Bill’s Summer Movie Reviews… So far…

I find the summer to be the time I go to the movies the most. Sci-fi and fantasy flicks are all over the place this time of year. And most weekends one or more of the newest pictures are appealing to me or my children.

But if you were to go to the movies…which movie should you see? What’s good out there?? Well, here’s my review of the summer movies we’ve seen…so far.

Thor… Already offered my review of that movie as well as the Christian elements in it. See it in 2-D though. I don’t see the value of 3-D with this one.

Kung Fu Panda 2… This movie surprised me. I was not a fan of the first movie, nor do I particularly enjoy Jack Black’s brand of humor, but this movie was funny…and really very deep in parts! The 3-D isn’t all that bad either. If your children or grandchildren are itching to go(as my kids were) I’d just go…with the knowledge that YOU might be surprised. And YOU might get something out of it.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4… If you’re familiar with the ride at Disneyland and are semi-familiar with the characters from the previous films, this is a great movie to watch. If not… might be one to skip. Especially if you’re not in the mood for the supernatural pirate stuff… but that’s just me…

X-Men: First Class… My wife and I saw this for our anniversary. I was nervous(it being our anniversary and seeing a comic book movie…)… but this movie was AWESOME! It tells the story of Magneto and Professor X before they split up. It helps if you know the comic books or have watched one of the previous movies. If you haven’t…you might want to skip it.

Super 8… I had high hopes for this movie, especially with Speilberg and Addams on board with it… but it didn’t match my expectations at all and felt like a modern-day remake of a B-rated movie back in the 70’s. Maybe that was the point… but it didn’t work for me.

That’s my review of the summer movies so far… and there are more to come. With Green Lantern, Harry Potter, Smurfs, and so many others on the horizon you can be guaranteed a sequel to this post soon.


Bill’s Top 5 Faith-Filled Movies

Steve is certainly getting ambitious, posting his top 100 movies of all time and all! Thankfully I can say I’ve seen most of them…and agree…mostly…

Instead of competing with his list there, I decided to go the opposite direction and post my top 5. I recently watched a show on ABC about the Top 5 Movies of All Time… You can see it here if you like.

They covered every category, from the top 5 sci-fi, action, and drama flicks to the top 5 kisses in the movies. They ended up making Gone with the Wind(gag!) the top movie of all time!

Instead of competing with either list, I decided to make my own. The one category they forgot were those connected with the faith. As I was putting these together more and more kept popping in my head.  All the ones I listed on my Top 10…mostly…have a faith connection.  I seem to gravitate toward the deeper side of movies anyway.  But when I sat down to write this these five seemed to stick in my head.  So… here they are.

The top 5 Faith-Filled movies…According to Bill

5… The Passion of the Christ. Okay… I thought I’d start with an obvious one, but this one has become a classic for many people. When it first came out, I watched it five times I think with five different groups of people, taking each of them afterward to dinner to process the event. Processing is necessary in this case as the film itself is quite graphic to watch. Kinda leaves you numb too.  Some have criticized this movie as being a little over the top.  I see it as a great conversation piece…even among Christians!

4… The Life of Brian! Okay this is the opposite of the Passion of the Christ…but if God had a sense of humor(and I do believe God does) I think this would be one of his top movies. There are some GREAT lines in this movie…and it makes the question: Who are you following? So much more relevant.  Plus it makes you realize that there were more “Messiahs” out there than just Jesus.  Maybe Brian was among them… poor fellow!

3… Big Fish! Talk about a deep movie about the power of storytelling and the reality of narrative!  Wow!  This movie made me realize how post-modern I truly am in my thinking and theology.  The story is the thing…  And in the end, the story is all that matters.

2…The Lord of the Rings…As ONE WHOLE STORY… Tolkien wrote this tale as a metaphor for the life of faith…not as an alegory to it as C.S. Lewis wrote the Narnia series. What better example of the world being saved by the least of them all then this movie. Frodo is a wonderful representative of Christ, I think, as Christ carries our sin to Mount Doom…where he ends up dying for all of us! Lots of good books on how to incorporate these movies into your adult Sunday Schools as well.

And the #1 Movie of faith is… The Matrix Series!

