Category Archives: film

I Hate Rude Behaviour In A Man, Won’t Tolerate It

Speaking of Lonesome Dove, this is one of my favourite scenes from the film:

And this would be another – “to the sunny slopes of long ago”:

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Filed under film, westerns

That’ll Be The Day

Carl Trueman often finds himself in the thick of it when it comes to debates in evangelicalism, which of course should come natural to him as a middle-aged, white, Reformed guy. But unfortunately he’s not living up to the standards of MAWR, as displayed at the end of a recent interview he conducted on a very serious topic. Now, before I get into the true nitty-gritty of Trueman’s MAWR failure, it should be said that he made his faux pas fully aware of the ecclesial ramifications of his actions. I believe that he’s broken his confessional standard, and for this I am truly sorry. Whereas I was once a big fan of his writings, I fear that I must cease-and-desist from reading any and all that comes from his pen–I speak as an aspiring MAWR, a catechumen if you will, as I have yet to hit my fourth decade.

So, in what way did “Dr.” Trueman break his confessional vows? In the Solemn League and Covenant, a statement specifically adopted by an as-yet published revision of the Westminster Confession, it says plainly: “I solemnly covenant to league myself with those who rightly uphold the following: to read, watch, and admire Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove novel, and film, and cry when Gus dies; to defend the honour of John Wayne, even when he acted in a real stinker like The Conqueror.” Sadly, Trueman outed himself  as a “hater” (though thankfully he maintained his love for The Searchers), and didn’t list Lonesome Dove in his top-four westerns–while his top four was pretty impressive, I wouldn’t think that even ole Henry would admit to outdoing Bobby Duvall or Tommy Lee Jones. Sure John Wayne’s real name was Marion, but should that effect our exegesis of so many brilliant texts? Why wouldn’t our British friend at least have some sympathies for a man who could stand alongside Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man? It makes me want to spit my tobacky on my poor dog’s head.

And while we’re on the subject of heresy—and modalism ain’t got nothin’ on this—why no Magnificent Seven? Why no Jeremiah Johnson? Not even Rio Bravo? Oh, of course, he doesn’t like John Wayne! Not even for the crooning of Ricky Nelson?!

Finally, what amazes me even more than this—what can you expect from a Presbyterian?—is that there seemed to be a hushed acquiescence on the part of his interviewer, Clint Humfrey—shouldn’t he have lived up to his namesake and blasted the Tuco in his midst?—and the audience. Humfrey has preaching boots for pete’s sake! And here Trueman sits in front of a crowd in Calgary, Alberta, where movies like Open Range were filmed, where business execs wear cowboy hats to lunch, and he gets away with murder. Where is the Steve McQueen or Yul Brenner in their midst who would bury the slain? Is there no justice?

So, if Dr. Trueman wants a show-down on the great evangelical wasteland, and his posse chickens out and runs for the hills, who will he turn to for help? This gunslinger? In the words of a movie great, “That’ll be the day.”

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Reviewing Christian Film

Liam Neeson in Pilgrim's Progress

I’m not going to comment on the quality of “Christian” films, I very rarely watch them. I thought Facing the Giants was decent in that Rudy or Remember the Titans sorta way, but I’ve yet to see The Blind Side or Fireproof. Generally I cringe at these types of movies, wincing through some of the sappier “Christian” moments. You may think, Didn’t he see Amazing Grace or Luther? For whatever reason, I don’t consider them a part of the “Christian” genre. I’m rather arbitrary, I know.

Anyways, this new movie Soul Surfer seems to be this year’s Fireproof, and I likewise doubt I’ll see it. I read a review at Salon.com a month ago and felt justified in my dismissal. But then I read Timothy Dalrymple’s post: “Are Christian Movies Really So Bad?” where he notes the trend amongst film critics to be particularly scathing to the Christian genre. He offers three reasons why:

1) Reviewers want to maintain their reputations, and giving a positive review to a movie like Soul Surfer would be a good reason to lose all cred.

2) The lack of faith themes in Hollywood movies makes their appearance jarring.

3) Cynical reviewers don’t get the Christian worldview, so these movies are just plain strange.

Read the rest here.

***UPDATE*** I got to thinking, Why am I so arbitrary in my tastes for this type of film? There must be something that makes me not mind Narnia or Luther (although I thought Narnia was kind’ve cheezy, especially the kid’s hair). I’m thinking maybe it has to do with the purpose behind the films. Fireproof and those kind of movies are more evangelistically oriented; call it the “evangelism genre.” A large part of their purpose is to get the message out. Amazing Grace, it seems to me, is more intended as a story about a historically important figure who happened to be a Christian. Maybe we can call it the plain ole “Christian genre.” I know I’m splitting hairs and any sane person could push me to the wall on this. But it’s the only way I can account for my thinking.

As they say, for what it’s worth…

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Film: Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl

Nate (Nathan? N.D.?) Wilson is a best-selling author who wrote Notes From the Tilt-A-Whirl, a fun and philosophical reflection on the goodness of life. I read it around two years ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself from cover to cover. The book has the paradoxical quality of being light-hearted yet profound. It is mixed with the author’s personal reflections on life and sophisticated treatments of the vapid hedonism of this world. Basically, Wilson points up the true way to enjoy the world, and enjoy it to its fullest.

Now, with the help of Gorilla Poet and Beloved Independent, he has made the book into a film. It’s strange, but the two-minute trailer, short though it is, gave me the same feeling of fullness and joy as the book did. I hope this film does well:

Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl Movie Trailer from Gorilla Poet Productions on Vimeo.

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Filed under books, film, movies, notes from the tilt-a-whirl, video