Monday, March 22, 2010

The Matrix Trilogy

So today I decided to just start writing movie reviews. I know movies can be an incredible waste of time, but gee, I like 'em.

The Matrix Trilogy

My first year at Belhaven, there were several movies being circulated by word of mouth that fit into the "cool, edgy rated R movies that Christians can watch because of the heavy world-view content" cattegory. Memento, which I still haven't seen, was big as was the Darrin Arinofsky film Pi. The biggest by far, though, was The Matrix. Not only did it have revolutionary special effects (even though that whole 360 degree bullet-time thing actually premiered in a GAP commercial), but it had all these pseudo-Christian themes about a savior (although come to think about it Neo and Jesus have very little in common). Everybody was excited because it seemed to be affirming a faith-driven, theistic world-view and hopes were high for the sequel Matrix Reloaded. The day after that film premiered, however, all I heard was weeping and gnashing of teeth. This second Matrix movie abandoned the Christian themes and introduced doubt, revealing that Neo is merely the latest of seven such "chosen ones" that machines introduced to periodically reset everything.

I still think the trilogy is a whole is good and that most people were disappointed because it ended up affirming pluralism rather than absolute values. Many of the main characters -- Morpheus, the Architect, the Marivengeon -- each represented a different worldview. If I remember correctly, the Marivengeon believed in a very mechanical sort of cause and effect sort of world while the architect represents reason and probably utilitarianism. Morpheus and the Oracle are faith (if the architect is the father of the matrix, the Oracle is the mother I think they say at one point. Hmmm...a marriage of faith and reason...). Smith is nihilism. He realizes that in a world such as the matrix where no absolute truth exists, there is no meaning, no purpose, no freewill, and he's slowly infecting the world with this realization. In the big fight at the end, we have the last man, Neo, fighting this doubt and losing because he, too, realizes that Smith may be onto something. In the end, however, he realizes that being able to choose our own purpose makes life worth living. TaDaaaa! And so postmodernism beats out modernism.

I think any film which can mold such heady concepts into an entertaining story form deserves applause whether you agree with its conclusions or not. Even the infamous "rave in the cave" has a purpose in showing a particular aspect of humanity, what separates them from the machines.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

To clean or not to clean...

I've noticed that when you go to people's houses, they often apologise for their lack of cleanliness which is especially humorous when you know how messy I am. Now, I'm not criticizing their apologies. I just want to analyze why there is so much shame associated with being messy. Why is cleanliness next to godliness? What is inherently good about it?

I think there're three legitimate reasons for cleanliness:

1) Efficiency - It's a lot easier to find stuff when it's organized. However, I have heard that super-organized people are sometimes less efficient because they're spending all their time making sure their stapler is parallel to their pencil holder

2) Courtesy - You don't want people to feel like they're going to trip or get a disease if they come into your house

3) Personal Comfort - For some people, messiness is like a constant drip. You've got to stop it or you'll go crazy!!!!

So if none of these are an issue, why should people judge you as being irresponsible or lazy because you haven't tidied up? Why should you feel guilty? I'm not saying you shouldn't clean, but I'm just curious about cleanliness from a sociological standpoints. Any insights, especially from you clean folk (you know who you are), are welcome.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Who says the internet is narcissitic

So today I was thinking about who I would cast for a movie about my life...
Nathan (Me) - I would be played by the sexy new star of Twilight that everyone's raving about, Robert Pattinson

Danny Shaw - Brian Blessed

Daniel McPhearson - David Niven

Caroline Kimbrough - Susan from the Chronicles of Narnia

Daivd Hogue - Steve Buscemi

Brad Shaw - Big Pete

Liz Travers - Penelope Pittstop

All my other female friends - The cast of The Hills

As for the plot, it would involve me besting Danny and Daniel in winning the affections of the American people at large.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Tale of Two Movies

