Witty dialogue, mind-blowing special effects, cute romantic scenes, crazy plot twists, and compelling character development–these great ingredients make each Iron Man film a kind of masterpiece. But the third installment featured something the other two lacked–a link to the importance of fatherhood.
I know–how could a film about a narcissistic playboy with a history of philandering call men to inspire the boys around them? Yet that’s the very compelling nature of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.)–he’s a mess, and a hero.
When he first meets Harley Keener (Ty Simpkins)–a boy whose father ran off after winning the lottery–Tony brushes him off with this gem: “It happens. Dad’s leave. No need to be a pussy about it.” Ouch!
Harley finds out who Tony is and follows him around, answering Stark’s questions about an incident in the town’s history and helping Iron Man rebuild his broken suit. Tony oft dismisses him, but he listens well and clearly values Harley’s knowledge and desire to help.
Tony grows in this film, and at one point he tells Pepper, “You’re in a relationship with me. You’ll never be ok.” Very cute in the moment. Pepper has just surprised herself with violence. This honesty marks a good man, and it takes a wise man to see that every relationship is dangerous, even when a superhero isn’t involved.
Like Harley’s father, Tony leaves. Unlike the dad, he doesn’t leave him high and dry. Not only does Harley help Tony realize how to deal with anxiety–“you’re a mechanic–fix things!” –but Tony also gives him important advice, and a huge set of high-tech toys.
Iron Man never took Harley to the football game or played catch with him in the yard. But the relationship they built, working together on the suit and on solving mysterious deaths, drew them together. The audience finally got to see what sort of father Tony Stark would make, and it turns out, he’d make a pretty good one.
I remember seeing Braveheart when I was 12 years old with my father for the first time. Like any responsible parent, my father told me why this movie is more than just a way to show medieval violence. Now that I am older and politically aware, I can clearly see why Braveheart is in the top 25 most conservative films of all time according to IMDb. It is an incredible film featuring some of the most epic battles ever filmed, two great love stories, conservative values, and powerful faith. The film received a mediocre 68% on Metacritic, but mixed reviews did not stop the film from winning five Academy Awards and five other nominations (Braveheart won Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup and Best Sound Editing). The film was released in 1995 with a $72 million dollar budget and made $210 million in the box office (unbelievable at the time!).
Braveheart is the true story of William Wallace from the late 13th century to the early 14th century in Scotland. Young William witnesses his father and brother's corpses return after they were slaughtered. He is raised by his deranged uncle, who teaches him several languages, critical thinking and how to be a warrior. William eventually returns home and returns to being oppressed by the English. The English generally are very apathetic in William's village, but eventually, King Longshanks allows his noblemen to have sex with newlywed Scottish women. William falls in love with his old childhood friend Murron, and the two of them are secretly married to protect her from the Englishmen and her parents' disapproval. Murron is almost raped anyways by an Englishman, and William quickly makes a plan to have them escape. Murron fails to escape and is quickly executed by the English. This sets the stage for the rest of the film (which I will not spoil, and yes, that is just the introduction to the film). The film is three hours long, and the rest of the story features William leading the Scottish (and some Irishmen) into battle against the English.
William Wallace is a tremendous role model for Americans, Christians and men in general. He is a great man to Murron during the whole courting and marriage portion of the movie. He puts his life on the line for her and shows her tremendous chivalry. Wallace detests big government and simply wishes to have a peaceful, happy life. He states, "I came back home to raise crops and God-willing, a family. If I can live in peace, I will." When the English take his wife and his freedom, William shows what it truly means to do anything to get freedom back from one's oppressors. He shows tremendous leadership, sacrifice and friendship throughout the film. He rarely loses his temper in a sinful way and displays his incredible faith towards the end of the movie.
As a Film and Ratings:
Cinematically, Braveheart is perfect. The music is riveting, and the horse sequences are exhilarating The sets, costumes, sound, and violent scenes look realistic. All of the acting is incredible, from William Wallace to the crazy Irishman, Stephen. This film is truly a masterpiece, considering Mel Gibson directed and starred in it.
