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Everything posted by tctruffin

  1. So, being a couple that can't seem to let a cheesy horror flick go by without a screening, Sherry and I celebrated her return from the International Gothic Association Conference (that's a literature conference by the way) by seeing The Skeleton Key. On the one hand, it's got all the stuff you could want from a thriller set in the bayou: decaying plantation houses, spooky New Orleans neighborhoods, scary old people, distressing breezes, rain, and, of course, the ubiquitous African-American Spiritual People. Toss in the Inquisitive Good-Hearted White Girl as the catalyst, and off we go. As a genre flick, it hits its marks, and hits them well. Afterwards, the one word we both used was "classic." That is, it's not one of the recent crop of post-modern horror films that's all self-referential and self-conscious. On the other hand, especially when looking at it in terms of faith, there's some odd logic going on. At the heart of the film is the premise that "It can't hurt you if you don't believe." It's a premise that even the hoodoo practioners adhere to; one of the villains proclaims to Caroline, "We've been waiting for you to believe." As the final magics are being worked, Caroline desperately declares her unbelief to no avail. So, my question is did she really believe or, given all that she had seen to that point, did her act of unbelief actually reveal her belief since she would have to believe that unbelief was a protection? At least in my mind the logic breaks down pretty quickly--even in the world of the film. Also, if the spiritual powers are real, what sense does it make for them only to be efficacious if the person believes? If God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, the believer and the unbeliever, does it make sense that the rain will only make the crops of the believer grow? If I don't believe that evil spirits are real does that mean they can't hurt me? On the other hand, the power of belief is somewhat central to, at least, the evangelical understanding of the Christian faith. Jesus can die for our sins all he wants, but unless we believe in him, we don't get the benefit. So then, is spiritual logic of Skeleton Key at least somewhat representative of the Christian understanding of such things? I will say that I was glad that the filmmakers didn't filch at the end of the film. That Justify and Cecile get away with their scheme seems to me to be the right end of the film, especially given the genre.
  2. After conducting a search on the forum, I was a bit surprised that no one has started a thread on the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer. I've listened to unabridged audio books of the first two books and am looking forward to getting the rest from the local library. While Harry Potter gets all of the attention from the Christian media, Artemis Fowl flies under the radar even though the world of AF is every bit as magical and Artemis is a downright nasty little boy unapologetically involved in criminal enterprises. Despite his evility, Artemis is demonstrated to possess something of a shred of decency. I'm wondering if this won't be developed in future epidsodes to culminate in some sort of actual redemption story. The world that Colfer has created is rather fun. Instead of the wizarding world, we are introduced to the fairy world, which is infused with magic and rituals and also a large bit of fairy enhanced technology. I'd be interested to hear what folks on the board think about this series.
  3. Training Day Son of Sam Barbershop Wag the Dog Three Days of the Condor Outbreak City of Hope Gangs of New York and... Gridlock: The Great American Traffic Jam
  4. End of the Affair could get into both marriage/promiscuity and faith.
  5. Surprised Alan didn't jump on this one, but I'd have to go with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (the 1971 version).
  6. I'll give a screaming out loud second to Princess Bride. Not only does it deal with the theme in a meaningful way but it also brings in torture, marriage, and marketing; three topics no conversation on current culture should be without. Oh, and it's also alright for the kiddies to see and discuss.
  7. tctruffin

    In-Flight Movies

    On a recent flight from Denver to Detroit, we were treated to Madagascar. Evidently, it's ok to show boats getting hijacked (ok it was by pengins, but still...) and storm tossed and run aground, etc. Nonetheless, the inanity of the thing was somewhat diverting for the 85 minutes or so it was on.
  8. I have to admit that when I saw the subject line I was kinda hoping someone had wandered into the wrong part of the forum and was starting a discussion of that old Jesus Music standard, Barry McGuire's Have You Heard
  9. The recent trend of shows that are longer than a mini-series but shorter than a season may stretch the definition of a TV show theme song, but I thought the intro tune to Stephen King's Kingdom Hospital was wonderfully eeire, catchy, and memorable all at the same time.
  10. No, but someone in the Toledo area is selling a perogi on which Jesus face appeared during a Palm Sunday perogi fry.
  11. I just finished re-reading Shadows of Ecstacy this week. I have a great appreciation for Williams's work--All Hallow's Eve was a major component of my master's thesis--but I can't say that I'd recommend Shadows. The Greater Trumps was the novel that made me a fan, but All Hallow's Eve is, I think, the most artistically coherent and satisfying. War in Heaven has also grown on me over time. Baptist Death Ray is not kidding when he says the prose can be difficult. Williams wrote in a purposefully archaic style that was out of date in the 30s when he was writing most of his novels. Given that Jeffrey's criteria include readability, this may be something of a sticking point. Another author that you might want to check out is Eoin Colfer. I've just listened to the first two volumes (unabridged) of the Artemis Fowl series. They sound pretty good and are interesting up to this point.
  12. tctruffin

    Disc Golf

    I can only add to the last sentence that it is, as usual, a somewhat less reliable shot that amateurs attempt. Peace. Ken ← Thanks. I notice the info is from the 2005 catalog. I only mention this to flail at some sort of self-respect for not having found this myself--given that I visit the Innova site at least once a month.
  13. tctruffin

