One way I know that television is currently at the apex of popular culture is that I find myself wondering whether or not a particular movie would make a good tv show. Often, my answer to this question also coincides with my determination of whether or not I thought the movie was a good one.
Case in point: I watched Thor 2 the other night and it was predictably horrible. The plot was tired and occasionally impossible to understand; the acting was overly goofy; and the CGI didn’t even look good. But I also thought to myself: This would be a horrible tv show. There’s not really enough plot here for an hour and a half movie; there’s certainly nothing interesting about the characters … apart from Loki who’s confusingly alive at the end of the film without any real explanation (after we watch him die heroically fifteen minutes earlier). In short, there’s absolutely nothing here for an ultra-violent eight episode HBO anthology series to be built around.
I suppose this is precisely why “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” is a spectacular failure of a tv show. If you wouldn’t make an hour and a half movie about the adventures of Phil Coulson and his misfit band of agents because they’re a bunch of boring lumps, you certainly shouldn’t try making 22 episodes.
While artistic license has been taken, we believe that this film is true to the essence, values, and integrity of a story that is a cornerstone of faith for millions of people worldwide. The biblical story of Noah can be found in the book of Genesis.
Part of a disclaimer added by Paramount to the film Noah in an attempt to avoid offending or alienating Christian audience members.
The disclaimer was, apparently, requested by the National Religious Broadcasters, who felt (at least according to one board member) that the film is “historically inaccurate.”
Historically inaccurate. The story of Noah and the flood that wiped out everything on Earth except for the people and animals on a giant boat. Roll that around in your head for a bit.
For the Princess Leia in your life.
I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Finally, someone has adapted the saddest scene from a Holocaust movie into an acrobatic figure-skating routine.” No? Just me? No one else?
That’s Justin Peters, writing over at Slate the other day about Julia Lipnitskaia’s routine at the Sochi Olympics in which she wore a red costume and skated to the theme from Schindler’s List.
A number of people have asked about my level of outrage and the answer is that it’s pretty low. Lipnitskaia certainly isn’t the first person to skate to music from Schindler’s List and I’m certain she won’t be the last.
Do I think we need a whole lot more of this sort of thing? I don’t. But, then, I also won’t watch a single minute of ice skating or ice dancing or whatever at this year’s Olympics or at any other. I don’t find it exciting or moving or even interesting.
But a whole lot of people do.
And some of those people will likely find themselves very interested, moved, or excited about Lipnitskaia’s performance. And maybe some of them will even watch the film or read the book for the first time. And then perhaps they’ll find themselves learning about and caring about the victims of the Holocaust.
Is that Lipnitskaia’s intention? Probably not. But neither is it her intention to offend. Surely some people will be offended, in no small part because some people will always be offended; indeed, some people will likely be offended by this blog post. But it isn’t clear, at least to me, exactly what’s offensive about adapting a scene from Schindler’s List for an ice skating program. And, more importantly, it’s also the case that people who didn’t know much about Schindler’s List might decide to learn a little bit about it or about the Holocaust as a result of both the competition itself and the online discussion it prompted.
And that’s something.
The other day, someone asked me how deeply I’d delved into the Star Wars expanded universe.
By way of response, I simply asked, “How much do you want to know about what Wedge Antilles has been up since the Battle of Endor?”
Understandably, the person had no follow-up.
Interestingly, at the top of my list of Things I Don’t Want To Do, you’ll find “beam things directly into my eyes.” And following not too far behind, you’ll find “cover half my face with a giant visor.”
So, from the headline and the image alove, my sense is this new product is probably not for me.
An exceptional talent, gone far too soon.
The Spanish-language title for I, Frankenstein is both accurate and awesome.
Except insofar as “Frankenstein” is the name of the scientist who creates him; “I, Monster” or “Yo, Monstruo” would be accurate.
There are very few things that get my elitist hackles up more than when people refer to the Monster as Frankenstein.
As dysfunctional as Washington is these days, change is still possible when ‘We the People’ get engaged, run for office themselves or make their voices heard. After all, how else could a country doctor from Muskogee with no political experience make it to Washington?
Coburn’s question is a good one. How indeed can a country doctor with no political experience make it to Washington and participate — some might even say participate in a way that’s directly responsible for some of the dysfunction — in what many people would suggest is the most dysfunctional Congress in anyone’s memory? How indeed. I can only imagine that when the good people of Oklahoma sent Dr. Coburn to Washington without a shred of political experience, they expected precisely what they ended up getting … like the blockage of the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, or holding up passage of legislation to create the Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act, or placing a special hold on the Veterans’ Caregiver and Omnibus Health Benefits Act, or protesting NBC’s decision to air “Schindler’s List” in prime time because it contained nudity, violence, and profanity.
Anyhow, fare thee well, sir.
Now which brave soul will step into the breach and take up the mantle of desperately trying to stop political scientists from receiving federal funding to study American politics?
Here’s my quick review of the second installation of The Hobbit:
As a prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films, this film was nicely structured; it did a nice job of bringing back characters we loved, like Legolas, and characters we loved to hate, like Sauron. Like with any sort of fan fiction, it’s fun to imagine what these guys were up to before The Fellowship of the Ring.
As a sequel to the first Hobbit film, this movie was almost completely unnecessary. The parts that were keepers involved the dragon … so about a half hour of a two hour and forty minute extravaganza of non-Tolkien nonsense that included a luke-warm love affair between an elf and a tallish dwarf.
But who could have imagined, when it was first announced that one book would become three crazily-long movies, that they’d end up filling up time with a bunch of stuff that wasn’t in the book and bore no real connection to the main plotline? Oh, right, everyone.
For those who missed my review of the first Hobbit film, it’s here.
Have you seen the incredibly excellent movie The Butler? Why haven't you written about it?roguepriest
- I haven’t seen it, no.
- See #1.
In fact, I think I’ve only seen one or two movies in a movie theatre in the past few months. In the middle of a semester, and with two small children, it can be a real challenge to get out to the movies.
And, truth be told, when we do go, we tend to see the big blockbuster movies that won’t look quite as impressive on our television at home (where we tend to watch the vast majority of our movies using some streaming service or other, most often Netflix).
But I’ve added this one to our queue; thanks for the recommendation!
Have others seen this movie? Do you agree with Drew’s assessment that it’s “incredibly excellent”?
I ended my lecture this morning — on Richard Rorty and the power of literature to help us imagine new identities for ourselves, especially when it comes to moral decision-making — by asking students about “Star Wars: A New Hope.”
Specifically, I asked them whether they identified with one of the main characters over the others. By “main character,” I had in mind Luke, Leia, and Han. I suppose a case could be made, also, that Darth Vader is a main character … but I wasn’t thinking that anyone would consider him as an exemplar of moral decision-making.
One student said he always identified with Luke Skywalker. Another chose Obi-Wan Kenobi (somewhat unusually, I think, since he appears for only a few minutes and we learn almost nothing about him).
The other twenty-two students stared at me as though I’d just asked them to pick their favorite character from “My Dinner With Andre.”
What are we teaching our children?