We watched an award-winning episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Because of their fetish for “diversity,” and their mania for preaching it at the audience, almost every scene was crowded and tedious, as each and every group in New York City had to be represented at all times. This was supposed to be the cream of the crop. I can’t imagine what the bad episodes were like.
If you want to give a speech, give a speech. If you want to preach a sermon, preach a sermon.
And if you’ve got a story to tell, for heaven’s sake, just tell it.
Here’s a nice baby iguana instead of a foul movie.
Okay, I’m going to review a movie without giving its title because I don’t want to be blamed if someone winds up watching it. Suffice it to say that this film is about two sadists being sadistic to each other. Totally without redeeming value. I won’t even attempt to discuss the “star” of the show.
I wish I could unsee this movie. I wish I could forget I’d ever heard of it. I’d like my two hours back, please. And my living room could use a cleansing.
So why did I watch it in the first place?
Because someone whom we trust recommended it to us. Ai-yah, what was she thinking?
Why did we watch the whole freakin’ thing? Well, why do you keep on watching a fire as it burns a building down? Here we kept waiting to see what was the point of the thing. Nyah-nyah–there wasn’t one.
I’m told I take things like this too seriously. Well, sheee-yee. Was “Not disgusting” too high a goal for the film-makers to aspire to? Was “Harmless” too much to ask for? I’ll even settle for “Silly.” It would be a big step up.
Besides just venting, why am I writing this?
Because there really and truly is too much toxic crapola being pumped into our culture. It can’t possibly be doing us any good. I suppose a grown-up Christian has little to fear from it; but to grow up with stuff like this as your cultural diet can’t be beneficial. I mean, how much of this stuff can anyone absorb without losing his sense of evil?
I’m not asking for every film to be a classic. All I want is for a movie not to be a dumpster fire. If that’s setting the bar too high–well, I can’t help it.
Westerns were big, big, big! on TV while I was growing up. But toward the end of the 1950s, the studios decided we needed Westerns that offered something more than just cowboys riding around shooting people. We needed some adult Westerns with meat on their bones. And psychology. Lots of psychology.
Lawman, for one, aired on Sunday night after my bedtime. But I could always hear the theme song coming on, and then my brother and I would get out of bed–we had a room upstairs–and creep toward the hall door. If we opened it a crack, careful not to make any noise, we could peer through that crack all the way downstairs–right down to the TV screen. And we watched as much of Lawman as we could before conking out and crawling back to our beds.
I was not an adult, but I liked those adult Westerns. The ones by Warner Bros. always had great theme songs. “Cheyenne, Cheyenne, when will you be happening by…” “Sugarfoot, Sugarfoot, easy-lopin’, cattle-ropin’ Sugarfoot…” And they were still shooting bad guys, instead of just letting them take over our society and screwing it up.
Besides which, the set decorator for Lawman was–of all people–William Wallace! “Braveheart”! How cool was that?
I interviewed him about his book, on which the movie is based. He was on his way to go skiing and said he could give me maybe 15 minutes. An hour and a half later, we were still talking. Although I’d never been what I would call an atheist, we had very much in common–including a lot of our errors.
Strobel’s search for “the facts” about Jesus changed his life. Changed his personality, too–and very much for the better. Thing is, facts don’t tell us everything we need to know; and sometimes what they tell us isn’t true. It’s very easy for us to latch onto a “fact” that turns out to be anything but. Strobel had the shattering experience of finding out that he was wrong about a lot of things: shattering, but it also set him free.
The book is well worth reading, and the movie well worth watching. I found myself identifying with the “old” Lee Strobel in ways that made me decidedly uncomfortable. God will use that to let light into our souls.
Just by way of contrast, the very first time I ever heard Leaning on the Everlasting Arms was in a movie, Night of the Hunter, sung by Robert Mitchum and Lillian Gish. Mitchum plays a fake preacher who kills people; Gish protects orphaned children from him. It’s the only movie ever directed by Charles Laughton.
I can’t explain what the hymn is doing in the movie, but it feels right. Something must have made it right to be there, or I wouldn’t have remembered it for so many years.
Just for the halibut yesterday, a soothing brain-soak, we watched Jurassic World 2: Fallen Kingdom. I mean, c’mon–these special effects are the berries.
Ah! But that’s not what I noticed yesterday. Something I hadn’t quite picked up on in earlier viewings:
The sheer and boiling lawlessness of the whole depraved enterprise.
Yes, lawlessness. An absence of law. A famine for hearing the law. An absence of obedience. We don’t actually get dinosaurs, but this is the kind of world you get when there’s no law. You get vikings, bikers, the Wild West. Concentration camps. Science labs where they study how to make diseases much worse than they naturally are. Mad Max.
And can it be we’re building such a world, as we speak? Is this what Portland, Oregon, is all about? And San Francisco. And the killing fields of Chicago and New York. And you turn on the TV nooze and they’re lying to you.
First you break God’s law, then man’s. Local laws, state and federal laws, international law. Seems to be where this age is headed.
Before I go dumpster-diving into any nooze today, I’d like to share with you a movie line that’s probably my all-time favorite–even more than “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This is from Hercules (1958), starring the incomparable Steve Reeves.
Welcomed back aboard ship by his friends, Hercules discovers that an enchantress has beguiled him for 20 days and made him late for a very important mission. And Hercules exclaims:
Behold Sean Connery in hot pants and, I guess, go-go boots, starring in the 1974 science fiction classic–they kept saying it’s a classic–Zardoz. Good grief.
I turned to Patty yesterday and said, “Y’know what I’d like to do this evening? Take us to a drive-in movie.” Only of course that was looking back into the past; today the nearest drive-in is some hundred miles from here. All the ones we used to have–and enjoy–have been replaced by pack-’em-in housing and strip malls. Progress, don’t you know.
One night in the 70s we went to the dear old Amboys Drive-in to see Zardoz, which was supposed to be a classic. My brother Mark brought the beer. Patty watched the opening credits. “Oh, boy! John Alderton is in it!” She loved him in Upstairs, Downstairs. By the time Zardoz was halfway over, it was “Poor John Alderton!” With Mark in the back seat uncontrollably guffawing over the dialogue (“The ***** is evil. The ***** shoots seeds.”) Incredible, that Connery’s career survived this.
Every now and then you caught a good movie at the drive-in. But some of the bad ones were… well, indescribable. Like Caligula impersonating the Goddess Dawn. But if I listed just half a dozen of those and admitted I saw them at the drive-in, you’d think there was something wrong with me. Yeah, there was: I was in my early 20s.
We can’t go to the drive-in anymore. It’s been stuffed into extinction. People under a certain age have never seen one.