Thursday, February 27, 2014

Story Telling on a Less Traveled Road

These two captions are the most frequent quotes about great stories.  I love stories.

In Music I like ballads and simple stories.  That used to be available in Rock Music when Springsteen sings "Glory Days" or Chuck Berry singing about a race between a Cadillac and a V8 Ford.  It was the Beatles singing, "Lady Madonna" or Brad Paisley singing "The Fishing Song".

I gravitated to Country because Rock stopped telling stories.  As a matter of fact my favorite music acts are all story tellers:  Beatles, Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Thorn, Todd Snider and Willie Nelson.


When I go to the movies, I go for the story.  That's why the first movie in a series is the best. It is the original. (Ex: The Godfather).  Critics grade movies down because they want to see something they have never seen (which by the way is the definition of porn).  They want better effects, shocking dialogue, more nudity, more chases, inventive chases, inventive dialogue, inventive sex.  Me, I want a good story.

I like to read.  I am not good with how-to books. I want the story.  Give me a biography or fiction just give me a great story. Give me the Bible, Hairy Potter, Jack Reacher, etc. or give me Unbroken,  Mark Twain, Bill Bryson,  Malcom Gladwell or something like that.

At church when I have the opportunity to conduct an adult class, I leave the subjects like spiritual disciplines, the concept of faith, or what are the 20 words for GOD to experts.  I tell stories- pure and simple.  Bible stories and stories about My silly life.   They are real.  They are today.  They are NOT theory.  Most of my church family do not care for my "teaching".  They, like the movie critics, are looking for the next big thing.  I would rather  think of the Story of David or the Story of Jonah so I can think, "There is hope for me."   The best example, of course, is Jesus.  He told the people stories because their little brains could not begin to understand what HE knew.  Jesus is the standard.

I have now gotten hooked on several strong and stout TV dramas.  None are for the weak at heart and none are how-to's for my life.  BUT WOW!  What great Stories.  I am talking: House of Cards, Justified, Breaking Bad, Homeland, The Americans, and Downton Abbey.  Great Stories all.

Great stories, Yes Please

Sunday, February 23, 2014

3 Days to Kill or maybe 2 hours

If you read the reviews, you won't see "3Days to Kill" starring Kevin Costner.  If you are saying to yourself, "I would like to see a good ole Costner movie," this is for you.

The reviews rule that this must be a comedy OR an action movie - but not both.  They want it to be either a Spy Drama or a Family Story- but not both.

Its like the horrible Ford Commercials. 

Actually it is a throwback movie like old James Bond where comedy is mixed with action.  It works for me.  A great Adult popcorn movie.

Kevin Costner plays a CIA agent who is trying to retire. He is dealing with an illness and reuniting with his family after 5 years away.  He has a teenage daughter and is going to spend 3Days with her.
He also has 3 Days to take out  a really bad villain.     This all takes place in Paris and like I said, not an Oscar caliber flick but a fun movie just the same.

I liked it.  **1/2 stars.  2014 movie 10.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The way the world works

I am a fan of the Oklahoma State University Men's basketball team.  They started the year in the Top Ten with visions of the Final 4. Lately they have lost 6 of the last seven games.

Consider the following:

1. As the conference season started, the starting center and leading rebounder went down with a season ending knee injury.  That's 20% of the starting team.

2. The backup point guard, (the number one Oklahoma recruit) is a freshman with much talent.  He has been arrested twice since December (once for drugs and once for outraging public decency).  He was dismissed.

3. The best player on the team and a lock for the NBA has been suspended for three games for shoving a fan. Another 20% of the starters.

SO-O-O-O Naturally It is the Coaches fault according to the Media and some fans.

We just love to persecute the innocent when none who gripe could do any better.

Winter's Tale

"Winter's Tale" is a fantasy movie in the world of Nardia. It is a complex story on one level and simple on the other. The overriding story is of LOVE.  It is of a man who is a thief who stumbles across a wealthy young lady who is dying.  It is also the world of guardian angels and demons. The angel is in the form of a white horse that can spout wings and fly.  The demon: Russell Crowe and by the way the devil is Will Smith.

This is a story that spans over 100 years and is very enjoyable  and was perfect for Valentine's Day.

Colin Farrell is great as the lovable thief and Jessica Brown-Findlay shows that there is life after Downton Abbey. Other great actors include William Hurt and Jennifer Connelly.

