Monday, January 31, 2011

My Top 20 Movies Of All Time: 20 To 17

When most people find out that I watch as many movies as I do, the first question they usually ask is, "How did you get so good looking?" (ok, to be truthful, that is the second question, the first is, "Really, what do you think is the best movie?") to which I usually say, "The best movie, or my favorite movie, cause they are not the same thing?". You see, a favorite movie doesn't actually have to be a good one, it can be awful, but a favorite none the less. On the other hand, "best" means that it has incredible value, is unique in its message or technique and has impacted me on a deeply personal level. So what follows is a list of what I think are the top movies of all time, starting at 20 and counting down to what I consider to be the greatest movie ever. So, saying that, as to not make this the hugest post ever, I will break it up in blocks of 4, but first, here is the little spiel that will go before each post.

What follows is a list of what I think are the best films of all time. Now rating films is a very subjective thing, and I have by no means seen every film ever made, so some of the films that you may think are the best might not be on this list. Feel free to suggest something that I might have missed, and if I agree with you I will amend my list and give you credit for introducing me to a new awesome movie. Other then that, enjoy and feel free to comment about my choices. Due to laziness, I will be using the synopsis's from, and then I will put in my two cents afterwards.

20. The Princess Bride
What It Is About - The Princess Bride is staged as a book read by a grandfather (Peter Falk) to his ill grandson (Fred Savage). Falk's character assures a romance weary Savage that the book has much more to deliver then a simpering love story, including but not limited to fencing,fighting, torture, death, true love, giants, and pirates. Indeed, The Princess Bride offers a tongue-in-cheek fairy tale depicting stable boy-turned-pirate Westley's journey to rescue Buttercup (Robin Wright), his true love, away from the evil prince (Chris Saradon), whom she had agreed to marry five years after learning of what she had believed to be news of Westley's death. With help from Prince Humperdinck's disgruntled former employee Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), swordsman Inigo Montoya (Mandy Patinkin), and a very large man named Fezzik (Andre The Giant), the star-crossed lovers are reunited.

Why It Makes The List - The Princess Bride, in my opinion, is one of the most quoted films in movie history. There are so many great lines, uttered by such memorable characters, that they just demand to be repeated. The basic plot is simple, and there is nothing overly groundbreaking, although it does have one of the greatest sword fights ever put on film, but where it really shines is in the characters. You have a sweet grandpa, a reluctant princess, a masked pirate on a mission, a genius with a massive ego, a sword swinging revenge driven Spaniard, a cranky miracle worker, a plotting pompous prince (wow, all bow down to me, the king of alliteration) , a evil six fingered man, a albino henchman, and best of all, a rhyming giant. But it doesn't just stop there, you also have great locations, like a fire swamp, pit of despair, and cliffs of insanity. All in all, it is just a great story, and although it is cheesy and does have some sketchy acting in parts, it is just a great fun heartwarming movie, and that why it gets a spot on my list.

19. Gladiator
What It Is About - In the year 180, the death of emperor Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris) throws the Roman Empire into chaos. Maximus (Russell Crowe) is one of the Roman army's most capable and trusted generals and a key advisor to the emperor. As Marcus' devious son Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) ascends to the throne, Maximus is set to be executed. He escapes, but is captured by slave traders. Renamed Spaniard and forced to become a gladiator, Maximus must battle to the death with other men for the amusement of paying audiences. His battle skills serve him well, and he becomes one of the most famous and admired men to fight in the Colosseum. Determined to avenge himself against the man who took away his freedom and laid waste to his family, Maximus believes that he can use his fame and skill in the ring to avenge the loss of his family and former glory. As the gladiator begins to challenge his rule, Commodus decides to put his own fighting mettle to the test by squaring off with Maximus in a battle to the death.

Why It Makes The List - Gladiator is one of those movies that is very epic yet also very personal at the same time. It opens with a fantastic battle scene, and then swiftly moves to balance that with a walk through of the wounded soldiers and the partying politicians that celebrate the victory as if they had won the day themselves. From there it moves to a father / emperors love for family and those who would be family, to betrayal, murder, escape, tragedy, sorrow, hope and in the end, revolution and redemption, all the while being balanced with great action and fight scenes. Add to that fantastic performances from the diverse cast and you have one incredible film that I think is among the best films ever made.

18. Tombstone
What It Is About - Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) desiring to retire from law enforcement with brothers Virgil (Sam Elliot) and Morgan (Bill Paxton) arrives in Tombstone, Arizona intending to build his fortune. He discovers that long-time friend Doc Holiday (Val Kilmer) is there and that the town is run by a group of brutal outlaws called the Cowboys. The Cowboys terrorize the citizens of Tombstone unchecked and when the town marshal is killed by a Cowboy, Earp steps in to prevent a lynching by an angry mob. He also refuses to hand the killer over to his fellows, beginning the enmity between the Cowboys and the Earp brothers. Virgil, overcome with guilt at doing nothing to help the Tombstone citizens, accepts the position of town marshal. With Wyatt and Morgan as his deputies, and the help of Doc, Virgil attempts to arrest several Cowboys, resulting in the famous OK Corral shoot-out. The Cowboys take revenge by ambushing two of the brothers and injuring Virgil and killing Morgan. The Earps leave town, apparently cowed. Wyatt returns, wearing the badge of a U.S. marshal, vowing to destroy every last Cowboy.

Why It Makes The List - Tombstone is the one and only western that made my list, (although I am a fan of many westerns, especially ones with Clint Eastwood in them) but I think it definitely deserves to be here. It has a huge and talented cast, is based on a true story and has some of the most iconic characters from this period in American history. The other incredible selling point is that Tombstone probably has the best performances of both Kurt Russell and Val Kilmers careers, Kilmer in particular is simply astounding in the role of Doc Holiday, he looks so sickly yet deadly at the same time for the whole movie, and I doubt anybody could say, "I'll be your huckleberry!" any cooler then he did. All of these, plus great tension filled stand offs and gunfights all make this one of the greatest westerns and movies ever, and that is why it is on my list.

