Category Archives: Movie review

Hacksaw Ridge. Just Wow!

I Went to a Movie

Being the “recovering legalist” that I am, let me start off this brief little post with a brave confession: I went to a movie on a Sunday night.

That’s right, instead of going to church somewhere last night, my daughter Haley and I used a gift card that was given to her and went to see Hacksaw Ridge. Because I am not pastoring anywhere at the moment, and because I was not scheduled to preach anywhere last night, a daddy/daughter date made for a great conclusion to a week full of stress and uncertainty.

What’s even better is that it only cost me $2 for the movie and $7 for both of us to eat at Taco Bell!

My Daughter’s Thoughts

Before I share with you my thoughts about Hacksaw Ridge, why don’t I share what my daughter posted on Facebook as we left the theater?

“Update: Hacksaw Ridge is The Best movie I have ever seen.”

“Everyone please if you can go see Hacksaw Ridge. You won’t regret it.”

There was literally a physical change in her expression toward the end of the movie. At the very end she sat there with her mouth agape with this look that silently screamed out, “Unbelievable!”

My Thoughts

I am not a professional movie critic. Sure, I can be critical, but I am not adept at pointing out all the nuances of plot, imagery, and blah blah blah. All I can do is tell you what I think, how I felt, and what I would recommend.

First, this movie had a whole lot more gore than Saving Private Ryan, if you can believe it. But being that this was directed by Mel Gibson, well… Let’s just say that if you have a weak stomach, you might want to take a barf bag – the battle scenes are meant to shock.

Second, I went to this movie with the preconceived understanding that there would be a spiritual application somewhere; I was not disappointed. Besides the overall theme of being faithful to one’s personal God-given convictions, there was an undeniable linkability (my word) between Desmond Doss’ prayer to rescue “just one more” and the way we should be about reaching the lost.

Third, the first half of the movie is a bona fide chick-flick. Nevertheless, the sweet romance portrayed during the character-building phase of the movie was a pleasant contrast to the hell of war. Some have labeled this movie – at least the first part – too “sentimental.” Whatever. At least it wasn’t your typical get drunk and have sex before you know someone’s name Hollywood script.

Fourth, I wish the context of the battle could have been better explained. I know it might have run the risk of coming across as a history lesson, but it would have been helpful to understand a little better the “why” and the “where” of what was going on in the second half of the movie. Very little was done to explain the battle – it was almost like the fighting took place for the sake of fighting.

Fifth, this was an R-rated film, so beware. There was no sex or graphic nudity, but there was some language (not near as much as other war movies), a lot of violence (duh), and a scene where a particular recruit shows his bare behind (he was an exhibitionist, but that gets corrected in a humorous way).

Overall, this movie is about convictions, honor, duty, God, country, love, and not judging a book by its cover. Even though Doss was a Seventh Day Adventist, nothing about this movie made it come across as proselytizing. It truly was just a great movie and a great testament to a genuine hero, Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, who never fired a shot, but single-handedly saved over 75 lives during the battle of Okinawa. If anyone deserved the Congressional Medal of Honor, he did.

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Filed under America, Do not judge, General Observations, Movie review

“Please Lord, Help Me Get One More”

A Facebook Find

I am writing this at 10:40 pm, Sunday evening. I was just in the process of shutting everything down when I decided to take a glance on Facebook – usually a big mistake when time is an issue.

Sometimes, after a stressful day, I will sit down at the computer and just scroll for a little while. Yeah, it can be a waste of time, most certainly, but isn’t it better than watching TV? I mean, should I see something interesting I can at least leave a comment, right?

Even more than a comment, I like finding stuff I can share, either on Facebook, Twitter, or this blog. I especially love finding out about upcoming events or important stories that can benefit others.

The following is one of those finds.

Hacksaw Ridge

While scrolling through the posts on Facebook I came across the official trailer for a movie which I am absolutely going to go see. The movie is supposed to be the true story of Desmond Doss, a local hero around these parts. Doss was a conscientious objector during WWII, but he became famous for actually going into combat to save lives.

By way of a little spoiler, just in case you’ve never heard of him, Desmond Doss won the Congressional Medal of Honor for single-handedly saving the lives of 75 injured soldiers, all while being fired upon by the enemy….and each one he personally lowered 200 ft. by rope off a bluff!

The name of the movie is Hacksaw Ridge. Here is the official trailer.

