Archive for the ‘Thursday’s Thoughts’ Category

Some thoughts and questions for this week’s new releases…

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Pain and Gain –  “A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong” (IMDB.com).

1. Great…another film to make me feel physically inferior.  My loss…Tony Horton’s gain.  Alternate title = Robin Hood: Big Guns Edition.

2. Seriously though, check out the tagline. “Their American Dream is Bigger than Yours.”  How does this strike you?  Yes, I know it is a comedy.

3. Daniel Lugo’s (Mark Wahlberg) definition of the “American Dream” = “If your willing to do the work, you can have anything.”  How does this jive with biblical truth?

MV5BMTcwODUwMjg2Ml5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTc2NzkxOA@@._V1_SX214_The Big Wedding – “A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding” (IMDB.com).

1. Nothing says family…like faking it. Unfortunately, this is often too true.

2. In some situations laughing can be a good alternate to tears.  When is it good to laugh at broken marriages and dysfunctional families?  How should we deal with these realities?

3. Some advice from the trailer…Don (Robert De Niro) says, “Piece of wedding advice kid?  Stay single as long as you can.”  Obviously Don has issues.  What would you say to Don?

4. What Scripture passages inform a biblical view of marriage and family?

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Mud“Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love” (IMDB.com).

1. The opening line from the trailer, “There are things you can get away with in this world and there are things you can’t.”  Well, maybe for a while, “for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known” (Matt. 10:26 – see also Mark 4:22 and Luke 8:17)

2. This film looks to be one that will ask questions relating to situational ethics.  Would you help a man who is running from the law?  Why or why not?

3. Is it ever morally right to lie?  If so, when?

4. What wouldn’t you do to protect someone you love?

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Thursday’s Thoughts

Posted: April 11, 2013 by jperritt in Thursday's Thoughts
Tags: ,

42 – The life story of Jackie Robinson and his history-making signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers under the guidance of team executive Branch Rickey.

– What does this film teach us about hate?

– What does this film teach us about love?

– Is there any racial reconciliation that occurs? How does it point us to future reconciliation?

Scary Movie 5 – A couple begin to experience some unusual activity after bringing their newborn son home from the hospital. With the help of home-surveillance cameras and a team of experts, they learn they’re being stalked by a nefarious demon.

– What conventions of the horror genre are explored?

– Even though most of the content is implicit, should this be a film Christians should abstain from?

– Is this movie really just sinful exploitation of sex, nudity, cheap laughs, etc?

It’s Thursday again! Time for some questions and comments to take with you to the theater…

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G.I Joe: Retaliation – “The G.I. Joes are not only fighting their mortal enemy Cobra; they are forced to contend with threats from within the government that jeopardize their very existence” (IMDB.com).

1. Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson (I prefer “The Rock”), and all the CGI you can handle. One question…who isn’t gonna see this? Maybe your grandma? Unless she’s awesome!

2. As with all “good vs. evil” films, how will G.I. Joe: Retaliation depict good and evil? Is it black and white? How much gray is there?

3. Action films like this bring up questions of violence. How is violence depicted? Is it only used when necessary?

4. Is knowing really half the battle?

MV5BMjMwNDg1MTAzNV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTk5ODI3OA@@._V1_SX214_The Host – “When an unseen enemy threatens mankind by taking over their bodies and erasing their memories, Melanie will risk everything to protect the people she cares most about, proving that love can conquer all in a dangerous new world” (IMDB.com).

1. “Love conquers all” is a key theme in this story. What kind of love does Stephenie Meyer think conquers all?

2. “Choose to Believe. Choose to Fight. Choose to Love.” The power of the human will (individual choice) seems to be highlighted in this story. What are we to think about that?

3. The battle between Melanie and the “Soul” (alien) invading her is an interesting concept. How is this similar and different than the Christian’s battle with his or her sin nature?

MV5BMTg3MzExNjU1N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMzk0ODU5OA@@._V1_SX214_Tyler Perry’s Temptation – “An ambitious married woman’s temptation by a handsome billionaire leads to betrayal, recklessness, and forever alters the course of her life” (IMDB.com).

