Archive for the ‘Rom-com [romantic comedy]’ Category

 

[NOTE: This was originally published in June of 2012, but is being re-posted to foster thoughts about the up-coming release of Fifty Shades of Grey.]

Yesterday we considered many thoughts that surrounded the movie Thor, centering on lust. Is it okay to watch a scene that highlights a certain actor’s – or actresses – physical attributes? Does it bump up too closely to lust? In my opinion, the scene from Thor was designed to make you do so, and other similar scenes do so as well.

These thoughts came about from a post I read on Facebook, the rise of female pornography addiction, and the release of Magic Mike. Here is the synopsis of the film: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money. Classy! I promise to stick to some of the same concerns from yesterday and stay away from the question of, why Steven Soderbergh is continuing to throw away his career by making bad movies?

I guess this is the main question I have with the release of Magic Mike, is this a preview of what’s to come? Will films like this become common-place because of the rise in popularity of female porn?

I may be wrong, but I cannot think of a film that has marketed male nudity this explicitly, at least in recent years. The content says “brief graphic nudity”. Some may think, ‘at least it’s brief.’ Yes, but it’s still graphic. This film is dangerous for at least two reasons.

First, the cast is made up of notable actors. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey are guys that have catered to girls idolatry of love in many romantic comedies. Now, they are going to be leaving little to the imagination in MM, but women will flock to the theaters.

Secondly, the story seems to follow your typical romantic-comedy plot. Rom-coms usually depict rank fornication, but do so in a cutesy way which sells tickets. And even though the story of MM follows male strippers, the added rom-com subplot makes this pill easier to swallow. It makes porn seem cutesy.

To me, a line from the film sums up everything. Dallas (McConaughey) is giving his fellow narcissistic strippers a pep talk and states, “You are the husband she never had.” This statement is wrong on so many levels, but let’s just pick one.

Husbands and wives make a vow before God that death will be the only thing to separate them. Because of this covenant, the man commits to the wife and visa versa, no matter what. In light of the current discussion, this means the wife holds the husband as her standard of beauty – not some stripper.

And this is the true danger of films like this, creating lustful covetousness of a fantasy. You see, many men and women can remain in a marriage, while fulfilling fantasies through movie stars and make-believe characters. The new, exceedingly popular, pornographic novels Fifty Shades of Grey have proved that. Walt Mueller, President of Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, recently wrote an article about the literary porn phenomena. Read what he witnessed at the book table at Costco one afternoon:

A younger woman was holding the book and pondering the purchase. She had an inquisitive and slightly guilty look on her face. An older women standing nearby happened to see the same inquisitive and guilty look and decided to engage the younger lady in conversation. . . . a conversation that pushed the latter to a tipping point. “Thinking about reading it?”, the older woman asked. “Yes, but I hear it’s a little dirty,” the younger woman replied. At that point, the young woman’s husband appeared behind her with their cart. Noticing her husband was now privy to the conversation, the young woman turned a little red and muttered something about her husband showing up. . . as if the conversation needed to come to an end. She looked like a guilty kid who had been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. The older woman. . . probably in her mid-60s by my estimation. . . looked at her, gave her a little wink, and said, “It’s ten dollars well spent.” With that, the young woman placed the book in her cart. . . . and I watched her exchange a sly little smile with her husband. That was an interesting mentoring moment that says a lot about who we are and what we’re becoming as a culture [read the full article here].

One can never point out the deceitfulness of our sin enough. Whether it’s Thor with his shirt off, Magic Mike struttin’ his stuff, Twilight vampires glistening in the sun, or new explorations in bondage from Fifty Shades of Grey, we must be cautious of toying with our sin. Remember, sin wants to destroy your marriage, lead you down a path of adultery, and, ultimately, drag you to hell, so be wary of the lie it’s telling. Should you go see Magic Mike? Will it help you appreciate your husband? Will it cause you to lust? You might not have to search your heart too long on this one.

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I saw The Devil Wears Prada years ago at the beach with my wife and actually enjoyed it. Just recently, it came on television and we watched it again and I was surprised at the theology behind it. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, look at the title, they tell you it’s a story about the Devil…and it is.

The devil is in the form of a woman, Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), who is a highly successful – by worldly standards – fashion model icon. She hires a “fat, smart girl” (her words) named Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), to serve as a secretary in her company. Andy knows nothing of fashion, or who Priestly is for that matter, but applies for an opening and gets it. She learns the ropes and becomes a blossoming disciple of “the devil”, however, she makes sacrifices to do so.

