I was recently asked what were some of my favorite films. It is a question that gets asked of me several times a year and I don’t think I have ever set down to put pen to paper to create a list of my favorites. I do have a Moleskine Film Journal that I started keeping in the summer of 2011 that I purchased at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. I have been adding my movie stubs to it and will occasionally write the name of films that I watch on DVD or TV to it. I have created a running list of my favorite all time movies here but will list a few of my favorite films of 2011 below:
- Drive – This movie had so much swagger. To call it “cool” would be an understatement.
- Hugo – A great film that helps make some history of the cinema into a palpable story.
- Super 8 – If there was an award for making a film most likely to have been lost by Steven Spielberg, this would be it. Great on all points.
- Crazy Stupid Love
- The Descendants
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 1 & 2
- Rise of the Planet of the Apes
- Real Steel
- The Adjustment Bureau
Not a bad list there. What were a few of your favorite films from this year?
I had the chance to go and see George Clooney’s new film The Descendants this past weekend while in Dallas with the family. I have been really excited about seeing this film after reading the Critics reviews. After seeing so many 100 out of 100 reviews I knew this was one that I was going to have to check out.
This is a powerful movie. Clooney’s character is being pulled in so many different directions. His wife has had an accident and is lying in the hospital. His workaholic lifestyle has kept him from developing a deeper relationship with his two daughters. His extended family is betting on him to make a decision that will result in them inheriting a huge sum of money. He finds out that his wife, who is lying in the hospital in a coma, has been having an affair. That is quite a load to carry on your shoulders.
As I sat and watched this film I began identifying the stories that were happening to Clooney with those of the people that I help oversee. It helped give me insight into what they went through this year and gave me hope that the trials that we encounter help refine us into a person that is more closely connected to God and His purposes. Don’t allow bad circumstances to pull your faith and hope away from Christ.
What will it take for you to change your life and commit to a deeper relationship with our God? These pivotal circumstances that we have little or no control over can wreck your life…or they can help you get back on track with God. They will help you realize what is really important in life and what you should really be thankful for and focusing on.
Check out this video and share some thoughts about a pivotal circumstance that God has used to redirect your path.
My new favorite show is Top Gear on BBCA. I just discovered this show a few months ago. I am not sure how these guys got the job but I definitely want in. What I find most appealing about the show is not so much the cars as it is the friendship and bonds that these 3 guys have…ok… that and they usually end up blowing something up or trashing a car for fun. If you compare this original draft of Top Gear with the new American version on the History Channel you can really tell the difference that the right chemistry can make within a team. I am not sure how you cast for a show like Top Gear and to be honest I am completely at a loss for how you cast for a person like James May, but these guys create a buddy show that you completely enjoy. How do they do it? I am not for sure, but I do think that there is tremendous value in your team trying to work at finding a sweet spot between performance and fun. That is certainly one of the things that Top Gear has found and I believe one of the things that many environments are missing. I have worked in so many environments that were dull and stale because the people working within them never found an outlet for them to let loose. Harrah Church is a lot like Top Gear in the sense that we are able to let loose with our services, with the way we do ministry, with just about our whole approach to anything we are doing. It is isn’t illegal or unbiblical…let’s give it a try. I love to see Justin and the band try to take the worship somewhere they haven’t been before. There is just something magical about that. You love it when the singer goes for a note at the top of their range. Even if they just barely get there it can be incredibly inspiring to everyone. That in a sense is a worshipper giving everything he has and leaving nothing on the field. Do we fail sometimes? Heck yeah! But we had a heck of a time getting there.
How important do you think chemistry is to your teams that you work with? How are you trying to make it happen? Do you take chances? Do you let others watch and do you laugh at your mistakes? So much to think about when trying to get the chemistry right, but trust me, when you get it right, the littlest acts can have the best reactions.
Friday is for Film in my world and this past Friday I had the chance to see the new film Hanna by Joe Wright who directed Atonement and The Soloist, both of which I enjoyed. Hanna is the story of a young assassin who sets out to right wrongs that were committed while she was a young child.
The movie was a mix of art house film and action flick. The last film I would have categorized like this would have been The American with George Clooney, but Hanna had much more action. I would easily go back to the theater this week to see Hannah again. The acting, direction, and look of the film were superb.
You really find yourself connecting with the characters. Highly recommend this one.
I must be becoming a gamer. I have been looking up maps and codes online to learn how to play the game better. As I am writing this I keep looking at the game console and then at the clock and then back at the console. It is 12:21 AM and I am considering playing a little more, but I know that I have a very long day ahead tomorrow and should go to bed.
So what kinds of games are you playing right now?
It has been awhile since I have had the opportunity to review a film and a book at the same time. I think the last time I did this was in my Film Criticism class at UCO a few years back. This week I read the book Twilight and went to see the movie with some friends on Monday night. I will tell you up front that I liked the book much more, but you probably would have guessed as much. The book is always better.
Yesterday I was listening to NPR and a listener described the book as, “smoldering.” I think that is the best description as this book is pretty long and has relatively few action moments. Most of the book is spent on the relationship between the main characters Edward and Bella. One of the things that I like about the book is that it breaks some of the conventional vampire rules and spends time humanizing the vampires instead of getting wrapped up in the gory details of feeding.
I can easily see why so many girls are wrapped up within this series of books. Slightly dorky and clumsy girl meets hot and intriguing vampire, who falls in love with her and helps her escape from the reality that has become her life. A lot of the girls that couldn’t wait for the movie to come out and talked about the book on Facebook best match the description above. I didn’t feel like the supernatural side of the story outweighed the human side of the story. The majority of the book is spent on the relationship between Edward and Bella and their burgeoning love. As I told my friends as I talked them into going to see the movie, “this is a love story with a little interlude with vampires.” I grew up reading Anne Rice during High School so this story seemed really tame and had very few vampire moments, but I liked what happened and where it went.
If you have the time read the book or get the audio version on iTunes, which clocks in at just over 12 hours.
What a let down! I was expecting more from this film and would say that it delivered on nothing. The only casting choices that I liked were Edward, Bella, and Alice. The director brought out the vampires as being weird instead of just being outside the crowd, which are two different things. With very few supernatural things to create on film I thought that what we got was very hokey and cheesy. I laughed aloud many times during the film, as did the couple sitting behind us. The film was very fragmented and seemed to introduce moments from the book without explanation. I also felt that there was too much over acting during the film.
Skip the movie if you can read the book. It will only stand to keep you away from the books, which are far superior.