Get-Real Movie Night

It's 3:30 A.M. and I'm wondering whether it might be possible that I'm the only soul in a country of 1.7 billion who's ever heard of or listens to Bruce Hornsby, after having watched "World's Greatest Dad" about a pretty much true-to-life dad with a true-to-life son and a very bizarre, and perhaps not so true to life plot unfolding after that son's death, but all-the-while remaining more true to life than the evening news (especially if you're watching Fox).

I pick my movies very carefully and read plots and reviews before I bother to waste my time on them, and so it came as not only a pleasant surprise but nearly a renaissance of enlightenment to get ahold of 3 (what I'd consider) good movies in a row after the probably lamest year in cinematographic history.

The first one was "Flipped," which I expected to be a slightly above average teen comedy but turned out to be a trip back into a time where real human beings who knew how to communicate and articulate themselves and listened to their hearts were already rare and few in-between, but at least existent.

The generations growing up around our ears will unfortunately never know the degree of integrity and nobility streaming forth from a 50's teen girl's heart like Julie, the hero of the story, but if you do have any notion of being able to relate to what's going on in this film, should you watch it, send me a high five just so that I can die on peace knowing you're somewhere out there.

The second was "Adam," about a young man with a disorder called Asperger's syndrome, which basically stands for the disability to deceive or hide one's true feelings. Unfortunately, it also reveals the selfish core of the human nature to a stinging degree. Team that up with a pretty neat girl taking a liking to that boy and you'll come up with quite a story you can learn a thing a thing or two from.

When it comes to the selfish, childish and immature side of "Aspies," I'm afraid a lot of us are infected with perhaps slightly milder, or merely better camouflaged strains of the disease.

Finally, I decided to "preview" "Greatest Dad Alive," of which I also only expected the mediocrity I had started getting used to during the 365 days of a very uneventful (as far as Hollywood goes) 2011, but was surprised by an expose of the compulsively deceptive and dishonest society and culture that boasts of ruling the 21st century.

Seriously, when was the last time you saw Robin Williams in a movie truly worth watching? Well, this was one, as far as I'm concerned, even if it may sting a little, especially if you're American.

Altogether, it was an unforgettable movie night... One of those rare ones during which you feel that somehow, somewhere the light of truth was able to break through the thick morass of dull, gray time wasters, perhaps for one last time... you never know.

If God never used a movie to speak through or convey a message, then He must have at least shone through to the minds and hearts of the folks who wrote the scripts for these three, even if for no other purpose than to ask us, "For Heaven's sake, people, when are you ever gonna start to get real?"


Ramona & Beezus

Living in a society in which conformity has been ingrained in people's minds ever since Charles Darwin told us not to act up since we're all just a bunch of overly mutated monkeys anyway, and that during a time when you can count the number of movies really worth watching that come out throughout the course of an entire year on the fingers of your two hands, coming across a cute little gem like "Ramona and Beezus" is perhaps not a privilege, but certainly a delight.

Just another American fairy-tale, to be sure, but one ever so lovely, and with a message that sounds so bizarre in a world of gray suits to bring tears to your eyes: "It's okay to be different!" - And produced in a manner which has made Hollywood the unchallenged master at visualizing fairy-tales, despite the piles of rubble and garbage it produces in the process, just as you'd have to unearth a ton of dirt in order to get one diamond.

About 5 minutes into the movie, you'll probably say "I love her (Joey King - the young actor playing the part of Ramona) already!" Since you couldn't picture anyone better for the role - except for the parts in which she's supposed to cry, perhaps because crying simply doesn't seem to be part of King's repertoire.

Without much of a plot, there's definitely a message some of us can relate to: "Less is sometimes more." And, yes, it's definitely okay to be different. Give it a few more decades, and maybe a few more minds to challenge Charley's monkey business theory, and maybe it'll sink into the heads of our less extraordinary fellow-humans as well...