Please note that there is some profanity in the film and two brief sex scenes. Some may find the way homosexuals are portrayed as offensive. Also, the violent scenes in Braveheart may be overwhelming for some people. From antlers being stuck into one's trachea, to limbs flying off, horses being stabbed, a ball on a chain breaking somebody's skull, and torture, the film is horrendously violent. If you do not like violence in films, you might want to pass on this one or find a TV-censored version.
As a whole, Braveheart shows how oppressive governments should be properly dealt with. The film is a historical drama that inspires most who watch it. This film has helped me decide what kind of man I want to be.
Storytelling/Character Development: 9.5
Christian/Freedom Messages: 9.5
Here is the film's trailer!
Very rarely does a teen-Christian film achieve spreading its messages while not coming across as "preachy." To Save a Life is an excellent example of how a film can trap its audience by appearing secular and contemporary while conveying strong messages and keeping the audience on the edge of its seat.
Released in 2009, To Save a Life surprisingly profited in the box office, grossing $3.7 million dollars (a tremendous profit from a $500,000 budget), and was slaughtered by critics for being preachy, predictable and featuring some sub-par acting (Metacritic calculates a 19/100). As with most Christian films, these ratings are not shocking given the secular bias of Hollywood.
For the average Christian audience with an interest in modern issues with today's youth, the film is a Holy Grail. To Save a Life brings up rough topics without censoring, exaggerating or dumbing down severity. The film begins with basketball stud, beer-pong champion and hot girl-friend "owner" Jake Taylor. Jake is quickly sobered up when an old friend of his is driven to suicide in the middle of a school hallway due to his struggling to find a niche in his school. Jake's suicidal friend, Roger, is seen as "un-cool" as he is crippled. While some could say making Roger a cripple in the film is an exaggeration for why some teens may be bullied, the film effectively shows how a lack of understanding can lead to isolation and eventual suicidal thoughts.
Without spoiling too much of the film, To Save a Life does not hold back in attempting to cram many massive issues with our society in 2 break-neck hours. Teen pregnancy, abortion, cutting, suicide, divorce and intervention with depressed teens are all featured in this film. The themes of sacrificing popularity to do the right thing, peer pressure, pre-marital sex, drugs etc. are obvious and clear in the film. Jake's eventual questioning if Christianity is worth turning towards is inconclusive by the end of the film.
To Save a Life teaches that worldly issues can best be addressed with faith in mind. It doesn't make false promises or appear proselytizing. It is a genuine, gritty and realistic representation of modern high schools and the troubles and temptations that plague our society.
As a Film and Ratings:
Cinematically, To Save a Life is beautifully shot. Most notably, Roger's funeral scene is absolutely touching, and almost every still frame could be a professional photographer's pride and joy. Some of the acting is indeed sub-par (mainly Jake's parents), but Roger, Jake and Jake's girlfriend Amy all do incredibly convincing jobs at bringing realism to the horrid situations presented in this film. Music in the film also brings the high school experience to life.
Parents be warned: simply because To Save a Life is a Christian film does not mean this film is for everybody. There is plenty of teen drinking, smoking, marijuana references, implied teen sex, crude dialogue, and disturbing themes throughout the film. Roger's suicide in particular is absolutely horrifying, and there is another scene of a boy graphically cutting his wrist with a razor blade. Make sure you (or your child) is emotionally capable of handling intense thematic elements before watching this PG-13 film.
Overall, I recommend this film for anybody with a strong emotional stomach who wants to challenge their lifestyle or faith. To Save a Life sincerely changed my life, and I pray it continues to touch millions of other viewers.
Storytelling/Character Development: 8
Christian/Freedom Messages: 10
Here is the film's trailer! Please note that this trailer tries to appear secular in order to pull in a larger audience!
Last night, Americans saw a real treat. The Academy presented the Oscars, and not every movie-goer was satisfied with the awards, but there was something for everyone in last night’s festivities.
