Tag Archives: movies

Am I An Emotional Wreck?

I’m going to get a little vulnerable here. It all started when I began to cry.

Have you ever been watching a show … from The Dirty Dozen to Star Trek to Disney’s Onward … and just started to have tears flow? I don’t mean those chick flicks or even the Hallmark rom-coms. But the ones filled with action, explosions everywhere, where what flowed was less conversation and more spurting blood from where Wolverine sliced and diced everyone in the room.

Well, this past week I got hit a couple times. One was a spunky new SyFy series, Resident Alien, and another was during the binge watching of Mad About You. I dabbed my eyes and turned away from my wife. I didn’t desire to let her know how emotional it was hitting me.

I said I was tired. I blamed it on being trapped inside during the ice storm. I even said the hot tea I was sipping must have steamed up my eyes. I should’ve blamed Trump – he’s being blamed for everything else. But the real culprit is Oxytocin, or what has been called ‘the moral molecule.’

There was an experiment that showed watching an emotional moment, whether live or fiction like a movie/TV show, increases the level of oxytocin. And research shows 92% of people have been reduced to tears during at least one movie. The rest are psychopathic robots (I made that last line up.)

We enter the minds of others, we see the world through their story telling, and then oxytocin greatly improves our capacity for empathy.

Years ago, when Mel Gibson’s The Passion hit theaters, our church got permission to hand out small packets of Kleenex. We got thousands of little packets, labeled them with our church website, and stood at the doors handing them out. There was this one man, big, I mean big, Ving Rhames big, refused and said he doesn’t cry. Yeah, right. During the movie, as I stood one back at one of the critical dramatic moments, I heard sniffles, small sobs, and the such. But there, row 8 on the end seat, sobbing out loud and out of control … Mr I Don’t Cry himself. I took him a couple packets right then and there. And after the movie … he gave me a bear hug, a grizzly bear hug.

Tears make us more empathetic. Empathy is an important aspect of emotional intelligence. They help us relate to others. It opens our minds to understanding others. It is not a sign of weakness but of humanity. Even Jesus cried. So, if you cry at movies, you’re probably emotionally strong and relate well with people. And that’s not weakness.

Interestingly, it also makes us more generous and likely to give money to charity. And then be happier because we did give.

God bless our oxytocin … that chemical that fills us with empathy, altruism, and goodness of life.

Or, as one author puts it …

If the eyes are the window to the soul, tears are the Windex: They keep things in perspective.

J Haltwinger

So, I’m not really an emotional wreck. I’m human, and I feel. So I think I am going to turn on the Disney Channel and grab box of Kleenex. But I’ll do it while my wife is at work. I only go so far.

What movie or TV show makes you tear up? Or are you one of those psychopathic robots.?

Die Hard … is … Home Alone, for Adults

My son called yesterday. Something he normally does on his drive home when he is bored and has no one else to call. We call this action ‘pulling a Tuck.’ An inside joke. So he called me and said he was headed home where his newlywed wife had gotten home and made some chili. So an evening relaxing with warm food and a Christmas movie. And that’s when the argument started.

He recommended Die Hard. Which she said was not a Christmas movie. This should’ve been discussed before they exchanged vows. Great writers from reputable magazines such as Cracked and Mad Magazine have dealt with this.

Let’s put this argument to rest. Die Hard is a Christmas movie. Maybe in the top ten of all time. For the naysayers, I say you need to be impeached. Let me call my witnesses, specifically my fact witnesses (aren’t all witnesses to be fact witnesses, otherwise wouldn’t they be falsehood witnesses? Let’s move on). Let me call my witnesses … only one. I call Home Alone.

No one would argue that Home Alone isn’t a Christmas movie. And the connection between the two undisputedly prove that both are Christmas movies.

  • Both have quick witted main characters, and they both are from Irish families.
  • Both have family issues
  • The villains show up on Christmas Eve
  • They both have 911 operators that just don’t get it
  • Both like classic movies
  • They both fight guerrilla warfare against the bad guys
  • They both get help from friendships made in the movie
  • They both have sequels that take them back to NYC
  • Both have Christmas music playing during the movie

Now I will pound my gavel and cut off your input.

In the end, I think this fun exercise is just a way to put a smile on our face and enjoy differences in people’s point of view. In the end, it really doesn’t matter. But what I hope does happen is my son and new daughter-in-law have a first Christmas together that is joyous, memory making, and only gets better every year.

