I'm Back

Posted by Tim Posada On 6:26 PM 0 comments
Pardon the absense since my last post but it's been hard for me to sit down and write since my job requires me to do the same. Life has been crazy lately. I had to cancel my Christmas plans to go see my brother, nephew, and nieces because of the newspaper job. Instead of hanging with my family on Christmas day I went to see Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and decided to sneak into No Country for Old Men and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. That's right, I did nothing on Christmas, but this problem with work won't be continuing for much longer as I will be quiting the paper in the next two weeks. While I'm not a fan of getting yelled at for what I consider petty things, that is not why I'm quitting. I'm quitting because I will be adjunct teaching at APU this spring. I will be the faculty advisor for my old student publication The Clause. I will only doing this class at APU right now, but I've made it through the extensive interview process involved to teach there. From now on, when I apply for a different teaching position on campus I will only have to meet with the person in charge of the specific class I hope to teach rather meet with a dean and someone from the provost as well. I'm finally optimistic about my teaching future, though I have no idea what I'm gonna do for a job during the summer. It's gonna be an interesting semester. Hopefully quitting the newspaper in West Hollywood will help write here more. Until then, peace.

New Happenings

Posted by Tim Posada On 1:38 AM 0 comments
So it's 1:39 in the morning and I've had a little bit to drink. I acknowledge that this could be a very incriminating post, but I'm okay with that. I've had a long day, thus I chose to end it by having two red bulls and vodka, a beer, and a bunch of chips and salsa. Oh yeah, I also watched Saw III with my room ate and friend. It was a long day because I haven't exactly made the smoothest transition into my new job at the newspaper. I'm a perfectionist in my writing, and this flaw/quality caused me to work too slowly today. I was given seven pages to design today, but since I hadn't started them, due to the two articles I had to write, by 2:30pm, I had two pages taken away and only designed five. While this inevitably made my day easier, I was still very embarrassed thus incredibly frustrated. I felt that I could complete the pages, but my boss did not. And it is very hard to work with someone constantly reminding you that you're working too slow. I had an off day, but constantly hearing that I'm not where I should be will not help. I love that those in charge get more so irritated even though they're not the ones doing the work. I know I fucking screwed up, I don't need to be reminded, so fuck off.

Well, I made it through the day just fine. Normally, I would be dwelling over how badly I performed but something else happened. I received an email from the communication studies department at APU asking if I wanted to interview for a job teaching Intro to Journalism. One of my teachers is going abroad next semester and told me she would recommend me to teach some of her classes...apparently she did. I could be teaching a college class in the spring. Further, the email I received had an attachment from the film, television, and theatre department which stated that the dean of that department, who I have been in contact with, is planning to use me for a class in the fall of 2008 for Christianity and the Creative Process. I know that everything is hearsay and not for sure but it all gave me hope in the future and allowed me to think less about present failures and more about future success.

Thanksgiving and Anime

Posted by Tim Posada On 10:49 AM 0 comments
So my Thanksgiving break is coming to an end. I've been in Florida since last Wednesday hanging with my family. I come back to SoCal tomorrow and literally have to go straight to work from the airport. Thanksgiving is always fun because turkey, stuffing, and mashies are my favourite foods. Most of the holidays with my parents are spent hanging around doing nothing. We did even less this holiday because we didn't even leave the house that much since we had so many leftovers from Thursday-thus we only ate out twice the entire week. So we chilled and watched a punch of movies: Beowulf, Lord of War, Battlestar Galactica: Razor (it was pretty sweet and tied into the show rather well), Wild Hogs, and whatever else was on. It's always fun to do nothing and talk with my parents and pet the dogs, Shaq and Falkor, and cat, Thor (I know, our animal names are inspired by sports figures, an '80s fantasy film, and Greek mythology). I was able to be a little productive during the week. I began working on my movie "Top 10s" for the years 1999-2007. I also finished my review on the Beowulf for my job.

