Jul 19th 2014
Their sensationalized programming, shoddy fact-checking, outright fictions and unethical PR have transformed them. Like P.T. Barnum and the showmen of old, they happily sacrifice the truth to draw a bigger crowd and do whatever it takes for money and fame. Discovery no longer seems to care about the ‘highest quality content’—so long as they can become The Greatest Show On Earth.
Jun 16th 2014
You must listen...without free will...true, pain dies out...but so does evolution. Without struggle...without the drive to better oneself, there is no art, no music...no courage...no revolution. No love. All that remains is ignorant bliss...until death...not just of the individual...but your entire race.
Apr 5th 2014
WARNING: This review contains spoilers.
All right, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. This movie is not Biblically accurate.
- In the film, Noah's sons don't have wives. This is actually used as a major plot point. Ham is really worried about the fact that he won't have a wife after the flood.
- God doesn't speak to Noah in words, but through visions.
- The bad guy stows away on the ark. Which leads to Ham teaming up with him and someone getting killed.
- After the flood, Noah does not make a sacrifice to the Creator.
- Noah doesn't curse Ham for his actions while Noah was drunk.
When Noah recounts the story of how the Creator made everything, evolutionary creation is shown. There are many who feel strongly that the creation account in the Bible should be taken literally, so that scene will probably rub them the wrong way.
I've read some reviews that take exception with the movie's portrayal of Noah as a vegetarian. The truth is, the Bible does say that God didn't permit man to eat meat until after the flood. (Genesis 9:3)
Of course, there are liberties taken which we can't possibly know if they are accurate or not. Was Methuselah a man of God who guided Noah and performed miracles? Did Noah and his family use incense to put the animals to sleep while they were on the ark? Anyone making a movie based on this story would have to fill in some of the blanks to make it worth watching. I mean, Noah doesn't even have any dialog in the Biblical account.
The biggest thing people notice that the movie added to the story was the group of giant rock creatures called Watchers that help Noah build the ark and fight off bad guys. A Watcher is actually a type of angel mentioned in the book of Daniel chapter 4. It is a Watcher (sometimes translated Messenger) that appears to Nebuchadnezzar in a vision.
The books of Enoch (referenced by Jude and likely known by first century Jews) spend a lot of time talking about the Watchers. The movie presents an unlikely representation of them, though. The huge rock creatures might have been inspired by the line "place upon [them] rough and jagged rocks" in 1 Enoch 10:5. But the text says there were 200 of them and they produced offspring with human women. There are only about 10 Watchers in the movie and it seems impossible that they could mate with humans. The story of the Watchers isn't represented correctly according to the books of Enoch in many other ways, but those are the two initial glaring inaccuracies I noticed.
Overall, I feel that the writer did his research on the story of Noah, then picked the elements that he found most compelling and tweaked some facts to create his idea of a great cinematic experience. That being said, I think he preserved most of the themes of the Bible story. Man's betrayal of the Creator. The wickedness of all mankind. The judgment visited on the world because of man. Noah's trust in God. How God provides for his children. All of these themes are included in the movie. Not only are they there, but they are powerfully presented.
This movie portrays the horrors of the story that are often ignored. God wiped out all life on the Earth. It's one thing to acknowledge that and another to see people climbing on top of each other, trying to stay above the water as the land disappears beneath them. This wasn't just a story of cute animals and a kind, smiling man on a boat. Every kind of snake was on the ark and the flood was a distressing event for Noah and his family.
The film also examines the human struggle with God's will and character. Noah struggles with what he feels is a lack of guidance from God. It is not outside the limits of the human mind for Noah to come to the conclusion that God wants all humans dead. He sees the wickedness in the world outside, but he also recognizes the evil living within each of his family members. He knows that God desires righteousness. Mankind has failed and now deserves to be wiped out. Why should his family be spared that judgment? Noah looks for a sign from God that his family should be spared, but there isn't one. God leaves him to discover on his own that there is goodness within humanity worth saving. Just because the Creator isn't communicating directly with Noah, that doesn't mean he's not going to learn how to carry out His will.
There were more changes to the story than I feel were necessary. Nevertheless, it was a thought-provoking film in the best possible way. The questions it raises, the themes it portrays, and the God it alludes to are not misleading.
Ignoring the Biblical aspect of it for a moment, this was a really great film. The acting, visual effects, and drama were all exceptional. It tugged at my emotions and made me care about the characters. It made me think about the motivations for their actions and relate to them. The concepts of love, confusion, dedication, and betrayal were explored with believability.
But there's no getting around the fact that it is supposed to be based on a Bible story. If you can ignore the factual inaccuracies and appreciate the conceptual veracity, I think you will enjoy this film. On the other hand, if it bothers you that the writer twisted some of the details, you won't be able to get past them. You would spend the whole movie thinking about how wrong they got so many things.
I can't fault anyone for skipping Noah, but if you are curious I encourage you to give it a go. It's quite a ride.
Nov 18th 2013
We had a busy but fun week.
