Archive for the ‘Popular Media’ Category

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

December 28, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth! I’m safely back from an enjoyable holiday with my in-laws and I do hope you had a Merry Christmas. I’ll be spending some time I’m sure reading some new books that I got and that’s not yet counting gifts from everyone else. Before we jump back into atheist sound bites, I’d like to do a couple of movie reviews. A week ago Monday, my wife and I went with some friends to see “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.” Be warned of spoilers now.

Now I’ll tell you upfront that I am not one of those who believes that Harry Potter endorses witchcraft as a viable worldview in the real world. I think it’s a tool used in an allegorical way. An excellent look at this can be found in John Granger’s work that can be found at hogwartsprofessor.com and in his book “Looking for God in Harry Potter.” As it turns out, I have read all the books and seen all the movies and immensely enjoy them. I think Rowling is an excellent writer and storyteller.

I will however agree with a caution often given on this by Harry Haters as it were and I agree with them on it. Deathly Hallows is not a children’s movie. The movie has villains committing murder as well as a dark nightmare of Ron’s involving Harry and Hermoine. Parents should use discretion in bringing their children. In fact, while I am a supporter of Harry, I have no problem with parents who say they want to read the books or watch the movies before their children do. I think that’s an excellent idea.

Readers of Deathly Hallows quickly found out that the book would not be easily contained in one movie and I think this one wisely has been cut into two parts. While it has been awhile since I read the last book, the story does follow along with it well, including the departing of Ron from the party and the finding of the sword of Gryffindor. Others are more hinted at that readers should know about like the romance of Harry and Ginny, and that of Ron and Hermoine.

The story does move along at a brisk pace with plenty of action, though limited from the way it was in the books. For instance, the scene of carrying Harry away from where he had been living is played out in a brief form focusing only on Harry and his encounter with Voldemort. Of course, it does sadly have the death of Hedwig in there.

What was of great interest to me especially was the scene of the graveyard in Godric’s Hallow. This is where James and Lily Potter are buried and readers of the book know that the tombstone says “The last that shall be destroyed is death.” The graveyard was right outside a church on Christmas Eve with parishioners gathered together in the building to sing.

This was not a surprise to some of us in the series that an overtly Christian reference came out. The question of if Harry would die or not was lingering over us for the series as Harry I do not believe is meant to be a parallel of Christ, but more an idea of everyman in the battle against death and the good in his life is to remind us of the power of Christ. That will be for part 2 of the movie however.

There are many who are worrying about these movies. I would tell them that while I do view witchcraft and the new age movement as a threat, I do not consider Harry Potter a threat nor do I consider many other things a threat along the same lines. We would be better off fighting ideological opponents such as materialism or hedonistic sexuality than focusing on Harry Potter. It’s a shame more Christians seem to know what they think is wrong with the book than they do with books like “The Shack” or “The Da Vinci Code.” The sad reality also is most Christians have not even read the books but have simply gone by what they have heard.

Of course, if you’re one who does believe that this is something you should not do, by all means do not do so. I am not here to force you. The problem is that many of us usually come up with these rules for ourselves that we automatically make binding rules on everyone else. I am a devout Christian and I have no problem with the series. In fact, I find many lessons in it.

Readers of the book also will not be surprised where part 1 ends. I definitely look forward to part 2 and the Battle of Hogwart’s in it.

The Karate Kid Review

June 19, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. Our study of the doctrine of God in the Summa Theologica will have to be put on hold yet again. This evening, I went to see The Karate Kid with a friend. It is an excellent movie I highly recommend. Thus, as is my custom, I offer a review. If you plan on seeing this soon, wait until after the movie before you come back and read this lest I spoil anything, which is certainly never my intent.

The movie starts out with the main boy, Dre Parker seeing wall markings of himself at his home of how he’s grown. Conspicuous by its absence is one event. “Daddy died.” I found this odd as nothing is ever said about this Dad. The kid never refers to him. His Mom never refers to him. He disappears just as quickly as he’s introduced.

I found this saddening as I have a deep concern about the disappearances of fathers in the culture. Men are disappearing from view. A boy can grow up without a father and no one thinks anything about it. However, this boy is not growing up well as he is twelve years old and he and his Mom are moving to China.

How this Mom gets the money, I have no idea. They live in luxury apartments and the only thing we’re told is her job has something to do with cars. The absence of a man in the boy’s life is apparent and he has is seen early on to be one with no work ethic, no respect, and no discipline. He doesn’t want to learn Chinese and he’s concerned because everything there is old. If only we could get our youth past this to appreciate the rich heritage of the past!

When he gets to China, early on, he starts trying to impress a girl, only to end up being bullied, and this bully is no ordinary bully. He’s a student of kung fu and Dre is outmatched. Later on, Dre gives him and his buddies a rude awakening by throwing a bucket of sludge on all of them.

Why would he do that? Well you have to understand the way a boy is and a man in turn. We have to fight something. We don’t like being beaten down and we will do what we can to fight back. It is often our manhood that is on the line. The bully, Cheng, and his friends chase after Dre and knock him down. One of the students tells Cheng that they’ve done enough, but Cheng reminds him of what was seen in Cheng’s class earlier under Master Li. “No weakness. No pain. No mercy.”