I did something else of interest as well. As I've said before, I've been getting into anime and I have a new favourite, and I've been watching it every night after my parents fall asleep. It's called Bleach. The concept is simple enough:
A high schooler named Ichigo, who can see spirits, comes in contact with Rukia, a Soul Reaper from the Soul Society. She is insured when fighting a Hollow, souls become demons terrorizing the real world. She temporarily gives her Soul Reaper powers to Ichigo to fight the Hollow but his spirit energy absorbs most of her powers. She is then stuck in the real world and Ichigo becomes a substitute Soul Reaper. The storyline becomes more complex with the addition of around 30 characters. Rukia is eventually arrested for doing this and will be executed in the Soul Society, thus Ichigo and his several of his classmates, who have received spiritual powers because of their invovlement with Rukia and Ichigo, go to the Soul Society to break her out. What follows are crazy fantasy battles, rather enjoyable characters, and very odd Japanese humour. I'm very hooked on this show as I've seen 80 episodes and there are still 70 more to go. I love ninjas and fantasy, and this show has it all. Right now, Ichigo and the gang are fighting these creatures called Bountou, which are basically vampires-hell fucking yes! In conclusion, post-colleged nerdom reigns supreme and I'm very okay with that.

Page Design Software

Posted by Tim Posada On 8:20 PM 0 comments
I've just finished my second week at my job working for Park LaBrea News/Beverly Press. In the first week I layed out four pages and this past Wednesday I layed out seven. I always enjoy doing this stuff, but I've been having many set backs to finishing at a reasonable time. I have a rather old iMac computer, a bad chair, an old newspaper for a mouse pad, no Photoshop on my computer, and, most importantly, we use Quark to do page layout. Yes, this is a post to bitch about using an archaic design program. I fucking hate this program so much. There are basically two design programs, InDesign and Quark. Newspapers used to use PageMaker and when Quark came out it was the new savior. PageMaker became updated and turned into InDesign, but most newspapers had gotten used to Quark and didn't want to switch. But InDesign is the better program. Tool bars, look, program compatibility, and whatever else, InDesign is just better. I used to be so fast at layout and now I'm working on a program that's half as good and twice as old. I'll get used to the program but it's just so slow. Oh well.

Good-bye Starbucks (thanks for nothing)

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:54 PM 0 comments
I gave my two week notice at Starbucks today. After two years of coffee and tea(rs), I am almost free. I will soon be having my "Fuck Starbucks/Belated Graduation Party." I can't wait to burn my hat, apron, and work shoes and pants. This is all possible because I got a new job. Along with substitute teaching, I will be working part time for Beverly Press, which publishes Park LaBrea News. Check out their website at www.parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com. They gave me a test run in which I wrote them a movie review with a deadline of the next day. I wrote a review on 30 Days of Night (in three hours) and sent it off to them. They published it in the 10/25 (check archive for a PDF of the article). They called me for a second interview, and on Tuesday they offered me the job. It's part time but I'll be doing movie reviews, page layout, copyediting, and whatever else they tell me. Right not I'm working on a review of The Darjeeling Limited. It's good to be done with Starbucks and finally using my journalism degree.

The long day to come

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:59 AM 0 comments
Tonight of all nights I should be in bed, but my hope to one day become a vampire continues to effect my sleeping habits. Alas, my nocturnal yearnings will have to take a backseat to waking up at 6:30 to be at San Dimas High School by 7:15 in order to spend the day subbing for who knows what. I'm not complaining because I do enjoy my newfound career, but right when I thought stability was on the rise I received a call from Beverly Press, a newspaper in Beverly Hills. They want to interview me after I'm done subbing. Thus, I will be hustling from San Dimas to Melrose Drive, while finding a place to change into my interview clothes (which I just finished ironing [I also had to put together an updated version of my writing and designing portfolio]). And after this interview I have to head back to Glendora during rush hour traffic in time for my 6:45 shift at Starbucks (yeah, I'm gonna be late to that one).

For those who care, I sent out my resume and writing samples to the Beverly Press for a job opening doing movie and restaurant reviews. I explained that restaurants are not my background but can quickly become competant. I had given up on a call since I sent it out like a month ago (and the ad on journalismjobs.com has even expired), but they called back. They said they were looking for a writer and someone to help with layout on Wednesday. I explained that I am a strong writer (and they obviously liked something since they called) and that I have a background in layout using the program InDesign. They use Quark (as most places do, though I'm not a fan), but the guy said that he thought I could get used to it pretty easily. Well, they want to meet me and here we are. It's a part time deal, which works great with subbing and trying to prepare PhD stuff. Plus, he said it could evovle into something more perminant. Here's to, hopefully, putting my degree into practice...it's about fucking time!