Front of the Class

There are two kinds of people: the crucified and the crucifiers. Only the former will appreciate a movie of the caliber of "Front of the Class." Only those who've had to overcome some sort of handicap and keep going against all odds, especially the ridicule of their peers, can sympathize with folks like Brad Cohen, an award winning, real life educator in spite of an incurable handicap called Tourette Syndrome that causes him to make uncontrollable noises.
In a world that seems to be moving ever more toward a degree of conformity that would have Adolf Hitler's forces grow pale with envy, it is encouraging to hear testimonies of people like Brad Cohen who managed to make a difference, simply because they were determined never to give in to their weakness, but instead somehow learned to make it their strength.
If you've ever been some kind of an oddball, someone who didn't quite fit in or stuck out from the crowd you will love this movie.
Stories like this show what a biased and tough world we live in, and yet that we can overcome the bias and cruelty with the right attitudes and by educating people, which basically means, relieving them from the ignorance on which their bias is based.


The Young Victoria

I wonder how many of us - especially non-Britons, or non-historians - were totally oblivious to the youth of the great Queen Victoria; didn't know that she was a passionate woman, well capable of love, had an equally passionate German husband, and that together they had 9 children before he passed away of typhoid at the age of 42.

I was clueless. Be it because I dropped out of high-school too early, or they didn't make movies like that when I was younger. Movies that help you relate to the passions and plights of people who lived and loved more than a century ago, and whom we know remotely from pictures and older movies (like "The Little Princess"), but who once held a position that well deserved them the title of the most powerful woman in the world at their time...

Well, Martin Scorcese did an excellent job at arousing his audience's interest in such a spirit from the past who helped shape our present, and as far as Emily Blunt goes, it's hard to tell whether anyone could have ever done a better job at this role. She certainly did the job. Almost as if she had been much better suited for the 19th century than the 21st.

As for me, I feel enriched by the experience of "The Young Victoria," a tale of noble minds and spirits without whom this world might have been an even more woeful place. I guess we'll all find out someday to what degree we each made a difference and helped prevent greater evils from happening... or not.

Looking for Eric

"Looking for Eric" is probably not the type of movie to be enjoyed by those who usually prefer the smug, multi-million dollar Hollywood productions with perfectly styled faces and perfectly shallow plots.

It's the type of movie that resembles real life too well than to be liked by the junkies of the escapist media who wouldn't even dare considering being unplugged from the Matrix.

The nice slant about it is that it's got a touch of the supernatural about it, since things start happening in Postman Eric's life after having weed-induced hallucinations of his soccer idol Eric Cantona, that are just too good than to ascribe them all to mere hallucination.

Thus it becomes a story of forgiveness, overcoming fears and self-doubts, as well as seemingly insurmountable obstacles with a little help from one's friends, and makes - what may have potentially, on the surface, looked like a drag to have to sit through - an enjoyable experience made in Britain that makes many US-made loser-turns-winner tale pale in comparison.


A Shine of Rainbows

There are those who feel right smack dab at home in this world, because they've got all the good cards: they're bigger than the tiny squirts that look like pathetic losers compared to them, the bullies and champions of the universe.

Then there are those who've always known this wasn't home, who have to cope with their lot in a world that isn't really theirs.

Then there are the kind of people who were born to love people. And those to whose standards and expectations the little losers could never live up to, those just desperate for a little love...

Well, this is the Irish tale of "A Shine of Rainbows." A sad and yet happy tale indeed, if you're the sentimental kind. Alas, if you're not, and you're the kind that goes for action and "make'em dead," here's a stern warning: this movie is not for you!

All the rest of you, pull out your hankies and get ready for some heart-warming!


Green Zone: So Much for "Weapons of Mass Destruction"

While this film may not have the visual quality and technical special effects that make the masses flock to see movies like "From Paris With Love," it contains the rare element of truth that has become the object of the affection of a small minority of folks on the globe who still use that stuff between their ears and don't swallow every bit of NWO propaganda blowing their way.