17. Unbreakable
What It Is About - David Dunne (Bruce Willis) is taking a train from New York City back home to Philadelphia after a job interview when his car jumps the tracks and collides with an oncoming engine, with David the only survivor among the 131 passengers on board. Astoundingly, David is not only alive, he hardly seems to have been touched. As David wonders what has happened to him and why he was able to walk away, he encounters a mysterious stranger, Elijah Prince (Samuel L. Jackson) who explains to David that there are a certain number of people who are "unbreakable" -- they have remarkable endurance and courage, a predisposition toward dangerous behavior, and feel invincible but also have strange premonitions of terrible events. Is David "unbreakable"? And if he is, what are the physical and psychological ramifications of this knowledge?

Why It Makes The List - Many people would say that The Sixth Sense is M. Night Shyamalan's best movie, but for me, it has to be Unbreakable. Forget Spiderman, Ironman and all those other superhero origins (not including Batman here) cause they can't even begin to compare with Unbreakable. M. Night has created a realistic tale of "What if" that is believable, original and compelling. It has a "hero" that is flawed and vulnerable, a "guide" who is equal parts wise and crazy and a great ending that leaves you left off balance yet very satisfied. The cast of Bruce Willis, Samuel
L. Jackson, Robin Wright and Spencer Clark are amazing (although that has got to be Samuel L. Jacksons worst hair piece that he has ever worn) and really allow you to be drawn into the story. Add to that some great use of blocking for scenes (this means the way scenes are presented to the viewer, a good example of this is in the beginning of the movie where you see a whole conversation between two people through the gap in two seats on a train, because it is being shown from a child's perspective sitting in front of them.) and great use of flashbacks, and you have a movie that I think is among the best ever made.

So there you have it, the first 4 of what I think are the 20 best movies of all time. Let me know what you think so far, and look for 16 To 13 to be up in the next week or so. Until then, God Bless you all you Internet peoples, and may your bandwidth always be awesome.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Jesus Hits Like The Atom Bomb: Wetworks Theology

For the majority of my life I was a part of a church that was run under a paramilitary style of leadership. It has soldiers instead of members, officers instead of pastors, and the guy (or girl sometimes, they were kinda ahead of the curve when it comes to women and ministry) who is in charge of it all is called the General. Now, being raised in this since childhood, I kinda got used to thinking of theological things in war or military terms (not all the time mind you, but it was pretty much drilled into me from a young age, and the Apostle Paul did this occasionally too, and he rocked pretty hard, so it seemed to fit well). So from this you have all the, "fight the good fight" and , "put on the full armor of God" and what have you, and other such awesomeness (for more on this I suggest you read your Bible, I am just a blog guy after all, and as awesome as I might be, you just can't beat the Word of God). Well from all those super cool military references, (ten hut, drop and give me 20 prayers on the double*) I have developed a couple of thoughts of my own about the whole warfare and theology thing, and where I fit into all of it. So, without further rambling on my part, (wait a minute, that is all I do in this blog, so I guess I should say, and now for some further rambling on my part. Oh well) here are some of the things that I came up with, and since I am a movie guy, I will give some super cool film examples in case you want to see what I am talking about.

Ok, so I am saving what I am most like for last, but to start I will go with one of the things that I wish I was. Snipers are pretty awesome (assuming they're on your side), when ever I play a shooter type video game, (like Resident Evil 4, Goldeneye, Pac Man, you know, all the big ones) the first weapon I always go for is the sniper rifle. It has always just been pretty cool hiding out somewhere and picking off people one by one while they have no clue what just happened (strangely enough, I guess this would be a good way to go, one second you are bored, guarding your post, the next second your chillin with Jesus. He looks at you, you look at Him, you give Him a puzzled stare, He shrugs His shoulders and says, "Sniper", you take a second and then you both have a good laugh about it. Well, that is if the sniper that gets you is good, and doesn't miss just a bit and you die slowly wondering if you forgot to return that DVD to the library, or become a vegetable, possibly broccoli, or eggplant, but I am pretty sure either one would suck). So right about now you are wondering where all that God stuff I was talking about earlier is, so here we go. You know those little old ladies that have reserved seating at church, you know, the ones that have been there forever and will tell you to move if you are sitting in their spot. Sure you do, they are the ones that take their bulletins home, and highlight all the names of the people on the blue sheet (or, at least at my church it is a blue sheet, it may be a different color at yours, like yellow, or green, or fuchsia, depending how out there your church is) and then they go into their bedroom with said blue sheet and get on their knees and drop kick Satan through a spiritual brick wall, (and then depending how good at prayer they are, they might throw him down into the ground and make a cool crater of smashed pavement and water pipes, like what happen to Neo in the 3rd matrix movie, hey, I talked about him being Jesus in another post, how is that for synergistic self cross promotion). What I am talking about here is what most people would call, "Prayer Warriors" or, "Demon Kickers" as I like to call them. These are people who know how to pray, and I mean really know. Unlike the rest of us, (me being very guilty of this) these are the people who take prayer for what God says it is, talking to him directly and bringing those things that need attention before his throne. Demon Kickers don't always have to be old ladies too, sometimes kids fill this role, (cause they also tend to pray hard core, they love Jesus and when they are not praying for a pony, they scare the crap out the devil with their sincerity ) but truth be told, prayer warriors can be any age. Now, you might be asking, but what about the snipers, where do they come in? Well, Prayer Warriors and Snipers do the identical thing in warfare, whether it is physical or theological. They both work from the outside in. Snipers place themselves in strategic locations and usually cover the rest of the soldiers, with well placed shots that will save lives. Prayer warriors do the exact same thing, only with prayer. When Christians are down and being pushed around by life and Satan, Prayer Warriors are just like snipers, in the fact that they are not up front on the battle lines, (in this case what I mean is they don't show up at your house with a pot roast and sit you down and fix all your problems, or at the hospital, no pot roast this time, but possibly flowers, but then again, I do know some old ladies who might show up at the hospital with a pot roast, either way, prayer warriors don't generally do this. Aww man, now I want some pot roast) but they are definitely in the fight, and just as in all battles, they are absolutely essential for victory. So, when you "pray hard" and demons have to go change their undergarments, well then congratulations, you are a sniper, now go get shootin. (for some great sniper movies I suggest, "Shooter" with Mark Walhberg, "Enemy At The Gates" with Jude Law and the aptly named, "Sniper" with Tom Berenger)