The audience–in person and across the airwaves–got to see more than fashion last night. Thrills included a star performance by Adele, whose “Skyfall” won best original song, “One More Day,” an all-encompassing number from Les Miserables, sung in person by all the major characters, and even a cameo from the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
While Michelle announced the winner for best picture–"Argo", her presence struck many conservatives as insulting. After a close election and tense battles over gun control and sequestration, many on both the Left and the Right turn to Hollywood for a release from political angst.
Michelle played her part well, but aside from questions of propriety (should a first lady be involved in entertainment?), the political reminder did not sit well with many viewers.
Seth MacFarlane also took a playful jab at “the Christian Right” while introducing Daniel Radcliffe and Kristen Stewart–“He’s a boy wizard and she’s a girl vampire. Together, they are pretty much everything the Christian Right thinks is wrong about Hollywood.” Happily, I was able to laugh at this remark.
Recalling Saint Augustine’s advice–to “plunder the Egyptians” and glorify God for all good things in the world–and the deep moral entertainment of Harry Potter, I can only pity those who see no good in Hollywood.
Last, but certainly most important, the acceptance speeches last night resounded with one note–very friendly to morality and the Christian tradition. Nearly every speaker thanked his wife or her husband.
Daniel Day-Lewis, while accepting Best Leading Actor for his role in "Lincoln", put the icing on the cake. “I know that I’ve received so much more than my fair share of good fortune in life.”
“Years ago,” he recalled, “before we made the switch, I had actually been committed to play Margaret Thatcher and Meryl [Streep, who had introduced him] was Steven’s first choice for "Lincoln." ” What a show that would have been!
Even after accepting the role, Day-Lewis had to convince Spielberg “perhaps "Lincoln" shouldn’t be a musical.”
After the raucous laughter inspired by these great quips, Day-Lewis thanked “my fellow nominees…my equals…my betters.”
Then the gem: “Since we got married 16 years ago, my wife Rebecca has lived with some very strange men.
“They were strange as individuals and probably even stranger if taken as a group.
“Luckily, she’s the versatile one in the family, and she’s been the perfect companion for all of them.”
In one sentence, Day-Lewis captured the highest achievement of marriage. Despite our faults, mistakes, changes of character, the man or woman who commits–through thick and thin, for good times and bad, “in sickness and in health”–to be our “better half” is truly that. The mystic chords that bind us as a nation are nothing compared to the iron will, the contract signed in blood, that fits on the left ring finger.
Like the diamond resting there, still, serene, clear, constant, is the best love between a man and a woman, which makes each “the perfect companion” for the other. Few better tributes have been given.
For Day-Lewis' speech, start the film at 3:50.
Several of us from Counter Cultured-Tyler, Katie, and I-watched the film adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’ novel Safe Haven on Sunday. The film stars Julianne Hough (Dancing With the Stars) and Josh Duhamel (Las Vegas).
Nicholas Sparks’ films are typically seen as gushy, lovey-dovey chick flicks. While it’s acceptable to say that the audience is primarily female, it’s also safe to assume that both genders enjoy watching them.
Safe Haven departs from other Sparks-inspired films with its infusion of drama, suspense, and mystery.
The film begins with Erin Tierney (Hough) running away from a policeman in Boston, Massachusetts. Viewers are initially left perplexed as to why Hough’s character is running away and being discrete. She changes her appearance and then embarks on trip that lands her in Southport, North Carolina.
Hough’s character keeps a low profile and adopts the name Katie. She hides her troubles by being reclusive and living in a cabin. She befriends a woman, Jo, who is also seeking refuge away from her troubles.
Katie starts working at the local café and begins to find solace in the sleepy town and its inhabitants. She grows smitten with a local convenience shop owner Alex (Duhamel) and his two kids throughout the film. Despite initial hesitation to accept Alex’s kind gestures, Katie finds comfort in his and his children’s company as he-a widower-does with hers.