As Cheng comes in to add further injury, a hand stops him. It is Master Han, the maintenance man at the apartment Dre lives in, and singlehandedly, Han ends up defeating all of the bullies for Dre. They then go to Master Li’s studio where Han challenges Master Li on what his students did. Master Li says either Dre or Han must fight him since his studio has been disrespected. Han says Dre will fight at a kung fu tournament.

So begins the long trek of teaching Dre, Kung Fu. What happens? That’s for you to find out as a viewer, but it is a story of wisdom and determination and respect and attitude. Dre matures throughout all of this and watching him learn the art is an enjoyable part.

And yet, I wonder how often we take time to enjoy that part. We live in an instant society and we’re so busy looking on a destination, that we lose sight of the excitement of getting there. I can sadly read books checking to see how long they are and how much time till the end. We enjoy a movie, but we can still look at our watches. We want the gratification without the investment of time. For non-entertainment goals, such as goals of overcoming difficulties in our own life, we can spend so much time looking at how far away we are from our goal that we never spend time enjoying getting there.

Han wants Dre to focus. Maybe we need to do the same? Have we lost focus on what really matters and are so caught up in ourselves that we cannot truly enjoy the world around us?

Maybe we need to return to the past some. Maybe the past as in 2,000 or so years ago in an area called Palestine.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this movie. Enjoy!

Iron Man 2 Review

May 17, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve been going through the doctrine of God and we’re going to continue that later, but this weekend I did get to see Iron Man 2 and since there were two people who I wanted to see it with and since I couldn’t go with both of them at the same time, I went and saw it twice. Be warned that I will be having some spoilers in here. If you plan to see this one and want to wait, feel free, but do remember to come back.

Now I loved the first Iron Man. I consider it my favorite superhero movie. This one was good, but I don’t think it was as good. I do believe there could have been more done with the villain in this one and the problem was there was no sign of where everything was going until you suddenly realize “Oh wait. This is the final battle.” Even then, the battle was way too short.

There are a number of themes I want to speak on that show up in Iron Man 2 however. First, a line shows up early from Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s Dad, that everything is possible with technology. Now I’m not opposed to technology. Technology is a wonderful thing. However, not everything is possible through technology.

One reality Howard Stark believes can come about through technology is world peace. This could be possible if we lived in a world of machines. Unfortunately, any look at our world around us should show that this is not so. Iron Man may be able to stop a lot of violence with his suit, but even if he could stop every incident, the suit could not remove the evil that is in the heart of man.

Our modern era has an idea that science will solve everything and mankind will progress more. Now I’m not against developing strong weaponry as a nation and I’m not saying we should dissemble our nukes and beat our swords into plowshares. As long as there are other nations out there that want us in America dead, I am for keeping our defenses strong.

However, salvation is not found in science. It’s found in Christ. The further away we move from Christ, the more chaotic our world will become. If we believe that more technology will develop virtue, we will find the opposite happens. Technology is a tool. It will be used for good or for evil depending on who’s wielding it. It is not capable of bringing virtue to people. It can be used to enforce the law and reward the good, but it can’t change the heart.

Another point I wish to comment on is that of people in the movie like Justin Hammer and the Senate who say that what Tony Stark is doing with Iron Man isn’t fair. If he has the technology to make a suit like that, then he is obligated to share it with everyone else.

Well, no.

All people are equal in that they are all equally human, but if you have something, you are not obligated to share it with someone else. I’m not saying it wouldn’t be a good thing for Tony to share the information and help out his country further in doing so. However, I am against the idea that it’s not fair for him to do so.

Years ago, I worked at a job where the store I worked at had a computer on sale and the price was increased. I don’t know who increased it or why but a lady called and said “You had it at X price and then you increased it and that’s not fair.” I was wanting to say “How come? Isn’t it our computer? If we want to sell it at a higher price because we believe people will pay more for it, that’s our right.”

The reality is our parents were right. Life isn’t fair. Someone will be smarter than you. Someone will be more athletic. Someone will be more artistic. Someone will be more beautiful. Someone will have more money. We are not told that we will all be equal beyond our human nature nor should we expect to be. It is better for us to play the cards we are dealt with rather than complain that we didn’t get another person’s cards. It wouldn’t work to do that in a card game and it doesn’t work in real life.

So my conclusion is that the politics and idea behind this Iron Man is hardly the best. Now I did enjoy the movie and if you’re a fan of the series, by all means go and see it. On the way home, if you take kids, have a chance to talk to them about technology and life being fair and see what they think. Make it a teaching moment.

We shall continue discussing the Summa tomorrow.

Alice in Wonderland Review

March 19, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are currently diving into the ocean of truth. Now lately, we’ve been going through the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas to understand the doctrine of God. However, tonight I happened to go see Alice in Wonderland in the movie theater. Readers of the blog know that I like to review movies that I go and see. (If you plan on seeing this movie, just in case, I recommend you visit this particular post later due to possible spoilers) Thus, we will continue Aquinas tomorrow. (His works have survived for nearly 800 years. One more night won’t kill them.) Before we get to our review, I offer my prayer requests. First off, my continual Christlikeness which, dear readers, is becoming a reality thankfully. Second, I ask for prayers for my finances. Finally, I ask that you pray for me in a third related area in my life.