Green Zone, which also could have been titled, "The Way to Start a War in the 21st Century" describes the reason why in our era of enlightenment 1.5 Million Iraqis had to bite the dust thus far on behalf of our democratic concepts of liberty and justice for all... cough, choke... excuse me, that was my lunch!

Who cares? Right. Who does, when you're sitting up on the top of the world with your remote and a cool Bud?
Well, apparently the makers of this film cared enough to put a few million bucks in the sand for the love of that greatest of taboos of the 21st century called truth, and while it certainly isn't your average fix of "Here we are now: entertain us!" - you can learn something from it.

Namely, how to start a war in the 21st century: You take some high ranking government official from D.C. and have him call some career-horny journalist (what better place to find those than Wall Street?) and tell them some fairy tale about an inside informant on WMDs hidden in Big Bad Terror Country (remember: anything that wears a head covering is guilty, if you're a true American), and off the boys are to wreak havoc over there, yielding millions of bucks in those politicians' pockets, trillions more for the tax payers' unpayable debtload (and their children's and children's children's), heaps of corpses, and just about any evil imaginable beneath the sun, except them darn WMDs which seem to have dissolved into thin air like the Scarlet Pimpernel: "Some seek them here, some seek them there..."

But no worries, those politicians know their flocks: they know that after a few months of slaughter, nobody will give a hoot about that cheap excuse to just start another war. After all, it's just another one in a long line of wars since the beginnings of the greatest icon of democracy and enlightenment since the world began...
And the good thing about bearing that image is, you can't possibly ever be wrong, no matter how much blood you shed in the process.

Would I recommend this movie if you're looking to be entertained? Not in your life!
Would I, if you intend to make use of that clot of mass between your ears in this life-time?
You bet.


My Sister's Keeper

Death, I believe, isn't as much the terrible thing many of us make it out to be as is their terrible lack of maturity shown in the inability to deal with it.

Of course, if you believe that life is merely the result of random chemicals having met under one hell of a bunch of lucky circumstances, and that when the lights are out, "game's over" for good, you'll beg to differ, & you'll hate this movie.
But when you actually happen to know the mathematical probability for that scenario, you'll like it.

Apparently, most folks are real bad at maths, & so they hate thinking, talking, or watching movies about death.
Some fight it tooth and nail, like the dear mother Cameron Diaz portrays in this story.
It's tough for some folks to let go, tough to admit that another should determine some things that concern the outcome of their life, or some aspect of it they feel they're in charge of.
Ultimately, we'll all have to cope with the fact that Someone else is and was in charge all along, and that's when life will finally become livable again for those around us.

On a positive note, imagine you knew you were going to die within a certain amount of time, and you'd invest that time in creating a beautiful gift for your loved ones to let them know how much they meant to you...
Personally, I prefer that scenario over the bad surprises that people get who have allowed movies of super heroes surviving hundreds of explosions and thousands of bullets to convince them of their immortality...
Sooner or later it's going to be wake up time for everyone, & we'll find out it won't be half as bad as we thought it was before we started doing our maths.


Edge of Darkness

I like movies in which - for a change - the culprits are not your usual bearded, dark skinned, carpet-cutter wielding Hottentots from the outskirts of Godforsakistan, but the ones who are much more likely to be the real culprits, and I honor every director and actor who participates in such a screen statement, which requires a lot more courage than blaming it all on the Arabs, like the recent "From Paris With Love."

I also like movies which show that sometimes - perhaps often - you have to give your life in your fight for the truth, because, after all,
life may be a lot shorter than some of us think, and the only thing that will have made it worth living in the first place will have been the amount of truth lived during those years we will then look back on.

Hollywood producers always have this choice to make, about how much they're going to compromise with the truth for the sake of political correctness, popularity and gain, and I'd say kudos to Mel Gibson for not going the way of all flesh and the Travoltas of this world in this aspect.