Wow, that was a long description, but that is mainly cause snipers are fun to talk about, so the next couple of comparisons will be much shorter, I promise. And the next one is...
Bombers are mainly used in warfare when you need to effect damage on a large scale yet very selective area. Bombers are used less now a days because of all the super cool satellite rocket smart bomb thingamajigs, (I love that my spell check actually knew how to spell that word) but throughout the history of modern warfare one thing is certain, the country that held the air, won the war, and bombers were an incredibly important part of that. So, if snipers are prayer warriors, then bombers in my mind would be super evangelists. Now when I say super evangelists, I want to be clear, I mean real evangelists, (so if they are on TV and smack people on the head to beat their cancer out of them, or sell super purified holy water that was taken from a small village in the mountains of Wannahaukaluggy, or ask for money so that they will not die in the next 7 minutes, well, those are not the people I am talking about) and I can think of no one who fits this role better then, you guessed it, Bono. Yep, Bo..... What the heck, sorry, I got to stop listening to old U2 songs when writing these things (truth be told, I wasn't listening to U2 while writing this, I was actually watching a movie, but saying that I was listening to U2 made for a better joke. Ahh, I am glad to get that off my chest, now I will return you to your regularly scheduled post with a clear conscience). What I meant to say was, Billy Graham. So how is Billy Graham a bomber? You see, no one sends a bomber to kill one man, (well, that is unless that one man is ARNOLD, in his latest blockbuster, "Stop, Or I Will Throw My Walker At You", coming soon to a theater near you) and just the same, Billy Graham never came to town just to tell one person about Jesus. Billy Graham is a bomber, sure and true. He showed up to a town and would lay waste to sin that was holding people captive on a large scale, and then just as a bomber, once his job was done, he would fly on to the next mission. So, the next time you see a super evangelist, (for some of the Acquire The Fire generation, Ron Luce would fit the bill too) think of bombers, and you will probably laugh a little bit, and possibly duck and cover. Moving on. (For some great movies about Bombers watch "Pearl Harbor" (which is not a great movie, but it does have a lot of bombers), Tweleve O'Clock High with Gregory Peck and the best bomber movie of all time, "Memphis Belle")

Commanders, Majors or Generals, these are all pastors (the main difference between them is the size of the church they lead). You see, the complexities of being in charge of large groups of individ....(aw, you should be able to figure this one out by now, so I will give you some credit and plus, I want to get to me and my super cool military God stuff, cause this is all about me after all, so lets just say you get it and we can move on.)

Ok, so we are finally at the whole reason I wrote this post and the main reason I developed some of these crazy philosophies. Out of all the war and soldier type people and styles that I know of, there is one that fits me more then any other, and that is WETWORKS Wetworks is a term that is not commonly known by most people, but what it basically means is close combat killing. Now, most people right now are either shocked or confused, or possibly shofused (shofused is a word that I just made up for people who are both shocked and confused, yet too busy to do both, see how thoughtful I am) but just wait a minute and I will explain, but first I have to have a flashback (insert cool wavy blury visuals and a neat echoy sound effect here as I think back, it totally makes this post better). It was last year some time, that my church had a men's retreat, which I had the chance to attend. At the retreat one of the speakers was talking about some men who were doing great things for God. One of them was setting up mines in Africa that benefited the whole area, (one of the conditions for this expert mine digger was that he would only dig if the company that hired him would build a school and hospital in the community where it would be located. Good on him.) and there were several other ones (to be honest I can't remember them all), and they all are doing some pretty awesome stuff for God, running business and large ministries. Now, the reason I am mentioning this is that after hearing all that, I stood up and admitted that I am useless in all those areas, but that is only because God made me for something different. Now, on that day, I kinda talked about wetworks theology, but not in so many words, (I actually developed wetworks theology about 5 years ago, and I did a big post about it on my first blog, pity I deleted it all, since I am lazy, and recycling is good for you and the environment, even the virtual kind) so here it is, why I am a wet works guy. Wetworks is all about up close and personal combat, where you have to be up in the sweat and guts and blood of the person you are fighting. Unlike snipers who are off in the distance, and bombers who are all about the mass effect, wetworks is very personal. Now I will be completely honest, the reason wet works is called wet works is cause quite often, when two men try and kill each other in close quarters combat, (usually with blades of some type, maybe knives, possibly swords, or in some cases the rarely seen woman's pink razor, it all depends how hard core you want to go) it becomes very messy and very sticky, and very very bloody, and when it is all said and done, even the man who is left standing is, well, wet (with blood, but wet none the less, hey, Marvel comics has a major league superhero that is all about wetworks, take a stab at who it is, or just look at the picture below, either way works). Ok, so here is why this applies to me, you see, I can't dig mines, or run a big ministry, but where I do my best work is up close and personal, where I can get messy in the lives of people. This is not a ministry that many have, especially when it comes to teens (I often find that lots of people love working with kids, cause they are cute and funny and often think that their leaders are amazing and will tell them so, all the time. Teens on the other hand are always going through stuff. They have problems, attitudes and hand shakes, that to be honest, are all incredibly complex and hard to understand (Shout out here for my buddy Josh and our squidy props) and they tend to roll their eyes a lot. All those things and many more cause most leaders to shy away from teens and run for the kiddies as fast as I run for the boarder, ahh, the beauty of Taco Bell**) but for me, the closer I get to people the easier it is for me to help them. Now, this often becomes, "wetworks" because when the way you help people is by getting close to them, so that they learn that they can trust you, it often gets messy, cause no matter how cool, sweet or smart you are, or nice your family is, everybody has issues, and they are never pretty. Wetworks is all about getting into the guts, being as close as possible and not being afraid to get dirty doing it. This also goes along really well with another gift that God gave me, which is abstract thinking. I once took a psych test, and I mean a real 4 hour long psych test, and I was pretty average in a lot of areas, but I scored off the charts on 2 points. The first was being funny, and the second was abstract thinking (ok, the being funny thing is not true, but if they did have a category for that I would have totally killed it). Abstract thinking is where you can take things that are concepts and ideas and understand them fairly easily, and in my case I can also explain to others how it all works, (this is great when working with teens, cause when they drop the "I know everything" act, they start to ask awesomely hard questions). Practical things like how an engine works in a car, or plumbing under a sink or computer systems, well, they all baffle the heck out of me, but want to talk theology and the propitiation*** of Jesus' act on the cross, then I am your guy. Ok, here is what wetworks is not. It is not fast, (you have to develop relationships, this takes time and lots of trips to coffee shops and cool video game sessions) it is not widespread, (you can only help a small number of people compared to other styles of ministry, I personally have about 30 teens I am getting close with, and in that group there are probably 10 that I am starting to go deeper with, so I am really learning to try and use my time wisely) and most of all, it is not clean, (when my people fe
el pain, and share that pain, it effects me, I cry when they cry, I hurt that they hurt, and although I love that I can help, it is not always the easiest path to be on). I would love to be a sniper (God, we need to talk more anyway) and I never wanted to be a bomber, (preaching can be fun though) but getting dirty in peoples lives so that they can become closer with God, well, that is home to me, that is where God has placed my heart, and that is why I am a wetworks guy. (For some movie references about wetworks I recommend "The Hunted" with Tommy Lee Jones, and "The Chronicles Of Riddick" and "Pitch Black" with Vin Diesel)

