Out In The Cold
Wars” has already received much scathing criticism for its shallow
story and vapid characters, but it’s not as bad as all that. Kate
Hudson and Anne
Hathaway star as lifelong friends who happen to want the same locale
and date for their weddings, and the formerly-friendly rivalry turns into a
hair-pulling, fingernail-scratching, all-out cat fight. Sure,
it’s also formulaic (the predictable gay guy friend, the Pygmalion-like
appearance in the fancy wedding dress, the wedding
coordinator Nazi), but good for a few laughs, and not as awful as the
curmudgeon critics’ easy dismissal.
Renee Zellwegger is “New
In Town,” playing the high-powered corporate executive sent from Miami
to downsize an old-fashioned factory in the middle of Minnesota
. Yes, we have the accent, the ice fishing, the crow
hunting, the scrapbooking, the homemade tapioca, and all the fun we can
possibly make of what Hollywood has long considered the vast cultural
wasteland of Middle America (what they call “The Heartland”). But
Renee starts to like the place despite herself, falls in love with the local
union rep (bonding with his teenaged daughter), and kinda goes for that
happily ever after in the heartland. Sure, it’s
predictable, and a bit sappy (the whole town Christmas caroling around the big
tree in the town square, and everyone on key, even), but it’s warm-and-fuzzy
“Outlander” is part Viking, party
sci-fi, and part horror movie. James Cavaziel plays an
alien crash-landing in a spaceship in the middle of Norway
in the Iron Age. He learns Norse by computer through his
eyeball---a portent of things to come?---and the whole experience exhausts
him, so he sleeps, but awakens to being rudely rousted out by a couple of
Viking warriors, who take him prisoner and apply their best torture
techniques, without the waterboarding.
Eventually, they discover that he’s not the one who attacked the
nearby village, because he’s with them when the “monster” strikes them.
It seems our space cadet, as part of a warrior race who has just
conquered another planet because they could, somehow managed not to wipe out
all the survivors. One particularly angry dragon-like
creature stowed away aboard his spaceship, wiping out all the crew except him.
So now the fire-breathing dragon is on the loose in medieval Norway ,
and the alien has to help the Vikings defeat the beast. Lots
of battle scenes, a little bit of grog in the mead hall, throw in a dash of
intrigue about the tribal leader succession, and just a hint of romance, and
you have a very old-fashioned fairy tale drama, except that the distressed
damsel can take care of herself very well, thank you. The
only suspense remaining is if our time-warp traveler will forsake all that
he’s left behind for a very uncertai n earthbound future. But
maybe this is how the Vikings really did discover America ?
Questions For Discussion:
Have you ever been the new boss ready to tell
everyone else what to do, and then realized you probably looked like the one
who needed direction? How did it go after that?
Have you ever had a falling out with friends and
family over a wedding? How did it go after that?
Do you believe that Christopher
Columbus was the first European to “discover” America , or were
there others before him?
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace
Presbyterian Church, Greenville