Redbox Text

Lucky number 13…

Describe how you met the last person you texted and talk about your friendship/relationship

The last person to text me was who ever runs the Redbox text deals telling me about a 50% off code that I didn’t use. We have a great relationship. Person texts me deals and I usually ignore them — unless it’s a free Redbox. Because with free Redbox, I rent the movies I would have NEVER paid to see or wind up being glad that I didn’t pay to see.

Like:

  • Underworld: Awakening (STINK BOMB. The only good thing: Theo James.)
  • Django Unchained (surprisingly better than I thought it would be. Very Tarantino… I don’t know how he could get more himself, but I think he did.)
  • Sucker Punch (stopped halfway through and returned it the same night. Can you regret a free movie? Yes.)
  • Silver Linings Playbook (so good. Very funny and honest about how people deal with mental illness.. until that kinda sappy Hollywood ending. But the dance rehearsals – worth it. LOVE J-Law and B-Coop. They have great chemistry.)

“The first rule is…”

“Control.”

I believe that is a mostly correct quote from a deleted scene in “Serenity” (the movie, not the first episode of Firefly) regarding Inara, played by Morena Baccarin, on the training of new Companions. It relates to nearly the first thing I saw this morning post-election:

I wasn’t enchanted with either candidate and did not vote for either of the major parties in a national election. Some of you may think my vote for a third party candidate was wasted. However, I don’t think it was because I voted for the candidate that best expressed my views – which is… the point… of the electoral process?

Anyway, I saw the “Once you go black you never go Mormon” tweet at 6:45 this morning. Not exactly something I want to wake up to. I replied, as did others, that it was racist and bigoted. This makes her follow up statement that we/I need a sense of humor even more offensive and here’s why:

1) “Once you go black…” is pejorative. It goes back to the racist slurs used to make black men into nothing more than sexual beasts out to conquer genteel white women. It is also sexist in that women only care about penis size.

2) “It’s casual” and “Have a sense of humor” are a cop-out. Everyone wants the freedom to say what they like but no one wants to accept any push-back or that someone else may not like what they had to say. Words have weight and meaning. Choose them carefully.

Incidentally, I am not Congress – so my speaking out on this topic is NOT infringing on her right (or anyone else’s) to speak their mind. You are welcome to tell me to lighten up or whatever. Disagreement is not censorship.

3) Just because you have 140 characters to speak doesn’t mean that you should. Political matters are deep and require thought and explanations. It is why I really try to avoid discussing them on Facebook because many of them are deeper, more nuanced (or my views of them are deeper and more nuanced than a tiny little comment box will allow.) But since most Americans have the attention span of a gnat, it isn’t surprising that everything has moved to soundbites.

There is something to the thought of Old Entish – maybe it shouldn’t be said it unless it takes a long time to say.

4) Nothing about what was said came from a place of love. You cannot make a racist statement or one bigoted against a religion and say that is all love. It may have been intended to be funny, but it wasn’t. What is said off the cuff is usually a good insight into who they are because they aren’t monitoring themselves or being monitored/scripted by others.

You might say “you don’t know her!” You would be right. I don’t know her. She doesn’t know me, either. Neither do you. Statements like this tell me a lot about who Morena Baccarin is as a person, unfortunately. This may have been a momentary slip of the fingers but considering all the talk about bullying that very few people seem to be supportive of (and something she has actively took a stand against in the past) and mean words, how is this any different?

They also do nothing to heal the divisiveness that so many people claim to care about healing. After the 2008 election, Democrats and Obama supporters told us to come together (well, they always do that after the election, 2008 was no different) and work together for the good of the country. Mitt Romney’s concession speech last night was beautiful and gracious. It was humble and thankful to the people who worked so hard on his behalf and encouraging those to continue to work for what they believe and to work with the President to achieve those goals.

It isn’t about sore losers. If you can’t be a gracious winner, no one really wants to hear you either.

5) Statements like this are OK if the Left (or from CA or NY) does it but if someone on the Right (or from the South) says it, it’s racist. Double standards suck. A bigot is a bigot is a bigot whether they vote D or R. They are further proof that people aren’t as race-blind as they claim.

For those that think I am biased against the Left because I highlighted Morena’s tweet and she has openly supported the President, I am going through my Twitter and Facebook friends and removing those – no matter the D or the R – who make such bigoted statements.

Shiny!

Tonight’s episode of Castle is a continuation of the show’s long-standing tease of we Firefly (and broader, science-fiction) fans. First, Castle said “Shiny” and the cats jumped because I shrieked.

