May 21, 2007
What is your nation coming to when you can't trust a movie star to come clean about his hGH consumption! In my day, we Augustinians were so juiced, I could bench press three cardinals, a bishop, two abbots, and one costello before breakfast without retching!
For you diehard Sly fans, here's a preview snippet from the new John Rambo:
Note once again the Christian penumbra, in the spirit of Rocky Balboa.
Tonsure tip: Empire Online. (I used the YouTube version, as the link provided by Empire had some filthy naughty dirty words.)
May 18, 2007
And yet, despite all the whining I hear about the postal service in this country, it actually boasts superior performance than can be claimed by comparable services in most other countries. I remember mailing a letter to Katie while making my futile pilgrimage to Rome in 1510, and only yesterday it was returned to me marked "insufficient postage"! Gee—ya think?
And Just When Jim Had Asked Her Out!
We wish Ms. Fischer a speedy recovery. Isn't it bad enough that I must wait four months to find out what happened to Karen? Did Jim leave her in New York? Is she coming back to Scranton? Did they break up? O the tension! O the anticipation! And now I must worry whether Ms. Fischer will recover in time for the season premiere! Has she no conscience?! One foot in front of the other, you jackanapes! Make sure you always have a designated stair-descender!
WHAT WAS SHE DOING IN A NEW YORK BAR IN THE FIRST PLACE!? Why do these actoids not have handlers to watch over them! They have a larger duty to the community—to suppress all natural and personal desire in the cause of entertaining the masses! Between seasons they should be kept locked in a safehouse somewhere in New Mexico—and they must always remain in character!
Exercise should come exclusively from kicking semi-pelagians and chasing down Anabaptists.
It has worked for me and look: I am 523 1/2 years old, and I don't look a day over 327. (I do moisturize, which was a key point of contention between me and the Romanists, and the sole reason my Protestant confreres refused to attend any of the sessions at Trent. That and the fact that they were given the crummiest seats, right by the kitchen.)
May 17, 2007
And seeing as we here at Luther at the Movies had previously published a post with the provocative title "Was a Movie to Blame for VTech Rampage?" we have been showing up in the search results, drawing curious Web searchers to our humble blog.
Welcome, one and all. To those of you unfamiliar with our crew, this link will perform the honors. (Although I am sad to say that Ms. Dellaponti is no longer with us. She was seriously injured in an exercise involving superglue, latex, and a copy of the Patrologia. Don't ask . . . I SAID DON'T ASK!)
And so, if you feel you are qualified, we are currently taking applications to fill her position. We offer no salary, no benefits, no pension, no 401(k). I am abusive, ungrateful, and supernaturally overbearing. This cannot possibly lead to a promotion, so should you stay on with us, you will probably die slumped over your milk-crate desk, the life essence having been drained from you as you performed the very same rote tasks over and over, day in and day out, year after year. Coffee is $1.89 a cup. No vacation or sick pay. Expect to be on call 24/7. No personal phone calls. No personal conversations; in fact, no speaking. No looking directly at me or anyone else. Movement should be kept to a minimum. One bathroom break per workday (and then you must use the one in Winkie's Hardware Heaven around the corner). Should you choose to leave this position for one with another company, you will receive no recommendation, only libelous calumny, no matter how fine your work performance.
We do have summer Fridays...
May 16, 2007
Oh wait . . . never mind.
This Kid They Let Live . . . Because . . .
1. What happened to the poor loser who got socked in the face with the chess clock in the opening scene? Yes, he was a means to an end—i.e., the establishment of the strange condition that would drive the miserable hell-child to House's clutches—but not a word of what charges might be brought against the monster for assault, thereby increasing his suffering and our pleasure?
2. Hemochromatosis is the most common genetically transferred condition among males of northern European extraction. A simple blood test should have detected off-the-charts iron levels. A secondary test, also not uncommonly done, is for ferritin levels—stored iron, which, in someone with hemochromatosis, would also be in the danger zone. (Especially if iron had seeped into the joints and internal organs to the extent it had in the case illustrated last night.)
In other words, this condition should have been detected with a lot more ease than was demonstrated for dramatic purposes.
But give the show's writers credit for not explaining away the child's demonic disposition—no reductionist theories, no "It's all mommy's/the disease's fault" here. He is simply rotten, and deserves to be isolated in a cell somewhere, a la Hannibal Lector, where he will be given nothing to do but watch Exit to Eden over and over and over again. Yes: Rosie O'Donnell in black leather—a most fitting punishment for the little guttersnipe.
May 15, 2007
The snooty critics could not appreciate a working-class comedy that was not class-conscious or incessantly profane. That Kevin James, Leah Remini, and Jerry Stiller were not nominated for Emmies on a regular basis just goes to prove how daft these award shows are.
Who will forget the "Doug and Deacon get layed off" episodes, or Arthur's immortal words to his only daughter: "Birth control pills? DOES HE TOUCH YOU?!" Or the very special relationship shared between Spence and his roommate, Doug's cousin. (Remember when Arthur and Spence decide to go into business together and in a matter of hours are on the verge of bankruptcy out of sheer neurotic perseveration?)
Oh, well . . . I still have The Office and House, which redeemed itself from what was quickly becoming its culture-of-death mission statement: "The only good patient is a dead patient."
May 12, 2007
Throw Momma from the Train While You're At It
Some of these are no-brainers, I mean Postcards from the Edge and Terms of Endearment and The Joy Luck Club. Right. Gotcha. But Star Wars Episode Three: Revenge of the Sith?
Why not Exit Wounds or Hostel—other examples of torture? Why not Spaceballs for that matter? (Or should that be seen only with Dad?)
The explanation given by the MSNBC writers is that, in the prequels, we learn that Princess Leia was merely "following in the footsteps of her mother, Amidala."
This is what we in the medical profession call strained.
And where is Mommie Dearest?
Nevertheless: Here is a list of "Seven Films Mothers Should See With Their Sons":
1. The Jerk
2. The Krays
4. Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
6. Five Corners
7. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
Some people may ask, Why? Others may ask, Why not? And still others just drone on and on and on until you want to stick their head in a pea sheller and do your time like a man . . .
Happy Mother's Day.
May 11, 2007
With that said: I would like someone to explain to me how anyone can reconcile himself to the notion of indulgences, which remain a rank perversion of the very notion of grace. And how does he reconcile himself to prayer after prayer in which the Blessed Mother of Our Lord is held up as the intercessor between sinful men and God Almighty?
And yet, more and more Lutherans, not to mention other Protestants, don their water wings and cross the river Tiber. (I have been to Rome; I can only hope the river is cleaner now...)
I was alerted to this event by a post on a Romanist site.
What must we do to stop the bleeding? Only one thing: Preach the gospel of unmerited love, grace, justification—and sanctification; administer the sacraments; bring Christ to a fallen world.
Our Lord asks for no more. And even if we remain a tiny minority, even within the so-called Lutheran world, so long as we are faithful to our calling, that is enough.
"I have reserved for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal."
"Only 7,000, Lord? It's a big world!"
Obviously, that was enough.
*Special thanks to Mr. W. Allen for the reference.
May 10, 2007
Oh the trouble I had when I first made my way back to the land of the living (if you can call this living). I immediately sought succor in a Lutheran Church on Lexington Ave. in Manhattan upon arrival here in three-dimension-la-la-ville and, because of my extremely moldy garb and the stench of death about me, was told I would have to leave because I was "bringing everyone down."
Me? The King of Fun! Down?! Who was the first man in Europe to make a papal-shaped pinata for the kiddies? Who invented the party game "Dunk the Dominican"? Who is in the process of securing sole copyright to a new board game, the object of which is to chase as many Anabaptists out of your town as you can within the prescribed time limits!
Down?! Who was voted "The Most Up Magisterial Reformer of 1540"?! Who was the first named on every nun's wedding-guest list?
I'll give them down...
May 09, 2007
May 08, 2007
Yes, can we please press into service Douglas Wilson or Alvin Plantinga or Alister McGrath or David Hart or any number of Lutherans, from Wolfhart Pannenberg to Robert Jenson—anyone who wasn't associated with those fukakta Left Behind movies! Let us be clear here: the Rapture rap is to serious theology what a fortune cookie is to an MRI!
I must lie down. Bring me my Hot Pockets . . . I must have my Hot Pockets . . .
Get This: Not Wilson or Hart or McGrath, but Al Sharpton took on Christopher Hitchens. While I am decidedly not a fan of Mr. Sharpton's modus operandi—you know, he didn't fare too badly . . .
UPDATE: And so Wilson contra Hitchens was not merely pie in the sky, but is taking place as we speak! Hurrah!
Which is not to say that Gekko and his protege, now presumably out of prison and enjoying a second career in a cheesy hit sitcom, might not provide some compelling social commentary, given all the busts in the post-boom economic landscape.
But why do I have a feeling this will prove as potent a follow-up as Basic Instinct 2: Why Is She Sitting Like That?
You Can't Go Rome Again
By all appearances she is now happy and at peace.
But she asked a very interesting question—or, rather, put an interesting question to a caller who inquired about the "true church." She advised asking interested Protestant parties to read the early Church Fathers and compare the church as the Fathers describe it with any Protestant church today. Ms. Bonds was convinced that the Prots would not fare well by comparison.
