Kind of Recommended. A spooky thriller about a father, Robert DeNiro whose daughter meets an “imaginary friend” who might be a ghost or a something else, and this friend, named “Charlie” starts to wreak havoc on DeNiro’s life with some violent intentions. Very spooky, excellent first 2/3 of the movie. Very subtle spookiness played brilliantly by Dakota Fanning as the little girl. It’s subtle enough so you don’t know if it’s a ghost or what. But the final third isn’t quite as good when the revelation occurs of just who this friend, “Charlie” really is. All right. If you have any inclination to see this thriller, then don’t read any further, because I am going to totally ruin the story for you by revealing the plot twist. This is a Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde story, where the main character, DeNiro discovers that he has multiple personalities and HE is the friend, “Charlie.” Well, even though this story wasn’t a great version of it, I still think this is a genre of movie that is a very powerful pointer to the Christian truth of our evil nature. The essence of Jekyl/Hide stories is that we have an evil side to us that we suppress and deceive ourselves into disbelieving. We think WE are not evil at all, So the discovery of the dark half is a discovery that we have deceived ourselves and we are evil. I like this genre in a postmodern world that negates evil and certainly denies that we are evil, preferring instead to belief in the inherent goodness of man or some such lie. There is this unsatisfied feeling one has when discovering that the hero is actually the villain, and he is evil and not really a hero at all. It leaves us groping and grasping for a foothold. Our whole picture of reality is shaken up and we don’t like it. It bothers us. Heros aren’t supposed to be the villains. But the moral thrust of this genre is precisely to upset that viewpoint to remind us that there really are no absolute heros (outside of God), we are all “villains,” that is, we are inherently evil and need to be redeemed ourselves. This is a case where I think the turning upside of the traditional hero story is acceptable. It is to tell us the audience, as Nathan the prophet did to David, “YOU are that man.”
Not really recommended. The sequel to the hilarious Meet the Parents. This one is the flip side in it’s theme. Whereas Meet the Parents was about meeting the uptight overbearing conservative parents, this one is about those people meeting their opposites, the Fockers, who are bleeding heart liberal loosey goosey 60s rejects. So the comedy of errors comes as a clever culture clash between conservative and liberal. Of course, the movie predictably favors the liberal parents, played by Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand. The endless sex jokes get tiring. Streisand is a sex therapist for seniors, so that’s what keeps every scene she is in about sex. And also predictably, the DeNiro character, is an uptight conservative whose redemption is found in his need to have more sex with this wife. This is really revelatory in that this is truly what liberal ideologues believe, that conservatives are hung up on sex and their whole problem in life is that they need to loosen up and just have some fun sex. Not only is this amazingly shallow, it’s simply untrue. Statistics have come out recently illustrating that religious conservative people generally have more fulfilled sex lives, and that religious women in particular have more and better orgasms. Well, that aside, there’s not much to say about this movie, cause it was a bit tiring. The funniest line of the first movie, “I’m watching you” with DeNiro gesturing to his eyes, was overexploited in this movie with DeNiro teaching a baby how to do “I’m watching you.”
