Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I just watched the movie FREAKS. What a great film! I wish I would have seen this movie years ago.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

EXCLUSIVE PHOTO---Timothy Geithner & Nancy Pelosi

In an unusual display of solidarity, current U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner and U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made a joint statement today about the economy and the proposed budget for the upcoming year. I have been able to obtain an exclusive photo of this historic event. I believe this is the first time I've been able to post or write about anything that is exclusive. To protect their privacy, I cannot reveal my sources. The exclusive photo is below.

Sec. of Treasury Tim Geithner & Speaker of House Nancy Pelosi at today's historic press conference. Sunday, March 29, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

President Obama, Afghanistan, and My Brother.

Yesterday President Obama announced plans to send another 4,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 17,000 that are already there or are on their way. My brother is one of those 4,000. He's had his bag packed since January 2008; two months after he returned from being in Iraq for over a year. I was concerned when my brother went to Iraq, yet I felt peace about him being there. I don't have that same peace as he leaves for Afghanistan and I'm worried.

Say what you will about the war in Iraq, our troops knew what they were doing there. Yes, most of us were fooled, perhaps even lied to about weapons of mass destruction. Still, there were overlying objectives. Even now, the troops I've talked to and the ones my brother has served with and communicated with said that in Iraq they had a purpose but there really is no objective in Afghanistan. My brother has been in constant communication with fellow soldiers that he served with in Iraq who are already in Afghanistan. They serve willingly, but all have said there seems to be no purpose for them being there and the lack of specificity has increased since President Obama was innaugurated.

There are many who will say that the U.S. had no business in Iraq and we should have been focusing on Afghanistan all along. Those who say that might or might not be wrong. The truth is, that though we've been directed to focus on Iraq, we never left Afghanistan. We've had troops there since late fall 2001. Even though the Taliban no longer reigns, the situation is much more dangerous in Afghanistan than it ever was in Iraq. The casualty rate in Afghanistan is almost three times as high as it was in Iraq at the height of the conflict when there was so much "resistance". Most people don't know this because the media has not been reporting about Afghanistan the same way they did about Iraq. Casualties in Iraq were common headlines in newspapers. Yesterday four more soldiers died in Afghanistan and their deaths didn't even warrant any headline in the largest metropolitan paper near me (St. Louis Post-Dispatch).

We have done a lot of good in Afghanistan since overthrowing the Taliban. For instance, the unemployment rate was over 60% before the Taliban was overthrown. It's now just below 40%. We've built roads, hospitals, schools, etc. We helped the people of Afghanistan hold their first elections in nearly three decades. These are good things. Yet, Afghanistan is such a backward country, I don't know if it means much.

For instance, in Iraq there was an infrastructure in place before we invaded. We only had to help rebuild it. There is hardly any infrastructure in Afghanistan and the majority of what it does have has either been built by foreign powers occupying the country, drug dealers, or terrorists. Opium production in the country has skyrocketed and neither the citizens or government seem to really care. The illiteracy rate is a staggering 67% and once again there seems to be little concern. Oh, and even though the U.S. has helped cut the unemployment by 20%, the unemployment rate is still around 40% (for comparison the current U.S. unemployment rate is about 8%). Then there's the history of war in the country. Afghanistan has a long history of war and violence and the country has been a quagmire for ever major military power in modern history (British & Russia to name two biggies) that has occupied it (there is a theory that the trouble with Afghanistan is what caused the Soviet Union to finally collapse). And that's what really worries me.

