Monthly Archives: June 2013

A Mom at an Alt-Rock Concert


This weekend we went to the county fair and saw the alt-rock band Switchfoot in concert!  My teenaged daughters, along with their friends from church, had a great time in the mosh pit.

My husband and I hung in the back of that crowded area, but still had fun.  We’ve heard the music enough at home that we could sing along a bit, and the beat is infectious enough that you can hardly stand still!

Mess of Me is a protest against society’s obsession with the pharmaceutical industry, which has become the new way to “attain never-ending, everlasting, abundant life” according to lead Jon Foreman, the point being that God is the way to abundant, eternal life.

I’ve made a mess of me
I want to get back the rest of me
I’ve made a mess of me
I want to spend the rest of my life alive
I’ve made a mess of me
I want to reverse this tragedy
I’ve made a mess of me
I want to spend the rest of my life alive

The rest of my life alive


While I was at the edge, mouthing the words and bouncing along, I thought of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies.  Mom Rachael Harris always seems to embarrass middle son Zachary Gordon, especially with her dancing.


I know I didn’t embarrass my kids, because they couldn’t see me, although perhaps I embarrassed my husband.  Fun movies, fun concert!

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The One Face of Morgan Freeman


These have been busy movie years for Morgan Freeman.  He is a sought-after actor who exudes an authoritative voice and calm demeanor (IMDb).

But I am beginning to think that’s all he is – a fatherly figure with an authoritative voice and calm demeanor.

Is it the directing?  The writing?  Or audience expectations?  What is putting a limit on Morgan Freeman’s acting?

Let’s look at his movies of 2013 and 2012:

still-of-morgan-freeman-and-caitriona-balfe-in-now-you-see-me -jaful-perfect

Now You See Me (2013 PG-13).  Morgan Freeman is a rival magician out to expose the motive and methods of the Four Horseman illusionist team, who have been using their magic to steal from the rich to give to the audience.  Freeman does have one nice scene at the end where he is shocked to realize . . . well, I wont tell you what he is shocked to realize.  Go see the movie, because it is a fun movie!  But other than the ending, Freeman is still the authoritative magician messing with the others.


Oblivion (2013 PG-13).  In this futuristic sci-fi movie, Morgan Freeman is the leader of the surviving humans on earth, who captures unsuspecting Tom Cruise as Cruise makes repairs and hunts residual aliens.  Yes, Freeman is a cigar-smoking goggle-wearing leader of the rebellion, but never do you believe he will actually harm Cruise while he is tied in that chair.


Olympus Has Fallen (2013 R).  In the first of many such movies out soon, terrorists destroy famous monuments of Washington DC and kidnap the president.  I can’t remember what happened to the vice president, but Speaker of the House Morgan Freeman is left to be the acting president.  He gives in to the terrorists demands, but with a calm demeanor easily stands up to the high ranking general to his left.  Just as you expect him to.


The Dark Knight Rises (2012 PG-13).  I didn’t get to see this conclusion to the Batman trilogy, so I can’t report on Morgan Freeman’s character.  But from the image, he looks relaxed and happy and fatherly.  A nice change of pace from the other tense and complex movies above.  But this is probably just one moment in this dark and intense movie.


The Magic of Belle Isle (2012 PG).  Freeman plays an alcoholic paralyzed author who gets sent by his grandson to spend the summer in a small town, with the hope that he will stop drinking and start writing again.  He is befriended by a single mom with three daughters.  You see him buy alcohol, drink alcohol, but not really act like a drunk.  Perhaps it is because this independent film is rated PG, and has children in main roles, or maybe the script just can’t decide if they want a drunk, or if they want Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman is always cast for the same type of roles, and he puts his own touch on them.  But maybe that is what we want from him.  And he is very good at it!


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What Do You Do When You Watch Your Favorite Movie With Haters?

We had time to kill with the group, and so my friend chose one of her favorite movies to watch, one that is always a crowd-pleaser.  It has action, romance, comedy, adventure.  And sword fighting.

Yes, it’s The Princess Bride (1987 PG)!  Fun movie!  Can you quote any lines from it?  Our family can….


But what happens when you are watching a movie that you know is good with someone who is determined not to like it?  Here are some of the comments we heard in the first 15 minutes:

(annoyed) “Why does that bald guy keep saying, ‘Inconceivable’?”

“Dude – the prince is wearing a purple dress!”

“Was that supposed to be funny?”

Here’s the clip in question.  Wallace Shawn and his evil Brute Squad has kidnapped beautiful Robin Wright just before she is to wed the prince, and masked pirate Cary Elwes is trying to rescue her.  And, yes, it is supposed to be funny:

So, what do you do?  Do you stop the movie, or hope that they will give it a chance and be drawn into a movie that you love?

We just kept the movie running, and glanced at each other and mouthed all the great lines as they came up. Have fun storming the castle!


What would you have done?


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ParaNorman: Horror for Middle Schoolers


Today I got to see the animated movie ParaNorman (2012 PG) with a group of middle schoolers.  I had never seen this stop-motion movie before , but remember it had gotten good reviews:  A misunderstood boy takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

ParaNorman Uncle

We laughed and laughed at many of the parts!  Especially the scene where Norman must pry a book out of his dead uncle’s hands.

But this is also a frightening film.  A creeped-out boy prying a book out of his dead uncle’s hands?  A terrified kid standing up to a 200-year-old witch’s curse?  A bullied child who can see and talk to people and animals after they’ve died?

This clip is a good overview of all the freaky stuff in the movie:

What will give kids nightmares?  The part where Norman is hiding under the bed from the zombie, who’s ear falls off in front of Norman’s face?  Funny, but also a bit scary.


Kids like scary stories.  Goosebumps books and Scooby-Doo cartoons are popular.  But do we allow too much horror into kids’ lives?

When I was little I watched a movie while sleeping at a friend’s house. I think it had something to do with a time machine, but the thing that kept me awake and afraid was a scene where the scientist and the girl run from a burning building.  Probably not scary to an adult, but it made me want to be home.

What movies kept you up at night when you were younger?

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D-Day Remembered

Sixty-nine years ago American, British and Canadian forces landed on the beach at Normandy, France.  They faced incredible obstacles in an attack against Nazi forces that could have been a disaster. Yet heroically the Allies ended up turning back Hitler’s army, leading to the eventual surrender of Germany and ending World War 2 in Europe.

Such intense action has been portrayed in many movies.  This clip from Saving Private Ryan (1998) shows the soldiers just before landing.

Other favorite movies listed include The Longest Day (1962) and Band of Brothers (TV 2001):

Thanks go to those amazing people who swallowed their fear to help end the war!


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