The old good versus evil story plays well here.

I give it ***stars.  2014 movie #9

Monday, February 10, 2014

Monuments Men

My eighth movie of the year is an important story.  "The Monuments Men" is an important and largely unknown story of World War II.  It is based on the true story of a group of men (Artists, sculptures, architects and art experts) who were sent to Europe to find priceless art pieces that were being stolen by the NAZIs. Hitler ordered each dominated countries treasures to be brought to Berlin to be housed in His museum after he defeats the world.

George Clooney produced, directed and stars in this story that finally gives honor to the men  who took this task on.  It is a great and fun cast. Of Course I liked Bill Murray as the Chicago Architect. There is Matt Damon, John Goodman,Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey),Cate Blanchett and more.

It is a mix of humor and drama.  Great story for Mature Adults. Mature because it is important not sex, drugs and violence.

I give it ***1/2 stars   2014 movie #8

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Samson 2

So I'm reading about a man who is a superman, likes the ladies and is very ornery.

He sleeps with Prostitutes. He carries the gates of a city 40 miles for sport.  He bets with his enemies about a riddle's meaning and the bet is 30 sets of clothes. They trick him and win and he goes out and kills 30 men for their clothes.  His father-in -law tricks him and he destroys the nations crops. The enemy retaliates and he kills 1,000 of them single handed.

Question: Man of God?

After you read about Samson, then read Hebrews 11: 32 and forward.

"I do not have time to tell about ...Samson... who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered judgement and gained what was promised...  whose weaknesses became strength....the world was not worthy of them.  They were ALL commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised."

Would you let this guy in as a leader, minister or elder of your church, or did God get it wrong?

Max Lucado says: "I guess grace doesn't have to be logical. If it did, it wouldn't be grace."

Lego, The Movie

When I saw the trailer for the movie: LEGO, The Movie, I thought that it looked like a lame attempt to sell more Legos.  The Grandsons were coming for the weekend and were already saying they want to see this movie. Groan.  Then I started reading the reviews. Why would Rotten Tomato give it a 96%?  Why would the "Oklahoman" give it 4stars and only give "Monuments Men" 3 stars?  So I got interested.

We went today and was glad I did. It is as entertaining a movie as is available.  Legos are a creative product and this is as witty and creative as anything out.  I say this even though I have a 4 year old shouting "Everything is Awesome" over and over in the background.  (Think: "It's A Small World")

The voice cast includes Will Arnett, Elizabeth Banks, Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, and Liam Neeson.  Their voices and characters match them perfectly.  The back story is hidden until the end and proves to be a treat. There are many great jokes and gags that are new and fresh. It is an adult story for kids too.

I won't tell you the story because you need  to see it.

Just remember: Believe is not just a Cat Poster.

I give it ****stars,  2014 movie #7

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Last Time!

I went down to the Music Hall of Fame in our town and was taught a lesson.

First the back story:

A three years ago there was a dream (at least a dream of mine) to build an Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame to honor the music and those that make music in our state.  It was agreed to start with small projects and work our way to the full blown thing.  I approached the Board to build a children's music exhibit as a test and a model for the future.  We got an old Railroad caboose, put an idea together and even hired a Nationally known exhibit company to build it.  Money was raised and money was spent.

While the exhibit was being built, it was uncovered that money was being double-dipped from the account (A true accident by the director) causing money problems.  Since then the board has turned against the finished exhibit.  There was never a grand opening, the $200,000 exhibit sets in the dark. At our last meeting one of the staff even stated that the exhibit was not very good. 

I guess I did not fully understand what was being said. Tonight at the music show I noticed that the exhibit was unlocked.  To my surprise the exhibit is now a storage room with tables and boxes stacked against custom made wall exhibits.

It was like someone was giving me the finger.

It told me all I needed to know.

I suggest that the caboose rooms be converted to restrooms that are much needed for the weddings and meetings.  The exhibits should be donated to the new Children's Museum that is in its early stages.  Vince Gill's $12,000 dollars should get his name on the Men's Room.

That's all I have to say on that subject.


I am having a class on "Samson" Sunday and I keep asking myself: Why did we EVER think that this was a children's story?  killing, lying, prostitutes, and such.  We have to lie to tell the kids this story.