As I mentioned, Miranda is referred to as the devil in this film, because she acts like Satan in high heels. People even use satanic lingo when referring to her – “You’ve sold your soul (to her)”, “You’ve gone over to the dark side” – speaking of those in Miranda’s service. Everyone is fearful of her and is serving her at all costs. It is said that Andy emails at 2 a.m, everyone is constantly on call, they give late hours, sacrificing time with friends and family, just to make the devil happy.

And this is exactly what we do. By nature, we are inclined to sin, which means we are repulsed by righteousness. Our flesh, the world, and the Devil are working against us, and we give in to those, because we are fallen. By God’s grace, he’s given us the Holy Spirit to fight the three stooges. However, we fail daily and go back to our sinful idol- worship, which is another way of saying we are serving the devil.

We are always worshipping. There is never a moment in time when we cease to worship. We are either worshipping God or a false god. We are either exercising faith, or placing our “faith” in an idol. Idols promise us what only God can give us, however, sometimes they seem like they will fulfill us. Just as we saw in the character of Andy.

Andy began to play the part to appease the devil. She began to know about clothing, dress differently, act differently, and serve Miranda at the cost of her friends. She was at her every beck and call, even though she could never please her. “If I do something right she doesn’t even acknowledge it, if I do something wrong she’s vicious.” she exclaims.

When Miranda asks for the impossible (the manuscript to the unreleased Harry Potter book) she quits. As she tells her boyfriend she quit serving the devil, he says “You’re free!”

As she’s talking with Nigel (Stanley Tucci) she says that her personal life is hanging by a thread, to which Nigel replies, “Let me know when your whole life goes up in smoke. That means it’s time for a promotion.” We kill ourselves serving the devil, false gods, functional saviors. Just as Miranda doesn’t keep her promise to take Emily (Emily Blunt) to Paris, the devil makes promises he can’t keep. He promises us joy and happiness, but those are fleeting.

Finally Andy sees the level of her depravity when Miranda says, “I see a great deal of myself in you.” Andy is disgusted by this statement, but then realizes she has become the devil. She has betrayed those she loved and sacrificed people to get ahead. She then repents, as we see her turn her back (literally) on the devil.

We all serve functional saviors, false gods, idols and it is Satan that is selling them. Whether they are our body image, money, joy, sex, fame, our children or spouse, family, anything can be an idol. Often times idols are good things. As Mark Driscoll says, “An idol is a good thing that becomes a god-thing, which is a bad thing.” Whenever we serve these false gods, we are ultimately serving the devil and that only promises us pain.

Thankfully we do have a Savior who walked this earth and lived a life of complete devotion to the Lord. Where we are prone to idol-worship, Jesus only worshiped his Father. Where we buy into the lies of the devil, Jesus met the devil face-to-face and defeated him. And by faith, we receive his righteous acts. Be cautious of the lies the devil feeds you and know there is only One who deserves our undivided service. The devil may wear Prada, but Christ’s heel is going to crush his head.

Posted: June 27, 2012 by jperritt in Comedy, Drama, Rom-com [romantic comedy], Romance
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The romantic-comedy-stripper film, Magic Mike is being released this Friday.  The previews make the film look somewhat innocent, but the content doesn’t seem to be all that innocent.  Some might even say it’s pornographic.  What do you think?

My wife and I rarely get to go to the movies. We often receive them through Netflix, but going to the theater is a once, or twice, a year occurrence. However, a gracious family friend offered to keep the kids, so we got the opportunity to go to the local cineplex. Since it’s the summertime we thought a summer blockbuster would be fun to see, so we checked out What to Expect When You’re Expecting. I know we’ve already had a couple of posts on this, and I also realize this isn’t a summer blockbuster, but I wanted to point out a couple of things I enjoyed about this film.

This film received bad reviews and there is some content that Christians must be sensitive to, however, I actually liked the film. It had some good humor in it and it was fun to be able to go to the theater with my wife. Yes it was ‘sitcom-y’ as some critics have said and there was some weak acting, but there were two aspects of the film I enjoyed.

(There will be some spoilers)

First, I enjoyed the young romance between Marco (Chace Crawford)and Rosie (Anna Kendrick), but not for the reasons you might think. Their story was your formulaic, cheesy, romantic comedy love that is so often depicted at the theaters. They had your way-to-typical banter and fast-paced love that so often occurs, but there was somewhat of a twist I appreciated.