Alice in Wonderland was of course, a book first, and that book was written by the Reverend Charles Dodgson who is better known as Lewis Carroll. Reverend? Yes. This author was a Christian and he was a logician as well and part of what he wrote Alice in Wonderland for was to teach logic.

Take for instance, the character Absolem, the blue caterpillar. Alice is brought to Absolem to see if she is the right Alice and he answers “Not hardly.” The fallacy is that everyone takes Absolem to be saying “No.” Absolem did not say that however. The question was asking if she is, and truly at that point, she was not yet the Alice she needed to be. Note also the name Absolem. What he says is absolute. Why? He is the truth teller and truth is absolute and if he says it, it is true.

Words are used regularly throughout the movie to get you to think. These are terms like “ought” and “should” and “is.” Some things ought to be but they are not as they ought to be. Some people should know some things but as it turns out, they do not know the things they should or believe the things they should.

Alice is also told that she must slay the Jabberwocky on Frablous Day. She is entirely against the idea as she does not slay anything. Yet, however, all the decisions Alice makes that even seem to run counter to the goal of getting her the Vorpal Sword to slay the Jabberwocky on Frablous Day end up getting her to that goal. Yet are we to deny that Alice truly had a freewill choice in the matter?

At one point, the Red Queen is spoken to by her main henchman who asks if it is better to be feared than loved. Philosophy students should immediately recognize Machiavelli, as he answered that it was better to be feared than it was to be loved in his work, The Prince. Readers are advised to read this work to understand why Machiavelli’s name became synonymous with evil.

As for those wondering about the acting and entertainment value of the movie, it is definitely there. This is an enjoyable movie and philosophy students should find extra interest in it. Most interesting for our purposes is that this was a book written by a Christian and Lewis Carroll is still a favorite author today.

In our age, what we need are more writers like Carroll who blend truth with wit and can teach us something while entertaining us as well. C.S. Lewis was such a writer as was J.R.R. Tolkien and G.K. Chesterton. May God raise up many more!

Tomorrow, we shall resume with Aquinas.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.

February 15, 2010

Hello everyone. I could say “Welcome back to Deeper Waters,” but in reality you’re the ones who are welcoming me back. I hope everyone had as good a weekend as I did. Now I know that we’ve been going through the Summa Theologica, but readers also know that whenever I see a movie, I always like to blog about it. Well this weekend I saw “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief.” Be prepared everyone. There are spoilers in this so if you want to see the movie, don’t go forward. Wait until you come back.

When I was younger, my sister gave me a book she had of Greek mythology. I loved that book. I wish I’d really had the mindset of examining ideas back then. I didn’t, but I was able to absorb many of the stories and learned them well. A personal favorite of mine was reading about the labors of Hercules. On the other light note, I did love Kid Icarus on the Nintendo. Is it any wonder I love Pit on Smash Brothers Brawl? Greek mythology has just been an interest of mine.

Naturally then, a film like this had my attention.

Apparently in 2,000 years, much hadn’t changed. The Greek gods were still going around cavorting with humans and having children. Now however, Poseidon and Zeus are getting into it. Zeus has had his lightning bolt stolen from him, the most powerful weapon ever, and he thinks one of Poseidon’s kids did it, particularly Percy Jackson, who has no idea he’s a demigod. Zeus gives Poseidon a two-week deadline to recover the bolt or there will be war. Sadly, the movie never addresses the philosophical problems with calling Zeus omnipotent and him needing at the same time something external to himself like a bolt and being unable to find the bolt on his own.

Which was the problem in many ways with the Greek gods. They couldn’t really be seen as gods unless by god you meant a superhuman. In the biblical worldview, man is created in the image of God, but in the Greek system, it seems the gods are created in the image of men. Ravi Zacharias has said it wasn’t that the Greek gods abandoned the Greeks because the Greeks were depraved. Quite the reverse. They abandoned the gods because the gods were depraved. The tales of the gods of Olympus could make a modern day soap opera pale in comparison.

Percy Jackson lives with his Mom and a step-father figure who he can’t stand. He also has his best friend Grover. One day however, he is at a Greek museum and has a teacher take him to a room alone only to have her ask “Where’s the bolt?” and she turns into a fury and attacks him. In comes another teacher in a wheelchair, Mr. Brunner, who tells the fury to let him go or he’ll tear her to shreds, along with Grover, who happens to be on crutches.

Mr. Brunner tells Grover to get Percy’s mother and get them on the run. When they’re all together and on the run, they get attacked by a minotaur. Percy’s Mom is in the minotaur’s hand and vanishes. Percy manages to defeat the minotaur however before entering camp half blood where children of demigods go. He learns that Grover, is actually a satyr who has been assigned to be his protector, and that Mr. Brunner is actually the centaur Chiron. While there, he also forms a relationship with the daughter of Athena named Annabeth and a son of Hermes named Luke.