As the film progresses, flashbacks to the night Katie escaped surface and give more clues as to why she left her old life behind. Viewers learn that the Boston policeman searching for Katie is her abusive husband.
When he comes to town on the Fourth of July, Katie is immediately reminded that her home is now in Southport and not in Boston with him. After Katie’s husband pours gasoline on Alex’s convenience store, a firework strikes the store and flames begin to engulf it. Alex’s daughter is trapped in the burning building until he saves her. At the same time, Katie confronts her husband for the final time. The film’s climax is realized when Katie shoots her drunkard, abusive husband as a last line of defense. (Without a doubt, fellow gun rights enthusiasts will smile after watching this scene.)
The movie ends with Alex, Katie, and his kids enjoying life together. Jo, the woman who befriended Katie, is leaving Southport. It’s later revealed that she is Alex’s late wife. Although an apparition, Jo (Alex’s wife) came to Katie in her time of need and saw how she comforted her family, which explains why she leaves Southport.
Alex later hands Katie a letter addressed “To Her” from his late wife to be given to the woman he loves. It’s a testament of Alex’s love for Katie.
Nicholas Sparks reminds us that life without love isn’t possible. If you enjoy a good love story, some mystery, and philosophical undertones, then I highly recommend seeing the film.
Last night, President Obama made a bold defense of fatherhood in his State of the Union address. “What makes you a man isn’t the ability to conceive a child,” he said, “it’s the courage to raise one.”
This piquant comment spiced up the worn out menu of an unappetizing first term. The president who will fix the economy “without increasing the deficit by a dime,” and provide a middle class income by upping the minimum wage to 9 bucks an hour also plans to keep investing in green energy (Solyndra), while he pays lip service to the oil and gas revolutions that - without any federal help - have saved our fledgling economy from utter ruin.
But at least the father of two teenage girls (God bless him - I've heard it's tough) supports fatherhood. I applaud him. But what policy does he propose to hold men accountable for the children they have fathered? What glue will mend our shattered nuclear families?
How would these new reforms let him keep his promise never to “punish his daughters with a child?” How would they justify the federal subsidies for contraception that Sandra Fluke so desperately needs? If Obama would suddenly support fatherhood, why did he encourage women to “vote like your lady parts depend on it?”
Sometimes there is no rabbit under the hat. Obama did not present these reforms because they do not exist. His first term policies and 2012 election promises reveal our President’s true priorities. A radical social liberal agenda belies his lip-service to traditional fatherhood.
When Kathleen Sebelius revealed the Health and Human Services mandate requiring contraceptive coverage in Obamacare, Catholic institutions - churches, but also hospitals and universities - sued for their religious liberty. The new regulations require them to offer employees healthcare coverage that includes not just normal contraception, but even drugs that induce abortion, which no Catholic in good conscience can support.
This coverage - offered to make sure that no woman is “punished with a child” - provides no incentive for fathers to care for the children they have conceived. In fact, it gives them an excuse to leave the woman high and dry - “you can always have an abortion.”
So long as our tax dollars fund a government which forces companies - regardless of their religious convictions - to provide contraception coverage, let us harbor no illusions about its leader’s support for fatherhood. Yes, there are married women who need it and yes there are girls who take it to fight acne. But don't miss the forest for the outlying brush - “sexual expression” is the real issue.
Perhaps Obama’s inspiring words will urge “players” to settle down, or women who have become "loose" to pursue lasting relationships with potential fathers. Obama’s gem from last night’s speech will turn the tide - ushering in a new era of loving fathers and intact families. Each man will forget his freedom outside the family and take responsibility for a woman who loves him and a child who depends on him.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Obama’s not in favor of “turning back the clock” on fatherhood. His own campaign slogan - “forward” - reinforces his push for an all-inclusive state, unburdened by the familial bonds which separate citizens from their all-embracing government.
Liberal social policy attacks the family not because it forces women to work in the kitchen or neglects their individual value. Each family makes its own rules, and none involve these errors. But those individual rules do vie with the state - and the family represents a primary loyalty.