TV series checklist

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:39 PM 0 comments
I hate regularly scheduled televison, but when shows come out on video, I'm quit the fan of marathons. I thought it would be fun to create a list of all the TV serieses I've watched.
Completely Viewed:
Battlestar Galactica
Lost
Heroes
24
Scrubs
Arrested Development
House
Friends
Firefly
The Office
Babylon 5
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Samurai Champloo
Undeclared
Seen most of:
Supernatural
The Boondocks
Family Guy
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
30 Rock
Mellenium
The X-Files
The OC
Getting into:
Bleach
Naruto
Entourage
Rome

P.S. 30 Days of Night was a pretty damn solid movie. The critics said that it did for vampires what 28 Days Later did for zombies and what Saw did for serial killers, and I rather agree. These were not the cliche vampires that enjoy the night life because of their twisted sexual desires. These were smart vampires that acted more like the ultimate hunter. The blood hunger of children of the night with movements similar to a werewolf. S.O.B., I really love vampire films. This one did it right, so fuck what a lot of the other critics said.

So it seemed like a normal day, but something was different. I went to bed pretty late but instead of playing my pre-sleep Halo session, I chose to go to bed around 2:30. This turned out to be in my favour as I received a call at 6:30 to sub for an elementary school in San Dimas. For today and tomorrow I'm a rolling sub covering grades 1-5. Grades 1-3 were quite a journey today. I began the day teaching big number subtraction to third graders. They were a pretty good class but I was actually stumped some of the stuff certain students had. Next, I went to a second grade class. The difference was huge. The first teacher gave me a print out with what students to keep an eye out for and exactly what to do at what time. The second teacher simply handed me a book told me to read it to the students and let them work on stuff. This was a hellraiser class. Kicking, screaming, blah, blah, blah. I took lunch and came back to finish the day with first grade. The kids drew vegetables and then we went out to recces. There's nothing like kids with energy. After that things got a little interesting. One student didn't make it to the bathroom in time and another threw up grass and leaves.

It was an interesting experience and I'm looking forward to doing it again. I had one student who didn't speak any English, another kid who was voluntarily mute, and several other students that didn't like listening to English. By the end of the day, students in each class started calling me Mr. P. It's funny what people do when they can't pronounce a person's name. I find it rather endearing. The rest of the day would have been a haze if it weren't for the fact that I had to go to work at the land of coffee and broken dreams.

I just watched The Descent again with one of my room ates and his girlfriend. Some people hated this film, but true movie lovers and fans of horror saw that it was an important contemporary film that gives hope to the future of horror. With Halloween coming up, more films are showing their colours (which are normally red 'cause, ya know...blood). I am so excited about two in particular: 30 Days of Night and Saw IV. 30 Days of Night is about a small community in Alaska that must survive the 30 days of night when the last remaining vampires in the world have come out to feed. I love vampires. Blade, Dracula, and Buffy are just a few of the blood-thirsty friends I've made over the many years of this fascination...and, I dare say, fetish. 30 Days of Night is also created by the same writer/director team that created the disturbing and uncomfortable film Hard Candy. Such genius team of arthouse filmmakers are the perfect editions to the vampire metanarrative.

I know that Saw IV is a different story. I am constantly given shit for my love for these gore-graphic films. But I am drawn to them. There is something going on in them that hasn't happened in the horror films of the past. Racial and gender stereotypes are being questioned. Moral issues are being updated. And predictability is becoming less obvious (though, obviously, not gone). But even more than that, the Saw franchise has done something all other franchises have not. They are a continuing story. Author Steven Johnson discusses how TV is proof that people are getting smarter. Shows like Battlestar Galactica, 24, Lost, and Heroes require people to continually tune in. More is required of the viewer than an inconsistent commitment. To get the story you have see it from the beginning. The Saw films are doing that. Of course they are not perfect films, but they are the first series of films to expect more from their viewers. Characters return and ambiguous moments from other films are explained. They are first horror films, but they forcing the genre to become smarter. I say "forcing" because the Saw franchises' success cannot be ignored. Gory movies making over $100 million each is not normal. They are soon to become the most profitable franchise passing up Freddy, Jason, Michael, Leatherface, and, the most profitable before Saw, Scream.