Apart from the political message, the plot is also infinitely more intelligent than your average "Kill the Ayatollahs" rah-rahs.
There's always a lot more suspense involved in watching someone fight a real enemy, a ruthless and well protected enemy. Enemies that have the power of the authorities on their side, and it's so much closer to reality.

Needless to say, I'd highly recommend this movie way over the formerly mentioned type of Rambo-garbage, and would like to express my sincere gratitude to director Martin Campbell for creating a film that was not destined to insult the relatively few properly working intellects left on planet earth.



You know those movies featuring a total loser who's doing so bad that it actually becomes embarrassing? They're probably aimed at making us feel better about ourselves, the real losers, out there in that strange dimension called reality-land, trying to cheer us up that every loser can strike a happy ending and somehow, thanks to Hollywood magic, turn winner again...

Well, "Tenure" is one of those, with the relatively fresh twist that our "hero" is a college teacher. He's great at teaching, but not really good at anything else. His students love him, but his colleagues hate him. Plus, his best friend falls into the category of "With friends like that, who needs enemies?"

It's got heart, though, and though this film is by no means guaranteed to knock your socks off, if the same thing can be said of you, I mean, the "heart" thing, then you might like it. Especially if you've ever been in a situation trying to figure out how to get through to members of the younger generation, or you believe in Bigfoot, or you happen to like Gretchen Mol...

At first I wasn’t going to include this film on my list of favorites, but then I was reminded that among all the balderdash of loserdom and Yeti-hunting, there lay a lesson far too important to ignore. When Charlie Thurber (Luke Wilson) is asked to share his secret to his popularity with his students he wisely states that part of being a good teacher is to always remain a student to some extent.

That’s one of the major lessons in life right there. The problem with most people is all the stuff they think they know. There’s no room for anything new, much less the recognition of anything valuable you might learn from others, even if they’re your students.

Any fruitful process in life has always got to be a two-way street. Think of it: if even God needs us, who are we to refuse the input from our fellowmen, even if it sometimes seems to be pretty weird stuff?


Everybody's Fine

To be quite frank, this is not the type of movie I'd be looking forward to watching a seond time, since the bulk of it is ridden with the bitter taste of reality - that of children lying to their parents as a result of parents lying to their children, to each other, etc. - and, after all, isn't that the one thing we're all escaping when watching movies - reality, and the principal reason why movies are a trillion dollar industry?
But then, this movie certainly has its lessons to teach, the protruding one of which might be summed up in the sigh, "If people could only accept one another for who and what they are, instead of expecting them to reach some self-imposed standard of their living our own 'impossible dream,' this world might be a better place.

In a society where achievement is what defines you, rather than your character or other inner values, the way to reach that goal of achievements - or at least the pretense of them being there - is paved with one thing that has been prominent in a few recent movies, like "The Informant" or "City Island:" lies.
It's as if we're all creating our own little matrix for our fellowmen in retaliation for the Matrix of the big lies our leaders are creating for us, and - aren't they showing us which way we're supposed to go, after all? Most of us, frankly, don't care too much about the truth to begin with, so, they're quite comfortable with that. Others, like De Niro's character in this film (some say his best yet), wouldn't mind occasionally being told the truth for a change. Once the illusions are destroyed and forgotten, lo and behold - who would have ever thought so? - life actually becomes enjoyable again, and "they all lived happily ever after."


It's Complicated

If you have a bigger problem with adultery than with the absurdity of your President receiving the Nobel Peace Prize while waging war in 3 countries, you obviously won't like this movie. If, however, you're into people: what their needs are, their feelings and what makes them tic, instead of religious dogmas that artificially make you feel better than your fellowmen, you might enjoy it as thoroughly as we did.
Granted, the movie has a few moments that come across as a little less than real or even right. For instance, you might catch yourself thinking, "Gee, I never thought I'd ever have to watch Steve Martin kissing Meryl Streep." But latest by the time they both light up a joint, you'll know why he was chosen for this role, and the laughs and brilliant "people moments" in the film will rapidly make up for any of its flaws.
For anyone who has ever been divorced and knows that these things indeed are complicated, this should be quite enjoyable, although the ultimate lesson to be gleaned from it may be nothing more than a reminder of the way Joni Mitchell once put it: "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone?"