The camp gets visited by Hades demanding to see Percy Jackson. Hades says he has Percy’s mother and wants the lightning bolt. Percy decides then he’s going to go to the underworld, find his mother and explain the situation to Hades, and then take his mother back. Annabeth and Grover join him and Luke gives them some equipment to help.

Before doing that, they have to get three pearls so each of them can escape the underworld. The journey involves them encountering figures from Greek mythology to fight like the medusa and the hydra. Very interesting is how the entrance to the underworld is located in Hollywood, which I found quite appropriate. When we finally see Olympus, the gods squabble just like everyone else. Hardly the idea of deity.

However, for action and adventure, this is a great film and if you’re  a fan of Greek mythology, you’ll love it. Christians can use this to see how different theistic concepts work and explain the problems of a polytheistic concept. For instance, how could Zeus be omnipotent if he does not have all power over what goes on in the world? Can you have all power and at the same time not be sovereign? (For Calvinists and Arminians, again, work out the details of what that means on your own.) Also, what does it mean for creatures to shift forms. Can a man really be part horse? What does that say about the nature of both?

My final conclusion is I don’t agree with the worldview, but this movie did have action and adventure that kept me hooked the whole time. It is one I definitely plan to get when it comes out on DVD.

Sherlock Holmes Review

January 1, 2010

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters. Last night, I put our Trinitarian Commentary on hold because it was New Year’s Eve and I wanted to celebrate the New Year with a blog. Tonight, I’m putting it on hold because last night, I also saw the movie Sherlock Holmes. So I will be giving you readers my take on it. Before that, I do ask again your prayers as I continue on the path of Christlikeness. I also ask your prayers for my financial situation as I do have to make some decisions in that area very soon. Finally, I ask for your prayers regarding another area in my life related to both of these. I pray for the work of the Holy Spirit there. For now, let’s get to the review.

The movie starts with action immediately with Holmes and his assistant Watson. One scene early on has Holmes studying a man he’ll need to get past in combat and he analyzes his condition and how to best attack in a step-by-step procedure. There’s a reason Holmes was an inspiration for the creation of USA network detective, Adrian Monk. (Ironically, I finished reading “Mr. Monk and the Dirty Cop”, right before I went to see this movie.

The mystery in the movie involves the case of a criminal who has recently been caught and then lo and behold, a few days later it is claimed that he has come back to life by the powers of black magic. He makes his presence known and tells the people that a new age is coming to England and he is in charge.

Hence, one of my friends wrote to me asking about non-Christian overtones and I would say they are there. Holmes, of course, is quite naturalistic not believing in anything supernatural in the movie apparently. Of course, I have no problem with seeking naturalistic explanations.  I have a problem with ruling out all other explanations a priori.

The mystery itself is quite difficult to figure out and the viewer must pay attention to everything that happens and I do mean everything. It does make great use of flashbacks to go back and show earlier events that happened so the viewer can realize all the connections that he should have made earlier.

For those who want action, there won’t be a lack of it. Sherlock Holmes does have skill in combat, which is something that surprised me in the movie. Granted, I haven’t really read the mysteries of Holmes, but I don’t picture a detective like that being a fighter. However, he does fight more with his mind where he plans how he’ll attack and how his opponent will respond and how he’ll counter-attack, again in a step-by-step procedure.

Overall, my mind was distracted last night, so I’m not sure how much I was able to enjoy, but it was a pretty good film. I really don’t think many people will solve the mystery before the movie is over, but then, I suppose that’s what made Sherlock Holmes such a great detective.

Tomorrow, we continue our commentary.

Movie Review: Couples’ Retreat

November 12, 2009

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters. This is probably going to be the final blog before Sunday night as I’m going to be extremely busy this weekend and if you’ve been wondering when the blog was going to come in tonight, it’s because I’ve also been extremely busy tonight. Anyway, I did go to see the movie “Couples’ Retreat” tonight. Regular readers know that when I go to the movie theater, I do blog about the movie that I saw afterwards. We’ll continue our Trinitarian Commentary then Sunday.

The movie involves a couple who is thinking about getting a divorce and they want to go on a marriage retreat to an island called Eden in order to see if they can salvage their marriage. Unfortunately, it’s pricey so they get three other couples to go along with them. Note then the first good thing. All of these people see marriage as something good and worth upholding. (Aside from one guy who is there with his girlfriend after recently leaving his wife, but I won’t say anything more about that as that’s for those who go see the movie.)

Noted also is the one couple who has kids and the kids say they want their parents to go on the trip because they don’t want their parents to get a divorce someday. Divorce is a painful reality. I believe there are times where it is the better option, but in our day and age, divorce is all too easy. A prominent Christian apologist recently told me he’s only been embarrassed once in a debate. That was when he was debating a Hindu who told the audience that at least in the country that follows his religion, 98% of the marriages last while in America, only 50% of them do. The church should be embarrassed but frankly, have we made marriage something worthwhile to uphold? Do we know what marriage really is any more?

So on this island, the couples learn to be more open with each other as they share time with a therapist and with a mystical teacher. This is one area of the movie I had trouble with as the teachers were always portrayed as Eastern style teachers speaking of karma and yoga. (Other moral concerns would include some partial nudity and some crude humor.)