Then he said “I’m a fan of GOOD science fiction – Star Trek, Battlestar, that Joss Whedon show…”

But my favorite was when they talked about how the murder victim bought the rights of this Star Trek-like show for next to nothing and turned it into a hit on the web that lead to another production company wanting to buy it and make a movie. He said something about it being a wonderful dream. All of which are directly related to things Nathan has said about Firefly in the past.

Aside from that Browncoat-love, the episode was directed by Jonathan Frakes (HELLO!), Kirk and Picard impressions, Kreavers who eat your face off, and closing with “Ideal Woman” from William Shatner… which I danced to! the other shining moment was Beckett talking about why she loved the show centered at their murder investigation and science fiction in a beautiful, open, and honest way.

We Geeks have long been teased as not normal because we have a strong connection to our imaginations. I’ve long felt that those who rip on science fiction/fantasy do so out of a place of jealousy because they killed their imaginations a long time ago and they wish they hadn’t. For those of you that have, come back to the Dark Side… we have cookies…

We never lost the love of fairy tales. Wanting to be the hero. Wanting to be the villain. To discover something bigger outside of ourself or within ourselves. To do something or to be someone great. We may have bills and a mortgage but we still want an audience. There is a movie, The Movie Hero, that touches on that. We would dance or play sports by ourselves but there was an audience… the invisible one. Still waiting for us to be the hero. But we were told “you can’t do that” or “you are too old for that” and eventually that audience fades away to nothing and we don’t dream anymore.

But there is always the Black. The Black is full of possibility. Something new to explore. Systems full of new worlds, races, animals. Daring deeds to be done. Balls to attend. Governments to topple. Standing up for what is right.

In Beckett’s honor, I want to talk about why I love science fiction.

At lunch last week, a co-worker and I were talking about books we’ve been reading. She was telling me about a book that chronicled the generations after slavery and I told her about The Hunger Games.

“There you are Jonnelle. I am seeking the past as I get older – looking to fill the gaps and things I didn’t know at the time these events occurred. You are completely buried in the future.”

“Well, I cut my teeth on the future. Star Wars shaped my world.”

I never wanted to be Princess Leia. I probably played her because she was the only girl when we would play Star Wars and I did dress as her 2 years in a row (Empire Strikes Back costumes)… but I wanted to be Darth Vader. To my 3-year old self, he had everything. He could do what he wanted. No one was telling him to go to bed. He spoke and the world listened. It quaked with fear…

mwhahahahaha…

And he was a total bad-ass when he walked onto the Rebel ship in Episode 4. The Imperial March (appearing first in Empire Strikes Back but something very similar is played in Star Wars) … Duel of the Fates is awesome but it doesn’t hold a candle to that… BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM da da dum DA da dum! (you just sang it – I know it!)

And the breather… GAH! When I saw that in the theater as an adult, I think I cried.

Now that you see my complete and total megalomanic side, what I love about science fiction is that it is the human story. What is Firefly? It’s a group of people struggling to get by – work on a marriage, hide from themselves, find healing, make some money and wear cunning hats.

Doctor Who is, among other themes, a lesson on loss. How do you function when the people you love go? It is about reinvention. The Weeping Angels are terrifying because they hit our deep fears of being alone with one one to talk to, to look at us, to see us in motion and alive.

So, I love science fiction because it makes me think and says it’s OK to be a little different. Or even a lot different.

(Edited to add: I know Star Wars opens with “A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” but since time is non-linear and a big bowl of wibbly-wobbly timey wimey stuff, what happened in the past for Luke and Leia could very easily be in our future according to something I saw on Discovery about the universe and time travel and stuff)

“You can’t save them all…”

WorldNetDaily linked to a story that is an update about one of the young stars from one of my favorite documentaries ever, Born into Brothels.

A full update from early 2008  on the kids may be found here.

Avijit, who is why I adore the film, is attending NYU.  Others are married.  A couple of others are still in school.  When Avijit said “there is no hope to be found here” (paraphrase), I cried.  It breaks my heart that he felt that way.  I sat there, convicted… having been given means and an opportunity and did nothing.  I did buy two prints that went into the charity they established.  My full thoughts from April 2004 may be found on my old blog.

The Times of India caught up with Puja.  She was given a chance to study in the US and her mother refused to let her leave.  I know they arranged for schooling in India.

Now Puja has entered the sex trade… like her mother.  She’s financially well-off.  Pays for her apartment, her mother’s and another room to meet clients.

My heart breaks for this young woman.  I read her story and cried.  I couldn’t stop crying.  To have help presented to you, to reject it for whatever reason, and enter a life that may appear glamorous but is really a prison… that is full of risk of disease and death.