Just One More?

So, why sit down and write a blog post about a movie I’ve yet to see? Simple. Because of what I have seen.

Do you remember the heartbreaking scene at the end of the movie Schindler’s List? Remember when Schindler broke down and wept when he realized the gold in the simple lapel pin he was wearing could have saved at least one more Jew from being killed? Oh, that is a difficult bit of film to watch, but very worth it. Each time I see it I’m convicted.

In the upcoming film adaption of Desmond Doss’ story, we hear him pray, “Please Lord, just one more.” When you witness what he went through to keep going back, time after time, each time under fire, every time putting his own life at risk, will you be as convicted as me?

You see, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? And what does it profit a man to have his life saved, but then die and go to hell without ever hearing about the saving hope of Jesus Christ? If there are men out there who would put their lives on the line to save men and women from sure death, where are those crying out for the eternal souls of men?

Heaven will have its share of rewards, but how many will actually receive the equivalent of the Medal of Honor? How many of us will be commended by our Commander for braving enemy fire, scaling the jagged cliffs, and going back again and again for “just one more?” Isn’t that our mission?

Convicting, isn’t it?

 

 

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Filed under Christianity, Faith, ministry, Movie review

“Pleeeease, Daddy!”

As I watched, my heart broke, my eyes flooded with tears, and I nearly had to leave the theater – that’s how I felt when I watched a particular scene in the movie Do You Believe?.

lacey Do You Belive Movie still

Credit: Still from “Do You Believe?” Movie

Alex PenaVega (of Spy Kids fame) played the role of a young woman named Lacey. Early in the movie she is shown sitting on a couch, on her cell phone, begging her father to either come to visit her, or let her spend some time with him (as I type this my eyes are beginning to water).

Totally desperate for his attention and affection, through barely contained sobbing, she cries out to her daddy, “pleeeease!

Now I’m crying. Seriously. Read on and you’ll understand why.

Not long ago, Katie (my middle daughter) called me up in the middle of the night…then called again…and again… She was at college and really, really ill.

Long story short, she wanted me to come get her…in the early hours of dark morning…before I had to get up and drive a school bus! It was an hour there, an hour back, not to mention loading her stuff, and I needed to be on a bus at 6:20 a.m.! But what was I supposed to do? She was my daughter, and through tears she asked, “Pleeease, daddy, I want to come home!”

I made record time to Bryan College.

Yesterday was a long day, from getting up early after going to bed late, to church last night. Then, at around 9:30 p.m. my little girl, Haley, asked, “Daddy, would you watch a movie with me?”

I looked down at my watch…my eyes were already heavy…I thought to myself, “It’s not going to be long before she’s grown and gone like the others.”…What’s another long day, right?

“Sure,” I replied. “What do you want to watch?”

The reason the scene in the movie got to me was that there are so many little girls out there…girls of all ages…each one willing to give anything for a little time with Daddy. And where are the dads? What is more important to them than a little girl on the other end of the line, soaking her cell phone with tears, crying “Pleeese, Daddy! Pleeeease!“?

More tears.

I like the way the New Living Translation renders Jesus’ words regarding fathers and their children…

You fathers–if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” – Luke 11:11-13

My heart broke as I watched Alex PenaVega’s character weep for her daddy. It broke because the scene she was acting out was all too real – there’s a lot of hurting people out there who may never find comfort in a father’s arms.

Oh, would to God that men would be men and be the heroes their little girls need! Heaven only knows how many precious lives would be spared abuse, broken marriages, and life-long addictions if only daddies would be daddies!

How wonderful it is to know that we as believers have a Father in heaven, our Abba Father, who loves us more than any earthly father ever could! But does that excuse us dads from being our little girls’ knights in shining armor? Absolutely not!

A daddy’s role is to strive to be like our heavenly Father: one who is compassionate; one who listens; one who is patient; one who is strong as an oak tree, uncompromising, yet still available for make-believe tea or midnight retrievals from the dormitory.

Men…dads…be there for your daughter; God’s collecting her tears.

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Filed under Movie review, Parenting, Relationships and Family

Pre-Salvation Counseling?

Pre-Marital Counseling

Have you ever given pre-marital advice? Have you ever sat down with a young couple, stars in their eyes, and tried to break them up? No? Then maybe you don’t know what real marriage counseling is all about.

