march 2007

fourth movie
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Sometimes I just have to escape my daily grind. But this week I burnt myself out fairly early. Sunday I spent about 5 to 6 hours grinding over a bit of the book Being and Nothingness by Jean-Paul Sartre for my Contemporary Philosophy which meets MWF at 9 am. Well to make a long story short, I read a bit of Whatever Happened to the Soul?… edited by Warren Brown, Nancy Murphy and Newton Maloney, trying to get up to speed on non-reductive physicalism. But as far as my philosophic powers go, I was exhausted for the evening. So I plotted to go see a movie. I thought 300 would be a good choice, but I didn’t want to disrupt my family time. But as it turned out, Lois has been ill with the flu for the last 5 days and was ready to turn in by 9:30. I read out of Jesus Freaks: Vol 2, stories about modern heroes of the faith. We all prayed and it was 9:50. At 9:55 I zipped out the door for the 10 pm movie. I got there in time to buy the ticket get popcorn, drink and see a few trailers.

The movie is modeled on Frank Miller’s 300. The critics, wondering why a movie of this type could be so popular, danced around the issue by focussing in on the movie art. I don’t think that is it. I liked the movie very much but only because it’s spare art brought into stark relief the virtues of the warrior’s life. The key thought for this movie, whether it is true of the Spartans or not is the exaltation of Freedom as the primary right of men. Their strict life depicted here was aimed at the preservation of that freedom. In a world where we are so comfortable, this is a side of our humanity that thrills and attracts us, though none of us would willingly leap to the catastrophic danger represented here. The women are strong and beautiful, the men stronger and endlessly buff. The weak and deformed are killed or hidden, an old form of eugenics.

The hunchback, rejected as a warrior by king Leonidas, betrays his Spartan homeland when offered the rewards of power. This sort of weakness is immediately despised. It is easy to see why one so rebuffed would be attracted to power, but it is evidence that the Spartans were correct to kill or hide such freaks. It is, in turn, obvious that Leonidas’ rejection of this man leads to the untimely destruction of his remaining warriors. The lesson? Eugenics is a powerful method of refining humans, but that refinement carries with it a dangerous narrow-mindedness that ultimately weakens the society.

Posted in Philosophy, Movies | No Comments »

third movie
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Saturday night after everyone else in my house was asleep, I saw MirrorMask. Stephanie Leonidas as Helena/Anti-Helena was brilliant. Hers is just the age when one decides what role to play in life. With the choice always before us whether to become the good or evil twin of our psyche, this movie moves between crisis and resolution with the creeping feeling that it is all going to crash down on us. When finally she banishes her evil twin after trying that life for a while, she is redeemed as is her friend Valentine. A good movie about adult decisions in the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of our worst imaginations.

Posted in Movies | No Comments »

second movie
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Saturday I saw Premonition with my youngest daughter Eden. I like Sandra Bullock and notice her graceful ageing. She has been a girl in most of the movies I saw her in: While You Were Sleeping, The Net, A Time to Kill, Hope Floats, Practical Magic, Forces of Nature, Miss Congeniality I and II, Two Weeks Notice, The Lake House, etc. However in Crash and Premonition I start to see a woman. Both of those parts had fixed personalities, almost archetypes of their respective societies that change under great duress. Premonition as a logical scenario was difficult to follow, and I thought her moment of waking to the fact that she could change things if she could only understand them, was fairly weak. I don’t know if the writers of the movie nailed the logic of the sequences or not. But from my perspective, the transitions back and forth in time and the ultimately unsatisfying non-resolution that left us wondering whether she was the cause of her husband Jim’s death or not, left me in an odd mood. This movie made me feel like when the dance was over, the lights shut off, there was nothing left to take home. Feh.

Posted in Whatever, Movies | No Comments »

first movie
Tuesday, March 20th, 2007
Every once in a while I get to see a bunch of movies. This week has been a long one and I am still in tension about whether I will be accepted by St Louis U. for a PhD in philosophy. But with Lois on Friday I saw Bridge to Terabithia. She is my favorite date always. The movie was uncomfortable because of Jesse and his family’s poverty and persistent underlying tension, Leslie’s awkwardness, the pressures at school, etc. However Jesse and Leslie’s friendship, with their respective gangling young expectations and thinking, optimism and creativity was endearing. (spoiler alert) Leslie’s death just hurt for the rest of the movie and still does. I think my hot bitter tears resulted in a headache later that evening. This is a case of “Life Really Stinks.” The wonder of Jesse’s bridge building and building the human bridge back to his little sister and the wonder of the freshly imagined Terabithia were not enough to break the spell Leslie’s death cast on me. I’m still a little angry.

Posted in Whatever, Movies | No Comments »

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *