OSCAR WATCH • Brooklyn: This is What American Exceptionalism Used to Be

Brooklyn

Circa 1950s, a young Irish girl makes her way to America to find work in New York, and finds herself falling in love with the Land of Dreams.

Saoirse Ronan gives an Oscar winning performance in this simple tale of Irish immigrants in the Big Apple. It follows her course as a young single girl named Eilis in Ireland from a struggling fatherless family of her mother and sister. She receives a sponsorship from a Catholic priest in New York to help her find work in America.

She arrives in the Land of Dreams and suffers homesickness and loneliness, until she meets a young Italian boy at a local dance who fancies Irish girls. They strike up a relationship that carries through to the end of the film with true American simplicity and honesty. He’s a plumber in a family with dreams to marry and to buy land and a home on an empty Long Island along with his family members.

It is truly the American Dream in its least corrupted form: hard working self-reliance coupled with family devotion and ethnic community that offers the hope of making one’s way in the world. The essence of the goodness of the middle-class. It is what made America great. Where normal people could come for a chance to work hard without the oppression of race, class or gender that plagued all of history’s cultures before.

It is tempting to find in Brooklyn an analogy with modern day immigration issues. But if anything, it is a rebuke to the tribalist rhetoric that dominates current minority and immigrant exploitation, creates a lawless defiance of legal boundaries, and promotes social violence.

Read on to see why…

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OSCAR WATCH • Room: The Most Powerful Pro-Life Movie Since the Planned Parenthood Exposé

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The story of a young girl imprisoned in a small room by her abductor, who escapes with the help of her five year old son, born in that captivity, and what happens after.

This is an emotionally brutal story to watch. It’s not that it’s a horror film, it’s not a thriller or even explicit. It’s because it is so revelatory of human nature in both its evil and its grandeur. It’s more about the power of imagination to overcome the psychological effects of such abuse. And as recent current news events have shown, this kind of thing is quite real.

Whereas most thrillers would end with the girl escaping, this movie’s second half is about the difficulty of both mother and son to overcome the trauma that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. It deals with the aftermath and damage that man’s inhumanity to man wreaks upon victim’s lives as well as their families.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie is quite understated in its realism. We see the strength of this young woman in dealing with her and her son’s issues in the best way she knows how, with her limited yet loving resources. It wrestles with the existential questions: How would a young child born in captivity cope with the smallness of their existence? And how would they see the huge vast world, once released? How frightening would it be to try to enter? And yet, how it is loved ones and friends who help us to fit into that very world. We need each other.

A Case Study in Pro-Life Narrative

There is a big picture going on here. I don’t believe it is without reason that young woman is never named in the film beyond her son’s “Ma.” So in a way she is an archetype for something bigger.  (Brie Larson’s acting in the role is transcendental)

Let me explain… Continue reading

OSCAR WATCH • The Big Short: A Big Racist Lie

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The “true” story of the housing bubble financial crisis of 2008, and how some financial investors saw it coming and sought to make money on it by doing something unheard of at the time: betting on the complete failure of mortgages instead of their success. This is called short selling.

The Big Short is a star studded cast of stellar performances, led by Christian Bale as the autistic type nerd investment broker who computed the numbers and was apparently the first to figure out that the housing mortgage market was going to crash. So he did his job, he figured out a way to make money if you knew something was going to crash, is to sell short, or bet against its success. Everyone thought he was crazy and thus a fascinating dramatic story with Oscar performances.

Look, the whole shebang is one big confusing mess for us normal people to follow and understand. There are a multitude of technical details of investing and finance that make the average person’s eyes glaze over trying to understand. One would think that such a movie about the petty details of finance would make for a boring movie.

And one would be wrong.

In the hands of the storytellers, The Big Short is a fascinating multidimensional tale that does a great job of simplifying the issues and even explaining them to the audience in creative ways to follow the emotional trail of what was going on. It’s kind of like Shakespeare. You watch it and you can barely understand what is going on as they explain it, but you’re mostly picking up the emotional storyline, without knowing fully what is being said. But that’s okay, cause you follow the drama with what little you can hold onto.

The writer director, Adam McKay, paints a masterful big picture that incarnates the notion of selling short even within the editing itself, where many scenes are cut away in the middle of sentences, giving the viewer the uncomfortable feeling of being cut short from what you were watching (loved that). He breaks the fourth wall every once in a while to explain the complex financial issues, with celebrities talking to the camera using metaphors. Like Anthony Bourdain in a kitchen describing the financial mess like hiding bad fish in a stew. It’s all quite brilliant and entertaining. Sometimes, we see what is happening on the screen and a character breaks aside to explain to us what is really happening that we don’t see, or how the real events were somewhat different from what we are seeing because they had to make it more entertaining for the movie. The conceit is brilliant and it works.

McKay made an otherwise complex tedious boring financial situation a fascinating clever simplified explanation for just long enough to follow the money.

The heart of the story is to show how banks and Wall Street are greedy and corrupt and how they exploited the regulatory system and the disadvantages of others in such a way that it crashed the system and brought on the massive financial crisis of 2008, ruining many Americans’ lives.

And it’s a big fat lie.

Oh, I don’t mean a factual Clinton type lie, as in “I did not violate the Espionage Act by sending classified emails through my private server.” But a contextual lie, a tricky half-truth lie. You know, the kind where everything you say is technically true, but ultimately a lie, because by leaving out the most important other half of the truth, you end up creating a false impression of what really happened. It’s manipulating true facts to create a falsehood.

Yes, Big Banks, and Big Business, and Wall Street were greedy and exploited the system, but the fact that was left out that changes everything was where it all originated. And that was in the Big Government regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac led by Democrat Barney Frank, that forced those banks to give mortgage loans to poor minorities they knew could not pay them back. That’s where it all started, and that was completely left out of the movie. The banks were forced by the government to create the bubble that would ultimately burst. And all of it was done in the name of left wing so-called racial equality. It was supported by Clinton, Bush and Barak Obama.  (UPDATED. It was not Dodd-Frank, but Barney Frank led legislation before 2007.)

Here is the part they left out: Government hacks look at the fact that some minorities are not able to pay for homes with the same representation as others. Rather than looking at the moral value system that created and reinforces that poverty within those communities, they immediately blame the poverty on racism. They then marshal laws to force those banks to give more loans to unqualified poor and minorities in the name of “social justice” (a code word for fascism). But since they don’t address the moral values, the unqualified, mostly minority, debtors fail in their responsibility and are hurt or ruined by the policy. It’s racism, plain and simple. Racism is favorable or unfavorable prejudice based on race. It is perpetuating the problem instead of fixing it.

Ironically, one of the characters says in the film, “They will blame the crisis on immigrants and poor people, like they always do.” WTF?

Yet in the film, when it is describing the discovery of the problems, there is no reference to the fact that it was government enforcing racist policy that created the bubble to begin with. The Barney Frank led regulations are never mentioned in this film. They may have been alluded to, but I didn’t catch it, and I didn’t hear any explicit mention. It’s like the government only appeared at the end of the movie instead of the beginning.

One character speaks of the irresponsible tell tale signs of the crash, as if they are arbitrary occurrences without reference to why: Rock bottom FICO scores, no income verification, adjustable rates and collateralized debt obligation. But those were all allowed because the government forced the banks to ignore those very qualifiers in order to get more unqualified poor minorities to get loans they knew they could not pay back.

That wasn’t private greed that started that, it was big government left wing racist policy. The government sold poor minorities short and sent them to their financial doom in the name of helping them.

In the beginning of the film, there is a scene that paints the picture as if this whole bundling of bad mortgages with good mortgages was created out of thin air as a scheme to make money by banks or lenders. Yet, it completely ignores the fact that the banks and lenders were all forced by government regulation to take on those bad mortgages. I am certainly not excusing the greed of those who did so, but the other side of the coin is that unjust government regulation forced them to come up with ways to make money within the parameters of unjust law that created the bubble.

Here is a short article by smart financial dude, Michael Barone, that explains some of this left out truth, and the tragic reality that they are doing it all over again: Government Created the Housing Bubble Financial Crisis and Could Be Doing So Again.

Here is another great short article close to the actual crisis by Walter Williams reviewing Thomas Sowell’s book on the Housing Boom and Bust. If you don’t like reading and want to see a video watch Sowell explain it here. Now, I want you to be aware that both Williams and Sowell are black economists. And since public debate is now dominated by the Obama rules of political discourse, if you disagree with Williams and Sowell, you are a racist. 🙂

Just kidding. But the point is made that the real origin of the financial crisis was the racists who used the race card to short truth and justice, then shifted the blame to the greedy Big Business monsters who exploited that original crime. Affirmative action is racist and hurts minorities and the poor.

And that’s the Big Truth about Big Government left out of The Big Short.

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The Young Messiah: Must See Bible Movie About Jesus. No Hollywood Bizarro World This Time.

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OPENS THIS FRIDAY.

Biopic of Jesus as a child becoming aware of his identity as the Son of God.

I saw an early screening of The Young Messiah that is set to release THIS FRIDAY.
Written by Betsy and Cyrus Nowrasteh, and directed by Cyrus Nowrasteh.

I’m the guy who wrote the critique of the Noah script by Aronofsky that went viral and exposed its anti-Biblical agenda. I’m not a fundamentalist, but I represent and understand a significant huge proportion of the contemporary Christian viewing public who are totally okay with creative license when it comes to Bible movies, AS LONG AS YOU DON’T SUBVERT THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE. That’s what Noah did, and that’s what Exodus did. They subverted the Biblical narrative with their own paganism and atheism. And that is why they failed in terms of audience potential (along with just being plainly bad movies). Biblical fidelity is not about petty details, but about the meaning.

Biblically Faithful

I am here to say that the new film coming out in March, The Young Messiah, is NOT one of those films. The Young Messiah is a great movie, well told, and very faithful to the spirit of the Gospel of what it may have been like for the young seven-year old Jesus to come of age as the Son of God. I highly recommend it for all Christians. It’s warm, touching and a beautiful portrayal of the chosen family struggling through extraordinary times and extraordinary difficulties with an extraordinary child. There is humor with a lovable yet rascally uncle Cleopas, and brilliant villainy with a skanky Herod Antipas, as well as a blond beautiful Robert Downey Jr.-like Satan.

It’s always tough to depict Satan. Gibson’s androgynous female with mutant baby was brilliant, but this one is great for a different reason. The New Testament describes Satan as a deceptive angel of light, so making him beautiful creates an eerie irony as he seeks to figure out what the plan of the young Messiah is, since the New Testament says the principalities and powers didn’t really know what the plan was, otherwise they wouldn’t have crucified him (1Corinthians 2:8).

And the story adds a dramatic stakes of life and death with a Roman centurion played by Sean Bean hunting down the elusive child on orders from Herod Antipas to kill him (because of the failure of his father to do so at the Slaughter of Innocents in Bethlehem years earlier). This was a brilliant addition to the story that was not in the novel, but makes the story more exciting as a movie. (Of course, it’s hard to make the danger seem real cause we know that he won’t ultimately kill Jesus, but the drama and suspense are still entertaining, as is the centurion’s own spiritual journey, since he had participated in the original Slaughter of Innocents)

Not Sectarian

It is adapted from Anne Rice’s Catholic novel, Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, but it does not take a Catholic or Protestant view. It seeks to depict that story within its original ancient Near Eastern Jewish context rather than from a sectarian perspective. Even the title change represents that focus with its more Jewish title of “Messiah” over the Greek “Christ.” Both Catholics and Protestants will love the beautiful and strong, yet devout and submissive Mary in this movie as “blessed among women,” who “rejoices in God, her Savior.” And while there are obviously some fictional miracle scenes, they are entirely within the parameters of possibility and don’t contradict Scripture. This is doctrinally safe imagination.

Son of God, Son of Man

Admittedly, it is a controversial and difficult story to tell because of the delicate theological issue of balancing Christ’s divinity with his humanity. After all, the Gospels do reveal that Jesus was NOT omniscient. That he had to grow in knowledge and wisdom (Luke 2:52), and that means he had to learn. Heck, it even says he also “increased in favor with God.”

Now the problem is that Christians have so emphasized Christ’s divinity, that we have sometimes neglected to balance that truth with his equally fully human identity. We therefore start to think of Jesus as some kind of Greek god waiting to grow up so he can reveal what he’s known all along. But that simply isn’t the truth. The only story of young Jesus in the Gospels is the one where he is left behind at the Temple at age twelve and when his parents go back to get him, he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:49). So, he understood his relationship to God the Father with some degree at age twelve. But beyond that, we simply don’t know. And if he wasn’t omniscient, as the Scriptures say he wasn’t, then there had to be a kind of realization that took place in his life in earlier years.

So what would it have looked like for Jesus’ identity to dawn upon him? What would life with the Son of God as a child look like? Again, an admittedly controversial topic to take up, but I think the movie does a great job of maintaining Christ’s divine identity while exploring the dilemma of his humanity in relation to that hypostatic union.

