Posts Tagged ‘Channing Tatum’

 

[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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Trailer Tuesdays: Foxcatcher

Posted: July 8, 2014 by jperritt in Drama
Tags: , ,

“I’m going to give you everything I have.”

side_effects_ver2As the senior Biblical Counselor (and only psychology major) in the group, I tend to get assigned the cool psychological thrillers like Side Effects. Personally, I’d rather talk about the more comedic sorts of counseling movies such as the classic What About Bob? or even Analyze This. Those fine films do a great job of poking fun of the psycho-therapeutic profession. But as you can tell from the poster, movies like Side Effects take the world of counseling and psychological medication much more seriously. Some of the early reviewers who have already seen the film claim that Side Effects only raises issues of mental health and psychological medication, then quickly descends into a pretty predictable thriller. So if you are looking for a thorough commentary on the cultural impact of modern psychotropic medication, then maybe you should look elsewhere.

But, here at Reel Thinking, we’ll use the opportunity of this particular movie to discuss the issue of the use of medication to treat mental and emotional problems. Where should we stand on this issue as Christians? Let’s briefly look at the two main opposing views.

On one end of the issue, we have Christians who believe that psychological medication is a crutch that displays a lack of faith in God for our mental health. Some in this camp even look at the taking of a pill for depression, anxiety, etc. as a sin. They believe that all of our problems should be handled spiritually by faith instead of depending on a pill to fix us. While this view certainly recognizes our tendency to overuse medications in modern society, it neglects the fact that some medications really do bring about important symptom relief. And, the reality that a person is both body and soul can also be ignored. As much as Christians are to submit to the Lordship of Christ when they are suffering and struggling, this does not have to totally eliminate the use of certain medication.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Christians who treat psychological medication as if it is the only or best treatment for any sort of personal difficulty. These folks tend to almost be dismayed if a person decides not to take medication for ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc. They see mental problems as mainly physiological at their core, therefore demanding mainly a medical solution. The pill becomes the agent of change. This view overestimates the benefits of psychological meds and minimizes their side effects–the physical, emotional, and spiritual ones. Those who get too focused on having people medicated can downplay the need for spiritual growth, Biblical decision-making, and relational counseling.

Now you can probably already tell that my view lands somewhere in the middle–the coveted place of balance! Like all proposed solutions for our ills, psychological medication must be handled with godly wisdom and discernment. The advertised promises of many of these pills should be taken with a grain of salt, understanding that they can really only relieve symptoms at best. As Christians, we still need to deal with what is deep in our hearts, the idols we are serving, the wrong thinking we are holding on to, and poor patterns of behaving, relating, etc. And, even with medication, we need Biblical counsel, the work of the Spirit in our hearts, and the full-orbed work of the church (preaching and teaching of the Word, the sacraments, etc.). What is a shame to me is how many people look to solve their problems with medication (and other things) first, and ignore all the rest of God’s provisions for their healing.

But let’s consider one last element of the question raised by Side Effects–the issue of the side effects of medication. Isn’t it interesting how most of us tend to ignore the side effect warnings of most medication? If I have a bad headache, or even just a mild one, I will try to find two ibuprofen as quickly as is humanly possible. The problem is, as a person who struggles with stomach issues, these two little pills have the unfortunate side effect of exacerbating my IBS. At the time of a headache, I really don’t care how much it affects my stomach–I’ll deal with that problem LATER! Do you see the problem? It’s really quite easy to actually make long-term issues worse in the effort of short-term pain relief. Instead of really counting the potential cost to body and mind before taking a particular medication, we just hope the side effects won’t be too much trouble, or ignore them altogether.

So whether or not Side Effects really delves into the issue of the impact of medication for psychological problems, Christians should be discerning about the personal use of these meds as well as advising others about them. It is easy to fall into the idolatrous belief that one pill can change our lives (for the better). Ultimately, in any situation, we must hold tightly to the only ONE who can and will change our lives for the best!

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How were you contacted for 21 Jump Street?

It was kind of an amusing, topsy-turvy process.

In March of last year, my agent submitted me. I was up for a small part in one scene. I auditioned and was called back to meet the directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, two very funny gentlemen who previously directed the animated family movie Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. After meeting them and playing the scene in a variety of ways, I was cast.

Several weeks later, I was getting ready to fly down to New Orleans and start work –literally zipping up my suitcase, in fact- when I received a phone call explaining that (a) the script was being rewritten, and (b) my scene had been cut.

No scene, no job. It happens.

About a week after that, I was surprised to receive another call from my agent explaining that the rewrite was in and I’d been cast in a new role. Still a small role, but it was funnier, and no audition was necessary.

When I arrived on location, I met the directors again. They graciously commented that, after umpteen weeks, the couple auditions, and that false start with casting, it was nice to have me finally playing a part. Considering the fact that they were calling the shots on this big movie, I was amazed they remembered who I was.

Do you have much screen time?

No idea! The movie opens later this week, and I’ll find out then. I’m just in the one scene for a very short amount of time, and that’s if I’m in it at all. I suspect that I am, but you never know.

Any lines?

One, but it’s a good line.

