My Thoughts on Obama and Race

I just posted this at ChiRhoLive.

Tsotsi - A Movie Dialogue

I just watched the movie Tsotsi. I'm on a subtitled movie streak.

**Spoiler Warning**

The theme of this movie is redemption if you could even call it that. This is a slightly flawed redemption in that he still pays the punishment for the crimes committed. The movie deals with a kid from the slums who lives a life of crime. He carjacks a vehicle in the nice area of town only to find out that the baby is still in the car. This was the most frustrating part of the movie. After receiving the baby, the kid straightens out his life only to wind up killing a fellow gang member and get arrested while returning the baby to his parents.

The best parts of the movie are the kid interacting with a crippled man. In these conversations the hard kid starts to understand what it is really like to (heck I really don't know what he was supposed to understand in these conversations).

This movie seemed to miss the mark. It was almost a good movie. To its detriment, the movie never touched on the economic disparity between the rich victims and the impoverished criminal. The creators seemed to make the point that the kid is the way he is because of his poor family life as a child. I also think it was to the movies detriment to fail in mentioning personal responsibility for ones decisions.

Entertaining: 2/5
Inspiring: 1/5
Ethical Thinking: 2/5

I really cannot understand why this movie was nominated for anything. I felt it was a waste of time to even watch it the first time. Lindsay liked it slightly more than me, but she probably was moved by the cute baby.

A few new posts at Chi Rho Live

I forgot to put links to my most recent posts at Chi Rho Live.

Grace Hit Me


The Disappearance of the Fellowship Meal

Apocalypto - A Movie Dialogue

I just finished Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.

The theme of this story was that a person should not have fear. Jaguar Paw struggled with surrendering to fear many times during his plight. This theme was powerful as it did motivate me not to succumb to fear if I ever was in a jungle village and faced an invading army. Seriously, I do think this film would come to mind to remind me of how I should not give into fear if a situation where that would be a problem did arise. I just pray that a situation like that would never arise. Not surrendering to fear is a great principle. One thing I have discovered in life is that fear usually creates that which the person feared. This is especially true in relationships.

The fear theme was surrounded by the opening quote and ending scenes in which Mel tried to develop a separate theme of civilizations destorying themselves from within. The opening quote - "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within" from Will Durant - was never really explained in the movie. What about the Mayans was destroying themselves from within? I could make guesses, but I do not really know what Mel Gibson was trying to say. Would a unified and righteous Mayan culture have been able to survive the far superior military technology of the invading Spaniards?

I really would have enjoyed more of a story centered around the Mayan city, although the constant falling of heads down the steps of the temple was a little too silly. The city scenes made me want to find a history book that explained the city layout and the lives of city residents at that time. I am always fascinated with how much ancient civilizations actually could do and how it always amazes how little we think of their civilization compared to how productive they actually were. I do wish that I could go to the Mayan ruins I once visited and imagine the scene of it packed full of people. When I was there, I imagined it much more sparsely populated.

I was impressed with Rudy Youngblood's performance as Jaguar Paw. He made what was a little too extreme of a movie enjoyable. The story of the movie was great, albeit a little too violent for my tastes, up to the point that Jaguar Paw escaped from the Mayan city. After that, it became way too cliche. The other disappointing overused storytelling devices were the disappearance of the the chasing soldiers in order for Jaguar Paw to have exciting showdowns and the delayed appearances of the chasing soldiers while Jaguar Paw was spending too much time wallowing in pain or being stuck in a mud pit.

A lot of the movie was sadly predictable. At one point, I told Lindsay that a guy jumping off the waterfall would smash his head on the rocks below. Two seconds later, he did. I then told Lindsay that it would start to rain, so that we would have the tense scene of the pregnant wife almost drowning. It did. The movie was so predictable after the escape from the Mayan city. If you could figure out the worst case scenario, then that is what would happen.

Entertaining: 3/5
Inspiring: 4/5
Ethical Thinking: 2/5

I will never watch this show again. The only reason it got a 2/5 on ethical thinking is because it made me wonder if being non-violent in all circumstances is a privilege we have because of the era we live in.

Little Miss Sunshine - A Movie Dialogue

Well, I am still recovering from Little Miss Sunshine.

The movie centered around a self-help teaching father, a normal working mom, a suicidal Proust professor/uncle, a drug/sex addict grandpa, a teenage brother obsessed with Nietzsche, and Olive, little miss sunshine. This is the story of their journey. I cannot really tell what I liked about the journey without giving away too much.

The point of the movie was that we need to be true to ourselves no matter what our society says we should be. And they make that point in extremely dramatic/nearing vulgar fashion. Unlike other movies, I just do not feel like I can go into explaining things without completely ruining the movie.

It was definitely a movie that emphasized family albeit in a backward sort of way. This family was about the worse family imaginable at the beginning. The brother had taken a vow of silence, the uncle had just tried to kill himself, and the grandpa was kicked out of a nursing home due to improper behavior. Everyone's life falls apart in just this little weekend, but Olive seems to be loving and sensitive enough to help bring healing to everyone.

It gave me a lot to think about, and I doubt I will be able to get this movie out of my head quickly. I have not laughed so much in a while. I think you would have to be in a certain mood to enjoy this movie, but I was in that mood tonight. It was refreshingly funny yet insightful.

Now to the ratings.

Entertaining: 5/5
Inspiring: 5/5
Ethical Thinking: 5/5

This movie is worth owning and watching over and over (okay, I have only seen it once so I really do not know if it stands the test of time). I must warn that it is rated "R" for a reason and would not be appropriate for the whole family. I also must give the disclaimer that a high "ethical thinking" rating does not mean that the movie was ethical but that it makes you think about ethics.

Hitch - A Movie Dialogue

Okay, I am going to lose all street cred on this one.

