Category Archives: Movies

Taking On Narnia

Anybody else get a The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe vibe from the music video for “Take On Me”:

The woman = Lucy
The man = Mr. Tumnus
The bikers = The wolves (The White Witch’s secret police)
The diner patrons = Lucy’s older sister and brothers
The comic book = The portal to Narnia/Narnia itself

Lucy’s and Mr. Tumnus’ relationship isn’t romantic, and the man’s and woman’s is. (At least: That’s my impression of it.)

But still: I can’t help but think of Narnia when I listen to “Take On Me.”

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005)

My Current Thoughts On Life

Below are some random thoughts I’ve been having lately that I felt like writing down just because they’d been bouncing around in my head and I felt like letting them out.

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Lately I feel like I haven’t been taking good care of myself.

I’ve been so focused on trying to be a light for others that I feel like I’ve neglected being a light for myself.

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I want to do good for others. I want to change the world for the better. I want to be the best person I can be.

One of the reasons why is because, according to my parents, I almost died as result of my premature birth. I was born 3 months premature.

I see my life as a miracle, and I don’t want to waste it.

But I’m not perfect. To be blunt: I’ve fucked up.

There are times where I’ve become the kind of person I promised myself I never would be, and that has ended relationships I thought would last forever.

I believe there is a God.

Why?

Because: There’s a feeling within me that there is more to existence than what I can perceive with my senses. I don’t care if I’m seen as “illogical,” and I don’t care if I’m seen as “close-minded,” but: There is nothing anyone can do or say to persuade me that there is not something more to existence.

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I believe that God loves me.

But, at the same time, I believe I am undeserving of God’s love. One of the reasons why I believe I am undeserving is: I struggle with pride. And, if I think to myself I don’t deserve ___, than I won’t be as tempted to think Life owes me ___! I want it! I want it! I want it! like a spoiled brat.

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Joffrey Baratheon — Game of Thrones

What currently drives me to write is the fact that I think so much of the art by my fellow Christians is awful. For example:

I hate saying that. After all: We (Christians and non-Christians) are just doing what we can to be the best we can. But I’m not going to be dishonest about my feelings.

I know my own writing isn’t the greatest thing since sliced bread. I know I still have a long way to go before my writing is ready to be seen by the masses. But there has got to be better art made by Christians. And I want to do what I can to make “better art.”

I feel like a lot of my posts come across as pessimistic. And that troubles me. As a Catholic, I know I shouldn’t be like that — I shouldn’t be pessimistic. But if I were to say “I’m not pessimistic” than I would be lying. And I will not lie.

It felt good to let that out.

In conclusion:

The song that does the best job of conveying my current mood:

Why I’m Worried About “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

The trailer for the new “Star Wars” movie was released yesterday…

…and I am worried.

Why?

This line:

“I only know one truth: It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

You only know one truth?

Really?

What about the truth that there is — or was, because he’s dead now — good in Vader?

Did you forget about that?

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Return of the Jedi (1983)

My first impression of The Last Jedi is:

Moral relativism, like a kouhun, is creeping into the “Star Wars” saga.

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“…very poisonous.” — Jango Fett

Other lines in the trailer that add to this creeping feeling:

“Light. Darkness. A Balance.”

“…is so much bigger.”

On the one hand: “Balance” has always been a theme in “Star Wars.” More than once, characters have talked of the importance of bringing balance to the Force.

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On the other hand: The Last Jedi seems to be going beyond balance — going beyond the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force, to uncharted territory.

And that makes me raise a skeptical eyebrow.

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Why?

I mean, what’s wrong with expanding one’s worldview, no longer limiting oneself to notions like “Good” and “Evil”?

Well: If Good — i.e., Light — is just one point of view, not a state of being to strive for…

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Rogue One (2016)

…and it is essentially no different than Evili.e., Darkness — like Luke is teaching Rey that it is, if their dialogue is anything to judge by — “…is so much bigger.” — than I consider that ironic.

Why?

Because: Another “Star Wars” character also taught their apprentice that Good was merely one point of view:

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Revenge of the Sith (2005)

The message is clear:

In the “Star Wars” universe, moral relativism is a tool of Evil. A tool of the Sith. A tool of the Dark Side.

Yet the same education that Palpatine gave Anakin is the same education Rey is receiving from Luke. Only this time, such an education is not treated as a trap — i.e., a means to cause one to fall to the Dark Side — but as gospel.

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In conclusion:

The Last Jedi teaser trailer comes across as an attempt by Disney to show how hip it is by asserting that there is no Good and Evil, and no absolute truth — or, rather, only one truth.

It flies in the face of Disney’s most recent “Star Wars” movie, Rogue One, where notions of Good and Evil existed, and the line between them was clear:

“The Force moves darkly near a creature that’s about to kill.”
~Chirrut Imwe

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And it flies in the face of Luke’s previous experiences: How can Luke only know “one truth” when it was truth — “…there is good in you.” — that redeemed his father? You think he would remember that.

