Showing posts from May, 2006

Hollywood’s Next 9/11 Venture

I can’t help but be excited, in spite of Oliver Stone’s reputation. The trailer for The World Trade Center makes it look like the movie just might be a simple “story of courage and survival”—without Stone’s usual conspiracy theory gimmicks. I hope so. It looks really good. And the use of music in the trailer (from Craig Armstrong’s original score) is powerful.

Fear/Fun Factor

First, there are a few things you need to know about me:

I’m scared of heights.My stomach doesn’t like long and sudden drops.I don’t usually put the words “vertigo” and “fun” in the same sentence. It might not surprise you, then, that I’m as enthusiastic about roller coasters as I am about having a two-ton boulder tied to my ankles and thrown over a cliff.

Well, last Saturday, some of us from work went to Dollywood. I had never been to Dollywood before and, to be completely honest, never had any inclination to go. (When you grow up going to Disneyland at least once a year, everything else kinda pales in comparison.) But I love hanging out with my coworkers and this seemed like a fun extracurricular activity.

After I agreed to go, I found out there are some roller coasters at Dollywood, which made me a little apprehensive. Everyone kept talking about how fun they were. I wasn’t so sure. I’ve only been to Six Flags once; I rode three rides then decided to go home. Granted, not all roller c…


Over the Hedge far exceeded my expectations. Based on the trailers, I was anticipating a plot-less connection of juvenile skits with sub-par animation. I discovered something far different.

The plot may be simple but it is highly engaging. The humor is abundant and consistently clever. The animation is exceptional. In short, this is the closest any studio has come to duplicating the masterful storytelling of Pixar.

The highlight performance is Steve Carell as Hammy the squirrel. His character is outlandishly hilarious—especially in the climactic sequence. There are many other funny characters and situations, but Hammy steals every scene he’s in. I can’t remember the last movie in which I laughed as hard as I did in this one.

What’s more, Rupert Gregson-Williams’ score is amazingly delightful. The largely orchestral and vocal ensemble fits well with the thematic elements of wild animals and their natural habitat. I’ll be picking up the score CD as soon as I can.

Pixar is still the king of …

A Birthday Tribute

Three years ago, one of the most wonderful people I have ever known was born—a girl of beauty, charm, and abundant cute-ness. That girl is my niece, Chloe Rose. At 6 lbs. 4 oz. & 19” long, Chloe stole my heart. (For the record, she hasn’t given it back yet.)

Ever since seeing Father of the Bride II (one of my favorite movies—and yes, it makes me cry), I have wanted at least one daughter. In the providence of God, I am still enjoying the gift of singleness. Even so, God has granted me a foretaste of the pleasure of having a child.

I cannot adequately express the joy that Chloe has brought to my life. She is a tangible gift of grace if ever there was one. Heck, the doctors said my brother probably wouldn’t be able to have children because of all the chemotherapy he received before God healed him. That Chloe even exists is an expression of God’s grace.

If having a niece is this amazing, I’m thrilled about the prospect of (Lord willing) having a daughter. My brother’s ex-wife allows me a…

The Da Vinci Code “Other-cott”

Barbara Nicolosi is a Christian screenwriter in Hollywood with a solid head on her shoulders. Her proposal to the Christian community for this weekend? Other-cott The Da Vinci Code. Yes, that’s “other-cott”—not “boycott.” Boycotting the movie only gives it free publicity. Simply not going to see the movie makes no difference. Going to see the movie is, in essence, financially supporting a blatant attack on Christ and His Church. What does have the potential to make a difference is for Christians to go see an alternate movie this Friday (or, at the very least, sometime this weekend). The one family-oriented film being released is Over the Hedge.

Believers went in droves to financially support The Passion of the Christ and it became one of the ten highest grossing films of all time. If these same believers go see Over the Hedge on Friday, The Da Vinci Code’s opening weekend will be a huge financial disappointment. Check out the link above, or go directly to the official other-cott websit…

A Mother's Day Tribute

Mom with Chloe (my niece)

On this Mother’s Day, I wanted to take the opportunity to brag on my mom. There are a lot of things I could say about her, but for now I’ll narrow it down to just three.

She is a woman of genuine love. She is far from perfect, but her love for me has been constant. You could even say my mother is my best friend. She is sweet and gentle. She constantly edifies others and rarely resorts to teasing. I, on the other hand, am prideful and sarcastic. Mom hates sarcasm with a passion. You do the math. And yet my mother’s love for me has been constant throughout my entire life. Why she loves me so much, I have no stinking clue. Our family has been through a lot together, but that doesn’t totally explain it; I’m not all that lovable. It all points back to God: Mom’s genuine love shows that Christ’s redemptive work is resulting in much fruit.