Big Bad New Age Movie

I know, I know: "Avatar" is a bad movie with evil New Age doctrines that should in no way appear on any Christian's list of favorite movies.
Well, I've covered that more than sufficiently in my recent blog entry on this subject, and why I dare to disagree.
This is my personal list of favorites, and I understand that people will beg to differ, just as I understand that some folks will listen to Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra or Britney Spears rather than the type of music I prefer...
Feel free to make your own list if you don't agree with my personal taste, that's just fine. I had my doubts about watching it, too. But it was a whole lot better than I had expected, including the message.
You see, the bad thing about Christianity - as in, the way our faith is currently being practiced by the majority of Christians - is that a lot of what our enemies have to say about us is sadly but actually true. Let's face it: we Christians are generally a greedy, materialistic, separatist bunch who will gladly follow any maniac - as long as he sits in the White House - to butcher the god-damned pagans in the four corners of the world in the name of the figment of their imagination they call "god." But I have personally experienced the true God to be too much of a "tree-hugger" Himself to coincide with His Corporate, officially advertised version.

Yes, in some aspects, this movie is anti-Christian. But the amount of truth in it still outweighs that factor, because a lot about the way modern Christianity is being practiced on a large scale (and by "modern" I'm referring roughly to the past 1700 years), is not based on the truth of Jesus Christ anymore, but is ridden with lies, half-truths and compromises with other evil deities like Mammon, Mars, bringing a lot of Hades (death) to its victims.

I don't expect you to agree with me. I've considered other movies crap that others raved about (such as the original Star Wars trilogy). But I genuinely liked this one.

If the Western life-style of Corporate America and its colonies is more important to you than the raw truth of God, then, ouch, I believe watching this movie can hurt.
But if you have truly come to know that all the truth you'll ever need is wrapped up in the 3 words, "God is Love," you might enjoy it even in spite of the parts of its message that come across as "New Age" or whatever. I'd rather have peaceful New Age than warmongering "Christianity," because both are a lie, the former being the lesser evil.
Read the Gospels, if you don't believe it!

The Blind Side

No matter how ridiculous and perhaps somewhat barbaric American sports, politics and worldviews may seem to the rest of the world, or how naive their religion and patriotism (the two of which are often hard to tell apart), you simply don't find a lot of stories like the one told in "The Blind Side" in other parts of the world, - The kind of story that grabs you emotionally and at the same time tempts you to brush it off as just another "American Dream" or fairy-tale, until the real folks the movie was all about show up at the end and you find out it was actually based on a true story.
Perhaps the countries and peoples with the greatest weaknesses and flaws are at the same time also those with the greatest strengths and vice versa. Perhaps God is simply showing off that He can use anything; whatever it is, it just makes you thankful that folks like the Tuhoys actually exist, no matter how rotten the rest of the world may seem at times.
Folks who somehow manage to practice that magic of "Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of My brethren, you have done it to Me."
It makes all the other rubbish: the politics, the idiotic sports, the naivete, vanish and for that moment speak louder than all those other factors. Maybe it's all just Hollywood hype and manipulation, but idiots will always exist anywhere, even without Hollywood, and if there's only a quarter of truth in this story and the way it is told here, then it's commendable, certainly watchable, and - for whatever it's worth - inspiring.
After all, the cynics of the world accuse us believers of just swallowing cooked-up stories about our Savior Who walked on water and fed multitudes with miracle bread, too, but it doesn't make them any happier, either, and for the most of what I've seen, not any more charitable citizens, either.
So, may Christian nuts believing in outstanding Christian values, spurring them on to outstanding Christian acts live on, and the cynics do whatever they may do.
May the critics tear apart Sandra Bullock's "distortion" of the original character of Leigh Ann Tuohy, we still think she was great in this one.

