Category Archives: Pop Culture

Movie Review: Magic Mike

I have to admit, I didn’t really have any interest in seeing Magic Mike to begin with. My first contact with the movie was seeing a print ad for it in a magazine where all of the lead actors were half-naked. This didn’t especially appeal to me, and seeing some friends remarking about the “hotness” of this actor over that one just reinforced my non-interest. Why would I want to give my money to something that led women into the near or actual occasion of sin?

Why indeed.

Well, I ended up getting involved in a conversation on Facebook where someone was commenting on the trailer for the movie. In order that I might actually speak intelligently on the subject, I watched the trailer. This led me to think that maybe it was a bit more than just soft porn out there to make a buck. I wanted to be able to come back to my online friends with something substantial, so when I saw that the movie was playing locally in half an hour… I went.

Okay, first you all should know just how much I love you, because it’s no easy thing to walk into that movie theater and buy a ticket to Magic Mike alone. Even the clerk asked me, “Just one?” I was the only person in line.

When I stepped into the theater, I was the only person in the room. Great. Well, at least it wasn’t crowded? Eventually a few more people showed up, but there probably wasn’t more than 20 of us. Perhaps this is because it was 10:30 pm on the night before Independence Day.

The movie ended up being both better and worse than I expected.

Worse, in that there was a LOT of outright nudity and … “suggestive” acts isn’t quite the right phrase. There wasn’t much suggestion about it. It was more like outright “telling” witlhout actually “doing.” But that’s pretty true to life. Strippers are meant to shock and thrill, right? There was also bad language, objectification of both sexes and portrayals of drug use. So, I can’t recommend that anyone actually see the movie. Especially not those who are easily influenced or where watching these mostly naked men will cause them to lust.

Thankfully, I wasn’t “turned on” by this film. I did, however, appreciate their athleticism and dancing skills. Mostly, I found it to be a little comical as well as being a little sad. Watching the dollar bills being thrown at the men or shoved at them was a little like watching their dignity being taken from them, one bill at a time. I remember sitting in the theater, looking at an image on the screen of all these dollars scattered across the stage and likening them to teardrops. In one notable scene, “Magic” Mike was trying to straighten out these bills. He would run them against the edge of the table, much as we do when we are trying to get all the wrinkles out for the vending machine. Then, he set a heavy book on a stack of them. In another scene, he is trying to get a loan from a bank so that he can start up his own business making custom furniture — a profession he ultimately desires. But he is declined, even though he has a stack of cash as an initial investment.

All this leads me to perhaps the best part of the film: it does not glamorize this lifestyle.

In fact, as the movie progresses, it moves from Mike’s initial mindset — that being a stripper is a good source of money and girls — to realizing the emptiness of this lifestyle and ultimately rejecting it. This realization comes to him after he takes a young man under his wing and trains him as his protege, and sees how this adversely affects his life. He also realizes the emptiness in his romantic life. He goes from sleeping with multiple partners, to being confronted with the selfishness of this behavior when he tries to have more than just a superficial relationship with a regular bed-partner, to the end of the film, where it is suggested that he might have a shot at an authentic romantic relationship based on more than mere physical gratification.

Drugs are shown as dangerous, addicting and hollow. Money is shown as not being the most important thing in life. In fact, Mike gives most of the money he had been saving towards his dream, in order that his protege might escape the wrath of some drug dealers. And he doesn’t expect to get it back. We see how stripping is not a fulfilling career for the men, and how their worth deteriorates over time as they grow older and their acts are no longer “fresh.”

Once we are thoroughly disillusioned with the lifestyle and things look bleakest for the characters, a ray of hope enters when Mike rejects the lifestyle and simply walks away. There is a brief suggestion that maybe the guy will get the girl and then the movie abruptly ends, leaving you wanting more. Or at least I did. Not more mostly naked guys, but some indication that he was going to be okay. That he built a good life for himself. That his protege was able to straighten his life out as well.

We didn’t get that kind of reassurance. But we got hope. And sometimes, that’s all you need.

Some Things Shouldn’t Be Sung About in a Trivial Manner

I admit it, my stereocilia dance to pagan music. If purgatory is the place where God pries our fingers from the sin we are still clinging to at the time of our death, then my iPod is surely to be found in the palm of my hand.

That being the case, I quite often run into morally objectionable material. I shouldn’t be surprised by anything anymore at this point. However, one song is making me wonder, “What were they thinking?!”

It’s called “Pumped Up Kicks” and is an infectious bit of bubble gum pop. The lyrics are simple and easy to remember and sing, the beat is catchy and makes you want to dance (or at least tap your feet, if you aren’t the dancing type)…

But the content of the lyrics is shocking.

Not that they are talking about sex, drugs or any of the other stuff that we are used to being assaulted by in secular media.