Not really Recommended. The story of a group of bad cops assaulting an old police precinct in order to kill a criminal housed inside who will testify against the dirty cops. Pretty straightforward predictable action movie. The hero, played by Ethan Hawke, is a burned out ex-Narcotics undercover who blames himself for his partners being killed in a sting operation. So it has the standard cop action film storyline of redemption. He must overcome his self-blame and withdrawn inactivity in life. If he doesn’t, he will be killed by the bad guys. So “action” is not merely a reference to guns and fights, but a metaphor for salvation. We must act in order to find life. Sitting around and contemplating is not living. In this sense, action movies tend to be Existentialist. Not entirely false. But these kind of movies are tough to make hard line recommendations on. On the one hand, I heartily affirm movies that reinforce that we must fight against evil, even to the point of killing in self defense. This is a good countercultural value to our culturewide appeasement of evil. If we just give evil men what they want, they will leave us alone. Sound familiar? There’s even an old cop who says that line, thus reinforcing those who treasure life more than justice. This is all good stuff. I love how the hero is a man attempting to be righteous, to do what it right. Ethan won’t release the criminal to save his own skin. He has a commitment to the law and he will do his job. These kind of things are great moral worldview elements. The problem is that sometimes these kind of movies can degenerate into Darwinian survival of the fittest contests. For instance, where kindness and wits do not necessarily win, but brute force and cleverness does. In this case, there are a bit too much brutality which can tend to overshadow the righteousness aspect. There are a bit too many close ups of people with bullet holes through their heads. In fact, I think there were about 7 or 8. The love interest of the hero is killed near the end, which was a real unpredictable shocker in terms of the genre (You just don’t kill the love interest), but I think it lended toward a more nihilistic Darwinian worldview. And they go out of their way to keep the camera on her face with the bullet hole through it, way too long. This was particularly pessimistic. It was like saying, this is the end of Love: Death. Period. All your hopes for love as the resolution of this story are despair. The Criminal, played by Laurence Fishburne says in a church that he doesn’t believe in God because of the evil in the world, another atheistic evolutionary argument for the “war of all against all.” The Criminal emphasizes several times that he is helping the hero fight the bad guys only because it is in his self interest for self-preservation to do so. Ethan lets the criminals loose to help fight against the crooked cops attacking them. A sort of evolutionary cooperation to survive. Of course, the criminal should think this way, cause that is what he is. But he stresses at the end that he let’s the cop live only out of thanks for saving his life. But if he tries to stop him, he will kill him. Again, consistent in one sense, but the stress on it in the story seemed to me to be too much. It tended to reinforce that Darwinian survival determines this ending, not righteousness. This movie was just a little too much survival of the fittest and too little righteousness for me to really recommend.
Highly Recommended. A simple black hotel manager in Rwanda rescues over a thousand refuges from a genocide of Hutus against the Tutsis in the 1994. I would say that this movie gets my vote for the second best movie of the year, after The Passion, which is the undisputable finest of the year. Million Dollar Baby would probably be third. I must confess, that even though I am a total apologist and fan of fictional stories, the ones that touch my soul the deepest are the true ones like Hotel Rwanda. When you see the heroism of a man like Paul Rusesabagina, you are simply cut to the heart and challenged to examine your life and seek a more courageous and noble lifestyle. There’s something about knowing a real person actually behaved like this, a real person actually acted heroically and compassionately. Put simply, I kept breaking out into tears throughout this movie. Tears over the atrocities committed over 10 years ago in Rwanda, tears over the acts of courage and heroism by an ordinary man, tears over love and compassion of family and friends that can exist in this world, and tears over the fact that the atrocities going on right now in the Sudan and Congo are thrice as bad, and NONE OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA CARES enough to report on it. It seems that Americans are concerned about violence against blacks in this country or atrocities against Jews, but they do not tend to care about atrocities against blacks in other countries. Especially when it is black on black or when it is Muslims murdering Christians. This film is a black Schindler’s List. Humble Paul, the hotel manager, who has settled into the comfortable life of managing a hotel frequented by United Nations officials and rich foreigners gets challenged out of his comfort to help the less fortunate when they come to the hotel trying to escape the genocide going on outside the walls. According to the movie, the