If "blessed are the poor in spirit" means to be dumb and simple enough to be enjoying a movie like this, then I will wholeheartedly join the ranks of those blessed and let the intellectuals torture themselves to death with their never-ending cynicism. Sometimes it's cool not to know that certain things can't happen or can't be done, and ignorance truly is bliss when the ignorant happen to know a few things that the sages simply don't dare to believe.

I'd definitely rank this one among the top ten movies of 2009.


City Island

My biblical guiding theme for the year is Luke 12:2: "There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid that shall not be known," and there is probably hardly a movie that brings out this point better than "City Island."

In a world where cover-ups and lies galore all contribute to the great confusion surrounding us, it's a ray of hope to know that eventually, as truly as there is a God, the truth will come out, and all secrets, and the way things really happened (as opposed to the "official" fairy-tale) will be revealed.

So, if honesty's your policy, you'll enjoy this movie the way we did, and you can join us looking forward to the day the above Promise will be fulfilled.


Weather Girl

We all know it - in theory: money and success don't really make you happy, and security is only an illusion, but how many of us really live according to that knowledge? Most of us keep chasing paper as if it was the holy grail, and we settle for the "safe" option as soon as it comes along.
After all, it's been drilled into us: we owe it to society.

"Weather Girl" is another reminder of life's lesson we constantly forget, that there are, indeed, more important things than money and our elusive security (as in: a "good" job, a wealthy husband - if you're a woman - etc.), such as friends, real love and honesty.

If you're anywhere near as idealistic as we are - my better half and I - when it comes to these things (and I ought to know: she stuck with a "loser" for love's sake), then you'll like this movie as much as we did.

It promotes a fresh and strange openness and honesty that strikes you as totally not-of-this world.

Long live not-of-this-world!


The Time Traveler's Wife

While there is no deeper spiritual lesson to be found in this movie apart from the sheer beauty of people who for some reason are open to the supernatural, it is so well made and emotional that I've just got to feature it in this list among my favorites.
It's simply thoroughly enjoyable.

Over Her Dead Body

I like ghost movies. Perhaps because they're one of the few places where life after death is being dealt with in a way that people aren't scared of. And so, I definitely like this one, which may not change anybody's life, but at least guarantees some decent, fairly wholesome entertainment (including a surprising twist on the obligatory usual show of political correctness toward the gay issue...).

Chaos Theory

I guess I wasn't ready for the implying message of this movie when I first saw it some years ago. Probably I was still too stuck on the fatalistic, Hollywood cliche revolving the "falling in love" and "soul mate" myths, and would have seriously doubted the veracity of the statement made toward the end of the film that one can pretty much determine to love anyone. It's not a magical thing that happens as destined by the fates or it won't. We have the power to make it happen.
"Coincidentally," on the very day I watched this film for the second time last week, during one of the usual crises life brings that make you wholeheartedly agree with the father of the bride when he tells the groom in the movie, "Life's a mess!" and that make you concoct your own "chaos theories," I had read this Washington Post article about a new book by psychologist and author Robert Epstein who has proven in his own life the message to be true which I (like probably a lot of fellow Hollywood junkies) had previously not been ready to accept.

Life is a mess; life is a mystery; but the good thing is, we still have some say in the matter.



After the last two dozen of mediocre movies we watched that wouldn't have been worth wasting any web space or time on, (if you're out for something more than entertainment and happen to need something that grabs you by the... well, whichever place a movie's supposed to grab ya), it was good to finally enjoy the privilege of watching another "winner," which in my opinion, "Waitress" definitely was.

I like movies that teach you something about life, even if the plot isn't all as intricate as the "Matrix," and one of the things you can - if you're attentive - already grasp from the first twenty minutes of this film is a fact that seems to elude some folks for most, if not all of their lives:

The fact that we're not all the same. People are different. You may have certain goals and ambitions in life, you may want to be successful, rich or famous, but don't try to squeeze everybody into that same frame of mind of yours. Because there are different types of personalities around, and one person may have the need to dominate, another may have the need to succeed, or be secure, or to just be left alone, while yet others simply have the need to be loved for who they truly are.