Here is a great article by N.T. Wright about Jesus’ Self Identity as Messiah that gives orthodox scholarly weight to that consideration. (Follow up article)

This is not the sinful humanity of The Last Temptation of Christ, or the gnostic otherworldliness of Jesus of Nazareth. This is a young child becoming aware that his miraculous power comes from his identity as the god-man. One of my favorite moments is a beautiful monologue of the boy Jesus explaining his new understanding of himself as Messiah in the flesh. He needs to experience all the joys, the pains, the happiness and sadness, of being human from birth to death. Why? So that we would have a redeemer who would know what it was like to be one of us. The Incarnation (Hebrews 4:15).

The Young Messiah navigates this delicate theological issue with a faithful and reverent dexterity.

No Hollywood Insanity

I think partly the reason for this Biblical fidelity is because it is independently produced outside the studio system. A major distributor, Focus Features, was wise enough to pick it up for distribution, but studio producer Chris Columbus had to get independent funding to make it. The reality is that Cyrus and Betsy are independent filmmakers who also made the brilliant and courageous, Stoning of Soroya M. (about the evils of sharia law). It takes the ability of free thinking independents to bravely portray faithful Judeo-Christianity.

I happen to know the Nowrastehs, but I told Cyrus I would not be a shill for them in my blog post, especially when it comes to my Lord Jesus Christ. I will speak honestly and freely. And so I have. Unlike certain other Christians paid in silver by the studios to trick the Body of Christ to support the abominations of Noah and Exodus. And also, unlike Noah, the original script for The Young Messiah changed quite a bit from script to screen…

The Power of the Gospel Story

Here is the most amazing part of the story to me. The director explained in a Q and A that though his wife and co-writer was already a Christian believer when they began the project, he was not. And making the movie The Young Messiah, was the culmination of a long spiritual journey that resulted in him becoming a Christian and being baptized. Even more fascinating, he had been raised in a Muslim household, but spent most of his adult life with a more secular worldview. That shows how exploring the story of the genuine Biblical Jesus transforms a person’s life.

Go see this movie on its opening weekend and let it transform yours. Remember, you must go on the opening weekend to help the movie stay in the theaters and have real impact. And of course, social media rules, so share, share, share!

CHRISTIANS, IF YOU WANT HOLLYWOOD MOVIES TO REFLECT MORE OF YOUR VALUES AND BELIEFS, YOU MUST GO TO THE THEATER TO SUPPORT MOVIES LIKE THE YOUNG MESSIAH ON OPENING WEEKEND OR YOU WILL NOT GET ANY MORE OF THEM.

One side note of amusement. Because the writer/director is Persian, Hollywood Christophobes and Left Wing Identity Police are going to have a difficult time accusing him of racism for not casting every single actor from the Middle East like they accused Ridley Scott on Exodus. Gotcha, haters!

UPDATE: After reading concerns by well-meaning Christians questioning the fictional aspect of The Young Messiah, I wrote this:

Question: Why should Christians support a movie that tells us a fictional story about Jesus, when Scripture is silent on the matter?

BG: First off, The Young Messiah is not a perfect movie. But it’s not Scripture, so we shouldn’t place that impossible demand upon it. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be appreciated.

Secondly, all retelling of Bible stories fills in gaps with fiction. Heck, when you are reading the Bible, and you are picturing the scenes in your own mind as you read, YOU are creating fiction in your head that is not in the text. You are imagining what they look like, what they wear, what the location looks like — all things that are fiction because you don’t know what everything looked like or where everything happened. So be careful of that double standard. I caution people not to accuse others of what they do themselves when reading the Bible.

That said, I have retold my share of Bible stories, and the main moral question to ask when creating those fictional elements is: Does this fit the spirit of the text, if not the letter? Does it maintain the meaning and the message? God did not give us a word formula to recite as the only means of salvation. He gave us our imaginations to retell that Good News in many different ways.

Q: How can biblical fiction movies such as The Young Messiah benefit Christians and the church?

BG: The power of theater and drama is the power of making the abstract concrete, of incarnation. I don’t mean the doctrine of Incarnation, but the power of embodiment through story. By seeing Bible stories dramatically acted out, we come into contact with truth in an existential and emotional way. It makes those doctrinal affirmations more rooted in our soul than mere mental assent. By seeing the young Jesus dramatically wrestling with his own incarnation in a movie, we can understand the depth of that doctrinal truth in a way that mere abstract rational contemplation cannot achieve.
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The Young Messiah Trailer: A Promising Positive Portrayal of Jesus

I have not seen this movie yet, but I know the writer/director, Cyrus Nowrasteh, and I believe it will be a positive portrayal of Jesus.

