Tag Archive | movies

“Old Fashioned”: A Movie Review

old-fashionedI have read a lot of blog posts recently about the blockbuster movie “50 Shades of Grey.” I never read the books, I don’t plan on seeing the movie. I have read a lot fewer posts on the movie “Old Fashioned.” In fact, I’ve only read one, and what that one writer had to say was that most “Christian” movies are “painfully” bad.

I have to disagree.

Whereas I agree with some of points the writer was making (you can read the post here), I thought that “Old Fashioned” did more than just give us a treacly story that spouts Christian doctrine to an audience in need of salvation (my words, not the author’s). The blog post author calls it a “response” to “50 Shades,” but I disagree. I think it stands on its own without apology.

“Old Fashioned” is the story of Clay and Amber, 2 diametrically opposed 20-somethings both fighting their own demons. Clay seems to be trying to prove something by setting relational standards for himself that others find odd and restricting. He refuses to be alone with a woman who is not his wife; he doesn’t believe in dating; he won’t kiss his future wife on the lips until they’re standing before the preacher. Some might think that’s how moral, God-fearing young men should act, but for Clay, his convictions don’t seem to have their root in a relationship with God, but rather a desire to excise his personal demons.

Amber, on the other hand, is a fun-loving young woman who keeps a big jar on top of her refrigerator into which she puts all her cash. Why? Because as soon as it’s full, she knows she has enough for gas money to leave again. She’s lived in 14 states in just a few years. Some might call her a free spirit. But she’s really just someone deathly afraid of forming lasting bonds that will some day cause her great pain.

Is “Old Fashioned” a poorly made movie? Is the overtly Christian message offensive? Looking beyond the obvious to catch the underlying themes is what discerning movie goers and readers really want, and I think what’s below the surface in “Old Fashioned” would satisfy any who are willing to look. Could the movie just be written off as a sanitized version of a titillating rival? It could, but I think that does it a grave disservice. Is the acting top tier? Probably not. I didn’t recognize any of the names.  But I cried, and I laughed, and I loved the way the movie made me feel throughout. From the feisty old aunt to the misogynistic friend to the flower shop owner who just wants to find love, the characters in the movie are believable.

I’m no film critic, but I know what I like, and “Old Fashioned” fits the bill. Even my husband, who is more of the action-adventure-the-more-explosions-the-better type of guy, liked it. So that’s got to tell you something.

“Noah” Drips With Gnosticism (a guest post)


My husband went with his team from work to see “Noah” last week. They wanted to form their own opinions of this movie and not rely on others. His team works with The JESUS Film Project, making the different language translations of Jesus, a biblically Jesus filmaccurate accounting of the life of Christ (read all about it here) The following is what he thought.

The “epic” new movie “Noah” drips with Gnosticism—not to be confused with Agnosticism, although there’s some of that in there, too. Both the protagonist and the antagonist yell at The Creator, “Why won’t you speak to me?” Don’t confuse their Creator with the One spoken of in the Bible either. In fact, other than the names of a few characters, a big boat, and lots of paired animals—this movie has nothing to do with your Grandma’s Sunday School lesson on the biblical Noah.

I admit, after seeing previews for this six months ago, I was hopeful that it would be refreshing to see a movie with great special effects on the flood story. That was until I heard the writer/director was an atheist. Then I was disappointedly thinking, “Great. Whose bright idea was that, distribute a film based WAY loosely, barely, on a biblical story made by an atheist?

Some have called this film boring, others incoherent: “The CG was lame, the acting was terrible, the script was worse.” And these aren’t Christians whining about it—they’re from reviewers on IMDB.

But I digress—back to Gnosticism. Down throughout man’s history, those who feel let down by the True God who really is, re-make him into someone He is not. The being this movie refers to as The Creator is none other than the demiurge of Gnosticism—the craftsman who fashioned matter into the world they knew. This demiurge, it was taught, is a capricious, distant, limited downright mean god-like being. (For a more thorough look at Gnosticism in “Noah”, see this article here.)

gnostic snakeThis is what saddened me most about this movie: It doesn’t give the true picture of who God really is. Like any other human, I’ve had my share of unmet expectations of God. And yet, I still know Him to be loving, wise, patient and powerful, infinitely so. It would have been so cool to have an epic movie tell of how God opened His heart in grace to us all, and wanted us to open our hearts to Him in faith. That’s how it really was in the Garden of Eden: God walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. They enjoyed relationship with their heavenly Father. Yes, He is holy, and cannot overlook sin. That’s what the flood was really about. But the real Noah was a pre-type of Christ, who saw to it that sin’s penalty was paid and renewal is possible.

