The 15:17 to Paris: How God Prepares the Heroes We Need Right Now

The true story of how three American friends stopped a terrorist attack on a train to France and saved 500 lives. Directed by Clint Eastwood, written by Dorothy Blyskal from the book.

Clint Eastwood is one of the most courageous and bold filmmakers in Hollywood. He defies the hegemony, goes against the grain, speaks truth to power.

The 15:17 to Paris is no exception. This is a story of American exceptionalism, positive Christianity, pro-military and salvific masculinity.

Like Owen Wilson would say, “Wow.”

It follows the ordinary lives of three boys from grade school up to adulthood and how the simple and sometimes frustrating obstacles of life are providentially used by God to create ordinary heroes. I use that ironic term “ordinary heroes” deliberately because, not only is this a true story, but it is one that shows us being a hero is not something for comic books and movies, but is part and parcel of a life of traditional American Christian values that have been lost in our culture.

The Gimmick

All right, I have to say this right up front, the acting is not Oscar-worthy. It’s mediocre, and a bit of a weakness of the film. But I am totally okay with it because Eastwood cast the actual three men to play themselves in the movie.

It’s a gimmick that works because it carries with it a certain sense of authenticity that A-list actors would not carry. Of course, I love what A-list actors can bring to true stories as well. But in this case, it’s okay that they don’t. And the reason is because the whole point of the story is that ordinary average citizens without privilege can be real heroes.

So, you’ll have to have a little patience with these first time thespians. But trust me, it will be worth it.

Salvific Masculinity in an Emasculated World

Leftists and America-haters will hate this movie with all the hatred in their black little hearts.

Patriots and reasonable Christians will love this movie because it showcases God’s providential control in our lives and defies the political correctness of cultural Marxism that is destroying our society.

Here’s how it does that… Continue reading

12 Strong: Salvific Masculinity Destroys Islamic Imperialism & the War on Men

The true story of the first deployment of a special forces team in Afghanistan after 9/11. A mere 12 American soldiers, led by a captain without field experience, join local forces to take down a major Taliban target.

War Movies and the Zeitgeist

I wrote a post on war movies a decade ago, wherein I argued that their themes often reflect current political attitudes of the era — or at least of Hollywood in that era. This isn’t absolute. There is some diversity of views, but there are also clear patterns.

In the 1940s and 50s, war movies tended to support the narrative that war is glory. Killing Nazis after all is a glorious good thing. World War II was indisputably righteous war. There were some “war is hell” themes, but it was a hell worth fighting.

Then in the 60s and 70s the Hollywood slogan became, “war is insanity,” because of the politics of Vietnam. Movies from Dr. Strangelove to Apocalypse Now reinforced that anti-establishment narrative. Sure, there were always some exceptions, but it wasn’t until Saving Private Ryan that war movies could be heroic and patriotic again.

But Ryan started a new kind of diluted patriotism, with a shift away from the higher cause of one’s country to the individualistic commitment to one’s fighting buddies, the man next to you, became your purpose, not the flag. The patriotic value of a higher cause faded into the background of relativistic rejection of transcendent causes. It was a movie version of being against war, but “supporting the soldiers.” Even good war movies like We Were Soldiers and Blackhawk Down suffered from this myopic individualism.

In recent years, Hollywood has tried to cast the American military as a tool of a nationalistic imperialistic military industrial complex of sadistic corrupt leaders and poor sucker soldier pawns destroyed by PTSD. Witness movies like Redacted, Lions for Lambs, War Machine, In the Valley of Elah, all failures because Americans don’t believe the Lie.

Return to a Higher Cause

But recently, with American Sniper, Hacksaw Ridge, Dunkirk, 13 Hours, and now 12 Strong, we have a resurgence of a more nuanced balance of just war theory. These movies deal honestly with the imperfections of humanity, but focus on a return to an understanding of righteous violence and the transcendence of a higher cause of fighting for freedom and one’s country again.