Aronofsky and Scott get behind thee!

Cyrus is a great filmmaker with a rich worldview and courage. He made The Stoning of Soroya M. That took GUTS and a heart for justice (It was a movie about the evil of Sharia Law).

A Hollywood Movie of Real-World Faith: It Ain’t War Room, It’s Captive

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I saw an advanced screening of this movie. The powerful true story of Ashley Smith, a meth addict, who got taken hostage by murderer Brian Nichols years ago. Through providential timing, Ashley reads Rick Warren’s The Purpose Drive Life to Brian, and it changes their world.

This is not an easy answers story, and the Gospel is not bellowed in your face. It’s not a “Christian Movie.” It points toward forgiveness and redemption in Christ without explaining everything. It’s not preachy, it’s complex and sometimes ambiguous, you know, like real life. But it doesn’t worship Rick Warren either. It tells the true story as it happened.

The “God’s Not Dead” crowd will not like it cause there is no sinner’s prayer, and everyone doesn’t get saved with a Christian rock band at the end of the movie. Kendricks Brothers fans will not like it because it has great acting, realistic evil, and everything isn’t wrapped up in a perfect little American Christian panacea genie Jesus with a bow.

The casting is perfect, the acting is riveting, the writing is very good. It’s not perfect, but If you are a Christian longing for good Hollywood movies that portray Christianity positively, or even fairly, stop merely complaining and support this movie, cause that’s how more of them are made.

If you don’t weep at the beauty of redemption in this story, I’ll give you your money back.
(Okay, not really, but I’m telling you, it is heart-wrenching and powerful)

See Rick Warren interview David Oyelowo here, at the 56 minute mark.

Captive opens next Friday, September 18.
Remember, opening week is the key to success. Go see it.

The 33: An Amazing Movie Trailer

I don’t normally do this, but the trailer for this movie about the 33 trapped Chilean miners from 5 years ago just made me tear up. The freakin’ trailer was emotionally moving!

Interestingly, it looks like they may even be giving the Christian faith of the miners a fair depiction. Could it actually be? You can’t face death without facing your Creator.

We will see. We will see.

Little Boy: Americana Film about Family, Fatherhood, Faith & Fighting Bullies

Little+Boy+New+PosterThis is a repost because the movie is now opening this weekend.

A little boy in small town America during WWII seeks to do whatever it takes to bring his father back safely from the war, and discovers the power of faith to move mountains.

This movie is coming out in April. I got a chance to see an early screening. Keep your eye out for it. It’s the movie that the Oscar nominated Boyhood should have been.

Written and directed by Alejandro Monteverde, the guy who gave us the wonderful adoption story, Bella, and his co-writer Pepe Portilla, this heartwarming family film is actually great storytelling for all moviegoers, not merely those who prefer family-friendly movies. It is so much more than that.

Pepper Flynt Busbee is a seven year old boy in an American town who is so small for his age, he gets teased and bullied and called, “Little Boy.” Even his bigger brother, London, doesn’t appreciate him. Only Pepper’s father, James, treats the kid with dignity. In fact, he loves him with special favor because he sees the big heart and soul of his little boy. They virtually live within imaginative stories in the comics and movies. It’s a touching portrayal of the love of a father and son. And we hear a common phrase between them that becomes a thematic handle for the film, “Do you believe you can do this?” “I believe I can do this!”

When big brother London is drafted into the army for WWII, he is rejected for flat feet, and some kind of law then requires the father of the family to take his place. The dad, James goes into the war to fight, and we follow Little Boy’s anxious desire for his father to come back as the war rages on.

A single elder Japanese man, Hashimoto, lives in the town after being freed from the Japanese internment camps. He becomes the recipient of hostility and bigotry of the residents, including the Busbee family, whose father becomes missing in action against the Japanese war machine in the Philippines. Pepper’s own bullied experience becomes a touchpoint of connection between these two who begin a rocky friendship at the behest of the local priest, Father Oliver.

What I liked about this story was that it dealt with the sensitive subject of racism but with fair nuance that took into account an understanding of the perspective of those whose loved ones where in the War. In an insightful moment of cultural connection, Hashimoto tells a story to Pepper that is a Japanese version of the David and Goliath story that Pepper draws inspiration from. There is always some point of contact in every culture with the truth of God.

