Muse Reporting on popular and fine arts

A film for our time

Entertainment | True-crime film about abortionist Kermit Gosnell to hit big screens this fall
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 6/29/18, 03:39 pm

After years of delays, audiences this fall finally will get to see the true-crime film about abortionist and murderer Kermit Gosnell.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer stars Dean Cain as the lead detective in the investigation into the abortionist’s horrific practice, in which he routinely killed babies born alive. Gosnell was convicted of three counts of murder in 2013 and is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Husband and wife producers Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney made the film with a $2.3 million budget raised from a crowdfunding campaign with almost 30,000 participants.

“We had a really nice time on set,” McElhinney told me. “People were very committed to doing the best possible job.”

Then the couple gave the film to a Hollywood agent who expected a quick sale to a Hollywood distributor.

“He literally went everywhere,” McElhinney said. “He went to every possible outlet, and nobody wanted to hear from us. No one said there was anything wrong with the film, but everyone passed.”

After years of rejection and dejection, the producers managed to come up with enough funds to distribute the film independently, working with GVN Releasing.

The day after McAleer and McElhinney announced their release date (Oct. 12—at the height of the congressional midterm campaign season), Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his resignation from the Supreme Court. Pro-lifers hope Kennedy’s replacement will solidify a conservative majority on the court that can reinstitute nationwide protections for unborn babies.

“No part of this has been easy, but … given the news cycle right now, it almost feels like this is the perfect storm and this is the moment for this film,” McElhinney said. “This film, like no other since I don’t know when, will bring this issue of abortion into such sharp focus.”

The response from pro-life audiences who have screened the film has been overwhelming, McElhinney added. But the most exciting reactions have come from outside the pro-life camp.

McElhinney told me she screened the film in her home with a family friend who “announced himself as very pro-choice.” The film made him cry, she said, and after it was over he said he needed to reconsider his position.

Associated Press/Photo by Ahn Young-joon (file) Associated Press/Photo by Ahn Young-joon (file) A college student plays a computer game at an internet café in Seoul, South Korea.

Gaming glut

The World Health Organization earlier this month officially recognized video game addiction as a mental disorder in its latest International Classification of Diseases.

To qualify for the “gaming disorder” diagnosis, a person must exhibit at least five out of nine symptoms, such as deceiving others to keep playing and using video games as an escape. The symptoms must persist for at least a year and result “in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

Researchers said brain patterns of internet gaming addicts resembled those of drug or alcohol abusers. The WHO said the new classification will help provide increased awareness and medical help for people with internet gaming disorder.

Other counselors and psychologists disagree with the classification: They say risking friendships and work is different than giving up recreational activities.

“All passionate interests are at risk for redefinition as mental disorders,” Allen Frances, chairman of the task force that created the fourth edition of the psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post. He asked if video game addiction is classified as a mental disorder, what keeps someone who is passionate about exercise, work, hobbies, or spending time with friends from being labeled as mentally ill?

Andrew Rogers, a board member of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, said addicts use both substance and behavioral addictions to fulfill desires, noting that the object is different, but the symptoms are similar. Rogers pointed out that the Apostle Paul taught that Christians are free to enjoy things but should not be mastered by them to the point that they neglect more important matters. Whether someone is addicted to video games or alcohol or even walking a dog, he noted, the problem begins in the heart. —Charissa Crotts

Associated Press/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez Associated Press/Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez Jay-Z and Beyoncé watch an NBA playoff game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans in April in Oakland, Calif.

Art of protest

Beyoncé and her rapper husband, Jay-Z, each half of the duo now known as the Carters, released a surprise album June 16 that purports to chronicle their reconciliation and newfound marital bliss. Similar in style to Lemonade, Beyoncé’s 2016 album, Everything Is Love forgoes the toe-tapping rhythm and lilting melodies of both artists’ early music for throaty one-liners mumbled over bass and drum beats. The couple wrote and produced the album themselves and released it through iTunes, Pandora, and Tidal, Jay-Z’s own streaming platform.

The songs emphasize a haughty independence with lyrics such as, “I said no to the Super Bowl / You need me I don’t need you,” and “My great-great grandchildren already rich / That’s a lotta brown on your Forbes list.” The singers seemed determined to define their own legacies in spite of what they perceive as society’s expectations of them as artists, African-Americans, moguls, or celebrities. But the Carters protest too much. The songs might say they want peace and privacy, but the shouting says they want everyone to bow down to them. —L.L.

Penalty call

Outgoing Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson must pay $2.75 million to the NFL for racist and sexist conduct. The league said Thursday an investigation conducted by former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White had substantiated the allegations against Richardson and found that the team and its ownership failed to report the allegations to the league. Most of the settlement money will go to organizations that address racial- and gender-based problems in and outside the workplace. Richardson put the team up for sale after a Sports Illustrated report in December said he made sexually suggestive comments to women and on at least one occasion directed a racial slur at an African-American scout for the team.

Also Thursday, the NFL said it would suspend Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston for three games over allegations he groped an Uber driver in Arizona in 2016. —L.L.

Father figure

Joe Jackson, patriarch of the musical Jackson family and father to Michael and Janet Jackson, died Wednesday. He was 89. After leading his children to musical fame in the 1960s and ’70s, Jackson faced allegations of abuse and cruelty and ended up estranged from most of his children. —L.L.

Lynde Langdon

Lynde is a WORLD Digital assistant editor and reports on popular and fine arts. She lives in Wichita, Kan., with her husband and two daughters. Follow Lynde on Twitter @lmlangdon.

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