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We were recently called out for complaining about Fifty Shades of Grey and encouraged to share alternative books and movies. This idea started here:

First, let’s clear something up. Here at Ave Maria Radio we are not simply complaining about Fifty Shades of Grey. We are providing resources to aid faithful Christians in talking intelligently about it. Please see yesterday’s blog post, where I go into greater detail:

That being said, providing alternatives to Fifty Shades of Grey is an excellent idea. Please see my recommendations below.

Gran_Torino_posterClint Eastwood’s Gran Torino because it is a feature film that deserves more attention from Catholics than it got.  Unlike Fifty Shades, it has plot, characters and wholesome, if unlikely, relationships. I loved Eastwood portrayal of a man’s late in life ability to renew his approach to relationships. The chasteness of his relationship with a young Hmong woman and her family is fetching. His mentoring of her brother is redemptive. A young priest shows courage but also learns from Eastwood’s character’s actions. Probably best for 12 years old and above.

Another movie is the documentary Unreal Dreams: The Michael Morton Story about a false murder conviction, 25 years in prison and a divine private revelation that leads to the crime’s real perpetrator and Morton’s release. One thing you get out of this story is that God exists, he is wise and he loves you. Surprisingly, I believe this is an HBO production which I first saw on CNN. Will wonders ever cease?

For a book let me suggest Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. This memoir will do more to open our eyes to the current problems in our criminal justice and penal institutions. Some of these books leave one without hope. Not this one. It is filled with faith and hope, and for a book dealing with lawyers, love. Stephenson is to my left politically but the story isn’t left or right, it’s just disturbingly true. He’s also an outstanding communicator which helps transcend partisan categories. Novelist John Grisham wrote that “Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South.” Atticus Finch and To Kill a Mockingbird was fiction. Just Mercy is all too factual.

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