Marco and Rosie had some history together, which made their rushed romance more believable. After they let their emotions dictate their decisions, Rosie meets back up with Marco to tell him she’s expecting. This is obviously a shock to both and it doesn’t fit the cutesy young love we so often see onscreen. Shortly after they decide to keep the baby (something we should applaud), but Rosie has a miscarriage and loses the child.

Even though the story of Marco and Rosie didn’t always seem to fit the movie, I appreciated the realism their story depicted. It was so formulaic until the reality of pregnancy and miscarriage were depicted. Your typical rom-coms don’t throw in the reality of sleeping around leading to an unexpected pregnancy and miscarriage. I appreciated the sobering reminders that their story communicated.

The second aspect of the film I enjoyed was the overall positive portrayal of parenting and children. I know the film makes many jokes, jabs even, at having children. But, the overall message of parenting is very positive. They do not minimize the difficulties and drastic changes that come about with children, which is true. With lines like, ‘This [parenting] is where happiness goes to die.’, one may think this is going to be anti-family film but it’s not.

I think if every parent is honest, they would admit that there are times when they’ve thought their children have robbed them of happiness. Children are difficult and they so often rob us of our idol of peace we think we deserve. So WTEWYE does give an accurate portrayal of the frustrations that arise from parenting, but also the happiness. We have the best line of the film from Vic (Chris Rock). I’ve only seen the film once, so I may misquote, but he says something along the lines of, ‘Before children, I thought I knew what happiness was, but now that I have them I really know what happiness is. It’s hard, but I’m happier now.’ He’s affirming what every parent knows to be true. Parenting is hard…very hard, but there is much happiness as well.

All of this to say, I found WTEWYE to be an enjoyable film. It probably won’t be a film I watch again and it won’t be a classic, but there were many positive elements Christians should appreciate. WTEWYE affirms parenting, adoption and a couple choosing life. It also faithfully shows the consequences of sex that may occur. Christians so often criticize Hollywood, but forget to applaud them when they communicate truths we affirm. This is why I felt the need to communicate why I enjoyed this film. Again, giving some cautions to the content, I hope you can appreciate this film from a biblical perspective.

What do I expect from What to Expect When You’re Expecting? Well, I certainly don’t expect to see conscientious husbands and fathers exercising spiritual leadership in the home. What would be the humor in that? And, how would that be reflective of our society anyway (since Hollywood always tells us that they strive to reflect culture in their movies, not promote it)? Therefore, I expect that WTEWYE will have plenty of fathers-to-be acting like idiots, with absolutely very little idea what fatherhood is all about.

Granted, movie trailers don’t always give you the entire story–even though many of them do clip together the extent of the good parts! But the trailer for WTEWYE tells us much about the men in the movie. Specifically, we witness a “dudes group”: a support group for fathers and fathers-to-be. Now, I’m not a big fan of support groups, but I understand why they are popular with so many. It’s comfoting to have the encouragement and counsel of those who are experiencing the same circumstances as you.

Like all most support groups, the dudes group in WTEWYE has a couple of rules. First, what is talked about in the group stays in the group (I know, sounds eerily similar to Vegas). Second, and most importantly: No judging in the dudes group! These two governing principles makes the group a safe place to share and discuss common problems. Sounds fair enough.

But what happens when the group becomes more of the “blind leading the blind” rather than a repository of wisdom and knowledge? For example, one “seasoned” dad gives this advice to a father-to-be: “Stay on the other side (meaning childlessness). This is the side where happiness goes to die.” Definitely a funny line. But is this the encouragement our new fathers need? Obviously not. It is our duty as Christian fathers to communicate that, while fatherhood is really hard work, it is a joyful calling from the LORD! This is just one example that reminds us to be careful of what sort of groups we participate in–that we aren’t really being counseled by fools.

Here are some other great lines from dads in the dudes group: “You dropped your kid off a changing table?” “My kid ate a cigarette!” “I caught him playing in the dryer yesterday.” “I picked up the wrong baby from daycare.” Again, very funny. And, you can see why the two main rules of the support group are so important! What would the wives say if they knew? Remember, no judging!