As G. K. Chesterton wrote, divorce splits the family into atoms, and atoms are easier to rule.
Even the “Violence Against Women Act” and the “Fair Pay Act” bear an ulterior motive. According to the Independent Women’s Forum, both would increase the size of government
and lead to more litigation
Everyone agrees that violence against anyone (man, woman, gay, straight, white, black) is horrible and laws already criminalize it. Also, the studies that claim women get paid much less than men do not take profession into account - of course waitresses get paid less than engineers, but women and men in these professions make the same amount.
The underlying goal is to expand government.
Obama gave the State of the Union on Lincoln’s birthday. Many have compared Obama to Lincoln, but the two presidents differ on one central issue. Lincoln opposed slavery because he thought everyone had the right to enjoy the fruits of their own labor. Obama supports an expanded government because he believes everyone should pay their “fair share.”
In the family, there is no private property. Obama may support fatherhood, so long as he’s the father.
What did you see onstage at the Super Bowl halftime show? According to Pathos.com blogger David Henson, if you saw “a singer wearing too little clothes,” or “a singer selling sex to the masses in a skimpy outfit,” or “an offensive, inappropriate hypersexual display of legs and barely covered unmentionables,” then you didn’t see what was really
The lead-in is provocative and effective, and it helped his article rack up more than 60,000 Facebook hits
in just a few days. Clearly he tapped into something that resonated with people, yet he tries to be too intelligent and insightful for his own good, injecting so much of a race- and gender-based narrative into his interpretation of the event that he ends up drawing a false dichotomy between sexual-objectification and power. This liberal progressive narrative causes him to miss on point after point as he makes a valiant effort to draw out nonexistent positives from the halftime show.
“Beyoncé’s performance Sunday night in New Orleans wasn’t about sex,” Henson claims, “It was about power, and Beyoncé had it in spades. In fact, her show was one of the most compelling, embodied and prophetic statements of female power I have seen on mainstream television. That a Black woman claimed and owned her power during the misogynist, consumerist celebration known as the Super Bowl only highlights Beyoncé’s brilliance and boldness. It’s no wonder some people attempted to wrest back control over her and her body by marginalizing her performance by sexualizing it.”
Sorry Mr. Henson, but I’m a red-blooded male, just like you, and I know what I saw up there. Yes, Beyoncé had power in spades, but from whence came this power? Sex appeal. The two are inextricably linked. This much, at least, seems pretty obvious. Who cares if she’s black? She’s sexy, and that’s what captivates the masses. Women who have won the genetic lottery, as Victoria’s Secret model Cameron Russell put it in a recent TED talk
, have always had the capacity to wield power of a sexual nature. Beyoncé, who also happens to be a talented singer and dancer, is no exception.
Henson goes on to add that “Few things are more threatening to a male audience than a beautiful, powerful woman who doesn’t need a man, or even a male gaze.”
I disagree. Beyoncé does
need a man; in fact, she needs lots of men gazing at her. Without those, she has no career, no stardom, no subjects to captivate. The entire pop music industry hinges on creating idols—stars that people either want to fall in love with or imitate. Henson notes that many of his male friends reacted to the halftime show with disdain, saying things like “worst halftime show ever” and “get this crappy excuse for music off the field.” I would suggest they reacted that way not because they felt threatened, but because they simply don't like her music. Speaking for myself, I would much rather have watched a group like Coldplay or U2. You can’t please everyone.
“The response from my female friends were markedly different,” Henson says, “One exclaimed, ‘Her body is amazing! I love that she has meat on her bones! I want her figure and her stamina!’ Beyoncé’s body is important — not because it is hypersexualized — but because it was a women’s body only, not a woman’s body sculpted for a man.”
