Sunday, April 29, 2012

Why I oughta... Oh, a wise guy, eh? Why you... What's the big idea?!,Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk! Soitenly! Nyaaaaaahhhhhhh! Rrrowf! Rrrowf!- Do You Speak Three Stooges?


What do Bob Dylan's, Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, It's a Shame by the Spinners and the English nursery rhyme, Three Blind Mice have in common? Envelop please: The Farrelly Brothers' Three Stooges! So far at Rotten Tomato the critics are coming in a 48% and general audiences at 67% for this flick.  This movie is faithful to the memory of the 3 derelicts and as one review wrote this is definitely a love letter to the Three Stooges and slapstick. The Three Stooges must have had "it" starting in 1925 and not really ending until Larry Fine's 1970 stroke permanently ended his acting career.

I give this movie a thumbs up, would see it again at some point, and yes I am embarrassed about it.

For those who say it isn't funny, you either led a deprived childhood and were not exposed to 3 stooges as a child or you just don't get slapstick nor maybe vaudeville. I laughed loud and hard at the slapstick and the entire spirit of the film had me smiling.  I wish the subplot had nothing to do with an adulteress wife plotting to kill her husband for the money which gets really weird when it turns out that step dad is the one with whom she's having an affair; but of course as morality plays run their course the bad guys get theirs in the end. 

Chris Diamantopoulos as Moe, Sean Hayes who plays Larry, and Will Sasso, Curly incarnate are superb.   The timing, pace and editing are great.  The Farrelly brothers half-way made the decision to break the film up into three film shorts rather than try to hold together a 90 minute film based on Three Stooges antics and a tired plot but I wish they had gone all the way and actually made each 27 minute segment totally different or made the film as three acts; what they did was in between and confusing enough to snap you into reality for a second trying to figure out what was going on.

The plot of the movie has the three leaving the orphanage they grew up in and inadvertently bankrupted to raise $830,000 to keep the place afloat; this actually becomes a minor supposition as they reunite with orphanage inmate Teddy, now exceedingly rich and successful, played by Kirby Heyborne, who got the filthy rich parents Moe would have gotten as a child had he not insisted on taking Larry and Curly.  As movies would have it Teddy's gold-digging, unfaithful wife Lydia and her accomplice stumble upon the Three Stooges and try to enlist them to knock off husband and childhood friend to the Stooges Teddy.

Sophia Vergara is not only sexy with her Hispanic self but turns in a great performance as cheating wife, Lydia who would be a great roll model of strength for girls, except for that cheating thing.  My daughter noted the strength and fearlessness of the character in several situations throughout the movie.  I guess she was almost a female Snidely Whiplash... but more pragmatic, just a girl tryna get paid.  It is so fun when beautiful women don't take their beauty seriously as she shares in the site gags like everyone else.

One very fun and interesting character was Sister Mary Mangele played by actor Larry David... don't worry most of the adults didn't figure it for half the movie so your kids are safe, this was more a typical vaudeville decision than anything else...

As odd as it was to see Jennifer Hudson in this flick playing a singing nun (I guess Whoopi was busy) her character worked well and I think it would have worked better had she not sang.  She did a decent job with her lines but she looked terrible, thin and mannish.

The new stooges don't imitate the original they more like channel them, totally comprehending the essence of their characters.  One minor flaw in the movie is at a couple of places the movie tries to delve into melodrama attempting to build empathy and give the three way more depth than anyone woud dare suspect they had, it is fleeting, and does serve to keep the film light-hearted; it would have been easy for the film to turn mean spirited at several junctures but it stealthily avoids these traps.

I am discounting the detractors it seemed to me these folks gave in to preconceived ideas or are not the type of reviewers to ignore their tasted to see what the movie is.
I don't understand complaints about nothing being new in one breath and then in the next breath referring to Jersey cast and an iPhone joke as not being in keeping with the old Three Stooges.  The movie does not introduce modern day elements as references the movie lives in the times in which it is created.  The Jersey Shores cast is the perfect segway from the 30's, 40's, and 50's era Three Stooges to the Stooges of 2012 the parallels should be more than apparent; at the very least it should be apparent that no chasm separates the stooges and Jersey Shore except the stooges were much better actors and not mean and self absorbed.

One very odd and fun thing is that after the end of the film before the credits the Farrellies do a "don't try this at home" joint showing the hammers to be rubber and how the eye poking is done.  One of the brothers (I assume it was one of the brothers, Pete) comes out in an opened shirt bouncing his pecs up and down for the cameras, guy lovers bring your smelling salts.
Shortly after as the credits start to role the Three Stooges sing the Spinners classic, "It's a Shame." with the help of Jennifer Hudson which is a blast, weird but a blast.
After I wrote this I found Pretty Much It at youtube which to me was the best video review out there. 

Monday, April 16, 2012


Author and Christian activist, Shane Claiborne, shares his journey and his mission. Claiborne is founding partner of The Simple Way, a faith community in Philadelphia that has helped to birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. He writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice and Jesus.
He will be with us Friday, April 27 at 7:00pm at Trinity Cathedral, 2230 Euclid Avenue.
So don't let the Christian angle keep you away.  Check out the video above.

I've been "walking out" my path in Christ for sometime and many times I am at odds with the official party line.  I think perhaps this is Shane's walk also.

 So many times we are quick to encounter and know the word of God without understanding that we need to know the God of the word so that his Word by revelation can come alive in us. These must go hand in hand.  We often use the word as superficial posi-think mantras allowing the depth and revelation of the Word to fall by the wayside; perhaps mantra and depth of revelation don't have to be mutually exclusive.

  The famed story of Solomon threatening to cut a child in half was inspired wisdom.  We take the uninspired framework and apply it to two guys fighting over a car; well the two are both just as soon see the car cut in half as let the other drive, right?  This is a case of lack of revelation to rightly divide the word of God. 

This is what many of us do, we misapply the word through our ignorance of the Word, through our lack of revelation.  We are quick to affirm, "I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me," when trying to accomplish some feat but not so quick to apply it to enduring circumstances when we are not in control; it is out of spiritual balance and superficial for many.

Much of today's church get's caught up in sin management and thought control, teaching that "we know what the word says and you must believe what we believe," or be in danger of being cast off into the netherworld of Hell.

Many including myself are often quick to quote without having revelation of the thing of which we speak. We can lend mental ascent to understanding that  we do not have revelation on so much but in practical terms it can be hard to determine.  So many of the do's and dont's of the church are not understood at the core, so much is handed down and accepted as "gospel" because of tradition not fresh revelation.

So what do we do with the Gay issue how do we apply the word?  Personally I'd rather deal with, "anyone that looks on a woman in lust has already committed adultery in his heart," and work out my own salvation in fear and trembling than look for what is wrong in others without God's revelatory light.  I know that it seems that there is a sin hierarchy but to the saints, believe the word when it says if you have broken the law in any one point you have broken the entire law.  Listen to Paul when he struggles and says, " the thing I don't want to do, that I do and the thing I want to do that I don't do," and take comfort in the question and answer, "who shall deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  If you consider yourself in Christ and you haven't figured out there is a war going on you need to, "check yourself before you wreck yourself."

I was on facebook recently and a guy who always talks about "the Lord" and "Jesus" and the "power of God," was openly lusting after a woman whose boyfriend had posted some pic of her in lingerie.  He calls this woman holy and a saint and on and on and then pretty much says to her, "take it off baby!"  He knows she is away from her husband and having an affair with a married man but he is undisciplined in the things of God, lets is dick rule or his flesh rule him and control his mind never realizing the Rhema word of God walking in deference to only the Logos.  The fleshly mind is an enemy of God and can not obey the things of God. 

We all should know that the gate to life is narrow and few there be that find it and great and wide is the gate that leads to death and destruction.  Don't for one minute believe that because you said a prayer once upon a time, or can quote a lot of Christian mantras, wow folks with your prayers or even that because you know the truth that this will spare you from the coming destruction as you repeatedly spiritually shoot yourself in the foot, in the chest in the head.  You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!   How foolish!  Can't we see that faith without works is dead?  if we have living faith it will produce just like a living orange tree will naturally produce oranges.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God, this is different than what many of us think this says; faith comes by hearing the word of God... not.

I was talking to a beautiful Greek woman one night who is not in Christ and I was talking about wanting a trial I am going through to end even though there is much growth because of it. The woman understood exactly where I was coming from and shared some of her own trials and growth and said, "the trials never stop," and went on to further associate trials with spiritual growth.  Christians do not corner the market on morality nor do they corner the market on spiritual wisdom.

We also should understand that different rules apply to those in Christ and those not in Christ.  The only thing pertinent to those not in Christ is that they come to a saving knowledge of Christ, put another way, they come into a relationship with the Christ.  In America it doesn't matter what one does outside of the Christ mind except to our own comfort level as "the redeemed. " I believe we should all think, "to hell with my comfort level, how can I love this person toward Christ, draw her or him to Christ in me the hope of glory?"  Continually we turn our noses up at everyone that doesn't fit our moral code thereby condemning ourselves as hypocrites in most cases, because we compare our strengths to the weakness of others and may not even take account of our failings. Is it an inferiority complex or superiority complex that causes us to label people Not Our Kind if they see something different than we do in their walking out of the word of truth and love?   How can we be in community with the community.

Once in Christ, we need to forgive each other from the cross as Christ has forgiven us.  Forgiveness is not an easy proposition and it is an ongoing process.

I/we have so much to learn about Christ, so much relational ground to cover with Him but first we must acknowledge this fact and the fact we don't save our selves, even the very faith whereby we come to Christ who calls us, woos us, draws us is given to us.  We love Him because He first loved us and have nothing to be proud of and nothing about which to brag.

Well I would love for someone to takes shots at what I've just pronounce or agree with it.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Honest Talk with Yourself

I've been having a very interesting discussion with my brother Jeff over at, Have Coffee Will Write.  He is one of the more well read folks you will ever meet, sincere, an excellent writer.
 We have been soul searching as we deal with the death of Trayvon Martin and uncovering some interesting tidbits.  Love and respect imbued  and I might add received rebuke flow both ways.  I appreciate the different point of view as I think we perhaps both allow our opinions to be jostled around.  

Can our society, as opposed to our nation, move forward without soul searching, true dialogue and even confession?  I don't see how we can.  Can we improve others before we have improved ourselves?  How can we improve ourselves if we have refused to see ourselves as we truly are?  How can we see ourselves as we truly are without coming to terms with the warts and all?  Can we come to terms with that when all we recognize is the euphemism, "warts and all," the truisms like, "oh everybody does that, nobody's perfect," our whatever we tell ourselves to excuse our lack of love our neighborism.  Our "warts" cause us to consign folks to death and poverty as we say, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled; but give not to them the needful things for the body."(James 2:16)

So often I hear things like, "My parents came to America looking for a good life with only $2 between them; they made it, I don't see why those people can lift themselves up."  The bottom line falsehood is I "raised myself up by my own bootstraps" or I built the house I was born in, I got mine now you get yours, ignoring the uneven terrain.

  In the past I've just given up on such ubiquitous ignorance.  I am not even surprised any more that it still exists.  This basic lack of understanding and in my opinion lack of  basic decency, because it is so ignorant... choosing to ignore it is not relegated to "race," or class, or religion or gender but we all identify with our special interest groups and point at the shortfalls in all of the other groups thus making ourselves just like them.  So sadly much of the time I have to name myself among the careless.

I now realize that in life, in living and navigating through this world that the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it and narrow is the gate, and straitened the way, that leads unto life, and few are they that find it.  There are few who find it because there are few who seek it out.  Being comfortable at the expense of others is so easy, so easy.  I check myself more and more to make sure I am on the right path going through the right gate. I cannot answer for you nor can I judge your heart but I can proffer the question; are you?