Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Installment Seventeen...

"No man who values originality will ever be original. But try to tell the truth as you see it, try to do any bit of work as well as it can be done for the work's sake, and what men call originality will come unsought."

-C. S. Lewis

Monday, March 28, 2005

Dizzy Spell

I envy those bloggers who seem to be able to just sit down, write pages of words about what they’ve done recently and move on to the next thing.

I've never been able to do that, but it's a talent I could sure use right about now; there are so many things I want to share with you guys, so many things that have happened, that seem to me to be of inestimable importance, things which I want nothing more then to communicate to you. But things are moving very fast right now. Because of all of the activity in which we’ve been involved, we don’t even have all of our boxes unpacked.

Anyway, all this to say that things are going to be slow around here for a little while, you won't be hearing a whole lot from me (as if you ever did) and what you do hear might seem frivolous to you (talk about movies, links to articles you don’t want to read etc.), but I hope you'll stick with me through this dizzy spell. And hopefully things will get back to normal really soon.

Million Dollar Question

I had a chance recently to see Clint Eastwood’s controversial Oscar winner, Million Dollar Baby and decided to, once again, try the Q&A format I’ve used before. (And again it is ever faithful Joel who has provided the questions. Thank you, Joel!)

Here we go:

1. Was it artfully done?

Yes. There were, of course, minor flaws but overall; the story was compelling and surprising, the lighting was darkly beautiful, the actors were genuine, playing characters that win our hearts, the music was simple, sparse and unobtrusive and the film's emotional resonance was pure.

2. Was it cast well?

Yes, I can't imagine anyone else in these roles, Eastwood, Swank and Freeman gave performances that were sometimes funny and at other times heart wrenching but always authentic. They're just wonderful to watch.

3. Was the plot original and well thought out?

Here's where we arrive at the films minor flaws (which I would not have noticed except that everyone felt the need to dissect this best picture nominee and publish their dissecting for me to read); These two phrases ("original", "well thought out") are, in one respect, probably not the two best to describe the plot; because of some stereo-typical characters and minor improbabilities here and there. But let me once again emphises that these things pale in comparison to the films many strengths (listed above).

4. Was it technically well done (cinematographically, FX, etc.)?

Yes. Though the technical elements of the film never dazzle but it's a smaller film so there's no reason why they should.

5. Was the movie ethical?

I won't say very much here so as not to spoil the film, but I would say that yes, because of my interpretation of the film, I do believe it honors values such as integrity and endurance.

6. Was it deserving of the best picture Oscar it garnered at the Academy awards?

I didn''t see all of the films up for best picture this year so I couldn't say. However, I can say this: Though the movie was good, it would not probably not displace The Incredibles or Spiderman 2 on a list of my favorite movies of the year.

7. Was it redeeming?

If this means "Was it worth what I paid for it?" (in money, time etc.), then I'd say yes.

8. Was it worth seeing?

For diserning viewers, yes.

9. Is it worth seeing twice?

Because I knew the ending going in to the movie and so had some of the benefits of a second viewing I can say that yes, it is worth it, though some parts might be harder to watch the second time around. (Though I don't know if it's the kind of movie I'd go out and buy, for the same reason I haven't bought a copy of The Passion of the Christ.)


Here are a handfull of much better reviews:

J. Robert Park's,

Jeffery Overstreet's


Josh Hurst's.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

An Amazing Story

I'd heard bits and pieces of Ashley Smith's story and thought is was interesting. But to hear it straight from her (albeit via op-ed page) - is simply amazing.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

And just for fun, here's a look at one thing you won't catch me eating on, this St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Oh, and thought you might like to know what I'm going to name my first-born daughter:


I found it in a book. She will love me for it, no?

Incredible Millions

Here are two recent interviews interviews with filmmakers:

Brad Bird interview

Danny Bole interview

They're both worth reading, here are some highlights of the Danny Bole interview:


In spite of Damian, who's a God-fearing boy, a friend of the saints, and a help to the poor, Millions never becomes 'preachy.' Was that difficult to do?

You can go through the whole filmmaking experience being careful, saying, "I've got to make sure this isn't preachy." But you can't make a film like that. What you do instead is concentrate on the essentials, the positives: the character and the kid playing the character. You're saying that this is the way he sees the world.
If the movie works, it's because you realize that life absolutely is that simple, the way Damian sees it. It's not like we're preaching at people and saying, "Don't you see it's that simple? Why can't you do that? Come on, cough up the money!" We're actually saying that, "When you look back at what you were like [at Damian's age], it was that simple. And that's not a bad thing." That's still us, even though we've moved on into the venal world of survival and competition.