Again, I know what I saw up there, and I have no idea what Henson is trying to communicate here. How exactly does she not
have a woman’s body sculpted for a man? Try finding a straight man who doesn’t think she has a great body. I have no doubt she works hard to maintain that figure, largely for the purpose of selling out concerts and churning out hits. The Huffington Post even speculated
that she's had a nose job recently—literally, "body sculpting." If she actually had a nose job, it only confirms the dependence of her power on her sexiness and crushes the notion that this was about a Black woman claiming power and independence. If anything she how has more of a white girl's nose.
Speculation aside, however, consider how her body was presented to us. Adorned by a provocative black leather mini-dress (not sure how it qualifies as a “dress,” but that’s what they’re calling it), her body was obviously put on display
for men in order to captivate
“So here,” Henson begins his conclusion, “in the midst of commercials and a culture that objectified women and their bodies and in the middle of a sports spectacle that construes power in terms of violence, Beyoncé began her performance by upending the narrative.”
Again, his point is unclear and unsubstantiated. I fail to see one compelling, concrete reason explaining exactly how Beyoncé upended the narrative of our culture objectifying women. How does licking one’s finger and lying on the floor seductively after ripping off part of one’s outfit go against the grain of a culture that objectifies women?
It does not. Did Henson even listen to what she was singing? Did he miss the lyrics where Beyoncé sang about her fantasies and all the single ladies?
The following day, Henson wrote a follow-up article in response to the massive amount of feedback he had received. In it, he starts by explaining his bias to us, as if it wasn’t clear enough before:
“As a white heterosexual male living in a racist, sexist and heterosexist world, I am the beneficiary of privilege solely because of what I look like. White progressives often like to think of ourselves as participants in liberation of the “oppressed.” We like to cast ourselves in the roles of Moses, Aaron and Miriam, or at least, as one of the Israelites walking through reeds and seas toward liberation. In reality, I am more akin to the magician in Pharaoh’s court and the people living in comfortable complicity as a result of the oppression of others. I believe this is true of most white people in America.”
Henson then goes on to walk back some of the comments in his previous article—kind of. He mentions possible objections and nuances, acknowledging that there is still much he does not know and noting criticism (like mine) that he made a false dichotomy between power and sex-appeal.
Perhaps I missing something in the deep, dark recesses of my privileged white racist heart, but I can’t imagine that those heaping criticism and scorn on the halftime show being a hypersexualized spectacle would have reacted any different had a white female performer been on stage and done the same thing. If I may speak carnally for a moment, I don’t care that Beyoncé is black. She’s straight-up hot.
The real travesty here is that Henson praises Beyoncé when her performance is just the latest high-profile example of the fact that objectification of women is a major issue in our culture and only getting worse. We would be better off studying the Super Bowl from that perspective, as Matthew Vos did so well last week in Comment Magazine last week
If we really want to “liberate” women, we ought to push for a reexamination of the purpose and proper role of sex rather than encouraging them to use their sex-appeal as a way to gain and wield power. What sickens me about Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl isn’t that she showed a few too many inches of skin, per se
, it’s that it exploited male viewers by making sex a key component of the industry and culture. Just like many of the commercials and the event as a whole, it used sex to sell a product and create an image of a desirable woman.
The conservative voice has had it right all along. Beyoncé stands as stark evidence that our culture has missed the point of sex. Maybe we wouldn’t see so many power struggles between men and women wielding sex-appeal like a weapon to leverage and control others if we understood sex as something best enjoyed between a husband and wife in private. What if sex, in its proper place, isn't about getting something like power or pleasure, but giving something?
My roommate and I are both movie-nuts. At least once a week, we'll make a bag of popcorn, enjoy a beer and watch a film. As a film major, I have seen hundreds (if not thousands) of films and I generally find my roommate's fascination with sci-fi flicks hysterical. One night, however, he suggested the bizarrely named Machine Gun Preacher
. I've been trying to pick my jaw back up off the floor ever since.
The film came out in 2011 and earned mixed-poor reviews from critics (Metacritic compiled a 43/100 score). Unfortunately, the $30 million budget was met with a pathetic $1.1 million dollar box office return. Given the film's Christian message, I'm not too shocked.