They do not shy from showing the truth that even though we are morally obligated to kill evil men and evil communities bent on destruction and murder, it is not without collateral damage on the human psyche of those involved. But these movies affirm that the noble cause of one’s country, the higher purpose of freedom and justice, is a price worth paying to protect the innocent.

Of course, these were all elementary ideas of yesteryear. But in today’s climate of American self-hating War on Masculinity, and left wing postcolonial Marxist university theories indoctrinating the youth from high school on, those elementary truths are now a sort of profound divine revelation into a world of darkness.

Not to mention how the notion of confronting widespread Islamic imperialism and oppression around the world has become a No-No for Left Wing Hollywood, bent as it is on hating Judeo-Christian western civilization.

Justice is Masculine

But there are exceptions. Thank God. Hollywood may be dominated by Anti-American regressives, but it is not monolithic. There is a resistance within. Truth does get released at times. There are individuals who do not follow the herd off the cliff of left wing delusion.

12 Strong is a rare example of that unleashed truth.

It is a return to masculine righteousness in the face of worldwide Islamic evil.

And boy, do we need this right now. Not just because of the war on masculinity that wants to turn all men into women because of the evil excess of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, but because of our culture’s cowering to Islamic supremacy. You know, criticism of Islam is “Islamophobia,” and Feminist submission to Islamic oppression of women.

12 Strong is a battle movie, plain and simple. Lots of gun battles, soldiers’ comaraderie, and strategy meetings of generals over maps discussing the odds. And cool action sequences of modern soldiers on horseback in rugged terrain shooting automatic rifles. In other words, a classic war movie about a small unit of American soldiers fighting the real enemy that exists in this world, with grit, honor and duty.

We see the captain taking the lead in battle, men considering it an honor to do a mission that they will most likely not survive, and all of them doing it for their loved ones and their country. Yeah, that’s right, the country that too much of Hollywood considers a shithole.

Well, not this time. Thanks, producer Jerry Bruckheimer, director Nicolai Fuglsig, writers Ted Tally, Peter Craig, and the cast for your courage.

The heart and soul of this story is justice, as embodied in the simple talisman of a piece of twisted melted metal from the Twin Towers that a general gives the captain of the unit, played brilliantly by Chris Hemsworth.

At the end of the story, after conquering the enemy, the captain buries that piece of metal into the dirt of Afghanistan as a spiritual homing beacon for justice.

But as one of the soldiers says at the end, “We won the battle. We still gotta win the war.” And that is a near impossible war to win in the Afghan “graveyard of empires.” A land where the Afghan warrior tells them, “There is no right choice. Today, you are my ally, tomorrow, you are my enemy.” It is a complex world that illustrates just how difficult it is to win over entrenched evil. Just how impossible are the odds.

But impossible odds are precisely what are overcome in this true story of 12 Strong men, exemplars of the masculine righteousness that is needed to save the world. The impossible can be done when you fight evil for a just cause.

And yes, the price is worth it.

It’s something left wingers and feminist man-haters completely miss with their propaganda of how “white male privilege” is the root of all evil.  When they try to deconstruct masculinity into toxicity, when they try to argue that it is men who cause the wars and violence in the world, they suppress the truth that it is also men who stop all the wars and violence in the world. Righteous, masculine men of strength.

And that is what we need more of. 12 Strong is an antidote to the toxic anti-masculinity of the left wing social engineering that is seeking to sissify our culture.

Watch it. Be strong.

War for the Planet of the Apes: Cultural Appropriation and the Battle for the Social Narrative

In this fourth installment of the Planet of the Apes series we watch the next episode in how earth humans became overcome and enslaved by intelligent speaking apes.

This is a perfectly crafted well told epic that focuses on the personal journey of revenge for the leader of apekind, Caesar, played with understated brilliance by Andy Serkis. It is a moving and complex portrait of a leader who seeks peace, is pushed to revenge, but discovers mercy when he faces his own hatred. It’s what makes epics so… well, epic. War has ape characters that you can do nothing but root for, which makes you think twice, since they represent the creatures who will ultimately overthrow humanity on earth.