Don’t get me wrong, we fathers make LOTS of silly (and sometimes serious) mistakes with our children. We are often particularly incompetent when it comes to infants and toddlers. If I catalogued some of my own errors with my babies, this post would become way too long (and much too embarrassing). So the dudes group in WTEWYE is probably a fairly good representation of the modern father.

My problem with the dudes group (in addition to the “blind leading the blind” aspect) is the notion that there should be no judging of one another. But, wait a minute–aren’t the dudes just following Christ’s injunction in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged”? Even non-Christians throw out this verse to support a view of absolute tolerance of the behaviors of other people. We should allow all people to live their lives, make their own decisions, with no criticism or moral judgment. Besides, the dudes will only be free to share if they feel no condemnation from other dudes, right?

But there is a vast difference between harsh, thoughtless judgmentalness and Biblical judging. One just needs to read the next few verses of Matthew 7 to see this truth. In verse 2, we learn that we will be held to the same standard to which we hold others. In verses 3-4, Jesus describes the hypocrisy of judging someone else’s sin while refusing to looking at our own sins. Then finally, in verse 5 we have these words: “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” So Jesus is clearly not forbidding all sorts of judging or even the confronting of others in their sin.

Biblical judgment is essential among dudes (and dudettes) for numerous reasons (I’ll just list three). First, we have a responsibility to live according to God’s Word. We are free in Christ in order to live to please God. Second, we need other people to see our sins and failings due to our own blind spots. Because of our sin, we can’t always see our actions and decisions clearly. And finally, we should recognize that Biblical judging serves as safety and protection from the LORD. If we don’t allow others to confront us in our sins and errors, we will most likely continue in them.

So while I applaud men seeking the help and support of other men, let’s take it to the next level and openly invite one another to level some Biblical judgment!

I think I’ve just been typecast. Assign the review of What to Expect When You’re Expecting to the guy who has been through eight full-term pregnancies with his wife. Sure, I get it. Come to think of it, I’m probably the only one among us Reel Thinking guys who actually read the pregnancy manual that’s the basis for this movie from cover to cover. Hey, I wanted to be prepared! To this day, my wife teases me for how often I quoted from “the manual” (actually many, many manuals) over the nine months leading up to the birth of our firstborn daughter. More on that in a bit.

WTEWYE appears to be a pretty standard ensemble cast dramedy about “real marriage and family life.” One of my personal favorites of this genre was the 1989 movie Parenthood, starring Steve Martin, Jason Robards, Rick Moranis, a young Keanu Reeves, among many others. It chronicled the struggles of yes, you guessed it, parenthood. The film has a lot of heavy subject matter, but for counselor-types like me, I enjoyed all of the family dysfunction. Since then, there have been many more movies that attempt to look at the joys and pains of family life, with WTEWYE being the latest. And, throw in some attractive, popular movie stars acting pregnant (plus the humor of Chris Rock), and you have a sure-fire hit!

Just the plot synopsis from IMDB cracks me up: “Over the moon about starting a family, TV fitness guru Jules and dance show star Evan find that their high-octane celebrity lives don’t stand a chance against the surprise demands of pregnancy. Baby-crazy author and advocate Wendy gets a taste of her own militant mommy advice when pregnancy hormones ravage her body; while Wendy’s husband, Gary, struggles not to be outdone by his competitive alpha-Dad, who’s expecting twins with his much younger trophy wife, Skyler. Photographer Holly is prepared to travel the globe to adopt a child, but her husband Alex isn’t so sure, and tries to quiet his panic by attending a “dudes” support group, where new fathers get to tell it like it really is. And rival food truck chefs Rosie and Marco’s surprise hook-up results in an unexpected quandary: what to do when your first child comes before your first date?” Sounds like five fairly typical American couples, doesn’t it? (Although I am quite stunned to not see at least one homosexual couple in the mix!)

If I actually see the movie one day, the character I would most be interested in is Wendy. She is a high-powered author and conference speaker who trains women how to be perfect new mommies. According to the trailer, she shares with her audience these motivating words: “I’m calling [expletive deleted]. Pregnancy sucks!” All her years of attempting to convince moms of the joys and glories of pregnancy went out the window when she finally experienced it herself. Surprise, surprise…carrying and giving birth to a child is extremely tough and painful! What did she expect?