Some realities do come out. The idea for instance that every couple has their problems. Each of the couples ends up working out their own difficulties when push comes to shove and they have to go to the other side of the island for another reason which I won’t go into detail over right now.

Let that be the next lesson. Marriage is hard work, which is something we don’t often realize. Of course, I can’t speak as a married yet, but we often think of the stories that end with “And they lived happily ever after.” However, in reality, in the morning Prince Charming has to go to work and Juliet has laundry to do and children to raise. There is no relationship of any kind without any problems, and marriage will fall into that.

Marriage is important, but we must not make it an idol as can be done and expect everything in it to be perfect. It won’t be. Is it because marriage is imperfect? No. The institution is divine in origin. It is because the people who are married in every case are imperfect. When imperfect people come together, there are going to be problems.

Marriage is a commitment. It is based on something deeper than just feelings. Feelings will come and go. Someone was telling me today that there are times you’ll go to bed at night and wonder “Why did I ever marry this person?” and then you’ll wake up the next day and think “Why did I ever think I could marry anyone else?”

In the end, I think there is a valid lesson to be learned and I am pleased that in the world today, there is still seen the truth that marriage does matter. For the Christian, it matters especially since this is to be a union of Christ and the church. Christians should have the best marriages of all and those must be rooted in Christ. Picture it as two people at different ends of a triangle and Christ at the top. The closer they get to Christ, the closer they get to each other.

What our country and our world needs, if the gospel is going to be proclaimed, is for Christians to really love, value, and live marriage.

 

A Review of “Adam”

August 30, 2009

Faithful readers of Deeper Waters know that when I go to a movie, I always write a review of it. Last night, I went to see the movie “Adam.” I’ve found when telling this to people that most of them don’t know about the movie at all. That is a shame and I do not know entirely why this movie wasn’t put in most theaters like others are. Maybe someone in the movie industry can explain that. The synopsis at imdb.com describes the movie this way:

Soon after moving in, Beth, a brainy, beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship encounters Adam, the handsome, but odd, fellow in the downstairs apartment whose awkwardness is perplexing. Beth and Adam’s ultimate connection leads to a tricky relationship that exemplifies something universal: truly reaching another person means bravely stretching into uncomfortable territory and the resulting shake-up can be liberating.

Upon hearing that, some readers might recall how during the presidential election, I chose to write about my story:

https://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2008/10/15/obama-socialism-and-my-story/

Naturally, Adam is the kind of movie I would want to see. I will also be warning my readers now that I am going to be giving spoilers so if you don’t want that, then come back and read this blog later. If you want to see where Adam is playing in your area, go to foxsearchlight.com

Adam is one of a kind, which is something that must be understood when interacting with those of us in the autistic community. When you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism, and you cannot extrapolate on to everyone. I happened to see this movie with a friend and I was able to notice many things that he did not which we discussed on our way back.

Adam is unaware of social cues around him. In fact, I was astounded at some of the things he did that I know I normally don’t do, like walking into the office in the morning and saying “good morning” to someone who says that to him. This is the kind of place where I become non-responsive. If I don’t greet someone, it’s not because of something personal.

Adam is also crazy about space. He loves to talk about it. We find him several times in the movie at his laptop looking up information on anything and if he gets into any conversation with anyone on that topic, stand back, he’s going to go into overdrive. I could find my own relation here as I can be normally quiet, but start me up about philosophy or apologetics or Christianity and I’m on fire. My roommate once spoke about how I was when we had Mormons visiting us and the doctrine of the Trinity came up and it was described as watching a rocket taking off.

At the start, Adam’s pantry has several boxes of the same food selection. I clicked with that immediately as that is also a common trait, something I was very pleased to find out the more I studied this as some who know me know I am incredibly unusual in my diet. Our church, for instance, had a picnic today after the service. My response? Get in the car. Go home. Do the dishes there and fix myself a small lunch at home. It’s just not a pleasant situation and my closest friends with me know that there’s only a small number of restaurants I will order something from.

Adam’s world is changed by a girl named Beth who comes to see him. He doesn’t really know too much how to respond to her and his Dad’s old friend Harlan who is his caretaker in this film as both of Adam’s parents are dead tell him he has to be the man. There are numerous times in the movie Adam interprets something Beth says in a way she doesn’t intend. The results are quite humorous.

One scene at the start has him sitting on the steps of his apartment building on his laptop while Beth comes and is carrying behind her on a rolling device some groceries and says something like “Well, I’m off to carry these heavy items up to my apartment.” Adam misses the cue entirely of the implicit message of “Are you going to help me?”

Beth decides she wants to try to break into his world however and offers to invite him out to join some friends that evening. She says she’ll knock on his door at 8. We see Adam then in the apartment and the clock says 8:11 and he’s all dressed up and ready to go. She hasn’t knocked yet. She does soon however, but Adam never opens the door and he’s crying inside later on. The next day, he tells her he was overwhelmed with something and just couldn’t come.

