Friday, March 30, 2012

David Archuleta Enters MTC

Elder Archuleta singing with the MTC Choir at General Conference

   There is a rumor that has been prevalent that in Mormon culture that certain famous LDS personalities have been told they are exempt the commandment to serve a 2 year mission because their celebrity can do more for the Church than if the were to service a mission.

Do you even know
what team I play for now?
I really have a hard time with this school of thought.  I don't take issue with the fact that these young men chose not to serve missions.  The call to be a missionary is sacred and personal.  I have many friends who chose not to serve missions and are great priesthood leaders today, and I love them.  

   My issue is when people argue that fame makes you exempt from serving a mission.  


   Which is why I was a proud of David Archuleta and his choice to serve a mission.  Below is his public announcement of his choice to serve.  You can tell it is a choice that he has seriously considered.  

   One of my favorite things about this video is the reaction from the audience.  How excited they are for him.  It was my reaction as well.

   David entered the MTC on Wednesday, and before he left he posted a final video for his fan talking about his desire to grow closer to God.

   The funny thing about this post is that I am not even a David Archuleta fan.  I just really respect his choice to serve a mission.  Consider who is doing more good for the Church between David, or any recent famous people who felt being famous was their mission.  David has shown all his fans that his faith is more important to him.  More important than fame or a career.  The example he is setting to all young men who are considering a mission could help them prepare to serve. 

  In the end I feel David will have more of an impact on the Church than any Mormon who chose not to serve in the past 5 years. But this Mormon Message from Elder Andersen says it best.

Do you review R rated movies?

   We are all at different levels of spiritual progression in our lives.  We all have areas we need to improve on.  Some linger in the halls during Sunday School, others never do home/visit teaching, while even others haven't been back to the temple since they got their recommend. My area of improvement is R Rated movies.
   Please let me say that all of the above are things that can impede our Spiritual Progression. I try not to rationalize my choice, only to say that is the choice I have made. One day I hope to be as good as my wife who abstains from R-Rated movies and even some PG-13 ones! But today is not that day.
   I wasn't sure if I wanted to confess that I watch R Rated movies on my public blog.  There are many religious hobbyist that feel R-Rated movies are a one way ticket to Outer Darkness.  I also didn't want others to feel I encourage the practice. I want to go on the record as saying if you have made the commitment to avoid these movies hold on to that! I don't want anyone to misrepresent me to say watching R-Rated movies are okay.
   But for those of you like me, who haven't reached that level, I hope I can help you avoid the pitfalls of some of the worst that cinema has to offer. In a sort of superficial rationalization, I try to be very cautious of the movie I choose. I steer clear of any hyper sexualized movies like Black Swan, The Reader, or Shame; no matter how "artistic" it may be.  
   During Conference of 1986 Ezra Taft Benson gave the following council to the young men,"We counsel you, young men, not to pollute your minds with such degrading matter, for the mind through which this filth passes is never the same afterwards. Don't see R-rated movies or vulgar videos or participate in any entertainment that is immoral, suggestive, or pornographic. Don't listen to music that is degrading"  
   Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game) wrote an article around the release of "The Passion of The Christ" quoted President Benson's talk.  He says, "The mention of R-rated movies is clearly linked to a specific goal -- keeping one's mind free of entertainment that is 'immoral, suggestive, or pornographic.' The purpose of the Prophet's wise counsel is to keep us from entertainment that will excite sexual lust in an inappropriate context."
   My big pitfall is historical war movies like The Patriot or Saving Private Ryan. And maybe the occasional irreverent comedy.
  So, please don't judge me. I will make sure to always include the rating of the movie I review so you can steer clear of those reviews if you so choose.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Hunger Games (2012): Mormon Movie Review

I must start off by saying I have not read The Hunger Games books, so my review is based solely on my experience watching the Film.  It probably works out better that way because if you had read the books, you have probably already seen the movie and are reading for entertainment, rather than insight.  Now available on Netflix Streaming.

   For those of you who haven't read the books and were waiting for the crowds to die down; Stop Waiting!  "The Hunger Games" is a fantastic Movie.  It has a romance story that appeals to the ladies and plenty of violence that appeals to us manly men.