Merry yippee-ki-yay Christmas

Doing It ‘The Chicago Way’

The line is classic, iconic even. You may even have made it your life’s mantra. And since it was recited by Sean Connery, there is an aura of power behind it. Make sure you read it with that Scottish accent …

Wanna get Capone? Here’s how you get him. He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way, and that’s how you get Capone.”

But is this the best way? It’s what we see in TV/Movies. It’s what we see in Washington. It’s plastered across Twitter and Facebook in our Social Media world. And you might even see it on playgrounds across America. Okay, maybe not the last one.

Connery was teaching the boy scout Costner, playing Elliot Ness, that he would have to change the way he did things if he wanted to accomplish his goals. And though it may make a great movie, even effective politics-diplomacy if you’re the one with the bigger stick, I do not believe it is the way we are to live as followers of Christ. Our teacher, not a Scot but a Jew from 2000 years ago (and our God from before time began) taught us a different way, a revolutionary way – a better way.

Turn the other cheek, go the second mile, pray for your enemies, bless those that persecute you.

This is easier typed than done.

This is not saying don’t defend yourself. Not about quiet passivity, especially if life threatening. But about having a mindset that doesn’t seek revenge, doesn’t retaliate, nor does it give evil a free hand. If I can suggest three principles from His revolutionary teaching, a concept I call living in the 2nd mile

  1. Show mercy in opposition
  2. Show grace through difficulties
  3. Show love without limitations

We all may think we should respond with kindness to kindness. But to be a Christian is to live revolutionary. Show kindness to enemies, go the 2nd mile … live in that 2nd mile.

  • To love your neighbor, that’s 1st mile
  • To love your enemy, that’s 2nd mile
  • To bless those who bless you, that’s 1st mile
  • To bless those who curse you, that’s 2nd mile
  • To pray for friends, that’s 1st mile
  • To pray for those despiteful to you, that’s 2nd mile

And when we have a 2nd mile lifestyle, we are living like Him. People will notice. And He will get the attention, not us.

It may not be the Chicago Way, but it should be our way.

Want to dig a little deeper? Live in the Appomattox area? Join us this Sunday (10.27) as we look at this revolutionary teaching – at 11am.

Joker … Inciting Violence?

The movie has already received rave reviews … even creating some Oscar buzz. It digs into the background of the prince of villains. It explores the mind of a character played by some of Hollywood’s elite.

But it has already come with a warning … this movie may inspire violence in a society already plagued with anger and division.

I know all too well we live in broken world. That humanity struggles with a sin nature that leans to the dark and often runs from the light. And I know that bitterness and anger has taken root in many people’s hearts.

The truth is … God knows the real you, and still loves you. And only through Him will you find the best you.

So where do we draw the line? When do we ask industries to ‘fess up’ and be part of the solution and not part of the problem. Hollywood blames the White House, the White House blames the media, the media blames the other side (whatever the other side is to that media outlet), and none ever really take responsibility.

I appreciate art and the stories that are told. I love movies.

So where do we draw the line? What role does parents have in protecting and guarding against unwanted influence?

This is not an expression of censorship, or blame, or justifying any of my actions. It is just pondering of a man with muddy shoes. We all get them.

Maybe the story of the Joker would have taken a different path if someone had shared the hope grace, and love of God with him? Maybe not an Oscar contending movie, but it would be better … it would be an eternity impacting story.

Maybe if we pushed in the other way, madness would be brought back from the ledge

Maybe …

Maybe today, I can be part of the solution. Maybe today, I can show love and reach out to others. Maybe today, I can respond with love when someone lashes out. Maybe today, I can be a help to one that is hurting – be a partner to one in pain – be a blessing to one who feels broken.

Maybe today, you can do that too.

Maybe today.

Then tomorrow … it would be a better.

Side note … happy anniversary to Abbey Road … 50 years ago today, the last Beatles album was released.

What We Have Here is Failure to Communicate

It’s the classic line from Cool Hand Luke. It is used by Captain to Luke, and is followed by, “Some men you just can’t reach.” The line is used a few times in the movie, even by Luke himself later in the flick. It’s a great line, I’ve even used it on my son occasionally … never on my wife, for I would have to acknowledge the problem is me, never her.