Monday night, we played Settlers of Catan with people from my work. I was shut down pretty quickly. Molly and Jacob worked to get everyone to block any possible paths I had for expansion. It was still a good time. Dave had never played before that night and the next day he was already asking when we were going to play again.
Tuesday night, we met with Michael and Lisa at Ruby Tuesdays for dinner before going to the movies. I had never eaten there before. I always thought it was just like Applebees, but the salad bar and free cheesy biscuits were a nice touch. After dinner we saw Thor 2, which blew away my expectations.
Thursday night, we went out for dinner with Molly's uncle Robin at Zocalo's. He had been there once before and didn't like it, so we were hoping to prove that they do have good food. While Robin said that his food was good, it was pretty ironic that my food wasn't as good as anything I've had there before. The guacamole appetizer was good enough to make up for the lackluster entree, though.
Friday, I was trying to get a ticket to see Capital Cities and Fitz and the Tantrums. The show had been sold out for weeks, but I thought I might be able to get one second hand. I was only willing to spend $40 for a ticket, and the cheapest one on StubHub all day was $65. Karl already had a ticket, so I figured I would go with him to the venue and see if I could score one from a scalper. When we got there, a lady asked us if we had an extra ticket. She had been there for over an hour trying to get one. Karl was willing to try to help me get a ticket for a while before going in, so we started asking passersby if they had a ticket to sell. Eventually, I saw someone hold a piece of paper up across the street. There was a scalper with one ticket. I let the lady who had been there for so long go over and get it since I felt like she had more effort invested in it than I did. She paid $45 for the ticket. After trying to find another ticket for a while longer, I gave up. Karl went in to the show and I headed back to my car.
Later that night, Karl texted me to say that I was lucky to have saved my money and he wished he would have sold his ticket to that lady.
I had been invited to go to Ryan's house with some other people from work, so I decided to head down there instead of going home. Not that I don't enjoy spending time with my wonderful wife, but I felt like since my concert plans fell through I still wanted to do something different for the night. So, I headed down to Akron where Ryan has a nice house in the woods. Jacob and I played Ryan's MAME cabinet pretty much the whole time we were there. Others joined in from time to time. Marble Madness with a trackball was pretty intense. We also played Galaga, Millipede, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It was a lot of fun.
Sep 22nd 2013
Last Saturday, Karl and I drove up to Detroit for the St. Jerome's Laneway Festival. Originating in Australia, this was the first international laneway festival and for some reason they chose Detroit as host city. Maybe it was because Oakland University has an awesome venue for a multi-stage concert event. Rolling green hills and almost perfect temperature made for a great day of music.
We got to the festival grounds pretty early, so we scoped out all of the merchants and were familiar with the stage locations before the first band started. About ten minutes after entering, I realized that I left my sunscreen in the car and Karl left his sandwich there, too. Unfortunately, the event had a no reentry policy. I asked a guy at the entrance if there was any way I could go out and get my sunscreen from that car. Without any sympathy, he assured me that I could not. I tried to stay in the shade as much as I could throughout the day, but I ended up with a sunburn. I guess it could have been worse if I wasn't mindful of it.
The bands we saw were Haerts, My Brightest Diamond, Chet Faker, CHVRCHES, Solange, Flume, and Sigur Rós. We saw bits and pieces of other performances, but those were the full performances we caught.
The biggest letdown was CHVRCHES. That was the band I was most excited to see, but it seemed like the lead singer didn't want to be there. There was a song where one of the other members sang lead vocals and he went nuts during the performance. It was strange but entertaining, unlike the rest of the songs where they all pretty much just stood there and played their music. Karl and I agreed that they might perform better in a small club where it's dark and the lighting could provide some engagement for the audience. From what I've read in the reviews for the festival, our poor opinion of the performance is in the minority. I still love the band, but I don't think open space daytime venues are for them.
The biggest surprise was My Brightest Diamond. I expected it to be good, but unexciting. I listen to her music when I want to chill, but it turned out that she had a very energetic show. Small strange things, like wearing a hard hat and fake mustache for one song or putting on yellow house cleaning gloves for another, kept things interesting. She did a good job of working the stage.
One nice surprise was the Detroit Party Marching Band. They started the set for My Brightest Diamond, but we also caught them performing on their own out in the middle of a field. They were very entertaining. Energetic music, crazy costumes, and interactions with the audience made for a fun time.
The best performance was, by far, Sigur Rós. The sun had set by the time they took the stage. Individual light bulbs had been placed around the platform. Their set made use of the long LED screen that had been hanging unused behind all of the other bands that had used that stage. It displayed atmospheric video clips to match the mood of each of their songs. The crowd was taking pictures and videos for the first half of the set, but soon after, it felt like everyone was just caught up in the moment with the band. There weren't any hand-held glowing screens scattered around me; just a crowd enthralled by the energy pouring out over it. After it was over, I was on an emotional high. I loved it.
Overall, it was a great music festival. Problems that a lot of concerts face - crowding, obstructed views, drunks, fights - were virtually nonexistent at the Laneway Music Festival. The music was eclectic and the venue was perfect. If the bands are lined up right for next year, I can see myself going again.