In my opinion, the film deserves an A- for its realistic depictions of war-torn Uganda, disturbingly human moral dilemmas and cinematography. The story is based on the real life of Sam Childers. Without spoiling the film, I will give you a brief synopsis: Non-spoiling Synopsis:
Sam Childers leaves prison and returns to his wife and child. Sam, a heroin abuser and drunk, quickly falls back into his old way of life: a biker and gang-member. Sam's wife is a recent Christian convert and Sam scoffs at her quitting smoking and going to church. The film implies domestic abuse and shows a completely dysfunctional household. After several traumatizing and violent encounters, Sam begs his wife to help him.
Sam is baptized a Christian and becomes an outstanding family man overtime. He becomes a successful construction worker and eventually starts his own company. The family enjoys a comfortable lifestyle and Sam eventually reaches a deeper epiphany: Christians are called to do more than live comfortably and go to church once a week. Sam begins a series of visits to Uganda where he builds an orphanage to save children from the clutches of the LRA army. Sam fights alongside the SPLA to eliminate LRA soldiers and on many occasions, Sam kills many LRA monsters. His prowess in combat makes him a militant leader amongst the SPLA and Sam is able to continue to protect and save countless children.
Sam eventually founds his own church back home and begins preaching to his family, friends and neighbors about living a "crazy-love" form of Christianity. He preaches donating large portions of one's own money and doing radical acts of love. Sam becomes more and more infuriated when his wealthy friends and acquaintances approve his goal in Uganda but refuse to help and donate. The film has an open ending which I will not disclose here, and there is an entirely separate story of one child soldier being forced to kill his own mother (the beginning of the film). Moral Summary/Content:
This film sincerely moved me. It challenges Christians to actively live the Gospel. It calls us to serve way above and beyond our comfort zones and to even put our lives in danger if necessary. Sam Childers is portrayed as a flawed hero: just as every human saint is. We are all sinners, but that does not mean we cannot convert and rely on God to do miraculous things.
It would be wrong of me to not give this disclaimer: the film is rated R for just about everything you can think of. There is one brief sex scene between Sam and his wife (it isn't very graphic), lots of profanity, extremely graphic gore, and graphic drug use (to the point of suicide). Personally, given the beautiful messages of Machine Gun Preacher
, I would recommend this film for kids 16+ with parents watching alongside. The violence includes a woman having her lips cutoff, a child being dismembered from a landmine, and intense/realistic gunfights. That being said, view with discretion.
As a film, Machine Gun Preacher
excels in its shooting style, music usage and presentation. The sets are beautiful, the characters are believable, and Gerard Butler gives an incredibly raw performance. Even if the film did not have a moral and emotional pull, I would still be impressed with this film as a secular film. My Score:
Storytelling/Character Development: 9
Christian/Freedom Messages: 10 Overall: 9.5
If you would like to learn more about Sam Childer's message, please check out his own website
Here is the film's trailer:
by Tyler O'Neil
Even after the lights went out at the Super Bowl, a commercial stole the show. In a few short minutes, Ram took the hearts of spectators by featuring Paul Harvey’s “God made a farmer.”
Soon, both #PaulHarvey and #GodMadeAFarmer were trending on Twitter, with thousands of people taking their admiration to social media.
Praise for Harvey comes from unlikely places. It was my liberal grandfather, Tyler Kaus, who listened to Paul Harvey and told me I should look into Hillsdale College. Having grown there - in ways that I could never have grown anywhere else - I must admit my deep debt to the radio commentator who preceded Rush Limbaugh.
The Super Bowl Harvey clip remembered the farmers “willing to get up before dawn, milk the cows, work all day in the field, milk the cows again, eat supper then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.” This work ethic made America great, and Paul Harvey had the voice to articulate it.
But let us not turn out the lights on “the rest of the story.” Another of Harvey’s great moments sheds light on the Newtown tragedy, which inspired deep soul-searching on both the Right and the Left.
