Wednesday, December 29, 2004


The polls are closed! The votes are in! And the results of the first annual "Foolish Knight Reader's Favorite Songs Poll" are as follows:


1. Where the Streets Have No Name, U2

2. With Or Without You, U2

3. Jesus Freak, dc Talk

4. Red Letters, dc Talk

5. O Holy Night, John Sullivan Dwight (words) Adolphe-Charles Adam (music)

6. O Lord You’re Beautiful, Keith Green

7. & 8. (tie) Into the West, Annie Lennox and Be My Escape, Relient K

9. Honeysuckle Breeze, Lost Dogs

10. Vertigo, U2


There it is, like it or not, the people have spoken! Many thanks to all who participated, you folks don't agree on much but I guess U2 isn't going away any time soon.

More info to come...

Installment Fifteen...

“The Christian mind thinks sacramentally. The Christian Faith presents a sacramental view of life. It shows life’s positive richness as derivative from the supernatural. It teaches us that to create beauty or to experience beauty, to recognize truth or to discover truth, to receive love or to give love, is to come into contact with realities which express the Divine Nature.”

-Harry Blamires, The Christian Mind

Monday, December 27, 2004

Would you like to eavesdrop onto some of Foolish Knight's thoughts?

Let's listen in...

I tend to hold books and movies to different standards from each other. This is understandable. They are, after all, different mediums. Still... it seems to me that, when boiled down, the elements of story are the same. Aren't they? So why should I throw a fit if a film asks me to invest in it? Why not tolerate a film that leaves me with more questions than answers? G. K. Chesterton, Frederick Buechner, J. R. R. Tolkien, Flannery O'Connor, C. S. Lewis and Alan Paton--some of my favorite authors--all have written books which do just that. They allow for multiple visits and multiple interpretations of their minor themes and while their major themes are simply made clearer with each visit.
What I’m saying is why not view films with this some attitude? This attitude of exploration and viewing art as a journey--not a destination.
And it helps if we view this journey like all journeys--sometimes dangerous. sometimes thrilling sometimes beautiful, bland, entertain or tiring but only constant in one respect: it’s always a journey.

This reminds me of something I found on the Looking Closer web site:

"I think writers with actual intentions generally end up saying things they already thought they knew, and I'm not much interested in reducing my vocation as a poet to something like propagandist. I write poems to find things out, not to communicate some previously ossified conclusion."

-poet Scott Cairns in an interview with Image

God, I love so many people here...

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s all you can hear for now, the rest is a little personal. I do hope this excursion has been educational, thanks for listening.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Since I don't intend to do any blogging tomorrow...

...I'll just say it now,


and may you see how God has blessed you with his love, the love that brought his son here in the first place.

“And now I will show you the most excellent way.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs, Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. but where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. when I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known,
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love, But the greatest of these is love.”

-First Corinthians

Two opinions of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, in a Q&A format.

I thought it would be fun to give my opinion of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera in a question and answer format. Also, I thought that it would be good if you got another opinion of the movie, so I’d like to thank my sister for her willing assistance in that area.
Many thanks, as well, to Joel, for his provision of these thoughtful and though-provoking questions. (it should also be noted that Joel is in no way responsible for the answers to these questions, so if there are any knife-wielding Phantom fans out there who don't like what you read here, blame me, not him) Alright, on to the good stuff:

First my sister's answers:

1. Was it well cast?

Yes. All the actors did a great job portraying their characters personalities.

2. Did it go an original route or did it look like the stage play on

Original, it didn’t look like someone sneaked a video camera into the play.

3. Did it use the original music?

Yes, as far as I know; I’ve only heard bits and pieces of the Broadway soundtrack.

4. Was it more style or more content?

Probably style.

5. Did it have good character development?

They concentrated on the Phantom and kinda left the rest alone.

6. Was it sappy or interesting?

Interesting. I didn’t feel like I was about to cry instead I wanted to know what was going to happen next.