1. How does Judith’s temptation reflect the “forbidden woman” in Proverbs 5? (Obviously he’s is dude in this film.)

2. One of the tacts of the seducer is to question the fact that Judith has “only been with one man.” The idea of compatibility is a big deal today. Many believe that you need to “be with” a lot of people to be sure that you marry the right one. What do you think about this? What does this film have to say?

3. What does this film teach about commitment and the fidelity of marriage?

4. In the trailer we read, “Imagine if you could feel something more.” What is the role of “feelings” in a relationship? How important are our feelings??

Here are a few thoughts for those of you heading to the theater this weekend to catch a new release…

jack-the-giant-slayer-film-movie-poster-headerJack the Giant Slayer“The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds” (IMDB.com).

This is not your momma’s version of Jack and the Beanstalk – unless you gotta pretty awesome momma!

A couple questions to consider:

1. What does this story say about war? Is there a specifically Christian way to think about war?

2. When is violence against a whole race of people justified? Or is it ever justifiable?

tn-500_2121 and Over – “The night before his big medical school exam, a promising student celebrates his 21st birthday with his two best friends” (IMDB.com).

Another film from the writers of The Hangover – “yippeee” (he said sarcastically)! I really think that the world needs another comedy about getting drunk and doing stupid things…yep.

1. This is a comedy, right? What is funny about glorifying sin – even if it is now legal?

2. Turning 21 is a significant turning point in our culture. Is getting drunk our standard rite of passage to adulthood? What does this film teach us about becoming an adult?


The-Last-Exorcism-New-PosterThe Last Exorcism: Part
II“As Nell Sweetzer tries to build a new life after the events of the first movie, the evil force that once possessed her returns with an even more horrific plan” (IMDB.com).

Our culture continues its fascination with the occult. Here is yet another installment.

1. What does this film tell use about the power of the Devil? What does the Bible say about the Devil and the power of demonic forces?

2. How should Christians respond to films of this nature?

3. The tag line says, “Believe in Him.” What do you think about that?

Thursday’s Thoughts

Posted: February 21, 2013 by jperritt in Thursday's Thoughts, Uncategorized
Tags: ,

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As you think about heading to the movies this weekend, be sure and take your mind along with you.  Here are some thoughts to consider as we look at the main releases of this week.

Snitch

Inspired by true events, father goes undercover for the DEA in order to free his son who was imprisoned after being set up in drug deal. [IMDb]

– How far would you go to protect your child?
– What does this movie teach us about family?
– How is the love of John Matthews noble?  How is it ignoble?
– How is the law portrayed?
– Is good and evil blurred?  How?

Dark Skies

As the Barret family’s peaceful suburban life is rocked by an escalating series of disturbing events, they come to learn that a terrifying and deadly force is after them. [IMDb]

dark-skies-poster– What was the most terrifying part of the film?  Why?
– Is it good to watch movies that cause terror?  Why?
– Why are we so intrigued by aliens?
– Do you think aliens exist?  Why or why not?

identity_thief_ver3 Jason Bateman is one of those actors I feel like I’ve personally grown up with, especially since he too is a child of the late 1960’s. If you look at his acting credits, he really is one of the kings of television. I remember watching him on Little House on the Prairie (yes, when it originally aired), then really enjoying him for years on the sitcom, Valerie. After a bunch of failed TV shows, he was truly at his comedic apex in Arrested Development. Of course, he has made many films as well, often as supporting characters. To be honest, as much as he is a natural actor in my book, I’ve always been disappointed with his movie roles. He has some “hits,” but a whole lot of misses. I’m afraid that Identity Thief will be another one of those comedies that miss the mark–ending up being rude and crude rather than cute and funny. If you choose to see it, you can let me know.

But let’s move on to the main theme of his latest movie–the stealing of a person’s identity. Leave it to Hollywood to be able to make a very serious crime into something comedic. Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with turning something painful into a series of yucks; we often need to laugh so we don’t cry! But the reality is that identity theft is an extremely devastating crime that is on the rise. The ease with which most of us give out our social security number, credit card information, and all sorts of personal data is truly remarkable. As the movie tagline suggests, Identity thieves really are having the time of other people’s lives! From the stories I’ve heard of people who have had their identities stolen, it is no small task to get them back again.

