sure I'll still notice his name in the news and maybe even see some of his movies, but he's nothing special to watch anymore, in my personal opinion.

Evenson has also left the church, but I'm still a little more curious about him because I know he still carries the baggage of a Mormon upbringing, whereas LaBute seems to have completely sloughed off his relatively brief convert experience. Plus, Evenson came across as less verbose and egotistical than LaBute.

The guy who is really interesting still is Dutcher, I find. I think his States of Grace is better than anything I've experienced that the other two have done (not that it's necessarily fair to compare filmmakers with a fiction writer). I feel a real emotional connection to Dutcher, such as feeling disgusted with the Mormon audience for not embracing States of Grace and wondering what he will do next to find a better business model than relying on Mormon knuckleheads (my word, not his).

Reading between the lines, I imagine Dutcher's gotten some flack for his planned Joseph Smith biopic and has been weighing what he's willing to sacrifice for his art, such as his membership. He commented that one of his BYU profs said the first real Mormon writer will likely be exed, and he queried LaBute and Evenson about their emotions related to their loss of church membership.

I could see myself standing up to the LDS Church to some degree about my writing, if it evers comes to that. But I'm willing to tone down some things in my novel, for example, so that more Mormons will read it. Evenson and LaBute both sacrificed their marriages for their art, and I couldn't ever see myself leaving my family for my art, although I could see conflicts and tension arising (they already have, over my novel manuscript). I would think those could be worked through, and my wife doesn't seem like the type to take drastic action because of conflicts over creative expression.

3 comments:

albigelow said...

I guess it comes down to how drastic the conflicts are as to how drastic my actions would be. You know what I mean?

Dallas Robbins said...

I heard the interaction between LaBute and Dutcher was very interesting. Unfortunately, I was in another session, so I think I'll be checking this out of mp3.

Holly said...

I HATE Neil Labute. I hate his work, and everything I have read about him personally makes him seem like a loathesome human being. I skipped out on that session so I wouldn't have to listen to him. Of course, I skipped out on most sessions--or rather, just didn't make it to very many. But that was one I actively avoided.