2008 Movies That Intrigue Me

I’ve been looking over release schedules and other people’s lists of films in 2008, and I’m getting excited. A lot of great directors are releasing new films this year, and a lot of intriguing premises are popping up.  It’s anyone’s guess as to how many will live up to the hype (and hopefully the buzz from upcoming film festivals will help sort that out), but at the least, 2008 has the potential to be an interesting year at the movies.

My list is below, including my comments on why the film intrigues me. I’ve rarely mentioned the plot, as the talent attached to the film (director, writer, or cast) is usually what gets me to the theater.  Also, you’ll note that this list of films is somewhat devoid of foreign movies, which make up a great portion of my viewing; I’m not sure why it’s so much harder to track those from where I sit!

I’m in no way claiming to have found all the interesting films for this year – so leave the ones you’re anticipating in the comments.

This is possibly just an exercise in viral/strange marketing, but if you’ve seen the trailers, you know what I mean.

Be Kind Rewind
Not everyone loved Michel Gondry’s last film (The Science of Sleep), but this looks like a real winner.

In Bruges
I think I’m mainly interested because the poster is just darn cool.  The cast includes Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes.

The trailers make it look exciting, and because Doug Liman is directing (The Bourne Identity, Mr. and Mrs. Smith), it should deliver.  Also, the kid from Billy Elliot is in it, all grown up, which seems like it might cancel out Hayden Christensen in a good way.

My Blueberry Nights
Director Wong Kar Wai has made some of the most lovely-looking films you can imagine (In the Mood for Love, 2046), and now he’s making a film in English starring Norah Jones and Jude Law.

Vantage Point
I am mostly just really interested because of the trailer, which left me wanting to know what happens next. 

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Tags | Film

Fiddler on the Roof - Word of Promise Blog

Last night, Trish and I watched Fiddler on the Roof. We laughed and sympathized as Tevya struggled to lead his family, desperately clinging to to his traditions while trying to do what was right for those he loved.

Tevya was wise enough to know that traditions are important and that they hold our communities together. Tevya is a good man. Righteous people like him almost always work to keep traditions alive.


Almost always.


              In times of rapid change, tradition can keep people (and the institutions they serve) tied to an old world that will soon be gone. Tevya’s centuries-old world of Russian Judaism was about to disappear. As the decades of the twentieth century passed, the heavy hands of anti-Semitism and modernism would work together to batter this ancient community into smithereens.

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

*Cue oldies music*

Breaking up—as we all know—is hard to do.  How hard? 

That’s what researchers at the University of Arizona are trying to discover.  David Sbarra, assistant professor of clinical psychology, is leading a study of the physiological effects—that is, the effects on the body—of breakups and divorce. 

The study hasn’t concluded yet, so there are no results to speak of.  But what’s interesting about the study is its premise:  our relational status has an effect not only on our minds, but on our brains and (by extension) the rest of our bodies.

To anyone who has experienced the end of a serious relationship, that premise is not very surprising.

Naked and Not Ashamed #7 - What to do with the M&M

Continued from yesterday...
When we all had a piece of candy, she began to speak softly. 

      "Please put the M&M in your mouth. Don't chew it or shallow it, though. Just hold it in your mouth as I continue to talk to you."  

      "You have all driven here tonight through the traffic. You are tired. Your minds are not quite here yet. You are also nervous about this class. You are not sure that you will be comfortable with what you think I will be teaching you. But tonight you will learn a lesson you will never forget – about sex, about life and about mind."  

      "We do not know how to eat. We grab a fist full of M&M's and cram them in our mouths. Later, our stomachs hurt and we become angry with ourselves for having eaten so much. Sadly though, while we are actually eating the candy, we didn't even taste the M&M's."  

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Naked and Not Ashamed #6 - Sex Class and Chocolate

 I had just taken my seat in the human sexuality class that was required for my psychology degree. However, I was also nervous. Rumors had it that this class was quite explicit and that the teacher was determined to 'loosen everyone up'. As an Evangelical pastor, I was not sure I wanted to be loosened up! As I looked around at the fifteen other people in the class and then back at the teacher, I wondered what was going to happen.  

      "Welcome to the famous sex class!" our teacher began. "You are all training to be psychologists and therapists. Whether you realize it or not, your work– directly or indirectly – will involve sexual issues more than any other single thing. That's why you are here."  

      "Some of you will find things you learn in this class upsetting. Some of it will be titillating. Some of it will be amusing. Some of it will be boring. However, you will have all of these responses, as you encounter your various patients. If you can't handle this class, you probably can't handle this career."  

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Page 168

I was surprised by several things over the holiday season: the higher prices of tv-on-dvd (used to be one of my favorite Christmas gifts to give!), how my maniacal Southern California driving habits all came rushing back the minute I hopped into my rental car in San Diego, the outcome of the Holiday Bowl. I already mentioned my unexpected encounter with a made-for-tv Christmas movie on the Lifetime channel.

And I was surprised by something else on my trip back to Oregon last Saturday. I had the lucky fortune to be flying home on a day San Francisco decided to have "weather." There were delays and cancellations all over the west—and I got to be the victim of both. I was delayed going out of San Diego and my flight out of San Francisco was cancelled.

Have you ever flown standby during the holiday travel season? Oversold, overbooked, overcrowded–it isn’t pretty.


What an interesting start to the primary season.   Iowans chose the two most overtly religious candidates--MIKE HUCKABEE and BARACK OBAMA.   Both of them have the speaking skills of seasoned preachers.  They go for the heart rather than the head.   They both managed to craft their personal narratives into classic American success stories.   Even their struggles feel middle-American, Huckabee gave up sweets, Obama gave up smoking.   Their comparative youth and inexperience actual makes them more appealing.   Their sudden rise fits neatly into Americans' love of the underdog.

Even more interesting, neither of them cater to pre-established party politics.   They are both outsiders who proposed changes or voted for things that the party did not preapprove.  The secret of their appeal may be their purple state of mind.   Huckabee and Obama can rally the disenfranchised within their parties.   They can also draw from independents alienated from the process altogether.  They are unlikely candidates who are bound to raise the ire of party loyalists.   The next round of primaries will get quite ugly.

Learn about the Holy Spirit

Bruce and Stan talk with Walter Russell, the Professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, about the Holy Spirit.

Resolved to Forgive

Ask anyone what they are resolving to do this year, and more than likely they're not going to say, "I'm going to be more forgiving." It's much easier to respond to such a question with "I'm going to lose weight" or "my goal is to get out of debt," because that's what people expect you to say (unless you're rich and thin). Besides, who's going to hold you accountable for your resolution if it's the same as everyone else's?

But try telling your friends or your spouse or your kids that you're determined to forgive more, and you'll probably get a funny look in response, as if you're expecting them to do something that needs your forgiveness. The point of forgiveness, of course, is not to anticipate just who it is who will wrong you, but to make it a part of your life, so that when the bad stuff happens, you are ready to forgive the perpetrator and let it go.

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Sexual Healing

When the head of the National Association of Evangelicals was discovered to have visited a male prostitute, I decided to address the topic of sexuality for a couple of Sundays. It is my belief that that church’s silence and in some cases, outright hostility against sexual life, contributes to the secrecy and thus to the intensity of Christian leaders’ sexual struggle. The sermon was very well received and was used by several churches around the nation.

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