Sunday, June 10, 2007

Parties, movies, and an uncharacteristically giddy Great-Aunt.

Mom and Dad's 25th Anniversary Party was yesterday at Aunt Catherine's house. It was an open house for family and friends from 4-8. It went really well. Mom and Dad were surprised, we had great food, and everyone had a good time. It was really neat to see the surprise on their faces when people they hadn't seen in a long time walked in. Now I can enjoy the rest of the summer without worrying about sneaking around planning this party.

I traded in Sophie Scholl for The Painted Veil on Thursday evening. At first I couldn't find it on the new release shelf. I knew I'd seen it last week on the shelf. This was my conversation with the Blockbuster employee:

ME: Hey, do you guys have any copies of The Painted Veil with Ed Norton and Naomi Watts?
BLOCKBUSTER: Yes, sir, we do. Let me help you find it.

[We go back to the new release shelf and find the film shelved out of order.]

BLOCKBUSTER: Hmmm ... only two copies and its out of order. Must not be a very good movie.
ME: Well, knowing the tastes of the people in this town, its probably a very good movie.
BLOCKBUSTER: Whatever you say, sir.

I thanked him for his vote of confidence and watched the movie on Friday night. It was one of the best movies I've seen in a while and definitely would win my personal award for "The Best of Movie Last Year That You Never Heard Of." I'm kicking myself for not catching this in the theater. Everything about the film is stunningly beautiful. From the story that talks about the nature of forgiveness and true love, to the exquisite photography, to the amazing musical score. Everything that comprises a truly great film can be found in The Painted Veil. Some may say it's boring, but I say its art ... a great work of art at that.

Another great thing about The Painted Veil is that it has a solid moral framework and is surprisingly inoffensive. Yes, the film has some sexual elements, but they are completely necessary to tell the story and are handled with tact, not being exploited. Too many films lack this in our day and The Painted Veil was very refreshing. A beautiful movie in every sense of the word. Watch it ... you won't regret it.

While The Painted Veil was a great movie, Hollywood unleashed upon audiences this weekend a new horrendous dish of torture porn: Hostel: Part II. Just another addition to the ever-increasing list of movies that elevate the torture of human beings into entertainment. I read a great article the other day comparing the meaninful violence of a new documentary on abortion (Lake of Fire ... an excellent film that I'm sure you'll be hearing about within the next year) to the pointless and pornographic violence of Hostel: Part II. Here's the link, but mind you, it's a bit graphic.

Whenever the thought crosses my mind that we need to do something to stop these kind of movies from being made, I remember that there is really no way we can do this because America is a free country. As Michael Phillips put it in The Chicago Tribune, "When you live in a free country, you put up with crud like Hostel Part II." Well put. We can stand against it, as we should, but we can't mandate that it stops. I love my freedom in this country, but the fact that we can't stop something as awful as this film from being made is sad. The fact that millions of people were entertained by it this weekend is even more sad. God have mercy on us.

On a better, slightly less serious (and infinitely more funny) note, here's a wonderful action shot of Aunt Catherine. At the point that this picture was taken, she was telling a story about how she once thought that her reflection in a mirror was someone else. Then she started talking to it. And this was when she could actually see.

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