Identity Theft also helps us to think about a much more ubiquitous problem that can often be ignored–our spiritual identities being stolen. We often forget that the forces of darkness in this world are constantly attempting to “take away” who we are–our true identities. All human beings are made in the image of God, but original sin distorts these true identities until Christ redeems and restores our true selves. Satan and the world would rather see our identities continue to be transformed by evil and sin than to be changed by a union with Christ. So the spiritual “thieving” of our identities is actually a slow, lingering process that seeks to make us into something we were never meant to be.

One of the most intriguing places in Scripture where we see this sort of identity theft is in Daniel 1. Daniel and his three Jewish friends, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, were among the best and the brightest to be taken into captivity to Babylon. In order to serve the pagan King Nebuchadnezzar, the first step in this identity theft was to change their names to reflect the worship of Babylonian gods. So these four men were re-named Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego–stripped of their Jewish identities. Next, they were trained in Babylonian philosophy, history, and religious beliefs so their identities would be cemented as pagans instead of lovers of Jehovah. They were to even eat food offered to idols, which of course they resisted. Thankfully, the next few chapters of the Book of Daniel demonstrate that the identity theft was ultimately unsuccessful!

A very modern parallel to Daniel and his friends in Babylon occurs every day on our college campuses. This is where spiritual identity theft is rampant. Our covenant children are not getting their credit card information stolen, but the training and education they received in our churches and homes instead. Many of them are being “re-named” by this world, and re-trained to believe they really do not belong to God. To many of their pagan professors, Christianity is a naïve identity that must be stripped at all costs. So, while many of our college kids are having the “time of their lives,” they are also in the process of having their identities stolen away. This is no laughing matter!

Thankfully, the good news of the gospel is that when we are truly IDENTIFIED WITH CHRIST, no person or devil can steal that away. Companies like LifeLock may be successful in protecting any earthly identity theft, but only the power of the Word of God and the Spirit will perfectly guard our spiritual identities. Only then can you have the time of your life, with your own eternal life!

In light of this weekend’s releases, I think that I’ll stay home and rearrange my sock drawer. I may record it and post it on Youtube to offer an exciting alternative to these films. John Perritt can review it.

Some thoughts and questions to ponder:

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Movie 43 – “A series of interconnected short films follows three kids as they search the depths of the Internet to find the most banned movie in the world.” – IMDB.com

1. Really? An entire movie about bad and offensive movies? We already have the American Pie and Harold and Kumar films. Do we need to travel deeper into the depths of depravity?

2. Why is it that “off-color” humor is so popular? Why do films of this nature do so well?

3. This film suggests that there is some kind of moral code in people (why else would movies be banned). In your opinion, how far is too far? Where do you draw the line?

4. I am sure there is some funny stuff here, but I am not sure it is worth a dive in the dumpster.

MV5BMjA4MDQwODg2NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTc5ODc2OA@@._V1._SY317_Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – “In this spin on the fairy tale, Hansel & Gretel are now bounty hunters who track and kill witches all over the world. As the fabled Blood Moon approaches, the siblings encounter a new form of evil that might hold a secret to their past.” – IMDB.com

1. Wow. Gotta give this a couple points for creativity. Little Hansel and Gretel grow up to become vigilante witch killers. I suppose life would be better without witches.

2. This film could be entertaining.

3. Seriously. I got nothing.

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Parker – “A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew’s latest heist.” – IMDB.com

1. The trailer says, “It’s not revenge. It’s payback.” What’s the difference? Really, I don’t get it.

2. This film looks like a modern day Robin Hood (sort of). What do you think of Parker’s ethical code? “I don’t steal from those who can afford it. I don’t hurt people who don’t deserve it.”

3. The tagline of this movie is “To get away clean, you have to play dirty.” Are there times when we must do bad things for a greater good?

the_texas_chainsaw_massacre_imageDid you know Texas Chainsaw Massacre is based on a true story?