Representative John Campbell (R., C.A.) joined the debate in his blog post entitled “Violence.”
He asked why our culture has become more violent, and came to the conclusion that there isn’t “any one cause.”
“I think this behavioral shift is a result of an interconnected web of conditions in society that have changed, and are still changing, how we view the world around us and how we react to it,” he wrote. He pointed to six conditions: the focus on “me,” a decrease in taking responsibility, a growing secularism, the weakness of the family, a focus on success at all costs, and violence.
Before dismissing Campbell as a reactionary, trying to bring back the dark days of Throne and Altar, let us listen again to Paul Harvey - that muse of the American spirit - whose voice unites us in admiring the dirty hands of a farmer. A few excerpts
: If I were the devil...If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree - Thee.
I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.'
And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could.
If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed.
I’d have judges promoting pornography - soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science.
If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those wanted until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.
I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on TV is the way to be. And thus I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure.”
In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing. Paul Harvey, good day.
Harvey shows the root of Campbell’s fears, and it’s not a pretty place.
If we listen to Harvey on farmers, we should also listen when he explains the reason behind tragedies like Newtown.
Cultural change begins with you. As Theodore Roosevelt was famous for saying, “the buck stops here.” Every person you snub, every car you cut off, every indulgence you take, just think of Paul Harvey. Think of the farmer. Think of the devil.
Which are you? Now you know “the rest of the story.”
by Caleb Parke
Among the majority of Super Bowl commercials with fast-paced, carefree humor, one ad made everyone stop and listen. No, it wasn't Beyonce's voice -- it was the nostalgic voice of Paul Harvey
The commercial features captivating images of farmers, highlighting the hard work they do before the sun rises until after the sun goes down in rough elements and tough times.
I am reminded of all the stories my grandpa told me growing up and listening to Paul Harvey give "The Rest of the Story
This ad lit up Twitter and had "Paul Harvey" and #GodMadeAFarmer trending on Twitter and even made Twitchy
We love this commercial because it gives credit to the first entrepreneurs to cultivate this planet. Farmers take something desolate and give life to the masses.
We thank God for farmers.
Here is the transcript from the commercial with the video below:So God made a Farmer And on the eighth day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said I need a caretaker-
So God made a Farmer...
God said I need somebody willing to get up before dawn, milk the cows, work all day in the field, milk cows again, eat supper then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board-
So God made a Farmer...
I need somebody with arms strong enough to wrestle a calf and yet gentle enough to deliver his own grandchild; somebody to call hogs,tame cantankerous machinery, come home hungry, have to await lunch until his wife's done feeding visiting ladies, then tell the ladies to be sure and come back real soon, and mean it-
So God made a Farmer...
God said I need somebody willing to sit up all night with and newborn colt, and watch it die, then dry his eyes and say maybe next year. I need somebody who can shape an axe handle from a persimmon sprout, shoe a horse with a hunk of car tire, who can make a harness out of hay wire, feed sacks and shoe straps, who at planting time and harvest season will finish his forty hour week by Tuesday noon and then, paining from tractor back, will put in another 72 hours-
So God made a Farmer
God had to have somebody willing to ride the ruts at double speed to gt the hay in ahead of the rain, and yet stop in midfield and race to help when he sees first smoke from a neighbor's place-
So God made a Farmer...
God said I need somebody strong enough to clear trees and heave bales,yet gentle enough to wean lambs and pigs and tend to pink combed pullets; who will stop his mower for an hour to splint the broken leg of a meadowlark. It had to be somebody who'd plow deep and straight and not cut corners;somebody to seed, seed, breed, and rake and disk and plow and plant and tie the fleece and strain the milk and replenish the self-feeder and a hard week's work with a five-mile drive to church. Somebody who would bale a family together with the soft, strong bonds of sharing; who would laugh and then sigh, and reply with smiling eyes when his son says he want to spend his life doing what dad does-
So God made a Farmer...
By: Paul Harvey
From his address to the 1987 AFBF Convention