Ok, so there you have it, my crazy warfare theology. I could go on and on, about the different roles people play in ministry and which type of soldier they are, but I hope you have gotten the idea by now. Saying that, I would love to hear anybody else's take on ministries that they think fit the bill, so feel free to leave a comment, (you know, in the area just below this that says, "Comment". Yeah, you can actually leave me a thought, or message, or your personal banking information, which ever you feel most comfortable) so until next post, stay classy internet people, stay classy.
*This is just a joke, they don't actually make you do that, although I am a little surprised they don't.
**Just to let you know in case you were wondering, I am not sponsored by Taco Bell, but would love to be, or if you like me you could just by me a double beef cheesy burrito, I'm just saying.
***I know that propitiation in is a big $6 word, so here is what it means, "to turn away wrath", so in this case, Jesus fulfilled propitiation for us when he died on the cross, taking all the wrath that we deserve and placing it upon himself. Now, go impress your friends with your super cool new word.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Your Blog Is Named What?

So, it has been about a month since I started this crazy little thing called blog, and some of you who know me well probably understand the meaning of its name, (that would be only about 2 or 3 people) but everyone else probably thinks I am nuts, or that I have a fetish for earth toned outer wear (I can neither confirm nor deny that second one, so I will just leave that out there for internetland to gossip about). Well, here it is, the post where I explain why the heck my blog is named what my blog is named.

So, I guess the first thing you need to know is, who is Jesus. Well, Jesus is the son of God.
He goes by a bunch of cool names, you can find them in this "good" book called, The Bible. Check it out if you are looking for a good read and/or an awesome savior. Moving on.

So, this leads to the next question, What the heck is a brown coat? Ok, so this is where it helps if you know me. Cause if you really know me, then you know I am a huge Firefly fan. Now here is where you get to say, what the heck is Firefly?..........................., go on, I'll wait, ................., no really, you can say it..................... good, now don't you feel better, it is like we are having some super information highway conversation experience, except I am probably watching a movie right about now and you are here, reading my blog. Anyway, so here is a quick history lesson.
In 2002, Joss Weadon made a tv show called Firefly, it was original, it was funny, it was cancelled very quickly. Yep, it lasted half a season before the nice* people at Fox scrapped it. But because of its creators love, that is not where the story ends, more on that later. So, as for the show itself, it was about a ship called Serenity and its crew. The crew was made up by an assortment of misfit characters. There was Mal, the jaded but decent Captain, Zooey, his wartime best friend and first mate, Kaylee, the adorable ships mechanic, Jayne (this is a guy, so don't make fun of the name, cause he will kill you) who is the ships all around muscle, and Wash, the funny laid back pilot who is married to Zooey. Besides the crew, there are others who are traveling on Serenity. There is an older monk/priest named Shepard Book, Inara, who is a companion (think religious order, that also doubles as a high priced escort), along with River and Simon Tam, a brother and sister duo who are on the run from the universal government for too many reasons to go into in this post.

Ok, now that you have a little back story on the characters, I will get to the whole "Browncoat" aspect of Firefly. You see, the series starts during an intergalactic civil war of sorts, with the core planets forming an "Alliance" and the outer ring of planets fighting for their freedom became considered rebels, and because of their choice in clothing, which guessed it, brown coats, the slang term given to them was, Browncoats. Yeah, I know, real original of them, but it is not like they were great thinkers. Anyway, the Browncoats lost the war, and this is important because Mal and Zooey were browncoats, and this is one of the defining things for both of them in how they view the universe and live their lives.

So, now you know who Jesus is, and you know what browncoats are, so this is where I tell you how Jesus is a browncoat. Well, the way I see it, Jesus is the ultimate browncoat, cause he was the ultimate rebel of his or anybody else's time. He rebelled against so many things that I couldn't possibly list them all, but here is a quick list. He rebelled against the religious leaders of the time, calling them out on their legalism and hypocrisy. He rebelled against the ideas of worldly power and wisdom, calling into question the whole system of how the world worked, and who really was rich and who was really poor. And lastly, he led the biggest rebellion of all time, when he rebelled against the powers of sin and death, conquering both and thus changing everything, for all time. So as far as I am concerned if the term Browncoat means rebel, then Jesus was the biggest Browncoat ever. Now, on to the misbehaving part.