I’m sure many of us have either said or heard that phrase in relation to this film, however, the statement is more false then true.  The 1974 cult classic film, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, made such an impact on audiences they wanted it to be true.  Of course marketing apparently assisted with the fabrication, but audiences also embraced it.
The story of Leatherface actually came from the life of a man named Ed Gein.  However, Gein never went on a massacre (he killed two people, which is one short of the classification of a serial killer), he didn’t use a chainsaw, and he didn’t live in Texas – he lived in Wisconsin.  I guess The Wisconsin Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t have the same ring to it.
However, people took elements from the story of Gein and fused it with Chainsaw to make it scarier.  The aspect of the story possibly being true just sends chills down people’s spines.  I remember going to see The Blair Witch Project in high school (I believe this was the first film in the ‘found footage’ genre).  There was a rumor going around that this movie was true, and the documentary style of the film added to that.  There hadn’t been a movie I had seen like this, so many believed it really happened.  Needless to say, it was much more frightening to think this truly happened.
Whether the filmmakers or movie-goers perpetuated the tale about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre doesn’t matter.  The point is, the story being true seems to enhance the emotional aspect of watching the film.  Imagining a madman using a chainsaw to kill is scary enough.  But, imagining that there was a real man in Texas using a chainsaw to kill real people adds another layer of fright to it.  Or does it?
Be sure and check back tomorrow as we explore this a bit further.

We know most of you who missed seeing The Hobbit last weekend, will be going to see that this weekend.  And those of you who saw The Hobbit last weekend, will be going back to see it again.  But, we figured we’d at least give you some questions to think through this weekend’s new releases.  Therefore, if you go see one of the below films, be sure and engage your mind by asking these questions.

The Guilt Trip (2012) Poster

The Guilt Trip (2012)

THE BUZZ: Reviews indicate that a subdued Seth Rogen and a hammy Barbra Streisand make for one familiar and unwelcoming road trips in some time. At first we thought it would be a coup for Seth to get his movie mom to take a hit on camera, but now we’re more focused on what exactly is going on with his career choices. [IMDb]

  1. What does this movie tell us about honoring our parents?
  2. How does this movie define the role of ‘son’?
  3. What are the negative and positive truths this film communicates about family?
Jack Reacher (2012) Poster

Jack Reacher (2012)

THE BUZZ: Sure the title of the movie is akin to the “Tug Toner”, but Tom Cruise’s reunion with Christopher McQuarrie, who wrote and produced Valkyrie marks the beginning of creative marriage between star and filmmaker: McQuarrie wrote the All You Need Is Kill screenplay and just might write and direct the fifth M:I outing. But here McQuarrie takes a second turn behind the camera as director of the adaptation of Lee Child’s novel, which has been on the Paramount lot since 2008. It’s a tall order to make a movie as universally entertaining as M:I4, but if the world embraces Cruise as homicide investigator Jack Reacher, there’s a bounty of other Reacher adventures from which to choose. But this will be the only one bold enough to cast Werner Herzog as the villain. [IMDb]

  1. How does this film distort justice?
  2. How are the lines between good and evil blurred?
  3. The tagline read “The law has limits. He does not.”; what does this teach us about our sovereign God?
This Is 40 (2012) Poster

This Is 40 (2012)

THE BUZZ: One of the smartest ideas Judd Apatow has made since he segued into super-producer/occasional director mode was promoting the supporting characters from his best comic environment to their own movie. Pete and Debbie and Jason (Jason Segel) were the true stars of Knocked Up; and I’d make a needless argument that Leslie Mann is funnier than KU and Bridesmaids combined. [IMDb]

  1. Does the film portray marriage more positively or negatively?
  2. Can we agree with some of the negatives/difficulties of marriage portrayed in the film?
  3. In what ways does this film miss biblical truths about marriage?

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I don’t know the last time I was this excited about a movie. J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic book comes to the big screen this Friday! I can’t wait! If for some reason you have been in a coma for a few months, you can check out the trailer below…

As we prepare for the release of this new Peter Jackson trilogy (yes, there are gonna be three of these bad boys), I want to share some thoughts over the next couple days. Tomorrow, a longer post reflecting on one particular theme of this great story. Today, a few questions to get you thinking and talking about this film? (For those of you unfamiliar with this story, use these questions for a discussion with friends and family after seeing the film.)

1. Why do you like the story of The Hobbit? Why do you think that this book has been so popular?

2. Which character(s) do you resonate with the most? Are you a hobbit-like homebody or an adventure-seeking dwarf?

3. What is the message of The Hobbit? Is there one overarching message or several?

4. Who is the hero of the story? What makes them heroic?

5. Where (if anywhere) do you see evidence of Tolkein’s Christian faith in The Hobbit?

Check back tomorrow for more!