    Disc Golf

    I'm definitely in the category of folks who know what a PDGA is and who Climo is and even what is meant by Winthrop, not to mention anhyzer, Mach 1, and CTP. I've even been to enough tournaments to have been rather disappointed in the Grand Opening event for the new local course in my neighborhood. However, (and I hope Ken--my disc golf father--can give some help here) I have yet to find a meaningful explanation of the "flex shot."
  14. A good friend of mine likes to refer to Christian Bale as the "sexiest--Jesus--ever." Of course, you also then get to have the odd sensation of watching his performance of Jesus and following it up with American Psycho, which can just mess with you. Kind of like watching Shadowlands right after Silence of the Lambs...
  15. Wow. My friends like to kid me that I'll watch anything with flickering images on a screen. And I'd like to think that among folks who watch as many movies/films as the folks on this list do there would be more people owning up to the unavoidable viewing errors that plague one's life. But evidently, my 15 of the bottom 100 is going to put me on the "honors" list in this category. C'mon now, don't be afraid to admit you've seen Jaws: The Revenge AND Rhinestone. It's ok, really. We won't think less of you for not only seeing Iron Eagle 1 and 2 but also 3. And, hey, who doesn't get a kick out of seeing Gov. Schwarzy in Hercules in New York? Now, I must admit that seeing Lawnmower Man 2 after enduring the first installment may count as bad stewardship on my part as may seing any of the various Police Academy howlers. And I suppose that it's definitely my own fault that I wasted 2 hours on Battlefield Earth since I certainly had fair warning. But how was I supposed to know that Double Dragon and Mortal Kombat: Annihilation were going to suck so so hard? I mean, really? I'm not entirely certain that I've seen all of Tarzan, the Ape Man, but I'd be dishonest to claim that I haven't looked at the tape cover in just about every video store I've been in since adolescence. Ok, I'll admit it, it was Jason Bateman that tricked me into Teen Wolf Too, but he was so devilish on Silver Spoons; I couldn't resist. I'm going to try to blame my wife for Sometimes They Come Back..Again and Howling 2, but she'd probably argue that no one held a gun to my head, and then she'd start trying to bring up Spice World. I offer no apologies. That leaves us Problem Child 2. I have no explanation. Hey, did anyone else notice how many of these awful films were sequels?
  16. There was a brief conversation about this topic in regards to the Harry Potter series as well. I find the whole enterprise to be wrong-headed in the extreme. Not only are kids a lot smarter than we give them credit for, a little confusion and dictionary digging is a good thing. No?
  17. Amen and amen. While I appreciate the impulse to counter the "world is going to hell in a handbasket" sentiment with the "world has always been hell" argument--I do it myself in plenty of other contexts--the fact still remains that it's hell on earth.
  18. David Denby of The New Yorker on Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
  19. When I was teaching a class in mythology and even now when I'm teaching freshman composition, I get great mileage out of examining the Disney interpretation of Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid." I always point them to the original text and then we start the discussion. Apart from the lack of a singing hermit, the two issues that always come up are and . The change in values between the two is astonishing. Anderson's tale ends with
  20. Yup, that's right, I'm here. It's my third one. I strolled into the fiction workshop on Monday and lo and behold there standing in front of me is an odd gent wearing a name tag that read "Jeffrey Overstreet". Then he had the gall to wear his U2 shirt before I did. I've got some pics (including a nifty difty one of Karin Berquist) up on my site www.truffin.com as well as some commentary. In addition to Jeff's observations, which I second, I'd also say that it's a refreshing thing to see folks from all over the Christian spectrum getting together and not talking overmuch about their differences. Meal times are a wonderful communion of brothers and sisters.
  21. For the moment I'll eschew the list of scenes I'd LIKE to say I go back to but don't (another thread maybe?) Big Night --Two starches!?! --The ending scene after the big fight where Segundo makes Primo a simple breakfast. Primary Colors --I do not mythologize the male sex organ! --The introduction of Henry and Richard. "You are a black racist." --The scene where Henry, Richard, and Daisy try to talk to Susan about Jack's potential infidelity problems. --Libby's farwell speech --The penultimate scene where Jack pleads with Henry not to leave the campaign. West Wing --The end scene of the pilot episode where Bartlett lambastes a particularly mean-spirited right-wing politico and corrects everyone's misremembering of the 10 commandments. The X-Files --Scully sings "Jeremiah was a bullfrog..." to Mulder.
  22. Amen. We haven't owned a coffee maker for many years now. The press is simple, easy, and can be used to make things other than coffee which makes it a multitasking space saver. And, imho, it makes a superior cup o joe with deeper flavor. I especially enjoy the coffee solids (not grounds) that are not filtered out by this method. As for heating water seperately...I can only say that manly men of stout heart and discerning (read snobby) buds do not mind that horrific inconvenience of placing water from the tap into the kettle and setting it to boil whilst we make our morning visit to the loo. As for more grounds....this from the man willing to spend over $100 on a coffee maker.
  23. According to the THX Website, the "Wings" was the first trailer produced for the company. I'm not sure if the whole THX system was in place for Jedi, but the trailer was in use in North Olmsted, OH in 1983.
  24. Turn it up! Turn it uuuuuuuuuup! ← That sounds very right and proper.
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