Our President is sending 4,000 more troops to Iraq and my brother is one of them. They will answer the call to duty faithfully and serve willingly, but I don't like it one bit. May God be with each of them and bring them home safely.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Farrelly Brothers' Three Stooges Movie

This just in, the Farrelly Brothers (Bobby and Peter), who had hits with DUMB AND DUMBER and THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY but haven't made a funny movie since have finally begun production on their Three Stooges movie. A positive about the whole thing: Jim Carrey is supposed to play Curly. Now, here are two major negatives. First, it's not going to be a biopic but as a "modern treatment" of the famous funny trio. That doesn't sound good at all. But, wait, here's the real kicker: Sean Penn is going to play Moe! I love The Three Stooges, but the description of the script and the casting of Sean Penn has disaster written all over it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

February 2009: Media Consumed

Books Read
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schiltz
The Saga of Beowulf by R.Scot Johns
*+Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
#+Twelve Angry Men by Sherman L. Sergel
#Twelve Angry Women by Sherman L. Sergel

* denotes graphic novel
+ denotes a book previously read
# denotes a play

February is a short month, thus not as much time to finish reading books. Good Master! Sweet Ladies! is a short, illustrated work of a series of monologues and dialogues spoken by people from all walks of life set in the Middle Ages of England. The book won the 2008 Newberry Medal for children's literature. The Saga of Beowulf is the first complete novelization of the entire Beowulf poem that I am aware of. The book is fresh, exciting, and the best novel I've read in the past couple of years. I highly recommend it. I re-read Watchmen in preparation for the upcoming movie adaptation. I've read Twelve Angry Men several times in the past year and since I'm going to be directing the show this fall, I re-read it again along with it's almost identical counterpart Twelve Angry Women.

Movies Seen For the First Time
Tin Man
Starship Trooper 3: Marauder
Friday the 13th (2009)
The Wrestler
The Reader
Frozen River

Tin Man was a miniseries that aired on the Sci-Fi Channel last year. It's re-telling of Frank L. Baum's beloved story, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. I've been meaning to watching the film for some time and finally got to. I really enjoyed it. I really liked W., too. It's a movie that many people are avoiding--those on the right because they think it's an unfair take on the life of George W. Bush and those on the left think the movie isn't critical of his life enough. The movie is witty and though much of it is imagined fictional accounts told between real-life recreations of actual footage, the movie gives a very honest portrayal of our 43rd President as a real man. The Wrestler was one of my favorite films released in 2008 (though I didn't get to see it until 2009). Mickey Rourke gives an amaking perfermance that should have won him the Oscar. Milk was nomiated for Best Picture, but the movie isn't as good as the majority of reviews would lead one to believe. It's a cliche-ridden biopic that sets no new ground whatsoever. The only reason for it's success is because of the passage of Prop. 8 in California. The Reader was okay, but kind of dry. Taken is an action-packed film based upon an ever-growing problem that faces Americans traveling alone overseas. The last film worth noting is Frozen River a naturalistic drama starring Melissa Leo. Leo's performance deserved the Oscar and really is much better than Kate Winslet in The Reader.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My 10 Favorite Films of 2008

I should have posted this list several weeks ago, but it took me a little while longer to see some of the movies I wanted to because even though St. Louis is a large city, it's not really a hot-spot for film debuts. Anyway, here's my list of my favorite 10 movies from 2008.

IRON MAN--Until another comic book movie came along last summer, IRON MAN was the king of comic book movies. It has many of the elements people have now come to expect in a superhero movie, but also included a hugely talented cast that gave some wonderful performances. Also, though the characters origins are steeped in tragedy and full of lessons about the dangers of pride, the film is really about redemption. It's a feel-good movie and a good one at that.

9.In recent years I've become a huge fan of documentaries. All of us have great stories about life, but many are never told because a person has no idea how to convey their story in a meaningful and proper way to the world at large. Documentaries, if done right, are able to do this. In the past few years since I've discovered this genre of film, I've seen all kinds of great documentaries from some smaller films that friends of mine have made that have never been marketed to larger marketed pictures such as MURDERBALL, GRIZZLY MAN, and THE KING OF KONG that have examined (respectfully) the lives of people involved in wheelchair rugby, people living with grizzly bears, and people who play Donkey Kong as a second job. MAN ON WIRE is about Philippe Petit, a professional tightrope walker from France, who in 1974 before the buildings were completed walked between the Two Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. For many people this movie has a nostalgic appeal because of the now eradicated Two Towers. Discounting that, the film is still a remarkable film about who dream dreams and make them come true as well as of living the life of an Artist who tries to make some beautiful. In the words of the Muppets, it's really about the "lovers, the dreamers, and me."