In addition to the bewildering characters nobody could like, all worshiping an evil deity, more Gnostic themes are prevalent throughout this disappointing movie: everything material is bad—only the spiritual is good; rainbows fashioned after the circular, monistic “One”; a snakeskin talisman used in blessing rituals.

Bottom-line Gnosticism: They choose to “know” a god who is different than and less than the benevolent, compassionate, unconditionally loving, True God. Why? Maybe so they can feel better for raging at him.

The movie was a big waste: of the money spent making and promoting it, of the money anyone would pay to sit through it, of my time enduring it. My friend, who fell asleep during it, said it was like a pot-LSD-induced screenplay. Paramount Pictures is even back pedaling by adding an “explanatory message” (read: disclaimer) to their marketing materials telling us “the biblical story of Noah can be found in Genesis.” (See that story from the L.A. Times.)Thanks, Paramount. That’s where anyone should go for biblical truth—the Bible!

Did you see the movie, “Noah”? Tell me what you thought.


Parental Guidance–a movie review

parental guidanceOn one of our recent dates, my 10-year-old daughter and I went to see the movie “Parental Guidance,” which stars Billy Crystal and Bette Midler. A friend had given it rave reviews, so I thought we’d give it a try. I was not disappointed.

The story revolves around Artie, a minor-league baseball broadcaster, and his wife, Diane, an eager grandmother who doesn’t meet her high-control daughter’s standards for proper upbringing. When the daughter, Alice (played by Marissa Tomei), and her husband find themselves in need of a babysitter for a week, she reluctantly calls on her parents.

The resulting antics are pretty hilarious: The kids, who aren’t given sugar by their parents, are given an ice cream cake by their Grandpa, who doesn’t get why such rules are in place, with the expected results. The youngest, Barker, who has an invisible kangaroo friend named Carl, gets into all sorts of situations resulting in many laughs. A confrontation by Artie with the speech teacher for the stuttering Turner and by Diane with the violin teacher for granddaughter, Harper, and the disparity of parenting styles is painfully apparent.

But the hilarity was not what impressed me most about the movie; it was the fact that Artie and Diane are committed to each other after 35 years of marriage. That was refreshing, coming from Hollywood. Diane asserts that she wants to become important in the lives of her grandchildren. She’s asking Artie, who had just been sacked by the baseball team for which he had worked for decades, to be on his best behavior for the week, knowing his antics could get them in hot water with their daughter. Artie tries, he really does, but his innate outspokenness and self-absorption gets him in trouble sometimes.

Like when they take the kids to Turner’s baseball game and learn that they don’t keep score in this league. For a baseball purist like Artie, that’s sheer foolishness. And he makes that clear to the gathered parents around him, many of whom agree.

Confronting Artie’s selfishness one night, Diane says to him, basically, “I’ve supported you for 35 years without complaint (well, with a little complaint), and all I asked of you was this one week to be about the kids. It’s not about you, Artie. It’s not about you.”

One of the sweetest scenes in the film was when Artie comes home from just having lost his job, and Diane tells him that he’s the best baseball announcer in the business and they really messed up when they let him go. Her love and support of him were genuine and she didn’t belittle him or make him feel like a failure.

Besides Artie and Diane’s impromptu song and dance to “Who Wrote the Book of Love” in the middle of the kitchen, the scene that struck me the most was a conversation between Diane and Alice. Alice wants to argue with her mom about something Artie did, but then she says, “No, you’ll just take his side. You always take his side.”

Diane’s answer is poignant: “That’s right, and you know why? Because when the kids are all grown up, it’s the husband who stays.”

In this kid-centric society we live in, where marriages are a dime a dozen, giving priority to your spouse is not a very popular modus operandi, but oh, how important it is.

Thanks, producer Billy Crystal and the rest of the “Parental Guidance” gang for giving such a positive, funny, tear-inducing picture of what marriage and family is all about: not perfection, but commitment and love.

You can read Plugged In’s review here.

Thankful today for:

841. the ability to sit outside in shorts and a T-shirt on a middle-of-February day

842. able-bodied helpers around the house

843. a late 14th-birthday celebration dinner

844. enthusiasm

845. new pants for $5

846. a hardworking husband

847. Linky parties 🙂

848. the opportunity to post on other peoples blogs

849. guest posts on my blog (hopefully coming soon)

850. God’s provision