#MovieReview A Good Day to Die Hard

At the outset let me just say that I’m glad I didn’t pay good money to see A Good Day to Die Hard in theatres. Yes, I know it came out a year ago. I just had a free preview weekend of HBO courtesy of DirecTV, and it was on.

So I queued up the DVR to record it. Thinking, “You know, Live Free or Die Hard was cheesy, but I kinda liked it. How bad can this one be?”

The answer is so, so bad. Clichés, deus ex machina, etc. Near as I can figure the plot had something to do with bad blood between Evil Papa Smurf and Russian Alec Baldwin (his Russian doppelganger). Throw in a surly kid named Jack–who don’t know jack–and Bruce Willis acting like he wishes he were in a Geritol commercial with Wilford Brimley, and you’ve got the movie. Seriously, Willis looked like he needed a healthy dose of prune juice.

Don’t get me started on the ridiculous set pieces. Like a car chase involving a conveniently placed trailer? Whither credibility? At least with say James Bond there’s a willing suspension of disbelief (especially the Blonde Bond films). But here? They only thing that could’ve made this film worse is Shia LeBouef. Or maybe that’s better? MAYBE THEN WE’D KNOW NOT TO, YOU KNOW, TAKE IT SERIOUSLY.

Yes, that I think–other than the absurdities (quick car ride to Chernobyl from Moscow, anyone? It’s 12 hours away!)–was the film’s greatest sin:

It took itself too seriously. It wasn’t fun. The one liners fell flat. And there wasn’t one single “Yippee-kai-ai!” in the whole sordid mess.

And that, my friends, is just one McClane too far.

Rejected TLC Show Titles

TLC, once the “Learning Channel,” is now a bastion of bizarre reality shows: My Strange Addiction, Naked and Afraid, (Animal/Alligator/Etc) Hoarders, etc.

How did they get there? What lead them to this place? Let’s take a walk down memory lane and see some of the titles which were considered, but later rejected, for some of their biggest hits:

Little People, Big Ego (Am I right?) But because that likely wouldn’t play in Poughkeepsie, they went with the more accessible (but banal) Little People, Big World. You be the judge.

Infinity Kids and Counting (Because they just keep coming). They of course settled on X Kids and Counting. And, yes, she delivered every one.

Jon and Kate Plus Hate (With a side of crazy). They settled on the more factual, but less zingy, Jon and Kate Plus E8ight. Somehow, yes, they thought the viewing audience needed the digit in addition to the word to know just how many kids we’re talking about here. Go figure.

My One Wife and Four Concubines (‘Cause he’s only married to the first one. D’oh). American test audiences just weren’t quite sure what a “concubine” was–so they went with My Five Wives. They’re polygamist and proud. And also crazy. Because, um, hello? PMS x 5? Based upon anecdote and experience, it seems that when ladies spend extended periods of time together their cycles get synchronized. Or in Brady Williams’s case, the one week every month where he just wants to die. You do the math.

What rejected TLC show titles have you heard of? Share below.

Not Your Grandpappy’s Flannelgraph ‘Noah’

I saw the new Noah film with my wife yesterday. It ain’t your grandpappy’s flannelgraph Noah. Sure, there’s an ark; there’s just no “arky, arky” here. This is no cutesy kid-friendly Sunday school lesson (complete with crafts).

Before I continue, please go grab your Bible, and read the story of Noah as it appears there.

Done already? That was fast.

The savvy among you will know where I’m going with this: the account of Noah as it appears in canon can be read in 5-10 minutes. While the specifics are indeed there, it’s as notable for what it leaves our as for what it includes. What did people eat on the ark? We don’t know. Did they get tired of one another?  Bored? What provisions did Noah and his family bring for the animals? What did they do with all the dung? (I’m not the latest movie answers these questions, per se).

The point is: Scripture doesn’t tell us. So the filmmakers turned to extrabiblical sources to fill in those gaps. The film’s director, and co-writer, Darren Aronofsky, calls the movie a midrash. Midrash is a time-honored rabbinical tradition of filling in the gaps in a text. It’s a very Jewish thing. And it’s both surprising, and sad, that my fellow Christians don’t understand this. That we–collectively–don’t grok the Jewish roots of our faith. It’s like we’re ashamed of the imaginations God gave us…

So the movie is midrash, and incorporates material from such sources as the Book of Enoch. A deuterocanonical book, it is nevertheless quoted in the New Testament (the Book of Jude ring any bells?)–demonstrating that the very men God used to compose canon were familiar enough with this work to quote from it. Put another way, they considered at least portions of it to be authoritative enough to include in their epistles.

Again, because of our lack of familiarity with Judaism, and other works, there’s a hue and cry about what the filmmakers have done to Noah. While the fact is they’ve done nothing to him. He just the same as he’s ever been. If don’t care for this particular cinematic interpretation, which includes much wrestling with:

Sin

Justice,  and

Mercy

I’d recommend they go dust off that leather-bound tome on their bookshelves, exercise their rights as Bereans, and discover for themselves that nothing has changed in those pages.

There’s nothing to get upset over, folks. It’s a tempest in a teapot:

Scripture has not, and cannot be, changed.

If you don’t like it, don’t see it. As for myself, I thought it was a worthy effort. Still, it ain’t your grandpappy’s flannelgraph Noah. If you can deal with that, good; if not, read the book (don’t wait for the movie).

Thanks for reading!

Have something to say? The contents 5 are open below.

#Giveaway: Get Your Flood Gear Here

Did you hear? A storm is coming (Mr. Wayne). The clouds are massing on the horizon, the winds are howling…

It’s gonna get wet.

Aside from a raft, or, I don’t know, an ark, do you have your rain gear? If so, good; if not, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve got your rain gear here.

image

Noah's rain gear

You get a:

Hoodie pullover shirt

Cap

And a Port Authority raincoat

Enter below for your chance to win. And go see Noah this Friday, March 28th.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Noah: A Storm Is Coming

image

Do you see them, there upon the horizon?

Clouds are rising.

The wind howls with a banshee screech.

The Earth shudders beneath your feet.
image

Creation groans, gasping out a last sigh:

You are Noah, and the end is nigh.

Will you weather the storm, afloat upon a boat called hope?

Or will you drown, sucked down in a whirlpool tide of trials and cares?

Life and death lay before you, Noah.

What will you do? Where, who, is your ark?

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