Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Despicable Me Movie Review

What rhymes with Despicable Me?   Answer, Despicable Movie.  Our family was high off the fun of Megamind, a movie we all enjoyed and have enjoyed many times since our first viewing.  Even the youngest of our kids were quoting lines.  We were hoping to repeat this fun with a movie that had a similar premise, Despicable Me.  The movie is about a person who was destined to be a villain because of the negative influence of his mother and his odd appearance, think of Igor.  Since he is a villain, he wants to be the best villain of all, competing against other villains that must go to the bank of evil to get loans to fund their evil projects.  Unfortunately, in this movie, everyone is a villain.  There are no decent people at all, that is until Gru, the main character, adopts three girls so that he can use them to infiltrate another villains layer so that he can steal something.  There's no surprise here as he starts to actually care for the kids.  The climax comes as he must choose between his villainous plans and attending the girls recital.  When he makes the wrong choice, he must then fight the other villain to save his girls.  The conclusion is that he wins and he keeps the girls.  Aside from the predictability of the plot, other things that worked poorly were the voice acting, steve carrell did horrible, the humor, since there was no real humor, the writers tried using the word "poop" to create laughter, but failed, and the general dialogue was boring.  Perhaps if the bar hadn't been raised so high by Megamind, I might have found the movie somewhat slightly entertaining.  My kids did enjoy the movie, and I suppose they are the real audience, but with Megamind, the whole family enjoys viewing it together.  I doubt we will do that with this movie.  Oh yeah, the minions in this movie were lame.  No matter how hard they tried, it was lame. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Megamind Movie Review

I’m not one to look for spiritual equivocation in movies, but I couldn’t help it when it came to Megamind.  The premise of Megamind is what would happen if a somebody with superpowers would land in a bad environment as opposed to a good one.  Megamind escapes his planet before its destruction, but so does metroman.  They are both traveling to earth.  Metroman lands in a mansion while Megamind lands in a prison for the criminally gifted.   Because of their environment, Megamind becomes a criminal and Metroman becomes superhero.  Megamind felt he was living out his destiny and thought if he was destined to be bad, he would be the baddest there is.   Megamind’s world is thrown upside, however, when one of his plans to destroy Metroman succeeds.  Without his nemesis around, Megamind feels empty and depressed.  He no longer feels fulfillment in his evil pursuits.  Inspired by the reporter that he has captured time and again, he decides to create a superhero to fill that void.  He injects Metroman’s super powers into a bumbling TV cameraman and sets about training this person to become a new hero, Titan, so that Megamind can once again find purpose.  While Megamind is training Titan, he is simultaneously falling in love with the reporter.  Because Megamind is using a disguise, she has no idea she is falling for Megamind.   Megamind begins to question his evil existence, going so far as telling Minion, his minion, that he doesn’t want to be evil anymore.  Meanwhile, Megamind’s attempt to create a hero backfires in that Titan doesn’t want to use his powers for good, but rather for selfish pursuits.  Essentially, Megamind has created a super villain.  Megamind is now faced with a choice.  He can reject the belief that he is destined to be evil and instead make the willful heart choice to be good.  Megamind makes the good choice and defeats Titan.
Where I find the parallels in Christ is that this movie is all about heart choices, heart choices for good and evil.  What made any of the characters good or evil was not their deeds, but from what within their heart motivated them to do them.   Metroman chose to use his powers to be selfless while Titan chose to use those same powers for bad.  The only variable between the two of them was their heart.  Megamind showed that there is no such thing as being destined to be good or evil, that it is a choice.  He also showed that you can overcome your circumstance and still make the right choice. 
Christ is about choice.  Christ is not looking for works, he is looking for choice.  It doesn’t matter how you were raised, in a mansion or a prison.  It doesn’t matter what you have done, been a super villain terrorizing metro city your whole life.    It doesn’t matter what words of destiny have been spoken over your life.  You can choose with your heart.
Also, the movie is pretty entertaining.  My wife really likes it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Bring Back the Middle Class of Education: Hypocrisy of the Occupiers