7. Was it well directed (shots and such)?

Yes, the director did a great job moving from one point to the next without confusing me.

8. Was it worthy of more stars than CT online gave it?

Yes, out of four stars I would give it three and a half.

9. Is it worthy of one or more academy awards?

Yes, the costume and sets were incredible and the music was great.

10. Is it worth seeing more than once?

Yes, I would like to see the acting again now that I know what the story’s about.


Now mine:

1. Was it well cast?

I think that the character of the Phantom will always be the most intriguing to me no matter what adaptation I’m watching (or reading) so it’s no surprise that I found Gerard Butler’s performance to be the most worthwhile aspect of this film

As for the rest of the cast they (for the most part) did a fine job with the material they were given; Emmy Rossum (who plays Christine) pulled off an impressive performance especially considering here age (only 18!) and Minnie Driver was entertaining as a spanish diva. Patrick Wilson however gets the short end of the stick with the character “Raoul”, I use the term ‘character’ lightly.

2. Did it go an original route or did it look like the stage play on

It certainly did not look like a play on film, which is to the director’s credit but this had little effect since the film very much felt like a Broadway play trying to make it’s way onto the big screen.

3. Did it use the original music?

Yes it’s all here, from the bombastic main theme to the dated drum machines, though I wish it wasn’t, for I was made painfully aware from the moment Lloyd Webber’s music muscled it’s way into the movie that I was not watching The Phantom of the Opera but *ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER'S* The Phantom of the Opera . A fact I wasn’t allowed to escape for the rest of the film. It was the film’s greatest weakness.

4. Was it more style or more content?

Style definitely trumps content in this film. I did not feel like the filmmakers were trying to say anything through this movie, which is too bad since the original story naturally lends itself to many topics and themes.

5. Did it have good character development?

Despite the actors best efforts, we are often left with no clue or insight into the characters actions or motivations.

6. Was it sappy or interesting?

Neither, really. It tries to knock us over the head the characters' emotions (which are never exactly “sappy”, instead they’re usually a mix of awe/admiration/desire that gets old after awhile), I would have enjoyed the movie a lot more if it had opted to show instead of tell.

7. Was it well directed (shots and such)?

Though his direction is not award-worthy, Joel Schumacher, like the actors, does an adequate job using the material he is given.

8. Was it worthy of more stars than CT online gave it?

No, I think two out of four stars is a fair rating.

9. Is it worthy of one or more academy awards?

It had very high production values, that is to say that there was a lot of talent going into the look of the movie but, beyond awards for these things, I don’t see it winning anything big come Oscar time. Thank goodness.

10. Is it worth seeing more than once?

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Winter Wonderland (Pt. Two)

Originally uploaded by Foolishknight.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Why read old books?

I think C. S. Lewis goes a long way in answering this question:

"Every age has its own outlook. It is especially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds... by reading old books."

Penny Lane Blair has got me thinking.

With this comment:

"I dare ask you what makes a film great anyways? Isn't it up to the viewer to deside?"

A question for my readers,

What do you think?

Installment Fourteen...

“All that is not eternal is eternally out of date.”

-C. S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Art Needs No Justifcation

It's been about a mounth since I encouraged my readers to get off their computers and read a book.

Well, now it seems that you can be online and read a book at the same time. For those who like that sort of thing.

So I present to you, for your mind's enlightenment, Hans Rookmaaker's Art Needs No Justifcation.

Monday, December 20, 2004

I've made a terrible mistake!

I need you to help me! I need your list to be twenty songs long, not ten. You see, you (my readers) have such varied tastes that only a handful of songs even got voted for twice. Like I said, this is my mistake and I know that at least one of my readers will think unpleasant thoughts after reading this post. I'm sorry!

Remember the deadline's Christmas day. Oh and for order's sake please do not post any lists which are subject to change; I'm accepting all lists I see as final. Thank you, and once again I'm terribly sorry about all of this.

I need more hellos.

Have you ever moved a mountain?

Have you ever moved a tree?