If horror movies are getting smarter, what does that say about the rest of pop culture. I am rather excited to see where things go. Granted reality TV is still mind-fucking the intelligence out of everyone and MTV is truly doing their best to make the most money at their worst, but the power of the cultural underdog just might overtake some of the giants.

My Journey into Anime

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:33 AM 0 comments
As the years go by in my life I have come to terms with a lot of things about myself. I will have back hair in the future. I am sarcastic and can only hope that it will not scare off people or offend people to the point of tears. And my personalty will make some people think I'm okay. But I have found that I am okay with how nerdy I am. Thanks to my friend Casey, I came to terms with my love for sci fi, as we sat through the entire series of Firefly and Battlestar Galactica's three seasons. The latest installment of my nerd power comes in the form of anime. This comes as the natural progression of my enjoyment of the films by Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. His films are not anime, though they are often placed in that category. I was also introduced to anime through a cartoon my roommate got me into called Avatar. These are not anime but considered as such simply because they are Japanese fantasy cartoons. Alas, watching these masterpieces gave me the in to a lot of other things. I began watching everything I had heard of in the past or seen at Hollywood Video: Ghost in the Shell (1 & 2), Akira, and Appleseed (me and Garret watched Appleseed and were rather disappointed). But none of these did it for me, so I gave up...until my roommates found some new stuff. Another roommate started bringing in other things like the TV series of The Ghost in the Shell (which was much better).

But two others have stuck out: Samari Champloo and Karas: The Prophecy. Champloo is a one season series about to samurai masters traveling with a 15-year old girl in search of the samurai who smells of sunflowers. It's a samurai show with good action scenes and great wit. Even though it's a period piece, it remains incredibly funny and modern. The soundtrack is completely hip hop and scenes change to the sound of a record scratch. There are several jokes about weed, sex, and whatever else. It's so good. Karas: The Prophecy is a rather confusing film about the spiritual and real world's coexistence. Awesome fight scenes and animation and, once you understand it, a very intriguing story. Karas is the protector of Tokyo. He flies around in the shape of a crow and when he finds trouble becomes the ultimate ninja warrior I have ever scene. He has this contraption that allows him to morph from a ninja warrior into fight ship that shoots at whatever he's chasing...and at random moments his crow wings come out. It's all visual beautiful and intellectually jarring.

I've seen bits of the shows Naruto and Bleach and very much want to get into those too (even though they cost about $70 to buy each season). Hopefully, getting an online renting account will make this latest obsession a little less financially injuring.

Resident Evil 3, now there's a bad movie

Posted by Tim Posada On 6:38 PM 0 comments
I know I shouldn't be a surprise, but Resident Evil 3: Extinction was a terrible film. I saw it with Casey on Saturday and we were physically in pain. I hate watching films where the premise seems easy enough to create something entertaining and they just fuck it up. The previews for Resident Evil 3 looked pretty good and its predecessors were minutely good. But the third was just not good. I was watching wondering how this film went through its writer of origin, re-drafts, read-throughs from producers, actors, and execs and finally, brought to life by a director-all the while being viewed by sound engineers, graphic designers, cinematographers, and who else had to suffer through this film's creation.

Let's begin with the plot...and we're done. The plot came about 30 minutes too late, and it wasn't strong enough. Oh yeah, and that part in the preview where Milla Jovovich is standing in the middle of an apocalyptic Las Vagas...that's only one seen. The rest of the film feels more like a bad remake of Mad Max with a quarter of the intelligence and even less of the entertainment. The characters were everywhere and most just died in one scene. The other's were written off. The big boss battle at the end was so anticlimactic. And on top of everything else, our leading lady who started as a super soldier turned genetically enhanced super soldier could, all of a sudden, move things with her mind. And they never explain why she can do that.

The Resident Evil franchise has become one of, if the most, popular video game movie series. That's a little sad. I actually like Jovovich as an actor. She was amazing in The Fifth Element and does decent in her other films, but like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, she just picks bad roles. In the end, what a piece of shit.