difference between the Hutus and the Tutsis was simply made by the Belgians when they pulled out of the country and divided the population by physical characteristics like nose shape etc. I don’t think this is really accurate though as the Tutsis supposedly invaded the Hutus 600 years ago, long before Belgian rule. So, that seems to be a bit contrived by agenda. The Hutus become a majority and kill off the Hutu president who was trying for peace, and blame it on a Tutsi conspiracy. This gives the military the motive to being the killing of all Tutsis. At an important moment in the film, Paul asks all the refugees to start calling any officials or dignitaries they may know to tell them about the massacre. He seeks to have camera footage of the atrocities aired because nothing else is working. “We must shame them into helping.” The reporter replies with cynical but ruthlessly correct understanding, “If people see this footage, they’ll say, “oh my God, and go on eating their dinners.” And that is in fact what DID happen. The US, France and Germany are called cowards for not doing anything to stop the killing beyond sanctions. The actor Don Cheadle is now calling for the US to use force to stop the killing in the Congo and Sudan. Well, that is a very hypocritical self-righteous call because if the US is supposed to go in and stop every civil war with our own military, then why isn’t Cheadle fighting for the war in Iraq? 3 to 6 million killed in genocide over there. So Iraqis don’t count? Only genocide of blacks should be stopped, but not genocide of Middle Easterners? And of course herein lies the problem, while the United Nations is accurately portrayed in the movie as the useless impotent presence it was and is everywhere, the US is still somehow the bad guy for not sending our kids to die in other people’s civil wars. Well, if we should go and stop every civil war and genocide that occurs, we would have to invade half the countries around the world. Is this really what these people want? And by golly, we aren’t even allowed by these same Hollywood types to stop Iraq’s civil war and genocide. So what is it? Should we or should we not be the policemen of the world? Should we or should we not stop civil wars of other countries? You can’t pick and choose. I don’t believe we have the moral right to send our sons to die for foreign interests, but I do think we can do many other things such as sanctions, public shaming, UN condemnation, publication of atrocities, etc. I also wonder if the true story had more faith in it. In the movie, there is a mere reference by Paul, “I thank God every day for the time we’ve had.” But that’s about it. The driving force of faith is often excised by Hollywood ignoramuses who don’t understand the transcendent origins of people’s beliefs and behaviors. Great moment in the film when Paul discouragingly tells his wife, “I was a fool. They made me believe I was one of them.” In other words, the rich foreign owners of the hotel, used him for their benefits and gave him little perks to make him happy, but when the trouble started, they bailed. His wife replies, “You are no fool. I know who you are.” Wow, a profound revelation of the heart of marriage. Being truly known by someone. There is a mature understanding of marriage beyond the Romantic notions of feelings and sexuality. Another irony about the story is that while there is an atrocity revealed, it is rather ironic that the Hutus, being the bad guys of the story, are the not so in the story of their origins where the Tutsis actually invaded, conquered and enslaved the Hutus 600 years ago. But that is another story… Another interesting thing: The Hutus keep calling the Tutsis “Cockroaches” which is the semantic necessity for genocide, the dehumanization of the victims, just like Jews being called “Vermin” and rodents in Nazi Germany.
Not very recommended. Feminist parable about the unreliability of men for female happiness. But its pretty well done and entertaining, up until the ending agenda that leaves the viewer unsatisfied. Brittany Murphy plays Stacy, a new young hireling to a daytime sleaze talk show, a female Jerry Springer, Kippy Kann, played by Kathy Bates. Stacy’s dream is to be Diane Sawyer and Carly Simon roled into one, but in the mean time, she has to work her way up the ladder while maintaining a romance with her boyfriend Derek. Someone comes up with the idea of doing a show on men’s little black books, to discover the women in their lives. When Stacy stumbles upon one of Derek’s ex-girlfriends talking as if she still has a connection to him, Stacy is drawn to Derek’s “little black” palm pilot. What’s very clever about this story is its mentor, played by Holly Hunter as the cynical experienced writer Barb. Barb apprentices Stacy throughout the story, giving her wisdom on how to deal with her boyfriend – by not trusting him. The other great element is that it winds up being a trap. Barb is actually manipulating Stacy into one of the Kippy Kann shows. So Stacy ends up as one of those dufuses who walks in to the show having no clue SHE is the sucker. An excellent revelation of betrayal as Stacy becomes one of the fools who is deceived, just as she has deceived her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriends for her own purposes. This is an excellent morality tale on that level. But then it gets into trouble, when