Honestly, one of the things I try to do before I marry a couple is to break them up. OK, no, I don’t go into a counselling session with the intent on making them run out of the room crying and screaming at each other. But what I do try to do is bring to the surface issues that might cause problems down the road which will ultimately lead to major problems, even divorce. Believe me, a lot of people could have been spared a lot pain and heartache had they been asked some serious questions before they tied the knot.

So, if you want me to conduct your wedding, you must endure at least four hours of me trying to find out if you are aware of what’s ahead.

Salvation Counseling 

Much like the syrupy-sweet lovers who want to jump into marriage without even considering what comes after the honeymoon phase, many are led into believing that becoming a Christian is the answer to all their problems. Because of many one-stop, Vegas-like “wedding chapels” we call “worship centers,” scores of people have been drawn into a relationship with Jesus – but without the “pre-marital” counseling.

Reality check: Following Jesus will not be easy. As a matter of fact, it might even result in a life of pain and suffering, of hunger and want. This relationship may even cost you your life.

And when [Jesus] had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34

Oh, make no mistake about it, entering into an eternity-long relationship with Jesus is totally worth it! Just make sure you know what you’re getting into.

See the Movie

This Friday (March 20) Do You Believe? will come out in theaters. Please, take my advice, go see this movie! It may prove to be the best spiritual “marriage counseling” you’ve had in a while. Oh, and take someone with you who is lost; you won’t regret it.

 

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, Life Lessons, Movie review, salvation, Witnessing

50 Shades of the Same Lie

Movies

There was a time back in the day when I was not allowed to go to a movie theater. As a matter of fact, it was not until 1977 (I was 10 years-old) that I saw my first movie in a theater: Star Wars.

You see, the prevailing thought back then was that Hollywood movies were of the devil, sinful, ungodly, etc., and no Christian who claimed to be right with God would go pay money to see one. So much has changed since then, hasn’t it?

Really, even though I have seen my share of films since 1977, I am beginning to feel the pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. Not much is worth seeing anymore, and especially 50 Shades of Grey.

50 Shades

fifty shadesToday is opening day for a movie which is nothing more than filth, smut, prettied-up gutter scum, a proverbial loaded pistol with the hammer cocked aimed at the heart of marriages everywhere.

Like the name of this blog implies, I used to be a legalist, but I have moments of relapse. This might be one of those moments. If you call yourself a Christian and pay money to go see movie which glorifies everything immoral and feeds your own lustful flesh, you’re probably not right with God. I did say “probably.”

There is absolutely NO reason to allow yourself to be sucked into the vortex of public hype when you know what this movie is going to be about…

There are NO articles to read – it’s ALL pictures!

So, you do what you want, but God knows where you will be come showtime at your local theater. And then later, when you are trying to be intimate with your spouse (and that’s the ONLY one with whom you should be intimate!), God will know what’s going through your mind.

Reviews

Like I said, I’m not going to go see this mover or read the book; I’ve been scared enough because of other images my mind has recorded over the years. So, if you must know what 50 Shades is all about, my friend Chris Jordan posted a great article with links to all the info you will need.

“Black and White Thoughts on 50 Shades of Grey” by Chris Jordan

Remember:

“I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” – Job 31:1 KJV

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 NIV

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Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, current events, Defining Marriage, Divorce, General Observations, Movie review

Movies We Should Make!

Noah

noah-280314I know, we’ve heard about all we want to hear about Noah, the unbelievably un-biblical movie meant to be a slap in the face to Bible-believers everywhere. That’s why I am not going to give you any commentary; you’ve probably read it all by now.

One thing is for sure (and this movie proves it in spades), whenever you go to a movie you’re likely to be disappointed if you think the screen adaptation is going to be as good as the book. Seriously, how often are movies as good as the books they are loosely based on? About the only ones I can think of are the first Narnia movie (Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe) and the version of A Christmas Carol that had George C. Scott in it. That’s about it.

Noah’s story, as found in the Bible, is perfectly exciting. It is full of all the things that make a great movie a great movie: drama, action, animals, exotic locations, suspense, larger-than-life sets, and colorful characters. It even has its share of death, destruction, pathos, and the miraculous. So why change all of that? Why trash the written account in order to create a fictitious, over-the-top, insulting flop?

Knoahk-offs

Maybe it’s time we go ahead and make more movies using the Noah template? Instead of calling these new movies knock-offs, we could call them knoahk-offs! I mean, why not take the stories atheists and humanists know and love and turn them into evangelical sermons?

Let me see if I can come up with a few ideas off the top of my head…

  • The God Delusion (by Richard Dawkins). In this movie, a must-see by Dawkins’ fans, Yahweh actually sits down with Little Richard (the singer) to compose a musical called “The Delusion of Unbelief.” In this unique creation (pun intended), God describes Himself to the world as a loving, sacrificial Sovereign that wants to open the eyes of unbelieving vegans.
  • God Is Not Great (by Christopher Hitchens). This movie version of a classic by the late, great Hitchens will have audiences rolling in the aisles. God Is Not Great is a Christian comedy featuring the humorous, yet humble side of the Creator. Movie attenders will laugh along with God as He mocks those who deny His existence and get a kick at how He plays practical jokes on unsuspecting, self-deluded college professors at UC Berkeley.
  • Harry Potter (by J.K. Rowling). Atheists and lukewarm Christians everywhere love the Harry Potter series of books and movies, but a remake was inevitable. Yes, a truly accurate depiction of the books (with some creative licence, of course) will be brought to the screen. Instead of witchcraft, Harry will be filled with the Holy Spirit, lead Hermione (who played in Noah) to the Lord, get married, attend Moody Bible Institute, then start Hogwarts Baptist Church in Herefordshire, UK.

So, what do you think? I don’t think anybody will be offended, do you? Freethinkers should applaud trashing the writings of their favorite authors, don’t you think? I mean, at least that’s what people are saying we Christians should do with Noah.

If Darren Aronofsky can create a Noah “for the 21st century,” there’s a lot more stories needing an update. Can you think of a few?

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Filed under Culture Wars, current events, General Observations, Humor, Movie review

Courageous: A Review

Could I recommend anything more highly than going to see Courageous?

Sure…here are a few examples:

  • Breath and exhale on a regular basis.
  • Take a potty break at least once a day.
  • Eat nutritious foods and drink hydrating, non-addictive fluids, if possible. But if none of these are available, feel free to eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets and swig down a tall Coca Cola product…you don’t want to starve.
  • Call your mother on Mother’s Day.

Other than that, I can’t think of too many things I would rather you do, especially if you are a man, than go see this movie. It is THAT good.

It’s a Wake-Up Call

From the people that made Facing the Giants and Fireproof comes a movie that should challenge every man to become the courageous leader he was meant to be. Much like a wake up call that resembles ice water in the face and banging trash cans at 0400 (that’s 4 am), Courageous will make any father worth his salt re-evaluate some things.

I will tell you, I was in tears for part of the movie, laughing in another part, tense in three parts, and under conviction the rest. And guys, when you take your wife, make sure you sit a seat away if she startles easily. And if you haven’t been the best husband, you’d better be prepared to make a change. You’ll know if you see her using napkins covered in popcorn “butter” and salt to wipe the tears away from her eyes.

It’s Worth the Ticket Price

Was the acting as good as can be found in an Oscar-winning motion picture? Probably not. But everything else was on par with anything Hollywood and it’s hedonistic values can pump out. Now that Sony has been putting some money into the production, the Kendrick brothers have been able to create a much higher quality product. So, don’t be fooled by critics into thinking its going to be a lame, evangelical, low-budget Church flick. It’s worth the price of a ticket in an HD theater.

Plot?

When it comes to the plot, I don’t want to give anything away you don’t already know. It’s about policemen, Mexican workers, drug dealers, death, life, and how a real father, not just a one-night-stand-er, can make a difference. It’s about modern day dads making a resolution to be “courageous.”

Favorite scene? Well, let’s just say it has to do with a chicken sandwich, waffle fries, a milkshake, and the Snake Kings.

A final thought. Even though many will still think of this movie as “preachy,” all because it promotes a solid message without resorting to sex, profanity, or any other Hollywood mainstay, one thing remains the same: the Kendrick brothers have not lost their focus. Just look at this quote from the end of a critical review in the Seattle Times:

[The] bigger message might be that the Kendricks haven’t sold out, “gone Hollywood” or watered down their beliefs to reach an audience beyond the faithful.

And God bless them!

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Filed under Defending Traditional Marriage, Defining Marriage, Divorce, General Observations, Life Lessons, Movie review