Did Disney watch the movies they paid $4 billion for?

Now:

I thought The Force Awakens (2015) would suck. And I was so happy to be wrong.

I wasn’t hyped for Rogue One. But then:

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My point is: I like Disney’s “Star Wars” movies.

But, if the teaser trailer is anything to judge by, The Last Jedi will be the first of Disney’s “Star Wars” movies that makes me do this:

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Thank you to T. Martin for inspiring me to write this post:

Unsurprising cynicism (towards Star Wars)

Celebrating Beauty: Max Comforts Kate

These last 2 months have been rough.

In February, I started my first job in over 3 years. I’m glad I’m working again, but it can be hard.

Last week, I decided to end a relationship with a friend after I came to the conclusion that communication had broken down and such a relationship was now doing me more harm than good. In short: Briefly, I became the kind of person I promised myself I would never be, and that cost me someone dear. I pray for her, wishing her the best. But I came to the conclusion that it is better for me if she not have such a prominent place in my life anymore.

My deadline for deciding whether or not to continue my college education is drawing near.

There has been at least one bright spot, though: I finished my first screenplay.

It’s a short film about how a young woman’s choice to go naked effects her search for meaning in her life after she returns home upon dropping out of college.

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The reason I say all of this is:

I am bringing back Celebrating Beauty.

Celebrating Beauty was a series of posts I wrote in December — I tried to write one every day — celebrating the beauty in the world.

I was sick of, and depressed by, the 24-hour news cycle of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, rapes, and murders, and wanted to do what I could to shine some light into the darkness.

After the rough time I’ve had lately, I’ve realized that I need beauty in my life now more than ever.

There won’t be any limit on Celebrating Beauty now — I won’t be doing it just for one month.

The first entry in the new Celebrating Beauty series:

Max Caulfield comforting a depressed Kate Marsh in DONTNOD Entertainment’s Life is Strange:

Thank you to Wild Woman Sisterhood for the photo.

Boundless Challenge: Week #11

OriginalPhoenix, I’m sorry I haven’t been keeping up with the Boundless Challenge.

Boundless

My last entry in the challenge was almost a month ago.

The point of the challenge is to write about how I “lived boundless” this week — to write about one example every week of me doing more than I thought I was capable of.

And, I really do hate to say it, but: Lately, my neighbor’s cat has been more boundless than me.

Since I used to have two dogs — they died after living long, happy lives — my neighbor’s calico cat — that hangs out around my house because I give her food — has, for the longest time, resisted actually coming into the house. She must still be able to smell the dogs. But, over the weeks she’s made progress.

Yesterday she jumped on my couch and stayed there for 10 minutes before running to the door and meow-ing to be let out.

The light is bad, but here she is:

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I call her “Kiki,”  thanks to Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989).

Why?

Because: Instead of delivering bread, Kiki the calico delivers “Aww!” Whenever I see her, I can’t help but go “Aww!” She always makes me do this:

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To get back on subject:

This week, I do have something to be Boundless about:

I finished the screenplay for my short film.

There will, undeniably, be more edits as I show it to people more knowledgeable about screenwriting than I. But, I’ve hit a wall: I feel like I’ve done everything for this screenplay that I, with my current knowledge of writing, can do. Hence why I consider it “finished.”

Have you ever felt like that? You write, and write, and write, and you get to a point where you look at what you’ve written and think I’ve done everything I can.

For weeks, my life has been relatively unexciting.

Just been trying to get more used to my job stocking shelves, since it’s the first job I’ve had in over 3 years. (School, family obligations, and soul-searching kept me busy during that time.)

When I’m not working, I’ve been listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack while I try and think of more ideas for screenplays…

…and spending time with my best friend. We hang out more frequently now, which I’m glad for. In my quest for awesomeness, I don’t want to neglect relationships.

What else has happened recently?

Well, thanks to Wild Woman Sisterhood

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…and some editing, I found a picture that captures what my short film is about:

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Regarding my short film:

I’ll write more on that later…

Thank you to TheOriginalPhoenix for inspiring me to get back to doing the Boundless Challenge.

Her fiery, phoenix-y awesomeness is just what I needed today.

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My Journey As A Writer (So Far)

A month ago, I started writing a screenplay for a short film.

Earlier today, thinking more about why I was writing a short film, I had a revelation. Or, rather, I had the same revelation again and found that it was as true as ever:

I’m writing because I’m angry.

Why am I angry?

This is why:

You don’t have to look long to find examples of mediocre films made by Christians…

And, as a film-loving Christian — specifically: a film-loving Catholic — I wanted to do something about that.

I realized that it wasn’t enough to critique bad art — I had to create art too.

I couldn’t just curse the darkness — I had to light a candle.

Only now… I’ve realized that’s awful motivation for writing.

Why?

Because:

I can only be driven by negative emotions for so long before I crash.