Barb, who should be the devil, turns out to be Stacy’s salvation because Derek really is still in love with his ex, and not Stacy. So it turns out to be “for her own good.” Well, I think it is a rather unique and interesting unpredictable storyline to have the heroine realize she is not “the one” for another man, and therefore he is not “the one” for her. Romances of course usually end up with the revelation that it was all a big misunderstanding, and the boyfriend loves her more than any other. Sometimes these kind of romances can reinforce the Romantic humanistic worldview that salvation is found in romance, the love of another human being. For that reason, I like having a romance where the person discovers that another person is NOT what completes their humanity or saves them from their despair. The first false ending is another great unpredictable twist that I liked. Stacy is all alone, now, but a stronger person for having walked away from a detrimental relationship. Okay, I’m with them. Fine. She meets an old friend from high school by chance and blurts out in a fairy tale way that now she realizes why this all happened to her. It was because somehow this old friend was the solution to her happiness. Very deliberately schmaltzy. But then she sees that he is married and she walks away embarrassed. So the point is made by the story that her revelation about Derek was NOT for her to be fulfilled by another man, which is the predictable romance ending. I even found that rather insightful and clever. But here is where the feminist agenda flows in like a Carly Simon concert on estrogen. Next scene we see Stacy getting a job with, who else? DIANE SAWYER. The woman of her dreams! Stacy jumps up and down and say’s “I got the job! I got the job!, using the word “job” so many times to make sure we do not miss the agenda that it is a job that will satisfy Stacy and fulfill her with happiness, not someone to love. And what makes it even more embarrassingly preachy is that Carly Simon just happens to be there for an interview and the two jump up and down together. Oi vey! This is the old feminist rant from the 60s, and to be quite honest, its almost ludicrous to think that there are some women around who actually still want to be like men. Problem is, even men have finally discovered that jobs and careers do not make happiness at all. Feminists are like 10 plus years behind the curve. Come on and catch up, ladies. Newsflash: careers do not provide the meaning of life and happiness. Even men have figured that one out. You don’t want to be more stupid than men do you? That’s what makes this movie unsatisfying. The solution for Stacy’s happiness turns out to be a very empty proposition, at least for those of us seeking transcendent meaning and purpose in life. This life is not all there is. The things that really matter are the love of God and neighbor. Stacy should watch the movie The Family Man and learn a little bit from a man who’s already been there done that and found career to be a spiritual and human dead end. All in all, a very clever anti-romance that is soured by an outdated feminist agenda.
Partially Recommended with Extreme Caution. Boxing trainer reluctantly trains an eager young woman to be a champion boxer. This movie will most likely win the Oscar for best picture of 2004, even though The Passion deserves it far more. It is a brilliant work of passion and heart. Even though I abhor it’s worldview, it provides much to think about in terms of the harsh realities of life and the search for redemption. The problem is that I think Clint Eastwood, does not believe redemption can be found in this world. First, Mystic River, now Million Dollar Baby and others of his movies (Unforgiven) seem to communicate a despairing nihilistic worldview. Let me explain. This movie is basically a brilliant incarnation of the “quality of life” argument for euthanasia. Thirty years too old, Hillbilly girl with passion to be a champion boxer enlists Eastwood’s character to train her. Trouble is, he doesn’t want to work with “girlies.” And he’s a man with a bitter past struggling with God to understand. The boxer is played by Hillary Swank, who is superb here, in the girl who is terrible and without training, but is so determined that she persuades Clint to train her. Brilliant supporting role by Morgan Freeman as Clint’s right hand man, who also has his failures to overcome. The girl boxes her way to the top in no time, virtually knocking out everyone along the way. But Clint’s motto is repeated over and over, “Always protect yourself.” And so he does throughout his boxing training and life. And that’s why he loses boxers because he holds them back, trying to protect them, rather than letting them reach for the stars and fumble a bit. For years, he writes letters every week to his estranged daughter who returns them all for what he did to her in the past. So he finds the opportunity to find a daughter in Hillary. And Hillary suffers from rejection by her hillbilly white trash family who doesn’t give a damn about her. Her father ran off when she was a kid, so she looks to Clint as a father figure to replace her dad that she never had. It’s incredibly moving and powerful. Morgan is a fighter, who represents the ghost that haunts Clint. Clint had managed Morgan as a young boxer. One fight, Morgan was cut badly but wanted to keep going. Clint