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Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sure it's photo-shopped. But it's perfect.

The stupidities in our time are starting to cross like the energy streams in 'Ghostbusters'.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Kingsman, 50 Shades, and Acedia

It being Valentine’s Day this weekend, and not coincidentally the opening of the movie Fifty Shades of Greyit’s also not coincidental our pastor at church mentioned the movie in this week’s sermon.  He guessed that many in the congregation had already read the books, and many more would see the movie.  The congregation laughed because it was of course true.  Then he mentioned something called acedia.  I had never heard the term. According to one definition I found, acedia is ‘a state of languor or torpor, of unconcern or dissatisfaction with one's condition or action in the world’.  The pastor pointed out that some of the reason we get excited about things like the weird S&M in '50 Shades' is that we are, well, bored.  Spiritually, experientially, emotionally.  We want more.  And then still more.  And we want it because we’ve forgotten the basics like God, right, wrong, love; the list goes on…  When we no longer know what the basics are, when we don’t know where we’re supposed to be going or what we’re supposed to be doing, we can fall into the trap of continually searching for novelty.  Continually hotter peppers (big in the 90’s), more hops in the beer, more jolt in the espresso, more sea salt in the chocolate.  Novelty and more novelty.  And when you’ve got it floored in the fast lane on Novelty Highway, you just might miss the sign that says “Welcome to Frick’n Depraved. Population Growing.”  I quote the pastor from memory and Jack certainly didn’t say this last part in his sermon.  But that’s where my thinking went.

Because I didn’t see '50 Shades' this weekend (and doubt I ever will).  I saw a different stupid move: Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Apparently it’s based on comic books, which I think we’re supposed to call graphic novels now, but give me a break.  Campy.  Over-the-top.  Dumb but fun.  And then, ten minutes from the end of the movie, two characters who were both stand-up, ethical, rock-solid good guys make a completely gratuitous and raunchy sexual agreement.  Out of nowhere.  The plot didn’t require it.  The specific act didn’t need to be mentioned.  It was just thrown in.  Novelty.  More.

And it made me rethink the movie.  I had been mostly enjoying it.  I was perfectly okay with it being just a CGI-dominated hodgepodge of plots, gags, and gear stolen from 007 movies and The Avengers  (the old TV series)  I was okay with Samuel L. Jackson overacting in the usual way.  Hey, it’s why we go see Samuel L. Jackson.  I was okay with the fawning emphasis on sharp threads ( I think it’s about time more people moved away from pants hanging down below their ass, and bespoke suits are fine with me.  I want to be able to get one, one day.).  I knew what most of the movie would be like when I bought the ticket.  But I didn’t expect the punchline from a Hustler cartoon as the payoff for the hero.  Novelty.  When you’re a Kingsman but it’s no longer fashionable to fight for God & King, how do you wrap up your movie?  With the basics gone, all you’ve got left is novelty, and apparently novelty has now become the damsel and the woodsman working out their deal the way I imagine it’s done in discount trailer-park bordellos in Nevada.

We’re bored. Give us more.  We need another shot of the juice.  Acedia.