Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

>The Adjustment Bureau: Sci-Fi Thriller or Chick Flick?

>The commercials I’ve seen for The Adjustment Bureau all seem to show Matt Damon and Emily Blunt running at top speed away from someone. I’ve seen it billed as a sci-fi thriller in the vein of Inception. I haven’t actually seen Inception, but from what I heard it really kept you on the edge of your seat and left you somewhat confused about what was real and what was just a dream. I’m here to tell you that The Adjustment Bureau is NOTHING like that.

On Tuesday night I was provided with the opportunity to see an advanced screening of the new Matt Damon movie thanks to my being a crazy Twitter addict and having a pretty high Klout score. The invite was a Kloutperk, and I was very excited because I really love movies but I only get to see them about once every six months. Mike is not a big movie fan so going to the movies is not his first choice of date but The Adjustment Bureau looked like a guy movie from the trailer so he agreed we could get a sitter and go. It was nice getting the VIP treatment too, showing up and bypassing a huge line of people hoping to get in and being seated in a specially reserved row.

The tag line for the movie is “Do you believe in fate or free will?” which had me very curious given my bent for the theological study of Calvinism verses Armenian doctrines. So The Adjustment Bureau turned out to be almost exactly that, a discussion about whether or not all of human kind really makes their own choices or whether we are all just following some big plan written by a higher power. So yeah, the movie was in fact deeply theological. It was also extremely romantic, so much so that I’d classify it as a chick flick before I called it a thriller. An action movie it most definitely was not. There was a bit of suspense and plenty of mystery, but not enough for me to call it a real thriller. Yet I found it highly entertaining, if for no other reason than the lead characters are really nice to look at.

The most interesting part for me was the big philosophical question about fate or free will. Most people will instinctively believe that of course we have free will, we make our own choices all the time. I’m one of those on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, believing everything that happens is part of God’s plan. I wrestle with the details of that philosophy all the time but it is comforting when thing happen that beg the question, why? The Adjustment Bureau mostly just raises the question but provides a very shallow look at the possibilities and gives no satisfying answer. It’s not meant to be a movie that makes you think very hard, the theology is just a slightly provocative plot device.

The Adjustment Bureau is not going to win any Oscars and it’s not going to leave people talking about it for a long time afterward, but I think it has a little something for everyone to enjoy and I do think it’s worth two hours of your time for entertainment value. It opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow, March 4th.

So tell me in the comments, do you believe we have free will or that our lives are controlled by fate?

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>Movies and Marriage

>This weekend we had zero plans, so with my ample free time I ended up watching three whole movies.  I do LOVE movies, but I rarely get to see them anymore.  We have Netflix, but I am bad about keeping my queue up to date, and I keep forgetting about the whole instant play feature.  We had gotten Syriana and United 93 in the mail and I sat on them because they both looked so depressing.  So Friday night I popped in Syriana, and I was right, it was awful. Not only was it incredibly slow, with intricate plots and tons of subtitles, it had multiple scenes that were so disturbing even my jaded eyes turned away.  Blech.

Then I remembered the whole Netflix instant download thing, and I found The Proposal was available.  I definitely had been wanting to see that, since I love Sandra Bullock AND Ryan Reynolds.  This movie really was entertaining, with a great plot, great dialogue, and breath-taking scenery to boot.  But as is typical with most Hollywood movies, it makes a mockery of the sacred institution of marriage.

Then I found that Julie and Julia was also available for instant download, so I spent my Sunday afternoon watching that while everyone napped.  I had heard it was very uplifting, and indeed it was.  Unlike any secular movie I’d seen in ages, Julie and Julia is a true celebration of marriage.  It follows the lives of both the blogger Julie Powell and Julia Child.  Both women had husbands that were strong, supportive of their wives and deeply in love.  For the first time in a movie, no one cheated on anyone else, the men were not doormats and the women were not either, and their relationships portrayed exactly the kind of interdependency and conflict resolution I believe God intended for married couples.  Both the men and the women give ample public credit to their spouses.  I absolutely LOVED this movie and highly recommend it to anyone.

I’m really blessed to have the strong and happy marriage that I have, but of course it takes work to keep it that way.  We keep our focus on the Lord, work on keeping communication constantly flowing, and we brush up on our skills with seminars, books and Bible studies about marriage every now and then.  One of the best things I think we ever did was attend a Family Life Weekend to Remember back before we had kids.

I picked up two pieces of advice that I have never forgotten.  One is, always remember that you are on the same team.  A good practice when conflict arises is to take a pillow, throw it across the room, and remember that the pillow is whatever issue you are arguing about, but you two are battling the pillow together.  On the same team.  You verses the universe, so to speak.

The second thing I took to heart was the “Marriage is not 50/50” advice.  Everyone in our society thinks marriage should be fair, a partnership of equals where each partner does their “fair share”, or 50% of the chores, etc.  That’s exactly the  WRONG way to look at it.  Marriage is 100/100…give everything for you spouse. If you are waiting around for him/her to pick up the slack and do their fair share, you will never be happy.  If you are willing to do it all, give 100%, your spouse will see that and give back.  Before we heard that advice we often talked about who wasn’t doing “their fair share”.  Now that never comes up anymore, and we are MUCH happier.

Got any good movie recommendations or marriage advice to share?  I’m sure we would all benefit!