1) Avatar

I thought Avatar was awesome. Yes, it's a dumb, heavy-handed, propagandistic story ("The only way to prevent terror is with terror!" I wonder what political message that has), but it is well told. However, I would like to make a companion movie about the mineral "unobtainium." Why is it worth $20 milllion an ounce? It must do something pretty special like cure cancer or enable space travel. Perhaps it factors into an extremely efficient power source that maintains the global economy. My companion movie would show the people back on earth who hear they will never be cured of their terminal illness, who hear they must stay stranded on planet earth to die rather than colonize another planet, or who lose their jobs and their futures because the blue folks wouldn't leave their tree. Now, I don't agree with the company's taking the mineral by force, but I do get tired of myopic, self-righteous morons decrying big business and profit without remembering the benefits these businesses provide.

2) Up In the Air

This is the best movie I've seen in a long time and perhaps ranks among my top ten (right up there with "Robot Monster"). Although not a Christian movie, it affirms Christian values and explains some benefits of human relationship and permanance. Contradicting the post-moderns, it implies that humans share innate, absolute needs and manages to do so without being cheesy or having a forced ending. I'll not analyze this one. Just go see it. And read the Velveteen Rabbit before you do.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

oppressed women

I thought of a good idea for non-fiction book today. Actually, I thought of it a while back when I watched Seven Brides For Seven Brothers at Brad and Allison's apartment (a hilarious movie that should prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that white men can dance).
I wondered if women were any more oppressed than men in the pre-1900's. The party line is that women had to toil and scrub at home while men got to go out and lead this exciting life. Men could be abusive to their wives without recrimination from society, and women had no way to escape a bad husband.
Is this real, or is it just a view exagerated in the movies and by authors like Kate Chopin. We often answer this question by looking at the plight of women, but I'd be interested to know the plight of most men. I don't know if there's any way to explore this topic. I do know that Mr. Murdstone in David Copperfield is obviously a villain for oppressing his wife and that Aunt Betsy is far stronger and freer than some of the male characters in that book like Mr. Micawber. Does society frown on Bathsheba Everdene for owning a large plantation and presiding over men in Far From the Madding Crowd? Of course, these books were written by men, but then there're the Brontes and Jane Austen. Anyway, I'm just wonderin'

NEXT: Are weapon's dealers really corrupt and evil?

Friday, September 11, 2009

The drawbacks of facial hair

So I've had very bad running experiences the last two days. My legs feel heavy, my lungs feel tight, and I just don't have any energy. Some might say that I am simply paying the price for all the cocaine I've orally ingested over the last several years, but I think it's this new beard I've grown.

Just as Sampson gained strength from his hair, I think my hair saps me of my vitality which makes me reverse Sampson. I've gotten many compliments from the ladies about my facial hair, however, so I guess I'll keep it and hope that I don't have to slay any armies with a jawbone or rip the doors off of any fortified cities.

...which makes me realize there're some really strange Sampson stories...but that can be for another post.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Well here I'm going to make yet another attempt to start blogging again. Hopefully, this will be more successful than my attempts to quit kicking puppies and robbing grannies.

In the past, I have often lamented the lack of a passion. Well, all that changed the other day when I bent over to pet the dog and bumped my head on a chair (I still suspect the dog may have intended this to happen!). Now, I have a scar on my head. If I'm lucky, I will be like Captain Ahab and the scar will turn white hot when I get angry. If I'm unlucky, I'll be like the Elephantman and have to wear a bag over my head to hide my ugliness from the world.

Back to my passion. My passion is to not bump my head any more. Of course the easy solution would be to cut off my head and put it in a safe, but I decided against that and turned to alternate solutions.
First I tried a headband with springs on it, but then I realized if I ever needed to head butt someone in a fight (which happens alot), he (or she) would bounce harmlessly backwards. Next I tied lots of stuffed animals to my head, but once again, this hampered my headbutting abilities (I want to be able to head butt in case that dog tries any more funny business). Finally, I settled on one of those old-timey diving suits. Sure it has its drawbacks...the saying,"He's about as popular as a fart in a diving helmet" means a lot more to me now. But at least I'll be saving face with the ladies. Think how dumb I'd look with a bag on my head!