No, that would be too … common.

This song seems to be at least trivializing and at worst glorifying … events such as Columbine or Virginia Tech! What?! No way! You’d better believe it. I’m not going to repeat the lyrics here, but you can look them up on your own and check it out. It’s pretty obvious.

And this song is mainstream. They even played it between bands at the Enrique Iglesias/Pitbull concert.

Free speech is one thing, but shouldn’t we be responsible for what it is that we are saying publicly?

When Venti is Just Too Small…

I thought this was hilarious! Biggby coffee already has as their largest size a 24 oz, which is 4 oz larger than a Starbucks Venti (my usual size). But then, I was randomly looking at Biggby Bob’s blog and found THIS!

Check it out, you will laugh too! Happy Wednesday!

Says something about us, doesn’t it?

Current Thoughts Bouncing Around My Head

1. Yay! I finally have MY car back! I only have about 3 weeks left on my warranty (and the car’s only a year old! I just happen to drive A LOT!), and my little message display stopped working, so it was in the shop to try and figure out what was going on. I had thought it was just a fuse, but the tech said it had power and had a ground, so they want to replace the entire unit. Yay, warranty! Knock yourselves out! 🙂 The only bad thing is that I was without my car for 2 days. I am grateful that my mom was willing to let me borrow her car (and that she had Wednesday and Thursday off!). However, driving her car made me so incredibly glad to get my own back. Not that her car is awful or anything. She has a 2007 Dodge Caliber. But, it does have some characteristics which I found irksome.

a. My mom and I are the same height and everything, but she likes to sit WAY too close to the steering wheel. Since, I understand the pain and anguish of having to readjust the seat, I left it the way she likes it. As a related issue, she likes the steering wheel low, so that’s almost in your lap, too. Problem being that the top part of the steering wheel is right in the line of sight for the speedometer. Now, I understand that Mom doesn’t use those digits at the top of the dial, but for her daughter, Mario Andretti, there was an issue.

b. It seems like this car has much less visibility than mine. Wider pillars, smaller back window. However, her side mirrors are amazingly well-adjusted.

c. Her transmission doesn’t sound the same switching gears. So, I don’t know that I’m going too fast until the little needle comes out of hiding from the steering wheel, like at 95 mph. 🙂 (Just kidding, Mom! I didn’t have your car going that fast!)

d. Mom and Dad were irritated by the shape of the headrests on the seats…so they removed them. Now, the seat only goes up to your shoulder, and there is no support for my head/neck were I to get into a crash. That is more than a little disturbing to me.

e. Her cup holders are further down by the floor than mine and not well protected. It is much easier to spill my coffee. And, because of their location, you almost have to look down to put the cup back in the holder — which, hello, distracted driving. I made sure to evaluate my options for Starbucks-compatibility before purchasing. Just saying.

f. Mom doesn’t care about “options” in a car. If she could buy one without power anything and with no radio, she would do it. It just happens that the better leases are on cars which have at least a few options. Resale value is higher. Go figure. 🙂 Because she does not care, the clock was still at the wrong time (never changed when daylight savings did). So, I fixed that. But then, turning on the radio, I found it all messed up. Obviously, my brother must have messed with it, since the fade and balance were adjusted so that I was certain I was going deaf in one ear, and the bass was cranked up way too much. Not that I don’t like bass. But, seriously, when it is making all the plasticy pieces in the back of the car rattle — not the vibrational sound I was going for.

Overall, it was good, reliable transportation, and I am very, very thankful that I was able to borrow her car to go to work.

2. On a related note, I noticed yesterday that her passenger windshield wiper had hanging rubber, and wasn’t wiping very well. And, because it is expected to snow tomorrow pretty good, I needed to make sure I returned the car fully functional, so Mom could go to work. So, I faced the prospect of having one car in the shop and trying to find a way to get parts for the other car. I stopped by an Auto Zone on the way to get Mom (to pick up my car). I bought a new wiper blade and the kind boy behind the counter installed it for me! Go AutoZoneBoy! Thank you! I prayed that he would have a blessed evening and day today, for his kindness. Because of him, I was able to return her car in perfect condition, with a full tank of gas (okay AZB didn’t do that, but still).

3. “A lot of taxpayers’ money is going into Church schools and I think we should tease out what is happening here,” said Sheerman. “It seems to me that faith education works all right as long as people are not that serious about their faith. But as soon as there is a more doctrinaire attitude, questions have to be asked.” — Courtesy of ZENIT

Oh, I getcha. Religion is fine as long as it’s not REAL. What they are saying is they don’t mind believers who…don’t really believe. What? I mean, if we aren’t to teach the faith, why not just have secular schools? Duh. Why are they surprised? It’s like saying, “Math classes are fine, as long as the students really aren’t learning anything. But as soon as they start actually teaching algebra and long division, questions have to be asked.” In summation, “Keep the dumb sheep dumb.” Thank you, Satan; I think I’ll pass.

