I’ve been talking about Darwinism, faith, atheists and theology for a long time now, so it’s time to get down to something really important: movies. Or, to use a more intellectually acceptable term, film.
I have two new favorite movies, that I could – in my current mood, anyway – watch over and over again. While they are not necessarily on opposite ends of the spectrum, they are at least on different colors of the spectrum. Okay, so that analogy didn’t work that well. I will say this: I’m guessing that one thing they share in common is that the critics (you know, the guys who only like the depressing movies they show at Cannes….) probably hated them. (That’s how I usually know I’ll like a movie. oh, excuse me- film.)
The first movie is M. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water, listed by Variety Magazine as one of the 10 biggest bombs of 2006. Regardless, the movie is absolutely fantastic; it is, in my not-so-humble opinion, one of Night’s best films. And, it’s not just me – our whole family loved it, including our younger son, our own critic-in-residence. The plot is very tight, and the more you watch it, like with all of Night’s movies, you find more little things that connect. And, it’s a good plot; I was a doubter when I heard the premise of the movie (it’s based on a bedtime story he made up for his kids), but he makes the bedtime story a plot within a plot, and even provides some commentary on the larger plot from within the movie itself. It is, however, the characters that really make this story. This is one of the best collections of quirky characters I can recall. They are well-developed, wonderfully cast, and – as you’d expect – all essential to the plot. It’s funny, it’s entertaining, it’s captivating, and it reiterates Shyamalan’s basic theme about purpose.
The other movie – that I may go watch in a minute – is Nacho Libre, starring none other than Jack Black. Now, I haven’t been a JB fan – School of Rock was mildly amusing, but it’s not something I can watch over and over (although my older son does…). Nacho Libre is another movie by the Hess brothers, who brought us Napoleon Dynamite. Nacho is, in some respects, Napoleon Dynamite with Spanish accents; it has the same slow, deliberate feel, with many similar characters. Being in a Hess movie is good for Jack Black; I saw how good an actor Black can actually be. And, in spite of what you might think about Jack Black playing a monk, the movie is quite reverent. As with Lady, the characters are wonderful, especially that of Steven, the near-homeless thief who become’s Nacho’s best friend, and who is an atheist (“I don’t believe in God; I believe in science“). It’s another movie that the whole family can enjoy (and, coincidentally, it’s also about purpose).
So there you go – two no-miss family movies for your viewing enjoyment. Oops, I meant films.
My guess is that you were experiencing low cabin pressure, but your oxygen masks failed to drop. That would account for your failure to appreciate the subtle nuances in the film. How else could you not appreciate seeing Jack Black in stretchy pants?
I haven’t seen Lady, but I did see Nacho Libre somewhere over an ocean at 35,000 feet. Your favorable review of this movie (I simply can’t refer to this one as a film) reveals either our radically different taste in entertainment or that I was oxygen deprived at the time of viewing. I found it vacant (not necessarily a strike against it—I enjoyed “Staying Alive,” for instance) and—the crucial flaw—laborious. Of course, that was exactly what I needed in my over-tired, semi-comatose condition at the time.
To each his own, I guess. However, considering your taste in movies—er, film—I might recommend the upcoming theology book from Jack Black, titled, “Simply Stupid.”