And then there's another clue about that weird little thing called life: not only are people different from each other, but the person you are today may also be a totally different person than the one you might be tomorrow, or next year, or definitely in twenty years from now.
Some people change the moment they marry and become the monster they wouldn't have dared to show before, and others change the minute they have a baby and realize that something's been at work here that busts all previous confines and mindsets and schisms.

The master of the game may have drilled the Gospel of conformity into all of us for a century, getting most of us perhaps to accept that we're nothing more than mammals, and no matter how well your species may have mutated over the past 50 billion years, that's what you'll always be.

But every now and then something happens that dares to defy all that - excuse my French - bullshit and reveals that certain spark that makes the difference between us humans and our four-legged friends, even if some will refuse to see it until their deaths. It's the kind of "something" that happens while watching a movie like "Waitress" and even blows a magical breath of life into an otherwise totally idiotic ditty about baking pies, all of which (the "something," the "magic" and all that goes with it), only perceptible to those who actually walk through life with their spiritual senses activated.

Well, you may not be getting all this same stuff out of watching this movie, but that's because we're different. And if you're into people - I mean other people apart from the doubtlessly most important person to you: yourself - then you're going to enjoy this one.
I suppose it will always take a woman to make a movie like that. Perhaps because women don't restrict their thinking or knowing to that rational process men use the thing between their ears for - and as a man I'm allowed to say that.

"Waitress" is definitely not one for our pious brothers and sisters who insist that love can only be found within the sacred boundaries of marriage. But if it's reality you're after, you'll probably get a better taste of it with this pie than from a bucket full of evening news... The reality of being human to the core, that is so utterly different from the advanced ape-man mentality we're usually told to take on.

Call us decadent, call us shameless, sinful, and blame it all on that odious Creator who obviously didn't know what He was doing, but Who loves us humans to pieces anyway, and maybe - just maybe one day so will you.


My Life In Ruins: Coping with Co-travelers on the bus of life

One of the deceptive factors about the theory of evolution is that people in this day and age think that no matter what they do, how many of their brain cells they drown in alcohol or drugs, thanks to the process of evolution, they're automatically bound to get smarter all the time.
When nothing - I mean, absolutely n.o.t.h.i.n.g. - could be further from the truth.

As a result we have a bunch of wise guys sitting along with us on the bus of life that aren't always exactly easy to love.

While this movie won't exactly knock your socks off, it does give a few clues, or even if nothing but some glimpse of hope, that it's not entirely impossible.

So, if you have a hard time coping with the devastating gap between what the world (and folks in it) ought to be like (according to your personal standards and ideas) and the way it actually is, this story might cheer you up a little.


The Answer Man: The Truth about Prophets

Not every movie we watched over the past month or more has been worthy of their own post on my favorite movie list.
There were two more outstanding ones for brilliant performances and nice plots: "Phoebe in Wonderland," featuring a stunning Elle Fanning (Dakota Fanning's younger sis), and "The Soloist," none of them really bearing a unique message that I look for in movies, at least not any other than "The Man of La Mancha" did 50 years ago.

So, I was happy for the privilege to watch another "winner" last night: "The Answer Man."
While not altogether free from cliches & been-theres, the movie definitely has its own, new and unique message in spilling the beans about what a prophet actually is. Folks who are familiar with my considerably crazy ideas know that I believe God capable of communicating with us even via things like comedies. And in this case, He tells us how easy it is to be a prophet: You don't have to be perfect, you don't have to be a sinless saint, you don't even have to go to church. God is so desperate for folks who'll listen to what He's got to say these days, He'll communicate with anyone under the sole condition that they're interested.

And I'm speaking from experience.

