Super 8 Review

I am a big film fanboy.  If you’ve tracked this blog for any time period, you know I am a fanboy of certain directors and shows.  One of those directors is J.J. Abrams.  He is the creator of many shows, including Felicity, Alias, and Lost, along with his directing of films like MI:3, Cloverfield and Star Trek (the reboot).  He recently filmed a collaboration with Steven Spielberg, called Super 8 in reference to his old filming style.

The story is simple: 6 teens are trying to make a zombie movie in the late 70s, when they witness a large train crash.  This crash releases a creature of unimaginable proportions upon their local city.  Then the military gets involved in hunting it down, while covering it up.  The kids themselves must now seek out the answer.
This story concept seems simple enough, but Abrams balances this all out with an emotional plot between the main son Joe, and his deputy father as the chaos and conflict continue.   This different plot creates a great contrast to the monster story-telling by keeping it from being entirely about the killer monster.  The story balances out these elements, while also making you invest into our heroes and heroines.

The style of filmmaking is reminescent to old Spielburg Alien flicks,  including things like E.T. and Close encounters of the Third Kind.  The balance of scares with emotional conflict is apparently Spielburg’s trademark.  Mix that with Abram’s mastery of mystery, and you have some great filmmaking.  I loved this movie.  IT was entertaining, emotionally investing, and simply well done.  I really enjoyed it.


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Schmoyoho video: Believe in Yourself

I’ve been checking out Schmoyoho’s content for a while now, and love their creative takes on video memes online. Check out their version of a young kid telling the world to “believe in itself, and it can ride a bike”. Check it out!

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Christian Girl meets Christian Boy.

Cultures are often defined by the conflicts and debates that exist within themselves. One great example of this is the cultural conversations inbetween Christians over how one engages others in a romantic relationship. There are those who are all for the idea of Modern Dating, while there are others who lean towards ye olde idea of Courtship. This conversation has been going on for many years, and has changed the lives of many Christians,.But it has also hurt many as well. So, the question is sparked; how do Christians handle dating? What has been the benefits and downsides to both sides? How can the Christian community work together to explore this important conversation?

First off, What is the main perspective in the Christian circle about dating? In the late 90s, author Joshua Harris published his book I Kissed Dating Goodbye, which started a wave of books and speakers who encouraged teens to wait to date until they were ready for marriage. This concept wasn’t entirely new. However, Harris caused many to

“ look beyond our Western culture’s dominant paradigm for developing serial intimate relationships (namely, the process of “dating”) and instead commit to “purposeful singleness.”  -Rob Marus, Kissing Nonsense Goodbye  

This idea has been the core of this conversation. After 13 years of being published, this book has changed many a life. The book’s emphasis on attitude instead of rules has made it the pinnacle of Christian Dating literature. But like every idea out there, it would be misused.

The general idea that all proponents of this Christian Dating conversation agree on is romantic relationships with limits, as well as being happy as a single, as God ordains. The problem is in the details. Most of the material we can find on dating attempts to make a set of do’s and don’ts. This is the problem with so many other systems. Humanity loves systems. It’s easier to follow a plan than to “discern” a situation according to principles you have been taught. This arena allows for a lot of doubt in the mind of young singles. They can either fail within a certain “system” or they can feel as though they are thrown around as they invest, and are rejected. World Mag did a fantastic piece on this recently. They recorded that the theology of marriage is not the issue. Many Christian students see Marriage as essential, and as honoring to God. What they find a problem with is how to get there. A great example of this is Benjamin Barber, who had only brothers. He stated that he”thought boys and girls could be friends.” But it didn’t take long for him to develop an attachment to a girl that turned out badly: “(he) got hurt. (people) need to be careful and conscious or that will happen.” This emotional conflict is a constant. It is a historical event that most people will go through. It is all part of seeking your “Happily Ever After”. But how are Christians supposed to handle this? What can be done?

One of the keys to this conversation is acknowledging that that there is no one system that will solve all dating problems.    This is because the dating rules are often based on one’s own experience, or a collection of experiences. This makes it very subjective. A great example of this is in the story of the “Good Christian Girl”. She read all of the material, listened to “the knowing ones” and acted accordingly. However, these solutions never brought her closer to marriage. They only kept her moving along the path that “the knowing ones” saw in the short-term. But all of these short-term solutions only added up the years, and kept her working and thinking instead of actually searching it out for herself. One of the things that will be constant in the romantic relationships is that there will still be heartbreak, and there will be mistakes, no matter what. This is because of the corrupted nature of reality. Relationships are not perfect representations of what God wants for all of us.