But it is also a sad line. Why can’t we reach some people? What would it take to get across a message that is important?

Sometimes people need to experience a lesson first hand before they ‘get it’ … thus Luke is put in the box.

Sometimes people need to be humbled before they ‘get it” …. think about Chuck Coleen who was convicted in Watergate but found the Lord in prison.

Sometimes people need to be shown a truth … how will people know you really care about them until they see it with your actions.

Sometimes we don’t realize we are talking a different language, so the other person won’t ‘get it’ … think bout the concept of the five love languages. You might be telling her you love her, but her language is time. You’re ‘saying’ it but she’s not ‘hearing’ it.

Sometimes we need to change the way we communicate before others will ‘get it’ … Paul said he becomes all things to all people so that some might be saved. Churches can’t keep doing things the same old way and expect new results. We can change the method without compromising the message.

So here is the challenge … if you’re not getting through to someone, if there is failure to communicate, maybe it’s you and not them. Consider options to getting the message across. Don’t give up.

This ends today’s little lesson from music and movies applied to real life. Enjoy your day. – Todd

AFI ranks this quote at #11 of all time movie quotes.

Top 10 – Movies about the Afterlife

To say that I have seen a lot of movies would be an understatement. I haven’t seen all movies, nor most movies ever made, but I do enjoy a good popcorn flick that will help me escape and relax for a few hours. Having moved to Appomattox, I’ve had to adjust the frequency of my movie going habit, But I still try to make it to Lynchburg or Farmville to see some of the latest products out of Hollywood.

Since this is the 10th of the month, I decided to do a top 10 list of movies I’ve seen that deal with the subject of the afterlife. This is not a complete list, nor does it cover even some of the greatest movies about life after death. But what it does cover are 10 movies that I’ve seen that are potential conversation starters.

They are in no particular order …

  • The Sixth Sense … this is the movie that made the line famous, I see dead people. The only problem with this movie is, you can only see it once with a sense of expectancy and wonder. Once you know the ending you can never see the movie the same again.
  • Beetlejuice … Michael Keaton said this was the most original movie he ever made. The Tim Burton classic is one that should never be remade. Don’t say his name three times.
  • What Dreams May Come … Robin Williams does a great job, but the strength of this movie is the artistic imagination. It won an Oscar for best visual effects.
  • Every zombie movie ever made – they’re all the same, mostly
  • Flatliners … The original obviously. Some movies shouldn’t be remade.
  • Heart and Soul/Chances Are … I count these two movies starring Robert Downey Jr. as one. They are the same story with their own unique twist. The soundtracks are great too.
  • Meet Joe Black
  • Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey … and to think, they are getting back together for a new movie in this franchise.
  • The Seventh Seal … the classic scene of playing chess with the Grim Reaper is part of movie history!
  • Ghost … what really happens when you die?

And of course – every work about Jesus, and these should be at the top of every list about what really happens. I mean, if you want to know, then talk to somebody who’s been there and come back.

This subject may seem unusual; but be honest, you’ve thought about it.



It’s a Wonderful Life … some life lessons from Bedford Falls

This past week, Mike Floyd shared some timeless and biblical truths from the pulpit. He pulled some clips from a classic movie to demonstrate these truths to help us remember and apply these life lessons. So, enjoy these ponderings as you think about George Bailey’s life …

⁃ If you’re going to help someone, then you need to get to know them … Mark 2.13-17

⁃ Our plans don’t always match God’s plans …. Proverbs 27.1, James 4.13-17

⁃ Putting others before ourselves leads to a more fulfilling life and is honoring to the Lord … Phil 2.3-4, Rom 12.10, 1 John 4.7-8, Matt 6.33

⁃ Having faith and a community matters … Matt 21.22, Hebrews 11.6, Luke 1.37, Proverbs 3.5-6 —— Gal 6.2, 1 Cir 12.25-27, Rom 12.9-21

⁃ God’s greatest gift is life … Genesis 1.27, Matt 16.25, John 10.10

If you’ve seen this classic, these points may make you think of various scenes from the work. If not, I encourage you to watch and enjoy.

Think about some movies you like. What life lessons are there from them? Seeing everything from a Biblical world is exciting as we apply eternal truths to art, entertainment, relationships, work, everything. May 2019 challenge us to how we see the world around us.

Happy New Year