Ad300x250-TEAWscriptBut I also thought that it deals with faith in a unique and thoughtful way, not usually seen in movies. Pepper thinks he can use the magic power of his comic book hero, the Magician, to bring back his dad from the War. The priest tells him it’s a lot like faith, but that the Bible tells us that our faith won’t work if we have the slightest bit of hatred in our hearts. He then gives Pepper a list of good works to do that includes feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and making friends with Hashimoto.

Though this is a distinctly Roman Catholic sensibility of faith and works, it finds a pretty good balance between the faith and works divide of Protestants and Catholics. I don’t think there is much here for Protestants to get offended by.

The Bible does say after all that faith without works is dead (James 2:14), as well as “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (2 John 4:5).

The story wrestles with this faith in a genuine way. You don’t have to agree with all of this story’s depiction of faith in order to draw from its insightful lessons of the human condition. Rather than the typical Hollywood movie notion of faith as being rooted in the believer, this story makes the point that we don’t always get our way, and that God says, “faith can move mountains, but ultimately, it’s up to the Mover,” not us. In other words, God answers prayer, but not always the way we want. This is contrasted with Hashimoto’s belief that Pepper should have faith in himself, but even Hashimoto learns a lesson of faith at the feet of this child as unexpected surprises continue to delight the Busbee family and the viewers of this thoughtful heartwarming story.

I was amazed at how this South American filmmaker was able to capture Americana with such profound and emotionally moving incarnation. He even had Norman Rockwell homages in some of his scenes. But then, Americana is not really a nationalistic or racial identity like other countries, but a set of values and ideas that are universal: Freedom, family, faith, forgiveness, and fighting bullies.

There is also a powerful theme of substitutionary atonement that echoes through this film, another powerful element of a Christian worldview that can best be understood through dramatic emotional narrative. I won’t ruin it by spelling it out other than to say that from the beginning when father substitutes for son in the war, until the end, the Christian notion of people sacrificing for each other by bearing their suffering or punishments is a truly memorable theme that will make this film last not only in your memory days after you’ve seen it, but will be something that beckons for multiple viewings.

My only complaint was a small factual inaccuracy that was a minor point in the film but important to me personally, having studied this time period of WWII. The story goes through to the end of the war and includes the atomic bomb. At one point, we learn that the Japanese might kill all Allied prisoners in retaliation for Hiroshima. This reminds me a bit too much of modern day blame-shifting of Islamism’s evil as a reaction to so-called “western imperialism.” Much like Islam’s centuries’ prior dedication to conquering the world has nothing to do with American foreign policy, so the Japanese plan to kill all prisoners had nothing to do with America’s dropping the Bomb. It was in their Bushido code for generations prior that prisoners did not deserve to live. It was Imperial Japan’s sick and twisted ideology of racist superiority that had long driven their worldview to kill prisoners. But I chalk that up to political naivete, not malice. This minor flaw is almost nothing compared to the positive heart stirring family values the film reinforces in a wonderfully told story.

Little Boy is one of those rare movies made by Christians that is not a bad movie. It’s a great movie with Christian meaning. The Executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, who also produced the huge TV hit series The Bible and the movie hit The Son of God, seem to be the new Babe Ruth of Christian filmmaking. This movie is another home run.

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OSCAR WATCH • The Grand Budapest Hotel: WTF? Quirky Soulless Unfunny Silliness.

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The story of… the story of… What is it the story of? Oh — the “adventures” of a legendary concierge in a fictional hotel between World Wars. I had to get that from IMDB cause it is not apparent watching this movie just what exactly is going on, and who cares?

I am a fan of Wes Anderson’s older work, and his quirkiness of characters and storylines. I mean, Bottle Rocket is one of my favorite indie films of all time. So I tried to like this movie. I really did.

Say the good first, Brian, say the good first.

I have one good thing to say about it. Every shot, every frame, is a beautiful painting of light, composition and color. Truly, every shot, every frame. It DESERVES the Oscar for cinematography.

But every other nomination — Really?

The rest of the movie is just long, boring, ridiculous convoluted episodes of unfunny silliness. It is full of verbose narration over an artificial acting style of quirky but soulless unsympathetic cartoon characters spewing pretentious literary dialogue in convoluted episodes of an uninteresting story.

Other than that, there’s just not much to say about it.

Gimme back my ninety minutes you stole from me, Mr. Anderson.
(spoken in the dialect of Agent Smith from The Matrix).