Do you have much screen time with the main actors, Jonah Hill & Channing Tatum? If so, what was it like working with them?

Who knows how much screen time I have with anybody, but I did work a little bit with Jonah Hill and Brie Larson (The United States of Tara, Rampart), who plays a significant character in the movie. They were both very polite and welcoming, as were the other cast and crew that I had time to meet.

Here’s an example of what it was like to work on the movie. One the most recognizable cast members was Rob Riggle. While not necessarily a household name, he’s contributed to some really good comedies -The Other Guys, SNL, The Daily Show, etc.- and he’s patently hilarious. (Anyone who’s ever seen The Hangover should remember him as the Vegas cop who screams, “In the face! IN THE FACE,” after Zach Galifiniakis is electrocuted by a taser, well, in the face.)

I mention Riggle because, even though he had no written dialogue while I was on set, the directors turned the camera on him and gave him a take to just improvise. What followed was possibly the funniest three or four minutes I’ve ever seen. He just went off. I can’t repeat most of it because it would spoil a gag that will inevitably make it into the picture, but I think the directors finally called cut purely because everyone behind the camera eventually broke down and started laughing. That was the sort of work environment I experienced that night.

After I got back to New York, I quickly started taking classes at Upright Citizens Brigade, the school in which Riggle began studying sketch and improv. It’s probably been one of most creatively rewarding experiences I’ve ever had.

I hear Johnny Depp makes a cameo, did you get to meet or see him?

I’ve never met Johnny Deppy, and I can neither confirm nor deny his involvement.

What is your role in the film?

I play an EMT.

Does a smaller role still give you fulfillment as an actor?

Absolutely. There’s an old saying: “There are no small parts, just small actors.” It’s cheesy, but usually true. Give a hungry actor the smallest chance to contribute to a story and he’ll probably do it.

Also, there’s an interesting challenge to being the guy that has one line in one scene. You still have to come in and be a seamless part of the same story, but you’re only going to get a few seconds to do so. A day player can ruin a movie or make it infinitely better.

What are your standards regarding choosing a movie to participate in? What’s the thought process?

If I need a job and someone’s interested in me paying me a decent wage to work on a movie, television show, commercial, play, musical, variety show, I’m probably going to do it. And that’s the case with me almost all the time.

Beggars can’t be choosers and I didn’t have the choice between playing the EMT in 21 Jump Street and another acting job. Fortunately, the script was good and very funny, and the cast and crew were nice and had been successful movies many times before. The odds that it’s going to be great are pretty strong, but, even if they weren’t, I’d have said yes in a heartbeat.

Maybe one day, I’ll work frequently enough to be more discerning. But I’m not there yet.

Would you kiss another woman or man in a film? Would you participate in a sex scene if asked? Where would you draw the line?

I don’t know. I’m hardly ever asked to participate in scenes in which I kiss anyone, much less disrobe.

What’s your advice to young Christians pursuing a career in acting?

The same advice I’d give to anybody: Be humble. Work hard. Know that you’re almost always in a position to learn and audition. Learn your lines perfectly.

Never let the word “No” discourage you. There’s plenty of rejection in this business. You have to face that, and then try again.

Constantly question your desire to act. If you don’t love it, there’s no point in continuing to try.

What’s your biggest fear in acting?

Sometimes I worry that there’s not a place for me in the business. That usually crosses my might right before I get hired for something new.

What do you love about acting?

The chance to help tell a good story and tell it really well.

Has filmmaking deepened your view of God?

I’d like to say yes, but, honestly, I have no idea. It has deepened my view that most ministers should, when speaking publicly, be really interesting.

TURNER CRUMBLEY has appeared in feature films, on television, and in theatres across the United States. His recent stage credits include Dracula, The 39 Steps, The SantaLand Diaries (New Stage Theatre), Big River, A Simple Gift (Mill Mountain Theatre), Sweet Charity (Sierra Repertory Theatre), Louis L’Amour’s ‘One for the Mohave Kid’, The Minute Men (Great American Melodrama), Blood Wedding (Warehouse Theatre), The Diary of Anne Frank (Stage One), and Disney’s Beauty & the Beast (Jefferson Performing Arts). Film credits include Contraband, 21 Jump Street, and the award-winning, independent feature Glorious Mail. As a director, Turner’s credits include the plays The Good Thief by Conor McPherson, John Patrick Shanley’s Welcome to the Moon (both New Stage Theatre) and the short film A Mile of Wolves. Turner is a Laurel, Mississippi native and a University of Southern Mississippi graduate.

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Not too long ago we interviewed my friend, Turner Crumbley, about his role in Mark Wahlberg’s most recent film Contraband. It was very interesting for us at Reel Thinking and it seems that it was interesting to you as well, because we had some very large hits on those days. Since we didn’t just want to do a follow-up interview with Turner on the same film, he went out and got another role – just for us.

So I’m obviously kidding about that, but I’m not kidding about the fact that he does play a part in 21 Jump Street. The film stars funny-man Channing Tatum and heartthrob Jonah Hill and it opens this Friday. It tells the story of two slacker cops who are sent, undercover, to high school with the hopes of bringing down a drug dealer. Although the synopsis seems like an action/drama, it is a buddy comedy that promises laughs. For those of you who are a bit older, you will know that 21 Jump Street was a television show starring Johnny Depp, who is said to have a cameo in the film.