The power of those people with their money will always make sure that the industry delivers to them certain kinds of entertainment. But you have to be very careful that we don't turn the movies into opera, which is like, "They're good for you, they're a bit specialized, and they'll be a bit beyond some of you." Within that, you've got to be, like Scorsese says, "cunning." You've got to smuggle good ideas into something that attracts that person to the Friday or Saturday night film. That way they get a bigger kick out of it than they do from those films you're talking about. That's the job. It's not like you've got to ban the bad films... you've just got to make better films more entertaining.


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Scatter-Shot in the Scatter Brain

I’ve absorbed a lot of works of art in the past couple of months or so, some good, some not so good. Here's a scatter-shot sum up:

Pilgrim At Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard,

George MacDonald speaks of two kinds of books; the kind you can’t wait to get to the end of (like a mystery story) and the kind (like something by Dickens) that you wish would never end. Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim At Tinker Creek is a book of this second kind. A rich and full examination of nature (which could be described as God's back), each visit will leave you radiant (and terrified), like Moses after his "face to back" encounter with God.

Napoleon Dynamite and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Chalk these up as prime viewings for a Sunday school lesson on God's grace as expressed in Hebrews chapter two, title it, "God Made Them a Little Lower Than Angels?"

Saint Maybe, Anne Tyler

Watership Down, Richard Adams

Hands down the best adventure/dystopian/pilgrim's-progress/folk-story/parable starring rabbits ever written!


Ikiru or To Live, is the story of a man who, after learning that he is fatally ill, begins searching for life's meaning. Call it a cross between Japanese existentialism and It's a Wonderful Life.

Divine Discontent, Sixpence None The Richer

Chariots of Fire,


Frankenstine, Mary Shelley

It by this book that I discovered my strong dislike for the typical writing style of the Romantic period.

Million Dollar Baby,

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Art On A Desert Island

You know the routine; you've been unjustly exiled to an island for life, you will never come in contact with another human being again, you have no hope of seeking justice, no hope of escape. However, you are well equipped so your physical needs well be met and it just so happens that there is a first-rate DVD/VHS player on the island which will also play CDs. What luck! Now the hitch. The authorities are allowing you to bring only nine works of art with you; three books, three albums and three films (you may also bring a Bible if you wish without counting it in the book category). Now the question; which three of each category are you going to bring?

My choices:


1. Lord of the Rings, J. R. R. Tolkien
2. Till We Have Faces, C. S. Lewis
3. Brendan, Frederick Buechner


1. The Joshua Tree, U2
2. Sixpence None the Richer, Sixpence None the Richer
3. Mr. Buechner's Dream, Daniel Amos


1. Ordet
2. The Empire Strikes Back
3. Babette's Feast


Special thanks to midnitcafe for inspiring this post.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Test

Look Over There!

Hello? Has anyone visited the Mere Image blog in, like, the past few days? I've put my first post up and I need someone to respond to it!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Jeffery Overstreet got some good treatment in the Seattle Times magizine Pacific Northwest. A good intro to one side of this man's life and work. Read it here.


February is over folks and I'm back. I think it's about time to shake things up in Blogland, but first let's recap my first full month in the most beautiful state on earth:

The question is, did I accomplish the goals that I set forth at the beginning of February? Well, I have gotten readjusted school-wise am making progress. I have a routine now (loosely speaking) and a special nook in which I can do my school (very important). So that's good.

About the unpacking of boxes and settling in, we're certainly getting there but this has been an unusual moving experience. Usually when we first move somewhere (how many people can use that phrase?) we either don't know anyone or know very few people there. Here, on the other hand, we have both friends and family in abundance keeping us quite busy: the first week we were here we went on a weekend youth retreat, I have been to three family reunions (of sorts) in the past few weeks (a trip to the hospital, a memorial service and a birthday), also I helped spearhead a movie-making project for a special "Guys Honor Girls" event at the youth group here, we only had about a week to make this movie and not only did it have sound (!) but also turned out to be the longest movie I've ever made (clocking in at about seventeen minutes) so that was a stressful experience for me, though it paid off in the end, the girls being honored and all.

What's more is, because we live next door to the church here, we have about 500 neighbors on Sunday and half that many on Wednesday, so it seems like we always have a visitor or two popping in at the house.

All this to say that settling in somehow seems to gotten lost in the shuffle.

So what about the expanding of posts? I've time for little more than constructing the coolest sidebar in the world (please see above paragraph for explanation).

The verdict? The brake was much needed, though for unexpected reasons. So thanks for letting me take one.

I have also absorbed several significant works of art in the past month, but more on that later. Right now it's time for:


I present for the enjoyment and stimulation of the mind and heart, my PHOTOBLOG:


Want to impress your friends? Download these magnificent pictures to your computer and put them as your wallpaper, when they ask where you got your rocking cool wallpaper tell 'em the pictures are yours! Will leave impression every time, I guarantee it!


Well, whatever you do, enjoy.