I mentioned in my previous post that I had seen four movies currently in theaters. These were Pitch Perfect 2, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland and Spy.
In a few words I will summarize just as an exercise to return to blogging amidst my INSANE work schedule (no worries though, the bosses are working it out.)
Firstly, Pitch Perfect 2 met but did not exceed my expectations. It was crass as expected and I felt it very much followed where the characters might have gone after the win at the NCCAs (with the exception of Chloe who apparently repeatedly failed to stay in the Bellas for three years. Though even that is believable as she was clearly enamored with the Bella way from the beginning. It’s like Greek life, with singing.)
I would have to watch it again as I did its predecessor. Pitch Perfect upset me when I first saw it and then I fell in love with it. It may be similar with its sequel. I’m happy to further elaborate on what I learned from both (in later entries.)
Mad Max: Fury Road was Transformers, meets Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (I kept expecting someone to rip someone else’s heart out.) It was dark, grotesque and strange. But, to an extent, I enjoyed it. I was surprised by it’s undertone of hope and valuing life. It was so dreary and was basically a badass car chase/ war throughout the whole movie. The movie revered innocent lives and centered around the protection of five wives to the creepy, decrepit, dictatorial Immorton Joe.
The violence is brutal. Absolutely garish and disgusting. But there’s that tiny flicker of hope that makes it worth my time. If nothing else, I very much enjoyed seeing one of the strange white men riffing on a flamethrower guitar to provide the metalesque music throughout chase and war sequences, persisting even when momentarily separated from his music. I think we can learn something from his determination.
After that movie, friends and I hopped on over to Tomorrowland. Despite being a Disney nut, I was not anticipating Tomorrowland. I just wanted to clear my palette of the gross intensity of Mad Max before moving on with life. After Fury Road, I was in need of some hope as it held very little. Tomorrowland put hope not only into its own plot but into mine as well. The message hit home. Being lazy and resigning ourselves to the negative projections will not stop them from happening. We live in a fallen world and in a failing one but, especially as Christians, we needn’t simply accept the world’s fate.
Some people have complained that Tomorrowland is about Global Warming. It’s not. It’s about looking at disaster as it happens or even before it happens and doing nothing to stop it. That’s where a positive message is found. When you see the world falling apart, find a way to fix it! So much of Christianity has become about rolling our eyes about the other side. We get so caught up in our own way, calling it “The Way, The Truth and The Life.” But our way was never The Way. It was Jesus’s and He entrusted us with the world to cultivate and protect it. Not to get annoyed with the people who care about it.
Their priorities do often seem displaced, shouting “Save the Whales” while fighting for a woman’s right to abort. But different people have different convictions and our job is not to destroy sin. It is to love the world as Jesus did, and that includes the material world.
Finally, the other day, I caught up with another friend and despite both of our religious backgrounds, we went to see the movie Spy with Melissa McCarthy. Some of it was very unnecessary like the brief graphic nudity that comes out of nowhere, or quite a few of the f-bombs. But, when you go to see an R-rated movie with Melissa McCarthy, f-bombs are the norm. You should seriously expect them. This movie is hilarious even with the language. Truthfully, I don’t have a problem with language. It was a concern of the Christian crowd that this R-rated spy movie has language.
Whatever else she is, Melissa McCarthy is real and plays real characters. Her characters are expressive and open about who they are. Prior to her transformation with her biggest enemy, her character, Susan is actually the most demure I’ve ever seen Melissa McCarthy post-Gilmore Girls. But what she does, her language, her attitude, she does to survive and protect those she loves. Despite all that, I would take away from this movie that Christians really need to try not to be offended.
When we, as Christians elect to go to an R-rated movie with one of the raunchiest crassest actresses yet to come to Hollywood, we cannot expect the movie to be above reproach. If we are watching R-rated films we should know we will be offended. The friend I went with was Mormon but both of us enjoyed the movie. We liked how ridiculous it all was and the very spot-on comment made by Susan that the villainness looked like a slutty dolphin trainer.
We enjoyed the humor, even with all the raunchiness. And, as Christians, I wish we would realize it’s okay. It’s not necessary to tiptoe around everything and if you’re easily offended, just don’t go to R-rated movies and expect them to respect Jesus and Christians and general human decency. But, if you can go, try to see the good, laugh when it’s funny, smile when it’s sweet, cringe when it’s disturbing. You are a human being and are allowed to be such. React to life, movies like these remind me, I have that permission.