What was interesting was that the caller identified herself as a Lutheran. I am convinced that the Lutheran church, above all churches, would mimic closely early church worship: baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist (with only a spare and biblical Eucharistic blessing), confession of faults, prayers of thanksgiving (but no prayers to dead men for dead men), and what appears to be a congregational polity ("Elect, therefore, for yourselves Bishops and Deacons worthy of the Lord," Didache, Ch. 15).
So take Ms. Bonds up on her challenge: Study the Didache or other early accounts of Christian worship and see which communion best transmits the simple traditions—the Lutheran, or the Roman with its centuries of devotional accretions and heretical doctrines, such as that of indulgences.
I have taken to watching many of these Romanist programs on EWTN, which feature many energetic converts. As I have always been a shining example of irenic ecumenical dialogue, I will continue to reach out in a civilized and discrete manner to all Romanists in order to disabuse them of their errors, while also showing Protestants and Evangelicals that not all that is said of Rome is true. For example, the idea that the pope grows horns after making his blood pact with the devil has been proved to be a falsehood. The blood pact with Satan, taken upon accession to the papal throne, does not necessarily issue in physical deformity. So let us put that lie to bed once and for all.
May 07, 2007
And I will see none of it, despite getting up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning and suffering the chaos wrought by packs of mewling, puking, whining cretins hanging from the rafters and spitting out peanut M&Ms across the freshly installed stadium seating at the Atlas Park Regal Theaters for the 9:15 a.m. showing!
A sad, sad business. Many believers of goodwill are suffering much heartache as the church they love sinks into the huggah-muggah of competing theologies, political powerplays, and a genuine disregard for their own confessional authority (such as it is--given the unsettled history of the Elizabethan Settlement, were the Thirty-nine Articles ever regarded as more than just the Thirty-nine Suggestions?)
While that spiritual pigmy and mass murderer Henry VIII was no friend of mine (or vicey-versey), this is no time to boast: Let he who is without silliness . . .
Update: Archbishop Akinola of Nigeria writes "Dear Rowan" letter...
May 06, 2007
How about a T-shirt with a red slash through the word "JACKANAPES"? Or a sweatshirt that reads "SILENCE, IMAGINARY INTERLOCUTOR!" Or "KICK A SEMIPELAGIAN TODAY—YOU'LL FEEL BETTER"? Or "MARTIN LUTHER: RIGHT SINCE 1517"?
Ach, it sounds like more work than it's worth, and I'll probably only get stiffed on the royalties—AGAIN!
May 05, 2007
Spidey 3: He Gets By with a Little Help from His Friends
But it is Spider-Man who gets religion—and learns that Darth Vader is his father (or something very similar).
Yes, the Spider-Man has a dark side—and don't all superheroes, especially when you have run out of story lines. He also has a wider selection of villains this time around: Gremlin Jr. (James Franco); his rival for the staff position on the Bugle turned evil nemesis (Topher Grace); and, the real star of the gee-whiz CGI show, The Sandman, created when escaped convict Flint Marko tumbles into some nuclear waste and develops the single worst case of eczema in recorded dermatological history.
So: is the negative criticism warranted? This script is a mess, and could afford to lose at least 45 minutes, which is how long it takes before you actually discover there is a story and not just more hemming and hawing over will he or won't he finally pop the question to Mary Jane Whatserface, played by a devotee of maryjane, the loverly Kirsten Dunst.
And when a film becomes excessively self-referential, basking in its own commercial success, you know it is time to pull the plug on this franchise.
But once Spidey 3 gets down to the nitty-gritty, by which I mean more than the sand in Spider-Man's shorts after tussling with Marko, you will enjoy a truly morally inspiring piece of entertainment, in which Evil is depicted as not only a condition of the heart—which can be fostered by rationalizations or foiled by the power of forgiveness—but as something outside oneself that can literally possess you, and which only the tintinnabulation of church bells seems able to eradicate.
"You always have a choice," Spidey tells one antagonist. And while the pelagianism is laid on hot and heavy, given the preponderance of vile messages sent out to kids these days, a reminder that you can always choose to do the right thing, and that there is a very real difference between justice and vengeance, is worth a pass on the theology exam and a few extra theses for a social conscience.
Again, the romantic dribble becomes ponderous, but the last 45 minutes of stupendous special effects and the lessons taught about moral discipline and the value of friendship are well worth the initial tedium.
And so I give Spider-Man 80 Theses.
"But Herr Doktor, your movie-ratings scheme does not allow for 80 theses—only 75 or 85—"
Silence, imaginary interlocutor! Was Luther made for the ratings or the ratings made for Luther? This fell between goodish and good, so shut your pie hole and have another Sno-Cap. Or have another Sno-Cap and then shut your pie hole. Whatever you do, do it quietly!