The mountain doesn't want to be moved

Neither does tree

And I know why

It hurts

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Early Draft Reflections

I once described myself as a recovering procrastinator. Well, I've decided to strike the adjective - I'm a procrastinator plain and simple I don't like it, I'm trying to fight it, but darn it! I am one.

A Man For a Seasons

This film's biggest weakness is probably that - because it's very much driven by dialogue - it (at times) can feel more like a play that's been filmed that a movie. As weaknesses go, this is not a very big one and is understandable since A Man for All Seasons is based on Robert Bolt's play of the same name

Fuori Dal Mondo (Not of This World)

Not of This World just may be the best movie you've never seen.

Moby Dick

Once again we end with my least favorite of the bunch and once again I'm fumbling to explain why. With Ray Bradbury’s pen and director John Huston's helmsmenship, why third place?

G. K. Chesterton on: Indiana Jones?

"Europe ought rather to emphasize possible perdition; and Europe always has emphasized it. Here its highest religion is at one with all its cheapest romances. To the Buddhist or the eastern fatalist existence is a science or a plan, which must end up in a certain way. But to a Christian existence is a story, which may end up in any way. In a thrilling novel (that purely Christian product) the hero is not eaten by cannibals: but it is essential to the existence of the thrill that he might be eaten by cannibles. The hero must (so to speak) be an eatable hero."

Friday, December 17, 2004

Now is the time for all good men (and women)...

... to stand up and be heard! In the first annual Foolish Knight If-You-Don't-Like-The-Rolling-Stone-500-Greatest-Songs-List-Why-Don't-You-Make-One-Of-Your-Own? reader's list-making event! That's right, I want you to help me compile a list of my readers Ten Most Favorite Songs of All Time! Here's how:

1. Compile your list of your ten favorite songs. Think good and hard; scratch your head, chew your pencil. Do whatever helps you think, then

2. Get it to me! Run across country (or across the ocean), or just do it the easy way and “comment” your list.

I’ll tally the votes according to my own special system, remember the polls close on Christmas Day! Have fun, think hard!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It's here.

The extended version of The Return of the King is in stores.

Here are some links to articles written while it was still in theaters.

Those who are fanatical about the film should read this one (just don't stone me after you read it)

and for those who want an in-depth review I recommend the one found here.

Enjoy and, as always, let me know what you think.

Update! Jeffery Overstreet's magnificent article on what we have lost because of the films


his interviews with The Lord of the Rings cast & crew.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My Favorite Films (Slight Update)

This is what my favorite movie list currently looks like. It will look very different by the time I'm done but I thought you (my "well watched" readers) might find it interesting. If you have any questions about any films on the list or disagreements with any film placements the list let me know!

The Lord of the Rings
The Treasure of the Sierra Madre
Babettes Gaetebud
Yi Yi (A One and a Two)
Citizen Kane
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Master and Commander, On the Far Side of the World
Mr. Smith Goes To Washington
To Kill a Mocking Bird
It’s a Wonderful Life
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea
Lawrence of Arabia
La Passion De Jeanne D’arc
Fuori Dal Mondo
Sense and Sensibility
The Man Who Knew Too Much
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
The Many Adventures of Winne the Pooh
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The Passion of the Christ
The Man Without a Past
A Man for All Seasons
Fantasia and Fantasia 2000
It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Tokyo Monogotari
On The Waterfront
Fiddler on the Roof
A Tale of Two Cites
It Happened One Night
Rebel Without a Cause
The African Queen
The Truman Show
The Princess Bride
Cyrano de Bergirac
Driving Miss Daisy
Singin’ in the Rain
Chariots of Fire
Groundhog Day
Searching for Bobbie Fisher
The Bridge on the River Kwai
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Arsenic and Old Lace
The Emperors New Groove
The Rescuers Down Under
The Magnificent Seven
Goodbye Mr. Chips
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Miracle on 34th Street
Remember the Titans
Shichinin no samurai (The Seven Samurai)
The Third Man
The Wizard of Oz
Maltese Falcon
Finding Nemo
Mary Poppins
Star Wars
12 Angry Men
His Girl Friday
Spiderman 2
Toy Story 2
What’s Up Doc?
The Quiet Man
Nicoholas Nickleby
The Sound of Music
The Great Escape
The Prince of Egypt
The Jungle Book
Field of Dreams
Roman Holiday
Le Fils
Tender Mercies
The Bicycle Thief
Rear Window
Moby Dick
The Incredibles
Father Goose
Chicken Run
The Ladykillers
Toy Story
Henry V
The Searchers
El Dorado
Little Women
Ben Hur
Sleeping Beauty
The Music Man
Spider Man
Hamlet (L. Oliver)
The Russian Ark
My Fair Lady
Monster’s Inc.
West Side Story
The Rookie
Mrs. Brown
October Sky
A Bug’s Life
Raiders of the Lost Ark
Hamlet (Mel Gibson)
Apollo 13