Well, that’s really the message of the movie, isn’t it? Expecting a baby is really about the unexpected. First of all, many women (like Wendy) do not expect their pregnancy (or labor) to be as difficult and painful as it is. They ignore (or are unaware) that this pain and tribulation is part of the curse found in Genesis 3:16, “To the woman he said, ‘I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth your children…'” As much as we all would love to offer women a pain-free method of pregnancy, it is impossible in our sinfully fallen world. Any freedom from suffering that does come during those nine months is purely due to the grace of God.

Another expectation many parents have during pregnancy is that their child will be born “perfectly” healthy. Every time Martie was pregnant, the predominant comment to us was: “Well, it doesn’t matter if it is a boy or girl, as long as it’s healthy!” Now I understand why we say those things to pregnant moms–we all have some level of fear of a child with birth defects. Unfortunately, because we often have this expectation, it makes giving birth to a child with “special needs” that much more difficult to handle. It rocks our world because we expect this to happen to others, not us. Yet none of us are promised healthy children, or even to be able to have children at all! Again, living in a fallen world means that we will have illness, disease, and even birth defects. Supremely painful, yet to be expected in a Biblical worldview.

And, finally, many new moms and dads are just like me. I wanted to have absolutely NO surprises in our pregnancies. I wanted everything to go according to the manual. My expectation was that if we just followed what the experts told us, then all would be well. This sort of need for control is actually quite pitifully humorous (which I’m sure we’ll see a lot of in WTEWYE) because we Christians should know better. Only God is in control…especially in the giving of life. Our expectations are rarely achieved. So, instead of trying so hard to learn what to expect when we’re expecting, we should use times like pregnancy and childbirth to learn to trust God more!

Summary:
Kate’s ex-boyfriend, Stewart, lives in the apartment above hers. He happens to be a theoretical physicist, unemployed and with only one goal- to prove time travel is possible. By using calculations based on weather patterns and more, Stewart actually succeeds in finding a ‘hole in time’. He journeys to New York of 1867, but must return quickly as the door only stays open for a short period of time. Unfortunately, when he races back to the modern day, Leopold, a bored and curious Duke that longs for something more out of life, follows him. Now, trapped in modern day New York, Leopold must deal with the alterations in both the city and the people. His outlook on life changes super-busy ad executive Kate’s life forever.

My Thoughts:
Most modern romantic comedies have trash in them; sex, drugs, twisted emotional relationships. Released in 2001, Kate & Leopold broke that mold and became one of my favorite movies. It wasn’t because the two stars had great chemistry, and it wasn’t because the supporting cast was just perfect. Both those statements are true, but that’s not the point.
The point is, that in a world drenched in a sexualized, overly stimulated culture, this movie’s ‘lesson’ was all about slowing down and enjoying the time it takes to make everything special. It starts out simple. When Leopold ends up babysitting a child from down the hall, he turns off the T.V. and tells a story. Then, later on, he waxes rhapsodic about food preparation and how time and effort really pay off. Eventually he shows Kate that real life happens in the slow moments, not in the busy work hours.
Unfortunately, like many of us would, Kate dismisses his views as old-fashioned and not fitting for the ‘real world’. This really opened my eyes to what God has planned for us. He created the world for us to enjoy, not exploit. And we miss out on so much of God’s creation because we are so busy doing what we think is important. We don’t have time for God’s creations, other people, or even God. Leopold’s persistent nature and thoughtfulness also made me think of God’s patience with us, despite our ignoring Him.
Eventually, Kate chooses work over Leopold, and he returns to his own time, supposedly to marry whoever will be able to help his family out of their financial difficulties. He resigns himself to living a loveless life.
Kate gets the promotion she wanted, but she’s still not happy. At last she realizes it is not money or power that makes life worth living. It is loving others. She runs to find Leopold, only to discover he’s already gone. Heartbroken, she goes to Stewart for help.
Stewart, who was a terrible and self-centered boyfriend, has also been changed by Leopold. He sees how much they love each other and helps her make it through the hole in time just moments before it closes forever. He gives up the small chance he had to get her back for her good, not his.
Last but not least, Kate has to get to the Ball before Leopold announces his engagement (forced by his Uncle) at midnight. She makes it in the nick of time and the moment Leopold sees her there, he knows she has left behind her whole world for him. He asks her to marry him and they dance.
Okay, so I’m a bit sappy, but the whole idea of unselfish sacrifice just brings home God’s way of thinking versus the world’s. Not money, not power, but true love comes first.

