a reel good week

Last week I discovered that in Boston, people can queue up library materials online, and they’ll be delivered to the branch of your choice within a few days. In a city like Boston, the public library system contains just about any DVD one could want, creating a veritable “poor man’s Netflix.” Well, I put in quite a queue at the end of last week, and this past week I got my first batch of first-rate DVDs. All for the price of a free library card! That said, I may reflect here more frequently on modern-day parables, films.

Earlier this week I threw in “The Squid and the Whale”, starring Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, and a fewsquid-and-the-whale-poster-0.jpg bright young actors. The storyline is the autobiographical account of writer/director Noah Baumbach’s childhood in New York City, which was a mess. The destruction of the family begins long before a marital split was on the horizon, with father Bernard’s (Daniels) choosing his career as a writer and professor over his boys. Throw in an affair by mother Joan (Linney), the coming-of-age of adolescent and teenage boys, and some abrasive personalities, and you have a recipe for a pretty ugly home life.

This was rough movie to watch because it was so real. So honest. So believable. We were watching a family unravel before our eyes, calling to mind the millions of children who have been affected by absent parents, selfishness, workaholism, separation, adultery, and divorce. I think the most striking thing about this movie was the reality that self-centeredness is what caused nearly every struggle in the plot. Such a commentary on the human condition. “Squid” was a masterfully written and portrayed story, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who can handle some (real-to-life) language and sexual situations (definitely fast-forwardable). This film will make you hug your wife or children extra hard tonight, but it will also deepen your compassion for children of divorce.


Tonight, we watched on the small screen a movie we originally saw on the big screen: saved-poster01.jpg“Saved!” It tells the story of a handful of teens at a Christian high school (American Eagle Christian School), and everythng about this film is over-the-top and exaggerated. This film made quite a splash when it was released in 2004, angering some Christians whom it was targeting and delighting many skeptics who are sickened by the nationalistic, intolerant, seemingly dumb face of Christianity in America today. And it was all done through “Christian” teens.

You owe it to yourself to see this movie, not necessarily because it will edify or inspire, but because you might learn something about how “outsiders” see Christians. It’s a cheap-shot â&emdash; a low blow â&emdash; to Christianity at times, but one that the American church just might need. You might say this movie magnifies the very worst of American Christianity to … well … biblical proportions. (plus it’s really funny!)


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