Are our enemies more like us than we would like to admit? Not always. But is it moral relativism to humanize the enemy? Not always.

Steven Zahn plays a comic relief chimpanzee who almost upstages Serkis with his lovably selfish personality (I’m telling you, Zahn rivals Serkis’ “good” Gollum paws down). The apes who join Caesar are loyal men—whoops—I mean apes of honor. The “humanization” of the apes is smartly captured by having Caesar’s band of assassins end up caring for a little mute human girl who steals your heart with every gesture she makes.

The visual effects are stupendous. Not one moment in the entire film did I ever think I was watching CGI. That is a compliment not only to the quality of the technology, but to the acting. War exemplifies the best of Hollywood visual effects, not in drawing attention to it, but in making it invisible. Bravo!

Unfortunately, War for the Planet of the Apes is also another example of bigoted Christophobia that seems to spill from the talented yet depraved souls of many Hollywood storytellers.

(Though, thank God, not all of them)

Human Exceptionalism: The Image of God

Continue reading

Wonder Woman: Women Can Be Warriors, as Long as They are Sexy

Wonder Woman is like most first-in-a-series comic book fantasy movies, pretty cool action, great ironic humor, with some depth of character and a big silly battle of gods at the end. The sequel will of course be crap. But at least we’ll have WW1.

In the run up to its release, this movie became a lightning rod of feminist hope for transforming the superhero genre, and a weapon of feminist hatred against men. It proves to be neither.

It’s just another good fantasy comic book movie. With the emphasis on fantasy.

It works precisely because the notion of women warriors is an odd rarity and a biological anomaly. It’s a fantasy that does not fit reality, and that is why it is entertaining. Yes, I know Ronda Rousey could kick my butt. That is why I wrote “anomaly.” Butt the biological fact of the matter is that military reality proves that most women cannot meet the standards of warriors. It is basically not in their nature or their biology.

Third wave feminists and their leftist useful idiots believe that if they can change the narrative and promote their ideology agenda of univocal male and female identity in culture, that it will magically change reality. But it won’t. It will turn some men into emasculated geldings that they will then use and discard from dissatisfaction, but it won’t change scientific reality. And that is why they are using law to force this diabolical social engineering in our own military as well as society. They know the military is the ultimate expression of masculinity in a culture, so that is why they want to fundamentally transform it.

Wonder Woman carries a sense of originality that makes it stand out from other comic book movies precisely because of its irony… Continue reading

Alien Covenant: Ridley Scott’s Christophobic Atheism

Alien: Covenant views like an atheist version of a bad Christian movie.

Look, I was a fan of the original Alien, as one of the best sci-fi horror films of all time. Although I can no longer watch it because it’s gimmick of slow build suspense doesn’t work any more. It’s no longer scary, it’s just boring. One dinner scene remains emblazoned on film history, I won’t deny that. But the film no longer stands up for me.

Not so with Aliens. Aliens is the only one that still works in the series. It is the classic that surpasses the original. But of course, it isn’t Ridley Scott, it’s James Cameron, a superior storyteller. But I digress.

The Devolution of Atheist Storytelling

It seems as Scott gets older, his hatred of God burns brighter. Which is not a wise thing, considering how close he is in age to his own demise. And the worse his films seem to get as well. It’s almost as if Scott’s filmmaking is an argument for the existence of God. The more you apply atheism to your storytelling, the more irrational and the less satisfying your storytelling is for the human spirit.

Gladiator (2000) was quite simply a masterpiece of filmmaking. But it was pagan. Okay, a pagan masterpiece. An inversion of the gladiator movies of the past from their Judeo-Christian context into a celebration of pagan “transcendence.” Not because Scott (or his atheist screenwriter, David Franzoni) believes in such silly things, of course, but simply as a mythical embrace of anything other than Christianity. All the persecution of Christians in that era was quite literally cut out of the story.