Remember earlier, when I said Firefly didn't end when it was cancelled as a tv show, well Joss Weadon loved his show so much that he refused to leave it there, lifeless and unresolved. Thus, he made a lot of calls, and finally, after a lot of work, he was able to get the whole gang back together and made the movie, SERENITY. Now, in this movie, Mal and the crew were able to wrap up most of the story lines that were started in Firefly, and near the end of the movie, they find out something important that has been hidden from the universe, and they have to decide what to do with that information. This is a huge turning point for Mal's character, and he decides that he is going to do anything he can to get the information out, including being willing to die. He then tells his crew, "No more running, I aim to misbehave." I myself have taken those words as something of a personal motto. To me, it means, I am going to try and do the right thing, even though it is hard and might have consequences that would be less then desirable, especially since it is going against the powers that be. I even have it tattooed on the back of my neck (yeah, I know what your saying, my best friend thought that was pretty lame too, but it is my neck, you can get whatever you want tattooed on your neck and talk about it on your blog, but this is my neck and blog, so there) So, as far as I am concerned, Jesus was a browncoat, so I aim to misbehave, and now you know why.

*Where I use the word Nice here I actually mean stupid.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Word Is As Sharp As A: A Review of THE BOOK OF ELI

So, I read a book a while ago called, "Stuff Christians Like" by Jon Acuff, which is based on a blog of the same name, and it is a completely funny laugh out loud read. I highly recommend if you get the chance to give it a peruse (yep, peruse, that's a 2 dollar word right there, so please donate lots of money so I can continue to use such flowery language in these posts). Anyway, the reason I brought that up is one of the things that Jon (yeah, we are on a first name basis cause I read his book) says "Christians Like" is violent movies. The argument is made that since the Bible, God's word, is full of bloody battles, wars and murders, it was fine for us, being Christians, to watch such things on film. And you know what, I could try to disagree, but my movie watching list from the last 2 years speaks differently. So, with that all said, here it is, my movie review of, THE BOOK OF ELI.

Plot: Ok, I have to be upfront, if I am going to talk about THE BOOK OF ELI properly, I am going to have to give a lot of the cool neato surprise plot twisty things away, so before you go any further,

Stop reading if you don't want to know, watch the trailer, it should tell you if you want to see it. Otherwise, on to the story. So, the back story. 30 years ago, there was a war of some type and a "Flash" took place, (they are really vague on this, was it a nuke or just some incredibly over powered Japanese camera that misfired, meh*) after which most of the people died and much of the earth became a scorched barren wasteland. When this happened, people all over the scorched barren wasteland seem to blame God for this, (oh, hey, maybe it was God's over powered Japanese camera) and thus they had a great bonfire and, poof, up in smoke, they got rid of all the Bibles. Cut to 30 years later, and enter Eli (Denzel Washington). Eli is a man on a mission for God, literally. He heard the voice of God tell him to find a "BOOK" that was buried under some rubble and take it west. He was also told that on his journey he would be protected and that he would know when to give the book into someone else's care. And that is what he has been doing, heading west, for 30 years. 30 years, really? (yeah, that seems like a long time to me too, just to make it to THE WEST. I mean, where did he start, Australia? Cause from the look of it, he has been in America the whole time and I know he is walking and all, but not even I would take 30 years to make it all the way across the good old U.S. of A. Anyway) Then enter Carnegie (Gary Oldman). He is the "Mayor" (or mob boss, I say this in parentheses, which in this case implies I am whispering in case he hears me, which I don't want, cause he is mean) of a small town who is obsessed with finding a particular book, so much so that he sends out raiding parties of bikers who look for people with books, and you can probably guess what they do to them once they find them (it is not a tea party, so guess again) Anyway. if you haven't figured it out, the book that Carnegie wants is the book Eli has, the last Bible. He thinks that with the Bible in his possession, he will be able to lead people to do what ever he wants, cause with the Bible comes power, and most people can't read, so he can twist the words anyway he wants and no one would know the difference (I have heard people do this a lot, both Christian and atheist, and we can read, or, at least I hope you can, or you are just on my blog for the pretty pictures). From there a big fight ensues and lots of violence happens.

Main Themes: One of the men at my church that occasionally preaches mentioned The Book Of Eli in his sermon a while ago. He said that he saw it on a plane, and that was one of the only reason he watched it. He then called it one of the worst and stupidest movies that he had ever seen, (On a side note, the second he said this, I had trouble listening to anything else during the rest of his sermon). One of his main "problems" (again, nice enough man, terrible movie sense) with The Book Of Eli was that throughout his journey, Eli ends up killing many people very violently (check out me, using the alliteration) while defending himself and protecting the book. This seemed to be a problem for the speaker, cause killing people over a book, especially a Bible, seems wrong. But is that really the case? Thus, one of the main themes that comes up throughout the movie is the power of ideas, words and especially, books, and then the balance of that against the value of human life. Books can have power and value, but only the right books. I find it funny that many of the books that are brought to Carnegie, which have value today, including an Oprah magazine, are worthless and thrown away, cause they have no power in his time. So, value and worth are one major theme that run throughout the story. As goes most apocalyptic waste land movies, the true value of the essentials of life become crystal clear. In the middle of the movie, Eli is asked how things were before "The Flash" and he says, "People had more than they needed. We had no idea what was precious and what wasn't. We threw away things people kill each other for now.". So, yeah, value. Human, book or otherwise is a huge theme in The Book Of Eli.

