Another really headache-y week. Yikes. I was hoping things would get better soon. The kids have been on vacation this week with their grandmother, so the house has been quiet. The downside is that I have done very little useful work. I have been entering lesson plans into Homeschool Tracker and I've gotten to Week 22. Mr. Math Teacher and I have also been watching lots of movies and I have been reading a good bit.
Raising Helen - excellent movie. I highly recommend it. Basically, a young New York career girl gets left with her 3 nieces and nephews to raise after her sister and brother-in-law are killed in an accident. It is rather formulaic, but not so much that it's obnoxious. The kids seem like real kids. Helen really changes for the better throughout the movie. And, of course, I have to like a movie that truly celebrates motherhood.
Flushed Away - I was pleasantly surprised by this. I thought that there would be more "bathroom humor", but it really was just a cute movie. The characters were believable and fun. There was a real support for family in this movie. I recommend it for kids on up.
The DaVinci Code - Yes, we watched it. Actually, Mr. Math Teacher and I both read the book a couple of years ago. Dan Brown is a very engaging storyteller. Unfortunately, he has represented some patently false information as true, and people have believed it. The movie was excellently done. I think it was faithful to the book, but I don't remember all the details of the book. The cast was amazing - Tom Hanks is truly an amazing actor. The character of Silas was truly creepy. And, I loved the settings. The downside is simply that they present an alternative history of the church as truth (or at least, plausible). In doing so, they seriously misrepresent the facts. In one place, Teabing says that the canon was set at the Council of Nicea, as was the divinity of Christ - WHAT? Take a look at the history of the Council of Nicea. Certainly, they opposed the Arian heresy (that Christ was not divine), but there was more to it than that, and the Arian heresy was not "widespread". In addition, Dan Brown (and, consequently, the movie) gives the impression that the Gnostic gospels are as factual as those included in the canon, but they were suppressed by the Church for political reasons. Again, the facts are far different. There has been a lot written out there about this stuff. Start with christianitytoday.com if you are interested. So, my final analysis is that this is a very well-done movie of a well-written book, but you need to watch it knowing that it is completely fiction, including the stuff about church history.
Beauty Shop - Actually, we have watched all but the last two scenes of this movie because the Netflix movie is scratched. So, we'll watch the end of it later. It is really funny! That being said, it is not remotely appropriate for children. There is a lot of sexual humor. In addition, there is a lot of racial humor and innuendo that kids won't get - and shouldn't get. Unfortunately, we don't life in a color-blind society, so there is fertile ground for misunderstanding among the races. This is a topic that should be explored with kids in a more appropriate manner than this kind of movie. But, there are some good things. Queen Latifah is a very good actress. She makes her character truly believable - and likable. Kevin Bacon is beyond hysterical!! The characters are fun but real. Very few are truly bad - most are a mixed bag - kind of like real life. So, I recommend the movie for adults when you just want to laugh.
Just Like Heaven - This is a cute movie about a woman who thinks she still lives in her apartment and the man who has rented the apartment. The plot revolves around figuring out if the woman is dead and then resolving things with the apartment. This was a movie that I could really relate to. The female lead (Reese Witherspoon - excellent as usual) was a medical resident who worked long hours and had no life outside of the hospital. I got married while in medical school, but I could definitely relate to the pressures to be "married to medicine" during med school and residency. The male lead (don't recall his name) was also a very good actor. There was a lot of comedy based on the fact that he could see and talk to her, but no one else could. So, it was a nice, light romantic comedy - classic "chick flick". I recommend it for adults, especially if you are looking for a little romance.
The Terminal - I had seen this several years ago, but we watched it again with Grandma. Tom Hanks is an amazing actor. He completely makes you believe that he is Victor Novorsky (just like I believed that he was Robert Langdon in The DaVinci Code). There are definite serious themes in this movie, but there isn't anything inappropriate for the kids. The premise is that Victor flies into the airport in New York and, while he's been in the air, there was a coup in his country, so he can't go back, but he can't go into the US. So, he is stuck in the airport. This is a great story about how this man makes do for nine months in the airport and how and why he finally gets into New York. It is a touching, sweet movie. I highly recommend it for adults and teens. Kids can watch it, but they'll probably be kind of bored.
Man of the Year - Robin Williams plays a television political comedian who decides to actually run for president. And, he actually gets elected! But, should he have? That's the story of this movie. It was really something of a surprise. I thought it was going to just be a funny movie about a funny guy who becomes president, but it is far more intricate. And, in the end, the main character has to make a critical choice which demonstrates his own character (or lack thereof). This is really a funny movie. Robin Williams is funny, as always, but not as "out there" as he sometimes is. The serious issues that this movie addresses really add depth to the whole experience. I very highly recommend it for adults. There is inappropriate humor for kids.
The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau - We got this book from the library to read as a family after Mr. Math Teacher read about it on a website. The city of Ember is running out of things - food, clothing, etc. - and the generator (which makes electricity from the river) is breaking, but no one seems to know why or how to fix it. The people of Ember know about nothing but their own city - no one has ever been outside of Ember. But, two kids are about to change that. They make some important discoveries and have to make a final choice that will affect themselves and the city. Everyone in our family loved this book. It is a real page-turner. We were up till 10pm the night that we finished it. We just got the sequel from the library today - and, there's a prequel that we're going to read, too. This is highly recommended for about ages 8 on up.
Truth War by John MacArthur - You may recall that I recently reviewed Brian McLaren's A New Kind of Christian. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Emerging Church movement. I'm still not. But, I feel quite sure that MacArthur's reaction is extreme, to say the least. MacArthur uses the book of Jude as his basis for discussing apostasy and heresy. He considers the Emerging Church leaders as apostates and their teaching as heresy. Not only do I disagree with his assessment, but I find that his book is extremely uncharitable to the point of being nasty. It was a difficult book for me to finish because his attitude was so unloving and unbecoming of a Christian. I have done more research on Emerging Church theology. There is some stuff with which I do not agree, but I cannot find that they are teaching a "false gospel". MacArthur comes down on Ron Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Michigan, so I went to the church's website. They don't have a statement of faith like I'm used to with different points laid out in order. Instead, they have a narrative. But, it is completely orthodox. There is nothing heretical about it. I understand MacArthur's being uncomfortable with how the Emerging Church expresses itself - I tend to be a little more linear and "modern" myself. But, that discomfort does not mean that the Emerging Movement has gone across to heresy. That is a serious charge to make and it is completely unfair. I may disagree with the Movement in some important ways, but there is no evidence that the entire Movement is heretical. So, I don't really recommend this book. Read what the Emerging Church has to say about itself and compare that to Scripture.