I watched Hitch. This was a Lindsay choice although it was a pleasant viewing experience. I would put this up there with Notting Hill as one of the more enjoyable chick flicks.

Nothing too heavy in this movie.

The movie's theme centered on bad guys make it impossible for good guys to get women. I have always thought that women just did not want good guys rather than bad guys hurt good guys chances.

The movie also focused on the theme of allowing yourself to be vulnerable again despite being hurt in the past.

Entertaining: 4/5
Inspiring: 2/5
Ethical Thinking: 3/5

Although fun and enjoyable, it gets the low "inspiring" score because it really did not inspire me to do anything.

I would watch this movie again, but I would not leave the room if it was on.

Good Night, and Good Luck - A Movie Dialogue

I just finished watching Good Night, and Good Luck. The ending credits are still rolling.

The movie was a worthwhile view. It might have been a little on the boring side, but it was a redeeming movie.

The movie centers around the story of CBS newscaster Edward Murrow's battle against Joseph McCarthy. It deals with so many various issues. I think that might make it less entertaining than it could have been.

It focuses on the struggle of a newscaster revealing the truth, what is the proper use of television, the plight of justice in our society and the reward (or lack thereof) for those who pursue it, and the struggle to preserve individual rights in our country during a period of fear.

I was intrigued by the conversation about how television should be used. The movie proposed that it should be used for public service rather than just entertainment. I would agree, but then I do like my silly reality television shows. We have decided to allow Isaac to stay up this week and watch American Idol. It will become a new family tradition. Isaac sings all of the time, so we want to encourage him to pursue that. We also figure that he will enjoy that show. Is that using television for more than entertainment or is it justify the entertainment of television? It definitely isn't public service. By no way is American Idol a high culture program, but it does seem to be more than just entertainment.

The other area that was most interesting to me due to the research I am presently pursuing in regards to conscientious objectors in WWI and WWII was the treatment of those who are not in line with our society's way of thinking. I find the whole McCarthy era fascinating in that America actually imprisoned people who had a political posture different than the dominant view. I have come to the conclusion that how a group or society treats those who are different than them reveals more about that group or society than almost any other action. I am fascinated at how much America has improved in this regards and am encouraged that we will be able to continue on the path towards accepting those who are different than the mainstream. The struggle is how do we tolerate without losing our identity.

The most striking thing about the story was how both McCarthy and Murrow lost. However, Murrow's sacrifice was for the better of the country, and his career continued on.

The movie brought up a lot of interesting subjects that would spark an evening of good conversation.

Entertaining: 2/5
Inspiring: 4/5
Ethical Thinking: 5/5

I will probably never watch this movie again unless I show it in a history class, which is pretty likely.

The Departed - A Movie Dialogue

Since I am on school break, we have decided to get somewhat caught up on movies. I wanted to post a little on each one so that I would have to interact with them on more than just an entertainment level. These are not reviews; I will leave those to the experts. These are more of the thoughts and ideas of the movies along with the ideas they caused me to have. I am not going to summarize the movie. Go to Amazon for that. Nor am I going to give a traditional review on movie quality because I am no expert on that. I am just going to share my thoughts on the themes of the movie and what they made me think about.


The Departed

This movie addressed committing acts of evil for different reasons. The three categories of people are being evil for noble purposes, being evil to keep the status quo, and being evil out of pure selfishness. The movie showed the lives of people who believed that the first two were okay, and a few who lived as if the last one was. I just can't pull myself to saying that any of the three are okay.

One of the major questions running through my mind lately is how can we create peace with selfish and violent people without resorting to violence. I am not trying to address this on a philosophical or theological level, but on a purely practical level. What can we do to bring peace with those willing to resort to violence without resorting to violence ourselves? I cannot really figure it out. Can there be victory (and does victory matter) without wallowing at their level?

Also, addressed in the movie is the tendency of our society to place people into categories based upon their biological predecessors. This only played a role in the movie in the first thirty minutes. I guess it is true. I have seen special given to others based upon their parents and have received special treatment based upon my parents. It all depends on the people and what they think of your parents.

Here is my ranking system:

Entertaining: 5/5
Inspiring: 1/5
Ethical Thinking: 4/5

I probably will never watch this movie again.

I Have Had Enough of Celtic Women

This might be my last post until I get out of prison.

I am going to break into the local PBS station and burn their copy of Celtic Women (or whatever the name of the Celtic singing program is). They show that program all the time, and I hate it more and more each time.

The Impact of an Open Primary - How I get to vote for Obama

I wonder what impact the open primaries will have on the Hilary-Obama elections tomorrow. I have only heard it mentioned once in the news and that was on a panel show on NPR. It seems to me that it might be the most significant factor in the Ohio primaries. I know Obama will get a vote from me that would not have happened if the Republican race was close.

For those who do not have an open primary, it is where one can go into the voting station and declare what ticket they are going to vote on. The only problem is that I will not get to vote for the county commissioner that I want to vote for in the Republican primary. I do weigh whether it is irresponsible of me to vote on the presidential primary over the local commissioner race, but then I think about Hilary and what it would be like to have her as our President and I am reaffirmed in my choice. I am going to go into that voting booth and say "Democrat" for the first time in my life.

How many other people that normally vote Republican are going to go and vote against Hilary? Her bid for the presidency can be snuffed out if enough Ohio Republicans and independents say "Democrat" tomorrow and vote against her. This becomes so much more of an option since the Republican race is all but over. Independents definitely have no reason to say "Republican" at the voting station, and Republicans do only if they have a horse in the local elections. I think Republicans and Independents might provide enough of a swing to push Obama over Hilary despite leading in the pre-primary polls.

A visit to Delta Community Church

The story of my visit to the churches we planted.