The other main theme of The Book Of Eli is FAITH. Eli is on a mission, that by all logical thoughts, is pretty much crazy. He is taking a book cross country, all by himself, facing incredible odds and perils, cause a voice told him to. Sounds nuts, right, well, did I forget to mention that Eli is blind (I didn't really forget, I was just waiting for a good time to tell you, and now seemed as good a time as any). Yep, I hope you took that spoiler warning seriously, cause this is not something that is supposed to be common knowledge at the beginning of film. Eli is blind, and watching it through a second time, it is easy to see all the little hints that you as the film watcher are given about this. Now for confession time! I am sure some of you are reading this and 5 minutes into the movie knew Eli was blind, but for the life of me, I didn't catch it, (I am usually pretty good at spotting these sort of things, but I am actually glad I didn't cause I love a good film reveal). Now, if you can't "see" (pun not intended but funny none the less) some great faith stuff in this, well, then you must be, well, "blind" (pun totally intended that time, Booya). And that brings us too, da ta ta da ta ta ta taaaaaa! (Insert trumpet crescendo)

Theological Discussion Points: Wow, where to start, cause there is a bunch of great stuff, so here is what I am going to do, I am just gonna throw out some thoughts and let you take it from there. A warning first though, just as in my TAKEN movie review, (which is awesome, if you haven't read it, make sure to check it out after you finish this one) THE BOOK OF ELI is an incredibly violent film. And I mean, really really violent. It is probably the most violent theologically based movie I have seen since THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST, so know that this could cause you problems, either in showing it to teens, or some really violence hating senstitve Christian friend of yours that will leave the room yelling HEATHEN at you at the top of their lungs the first time Eli pulls out his sword and starts a hacking away in the defense of the Bible. And I don't want anybody saying to an angry parent, well the supercoolawesome blog guy said it was fine to show to your 13 year old daughter, cause I didn't! Take this for what it is, a suggestion of a movie that is cool and raises a bunch of great questions, with a guy wielding a wicked cool sword. What you do with this is all on you. So, here are some thoughts.

Is killing wrong when you are defending yourself and the very last bible on earth?

Would you kill if you were in Eli's place (that ones for you, nice enough man at church with terrible movie sense)?

Could Eli see all the time during his journey, or did God grant him sight only some of the time, or not at all, choosing to allow him to walking by faith and all that?

Did God protect Eli from the bullets of the gun men or where they just terrible shots?

On the same thought, was Eli awesome with that bad @$$ sword and fighting moves before his mission or was he just being moved by the Spirit, to protect him and Gods word. (the observant viewer will have seen the clipboard with Eli's name on it that was in his backpack. I mention this because it appears Eli worked at K-mart before the "Flash" and not many K-mart guys can handle weapons like that. Now, if he worked at S-mart, that might be a different story)

If King David in the Bible killed tons of guys to protect Gods stuff (nation, ark, big foam novelty finger with the slogan "# 1 GOD") isn't Eli justified too?

If all the bibles on the planet suddenly were gone, what do you think would happen?

When Paul in the bible talks about running the race, he probably wasn't thinking of poor Eli, blind and alone for 30 years, but can you think of a better movie illustration of what Paul was talking about then The Book Of Eli?

Lastly, I will end with a thought of mine and a quote from Eli. Isn't it kind of amazing that in 2010, when the world is starting to hate Jesus more and more publicly, especially in the media, that a mainstream, big budget, star power driven action movie was about a christian man saving the last bible. Sure, it is violent, sure, it has swearing and bloodshed, but it also looks at faith and truth and value in amazingly real ways. And I think, that deserves a little credit, even if your great aunt Ethel who loves Jesus, will hate it. Over to you Eli, take it home.

And all Gods people said.........

*meh, in case you don't know, is like a literary shrug of your shoulders. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My 2010 Movie Watching Year

So, my 2009 movie watching list once seemed real impressive with 291 movies watched overall, that is until you looked at my 2010 movie watching list. This is because I watched 676 movies in 2010. Yep, 676, that is not a misprint, that is one of the reasons I started this blog, to hopefully boast of my movie watching awesomeness!!!!! So take a look, I have posted a pic of the best movie of the year below to start it off. Oh, and incase you were wondering were I get all these movies to watch, I own over 600, but I also borrowed 371 from my local library, so a big shout out goes to Pickering Library Services.

# - 1408 * 16 Blocks * 1984 * 2001: A Space Odyssey * 21 * 25th Hour * 27 Dresses * 28 Days * 28 Days Later * 28 Weeks Later * 300 * 3000 Miles To Graceland * The 40 Year Old Virgin * 50 First Dates * 8 Mile * 8mm * 9

A - A Bridge Too Far * A Drummers Dream * A Fish Called Wanda * A Love Song For Bobby Long * A Perfect Getaway * A River Runs Through It * A Scanner Darkly * A Streetcar Named Desire * Absolute Power * Accepted * Addams Family Values * Adventureland * Aeon Flux * Agora * The Air I Breath * Airheads * Akira * Alexander Directors Cut * Alien Directors Cut * Aliens * Aliens Directors Cut * Alien 3 * Alien Resurrection * Aliens In The Attic * All Quiet On The Western Front (1930 Version) * All The King's Men * "All The Presidents Men" * All The Pretty Horses * Almost Famous * Amazing Grace * The Amazing Panda Adventure * The Amazing Screw-On Head * American Graffiti * American Splendor * Amistad * Animal Farm * Animal House * The Answer Man * Antwone Fisher * Apocalypse Now * Apocalypto * The Apostle * The Apprenticeship Of Duddy Kravitz * Around The World In 80 Days (1956 Version) * Article 99 * Astro Boy (X2) * The A-Team(X2) * Avatar * Away We Go

B – Babel * Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans * Bangkok Dangerous * Batman Begins * Batman: Under The Red Hood * Battle Of Britain * Be Kind Rewind * The Bear * The Beastmaster * Behind Enemy Lines * Ben-Hur * The Big Red One Reconstructionist Version * Billy Connolly: Erect For 30 Years * Bird * Birdy * Black Dynamite * The Black Hole * Blade Runner: The Final Cut * Blades Of Glory * The Blindside (X2) * Blood Diamond * Blood Monkey * Blood Work * Blue Gold: World Water Wars * The Bone Collector * The Book Of Eli * The Boondock Saints * The Boondock Saints 2: All Saints Day * Borat * Breakin' * Brick * Bridges Of Madison County * Brooklyn's Finest * Brotherhood Of The Wolf * Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey * Bruno * Bug (1975 Version) * Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