Trying to live

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:40 AM 0 comments
Life has been rather unique these past view weeks. For my loyal audience of three, you know that I've graduated and am hoping to move beyond the borders of the land of coffee and broken dreams. To coincide these unique events, I'm churchless and one of my closest friends Casey has moved back to Arizona for a little while. Needless, to say life is going to be different. To compensate for the lack of educational motivation I've been tracking down websites that will publish me (expect a few more film reviews on some other sites in the next view days and weeks). I have a new motivation and sense of urgency in my desire to write (today I even began mapping my eventual book The Gospel According to Horror Movies). I'm rediscovering my love for music (I saw As Cities Burn play the other night, and their new album continues to move me). I've even begun to branch out of my usual daily gang to meet some new faces, though I'm still not ready to return to church yet. Crossroads are weird thing. I hate them yet can't avoid them. I know we're supposed to like change, but I can't remember the last change that I've actually been okay with. Everything's always forced. For the love it would be nice to have some stability. Either way, life is good...so's TV.

A Good Day

Posted by Tim Posada On 10:25 PM 0 comments
Today was a pretty damn good day. I did, however, have to go to work, but I won't let that spoil anything. I got my summer grades today, and the final scores for my grad career are A, A, A, and A-, brining my GPA to 3.63. I also have had some articles published online at the websites Getyourtournament.com and rednow.com. Me and Casey are over half-way through season six of 24 and just finished book two of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Life is pretty good. All I need is a real job and a real girlfriend. Until then, Buffy the Vampire Slayer here I come.

Either than that stuff, life is interesting. I've been trying to read Culture Jam but it's just no an interesting book. The concepts are fine but the practical application isn't there and the pessimism is a major hindrance to motivation. On top of that, I can't find the book. I'm hoping to start reading Dallas Willard's The Divine Conspiracy and finish reading Teaching to Transgress. I've begun mapping out my musical (my emo love story musial). I'm writing some other articles for rednow.com and trying to get some others published on other websites. The diet is gonna start any day now, and hopefully subbing will go through soon so I can quit Starbucks (and hopefully find my soul again). Life is good.

The ultimate Shoot 'em Up film

Posted by Tim Posada On 10:08 PM 0 comments
I caught an afternoon film. Guy films have always been their own breed of gore, sex, and "guy" stuff. Shoot 'em Up takes everything cliche about shoot 'em up films and makes us laugh at the entire genre. I'm a slave to Clive Owen's films. Paul Giamatti is always great. And the amazing Monica Bellucci is incredibly hot (plus she was born in Perugia, Italy, the city I studied in for five weeks). This is truly the ultimate shoot 'em up film. Everything about the was too cliche and predictable to be unintentional. Owens plays Mr. Smith, the unlikely and resourceful hero who often states what he "hates" about America. Giamatti is the hitman we never thought he could be. And Bellucci is the caring prostitute. You know you're in for a histerical movie when the first gun fight features several hitman trying to shoot at Mr. Smith while he tries to deliver a baby. A major climax in the film occurs during Owens and Bellucci's sexual climax with another gun battle-but they don't stop having sex but, as one of Owens' oneliners states, redefine blowing your load.

Resourcefulness has always been a major element of shoot 'em up films. In a scene in a gun factory, Mr. Smith sets up the ultimate booby trapped guns that just require the pull of a rope to take out 10 guys with one tug. Another great scene occurs when Owen holds four bullets in his knuckles and sticks his hand into a fire, shooting the bullets into the man that should have killed him rather than taunted him.

The movie is half gun battles, half oneliners. Everything is intentionally rediculous. People either saw it as cliche or brilliant. Film critic Richard Roeper hated the film, but that's to be expected from a critic that has no taste. When the intro is simply Clive Owen sitting on a bench eating a carrot and then muttering "fuck" before getting into a gun battle, ya know that this is not a film that needs character development, plot, or abstract symbolism. The medium is the message. A british dude bitchin' about society while killing everyone around him is the perfect way to critique violent American culture.

Shoot 'em Up is quite the awesome movie. It felt like Crank and Planet Terror with the tribute feel of Kill Bill. Thanks to Army of Darkness, farce films became a more confusing phenomana. Farce could still be enteraining. Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead are histerical, but they functions as films even you don't get the joke. The canon of Sam Raimi has reached its climax through Shoot 'em Up. It's still a good action film, though if you don't get the joke it's more insulting than The Transporter 2 and Bad Boys 2.

