For my family the weekends usually include a speaking event, or a musical gig for my son’s band, a play featuring my oldest son’s beautiful girlfriend, or a good movie, whether at the local theater or on Turner Classic Movies.
If the “movie” part applies to you as well, there’s some pretty good stuff in the theaters now. For what it’s worth, here are the current films my family and I have enjoyed the most:
Lincoln – An obvious choice, I guess, but if you haven’t seen it, you’ll find it well worth your time. Spielberg didn’t sugar coat this extraordinary man, which makes him all the more appealing. Daniel Day-Lewis seems a shoe in for the Best Actor Award, but Sally Fields is equally amazing as the troubled, disoriented Mary Todd Lincoln. Critical history and great entertainment combined.
Les Miserables – Another slam-dunk choice, but so beautifully filmed, acted and sung, that it satisfied most Les Miz fans I know who were, like me, concerned that a film version of this musical would ruin it. Many will see the law vs. grace theme in it, and though it’s by no means a specifically Christian film, it’s pretty hard not to read Biblical truths into it.
Argo – True story; highly intense film, marred by the promiscuous dropping of the F-bomb. Still, those of us who remember the horror of the Iranian hostage crisis will appreciate the gritty detail of this slice of history, and those who weren’t there will get a pretty accurate view of what came down, and how some ingenious folks scored a whopping victory in the midst of a national anguish. So if you can get past the language problem, this one’s highly recommended.
Zero Dark Thirty – Again, brutal obscenities, and Lord how we wish scriptwriters would creatively bypass four letter words and dare to believe a screenplay could survive without them! But for a more recent historical landmark, here’s a stark look at events and strategies leading to Osama bin Laden’s capture and killing. I think you’ll have some good discussion following the film on the ethics of torture, a subject the movie invites you to explore without telling you what to conclude. This is a hard to watch, thoughtful film.
Of course, Turner Classic Movies also offers top notch entertainment for free, so if you care for the classics, the weekend’s looking pretty hopeful. Set the recorder for 11pm PST tonight if you haven’t seen From Here to Eternity, a poignant behind the scenes war film, and, IMHO, Frank Sinatra’s best performance. For lighter fare, I love watching Jane Fonda and Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou (Saturday 1:15pm PST) a silly but very engaging comedy Western featuring Nat King Cole and Stubby Kaye acting as a musical Greek chorus throughout. Lots of fun, and a reminder of why Cole is still so dear to our hearts. Later Saturday, one of my all-time favorites On the Waterfront plays at 5pm PST, featuring Marlon Brando at the top of his game and Karl Malden as a passionate, socially conscious priest. Catch this one if you haven’t seen it; it’s head and shoulders above most films. As is Lawrence of Arabia (Sunday at 9:30am PST) which you’ll also need to set your recorder for because I know you wouldn’t stay home from church to watch a movie. J But this one’s epic, intense and beautifully put together.
No movies for me this weekend, though, as I’m finishing up some contributions to a minister’s Bible coming out in the summer. A number of folks have been asked to participate in this project, and I’m honored to be among them. Will keep you posted on the release date.
I’m also honored to be speaking at the Orange County Christian Outreach series on Monday March 11, so if you’re in the Orange County California area we’d love to see you there. (Info can be found at outreachweek.org) I’ll also be addressing the monthly Pastors luncheon at Antelope Valley Christian Center on March 13, so if you’re a pastor or church leader near the Lancaster area, you can find registration information at avccusa.org.
Hope your weekend is blessed, restful, and joyful. Thanks so much for being here.