She is a woman of perseverance. My mother has dealt with a myriad of physical ailments her entire life. Whether or not she is heal…

So Dark the Con of Dan

One of the tag lines for the “Da Vinci Code” movie is “So Dark the Con of Man” (hinting at the supposed con of the Catholic church in keeping under wraps the “truth” that Jesus was a mere man who married Mary Magdalene and whose religious movement was really all about the “sacred feminine”). In fact, you can type in and your browser will automatically redirect you to the website for the movie.

Well, a thought just hit me: since the author’s name of “The Da Vinci Code” is Dan Brown, wouldn’t it be funny if someone created a spoof website based on the phrase “so dark the con of Dan”? On a whim, I typed that phrase as a URL into my web browser…and lo and behold, it already exists! Pretty funny, if you ask me. Check it out: So Dark the Con of Dan

And yes, those italicized words do spell out a secret message (both there and here).

Lunch: the Best Part of the Workday

Don’t get me wrong—I Love 89 my job. (Haha, ain’t I witty?) But lunch is quickly becoming the best part of the day. Some examples…

Last Wednesday, a few of us from work went to lunch at the Copper Cellar on Cumberland. They have an awesome Wednesday special: hamburger and fries for $3.99. I’d eaten there once before for lunch and it was great. Last Wednesday, it was out of this world. In fact, it may very well have been the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten.

Every bite was a succulent sensation of taste-bud-delighting magnificence. The texture and flavor of all the different hamburger elements were exquisite: the tenderness of the burger, the crunchy freshness of the lettuce, onions, and pickles, and the softness of the bun all combined to provide a lunch-eating experience like no other! It’s as if my order was rerouted to Heaven and God Himself made my hamburger. (You think I’m joking?)

And then there were the fries! No one makes ‘em like Copper Cellar. The special seasoning they use is un…

In Time of Need

In the last few weeks, I have spent practically zero time studying Scripture. That is definitely the sign of a problem—namely, pride. I’ve had it in my head that “self sufficient” is my middle name. Well, my middle name is closer to “pitifully weak and sinful.”

As situations in life continue to go in different directions than I planned, I’ve struggled with frustration and even depression. Coming face to face with my sin for the umpteenth time has made me aware, once again, how desperate I am for a Savior.

How timely, then, for Brent Detwiler to visit our church on Sunday and preach on the centrality of the Scriptures…

Scripture has its origin in God HimselfScripture is reliableScripture is authoritativeScripture is clearScripture is sufficientScripture is a priority
Over the last couple days, I’ve been poring over Scripture again. I also picked back up Trusting God, which I’ve been neglecting lately. God is being faithful to wash me with the water of the Word (Ephesians 5:26), encourage m…

UNITED 93 (2006) – Film Review (Part 2)

I remember visiting the Filmtracks ScoreBoard (a message board for film score enthusiasts) as the attack on our country took place on September 11th. Going back to the messages we posted during that time, I am reminded of the shock, fear, and anger that engulfed not only those of us in the United States, but those around the world as well. Even in the midst of the confusion and unanswered questions, we seemed to understand something better then than we do now: we are at war. Everyone was saying it—liberal, conservative, religious, atheist, whatever.

At one point in the film, Ben Sliney, head of the FAA’s National Air Traffic Control Center (who plays himself in the movie), says, “We’re at war with someone.” This war is something many in the United States are choosing to ignore—and it is one reason why I am thankful for United 93.

The common phrase used today is, “We are at war with terror,” but that sidesteps the real issue. Andrew C. McCarthy comments on the events of 9/11 (in a spee…

UNITED 93 (2006) – Film Review (Part 1)

If I had to pick one category in which United 93 is most deserving of an Oscar, I would say it is Best Director. Regardless of its future favor (or lack thereof) with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, United 93 will stand the test of time because of one factor: writer/director Paul Greengrass approached this project with no political agenda. He desired to tell the story in a way that was faithful to the facts and that honored the memory of the heroic passengers onboard Flight 93. This film could have been the springboard for manipulative proselytizing. Instead, it thrives on its greatest asset: sincere objectivity.

Not everything is factual. Much of the dialogue was improvised, and we obviously don’t know many details about those last horrible minutes before the plane crashed into the ground. But through a painstaking process, the filmmakers pieced together what we do know and filled in the blanks as best they could. Greengrass contacted all the families of those who died on Flight …

Guess What’s On My Plate?

My license plate, that is. Yep, personalized license plates are cool. Picked up mine yesterday. So, does this mean I’m cool? If so, cool! If not, not cool!