   Set in a future where the Capitol selects a boy and girl from the twelve districts to fight to the death on live television, "Katniss Everdeen" (Jennifer Lawrence) volunteers to take her younger sister's place for the latest match.

   I had a really hard time buying into this idea.  It is why I didn't read the books.  It seemed so unrealistic, so far from what would be allowed by today's standards.  But then I thought about some of the atrocities that occurred as little as 60 years ago, and the ones occurring in countries today.  Although I have mixed feelings about the KONY 2012 movement, it does point out that "The Hunger Games" might not be that far of a stretch to children living in that region.  

   So I changed my focus from being on the outside looking in, to being part of that world.  How would I act if I were chosen?  "Katniss" is our main protagonist in the film and seems to be who we might see ourselves as.  Like me, she does is conflicted with the concept of having to survive, but not taking the life of another.  Luckily my conscience is cleared a bit when a group of tributes breaks off to form of violent alliance via Lord of the Flies and becomes one of our antagonists.  

   One of the shining aspects of the movie was the strong supporting cast.  Great actors like Stanley Tucci and Donald Sutherland who know better than to attach their names to something like "Twilight."  They add credibility to the Film.  But I must say the two surprises were Lenny Kravitz and Elizabeth Banks.  

   I had low expectations for Kravitz because, with the exception of maybe Justin Timberlake, musicians don't always make great actors.  Kravitz portrays "Cinna," who is is the Stylist for "Katniss" and charged with make her more appealing to the audience, but he also serves as a guide.  As the husband of a hair stylist, I can attest that stylists are as much therapists as much they are beauticians.   Kravitz and Lawrence's scenes together are very tender and add softness to the harsh reality "Katniss" finds herself in.  He perfectly conveys his role as someone who with both sorrowful that "Katniss" has to compete is such a barbaric sport, but hopefully that she can win.  While many at the Capitol congratulate "Katniss," he offers condolences.

  The thing that impressed me with Elizabeth Banks, recently of 30 Rock, is that I had no idea it was her!  "Effie Trinket" is so done up and covered in make-up that I knew that she was someone I knew, but Banks' dedication to creating that character made it very difficult to determine who.

   There were a few moments where I felt like I was missing some insider info, that a reader might have been privy too.  When the Games got down to the final 3 Tributes I had no idea until it was just about over.  I also wished they could have spent more time developing the other tributes.  There were only about 6 you get to know and the rest are nameless bodies that don't seem to evoke as much emotion as they should when they reach their demise.  


I was pleased with the clean languge in "The Hunger Games."  "The Running Man" (1987) had a similar plot line, but couldn't do the same.  I didn't even hear a PG curse word.  The only thing that lost a star was the violence perpatrated against kids.  It is very shocking to see some of the Tributes, as young as 12, killed in merciless fashion.  If you have a Stake President as tender hearted as ours you might not want to bring him, but nothing will make you uncomfortable or embassased to be there. 

   Overall though the movie was nicley done. I never even felt the 2 and a half hour run time until the resolution, which is when you should feel it.  I now plan of reading the books to fill in those missing peices and look forward to November of 2013!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

AMC Offers Marvel Movie Marathon Leading Up To The Avengers -

Update 4/11/12: Many Theaters are reporting they sold out of the Marathon Tickets within a few days.  See if your theater still has tickets.

Original Post from
AMC Offers Marvel Movie Marathon Leading Up To The Avengers -

   "AMC may have gotten some bad press recently over their ludicrously high-priced snacks, but they're striking back with a superhero-stuffed deal that's sure to make fan boys and girls geek out. In celebration of Joss Whedon's impending superpowered-ensemble The Avengers, AMC is offering The Ultimate Marvel Marathon on Thursday, May 3rd. AMC locations across America will kick off this event at 11:30 AM with Iron Man, then exhibit in succession The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 2 in 2D, Thor and Captain America in 3D, and finally—premiering at midnight--The Avengers in 3D. While some comic book fans may not be willing to take a day off work to revel in all things Marvel, those that do will get all 6 adventures on the big screen along with a pair of 3D glasses with Avengers themed colors that retail for $10. Plus, AMC Stubs members will get a $5 Bonus Bucks card, presumably for use at the concession stand.