This was something I understood entirely. The problem was that she had said she would knock on his door at 8 and she didn’t. That threw Adam off entirely. I’ve been told at work that I’m the most exact person with the time clock. If I am to clock in at 8:30, well that is when I will clock in, even looking at my watch to make sure I’m down to the second.

One day, Adam shows her a planetarium of sorts he has in his apartment. What it was entirely, I’m not sure, but I’m thinking that he had computer generation set up in the room all around the ceiling somehow and he just talks to her about space. His friend Harlan is stunned that he did this and even more stunned that Beth likes it.

Adam slips up the next time Beth comes over and asks about the event and says “Were you sexually excited?” Now I consider myself blunt, but I’m thankful I’m not that blunt. When Beth decides she needs to leave then, Adam confesses to her his condition of Asperger’s and how it affects him.

The next day, Beth, at her job as a schoolteacher, asks another teacher about Asperger’s and is told about the book “Pretending To Be Normal” which I thought immediately was a great title. She asks if someone like that is prime relationship material. At this point, she seems to think he isn’t, but seems to change her mind.

Adam gets fired also from his job at a toy company. As he’s grieving from this, he takes Beth to Central Park, as the story is set in New York, and doesn’t tell her why. As he sits on a bench with her standing nearby, two raccoons start passing through the area in front of them leaving Beth amazed. She gives him a book for people with Asperger’s on how to find a job. At this, he kisses her. She doesn’t mind.

I noticed something about the raccoons and asked my friend on the way back if he knew why raccoons were used. He didn’t. So I asked him to tell me what he knew about raccoons. He said “They wear masks.” I didn’t let him go any further. That was all that needed to be said. Adam and the raccoons are similar. Both of them wear masks.

The kiss has changed their relationship and Beth decides she needs to set some boundaries and says she’s fine with kissing and with hugging but no sex. It’s amusing when she tells Adam that her last ex was sleeping with other women while they were together. Then seeing his confusion says “I mean, while we were in a relationship.”

Adam is taken to a party by Beth where nearly every social cue is broken. A mother begins talking about her baby and says “Would you like to see a video?” Adam says “No thank you. Where’s the restroom?” He starts talking to another lady there about the purchase of a telescope and doesn’t realize he’s boring her and is going over her head and she doesn’t know how to get away. Fortunately, Beth is there to help him out.

Later on, Beth and Adam are discussing various matters and Beth is talking about how she’d like to write a book about raccoons for children and she wants it to be talking raccoons. Adam asks why. Why not just have it be about nature. Wouldn’t that be better? She tells him that he’d think so. Adam is offended, until Beth just lets him know what she really means and how she feels about him, which is when she turns their relationship sexual. For those concerned, there is nothing seen here at this point in the movie in the area of nudity. It was quite clean in this regards.

Of course, there is that problem that in movies, sex in a relationship is just seen as the next level. There are not any consequences. If you’re wondering the moral perspective, Beth seems to be more Christian in some way in that when Adam asks her about the Big Bang, she starts quoting Genesis 1:1. Adam simply starts going on at that about the Big Bang. She also tells her father that the rules he has for her in her relationships aren’t written in Scripture. Unfortunately, religious views aren’t expounded on this much.

Beth then takes Adam to a play and her parents happen to be there where they get to meet for the first time. Beth has beforehand found out that her father has been indicted on for something he’s done. What his job is, I don’t recall entirely, but his family is very well provided for. When she and Adam and her parents get together with just them to talk, Adam asks “Did you do it?” and “Could you go to jail?”

Beth doesn’t appreciate the questions later and tells him so. This is a part I still don’t understand as my thinking is “Those seem like perfectly legitimate questions. You want the information? You ask for it.” Rest assured, Beth does apologize after this first fight.

Beth also is teaching her class in the movie of probably Elementary school children and reading the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. Once again, this is a story meant to remind the reader of the nature of Asperger’s. The boy in the story is the one who is blunt and points out that the emperor is naked. Important since Beth ends saying “I like the boy.”

Adam is meanwhile applying for new jobs and finds one he applies for and hears back that’d involve research on space. Beth offers to help him train for this with learning such features as eye contact, which is something I recognized immediately.

There are many times I talk to people and I realize that I am not looking at them as I talk to them. I seem to have my eyes fixated on some other point. What’s there? Well nothing that deserves my attention at that point, but that is where they are. Beth is a good teacher helping Adam learn how to socialize.

Adam needs the job after all as he doesn’t want to move. This comes to the forefront in a scene discussing his father’s estate and how he’ll have to move since he can’t pay the mortgage and he goes into a tantrum saying he doesn’t want to move. Harlan is the one who calms him down again.

What happens the day of the interview we don’t know immediately, but around that time Beth’s mother calls Adam and asks if she can track down her Beth. Her father has been found guilty. Later on, we learn he had an affair with someone involved in what he’s indicted of. Once again, this is the mask motif playing. Beth’s Dad does not have Asperger’s, but he had been wearing a mask.