The Hoax: Who Played Whom?
With money-grubbing fact-checking buddy Dick Susskind in tow, Irving steals files from the Pentagon, forges documents, and just generally lies lies lies to everyone in pursuit of fame, fortune, and the perfect convertible.
This is the era of Watergate, and so mendacity is in the air—but little did I know that the fake autobiography of Howard Hughes was, in its own way, what in fact triggered the scandal!
Fun, fascinating, and repellant, The Hoax is a story of American ingenuity gone haywire.
Richard Gere gives probably the best performance of his life as a man for whom truth is something you barter for power. Alfred Molina is his usual buggy self as the manipulative and manipulated friend with just a speckle of conscience. And Marcia Gay Harden, best remembered (at least by me) as the long-suffering spouse of dribble king Jackson Pollock, is quite pathetic as Irving's, well, long-suffering spouse.
In the end, Irving the con artist, who feeds off a man's life and reputation, gets a wholesale lesson in how some people attain their level of success and power. And it ain't because they're too scared to come out and play.
I give The Hoax a hefty 90 Theses.
And now: Off to see Spidey-3!
May 03, 2007
I am also pleased to see that Lisa Randall, string theorist from Harvard University, has made the final cut. I too have a theory about string: It is long and thin and easy to wind into balls. There—and without an advanced degree in any of the hard sciences! (Theology is a medium science, unlike psychology, which is a soft science, or economics, which is a mushy, drippy science.)
Meditate on David Lynch
Q: How much money are you looking to raise [for the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace]?
A: I say $7 billion would get a real good start.
A good start, yes...
But my favorite line: "Well, I was raised Presbyterian..."
That explains so much, and yet so little. Who did kill Laura Palmer? And why does the midget laugh? And why is Naomi Watts making that funny face in Mulholland Drive?
And I have nothing to wear! Ach!
I wonder if she would sign my copy of Diana: Her True Story? Maybe not . . .
And where exactly is Virginia? I mean in relation to me. Where I am right now. I'm facing left.
That Darn Cat: The Director's Cut
"Surely you must be kidding, Herr Doktor!"
OF COURSE, I'M KIDDING! (and don't call me Shirley)
WHO GIVES A RAT'S TUTTI-FRUTTI ABOUT WHAT WAS LEFT ON THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR FROM PAYBACK? Unless it was a script and a director—who exactly is the audience for this thing? (Although, it made a not unrespectable $81 million in its initial domestic release.)
Ach—maybe I'm just getting old. (ALL RIGHT, VERY OLD!)
What is next: Casper: The Director's Cut, wherein we are given an alternate ending where Casper turns out to be one of Satan's minions, and his flesh and blood companions are taken kicking and screaming to the fires of Gehenna (and Christina Ricci is finally given her just deserts for years and years of listless performances in stench-ridden independent drivel)?
How about the very special edition of The OH in Ohio, in which the audience does not slit its collective wrists just to be granted release from its agony?
Oh, con artist thy name is marketing director!
May 02, 2007
We will see. Ohh, we will see . . .
But it is nevertheless considered a great honor to win one.
New York cleaned up. And Beliefnet.com, for which my miserable execrable assistant used to work, beat out ESPN.com and Slate.com for General Excellence Online. Congratulations to Steve Waldman, Elizabeth Sams, and the rest of the Bnet crew. It's been a long, hard haul.
I am stunned to learn that anyone reads Rolling Stone anymore, never mind celebrates it. That it is considered superior to The New Yorker, admittedly a shadow of its former classy self, is definitely debatable.
But to give so many awards to magazines with "New York" in the title may have been pushing the generosity of the participants beyond reasonable limits.
May 01, 2007
Understated, goofy, and—yes—clueless, Mr. Poston was from an old school of comedy, which, when the last of its graduates—Bob Newhart, say—passes from the scene, will be torn down to make room for Borat.
That is not progress.
The Onion Snarks the Sequel-less
Of all of these selections, Buckaroo Banzai was the most creative, and Master and Commander the best film of the lot, period.
Now we should see a list of films that spawned a franchise but that shouldn't have. Like Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
It is a shame he squandered his considerable talent late in life, in mediocre fare and court appearances. From what I have read, Mr. Brando simply didn't take acting very seriously, and only money or political engagement could pry him away from island life.
Can you imagine a 70-year-old Brando treading the "boards" one last time? What would an orchestra seat have gone for—$1,000? $10,000? What play would have pulled him back to the stage? Perhaps he would have played Edna Turnblad in the musical Hairspray . . .