So tomorrow we will have our interview with Turner discussing the film, but highlighting questions about Christians starring in movies. 21 Jump Street has some questionable content, just like Contraband did, therefore, we hope these interviews raise some interesting thoughts for you to reflect on. We hope these posts are not only interesting to our readers, but help in cultivating discernment.

Be sure and check back tomorrow (we hope, Turner is pretty busy so it may be a bit late) to do more reflection on Christians and film.

Yesterday we considered one possible theme in The Vow starring Channing Tatum and Rachel Mc Adams.  We asked the question, “What is the basis of our marriage vows?”  (you can check out that post here).

The very title of this film strikes me as odd in a culture that seems to care very little for marriage vows.  We live in a culture where commitment is frowned upon and back-up plans are encouraged.  Prenuptial agreements may not be standard fare yet, but many choose to live together first before promising to stick out the relationship  (“try before you buy”).  It is really quite remarkable that stories like The Vow are still playing on the silver screen.

It is important to remember that covenant-breaking is not a recent phenomenon.  We need not be too hard on our culture.  God’s people were continually unfaithful in the Old Testament.  The prophet Ezekiel delivered God’s message to his people, the Israelites, “For thus says the Lord GOD: I will deal with you as you have done, you who have despised the oath in breaking the covenant…” (Ezekiel 16:59 ESV – emphasis mine).  Lest you think that this was one moment of covenant weakness, I must tell you that this is par for the course with Israel.  God’s people are known for their unfaithfulness.

If we are honest, covenant-breaking should not be relegated to Israel.  The truth of the matter is that since the Garden of Eden humanity has been unfaithful to their Creator.  The human heart, which is intended to be in relationship with God, is inclined to worship and serve other things.  John Calvin said it this way, ““From this we may gather that man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols” (from Institutes of the Christian Religion).  The human heart is a divided heart.

Is there any hope for covenant-breakers?  Yes!

Praise God that there was one member of humanity who never broke covenant relationship with God.  Jesus Christ – the perfect, covenant-keeper – gladly paid the death penalty due covenant-breaking humanity.  In his death and resurrection, Jesus purchased our way back to God.  Consider the second part of the Ezekiel passage mentioned above, “I will establish my covenant with you, and you shall know that I am the Lord, that you may remember and be confounded, and never open your mouth again because of your shame, when I atone for you for all that you have done, declares the Lord God” (Ezekiel 16:62-62 ESV).

It is only the gospel of Jesus Christ that can turn covenant-breakers into covenant-keepers!  As we watch stories like The Vow, let us remember what gives human love stories their true meaning – the ultimate love story of the covenant-keeping God.

Reel Thinking desires to be an equal opportunity site (I haven’t really asked any of the other contributors about this, but I am sure that they would agree.).  This means that from time to time we will include films which fit into the “romance” genre.  Check out my post on The Notebook for another such film.  Seeing that Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, I thought this might be the right time to consider the upcoming release of The Vow – starring Channing Tatum (cue throbbing hearts) and Rachel McAdams.  Check out the trailer…

The Notebook 2…I mean, The Vow (sorry, couldn’t resist) promises to be a story about love and commitment.  Leo (Tatum) and Paige (McAdams) are enjoying a happily married life until a car accident puts Paige in a coma which results in severe memory loss.  The Vow is supposed to display the actions of a committed husband working to win back his wife’s heart.  Sounds like a perfect movie for a Valentine’s date.

In the trailer we hear Leo say, “Life’s all about moments of impact and how they change our lives forever, but what if one day you could never remember any of them?”  This is a curious statement because of what it assumes – especially in relationship to love and marriage vows.  Is love based upon emotional “moments of impact” – fond memories that when lost can threaten our vows?  Maybe I am reading too much into this film, but nevertheless this is an interesting issue for us to consider as we watch The Vow.  What is the basis of our marriage vows?  How will this film answer that question?

The Bible is a book of vows.  It is a “covenantal” book.  In it, the God of the universe enters into covenant relationship with his people.  Throughout the story of Scripture, God’s people continually fail to remain faithful to the covenant (more on that tomorrow).  In spite of their unfaithfulness, God is faithful to his vow of love.  This is the gospel: The faithful God redeems his unfaithful people.  Consider Ephesians 2:4-5, “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved.”

What is the basis for this kind of love?  Simply this: God’s promise.  God did not choose to love a people based upon the great memories of their courtship.  Deuteronomy 7:6-8 describes the way God relates to his people,

“…The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the LORD has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery…”

Before you begin your protest let me say this…of course love is emotional too!  I am not saying that love is mere mechanical commitment.  That would be too reductionistic.  The point to consider is that true love is not based upon mere emotion – even strong “moments of impact.”  Vow-keeping love is based upon promise – a commitment to remain in relationship.  Let’s keep our biblical minds engaged as our emotions are stirred up during this film.  And yes, guys, it’s okay to cry.