Grad school is at an end

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:56 PM 0 comments
September 14, 2007. This is the day all of my work is due for the summer quarter. And this is it. Next Friday marks the conclusion of my Masters program at Fuller Theological Seminary. I decided to take four classes this summer (you're only recomended to take three), and I have the work for two of them left to do. Next week I'll be turning in small papers on the films The Fountain, Pan's Labyrinth, Transformers, and The Hills Have Eyes, along with two book reviews and a 50-page magazine about Obey art that will consist of roughly 20 regular-sized pages of writing. Hopefully the film articles will end up online, as I am trying to get them published on websites. I am done with everything but the Pan's Labyrinth article and a little of the writing of the magazine. It's weird to know that after next Friday I can read whatever the hell I want. I can write to write. I do plan on finding conferences to present at and will continue to write, but I will have to motivate myself. I'm gonna be done with school for at least two years. That's fucking strange. I think I may go insane.

Gears of War is my unofficial life

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:12 PM 0 comments

So I've been playing a shitload of Gears of War lately. I can't focus on my homework and the only way to unwind is to play a video game with more blood than Evil Dead 2. There are two xbox 360s in the house, thus we've been doing a lot of online gaming. I don't care how nerdy it is. I don't care how much people think I'm wasting my time. Some people shop, jog, and pray. I play video games. I'm okay with it.

Summer Reading List

Posted by Tim Posada On 1:40 AM 0 comments
I just checked out Sojourners' website and looked at Jim Wallis' summer reading list-it inspired me to create a similar suggested list:

Culture Jam: How to Reverse American's Suicidal Consumer Binge-and Why we Must by Kalle Lasn (I'm reading this now, pretty interesting)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Performing the Faith: Bonheoffer and the Practice of Nonviolence by Stanley Hauerwas
A Black Theology of Liberation by James Cone
Why White Kids Love Hip-Hip: Wangstas, Wiggers, Wannabes, and the New Reality of Race in America by Bakari Kitwana
Body, Soul, or Spirited Bodies? by Nancy Murphy
The Gospel According to America: A Meditation on a God-Bless, Christ-Haunted Idea by David Dark
Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks
Revolution by George Barna
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk

I can sub!

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:24 AM 0 comments
I got my CBET results back, I can now become a substitute teacher. I am one step closer to quitting Starbucks, thus making life a happier one. I've been excited about this idea for a while now for several reasons. I'll be able to make enough money for rent, food, health insurance, and whatever else. I can make own schedule-work just enough to pay bills or work more. Subbing will allow me the time off I need to visit people for weekends or whatever. Plus, I won't have to work on weekends. Lastly, subbing will give me a little bit of teaching experience, helping me prepare to do adjunct teaching in the spring. Things are happening...

Church is over

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:41 AM 0 comments
I led worship for the last time as the worship leader at MosaicRC. Two months ago I met with my pastor and told him that I'm ready to move into the next phase of my life. I'm graduating from Fuller in three weeks and will hopefully begin stitute teaching soon. It'll be wierd without grad school or the smell of coffee in my hair anymore, but I'm excited. With only a commitment to pay rent, I'll have more freedom to visit friends that moved away. I'll also be able to read for fun and play video games with guilt.

Leading worship for the last time was a surreal experience. I loved what I was doing, creating new ways to do worship was a joy in my life, but I'm ready to go somewhere else. My church was great but I need to find a church body in the isn't in the suburbs. I've been plagued by guilt for the last two years for always talking about social change but not doing it. Finding a more established church body in an urban context will hopefully solve that.

My father gave me the idea to go check out the big wig churches around here like Harvest, Saddleback, and the Dream Center to see what the fuss was about. I rather like that idea and plan to do that, going to places like All Saints in Pasadena, churches in LA, and wherever else people suggest I should go. I don't expect to find spiritual fulfillment in a church for a while. It's become too much of a habit (and I can honestly say that I have never felt God in a church [I'm not making that up]). So it only makes sense to look around to see what's out there. In the mean time, I'm hoping to join/create a small group/book club/weekend cult to keep me in line. Things are changing and I'm very excited about no knowing where the fuck I'll end up in a few months/years/decades/life times.