didn’t want him to, but let him. And Morgan ended up losing and losing the sight in his eye because of this. Now, he works for Clint in a sweaty gym. This is why Clint will no longer let go of his fighters, because he feels guilty for doing so in the past and now must overcome that guilt by letting Hillary seek the championship. Trouble is, Hillary gets to the top, but then is hit from behind by a dirty trick and she falls and breaks her neck, rendering her a quadrapolegic on the level of a Christopher Reeves. So the rest of the movie is the struggle with Clint’s guilt over this pain again and whether or not he will kill her as she asks him to. After living the dream she had, she feels no life in this existence and wants to die. He ends up killing her with an injection of adrenaline and taking her breathing tube out. Then he disappears into the backwoods. The whole emotional power of this film is to create a life that has real hope and energy and exciting dreams in the boxing girl, so when we see her paralysis, we can feel the tremendous loss of hope and value in a life lived to the fullest of one’s dreams and hopes. We feel the extremity of the loss of quality of life, so that we may sympathize with the belief in euthanasia as a justified act. This movie reminded me of Cider House Rules. Both movies make arguments for controversial deeds, by incarnating the best emotional argument for it in a powerful story. This shows the power of story like nothing else. Cider House Rules incarnated the incest argument for abortion, and Million Dollar Baby incarnates the quality of life argument for euthanasia. And I must say, it is very powerful, no matter how false it is. The worldview of this film is humanistic and nihilistic. Clint seeks God for answers throughout the movie, which is fair and honest, but when confronted by the priest that euthanasia is murder and a sin, he finally gives up on God and walks away in order to kill his beloved Hillary. So God has nothing valuable to say about the meaning of life, because God supposedly doesn’t have a good answer for this. Well, too bad they don’t know Joni Erickson Tada. That’s the story that counters this one. Where a woman is a quad, but finds God through the suffering that wakes her up to what is really most valuable in life. Joni’s story is the one we really need to hear. Of course, this is just way too easy to SAY with WORDS, and the fact is, I totally empathize with the desire to die as a quad. But that doesn’t make it right. I am just saying that the truth is not determined by our feelings, and sometimes the truth and life is not fun or good to us. But none of this justifies murder. It is one thing to stop “extraordinary means” of life support, but quite another to inject someone with an overdose of adrenaline or morphine. One is letting a person die, the other is killing them. Unfortunately, Clint does both and is therefore guilty of murder. Another problem is that they set up the Hillary character as a fighter who fights her way out of poverty and white trash only to give up when she faces the biggest match of her life? Not consistent with the character they set up in Hillary. It says that she ultimately failed cause she gave up. She tossed in the towel, which makes it unsatisfying as a story. She doesn’t win the final fight, she gives up. That is a failure of character. This humanistic worldview conceives of a universe in which there is no ultimate good, only a choice between the lesser of two evils, killing someone you love to release them or allowing them to suffer because you don’t have the guts to kill them. But either way, life is miserable with no good option. In reality, there are other options. And Joni is a perfect example of this, of a woman who wouldn’t give up the fight. Clint never regains his actual daughter and loses the one hope of a daughter replacement, and ends in hiding all alone. Morgan gets a lonely gym, and Hillary dies – but, hey, she has the experience of seeking her dreams. Her request is that with each day, “they are taking away” the sounds of the cheering and the crowds and her importance. “They were chanting for me. I was in magazines.” This is so sad to me that we find our value in life in glory and personal ambition rather than knowing our Creator. Well, I would agree that there are some choices in life that are not black and white, but this is hopelessness and despair to give up on life in the name of blocked goals or desires. Who are we to define a life not worthy to be lived? If I can’t get what I want, then I should be able to die? Says who? Who died and left us God? Well, this is all academic arguing for me. The fact is, I have lived for far too long in a world of “argumentation.” A world of rationality and logic with little experience of such misery and pain. So, the fact is, I think I would rather truly share the pain of a person suffering than seek to find my first opportunity to launch into my carefully crafted abstract logical argument about God’s sovereignty, true though this is. I think it is really valuable to see this movie and really experience the heart of an argument like this, because it isn’t mere logic that satisfies the burning desire for meaning and truth. I am not denying logic or devaluing rationality. I am merely saying that for too long I have elevated reason to a godlike status, but have been able to do so