Hannibal (2001) was a mocking subversion of the Christ story that transformed the cannibalistic serial killer into a Christ figure and the “real villain” was a caricature of a fundamentalist Christian. Satan as hero, worthy of the Scorsese award for antichrist filmmaking. And just a stupid movie.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005), was a humanistic reduction of all religion as morally equivalent and reduced to conquest. Wait. No. Actually, it was the denigration of Christianity to Islam, since the Crusades were depicted without their context of defense against imperialist jihad, and since the Muslims were portrayed as being more noble in their culture than the Christians. The story is about a Christian knight after all, who loses his faith in the face of multicultural experience of the other. (once again, any enemy of Christianity seems to be this director’s friend, even if that enemy hates him and wants to enslave the world) The problem is that this movie is an epic that lacks transcendence, even the pagan transcendence of Gladiator, and therefore becomes uninspiring and forgettable.

Prometheus (2012) (another pagan myth) was the mind-numbingly boring attempt to make the ancient aliens theory look aesthetically acceptable. But it’s still just the ridiculous atheist fairy tale that the gods of religion come from aliens. And they laugh at Christians claiming we believe in ridiculous made-up myths! Oh, and don’t forget, in this one, Jesus Christ was an alien. Gotta love that shot of the artwork of an alien in a crucifixion pose. Just give us some aliens vs. humans, damn you!

The Counsellor (2013) an uninspiring piece of nihilistic trash. When you argue that there is no meaning or purpose in reality, is it any wonder, your stories become meaningless and without purpose?

The abominable Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) displayed Scott’s apex of vile anger and contempt for the God of the Bible by reducing him to a tamper tantrum-throwing child, a figment of delusion—more a projection of Scott’s hypocritical atheist moralizing (since atheism claims there are no moral absolutes) than a nuanced understanding of complex deity and ancient sacred storytelling. They say your view of God is often a reflection of how you see your father. Well, I can only hope Scott will one day see beyond his own self-righteous hatred of daddy to find the grace that would actually give his hopeless life and absurd universe some meaning and purpose.

It Just Keeps Getting Worse

Now, Alien: Covenant carries on Scott’s legacy of Christophobic atheism. Continue reading

Patriots Day: This is What Makes America Great

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I saw an advance screening of Patriots Day, the dramatization of the Boston Marathon Bombing and the hunt for the young Islamic terrorists who perpetrated it. I must say that this is a movie that ALL Americans need to see when it is released. Put it on your calendars and keep an eye out for opening weekend December 21.

You Need to See Patriots Day.

With Lone Survivor, Deepwater Horizon, and now Patriots Day, Peter Berg is fast becoming the official great all-American movie director in my book, along with Mark Wahlberg as the great All-American actor. Berg seems to understand the courage, sacrifice, and exceptionalism of American heroism, and he is unafraid to tackle the most important villain on the earth today: Islamism.

(We must forgive him for Battleship, as that was a studio monstrosity that I am sure he only did to be able to make the movies he really wants to.)

The movie’s first act introduces us to some of the lives of the victims and heroes of that fateful day, and gives us a taste of their desires, their loves, their hopes for life. We are made to care for these everyday people and first responders before we see them go through the horrendous attack and aftermath. Wives, families, parents and lovers, all, with dreams and plans. The emotional power in this story is thick and human and deeply moving.

He even gives us a glimpse into the Tsarnaev brothers “everyday life” that leads up to their Islamic everyday terror. Though not with the kind of typical Hollywood “terrorists are people too” moral equivalency.

Mark Wahlberg plays a character who represents a composite of a couple different homicide detectives for narrative flow. But the attention to accuracy and detail outside of the necessary creative license is strong. This movie is true to the facts, but more importantly to the spirit of this important historical event.