Superbad was super good

Posted by Tim Posada On 1:47 PM 0 comments
Last night I saw the teen comedy Superbad. But unlike the American Pie franchize or the lates about Tucker's demise, Superbad has something to go with its raunch. This is the third film in a growing trend of comedies that are at the peak of perversion in order to return to morality. While not by the director of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, it was written by the actors of such films and produced by that director. Superbad, while not smooth and sincere as Knocked Up and lacking the character chemistry of The 40 Year Old Virgin, had a soul. It's a film about three nerds' last chance to get laid before they graduate from high school. Their tactics are shady and the film's events are ridiculous, causing a severe amount gross out dialogue and some rather off-colour situations. But the film's conclusion is not a promotion of questionable behavior, like one-night stands or sleeping with a drunk girl, but a hope for deeper relationships. The driving theme of the film is that high school politics are a paradox. Drinking does not make sex okay but adds to an evening's drama. Trying to get with someone just for one night does not help loneliness but adds to depression. Perhaps that greatest joy of high school is the charish the frienship one has and let things happen naturally.

This new wave of moral raunch comedy reminds me of the idea, finding God in the trash. These films are first comedies to make us laugh. It was incredibly perverse, but luckily, I, along with a large majority of this country, love such jokes. I find the reality such conversations far too real. These comedies voice how people really act or what goes on in their repressed heads. Many would say that such a movie is destructive to society. I can only respond by saying that films and shows like Die Hard, The Passion of the Christ, Braveheart, 7th Heaven, and The Pursuit of Happyness have proven to be much more detrimental to society by promoting false images of reality through issues of race, difference, conflict resolution, and the meaning of life. Of course people will say this is an exageration, but I'm saying is that a film like Superbad can only be accused of bad taste, while a film like The Pursuit of Happyness, which could be promoted by a church or watched with a family, implies that anyone can get over financial and racial downfalls through a good job, thus the social system that created the problem is allowed to continue. Atleast Superbad avokes a real emotion rather confirms of submissive place in society.

Stardust: Surprise of the summer/week/day

Posted by Tim Posada On 3:21 PM 0 comments

I saw the fantasy film Stardust and was actually quite blown away. The previews looked ridiculously cheesy, but critics were giving the film good reviews. The pace and feel reminded me of the original Pirates of the Carribean film with a epic film score to accent it as well. The characters were engaging and there were not tangents-everything came together in the end. It was also quite hysterica, but not at the sakee of the plot-of course British films usually are better than American films at maintaining narrative integrity. The special effects weren't overbearing but well done and realistic. The events of the storyline flowed while maintaining an element of unpredictability. In the end, God bless the Brits and their graphic novel adaptations. I wish we had more films like this one.

Jack Bauer gets results in real-time

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:05 AM 0 comments
My friend Casey and I have been going through the show 24 over the past two weeks. We are half-way through season 2. Gotta say, it's pretty damn good. The first season was frustrating and rather repetitive. Season 2 has been more consistant and twice as intense. It's no Battlestar Galactica (not intensity wise, but good show wise), but so far the second season has put it up there with the calliber of Lost. While the first season of Lost might be one of the most sensational starts to a show, each season to follow lacked the edge and consistancy that made that show so addicting (I hear great things about Heroes and will confirm such rumours soon enough). My other friend told me that he didn't like the show because it was too unbelievable. I agree, it is very unbelievable. But alas, I don't watch shows for believability but for the intense writing that connects everything through unexpected circumstances, thus I find that show to be one of the best out there right (I have heard that later seasons dwindle and I will, once again, confirm this later). It's amazing to watch a show that dares to kill off any character. I do, however, find that Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door and Captive) to be there simply because she is attractive. I have never been less engaged with a major character and more annoyed with the choices she makes. I could never watch 24 on a weekly basis because it would ruin me. Watching Lost and BSG cause enough stress in my life-and I still can't shake the season finale of Scrubs. 24 would make my life a living hell because of how into shows I get (oh the days of The OC and House).

I must say though, it is very interesting to watch a show that raises so many ethical issues. The show, so far, does not portray many appealing female characters (season 2 has some, but seaon 1 had none). Further, there are several torture scenes done by the governemtn, and they are by lead character Jack Bauer, who "get's results." Call me an idealist, but I am an aspiring pacifist who does not believe in any forms of violence for they only seem to reinforce the system they are trying to take down. 24 is a prime example of this. We condone what Jack Bauer does because millions of lives are at stake, yet we do not condone what the terrorists do because they are trying to kill us-even though they may have the same convictions and motivation as Jack. Further, Jack's blatant disregard for authority reminds me of the updated cowboy. He's the resourceful lone ranger who flips off the rules and always gets his man with no regard for his own life-and in true updated form has a great care for family. This is John McClaine (Die Hard) on TV but darker. Yet, when I watch this show, I don't care about such things as ethics. This show takes away my moral misgivings about such actions that do not protect the sanctity of life for the sake of the moment. I submit to the will of this and other films and shows.