Distraction…Check!

DSCN5606

I discovered not too long ago this thing called a…library.
Look at all the great fluffy bunny fru-fru books that I managed to check out!
Exactly what I need when I don’t want to think too much! 🙂

…of the Day

Photo:
DSCN4149
I didn’t take the picture today, but I did upload it to my Flickr today; and it just made me grin. 🙂

Question:
Matthew 8:28-34
Could the demoniacs be a type or foreshadowing of Judas, in that when their badness is confronted by Christ, they choose to leave His presence and effect their own self-destruction?

Book Review:
“Church Fathers” by Pope Benedict XVI — I loved this! I just got it a couple of days ago, and despite my perpetual busyness, I have already finished! As always, the Pope write clearly, and in a very engaging manner. The book consists of a series of Wednesday audiences (not unlike Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body talks), each dedicated to a particular church father. He really is able to make them come alive for me and gives me a desire to read their works and dive deeper into the faith, which is revealed as the true faith which has always been held. I came away from the book with a greater sense and realization of the truth and catholicity of our faith and a hunger for further knowledge. Obviously, I highly recommend it — particularly to those who want an overview of the church fathers before making a decision as to who to read first! 🙂 After reading this book, you won’t think of them (as I kind of did) as anonymous, old men who died a long time ago and don’t have anything to say to me, now. Ha! As the Pope mentions for almost every Father, their advice is always “timely,” especially in the culture of our day, today.

Prayer:
Lord, I am not worthy of you, but only say the word and I shall be healed in heart, mind and body. Please give me understanding, strength and desire to conform my will to yours. Amen.

Quote:
“Call me a crazy lady…one more time….” from Hancock, seen with Terry this weekend.

Movie Review:
Hancock — I thought at first that this was simply going to be another “comic book” movie. I was wrong. Either that or there’s more to comic book stories than I generally get from them. This particular movie I quite enjoyed. Outside of the profanity (which, really, just made me giggle), it was a story of the redemption of man. It took the main character from his sinful, slovenly, selfish ways and transformed him into a man who truly cared for his neighbor and sacrificed on behalf of others. It highlighted the importance of family ties, working for the good of the poor and needy, and of being a good example. It was also a great portrayal of the quote, “To whom much is given, much will be expected.” It was emotionally well-crafted, and you had real empathy for all the characters. The acting I respected. Of course, I’m always a fan of Will Smith, too, so that helped. 🙂 The ending of the film was a little unexpected, but completely fit and was very well done. It would be a great movie to watch again, knowing the ending now to see what foreshadowing there is, because I know that there is a bunch. I could probably keep going on about this movie and the deep meaning that I got from it, but for now I will just encourage you to go out and see it, if you have not done so already. 🙂

Announcement:
I have (finally) posted ALL of my World Youth Day photos!!! Whoo-hoo! Be sure to check out all 2,665 images and videos here.

Campioni del Mondo

I found a link to this song on my cousin’s MySpace site, and I love it.  They said you could link it, so I’ll see if I can link here to the internet radio site.

Is God Using Rap Artists to Give Me a Message?

Okay, now that’s just unfair!  🙂  God knows that I like listening to pop music, including some things which are not very healthy for me to be listening to.  But now, He has gone and inserted His message into them.  What do they say?  “God will find you where you are”?  Apparently.  But, there’s got to be something really wrong with me if Akon is teaching me a lesson.  Seriously.

But, I am (oddly enough) an American culture major, so I like to examine these things.  I’ll give you the lyrics — I don’t think there’s anything really profane in there — and then try to dissect out of that what I think God is trying to tell me.

What You Got
by Colby O’Donis (featuring Akon)

Konvict, Konvict

Oooh Oooh Oooh Oooh
Oooh Oooh Oooh Oooh

(Verse 1:) Colby O’Donis
I peeped you on the phone
Just showin’ off ya stones
And notice that that pinky ring is right enough baby

I know you’re not alone
But I could just be wrong
The way them fellas houndin’ and sizin’ you up baby

(Hook:)
And I like the way you take advantage of every man you love
I see, I seem to know your game girl
But I don’t mind if ya come and play ya thug just don’t talk too much
I see, I see it so you don’t have to say a word
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Verse 2:) Colby O’Donis
Girl I can tell you want something to love
That’s why you hold on to everything that pass you by
Can’t resist girl one can’t lie
Now tell if you are here for me
Or everybody watchin’ you shake from left to right
The way you move got me hypnotized