   Tickets for this special limited engagement are on sale now for many major AMC markets including Boston, New York City, and several California venues. But fear not small town America, as more participating theaters will be unveiled on March 16th, along with tickets for those theaters.

   Flat out, this looks like a wildly fun cinematic experience. In years past, I've gone to AMC's Oscar-related marathon's where they screen Best Picture nominees back to back for a thrifty ticket price, and it's not only a great deal but also a great viewing environment. In my experience, events like this draw true fans, eager to collectively wallow in their nerdiest passion—be it prestige pics or superhero flicks. So if you're an admirer of Marvel or just superhero movies in general, I anticipate The Ultimate Marvel Marathon will be well worth the cost of admission. It does sound pretty epic...." 

292453_The Avengers Advance Tickets 300x250

The Walking Dead (2010): Mormon TV Review

Recently in Stake Conference one of our Presidency members made two separate references to "The Walking Dead."  I thought it might be worth a shot.  So far I have gotten through Season 1 and a few Episodes into Season 2.  

    Officer Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to find the world has succumbed to a zombie apocalypse.  Now he starts his search to find his wife and son amid the walking dead all around.

   Now is full disclosure; of all the monster movie types, zombies are the only one that I really have a suspension of disbelief for.  Werewolves and Glittery Vampires just seem like pure fantasy, but something about zombies seems plausible.  Think I'm crazy?  Have you seen the Metallica video for "All Nightmare Long?"
   Okay rant over.  Anyways, "The Walking Dead" is fantastic at playing to these fears.  The suspense is so intense I actually woke up the next day with a tooth ache from clinching them so hard.  The acting is pretty good.  You care for the characters and you care about what happens to them. 

   Not only does Rick have to contend with the undead, but with human nature as well.  In a "Lord of the Flies" sort of way the pandemic has brought out the best in some, and the worst in others.  There are some very tough ethical choices the characters have to make and I found myself stopping to think, what would I do in that situation.  With the Drama and Action so intriguing this is a great series to check out on Netflix.

Being on AMC the production is able to make push the envelope a little more than broadcast stations, but it isn't as graphic as if it were on HBO.  The language is pretty mild, with only an occasional PG-13 swear word.  The really isn't much sexual content either.  The thing that pushed this one to 3 stars is the graphic violence.  Zombies love to eat one thing, human flesh.  And there is only one way to kill them, destroying the brain.  Both are shown often and in complete detail.  It's a great one for a guys night in, but if the Bishop drops by, you might want to press pause.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace (1999): Mormon Movie Review

As a loyal fan of Star Wars, I of course think "The Phantom Menace" is the worst one.  And as loyal fan I could't give it anything less than 4 stars.  Even "How I Met Your Mother" has a gag about this when Marshall proves his friends will agree with everything he says.

   I could go on and on about what is wrong with this movie and some of it's redeeming qualities, but that can be found all over the net.  I instead want to focus on the aspect of the re-release being in 3D.  I took a focus group of 2 of my sons and thier buddy.

   The 3D effects were more mild than I was expecting.  I was expecting a Pod Racer to blow up and parts fly into my face or a lightsaber to singe my nose hairs.  Instead the 3D was more subtle.  Instead of pulling the foreground closer, the background seems to get pushed back.  I actually perfered this, it seemed less like a gimick and more like a picture enhancement.     

Edit: A Featurette explaining this tactic found after original posting.

   One thing that caused me to get distracted was the images still were blurred at times if they moved too fast.  I don't quite know if I perfer 3D to normal HD, but it was certianly worth seeing.

   The boys loved the movie!  Watching them crack up at Jar Jar Binks helped me realize that Star Wars is a kids movie.  Even though I have grown up and my standards have changed I can't expect Star Wars to always change with me.

   If you like Star Wars you will not want to miss the experience to see it in theatres, especially if you have kids.  There is no scheduled date for the release of subsequent episodes so if you don't have kids yet, consider it an investment to motivate LucasFilm to release future episodes. 

Like I said above Star Wars is meant for kids.  As far as content goes; the worst word said is "poodoo."  It is not overly violent and there really is no adult content.  This movie is safe for all ages and you wouldn't bat an eye at seeing your Stake President there in the row behing you.

Buy advance tickets on Fandango!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...