Then it hit me…

Our Heavenly Father’s heart must break in ways similar every time we reject Him.  He offers us love, grace, forgiveness, peace, kindness… and in our pride, we turn on our heels and move away from Him.

Worst Movie I Saw in 2008

Wanted with Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy

I’m pretty good about suspending disbelief with movies and just letting it go but dang… it’s pretty rare when I come across a movie where I just have to say

WTF – COME ON!

So, people are willing to let a loom – A LOOM – randomly determine who lives and who dies (via binary code!) but belief in a merciful, loving, just Creator God is too much. That’s a crutch for weak minded fools but smart weavers discovered a code and created The Fraternity to save humanity.  If they were so awesome, why didn’t they kill Hitler or Pol Pot or Dane Cook?

If you haven’t seen it, don’t.

UPDATE:  Apparently, I’m not the only one to think this whole movie, or at least the Loom of Doom, is ridiculous.

Entertaining Evil

Sunday night, a friend and I went to see The Dark Knight. Even before the hype of Heath Ledger’s accidental death in January, I had already planned to see this movie. I loved what Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale did to reboot the Batman franchise out of its campy history. Tim Burton did a little of this with the first two movies but there was still a day-glo feeling to them. Then it started to look like a comic book with Batman Forever (Jim Carrey’s rubber face included). But… it had Val Kilmer.

We won’t talk about Batman and Robin. Aside from Uma Thurman, that movie stinks. Stinks. Stinks. She’s so over the top, she makes it bearable. Almost.

Then… Batman Begins went to the 1980’s and 1990’s comic books, which are more adult and decidedly darker than their predecessors. (They were done by Frank Miller… who wrote Sin City, 300, and the Watchmen – all of which are very graphic, very dark, and down right disturbing.) More psychological. Bruce Wayne isn’t just a rich vigilante. He’s a tortured man trying to make peace with himself, trying to find himself… And… there’s Christian Bale who is not only smokin’ hot, he’s a really good actor. (Aside: he will be starring as John Connor in the new Terminator movies starting Summer 2009).

This change has angered and upset alot of people whose primary experiences with Batman are the earlier movies and the TV series – which is nothing but camp. They aren’t familiar with the comic books at all or its dark past.

So, we go to see the Dark Knight. First, I don’t remember hearing a single cuss word in the entire movie. At all. Well, maybe one by the thugs but I’m not sure. I am pretty sure I said more when we were talking about it at the conclusion…

“The Joker is seriously f’ed up.”

Was the movie good? Depends on how you want to define “good.” Did the story move along at a good pace to keep from getting bored in a 2 hr 30 min movie? Was the acting good? How were the special effects?

Yes. Yes. AWESOME!

However, it is very violent but not in a bloody way. There isn’t alot of gore. Very dark. The Joker is a man who has no purpose to his violence. He hurts and kills people because he can. It is very easy to see how Heath Ledger had so much trouble sleeping after he finished his work on the film. Demented. Scary. Bat sh*t crazy. In a way, it is the most terrifying part of being human – abject violence and the ability to inflict terror for the sole purpose of doing it and to see how people react.

To me, Freddy Kruger and Jason are minor league horror villains compared to Ledger’s Joker.

I can’t remember the last time I watched a movie and it gave me nightmares. Sunday night, my dreams were very violent. I was telling Mark about it last night. He said he was almost going to see it but after my description of it decided not to… that he did not want to watch that kind of movie. I said that I wasn’t going to have another nightmare last night.. not going to allow that.

About 3 am, I jerk awake from another nightmare. I laid in bed and started praying.

God, what is going on? I have watched movies like this before and they haven’t affected me at all. Perhaps that is saying something about me… my numbness to evil, darkness, and violence but, we can talk about that later. But this is different. What is up with this movie that 2 days later, the imagery is still affecting me?

The Spirit replied:

This movie is surrounded by evil. It tormented Heath Ledger to his death.

(Further clarification: this morning – Christian Bale’s mom and sister filed a police report on him – abuse charges for an assault that they said happened after the London premiere)

I immediately went back to sleep… back to the tortured dreams of robberies, guns, violence, alarms. It leads me to question how much have I let God regenerate my heart. I don’t doubt that I am justified by faith… but the process of sanctification is on going. How much am I fighting that and thwarting it by my media choices?

Christianity in Docs

At the Nashville Film Festival, I saw a number of documentaries on Christianity or their interaction with the world: Pussycat Preacher, At the Death House Door, Prophets Rising, and Join Us. There is also another recent documentary I’ve seen twice (CBS and the Biography Channel) – Jesus Camp. Given that I love movies, I want to take some time to talk about what I thought of these movies and how they portray believers and how non-believers might view them.

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