Archives For Culture

To cap off our anniversary trip, my wife and I watched Dumb and Dumber To. And boy was it ever. Dumb, that is. There were a couple of laugh-out-loud moments (this depends, of course, upon your tolerance for toilet humor), but in my opinion it fell far short of the original. Which is not very far to fall at all, I guess.

Either that, or I’ve grown since the original came out twenty years ago (hint: I was twenty-five then, and I guess what I think is funny has changed). Don’t get me wrong: being a guy, fart jokes can still be funny, but a lot of what was passed off as humor in this movie was cringe-inducing. For instance, the name (spoiler warning) of Kathleen Turner’s character is Frida.

Frida Felcher <--warning unless you know, don't look that up on Urban Dictionary. Trust me on this.

Beyond that, the story was by-and-large a retread of the original:

Road trip? Check.

Homicidal companion? Check.

Girl in peril? Check?

I could go on.

Point being this: unless you're feeling uber nostalgic for the original, don't bother. There aren't even any memorable lines like "So you're saying there's a chance?" here.

Dumb and Dumber To is rated PG-13 for crude humor and language. In my view, it’s time for Harry and Lloyd to fade into the sunset.

Bad At Acquaintances

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 10 Comments

I don’t know about you, but I’m bad at being acquaintances. Friendships for me are more binary; they are on, or off. You see, I’m generally an introvert; as such, I’ve never had a lot of friends. And the ones I do have mean very much to me.

Probably more than is healthy, to be honest.

As an introvert, I find small talk boring. Much preferred is the diving into the deep, messy stuff of life. I’m finding, however, through age and experience that not everyone is wired like that. That in fact I may have someone in the friend column who has me in their acquaintance column.

We’re at cross purposes, having differing expectations of the relationship. This always makes me sad, and leaves feeling like an outsider. To be blunt, it never fails to catch me off guard. You would think I would have learned by now, but No! It hooks right into the latent abandonment issues bound up in my soul. It’s not true, but it feels like ever since my dad left my family over thirty years ago people are always leaving me.

I feel forgotten, wondering what I did to make them go. I wish it weren’t so, but I get pouty and lash out. Which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

Who wants to be around that?

I’m trying to surround myself with healthy community, but it’s hard to let people in, you know? Heck, it’s hard to let God in, to relate to Him. <--Have you been there? Where all of your prayers feel like so much dust flung at an uncaring sky, dissipated by the wind?

That's the place I find myself in. Who am I in relation to:

You
Myself
God

I find my view of Him is still refracted by the prism given me by my earthly daddy. I want to let Him in--all the way in--but I don't know how.

He wants to be more than mere acquaintance. He deserves more. How do I, the man who struggles with frienship, give Him what He longs for?

Have you been there, my friends?

Angry

randomlychad  —  November 13, 2014 — 2 Comments

I’m angry.

I’m angry because, and I hate to even write about this, media whores like Kim Kardashian (who is famous, please remember, because of a sex tape) garner all kinds of attention from intentional overexposure. Please understand: I’m angry–not jealous. I don’t care if I’m ever famous, or known. In fact, I’d rather not be.

Because there’s safety in obscurity. I can say what I like, and have no fear of reproach or recrimination.

I’m not angry for me; rather, I’m angry for friends who have blogs–have platforms and messages–that are worth paying attention to. I’m angry that they’re not getting the acclaim they rightly deserve. I’m angry that all it takes to be famous is flashing one’s derriere. Who does that help? My friend, Chris Morris, has a blog dedicated to disseminating information by, about, and for those suffering from chronic illnesses. He’s trying to make a difference in people’s lives.

Kim KardASSian however is merely trying to pad her bottom line. To keep her fifteen minutes going.

Where’s the justice in that? Where’s the fairness?

WHAT A WORLD WE LIVE IN, folks! The other side of the coin is, of course, how we, the consuming public, lap up the lascivious lives of the rich and famous. The reason this dreck keeps getting out out there is because we keep sucking on its teat, crying for More! MORE!

I don’t know about you, but I want to live in a world where people couldn’t care any less about Kim Kardashian’s ASSets. Where teachers get paid more than athletes (who, they are quick to tell us, aren’t role models at all). Where there is no celebrity, and actors get paid what everyone else does–because they’re just doing a job.

I want to live in a world where we stop venerating the wrong heroes.

Who’s with me?

All Hallow’s Eve, or Halloween, is upon us this week. In light of that, I have a question for you:

What’s your favorite scary movie?

It doesn’t have to be horror. It could be a thriller, action/adventure, whatever. It just has to be something that gets your blood pumping, your adrenaline flowing.

I’ll go first:

In recent cinematic history, I’d have to say it’s The Conjuring for me. It delivers the mood, the thrills, the chills, and a faith-affirming message, too.

What’s yours?

Share in the comments below.
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This topic, in your mind gentle reader, may seem far afield of the faith once delivered to the saints. But I assure you it’s not.

How not?

Both horror (films, books, etc.), and Christianity force us to take unflinching looks within ourselves at the skull beneath the skin. We are made to confront our fears, lay them bare. This is often an uncomfortable process, and many there are who just won’t go there. Just as Jesus vicariously suffered and died for us, so, too, allows us to vicariously confront our fears (in a safe environment). It is in the words of director Scott Derrickson, “the genre of non-denial.” And rather than adding to the real horrors of the world, the genre gives us way to deal with, process, and understand the horrors of this world.

Additionally, I find that the genre is not so much about making us afraid (although it does do that), but rather about catharsis–about releasing the tension which it builds within us. We return to the real world better able to cope with difficulties we’re facing in our lives.

Nota bene: as with a balanced diet, horror media should not be all we consume. Because balance is the key to life, like vitamins, we should take it in controlled doses. Now this may not be a prescription for everyone, but I will say that I find far too many Christians who don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable. Who don’t like to confront their fears. Yes, I know the Scriptures say that “perfect love casts out fear.” Who amongst us, however, has been perfected? If we say we don’t have any fears, we’re lying.

The great C.S. Lewis (he being dead yet speaketh), once said that “we ought to come to God with what is in us. Not with what we think should be in us.” The point being that God already knows all of our fears, failures, flaws anyway.

So we may as well be honest.

And in my view, the horror genre helps us do just that: be honest. Be taking that unflinching look, by confronting us with what’s already inside.

That, my friends, is my $.02. You may have come up with a different equation, or come to a different conclusion. If so, please sound off in the comments below.

Thanks as always for reading!