Adam begins looking through and finds a note Beth had about “Take Adam to meet parents” which referred to the past event. Beth comes in then and sees Adam upset and when she confesses she just told him a little lie, he explodes, throws things around the room, and yells at Beth on how much he hates her and her Dad is guilty and he hopes she stays in jail. Beth uses some profanity (The strongest in the movie and nothing I will dare repeat here) and tells him he’s a child and leaves.

Always be honest to people with Asperger’s. (Actually, being honest with people generally is a good idea.) Not all of us react like Adam of course, but there is something lost. Many of us are often just looking for people we can trust. That could be something common for everyone, but maybe just harder for us.

When Beth’s Dad is charged and given his sentence, he is told he has ten days to put his affairs in order. Beth’s Mom calls Adam and tells him the address of the house which is where Beth will be. It’s a snowy time, but Adam knows that now he has to make things up to Beth so he gets some champagne and some roses and sets out in the snow. He can’t get to the terminal for the bus because of the stairs and he can’t take a taxi and he can’t drive, so what does he do? He walks the whole way.

Meanwhile, we see Beth at the house talking to her Dad and how her Dad says that Adam is not relationship material. He is in another world. Beth insists that people with Asperger’s do marry and have families and children, but her father is saying no. Shortly after this Beth hears Adam outside yelling trying to find her. Beth rushes outside and her Dad prepares to head out saying “I’ll take care of him.”

Adam tells Beth he didn’t get the job he wanted, but was told he’d be perfect for a job in California in an observatory. He tells Beth he wants her to come with him. Beth’s Dad comes out and says that Beth will not go with him. Beth is furious telling her Dad he can’t dare speak for her. An argument breaks out and Beth’s Dad grabs her which leads to Adam tackling her Dad and knocking him to the ground. When the mother comes out, Beth yells out that she’s going away with Adam to California and they drive off in Beth’s car together.

Beth later talks to her mother on the phone before the leave and says that Adam has never said he loves her. Adam hears this and tells her and then she asks why he wants her to come to California. Adam gives an answer of how he needs her to help him find a place to live, get settled in, fit in, and that she’s like a part of him now. When she hears this, Beth has to disappoint him and says she can’t go with him to California.

When I first saw this, I thought it was a sad point. Thinking back on it now, I think it was sad still, but also a good move on her part.

He is speaking at an observatory to a group of visitors about the telescope and what all can be seen and then says “But one of the best ways might be going out at night and looking up at the sky yourself.” After they leave, a lady comes carrying two heavy boxes, one on top of the other, with a small package on top telling Adam that that one is for him. Adam takes it and then says “Would you like some help with those Carol?” She smiles and says yes.

Adam has moved forward. He didn’t catch Beth’s cue at the beginning, but now he has, and apparently with another lady. I take this as a cue to Adam having a blossoming romance going on in California.

Adam opens up the package later on and finds a book in it from Beth called “Adam.” It’s a book about a family of raccoons in New York City. One was named Adam. He lived in Central Park. Although he didn’t really belong in that world, there he was. Adam closes the book and smiles.

My thoughts on this movie? I think it’s a very good one. It helps bring out the world of those of us with this condition. I have a caution that people keep in mind that if you go see Adam, that not everyone you meet with this is like Adam. Some are more outgoing. Some are not. Adam is actually more capable than many as some need constant care throughout their lives.

I think it would do a world of good to go see this one however and come to understand this world that more and more people by genetics are experiencing everyday. Is that person you meet not speaking to you? Don’t assume right off they’re rude, which is something that has happened to me often. Consider that they might be different.

Realize also there is a reason why we do the things we do. I’m very finicky about my hands for instance and don’t like anything on them. One time we had the Mormons up here and we were having friendly talk about little idiosyncracies on how my roommate and I take care of this place. I said I don’t replace the lid on the trash can because I don’t like touching a trash can lid. I want to wash my hands afterwards. Since then, our lid has remained perpetually off. We just dump everything directly. Now I do take out the trash at times, but always with washing my hands immediately afterwards.

The movie also stated that we’re frequently described as people with no imagination. I find that bizarre. If anything, I have an overactive imagination as my mind is always conjuring up strange scenarios and such. This does allow me to experience much wonder in life as I find it easier to see everyday as an adventure as a result of this condition.

Is the social interaction difficult? Of course. This is why I’m thankful for friends in my life who are my support. For instance, tonight is Sunday and I go bowling every Sunday night. I go with some friends here and their family has kind of taken me in as a third son it seems at times and their support is something excellent to have and I’m really grateful for it.

And now the final conclusion. Go see Adam if you haven’t. Of course, now you know everything that will happen pretty much if you’ve read this, but go see it anyway. Seeing it can be more revealing than hearing about it. If you have small children, you might want to go see it without them first. I’d say anyone of Junior High age could probably watch this film, but parents need to discuss certain matters afterwards.

And yes, I do plan to buy this when it comes on DVD.

The Half-Blood Prince

July 18, 2009

Whenever I go to the movies, I always interrupt what I’m doing so I can write a review of the movie I saw. Today was no exception. I am a Potter fan and today was the day that my friends and I finally found to go and see the Half-Blood Prince. I have read all the books, of course, and I’ve seen the movies and own the rest of them, and I’ve read a number of books about the books.