C - Cape Fear * Capitalism: A Love Story * Capricorn One * Casablanca * Casino Royale (2006 Version) * Cast Away * Catch And Release * The Caveman's Valentine * Changing Lanes * Chariots Of Fire * Che: The Argentine * Che: The Guerrilla * Chinatown * Chris Rock: Bigger & Blacker * Christmas Eve On Sesame Street * The Chronicles Of Riddick * Chronicles Of Riddick: Dark Fury * Cinderella Man * Citizen Kane * City Of Ember * Clash Of The Titans (2010 Version) * Cleaner * Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs * Cloverfield * Code 46 * Cold Souls * Collapse * Collateral Damage * The Color Of Money * The Contender * The Conversation * Copland * Coraline * The Cove * Crash * Crawler * The Crazies (2010 Version) * Crossover * Cry, The Beloved Country * Cujo * Cyclops

D - Dances With Wolves * Dane Cook: Isolated Incident * Danny Deckchair * The Dark Knight * The Day After Tomorrow * The Day Of The Jackal * Dead Ringers * Death Warrior * Deep Blue Sea (X2) * Delirious * Deliverance * Demolition Man * The Devil Wears Prada * "Dial M For Murder" * Diggstown (X2) * Dinosaur * The Dirty Dozen * District 13: Ultimatum * Doc * Doctor Zhivago * Dog Soldiers * Dolan's Cadillac * The Doors * Duma * Dune

E - Eagle VS Shark * Easy Rider * Eddie * Eight Below * El Cid * The Emerald Forest * The Emperors New Groove * Empire Of The Sun * The English Patient * Equilibrium * Eraser * Escapist * The Escapist * Event Horizons * Ewoks: Caravan Of Courage * Excalibur * Exodus * Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed * The Expendables* The Express * Extract * Extreme Days

F - Fahrenheit 451 * Fantastic Mr. Fox * Fantastic Voyage * Fast Food Nation * Fast Times At Ridgemont High * Fearless (1993 Version) * Felon * Fever Pitch * Fifty Dead Men Walking * Fighting * The Final Season * Finding Neverland * Firebirds * Flag Of Our Fathers * Flakes * The Flying Scotsman * Forever Strong (X2) * Forgetting Sarah Marshall * Frankenstein (1931 Version) * Franklyn * Frequency * From Dusk Till Dawn * From Hell * From Paris With Love * Frozen

G - G.I.Joe: The Rise Of Cobra * Gabriel Iglesias: Hot And Fluffy (X2) * Game 6 * Gamer * Gandhi * Gangs Of New York * Gattaca * The Generals Daughter * Gentlemen Broncos * Gerry * Gettysburg * G-Force * Gigantic * Girl Fight * Give'em Hell Malone * Glory * Goal! The Dream Begins * Goal 2: Living The Dream * The Godfather * The Godfather 2 * The Godfather 3 * Gods And Generals * Gods And Monsters * Going The Distance * Gone Baby Gone * The Good German * The Good Life * The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard * The Gospel * The Graduate * The Great Debaters * The Great Escape * The Great Mouse Detective * The Great Train Robbery * Green Lantern: First Flight * The Green Zone * Greenberg * Gremlins * Grizzly Man * Grosse Pointe Blank * TheGuardian

H - H.G.Wells The Time Machine * Hamburger Hill * Hancock * The Hangover (X2) * Hanna Montana: The Movie * Hannibal * The Happening * Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets * Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban * Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire * Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix * Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince * Harry Potter And The Deadly Hallows Part 1 * Hart's War * Harvey * He Was A Quiet Man * Hellbinders * Hero * He's Just Not That Into You * The Hidden Fortress * High Life * High Plains Drifter * The Holiday * Hombre * Home Alone * Honey I Blew Up The Kid * Honey I Shrunk The Kids * The Horse Whisper * Hot Fuzz * Hot Tub Time Machine * Hotel Rwanda * House * House Of The Flying Daggers * How The Grinch Stole Christmas (The real 1966 animated version) * Howl's Moving Castle * The Hunted (2003 Version) * The Hurricane * The Hurt Locker * The Hustler

I - I Love You, Man * Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaur (X2) * Ichi * IGOR * The Illustrated Man * In Enemy Hands * In The Line Of Fire * Inception (X2) * Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark * Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom * Infernal Affairs * Inglourious Basterds * The Insider * Insomnia * The Invention Of Lying * Invincible (2001 Version) * Ironman 2 * It Might Get Loud * The Italian Job (1969 Version) * The Italian Job (2003 Version)

J - The Jacket * The January Man * Jarhead * Jaws * Jeff Dunham: Spark Of Insanity * Jesus Camp * Joe Dirt * Johnny Dangerously * Jonah Hex * Josie And The Pussycats * Judgement At Nuremberg * Just Wright * Justice League: Crisis On Two Earths (X2) * Justice League: The New Frontier

K - K-19: The Widowmaker * Kaena: The Prophecy * Kick-Ass * Kill Bill 1 * Kill Bill 2 * The Killing Fields * King Kong (1933 Version) * Knight And Day

L - L.A. Confidential * Lady In The Water * The Lake House * Land Of The Lost * The Last Airbender * The Last House On The Left (2009 Version) * The Last Starfighter * The Last Winter * Law Abiding Citizen * Lawrence Of Arabia * The Lazarus Project * The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen * Leatherheads * The Legend Of Bagger Vance * Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls Of Ga’Hoole (1 time in 3D, 1 time not) * The Legend Of Zorro * Leon The Professional * Lethal Weapon Directors Cut * Lethal Weapon 2 Directors Cut * Lethal Weapon 3 * Lethal Weapon 4 * Letters From Iwo Jima * The Limits Of Control * Lion For Lambs * Live! * Loose Cannons * Lord Of The Flies * Lord Of The Rings (Animated Version) * The Losers (X3) * Lost In Space * Lost In Translation * Luna: Spirit Of The Whale * Luther

