Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Every once in a while as we travel trough this crazy world we suddenly are struck by something that just seems wrong.  Maybe it’s the phrasing of a comment we overhear or the text on a billboard, but we mentally stop in our tracks and consider why something just seems out of place.

In moments like these we often learn two things:

1) Everyone’s head will go to the naughty interpretation of things every once in a while.

– AND-

2) Sometimes we don’t really think about how what we say or write will be interpreted.

I had one of these moments last week, and believe it or not it all starts with a church.  Now, I am not going to name the church in question, and while I considered getting photographic evidence, I decided against it as the church in question identifies itself on the sign in question.  But, this, to me, is a demonstration of just how important it can be to get a few opinions on titles before you elect to publish them.

It is, as we all know from the ridiculous heat, summertime.  And, one of the traditions of American summer is Vacation Bible School.  I went to VBS when I was a kid.  Heck, I even worked as an aide one summer.  It is a wholesome tradition which allows kids to have some fun, makes some crafts, play with friends, and have a their faith explored just a little more.

In short, it’s good, clean, Mayberry-style Americana.

One of the trends in Vacation Bible School over the last decade or so has been to have a theme and name for the school.  Maybe we’re going to be ocean explorers.  Maybe this year we will visit the stars.  Or see the world by train.  All while sharing fun and fellowship with our friends and neighbors.

Or, maybe we’re going to have an Indiana Jones style adventure!  Yeah, that would be fun!  But, this is Vacation Bible School, so it needs a name that sounds, well….biblical.

These must have been the thoughts going through the minds of the individuals creating the program used at the church that made my mind make a mental full stop.  It was all, I am certain, intended to convey a sense of fun and adventure.  But, I have to wonder how many people were actually part of this planning.  I can’t imagine that this name slipped past too many individuals without someone saying something.

I mean, is it me or does “Jeremiah Stones and the Race for the Hidden Treasure” not sound like a bad porn movie?

I’m just saying.

Hello, all.

It has been some time since I wrote a weekly MovieDruid post.  For those who were, and hopefully will be again, my loyal readers I certainly apologize for my absence.  Life is a funny thing, and it will often throw you curveballs that require some adjustments.  I think I have gotten my adjustments in place enough that my posting should become a bit more regularly.

But, such things are not why we are here today.  Today we are here to once again address one of my favorite questions: “What movies were released this week?”

That, my friends, I shall answer forthwith…..

“Friends With Benefits”

Friends With BenefitsTrailer

Synopsis: Dylan and Jamie think it’s going to be easy to add the simple act of sex to their friendship, despite what Hollywood romantic comedies would have them believe. They soon discover, however, that getting physical really does always lead to complications.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I don’t understand exactly how many times Hollywood thinks it can make this movie and continue to make money.  It’s like a game for them.  Make a few alterations to the script.  Throw in a few new stars.  Bam, more money, same old story.  I know that Hollywood seems stuck in a holding pattern of uninspired material and remakes recently, but come on was it that long since “No Strings Attached.” (As an interesting side note, when I searched IMDb for “Friends With Benefits” the aforementioned “No Strings Attached” was the first result not this film.)  This one does have Mila Kunis (“The Book of Eli” & “Max Payne”), Justin Timberlake (“The Social Network” & the hilarious Liqourville sketch from SNL), and Woody Harrelson (“White Men Can’t Jump” & “A Scanner Darkly”), but even that is most likely not enough to raise this to this beyond its uninspired roots.

“Captain America: The First Avenger”: MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: “Captain America: The First Avenger” will focus on the early days of the Marvel Universe when Steve Rogers volunteers to participate in an experimental program that turns him into the Super Soldier known as Captain America. As Captain America, Rogers joins forces with Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter to wage war on the evil HYDRA organization, led by the villainous Red Skull.

MovieDruid’s Comments: It’s no secret that I am a comic book geek.  In my youth, Marvel was my publisher, and, unlike my friends who were X-Men guys, I was all about the Avengers.  Thus, the release of films like “Iron Man” and “Thor” have had me giddy, but the ultimate Avenger had not been given a proper big screen treatment.  That ends now, Cap is finally here.  Marvel has finally managed to get its ball rolling good and we’re seeing its properties really explode onto the screen.  This film is an important one for fans.  Cap is a cornerstone, and this film is one of the final pieces to be put in place before they tackle the Avengers as a team next summer.  And, I am generally happy with the pedigree here.  The directorial reins were given to Joe Johnston (“Hidalgo” & “October Sky”) who has a pretty solid eye.  And, of course, the cast looks pretty good overall with Hugo Weaving “V for Vendetta” & “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy) as our villain and Tommy Lee Jones (“The Fugitive” & “Double Jeopardy”) and others in good supporting roles.  My one complaint in the casting is Chris Evans (“The Fantastic Four” & “The Losers”) in the title role.  The complaint is hardly his talent, he is a solid performer.  My question is: Why cast an actor who is already established in a Marvel role as another character?  Granted the chances of FF/Avengers crossovers are remote, but now they are difficult, if not impossible.  Maye that’s just the fanboy in me talking.

When the shuttle Atlantis touched down yesterday it marked the official end of the space shuttle program at NASA.  For those, like myself, who grew up in the early days of the shuttle program it is the end of an era.  I remember vividly sitting in darkened classrooms glued to a television as Columbia launched into space in the early days.  I remember the shock and sadness of watching Challenger explode in the sky. The shuttle program was a formative part of American culture in the ’80’s and it will always be filled with both tragedy and triumph in my mind.

Was it time for the shuttles to be retired?  Probably.   The shuttle program was beginning to show its age and it was time for the workhorse space vehicles to be put out to pasture, but I still have issues with the current situation at NASA.

My problem is that the current administration has seen fit to slash the budget to the space agency so severely that programs are being scrapped, jobs are being lost, and a serious blow to our scientific infrastructure in this country.

Now, I understand that many people feel that the space program is something we can live without, particularly in light of the current economic and debt situations.  I couldn’t disagree more.  The space program is a vital and integral part of our nation.  It has provided incredible opportunities for scientific advancement and understanding that would not have been possible otherwise.  In this era of declining American competitiveness in scientific and technological fields, killing off programs that endeavor to advance our scientific prowess seems like a major misstep.

And, in my mind, there is another consequence of this that seems to be overlooked by most pundits and politicians debating these facts: the dreams of our youth.  When I was growing up being an astronaut was one of those big dreams that seemed to sweep up every kid at some point.  The idea of floating up there among the stars was a fantasy that everyone has felt at one time or another.  I know that for many of my friends the space program was a reason to work that much harder in math and science classes.

Now we have a space program that is on life support.  What does that do to those dreams?  Our nation has seen a downward spiral in performance by our youth in math and science, do we really want to take away something that gets them interested in these subjects?

I have heard all the arguments about the private sector taking over spaceflight.  And, I know that many organizations are working to do just that.  But, the commercialization of space is not a replacement for the kind of work in hard science that the individuals at our science agencies perform.  A company that develops a service to ferry people into space if they have the money is not going to conduct high-end experiments that expand our understanding of the universe we live in.  Commercial enterprises are not going to probe the depths of space to learn more about the physics that rule our lives.

I have to say, I think history will look back at the landing of the shuttle yesterday as the beginning of the end for American science if we don’t find some way to properly fund NASA and our other science agencies.

%d bloggers like this: