Spending Time

A brief update on some of the ways I’ve been spending and wasting time.  I’m not necessarily proud.  I’m never gonna get some of those hours back….

First in film.  A few restless nights over the past couple of weeks have found me disappointed by and large in my continuing capacity to choose lousy films.
Idiots and Angels – I remember discovering Bill Plympton’s animation in college.  It’s very stylistic and compelling.  This was an entire movie of it, and while it was at times visually stunning, the storyline itself was unfortunately inadequate to the task.  It follows the misadventures of the thoroughly dishonorable and unlikable anti-hero, Angel.  There is no speaking or intelligible dialogue in the entire film, so I wouldn’t have known that was his name if not for IMDB.  Angel finds noble sentiments stirring in his body – against his will.  While it’s a faintly curious visualization of this, the story is very inadequate and uncompelling.  You won’t like Angel, either at the beginning or the end of the movie, though you’ll be pretty sure that something is supposed to have happened to him so that he is likable.  If you can figure it out more, please fill me in.
America’s Sweethearts – This is a fairly shallow romantic comedy, and while there is plenty of acting firepower in the house, they’re all mostly on cruise control playing their most common stereotypes.  The deliriously gorgeous Catherine Zeta-Jones is the pampered screen diva.  John Cusak is the bewildered guy with the heart of gold.  Billy Crystal is the fast-talking wise-guy, also with a heart of gold, and Julia Roberts is the sweet wallflower with a heart of gold.  You know what’s going to happen pretty much in the first 20 minutes or so of the film, and you won’t be surprised.  While there are a few humorous moments, most of this is quite forgettable, which is a shame.  Some profanity.  
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters – I loved the trailers I saw for this film.  The idea seemed fresh and full of potential.  Unfortunately, like many action films the emphasis is on special effects rather than story line or characters.  Nobody in this story is original, and you can pretty much read the ending a mile off.  There are a few cute moments, but overall it prefers to catch your attention with fairly graphic violence and computer graphics.  The characters have a lot of potential, and while I think the actors & actresses were capable of delivering a compelling performance, they weren’t given anything to work with.  There is some pointless nudity in here, along with profanity.
The Final Cut – Robin Williams does a great job with dark characters, and the setup on this movie is fantastic.  In the indeterminate future, apparently in a parallel universe, people can have a biological implant that stores every second of their life’s audio and visual experiences.  Upon death the implant can be removed, edited, and played back for a remembry service.  Robin Williams is the best in the business, but finds himself in the center of a complicated effort to undermine the entire industry by activists looking to exploit the damaging details of one of the technology’s inner-circle members.
It’s a fantastic premise, and the story is laid out rather well.  But it goes nowhere.  There are pointless encounters and relationships.  Pointless resolutions to lifelong hauntings.  By the time the movie shifts into overdrive to wrap up, you’re left wondering what the point was, and why none of the obvious dots were connected in a way to bring closure.  Once again, more emphasis on character development and storyline could have made this a fantastic movie.  Some profanity.
How about books?
There’s really only one that I’ve finished recently, a gift from a colleague of mine that I finally got around to reading, George MacDonald’s The Curate’s Awakening.  My colleague is a huge fan of MacDonald, who might be known to some readers today because C.S. Lewis considered him his theological and literary father.  
Unfortunately, I’ve never been a fan of 19th century literature on the whole.  I can deal with Dickens and Poe, but most of it leaves me bored.  While this book wasn’t that boring, the emphasis is clearly on providing the opportunity for theological dialogue and reflection among the characters.  The characters are all interesting enough on their own, but it’s all so stiff and formal and forced.  There are two more books in the series, and I don’t think I’ll continue on to them.  MacDonald isn’t a bad writer, and his theological observations and insights are very good, it’s just that he’s not my literary cup of tea.

2 Responses to “Spending Time”

  1. Anthony Says:

    Hi Paul-
    I saw in an old review of the Holman Apologetics book that you created a powerpoint for. Is there anyway of getting a copy of the PP presentation?
    I teach apologetics at my church and don’t want to have to reinvent the wheel – time is always an issue. Thanks and God bless.

  2. Paul Nelson Says:

    Hi Anthony.  I’ll e-mail you later today to discuss getting it to you.  I hope that it’s helpful!

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