Friday, December 10, 2004

Installment Thirteen...

“You say grace before meals.
All right.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and the pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

-G. K. Chesterton

All-Time Favorite Blog

Sorry guys, this a failed experiment. I should have deleted it.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

I'm looking forward to only one movie this year...

... you guessed it!


What's that you say? You didn't guess Primer?

You don't even know I'm talking about, you say?

Well then, let me educate you. Wait, on second thought I'll just let Jeffery Overstreet do it. (Be sure to follow the link)

There's also a full review here.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Smells like... List-O-Matic!

Speaking of Bob Dylan; guess who's song was picked by Rolling Stone magazine as the best song of all time on their list of The 500 Best Songs Ever. Good guess.

If that list isn't big enough then maybe this one of The New York Times 1000 Best Movies Of All Time will satisfy you.

Overwhelmed by the large numbers? How about a list with just one hundred selections on it?

If it's movies you want then The Arts & Faith Top 100 Spiritually Significant Films list is probably the one for you

If books, then look no further than Image Journal's similarly themed list of 100 books.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Continuing the search for my Favorite Film

As I look back over the archives of my blog I see that I once promised to share my thoughts on every film I’ve ever rented through Netflix.

What was I thinking?

That’s 16 movies!

But I must let my “yes be yes” as t'were. And (who knows?) maybe I’ll find my favorite movie through all of this.

You must bear with me though. For, though I will try to fulfill my pledge, I shall do so in baby steps (since I am a recovering procrastinator) about three films at a time, I think.

I’ll try to do it in chronological order which means the first three will be:

Tokyo Story,
The Passion of Joan of Arc

Let me stress that these are not reviews and certainly not Plugged In style reviews (if a film sounds intriguing but you want to know if you can watch it with a six-year-old just leave a comment asking for specifics, I’ll try to oblige) these are simply thoughts and impressions on a odd little group of movies.

Tokyo Story

If you're looking for a film to put the aforementioned six-year-old to sleep; look no further! This movie has it all: black & white cinematography, meticulous pacing, and a grand total of two camera movements in the entire film! Plus the whole thing's in Japanese. No, this is not a film to watch when your tired.

That being said, you should know that this film also happens to be (at least, according to Roger Ebert) one of the five greatest movies of all time. Don't ask me what the other four are, I really don't know.

Tokyo's story is very simple: a couple of empty nesters living in post world war two Japanese suburbia decide to visit there kids in the big city. When they come it's clear that children view them as a burden. So after an unpleasant stay the parents go back home.

Like I told you: simple story. But for those who are willing to invest themselves in it, it can have powerful results. There's MUCH more to say about this movie but I've done such a bad job already. I think it's time to move on to

La Passion De Jeanne D’arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc)

According to the history books this is one of the first movies, if not the first, to show that films could be ART. But this is far more than just another museum piece. It's still a powerfully told (and surprisingly intense) story about a young women's devotion.

But devotion to what? Why did this maiden go to war? Did she really hear the voice of God?