In order to understand and live accordingly, the populace must master wisdom.   The Greek philosopher Horace once said that “wisdom is not wisdom if it is only derived from books”. If one can both judge a situation, and avoid the pitfalls of the system, then they will be on the path. They will be able to make decisions for themselves that will help them move towards their loved one. Them Most important idea returns to Harris’ simple explanation during an interview of “ It’s not about courtship rules or structures; it’s your attitude.” Our heart determines how we act and react. And if we focus on our relationship with God over romance, then I think that will hopefully relieve some problems. However, nothing can guide or fix your romantic relationship more than you or God. Not even Josh Harris.

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Links 5/26/11

Alright, here are some more links

NYTimes: J.J. Abrams is a big teaser:  I am a big J.J. Abrams (Director/Producer) fan.  I loved his Star Trek Movie, and his work on Lost, and respect his ability to make a fantastic film series.  The New York Times did a recent piece on him that not profiled him, and gave us an insight into the mind of this fantastic individual.

World Magazine: Christian Boy meets Christian Girl  This cover story from World Magazine shows some of the problems and conflicts that have existed for young Christians that are attempting to date and “court”.  It’s a really interesting look at a conflict that I’ve been tracking for a bit now.  I hope to write something up about it later this week.

Youtube:  This funny voiceover film take nature footage and adds British Voiceover.   My siblings laughed off our butts.  Enjoy!!!

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Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides

The story of this latest entry into the POTC franchise is simple:  A number of people want to find the Fountain of youth, including Blackbeard, Jack Sparrow, The English ship led by Barbossa, and the Spanish Armada.  The fountain requires many things, including a mermaid and a victim.  There are so many twists and turns, but they all surround this simple plot concept.

The story is yet another entry into the POTC franchise, set up in 2004, and made popular with it’s character Jack Sparrow.    I enjoyed the first three movies, but I don’t love them.  Originally when I heard about the sequel, I groaned and moaned, since it seemed like they were pushing the series too far. But as I see this film now, I have to say that they did a good job.

Pirates 4 is simple, fun, straightforward, and enjoyable.  The characters are their classic forms, and the plot is pretty straightforward.  Their’s not a lot to say about the plot, because it followed most of the normal plotlines, with doublecrossings, revenge, and attempts to create a strong mythos.  However, this film was fun because it had Jack Sparrow, nothing else.

The character fights were semi-average, and they pulled out the normal tricks.  however, I loved the creativity they took with the mermaids, especially when they became bloodthirsty and violent. Also, the scene at the Spanish camp with the rope and the coconut was really, really fun.  I

Overall, this movie was fun, but not great.  I’m glad my brother was able to see it, but I wouldn’t buy it on DVD.


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Video Monday

I just saw Pirates of the Carribean: On Stranger Tides.  I’ll review it later.  But while I was online tonight,I found these two clips that were worth looking at:

First, while Adam Savage (Of Mythbusters Fame) was at Makerfaire 2011, he got in a Tesla Coil machine, and started dancing to the played version of the Doctor Who Theme.  Pretty cool, I have to say.

Secondly,  there have been plans to release a new Muppet Movie this year.  Well, a trailer is finally released, and it’s may not seem real, but wait for the Muppet cameos.  From there, it’ll all make sense.


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Amusing Ourselves to Death (Review)

Neil Postman is a famous critic and literary thinker who has influenced America’s conversation about both Technology and Television.  In this, he created a fantastic method thought process in his book Amusing Ourselves to Death.

What I found in this book was surprising.  Postman divides the book into two different parts.  The first works to define how technology, mediums, and information mix.  He illustrates this very well by giving us a history of the literary culture, and how it has changed our informational flow.  This section is certainly the most useful.  It quickly defines the information, and gives you a framework to look at other mediums through.  I now have a stronger understanding of how mediums work, and why they matter.

The second half of the book is specifically the thesis of the book; that the nature of TV’s medium inherently makes any information (IE education, religion, science, news) that comes through entertaining.  In doing this, we start to develop a taste for only “entertaining information” instead of solid facts.  This also hurts how we relate to the information.  The best example of this is in one of my favorite Weird Al Yankovic songs, “Why does this always happen to me?”

In the song, Weird Al is watching an episode of the Simpsons, when a news report about a deadly earthquake comes on. Al reacts by overreacting to this because it is blocking his recording of it.  This illustrates a fantastic point of the book.  The sobering news piece becomes simply trivial, especially when it gets in the way of our entertainment.  It may even be trivial in our eyes.  We give money to the efforts to rebuild it because it is culturally “trendy”, not because we feel for the people there.

This trivializing of life and reality makes it all about entertainment instead of seeking meaning, or truth.  And that is the danger of the book.

My only disagreement with the book is that Postman never gives us an idea for what needs to be done, whether on the personal or governmental.

The biggest point I loved about the book is summarized in this simple statement:  “It isn’t the folly shows like A-Team and Dallas that will harm culture.  It is The News-Hour with Jim Lehrer and Sesame Street.”  

This is a book that you should read.  It will make you think, and make you wonder what’s next.  Hopefully, our people can figure out what needs to be done to fix the problems, if that’s even possible.

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