Being Miserable, And Then….
Jenna (Keri Russell) is miserable in her marriage, and her
job as a waitress in a small-town café isn’t that great,
either, except that her two best friends are the other two
waitresses. She finds
herself in a pregnancy that she’s not even sure she wants, and
then manages to fall for the new ob/gyn in town.
It sounds like a mess, but somehow there’s a sprightly
spirit present here. The
real change in her is when she first lays eyes on that beautiful
baby, and suddenly she realizes not only who she is, but who
she’s meant to be. The
real tragedy here is that the writer and director (who also played
one of the other waitresses in the movie), Adrienne Shelly, was
New York City
shortly after the filming was completed.
We will miss her unique voicing of the quiet struggle for
“The Bucket List”:
The quiet struggle for personal fulfillment takes us right
to the cancer ward, where two men who are rooming together both
find out that they’re terminally ill.
Morgan Freeman is Carter, and Jack Nicholson is Edward, and
together they make a pretty odd couple:
Carter is a lifelong auto mechanic, a family man, husband
of one wife, children and grandchildren around his Thanksgiving
table, but never wealthy. He’s
quiet, dignified, and gentle in his demeanor, and people are
naturally drawn to him. Edward
is filthy rich, and he’s selfish, mean, obnoxious, and utterly
alone. The only one who is around him very much is his personal
assistant, whom he pays to be obsequious.
Carter is making his “bucket list,” the list of things
he wants to do before he kicks the bucket.
Edward becomes so intrigued that he starts adding to the
list, and then they decide to do their end-of-life odyssey
together, much to the chagrin of Carter’s wife, who seems to
prefer that Carter just hang around hospitals, and expire being
decides to live it up instead.
And we’re rooting for both of them to have the time of
“There Will Be Blood”:
Paul Thomas Anderson wrote the screenplay (adapted from an
Upton Sinclair novel) and directed this long, intense character
study of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis), a prospector who
first struck silver at the turn of the century, and then oil.
His protagonist is Eli Sunday (Paul Dano), a Pentecostal
preacher who seems to be as insincere as he is inelegant.
With a big ego, too. Not
a happy combination. Daniel
is a completely self-centered nihilist, who hates everybody, but
manages to turn on the artificial charm, as well, when he wants
something (like the title to someone’s land).
They spend the entire movie at each other’s throats.
By the end, we can’t stand either one of them, because
they both start out miserable and then become more so.
And the church has rarely been cast in such an unfavorable
“The Water Horse: Legend
Of The Deep: A
winsome little fable about a sad wee Scottish lad named Angus
MacMorrow (Alex Etel) who discovers an egg by the seashore which
turns out to be the famous Loch Ness dragon.
Lots of “E.T.” kind of humor about hiding the strange
creature from Mom (Emily Watson), and then things getting
humorously out of hand. (But
this time the “alien being” is composed entirely of computer
graphic imaging.) It’s
during World War II, and told in retrospect with a kind of
whimsical nostalgia. Though
certain scenes may be intense for very young children, this one
will likely become a popular kid’s classic.
“Youth Without Youth”:
By contrast, this film will have very few fans, because
it’s so convoluted, and ultimately unsatisfying.
Director Francis Ford Coppola’s first movie in ten years
seems to be weighed down with an old man’s preoccupations:
mortality, the sweep of history, and the ineffable beauty
of young women, particularly those encountered in one’s youth.
Ah, but what if you could return to your youth by, say, a
lightning strike? Could
you enjoy it all over again?
Well, it’s not particularly fun to revisit the Nazi
, but Tim Roth has somehow captured the weirdness of this role,
and Alexandra Maria Lara (also memorable in “Der Untergang”)
is indeed beautiful to behold.
Too bad the vehicle is so abstract and non-linear that it
just can’t get any traction.
Questions For Discussion:
What parts of your youth would you
like to live over again? Would
you want to know then what you know now?
What’s your “bucket list”?
When have you seen the church cast in
its most unfavorable light? Most
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen,
Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church,