Author Bio
Christine Kane, a graduate of Communication and Journalism. She enjoys writing about a wide-variety of subjects including internet providers in my area for different blogs. She can be reached via email at: Christi.Kane00 @ gmail.com

In the movie,The Five-Year Engagement, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel play a couple that go against the grain of culture and pursue marriage…sort of. Violet (Blunt) and Tom (Segel) fall in love, eventually get engaged, however, the wedding is postponed after Violet gets a job at the University of Michigan. This postpones the engagement for two years, until she gets a promotion, which postpones it again, and so on.

Although there will no doubt be questionable content, Engagement looks like a funny film. Both Blunt and Segel appear to have good chemistry and are decent actors. However, this film illustrates some concerns I must share, especially because of the tolerant culture we live in.

People are waiting longer and longer to get married, yet they are not postponing falling in love; i.e., having sex, cohabiting, etc. People are giving their love away left and right, but don’t want the responsibility that comes with it.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are just one example from our culture. After years and years of living together, having children, and adopting children, it has been reported that they are finally engaged. The Fifteen-Year Engagement, a film which chronicles their love story will be released later this Fall (just kidding).

It should come as no surprise to Christians that the institution of marriage is taken lightly, not merely because of the culture we live in, but because of the fact that Satan hates God. If God is the one who invented marriage, you can rest assured that Satan will be using all of his strength to destroy it. The proof? Just to name a few, the divorce rate, same-sex marriage, and postponing marriage.

Why is marriage such a big deal? If the divorce rate is so high, why not rethink this whole marriage thing? As Christians, we must strive to honor and uphold marriage, for at least two reasons. One, God designed it. Two, he designed it as a way to communicate his love for the church.

I am in no way saying you shouldn’t watch Engagement, but I am saying that it’s feeding the all-to-common ideal of postponing marriage that this culture is perpetuating. The sobering reality to this is the fact that it is being heavily practiced in the Christian community.

Tom and Violet are doing what so many Christians are doing. They pursue a career before their marriage. Nothing is wrong with being driven and fulfilling a calling to a specific profession, but why not go ahead and get married if you’re in a relationship with someone you love?

The Bible NEVER says you need a certain job, or a certain amount of money in the bank account, before you get married, it does say, “But if they (the singled or widowed) cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Cor. 7:9)
I know Engagement, as well as the culture we live in, is okay with fornication but Christians shouldn’t be. However, many Christians are “burning with passion” instead of marrying their partner. This is a very serious concern that many Christians don’t seem to be giving much thought to. We tend to adamantly hold to the false commandment of ‘Thou shalt go to college, get a job, build up your savings, and then marry.” And all the while, they are burning with passion for that special someone.

Let me be clear, I am not saying The Five-Year Engagement is a movie attacking Christian ideals. What I am saying, is that this film brings up an issue that is prevalent in our culture. This culture is delaying marriage, but not the sex that is reserved for marriage. However, it is not merely the culture at large, but Christians are buying into and practicing this model, which is very dangerous.

Maybe, just maybe, this is one of the many factors that is adding to the divorce rate in our country. Think about it, we typically don’t have a lot of problems with Christians getting married at younger ages. Pursuing marriage first, then career. However, we do have it the other way around and many of those marriages are ending in divorce – not all, but many.

I know some will assert the idea that college-minded guys and girls are too immature. They need to grow up, live a little, and get ready to be married. The truth is though, no one is ever truly ready to be married. Marriage is a commitment that is beyond what anyone can comply to. In sickness and in health? Most people think of the common cold when they say that, but what about the traffic accident which leaves your spouse handicapped for the rest of your marriage? Part of God’s design of marriage is that he brings you to the end of yourself in order to make you cling to him. He is the one who is faithful.

Safe – This is your typical Jason Statham shoot-’em-up action film. However, he is defending some precious cargo in this film – a young girl who holds a valuable password. Now, we understand that Hollywood, most likely, wants to employ an ‘innocent’ little girl to possibly increase the amount of females that buy tickets (they already know the males will be lining up to see Statham blow stuff up), however, that idea resonates with many.

Will Safe be just another Statham action film? Is the twist of adding small girl to the plot just a way of justifying action? Will adding a young girl to the story increase the emotional response of the audience? Should a father-figure protecting a little girl resonate with audiences? What parallels can be drawn from our Heavenly Father and Luke Wright (Statham)? What aspects of this film can and should be praised by Christians?