The movie, of course, does differ in some way from the books. (And by the way, if you haven’t seen the movie yet and plan to or you don’t want to know what happens in the book if you plan to read it someday, then don’t read this post yet.) I was hoping it would include the scene where Dumbledore got to meet the Dursleys, but that wasn’t to be this time.

The movie does play out the relationships in the book very well, such as the growing love between Hermoine and Ron and the growing love between Harry and Ginny. It also catches the relationships of the heroes to the death eaters, such as Harry’s reaction to Bellatrix who is still chanting “I killed Sirius Black” and to seeing the death of Dumbledore at the hands of Snape and how Harry chases Snape in a rage.

Also, there’s the relationship between Draco and Harry, ending in a duel in the bathroom where Harry uses the sectumsempra spell on Draco with incredibly painful results. Harry describes to Hermoine that he doesn’t believe that Draco was capable of killing Dumbledore and Snape had to be the one to do that.

Of course, there’s the growing bond between Harry and Dumbledore as well as Dumbledore trusts Harry more than ever in this one asking him to go on a mission for him to retrieve a memory from Horace Slughorn and having Harry be the one to accompany him as he goes to get a horcrux that Voldemort has hidden.

One of my friends as we were leaving the theater is one who hasn’t read the books and noted that he thought that the movie was dark. I told him “Of course it was!” Rowling is dealing with a real subject. She’s dealing with evil and death. She’s a good writer and she doesn’t downplay evil as she writes about it. She shows evil in all of its horror.

Which is something that makes these stories so fascinating. The Potter books are fantasy that are in a way true to life. I’m not saying the magic in them is true, but in the world of Rowling, one knows that there is such a thing as good and such a thing as evil and good is what we ought to desire. The magic is simply an artifice to tell the story.

Now my favorite one is still Prisoner to Azkaban, but I wasn’t disappointed by this one. It is a dark one so you might not want to bring the youngest children to see it yet, but it would give a good chance to discuss good and evil and the notion of self-sacrifice, a thoroughly Christian notion.

Overall, I approve of Half-Blood Prince and I definitely look forward to the two parts of Deathly Hallows.

Review of Star Trek

May 23, 2009

To begin with, let me give a word of caution. I am not a big Star Trek fan. I’ve only seen two episodes in my life. However, we’d heard so much about this movie that myself, my roommate, and another friend all decided that we should go see this one. I can definitely say that it was worth it. This is a movie I never had to look at my watch once. If you haven’t seen the movie and plan to, you might want to read this blog later. Also, if I misspell any references to Star Trek characters, the fault is all mine and I ask Trek fans to please have mercy. I in no way mean to denigrate the series.

So the story begins with a starship flying through space approaching a lightning storm, an odd occurrence, and out of that storm comes a mammoth-sized ship that their ship seems like a speck to. After a battle, the captain orders everyone to leave, including his wife who is about to give birth to their new son. One of the last things the husband says before he dies in giving a colission course with the enemy ship is to name him James.

So later on, we see James Tyberius Kirk who lives a hedonistic lifestyle, but is stellar in his knowledge. After a bar fight, he is told that he should join the starfleet because he should realize he was meant for something more.

This need for adventure, this is a Christian idea. Other adventurers of the past adventured for some goal or sought to have the adventure come to an end. The Christian is the one who goes on an adventure purely for the sake of the adventure. We can think to the medieval writer Petrarch who would have us say that we ought to climb the mountain because the mountain is there.

Through a series of mishaps, Kirk winds up on the enterprise and realizes that they are about to engage the same ship that was responsible for the death of his father years ago, that of the Romulans with their emperor Nero. (And they do refer to an empire one time in the movie.) Kirk is there to see the planet Vulcan destroyed where Spock is from.

Spock deserves to be spoken of. He is half-human, a race that most of us have some understanding of, but half-Vulcan. The Vulcans are a race that tend to be unemotional and extremely logical. Spock is offered a chance to join the high council of science on Vulcan and is congratulated on his acceptance despite the downside he faced. When he asks what that is, they tell him his human mother. With that, Spock says he declines to join.

Spock reminds us of an important aspect of being human. There are times some of us might want to not be emotional and live purely by logic. Seeing the Vulcans, we realize that might not be the best for us. We do realize emotions can take control of us, as the Vulcans do, but the way to respond is not to eliminate emotions but to learn to control them instead. In fact, numerous times in the film, it’s hard to not see emotion even in the Vulcan race.

Kirk and Spock have their exchanges, but in the end they work together. Of course, I’m leaving a lot out, but I don’t want to spoil a lot of it and if I went into more detail, I would. Kirk is more interested in doing the right thing despite regulations. He’s interested in not just logical right but moral right also. Moral theory, of course, will be something discussed in future blogs. 

I definitely recommend seeing this one. If you’re not a Trekkie, worry not. You can follow along just fine, although I’m sure my fans who are Star Trek enthusiasts would have noticed a thousand things that I did not. 

Also, there will not be a new blog tomorrow night. I will be taking a short vacation and Lord willing, I will be back Sunday night. Enjoy this one for two nights then or go back and look through the archives. They’re always there!