only from a privileged position of not having to actually experience the real pain about which I often argue. I don’t think truth is determined by experience and I don’t think lack of experience disqualifies rational truth, but I do think lack of experience requires me to shut up and listen more readily before rattling off my string of logical abstract arguments unconnected to any real suffering. I want to suffer with those who suffer and cry with those who cry, not just spew out mental abstractions. This movie helps me to care more, makes me want to care more, even if I disagree with its philosophy. But having said that we should have an empathy for such suffering in life, let us not be deceived. To attempt to prove that some lives are “unworthy to be lived” as the Nazi booklet on eugenics tried to prove in the 1930s, is an atrocity. In my research lately, I discovered that the Nazi eugenics program and its sterilization laws in the 1930s were based upon American eugenics laws in the 1920s. Yes, those “scientific” Social Darwinists, among whom was the nefarious Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes, who ruled in the Buck v. Bell case that “three generations of imbeciles was enough” so they sterilized thousands and thousands of the “feeble-minded” (mentally retarded) and other “unfit” members of society – and all in the name of Darwin, I might add. How’s that for a Crusade? Yes, it is a fact, people: Ideas have consequences. And if you believe morality is a social construct for survival, then you will end up justifying killing those who you don’t like (such as Jews and Christians). What chills me to the bone is knowing that the mindless youth of today, who are literally manipulated by their postmodern culture of pure image and entertainment, are the ones who will be euthanizing me in my later years. Oh, yeah, one other thing, WAY TOO MUCH NARRATION. Clint, please, lay off the heavy handed telling us everything with words.
Recommended with Caution. I was moved by this story of a fifty-year old being demoted in his ad sales job, and getting a new boss who is 26 years old, knows nothing about ads or sales and is falling in love with the fifty-year old’s daughter. I guess because it rings close to home, as I get older, I see how age is not respected in this culture and youth and ambition is worshipped to the detriment of humanity. That’s what this great movie is all about. Some will no doubt see this as TV type storytelling. But I say, if so, it is the best dang TV I have ever seen. So much heart and humanity and love in this film. Dennis Quaid, one of the best underappreciated actors ever. He is so “everyman” it’s amazing. And that’s why I relate to his character. So, the 26 year old is named Carter and he represents the typical ambitious young shark learning what it takes to climb the corporate ladder. Unfortunately, because of his workaholism and worship of career, he loses his new wife (not without her own sin of adultery and immaturity). Quaid, playing Dan Foreman, learns his Sports magazine has just been acquired by a media mogul played like a Ted Turner by Malcom McDowell. Meanwhile, Carter takes his cues from his young shark boss, a heartless soulless snake, who ultimately turns against Carter. So the whole thing is a comparison of family values of community and people and loyalty versus corporate greed and using and heartlessness. The movie has a realistic share of the heartless layoffs of loyal workers, the stress of wondering if you are going to be next, etc. Scarlett Johanson, plays Dan’s daughter, Alex, with poise and elegance. The comparison of young Carter without a life and nothing but career versus Dan, who has family and is actually happy with an uneventful life. That’s what makes this movie so emotionally powerful, because it actually portrays a normal family life, not as boring or dreadful, but as a satisfying good life, and even as more desireable than a “successful” career. Boy, ain’t that rare in movies. Carter starts the movie as the guy who is cutting employees and ruthlessly pursuing his success. But by the end, he has seen in Dan’s family that very meaning he craves and cannot have. “I want my life to mean something the way this all means something to you.” He can’t believe that Dan actually believes in his company’s product so that he makes a big sale saying, “The best thing about it is, it really is the best thing for the client to come on board.” Carter asks him, “you really believe in this stuff.” “Why else would I do it?” replies Dan. Yes, the dinosaur ways of the old school meant that you sold products to people cause you believed in the product and wanted to help the person. And it shows this “dinosaur” old school as superior to the new school that conceives of people in terms of marketing demographics and consumers without souls. I loved it. So the kid learns that if he wants to find the meaning that Dan has, he has to act with Dan’s character. So when it comes time to fire Dan, Carter makes the choice to go down with him, but they save the day because they work together cooperatively rather than competitively. What’s cool about this story is that at the end of it, the guy doesn’t get the girl. Carter doesn’t get Dan’s daughter. Carter makes the right choice at the end, but is only a beginning. Changes can occur, but lives take a while to process and fully change. Character