M - The Machine Girl * Mad Max * Madagascar 2 * Magic & Bird: A Courtship Of Rivals * The Seven * Maid In Manhattan * Malcome X * Mammoth * The Man In The Iron Mask * Marathon Man * The Mark Of Zorro * Master And Commander: Far Side Of The World * Matchstick Men * The Matrix * The Matrix Reloaded * Matrix Revolutions * Max Manus: Man Of War * Meet Joe Black * Mega Shark VS. Giant Octopus * The Messenger * Metroland * Million Dollar Baby * Miracle * Miracle At St. Anna * Miracle On 34th Street (1947 Version) * Miss Congeniality * Miss Congeniality 2 * The Mission * Mongol * Monsters VS Aliens (X2) * Moon * Mr. Brooks * Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium * Mulan 2 * TheMummy * TheMummy Returns * Muppets Christmas Carol * Murder On The Orient Express * Must Love Dogs * Mutant Chronicles * My Stepmother Is An Alien * Mystic River

N - National Treasure 2: Book Of Secrets * The Natural * Near Dark * The Negotiator * New In Town * Next Of Kin * Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist * Ninja * Ninja Assassin *

O - Observe And Report * The Odessa File * Of Mice And Men * Olive The Other Reindeer * Once (X2) * One Flew Over The Coo Coo's Nest * One Week * The One * Ong Bak * Ong Bak: TheBeginning * Only The Strong * Open Range * Othello * Out Of Africa * Outlander * Outlaw * The Outlaw Josey Wales * Over The Top

P, Q - P.S. * P.S. I Love You * Pale Rider * Pandorum * Panic Room * Paper Heart * Papillon * Paranormal Activity * Patton * Pearl Harbour * The People VS. Larry Flynt * Percy Jackson And The Young Olympians: The Lightning Thief * Pineapple Express * Ping Pong Playa * Pirate Radio * Pitch Black * Planes, Trains And Automobiles * Planet 51 * Polar Storm * Police Academy * Poseidon Adventure, The (1972 Version) * Posse * Predator 2 * Primal Fear * The Princess And The Frog * The Princess Bride * Prizzi's Honor * Prom Night In Mississippi * The Proposal * The Protector * The Puppet Masters * Purfume: The Story Of A Murderer * Push * Python * Quantum Of Solace

R - Race To Witch Mountain * Ray * Rear Window * Rebel Without A Cause * Reclaiming The Blade * The Recruit * RED (2010 Version) * The Red Baron * Regarding Henry * Renaissance * Rescue Dawn * Resident Evil * Resident Evil: Apocalypse * Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D * The Right Stuff * Robinhood (2010 Version) * Robot Jox (X2) * RocknRolla * Ronin * Rosewood * Rush: Beyond The Lighted Stage * Rushmore * Rushomon * Russell Peters: Red, White And Brown (X2)

S - S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale * The Sandlot * Sands Of Oblivion * Second Chance * The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising * Seven Pounds * Seven Samurai * Seven Swords * Seven Years In Tibet * Shadowlands * Shane * Shaun Of The Dead * The Shawshank Redemption * Sherlock Holmes * She's The Man * The Shining * Shinobi: Heart Under Blade * Shooter * Shooter (Commentary) * Shrink * Sideways * Silver Streak * The Simpsons Movie * Sin City * The Sixth Sense * Skin Walkers * Slamin' Salmon * Slap Shot * Slumdog Millionaire * Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins Ball * Snatch * Soccer Dog: European Cup * Solaris * Soldier * The Soloist * The Sorcerer's Apprentice * Space Chimps * Spartacus * Spartan * The Specialist * Sphere * Stakeout * Stalag 17 *
Star Trek (2009 Version) * Star Trek: The Motion Picture Directors Cut * Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan * Star Wars: A New Hope (X2) * Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (X2) * Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi (X2) * Starksy And Hutch * Stealth * The Sting * Stone Of Destiny * Strangers On A Train * Street Fighter: The Legend Of Chen Li * Street Kings * Stuck On You * Superbad * Supernova * Surrogates * Swingers * Sydney White

T - The Tailor Of Panama * Taken (X2) * Taking Of Pelham 123 * The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three  * The Tale Of Despereaux * Talladega Nights: The Ballad Of Ricky Bobby * Tango And Cash * Tangled 3D * Taxi * Taxi Driver * Team America: World Police * Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (X2) * Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Secret Of The Ooze * The Terminator * The Terminator 2 * Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machine * Terminator Salvation * The Terror * The Thaw * The Phantom (2009 Version) * Thilla In Manila * The Third Man * This Is Spinal Tap * The Thomas Crown Affair * Thomas Crowne Affair * THX 1138 * Timebomb * To Catch A Thief * To Kill A King * To Kill A Mocking Bird * To Save A Life (X2) * The Towering Inferno * The Toxic Avenger * Toy Story 3 * Traffic * Training Day * Traitor * Transformers: Rise Of The Fallen * TRON: LEGACY 3D * The Trotsky * Trouble The Water * Trucker * The Truth About Charlie * Turn The River * Twilight * Twilight: New Moon * Twilight: Eclipse * The Two Jakes * Tyson *

U - U2: Rattle And Hum * Unbreakable * The Unforeseen * Universal Soldier: Regeneration * The Untouchables * Up * Up In The Air *

V, W, X, Y & Z - The Vampire's Assistant: Cirque De Freak * Velvet Goldmine * Vertigo * Videodrome * Wall Street * Wall*e * The Warriors * We Are Marshall * We Own The Night * The Weather Man * Whale Rider * The Whale Warrior * What A Girl Wants * What's Love Got To Do With It * Where Eagles Dare * Which Way Is Up * Whip It * The White Dawn * White Dog * White Noise * White Squall * The White Stripes: Under The Great White Northern Lights * Whiteout (X2) * The Wild Ride * Without A Paddle * Without A Paddle: Nature's Calling * X-Files: I Want To Believe * X-Men: The Last Stand * Year One * Yojimbo * Young Frankenstein * Youth In Revolt * Zombieland

So there it is, the list in alphabetical order, all 676 of them. Anything with a (#X) means I have watched it that many times for the year. If you want to know what I thought of any particular film I have written reviews on Flickster on my Facebook for most of them. Thanks for scanning the list.