Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Must-See Movie; and One to Avoid at All Costs

So here lately, I've been saving up a movie or something to watch on Friday night after I go to bed. Earlier this week, I stumbled across one on youtube that I've been wanting to see for some time, popped it into my watch-later, and waited rather impatiently.
This movie was the 2004 BBC drama entitled simply, Hawking.
Now, to a member of my family watching this, it may appear that I have happened upon a rather unlikely fixation with the scientist, as I rather mysteriously added a documentary (Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking) to our Netflix instant queue earlier this month. Thing is, it was rather a series of unfortunate events. I thought that the one (Into the Universe) was the other (Hawking), and so added it by mistake. Imagine my surprise when what I saw bizarre animations of what aliens might look like instead of the emotional biography I was expecting.
Well, anyway, Hawking was the one I was looking for, and I've just finished it (in nine ten-minute parts, thank you uploading limits) on youtube.
All I can say is wow. There's such a story there, a story I never knew existed; and it's so very beautifully told in this little documentary. It's a love story, and a success story, and it was so very worth ninety minutes of my life. I don't want to hold cheap the events of this amazing man's life by pretending to understand them or trying to explain them, so all I can really say is, well, wow.
The movie itself was extremely well-done; well cast and very well acted (which was to be expected); and maybe what impressed me most was how very tastefully it was done. Sometimes with things like this, television or movies that depict physical disability, the effect is . . . uncomfortable. Makes the viewer uncomfortable, embarrassed for the actor or the person portrayed, squeamish. You know the feeling I'm talking about, when you can't help but look away from the screen for a moment because you can't bear to watch. But this? This wasn't. Hawking showed faithfully the physical condition of Mr. Hawking, but did so in a dignified and beautiful and very human manner, and did not fall to discomfiting the viewer to make a point.
All the same, it is a very hard movie to watch. It is solemn, and saddening to watch a healthy young man have a progressively harder and harder time with day-to-day tasks, and yet there are moments of such joy, and such beauty, and such success that it doesn't feel like a sad movie. Brought to mind is a quote from Doctor Who, which can really be applied to any life, but seems especially apropos in this situation, "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things; but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant."
Some links for your enjoyment:
Watch the movie starting here.
See my favorite bits here and here.
And a quote, the very end of the movie, that really sums it all up: "I believe in the possible. I believe, small though we are, insignificant though we may be, we can reach a full understanding of the universe. You were right, when you said you felt small, looking up at all that out there. We are very very small, but we are profoundly capable of very very big things."

And in other news, if anyone ever tries to make you watch the relatively recent Christian movie Cutback, chances are they want you dead. For some reason. Insurance money, perhaps? At the very least, I would question their loyalty to you as a friend. Because this movie is something that I, who pride myself on being at least a relatively decent person, would not wish this movie on my worst enemy. Perhaps it's cruel of me to say, but the acting was physically painful, the story has been told three-million times over (a few of these times being somewhat more enjoyable than this particular one), the title was a sad attempt at a pun or a metaphor or something, and overall, it was just one of those Christian movies that make us all look like idiots. I mean, really. The only people who watch these movies, with their rebellious teenagers, their struggling marriages, their weepy salvation scenes, and the way everything is hunky-dory the minute you pray that stupid prayer, are Christians themselves! The only people who take these movies seriously are Christians themselves. So, then, what is the point of making another misguided-bad-boy-lead-to-Christ-by-the-cute-perky-church-girl-from-school movie when there are enough of them already? The ones that exist aren't doing the unsaved much good, so please, Please, stop inflicting this over-used drivel on the world!
And as if all of that wasn't enough, everybody was really, really good looking. The main character was decidedly Zac Efron-esque, the love interest was drop-dead gorgeous, with perfect, curly red hair and a pixie-ish nose, the mum was super-skinny and trendy, the youth pastor had long blond hair, big blue eyes, and a surfer-boy tan. Because the way to lead people to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ is to convince them that Christians are all really, really good-looking.
Lord, have mercy on us. Is this what we're doing to the message of the cross?

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