I was inspired by a friend’s blog in which he had a chart that showed that the US has the highest number of top universities in the world.  Yet despite the number of top universities, the US lags far behind the other nations on the chart when it comes to test scores.  The point of this post is not to discuss the lack of real education provided at these schools, but to talk about the hypocrisy of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) crowd. 
You see, the OWS crowd identifies themselves as part of the 99% of the have-nots, compared to the 1% haves.  Most of these OWS people are college students or college graduates.     Only around 25% of Americans have a college degree.  That means the vast majority of people in the US have no college degree.  That puts the degreed people in an elite class.  That means 25% possess 100% of the valid education in America.  Shouldn’t there be educational redistribution.  This isn’t such a crazy idea.  In the world I work in, you either have a degree and are worthwhile or you have no degree and are not worth anything.  A college degree is something you either have or don’t have, and we are told from birth that you are nothing unless you have a degree.    There is no educational middle class.  But how can there be one you ask?  The truth is, there used to be one.  
You see, for generations, trade schools, apprenticeships, certifications, and 2 year degrees had value.  While the real value still exists, the perceived value does not.  If I become an electrician, I’m viewed by the 25% as some greasy fingered dullard.  Why is what the 25% think important.  The 25% control the educational system, the legal system, the political system, and the media.  They do not control business.  Haven’t you ever wondered why the institutions that the 25% control seem so anti-business.  It is because business is the opportunity where the 75% can find success.  They don’t want the 75% to have success, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. 
What the OWS movement is essentially about is redistributing opportunity to be successful from 100% of people to the 25% they are a part of.   What we need to do is to re-establish the value of the educational middle-class.  Support vocations and trades.  Push back against the OWS.

Captain America Movie Review

I don't normally watch action movies, but I made an exception so that I could screen the movie before my daughter viewed for a birthday party.  Captain America did not upset my normalcy.  The flick started out well enough.  It didn't move at too fast a pace.  They took their time in developing an introducing protagonist and antagonist.  You had a general feeling for who they are and what motivates them.  Unfortunately, once Captain America started doing Captain America things, the movie moved at such a fast and jerky pace that you had no real sense of what the goal was and why each mission might be important.  Instead, a whole bunch of new characters are introduced, of which they were all very inconspicuously diverse (I don't know if the comics were that way, but sometimes you sacrifice a sense of realism for diversity and it doesn't pay off),   You could tell they were all supposed to be cool or comical, but just as in the Clash of the Titans remake, you really could care less about any of them and their contribution to the story, which became non-existent.  There are fights and chases, and a climax that could best be described as weak and meaningless.  Also, if you are looking for any patriotism here, don't look for it.  America only references the place he is born.  There is no real nationalism in this movie.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Futility of Shoe Laces

There are few activities that mark the emergence for a child from preschool into grade school like learning how to tie your shoes.  It means that you have acquired the complex dexterity and ability to remember instructions needed to achieve a task that will allow you to independently put on your shoes.  Velcro has stifled the need to learn this skill by putting of for many years.  Why should a child have to learn this skill when they have already achieved this independence since they are were 2.   Because I hate tying my shoes only to have them come undone, and because I have many small children that all wear velcro shoes that don't need to be retied, I have thought through the futility of laces. 
Has technology not come far enough in shoe and velcro design that we all can't wear velcro shoes?  I believe laces have hung on so long because adults don't want to be associated with the velcro of their youth.  It is like saying to a kid, not only can they not have a drink or drive a car or vote, they also can't tie their own shoes.  I advocate for a lace free movement when it comes to athletic shoes.  Many dress shoes have already turned into fancy slippers.  Athletic shoes need to be more secure than a slipper, but surely a velcro strap can accomplish this task.   Let's send the shoelace companies to the  same pages in history as milk men, buggy whip manufacturers, and ice plants.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Return of Zulubuff

I have been on a vacation for the last 5 weeks following the birth of my 7th child, Jack.  I decided to take a break from blogging as well, but now with less than a year left until the next election, I am back and ready to go.   As a recap of the last 5 weeks, my wife and I had our 7th child.  I stayed home and helped around the house and spent extended time with the kids.  We didn't do anything like a trip, just living day to day with one another.  There were highs and lows.  I am now back at work and miss my family time, but also glad to be back working at my career.

Thursday, November 3, 2011