(Hook:)
The way you take advantage of every man you love
I see, I seem to know your game girl
But I don’t mind if ya come and play ya thug just don’t talk too much
I see, I see it so you don’t have to say a word
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Oooh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Verse 3:) Akon
Our eyes away from you girl when you get on the floor and do what you do
And errbody wanna come back to that bod and kind of remind myself I’m like you
Be sure that type drive a man crazy and snatch him away from his lady
No matter how hard the man hold back he’ll end up callin’ you baby
And they never really know what to do once you expose that thang you do
Ya had him crawlin’ on hands and knees and ya find a way to get him out that cheese
And why ya thinkin’ that you the only dude she off in the mall livin’ off of you
Lettin’ errbody know she got you but now you feel like a fool

(Hook:)
Yeah those guys wanna come treat ya right
Cause you’re sweeter than apple pie
Everything that you want you got
Girl you know that you need to stop
Most beautiful thing in sight
Always takin’ on the spotlight
Always in the club lookin hot
Girl you know that you need to stop

(Chorus:)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Always talkin’ bout what you got (Eh)
Girl you know that you need to stop

Okay, so first, it is talking about this girl who seems very sweet, but who uses men to get what she wants.   While I don’t think that I am quite as bad, perhaps, as is portrayed in this song, I can certainly see, especially when looking at my past history, how I have been irresponsible in this regard, and even a little manipulative.  I had quickly found growing up that you can just look at a boy in a certain way, and smile at him, or even tease him and challenge him, and typically you will get whatever it is that you are after.  Sort of like an art form, you have to do it to the extent that it produces results, but you have to be very careful not to go too far, or to do this too much, or the boy in question (along with others around you) will catch on to the fact that this is about useAnd you wouldn’t want to be labeled as one who uses others.

While I do try to (and have in the past, even when I did more frequently act in this manner) respect people and not use them for my own ends, this kind of behavior, when positively reinforced with getting what you want (reward) is very addictive.  You tend to fall into this pattern of relating with other people, which is extremely unhealthy.  This is a sick culture, and I’ll be the first to admit that most of my failings as regards loving others comes from a very deformed view of myself, who I am, what relationships are supposed to be like, and what it means to really love.

Basically, I need to be whapped upside the head with the Theology of the Body on a daily basis.  But, I’m working on it.

Lesson 1:  Stop flirting to get what you want.  Be authentic and direct and do not see another person as an object or as a means to your own ends.  People are not tools.  People have unique dignity and should never be seen as useful.

“Always talkin’ ’bout what you got.”  Everyone who knows me knows that I like to talk a lot.  I am an oversharer.  🙂  What’s my basic problem here?  I am looking for love and approval.  And if you are going to reject me, I’d rather that you have all the information about me up front, so that you can reject me sooner rather than later — before I get a chance to be really attached, because that would hurt more.  Several fundamental problems here. 

First, I should be concerned primarily with what God thinks, and not so much with what others think, although I have to love my neighbors. 

Second, I need to trust and know that God loves me regardless, and that I am his precious daughter.  Too often, I think that I have no value, am worthless, or that I haven’t done enough to make people love me.  That’s not how relationships are supposed to work. 

Third, I think in here is a caution to not be so self-absorbed.  I should pay attention to me, to the extent that I can evaluate how well I am responding to what Christ did to me on the cross; however, I should be more concerned day to day with trying to die to self and live to pour myself out to others.  For it is in a gift of self to others that I am truly alive and happy.  It is what I am made for.  And if I am not making of myself a gift to others, what am I doing?  Swimming in the sea of the culture of death, most likely.  Time to stop playing in the sea and head for home.  If you never get out of the water, you will eventually drown.  And I’d rather have eternal life, thank you.

Lesson 2:  Live the way God has made you to live.

“Always in the club looking hot.  Girl, you know that you need to stop.”  Ah, perhaps a shorter one, but basically goes back to the Theology of the Body and a proper idea of one’s worth, versus what the culture will tell you is the measure of your worth.

Lesson 3:  I have to learn that my value does not come from how good (or bad) I look.  Physical attractiveness will both come and go, but it is your interior person that matters to God.  How does my heart look?  Do I resemble His Son?  That’s the question to ask.  Not, “does my butt look fat in these jeans?”

“The most beautiful thing in sight.”  Another shorter thing here, but in this way of mistreating people for their usefulness, I think, is another danger in that you can easily come to think that you are better than others, because you can get your way.  Ooh, what a dangerous thing to play with — pride.

Lesson 4:  Be humble and authentic.  Live with integrity in all that you do.

It’s very interesting the way I have been seeing God everwhere lately.  I can only hope and pray that I will be able to live my life in a manner pleasing to Him.  And I should have known by the opening words of the song, what it would have in store for me.

“Konvict.  Konvict.”

And God has certainly convicted me through it.  Let’s see how well I respond….