The Raven – This film has an interesting concept for all the Edgar Allen Poe lovers out there. A serial killer torments his victims with inspiration from Poe’s works. This film will, no doubt, be dark and depraved, but what can gain from a film like this? Can the creative twist employing Poe’s works be appreciated? What can this film teach us about depravity? Can this help us better understand the darkness of mankind’s hearts? What does this film teach us about justice? What does this film teach us about good vs. evil?

The Five-Year Engagement – This film is a humors take on a couple’s engagement that continues to get postponed. Even though the couple seeks marriage, other things in life seem to take priority over that union. What does this film teach about the value of marriage? Are other things, like careers, deemed more important? Should careers be put before marriage? What does scripture tell us about careers and their importance? What does Scripture teach about marriage? What are the idols of the main characters in the film? What do they see as their salvation/gods? What good things are looked to as ultimate things in the film?

The Pirates! Band of Misfits – The story follows a clumsy pirate seeking to establish himself among his fellow buccaneers.  Although this film has some crude humor and sexual innuendo, it should prove to be a fun outing for the family.  However, since we are in the business of assisting Reel Thinkers, how can you engage your children in thinking about this film?  How can you use Pirates to teach and train your child?  You may think a film like this is for sheer entertainment, but I can guarantee you that truth will be communicated through this band of misfits.  What aspects of the pirates will they enjoy?  What aspects of a pirates life should not be for your child?  What are the main characters after?  Who is portrayed as good or evil? Why?  Be sure to use this film (yes, even this film) to raise your child as wise, instead of raising your own band of misfits.

When I first heard of This Means War, I thought it sounded like a pretty funny scenario and felt that the cast could make this film enjoyable. However, from recent TV spots and ads, I began to question whether or not we should even discuss this film on our site. To assist the readers who may not know much about the film, let me add a brief synopsis.

According to IMDb’s website (the best movie website) the storyline follows two top CIA operatives [who] wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman. The movie, humorously, depicts the two agents using aggressive force to knock each other out of the competition and win the girl. It is a mixing of genres – romantic comedy meets action adventure. Plus it is directed by McG, which tells you a lot. He typically directs entertaining action movies (Charlie’s Angels 1 & 2) and his name is McG….seriously, McG (it’s really Joseph McGinty Nichol but he only retains three of those letters).

Even though I had some hesitation about discussing this film at Reel Thinking, I felt that we should still do so. Part of our commitment is to discuss just about any film (excluding pornography) through the lens of Scripture. This film can still illustrate truth. Which brings me to the storyline and caution surrounding this film.

As mentioned above, two CIA agents discover they are dating the same woman. Let’s just be brutally honest and say that the world’s definition of dating isn’t the same as Christian’s. Dating, to the world means, sleeping with, fornicating, having sex. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of Christians who have sinned and gone down that path, however, the ‘dating’ this love-trianlge is doing in TMW is highly sexualized in the previews.

Brief side note here, according to Religion Saves & Nine Other Misconceptions, in 1896 dating was introduced as lower-class slang in reference to prostitution. That being said, it seems that most of the culture and Hollywood have embraced dating’s initial meaning.

As a believer, what aspect of this film should be most troublesome? For starters, and those who place stock in the MPAA, this film’s rating has been debated. It was initially given an R rating but moved to PG-13, whatever that means. Second, there seems to be significant sexual content. Third, there will be a decent amount of violence. While all of these should give caution to Christians and require an amount of discernment (I hope it does) these should be lesser concerns for the Christian.

The story follows three people becoming one…wait, how is that possible? Where is that in Genesis? We have a love-triangle; i.e., two people being joined together as one and then one of those people being joined to a third. What does this communicate abouti sex or dating or marriage? However, what might be more troublesome than this love-triangle is the fact that it is to be viewed as humorous.

We laugh at the extremes the two CIA agents go to as they battle each other for the love of a woman. It’s humorous to discover their jealous reaction when they discover they’ve given their love to a woman that is giving it to another. We think it’s funny that the woman becomes an object/mission/contest for these two agents to win. At least that’s what the previews communicate. But, for the Christian, these are gross perversions of love, marriage, unity, and relationship. Therefore, we must be cautious of the manner in which these lies are communicated. If not, one may subtlety buy into these and begin to treat them as rational ideals, when they are clearly lies. We must be cautious of laughing at lies.