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My problem is: I feel like I’m drowning in a sea of negativity.

I don’t spend as much time as I used to paying attention to mediocre art, but it’s still there. Sapping my vitality like a leech.

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And I’m sorry I’ve been away for a little while. Lately content on my blog has been scarce, and my involvement on other peoples’ blogs — Liking, commenting, or reblogging — has been non-existent.

I just haven’t been feeling myself lately.

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As always, just trying to figure out what to do with my life…

I want to be the kind of person who, standing in front of the pearly gates at the moment of their death, God says “Well done” to.**

But, I have a long, long way to go to be that kind of person.

**”Well done, good and faithful servant.”
~Matthew 25:21

Everything Great About “Life is Strange”

Contains spoilers for Life is Strange.

Everything great about Life is Strange (in no particular order):

A Protagonist Who Isn’t Ellen Page

Ellen Page accuses ‘The Last of Us’ developers of ‘ripping off’ her likeness

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The Last of Us (2014)
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Beyond: Two Souls (2013)

I have nothing against Ellen Page. I think she’s a good actress.

But: She seems to be the go-to woman when making movie-esque video games.

Which is why: I’m glad Life is Strange is blazing its own trail by — as far as I know — having a protagonist not based on a real person.

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Max Caulfield

Choices That Matter

Whenever I heard this…

…a chill went down my spine. Even when (I thought) I’d made the most compassionate choice possible. I didn’t know how my choice could come back to haunt me. But it just might! Anything was possible when I saw that butterfly.

Not every action has consequences…

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…but the ones that do caused existential panic.

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Thank you, Life is Strange, for making me ask myself What am I doing with my life?

The Setting

Living on the west coast, the fictional town of Arcadia Bay, Oregon, made me see my home in a new light, and appreciate it more.

As someone who is currently itching to put home in their rearview mirror and go out into the wide world…

…it did me good to realize that there is more to my home than I had previously thought.

On a related note: Against the Cult of Travel, or What Everyone Gets Wrong About the Hobbit

Lately, just sitting back and listening to the Life is Strange soundtrack reminds me that, currently, I’m exactly where I need to be.

That’s another thing that’s great about Life is Strange: The chances the game gives Max — and, thus, you — to just stop, sit, and think.

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Complexity

There is a lot of grey in Life is Strange.

Choices that I thought were right, and made with the best of intentions, came back to haunt me.

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Choices that I didn’t think much of at the time had consequences I didn’t imagine.

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And characters who, at first glance, I thought I had all figured out, revealed sides to themselves that made me go “Wait. What?”

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I believe in good and evil.

But good and evil isn’t always as easy to tell apart as black and white. And I’m glad that Life is Strange acknowledges that reality.

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Love

I’m glad that Max’s and Chloe’s relationship isn’t romantic.

Unless you allow it to be:

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The reason I say that is: There is no shortage of stories about romantic love between two people. The first story that comes to mind is Titanic (1997).

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And so I’m glad Life is Strange‘s story can revolve around a platonic — i.e., non-sexual –relationship between two people: Former best friends Max and Chloe.

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Because: I feel like not a lot of love stories do that — explore love from a non-sexual perspective.

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Tough Love

Near the end of Chapter 3, Chloe and Max get into a fight after a revelation about Chloe’s missing friend Rachel Amber.

I’m glad Life is Strange gave me the option to tell Chloe “Grow up. You’re not the only one with problems.”

This is why: I’ve run across a lot of people saying Chloe isn’t a good person. And such a view is justified. For example: Chloe asks Max to steal money from a fund for handicapped students so that she can pay off a debt to a drug dealer.

But the reason actions like that ultimately don’t bother me is: I don’t have to stand for it.

I can put my foot down and basically say “Chloe, you’re out of control.” Whether or not Chloe will listen to me is another matter. But at least I can make it crystal clear where I stand on her life choices.

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Max’s Nightmare

Max’s nightmare in Chapter 5 is one of the most surreal things I’ve ever seen.

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Part of me is too scared to play through it again. At night, at least.

But another part of me wants to play it again purely for the sake of playing the Stranger Things theme as I navigate the endless hallway:

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This Scene

The Soundtrack

The more I listen to it, the more the Life is Strange soundtrack becomes one of my favorites.

For example:

Twists And Turns

“Predictable” is not the word I would to describe Life is Strange.

It’s the kind of story that made me think I’ve been playing for almost 4 hours, but this chapter isn’t going to finish itself!

It’s one of the few series I’ve binge-watched/played. (The others are: Daredevil, Luke Cage, and Eureka Seven.)

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And lastly:

The Ending

Chloe’s realization at the end of Chapter 5 is one of the most beautiful, heartbreaking things I’ve ever seen.

0:00 — 3:26:

It’s one of the reasons that I don’t believe the world needs more “Christian movies”…

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…the world just needs more goodness, truth, and beauty. No matter where that goodness, truth, and beauty comes from.

Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
~Philippians 4:8