8.Five years ago, people would say that a cartoon love story between two robots that has hardly any dialogue with a largely environmental message would be a box office killer. Fast-forward in time and that movie was the biggest animated film of 2008. Of course it was created by the people at Pixar who just fifteen years after their inception hasn't forgotten that the heart of all moviemaking, especially animated films, isn't in the animation itself but in the story and the characters.


Okay. I'll admit. I've heard about this movie for two years because a friend of mine worked on it. Even if I had no connection to the film, I still would have loved it. The movie is filmed in a realistic way (with the feel of a documentary) with a naturalistic story. The acting is incredible, especially that of Melissa Leo. Even though she was beaten out of the Oscar by Kate Winslet, Leo's performance is hand's down the best performance by an actress from any movie released in 2008. Leo's been around for a long time, but does mostly small and indpendent stuff so very few people recognize her name.

6.Robert Downy Jr. had his comeback in IRON MAN. THE WRESTLER is Mickey Rourke's. I grew up watching Hulk Hogan, Rowdy Piper, Jake "the Snake" Roberts, Hillbilly Jim, Sgt. Slaughter, Andre the Giant, the Iron Shiek, etc. As a kid, all you ever see is the stuff that goes in front of the cameras and even when you're a little older and recognize some of the theatrics, you have no idea what actually happens behind the cameras and off-stage. Now I know. Rourke gives a dynamic performance and should gave the best performance of any actor on screen in 2008. Like Melissa Leo, even though he didn't win an Oscar he'll still be giving great performances years from now. Besides that, Rourke could easily kick Sean Penn's whiny ass any day.

5.Critics hated this movie. "There's too much going on." "It doesn't know what type of movie it wants to be." "Nicole Kidman can't act." And on and on. However, everyone that I've talked to who's not a filmmaking insider and who has actually seen the movie, loves it. I know I did. The film is a cross breed of genres, but that's kind of the point. It's not supposed to be just a love story, or a Western, or a war movie. The movie is really about Australia and it's people and the characters in the film are just symbols used to tell this beautiful portrait of Baz Luhrmann's homeland.

4.The funniest movie of the year. You'll love it even more if you've worked in film or theatre.

In all honesty, I wasn't all that impressed with Brad Pitt. He's a decent actor and does a good job, but what makes his performance stand out isn't his acting but the special effects and make-up. Unbelievable. Cate Blanchett and Taraji Henton (Queeny) give the real star performances in this picture. Also, the sets, props, and costumes were unbelievable.

Directed by one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle, and set in India this coming of age love story set within a rags to riches tale taking place during the biggest trivia game in history, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE was the most-deserving of the five nominated pictures to win the Oscar. The cinematography is magnificent and the music is a real treat. I love the way how the story unfolds before the audience, told through flashbacks after questions asked on the show. The movie displays some very dark and disturbing parts of life, yet at it's core the film is about hope, joy, and love with a happy ending that unlike most Hollywood-type movies doesn't seem at all out of place.

1.There was so much about this movie that could have gone wrong. Yet, THE DARK KNIGHT avoided all of those pitfalls and once and for all showed the world that superhero movies based upon comic books aren't all cotton-candy. The movie is a dark film ending with a bizarre turn of events that leaves the hero of the film taking on the role of villian. Yet, the final moments of the film revel in an anticipation of hope.

Friday, March 13, 2009


Viva la libertad!--A Friend.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Brian Welch's Testimony

I came across the following video the other day and found it really interesting. God will meet us wherever we are if we are only willing.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Trillion Dollars

The phrase "a trillion dollars" is being thrown around a lot lately. I remember when I was in grade school and thought that a million dollars was a lot of money. In order to get an idea of how much a trillion dollars really is, go visit this article.

It's like wandering through the warehouse in the Indiana Jones movies.