takes time, step by step of making the right choices. The value of family in this story was amazing. Almost to the point of unbelievablitity. When Dan discovers his daughter is seeing Carter, he wants to know if she is sleeping with him and feels betrayed by her dishonesty in hiding it from him. He even slugs Carter, in what I consider a rather unfair reaction. After all, their attraction was without any connection to Dan. And so what if they fall in love with each other. What does that really have to do with Dan, other than his pride that the kid is his boss? But so what? But I think it had more to do with Carter’s lack of character. One likeable aspect of Carter was the fact that he was completely honest around the daughter. She says, “Wow, you are incredibly honest” to his openness about his faults. He says, “No, actually, I’m not usually. Just around you.” Great romantic line of truth. Anyway, by now, the daughter is going to NYU, but she breaks up with Carter and tells her dad it wasn’t because of him, it was because of her. She just needed to focus on her education. But somehow underneath it, we can’t help but know that her father’s disappointment was what helped her realize her own choices were immature. She realizes Dan took out a second mortgage to pay for her education and she was not respecting that sacrifice by making mature choices like focusing on that education that was worked hard for. Amazing that this kind of stuff comes from a Hollywood movie. Parents are right? Romantic “Love” is not god? Yeah!! But I must say one major disappointment is the fornication that is very “naturally” a part of the daughter’s relationship with Carter. Of course, Hollywood assumes true love must be consummated with fornication and this is so assumed by our culture, that to even bring it up as an objection marks me as a fundamentalist religious fanatic from the Dark Ages. But the truth is, you will never understand the depth of true love if you do not love truly. And true love waits. Simple as that. True love respects the act of sex as a holy union with special status between a man and woman committed for life, not an act engaged in with people you have good feelings about. That is a devaluation of love and dilutes its specialness. But of course people who engage in premarital or extramarital relations do not understand this because they have never lived it. Those who do not delay their gratification do not understand that delayed gratification is EVEN more pleasurable. Now, those who delay sexuality until they are “in love” with someone may be a step close than the promiscuous, but they’re still missing it. They’re missing the component of sexuality that can only be achieved through life long commitment, the component of intimacy. And yet, ironically, intimacy is the one thing they are all trying to find! Ah well… Another thing about the depiction of modern corporate culture as heartless, soulless, backstabbing and concerned only about the bottom line. As in the movie, megamergers become absurd giants of soulless marketing enterprises devoid of concern for people, defining them as consumers etc. Now, the reason I didn’t get the feeling that this was the typical Hollywood socialist or Communist attack on capitalism is because it contrasted the worst of corporate megalomania not with a Marxist or Michael Moore type view of so-called “social justice,” but a moral view. It was caring for people, human beings, family and loyalty, versus the dehumanization of people into objects of conquest and consumers to manipulate. The problem with the Marxist /socialistå screeching about social justice is that they conceive of the individual in the same exact terms as does the greedy multinational corporate conglomerate. People are not humans, they are “groups” of objects defined by their communities, to be manipulated for their own good. They have no will or even responsibility to leftists. They are VICTIMS. And Victims must be engineered to be saved. And of course, who has the goodness and freedom to control them? Why the leftists of course. Back to the dehumanization of megacorporations. Let’s face it, our culture is becoming more and more heartless and less family driven. The Ted Turner guy in the movie tries to paint the picture of their company becoming a new democracy, with a new electorate, a new country. I think that this kind of culture is in fact resulting from the creation of multinational companies. Nationalism is being replaced by multinational marketing. Corporations are defining people in terms of money and are repatriating loyalties away from family and nation into the dollar. The attempt to abolish countries and nations is not driven by egalitarianism, but by a dictatorship of the soul. You don’t abolish nations, you replace them with a new authority. Multinationalism is not a “sensitivity” to other cultures and worldwide harmony without “the bigotry of nationalism.” Multinationalism is ultimately a betrayal of the “masses” into slavery under a new oligarchy of the super-rich. It’s great that the movie had an appropriate critique of such consumer culture and multinational corporate heartlessness without being Marxist. Of course, the ultimate irony is that it is a multinational megamedia corporate conglomerate that funded the movie critiquing such multinational megamedia corporate mindset. Ah, the ironies of life.