How you answer these questions ultimately will effect how you ultimately view this work of art and whether you accept or reject its message.

But regardless of the conclusions you draw after watching this movie, I think you'll agree that The Passion of Joan of Arc is at least worthy of one viewing and discussing time. As with any great work of it's kind.


This is probably my least favorite of this particular batch. Don't get me wrong; you could do worse than to watch Sir Lawrence Oliver speak the words of William Shakespeare, but this is not my favorite of Mr. Shakespeare's plays. And the fact that Hamlet beat out The Treasure of the Sierra Madre for Best Picture at the Oscars doesn't help. However my mind has been know to change before and if anyone knows of some good study of Hamlet I'd love to read it.

Well, there they are; three shoddy pieces written on three excellent films. I hope my lack of eloquence will not steer you away from any of these masterpieces. Please enjoy, think about and share each one.

Onto the next batch...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Bob Dylan speaks!

For those who are interested, 60 Minutes has interviewed one of the centuries' greatest (and most reclusive) songsmiths. Here’s the transcript.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

What's in a name?

I thought I'd explain a little of the meaning behind my name. And I intend to do it in true Foolish Knight fashion: by using a series of quotes.

Here they are:

No. 1

‘ “Well, what is the song, then?” said Alice, who was by this time completely bewildered.
“I was coming to that,” the Knight said. “The song really is ‘A-sitting On A Gate’: and the tune’s my own invention.”
So saying, he stopped his horse and let the reins fall on its neck: then, slowly beating time with one hand, and with a faint smile lighting up his gentle foolish face, as if he enjoyed the music of his song, he began.
Of all the strange things that Alice saw in her journey Through The Looking-Glass, this was the one that she always remembered most clearly. Years afterwards she could bring the whole scene back again, as if it had been only yesterday--the mild blue eyes and kindly smile of the Knight--the setting sun gleaming through his hair, and shining on his armour in a blaze of light that quite dazzled her--the horse quietly moving about, with the reins hanging loose on his neck, cropping the grass at her feet--and the black shadows of the forest behind--all this she took in like a picture, as, with one hand shading her eyes, she leant against a tree watching the strange pair, and listening, in a half-dream, to the melancholy music of the song. ’

-Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

No. 2

“I’m a ridiculous man. Now they call me a madman. That would be a promotion if I weren’t just as ridiculous as before in their eyes. But it no longer makes me angry. I find them all nice now, even when they laugh at me--indeed, if they do, they’re somehow particularly dear to me. I’d even laugh with them-- not really at myself but out of sheer love for them--if looking at them didn’t make me so sad. Sad, because they don’t know the truth, while I do. Ah, it’s so hard to be the only one to know the truth! But they won’t understand it. No, they won’t.”

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man

No. 3

If the world is sane, then Jesus is mad as a hatter and the Last Supper is the Mad Tea Party. The world says, Mind your own business, and Jesus says, There is no such thing as your own business. The world says, Follow the wisest course and be a success, and Jesus says, Follow me and be crucified. The world says, Drive carefully—the life you save may be your own—and Jesus says, Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. The world says, Law and order, and Jesus says, Love. The world says, Get, and Jesus says, Give. In terms of the world’s sanity, Jesus is crazy as a coot, and anybody who thinks he can follow him without being a little crazy too is laboring less under a cross than under a delusion.

-Frederick Buechner, The Faces of Jesus

No. 4

For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel--not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the
the intelligence of the intelligent I
will frustrate.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks. Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. for the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger then man’s strength. Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God--that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”

First Corinthians

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Citizen Kane is no longer my favorite movie.

Isn't it funny how a sentence or two in passing can have a revolutionary effect on one's thinking? The worst part about the whole thing is that I don't even know which movie to replace Citizen Kane with. Any suggestions?

The sentence or two in question can be found here in an article on the Devil at the movies.

For those of you who liked that piece
here's one I like better by the same author.

Enjoy, but proceed with caution; you may find you come out with your thoughts a bit shaken; as I did.