And that spirit is the American spirit of banding together, something we desperately need right now in our country. Continue reading

To End All Wars Voted One of 29 Best WWII Movies on IMDB

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See the Wrap’s list of 29 WWII Films with a 7/10 rating on IMDB.

Woo Hoo! After all these years, it’s become a classic. Check it out. It’s 5th on the page list.

To End All Wars was my first feature film that I wrote that got produced.

It stars Kiefer Sutherland in one of his best roles ever, and if you haven’t seen it yet, you can on Amazon Video here.

ONLY $1.99 to Rent. What are you waiting for?

Makes a nice compliment to the awesome Hacksaw Ridge out in theaters now.

 

Hacksaw Ridge: Intense Podcast Discussion of Its Worldview

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This is one of my favorite podcast interviews I’ve done.

The guys at A Clear Lens talked with me about the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

We discussed everything: The themes, Christian faith, persecution, worldview, politics and acting and casting!

You will love this one. It’s deep.

Click here to listen.

I may start a podcast about movies with a friend of mine, Mark Tapson. What do you think?

Doctor Strange: Strangely Boring Magic

dr-strange

The latest Marvel offering about a doctor of medicine who, because of a horrible accident, seeks to replace his lost fame and power as a successful surgeon, but discovers the power of eastern occultism to transcend himself and fight the dark forces of evil seeking to take over the world.

Special Effects as Boring

This is the least of all Marvel movies, or TV shows for that matter. I have grown so weary of these superheroes as substitute gods, and special effects obsession with big vast environments of CGI with tiny little people in them running around avoiding mass destruction. It’s all quite boring and lacks humanity. It’s shallow spectacle over dramatic depth.

Don’t get me wrong, in general I like some of the Marvel universe. Captain America deals with some pretty transcendent values. The TV shows, Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are intensely human and personal with powerful themes that resonate. So it can be done right sometimes.

But Dr. Strange is unfortunately not one of those times.

I know that movies are visual and so they are the place for some real visual feasting to occur. But if that visual exploration is not accompanied by deep human meaning, it is like junk food or entertainment masturbation; empty thrills without satisfaction. Christopher Nolan sometimes does it right. Dr. Strange tries to mimic some of Inception’s mind-bending visuals, but without much interest beyond derivative homage. Chases and fight scenes occur in an endless litany of ever-changing Escher-like environmental metamorphosis with little purpose.

To be fair, writer-director Scott Derrickson does try to make this story about something bigger, about the recognition of spiritual reality and the purpose of life found in something bigger than ones’ self. Dr. Strange begins a narcissistic individual but ends up giving himself to a cause greater than himself. He begins a selfish glory hound, and ends up a guard dog for the world.

The problem is that the story’s well-intended meaning becomes a shallow generic self-righteousness that ends up drowning in an irrational and unbiblical occultic worldview.

Here’s how… Continue reading

Hacksaw Ridge: An Epic of Christian Faith and Heroism

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I just saw Hacksaw Ridge again. I posted about an early screening, and I am reposting that with expansions here.

It’s the true story of Desmond Doss, a Seventh Day Adventist Christian who joined the US military in WWII, but refused to carry a weapon and never fired a bullet. He became a medic who “saved lives instead of taking lives.” He suffered persecution within the system and from his fellow soldiers, but ended up saving 75 of his company’s men in the brutal bloodbath of Hacksaw Ridge on Okinawa.

This is the best war movie about Christianity in a time of war since To End All Wars (Go ahead, mock me, accuse me of self-promotion, but it’s true, regardless of who wrote it. And it was a true story too).

Mel Gibson’s Redemption

He’s done it again. Mel Gibson has crafted one of the most inspiring movies for this generation.

If you want to see Christianity respected in a movie, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge.

If you want to see Christianity lived out in grace and sacrifice, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge.

If you want to be inspired to be a better person, then you will definitely want to see Hacksaw Ridge. Continue reading