Okay… gonna cheat a little here and put all three Matrix movies together, even though many didn’t like #2 and #3.  The story is amazingly like Christ’s story. The first movie has Jesus’ story played out by Neo who dies when the bullet hits him and is resurrected…becoming a whole new person. The last movie kinda goes backward but is still very powerfully faithful as Neo carries the sin(that is this terrible virus) into the world (the computer system) to save humanity. He ends up dying of course and the machines carry his body away…which if you look closely shows him stretched out as if he were on a cross! Gave me chills watching it!

Anyway… there’s my top 5 faith-filled movies. Just a warning. Three of these are R rated(#5, #4, and #1)… but if you’re a thinking adult in the mood for something to challenge and perhaps deepen your faith, watch closely and these films will retell the story of salvation in ways you’ve never seen before.

So… what movies inspire YOUR faith??  Comment away and tell us what you think…

Bill’s Top Ten List

Well… I figured it was about time to get out a list.  Steve is so good at composing these lists of movies…whether they be lists of Oscar movies or just his own personal favorites.  I needed to make a list of the top ten movies of all time.

Steve’s list was great…but to be honest I haven’t seen most of those movies WILLINGLY more than once(I am forced to watch Wizard of Oz every year at Thanksgiving…so it doesn’t count.).  I designed my list to be movies(and sometimes movie series) that I would willingly sit down and watch again.  And they’re in order too…

#10… Harry Potter!  Though the books are substancially better than the movies could ever be, the movies have brought the characters to life in a way that the books never could for me.  And with a story of death and resurrection built into every single one of them…I’d have to put the whole series on my list.

#9… Avatar! My co-blogger may disagree about this…but I thought Avatar was an excellent movie that highlighted what could have happened if Jesus had taken the glory road instead of the road to the cross. If Jesus had led the people of Israel against the Romans…we’d have had Avatar! Still this movie is great in illustrating what most see as the Messiah. And the visual effects are AMAZING!

#8…Finding Nemo.  Talk about a powerful faith story about a father who goes in search for his son and the fact that he never gives up.  Never!  Until he finds him!  Boy that story sounds strangely familiar… Still I would watch this movie over and over again and still choke up!

#7… Monty Python &the Holy Grail… I’m surprised Steve forgot this classic!  What’s not to love.  There’s great one-liners all over the place.  I can quote most of this movie to you right now!  My favorite part… the Holy Handgrenade!  Hillarious!!

#6… Titanic!  Another classic by James Cameron!  When it was in the theaters I saw it 9 times!  Really.  And why not?  What’s not to love.  It has disaster and a killer romantic story.  Not to mention the sacrifice at the end of the movie!

#5…Sweeny Todd and the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.  When you combine my favorite director(Tim Burton) with my favorite actor(Johnny Depp) you’re bound to get something great!  This one rocks!  The story itself takes the price of revenge to a whole new level!  And there’s some great faith-filled one-liners too.  Forgive your neighbor…or wind up like Mr. Todd.

#4…The Star Trek Movies!  Okay…these don’t have as much faith value as I usually like…but I still like to watch them over and over again.  And I still go to those crazy conventions and dress up as William Riker.  (Oh did I say that outloud…)  🙂

#3…  Dune!.. This sci-fi movie is a classic story of a Messiah gone violent.  If you haven’t seen this 80’s flick, pick it up sometime.  The special effects might be dated and the story strangely familiar…but the movie is spot on. Plus you get to see Patrick Stewart pre-Star Trek. (Did he ever have hair?)

#2… The Lord of the Rings! Awesome visual effects! Great translation of the book into the movie. And a movie series period that has so many faith-full implications! If you haven’t watched this tale of redemption by the littlest folk, check it out today.

And the #1 Movie of all time is… STAR WARS!  This series you have to watch back to back because they are designed to be chapters in a story…not movies to be watched seperately.  And what’s not to love about them either.  There’s a fall from grace, a death and resurrection.  There’s the Son saving the Father.  There’s lightsabers and fierce battles.  And there’s cute little Ewoks and Gungans.  What more can you ask for from a movie series!?

So… what do you think?  Comment away!  Tell us what movies you watch over and over again?  What would you put as your top-ten?