Movie Reviews and Such

It’s been a while since I updated some of the movies we’ve seen lately so I think it’s time to catch up.

“42” starring Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and some bad language.  It’s the story of Jackie Robinson’s first year in the major leagues and the courageous decision of Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford, to sign the first black player in the major leagues.  The movie is entertaining, funny at times and often disturbing.  It’s hard to watch some of the things that happen, knowing that these events were very real and reflected a dark time in our history.  It’s one of the wonders of the movies that they can entertain us while also challenging and informing.  A must go, even if you aren’t a baseball fan.

“Olympus Has Fallen” starring Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett is rated R for strong language and violence throughout the movie.  Lots of killing in this movie as terrorists take over the White House and hold the president hostage.  I have to say that I enjoyed the action, but I was highly perturbed at the story.  Almost every decision maker in the movie claims to be strong and then gives in to the terrorists.  It was frustrating to watch one leader after another give in to unjust demands.  Wait for the DVD at best, probably just put it on your Netflix queue in about a year.

“Parental Guidance” starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler, Marisa Tomei, Tom Everett Scott (from “That Thing You Do”) is rated PG.  This movie is hilarious as it contrasts new parenting and old parenting while also delving into the complicated relationship between parents and their grown children.  Lots of laughs and a sweet movie with no bad language.  WOW.  It’s hard to imagine seeing a funny movie with no bad language.  This is a must go, and if it’s not showing it’s a must rent or buy.

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” starring Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Jim Carrey is rated PG-13 for some sexual content, a drug related scene and some language.  I know it didn’t receive rave reviews, but I loved this movie enough to see it twice and laughed the second time as hard as the first.  Steve Carell and Steve Buscemi are Las Vegas magicians who have the same routine for a decade.  They are challenged by Jim Carrey who plays a cross between Criss Angel and David Blaine.  The stunts are hilarious and the ending scene left me in tears.  It’s goofy for certain, but there is a great theme to the movie and a quiet moral to the story.  Also, Alan Arkin is great as the old magician.  You need to see this movie.

Other movies I’ve seen:  “Django Unchained” – Not for the faint of heart. Loads of violence and offensive (but true to the period) language.  “Les Miserables” – Get ready for singing.  “Oz the Great and Powerful” – Odd movie but entertaining.  “Admission” – funny, date movie.  “Safe Haven” – Definitely a date movie, buy your wife the book.

Speaking of books, I just finished reading “The Great Gastby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald.  It’s a classic that I probably read, or should have read, in high school though I don’t remember doing so.  I wanted to read it before the movie came out next month.  It’s a great story with a few twists in it.  I’ll have to admit though, the writing is on a different level than most of the fiction books I’ve read so it takes a little getting used to the vocabulary and the style.  It is a good read that I’d recommend.

“The Overton Window” by Glenn Beck is a modern day Factional book (a fiction based on historical facts) that will really get you to thinking about current events and how they are used by media and the government to move our culture.  It’s a page turner that had me eager to read “just one more chapter” all the way through.

“Killing Kennedy” by Bill O’Reilly is much like his previous volume, “Killing Lincoln” as it dives deep into the presidency of JFK.  I learned some things about historical events and how they fit into the overall narrative of Kennedy’s life.  It’s a compelling story with lots of interesting tidbits from his private and public life.  I recommend it highly.

4 thoughts on “Movie Reviews and Such

  1. The lesson in the Rebecca class yesterday was from Leviticus 18-20 and it was about how God sets us apart for holy living, so we should reject unbiblical aspects of our culture. We were asked specifically about what we watch on television, at the movies and what books we read. These were the easier things discussed in class because frankly Leviticus 18:20-26 was hard to talk about in a room full of sweet grandmothers. Some of us watch shows that have bad language and suggestive/sexual content (Mad Men, Bomb Girls, the Young and the Restless, etc.) and it was discussed that we should probably stop watching them. After reading your movie reviews I’m wondering if we came to the wrong conclusion. Please let me know.

    • Janice, it is certainly not my intent to cause someone to doubt any personal conviction about living in holiness. I certainly am not infallible in my own actions and may be in error in some of this (By the way, I also watch Mad Men and would be nervous discussing that passage from Leviticus in your room full of grandmothers 🙂 )
      Since I have no excuse, I can only give you a few reasons why I choose what I choose and what I don’t choose to watch.
      I am a movie lover, it was my college major and has always been a joy to go to the movies. My favorite movie of all time is “The Godfather” which is certainly not an uplifting movie and has plenty of violence and bad language. It is also a beautiful story of transformation, human frailty and pride. I think I look at these movies much like I did my favorite cartoon as a child, the Road Runner and Coyote. It’s fun, but it’s not real.
      I have left some movies when the language seemed to be vulgar and without context and we don’t see movies with explicit sexual content. It is hard to see a good movie for adults these days that doesn’t have language and some sex in it. One of the reasons I really liked Parental Guidance and Burt Wonderstone was because the bad language was minimal or even non-existent. It’s nice, and unusual these days, to see a comedy where the writers have enough skill to be funny without being vulgar.
      Of course, three movies I’ve seen in the past year have used language that many found offensive. “42”, “Django Unchained” and “Lincoln” all used what has become known as the N-word throughout. Some are very offended by this, but as I watched the movies this language seemed in context to the time. It would have been much less than genuine to see characters placed in the 1860’s or 1940’s saying “African American.” But I do understand why some were offended at the use, even in historical context.
      I don’t know if these reasons are legitimate, but they are mine and your comment causes me to reexamine my own actions. I am reminded of one thing Paul said, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.”

      • Thank you for your reply. My intent was to get your perspective on whether or not we live a life of watching reruns from the 50’s and 60’s and only G rated movies or is it okay to see some of the current movies. I personally would like to see Argo, Zero Dark Thirty and the Netflix series House of Cards but I was unsure. Your thoughtful comments give me a better perspective and I totally agree about whether the language and (other stuff) is within the context of the story or not. It just dawned on me that our study guide is written by retired pastors, retired Lifeway personnel, and former Sunday School teachers so they are remembering gentler times. I guess that explains the April 7th lesson question, “I hear Baptists don’t approve of smoking, drinking, dancing or sex, so what do you do? No one said we go to the movies but maybe we should. Thanks again.

      • Definitely go see Argo. It was a really good movie, very suspenseful even though I knew how the story ended.
        Zero Dark Thirty was INTENSE. Very good, again kept me on the edge even though I knew the ending. It has plenty of violence, but mostly bad guys dieing. 🙂
        Never heard of House of Cards. Perhaps I need to check that out. I love Netflix.

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