God may have a lot of "fans" in the 21st century, and a whole bunch of acquaintances who come to visit Him in mass gatherings on Sundays, plus, of course, a lot of folks who are too scared stiff of Him to skip their daily prayers, but not a lot of friends who care to listen to what He's got to say.

So, occasionally, he'll even make do with a rotten sinner like me or you or Arlen Faber (Jeff Daniels), the hero of this story, for whom his questions to God (which he promptly found answered upon writing them down) spell both luck and misery at the same time, since the results turn into a best seller and make him famous as someone or something he knows best of all he's not.

Throw in a little romance and a cute kid, and you get a fabulous twist on "Moses goes to Hollywood." - Or rather, to Philadelphia, which made for a nice break from the endless Big Apple backdrops of late.


The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner

A story of honor and courage from a culture as alien and foreign to most of us as the two aforementioned virtues in our society, in which the only virtue required is to be an obedient cog in the machine, and battles are fought with sophisticated weaponry that allow you to murder your enemy without even having to face him...

As foreign as a tale from another world, except for such stories as these, brought to us by some story teller who happens to have found enough listening ears to make himself heard.

A story of a world that once was, and what has become of it, leaving us with the only hope that God will fulfill His Promises to us that someday it will even be a better world than it ever was...


The 5 People You Meet in Heaven

Although perhaps not your average multi-million dollar production of cinematographic exuberance and extravaganza, since it's a TV production, and probably produced with a fraction of some piece of trash like "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," or many similar recent Hollywood outgrowths, this film has probably more to say than perhaps the last dozen of "big" movies I've seen, put together.

It gives you a tiny glimpse of the fact that seems to totally elude most of us super smart, "evolved" and developed 21st century people, namely how little it is we really know, even about our own lives and the people who have touched it, and, thus, perhaps a little preview of the Eternity of surprises waiting for each of us at the end of our road.

May your surprises be as pleasant as those of "Eddie Maintenance."

"...And the world is full of stories.

But all the stories are one."


"Not Easily Broken" - The Definite Winner of 3 "Marriage Crisis" Features

Comparing "Not Easily Broken" with the "white" version of a similar, "Marriage gone bad finds redemption" we watched recently, "Fireproof," the former is definitely the winner in that it feels infinitely more like the real thing. Although "Fireproof" definitely has some lessons in it, and would urge us all to be the nice, good and clean white Christian that is portrayed as the hero of that plot, it wouldn't have much to offer to anyone who doesn't already attend the pews on Sunday mornings...

In fact, people out in the real world with real problems, and often graver ones than being attracted to internet porn or the usual materialism, superficiality or just plain horniness, probably wouldn't be able to relate to the nice, white, clean American Christian world that the makers of "Fireproof" live in.
Whereas "Not Easily Broken" comes along much less preachy, and speaks from the heart instead, and thus, to the heart.
You can relate to it, and even if you don't know anybody as well-tempered in real life as the main protoganist in this (after all, a) movie, you wish you would, and you kind of wish it was you. Probably a lot of people can relate to it and feel like "been there," and the lessons and good advice this movie offers aren't just head stuffing you can rave about with the brethren on Sunday morning.
It's an everyday type of gospel, and what's even nicer, an everybody type of Gospel that not only the chosen few can relate to.

Yet another feature on a similar theme, offering a re-encounter with "Titanic" dream-couple Di Caprio and Winslet, presents the other side of the coin, what you could probably term the atheist version, in which the marriage gone bad winds up in total disaster.
Although "Revolutionary Road" definitely has some valuable lessons to teach about the danger of compromising one's true vocation, or even staying true to himself for material gain and safety, it's a painful lesson indeed, and while the first 3 quarters of the movie are definitely promising, intellectually stimulating and challenging, the ending (spoiler intended!) is too depressing to consider it worth it, and the only thing the movie has got going for itself in the end is that you can tell your teenage daughter, "You see, that's what would have happened if the Titanic would not have gone under!"