Friday, July 8, 2011

Ghosts from Charge Shot!!!’s Past: Tattoos on the Heart

ghostsfromcspast_thumb[1]Charge Shot!!! has been around for two and a half years now - amazing, we know! - and in that time we've amassed a lot of posts. Much of our writing is in an editorial vein, simply because we don't have the time or resources to report on every news item that flies across the Interwebs. Therefore, we feel that our output has a better shelf-life than you might expect from some run-of-the-mill news blog.

This feature, Ghosts From Charge Shot!!!'s Past, aims to bring some of this stuff - both good and embarrassing - to the eyeballs of our newer readers, while taking long-time constituents on a trip down memory lane. Enjoy!

Summer is upon us. For some that means vacation, afternoons in the sun, and hot hot heat. For others that means working, cranking the air conditioner, and catching as many blockbuster movies as possible.

A Better Life is not a blockbuster movie. But Entertainment Weekly did go so far as to call it “2011’s first awards movie”. This film from About A Boy director Chris Weitz charts the relationship between a struggling Mexican gardener and his Americanized son in Los Angeles. A Better Life marks Weitz’s return to “serious” film after a vacation in blockbuster land with The Golden Compass and Twilight: New Moon, and reviews indicate that it should receive some recognition in awards season if anyone can remember it six months later.

But this Ghosts post isn’t about A Better Life. It’s about the book Tattoos from the Heart, which Chris reviewed last year. The author, Rev. Gregory Boyle, founded Homeboy Industries, a gang-member rehabilitation program in Los Angeles. Boyle, along with Homeboy Industries, helped Weitz select shooting locations and capture an authentic L.A. gang atmosphere.

Tattoos, like the program it chronicles, is meant to be inspirational. Chris had this to say about that:

“You can probably guess by now what sort of book this is. You wouldn't be wrong. Each chapter is organized by some sort of inspirational theme, as Boyle stitches together anecdotes and stories of the people he's encountered and helped (or tried to help). Many of the stories end in tears and hugs; others end in tears and funerals. Boyle peppers these anecdotes with Bible quotes and references to Scripture.

But even though Tattoos on the Heart clearly has a religious agenda, I found for the most part that the stories speak for themselves.”

I never thought we’d ever review a book like Tattoos on the Heart, but I’m glad we did. It’s a window into a specific, challenging life that few would enter if they had the choice – not that different from Chris Weitz’s A Better Life