Gravity: A Movie Reviewed and A State of Mind

As you can glean from the title, I saw the movie Gravity today. Half the time I believe I was cringing or making very unattractive faces. It really “pulled me in” (pun not originally intended) because the acting was good, and the sense of tension and mortal terror that they were going for was achieved. I knew what was going to happen in the end, but I just couldn’t help wondering, questioning, feeling. I even got reasonably close to crying one time (and I actually don’t cry much in movies, even though I’m such a sap).

I thought it was funny how you could hear sounds when the things were crashing in space. It was not true to science, but I see why the director did it. Without the sound, something just would have been missing, because we as humans are so accustomed to sound.

And here’s the part where I, without shame, try to relate the movie I saw with my personal thoughts. Why am I such a girl? Can’t I just talk about an action movie without getting all weird?

Gravity. The laws of physics that we naively believe govern the natural world as independent entities that came about through their own means. The laws of society that can seem almost as strict.

I never really learned to use those things to my advantage. I am graceless, uncoordinated, awkward. Just today I picked up tennis again. To be fair to myself, I haven’t played in a long time. But I performed badly today, either hitting the net or hitting homers a solid portion of the time. Not that I was ever much of a pro, yet it’s the only sport that I have potential for being passable at. So I think I’ll give it a shot. Ugh, another pun.

I’ve never had good posture either. I just kind of let gravity do it’s thing to my body. Not to mention, I’m not exactly a walking embodiment of physical fitness either. I always feel like something is weighing me down, keeping me from getting in shape. I think it’s just a lack of willpower.

And with people. I want to be diplomatic, funny, and charming. But my own nervousness and fear of being dull, jerky, and uncomfortable holds me back. I let the pressure, the “gravity” hold me down instead of letting myself be grounded by it

When things aren’t going well, I like to think about heaven, an ideal world with beautiful views and no worries. I like to think that I’ll get there, Jesus will hand me a pina collada or something, and we’ll shoot the breeze in this perfect paradise with puffy clouds, islands and classical architecture. And then I’ll meet all the people who weren’t too fond of me in this life, the people that were too cool for me, the people who gave me charity, and everyone else, all the colors of the rainbow, and we’ll all hold hands and laugh together and dance around in the most beautiful harmony.

I think that my idea of heaven is a little distorted, but that’s okay. I guess I’ll just leave it up to God to decide what He likes. And it shouldn’t just be about the atmosphere there anyway, the most important thing about it is that we’re spending eternity with God. Chew on that. But what I should be focusing on now, is what I can do while I’m here on earth. And yes, there’s no guarantee that I’ll be here long, but that doesn’t mean that every second is not a gift, to be used in the best way possible. So maybe it would behoove me to try and be comfortable in my own skin, to get acclimated to this thing called gravity, and fine tune my skill at defying the norm (but in a way that is productive), while at the same time, learning to love the individuals that comprise this world that is both surprisingly orderly and excessively crazy.

Movie Review- Lee Daniel’s The Butler

A charming, informative, intriguing day trip through the decades and the Civil Rights movement. The acting was excellent, I didn’t know Oprah had it in her, and the writing was decent, although I did find it hard to believe that Cecil ended up influencing presidents and walking in on all of the most important discussions. But those quirks made the movie interesting, so I respect that.

The lighthearted racial banter was funny, and the intense scenes, moving. I don’t think I was ever madder at the KKK in my whole life than when I saw the Freedom rider bus scene. I did like the director’s style, how he juxtaposed Celcil’s peaceful career in service with Louis’ struggle to receive service from an angry Southern society. And another great thing about this movie was the characterization. The presidents and the servants alike were heroes, but weren’t always heroic. They were people first, and that’s something to be appreciated.

Throughout the movie, the ideology war between the “Uncle Tom’s” and the modern blacks was prevalent. Both had their points. The Uncle Tom’s slowly chiseled away resentment with their hard work and non threatening attitude. But the protestors were only demanding rights that all American citizens deserved, and often did so in nonviolent ways. They were achieving progress faster.

I wonder what kind of person I would have been in such a situation. An Uncle Tom? A protestor? A belligerent, dare I suggest? I hope not, but one must try to understand that years of pain caused the belligerence.

Well, hope we can all just get along, and at least the racism seems to have gotten much better. But commenters, feel free to tell me otherwise 😉

Jesus, the idiot box, and an age-old quagmire

I’m not exactly a Puritan myself. My life has always been centered around the arts. Since I was a young child, I’ve been writing, first stories and now novels. I enjoyed acting in plays in high school, and secretly hope to be a voice actor some day. I have a special place in my heart for Disney movies, but the last one I saw in theaters was “We’re the Millers” which had its share of ill timed cussing and thematic weirdness. I watch more TV than is good for me, but don’t follow new shows very much. Usually I watch reruns or whatever else is on at random times, and try to critique and over analyze it. I especially appreciate it when shows make fun of comedic conventions or their own techniques. When I was around 11, I even wrote my very own pilot for a sitcom called MELicious Intent. It was to be about a rebellious runaway girl with a bit of a quirk- believing that she was a fugitive. The teen would make many attempts to commit crimes and even kill people, but to keep it light, all but the most petty infractions would fail to be carried out. Sadly, while looking at my old script, I realized that the writing wasn’t that much worse than some of the things that actually go on the air.

What was my point to all of this? To open up a heated discussion about the relationship between Christianity and the arts. A few days ago, I read an interesting post here on WordPress about just that. Christians who condemn secular art for its inappropriate content and Christians who try to find positive, Jesus-compatible values in everything.

I think there are good aspects to both approaches, like many other modern Christians, I’m sure. I hate it when I try to be controversial, but end up agreeing with a majority.

Puritans- good for you for being offended by the trashy stuff that’s out there. Why do we want to embrace things that God hates anyway? On the other hand, why be so aloof and judgy? We’re not entirely above the things coming from the tube or the screen. I’m sure all you churchgoers out there secretly relate to the things you see. Why not learn from it? Why not interpret it the way you want to and make something worthwhile out of it? Take the wheat, forget the chaff.

Sometimes I wonder how to illustrate God through art. I always wonder why secular art seems more appealing and of better quality. I wonder why Christians can’t use the same techniques for their agenda. I wonder why Christians must always use the same rhetoric. You know the rhetoric I’m talking about. “Forgiveness, grace, healing, blood of Chirst.” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it, all of those things are true, it’s just that I wonder why it can still seem boring when people are trying their best to shake up the scene and put things in different perspectives. I don’t know if I can do any better. I want to use the talents God gave me, but I’m not sure how. Is it possible to reinvent art, making it believable and extraordinary without using the same techniques as everyone else out there? As you can see, I’m a little confused, but I’m going to keep trying. I don’t want to make God cheap and palatable, but I also want to draw people towards Him in a new and exciting way. I have a feeling this is going to be harder than I ever would have imagined.


Just Another Day at the Movies

I’ve never been a fan of drugs. As much as the world intimidates me, well, I don’t want to die in the process of suppressing reality.

I’ve heard of writers who did drugs to get inspiration. Sometimes I drink coffee, and sadly it probably has the same effect that narcotics have on normal people. My brain bounces off the walls in my skull, and I think a million different thoughts, some of them profound and some of them just stupid.

The following may just be a product of caffeine. I hope it is inspired by God. I fear the worst. I warn you that what you are about to see is crazy, so crazy it may just be insane. That is the final disclaimer. Here begins what I believe to be the very first combination of philosophical rant, personal narrative, and movie review. This happened to me a few weeks ago.

I am on the way to the movie theater to watch Monster’s University, but my mind is in an entirely different place. I am not emotionally prepared for a lighthearted kid’s movie. As we walk inside, I realize something that I never understood before. I realize that the real problem is not that other people don’t understand me, but that I don’t understand myself. The rational part of my brain often tells me that God lives, that my life is blessed, and that I have every reason to be happy. My emotions tell me otherwise. I know that my emotions are wrong, but I can’t understand them, and I can’t understand why I let them influence me when I know the truth, and this misunderstanding only frustrates me more.

As I am thinking about this, I am suppressing tears, which only proves my point about the great disconnect within me.

I sit down and am resolved to enjoy myself, though I feel undeserving of an innocent, good time because I am so crazy. The slapstick humor in the previews for other kid’s movies only irritate me, but I am hopeful for what the feature presentation has in store. I am a little disappointed in the beginning. Somehow the jokes seem a little simplistic and ill-timed. But I quickly warm up to the movie.

I find myself relating, relating a little more than can be good for me. The little green sphere with the one eye is a version of myself. I feel lonely with him. Hopeful with him. I fail with him, I succeed with him. I triumph with him. I know that this sounds ridiculous. It is just a cartoon movie, I am aware. You really shouldn’t be judging me so much right now. I put the disclaimers.

The humor in this movie isn’t fall on the ground funny. And never do you feel like crying (unlike in Toy Story). Yet this movie has so much truth to it, and I actually think it impacted me. There were even themes. Yes, themes! I can’t believe myself, I’m treating a Disney movie like literature. Hard work and motivation vs. natural talent. Book smarts vs. real life skills. And still others. Not to mention, I didn’t expect the ending!

Mike Wazowski had a dream to work at Monster’s Inc., but everyone in his life was just a naysayer. And sadly, there was truth to the naysaying. But he presses on, he doesn’t hold back, and he makes it.

I want to be who God wants me to be. I want to be a writer, among other things. I want to be a kind, loving, joyful person. So far I haven’t proven myself, but God isn’t through with me yet. Still I’m just an immature kid who does things even stupider than the satirical things kids do in movies. But maybe someday I will be a woman that people can respect, who doesn’t give God a bad name. Maybe someday I will achieve my dreams and be everything I want to be. I was thinking about this in the car, driving back from the movie, because it finally hit me. I wanted to cry because I finally understood the movie. And I understood a little more about God, I think.

But maybe things won’t happen the way I think. That’s what’s in the back of my head. Somehow, that was still kind of okay with me. Whatever happens, everything is going to be alright. God only does things that are good for me. In the end, if I just push on and hold on, it will all be just as it should have been all along.

As I’m sitting in the car, I feel alive for the first time in weeks. I feel an exhilarating joy and a deep sadness at the same time, but the joy overwhelms the sadness. Suddenly everything looks different to me now. My mind is racing. I am thinking in a way and at a level I don’t usually think. I feel like the guy from the movie “Limitless.” Suddenly things seem to make sense. Suddenly I feel wiser and elevated from my struggles, but at the same time more confused. I am paying little attention to the things I usually pay attention to and more attention to other things, unusual things. Instead of buildings and cars, I notice the flowers on the weeds on the side of the road. It’s weird, but extraordinary, and I wouldn’t trade the feeling for anything!