I know that my theological studies should tell me that I do it for a higher reason than entertainment. I should be looking for a the theological implications of Jack's patriotism and relating them to my committed to God. Perhaps I should be understanding this show in such vague terms as sacrifice, bravery, courage, love, and justice. But I don't give a shit about them when I'm watching the show. Such things will come later, if at all. I watch this show for release. Release from a long or even short day. I suspend my disbelief and watch Jack fight for America (something I would never do) because the show is enjoyable on a very superficial level. Of course I watch other things for that deeper level: Pan's Labyrinth made me question my definition of heaven and hell; Hero took through a martial arts film that spoke against the use of violence to bring change; and Children of Men made me tear up when a world filled with hatred of immigrants was given a bleak glimpse of hope through the sight of the first child burn in almost 20 years. But 24 is, while layered and intelligent, truly enjoyable because it is escapist. This serves as an important example of the significance of aesthetics in art. Anything art worth the process it took to gain an audience will engage people on this level. Some art will go deeper, but this "superficial" is the most important part. This is something socially driven art must learn-artistic mediums must be properly used with talent in order to create an effective message.

24
is straight up good. Call me a TV whore, but I enjoy and get more out of the community I form watching this and other such shows than I would from church or a prayer group. I'm not a bad Christian. I'm just being more honest than those who claim to have a more holy purpose in life. 24 serves no greater purpose in my life than giving me a story. I see little wrong with this for we do it all the time. And if anyone has a problem with it...I don't care.

Prayer and the art of paralysis

Posted by Tim Posada On 3:51 PM 0 comments
I have had many arguments recently about the idea of prayer. First, I am quite exhausted from arguing as it is destructive and when you win you really lose. Rhetorical debates optimize much of what I am trying to be against but constantly fall prey to. Thus, I write this as a way to hopefully end my argument on this front-or at least verbalize my views in preparation for the next round.

I don't know what to do about prayer. My mother often tells me to simply talk to God as is he/she is next standing/sitting/eating/chillin' next to me, but I can't. I find God in many places but this supernatural presence that my mother, and others as well, feels is not of my world view. I can't simply pray. I find most church practices to be destructive and its view on prayer falls under this category. I have been asked to prayer before/during/after I lead worship some weeks and I just can't do it. I don't talk to God like that. There is something very encouraging/unique about the Orthodox view of prayer. The idea that prayers are predetermined takes away the narcissistic notion of God-talk and brings Christianity back into its original context-with the people. I know, I've had a few people say that such a focus on community is too much like socialism. I can only say about that is, "Fuck off, and read more." The my buddy Jesus just doesn't do it for me, and when I do pray by myself it's completely for selfish reasons and rarely in a form that would seem to serve the proper purpose.

Prayer must have a wider definition than the usual-head-bowed-eyes-closed formula. Prayer must be more than words that are thought up on the spot. I find that when I write, play music, watch a film, discuss theology (not argue about it), read, and commune with others, I am closer to a holistic definition of prayer that actually encourages me to move. Prayer in the common form does nothing for me but remind me of how boring mainstream Christianity is-and that is the great tragedy of the 21st century. Too often to I hear of groups that come together to pray but do nothing else. This is not only counter-productive but contradictory. From what I can gather, prayer is not about a two-way conversation but a three-way one: God, the individual praying, and the surrounding community. When we forget about praxis, we have turned Christianity into a self-help guide that is only suited for privileged people that have no need for a better life. The prosperity gospel is far to prominent in its many deceptive forms. Speaking in tongues and prophecy have become euphemisms for a hyper-spirituality that does not cause social change but reduces the gospel to an "inner peace." Such a thing does not sound bad until we realize that we have been manipulated into believing in something that Jesus did not teach. Internal and external issues are equally important to God, but American privilege has allowed such divisions.

The power of prayer is a vague concept I can only hope will gain meaning in the future. As of now, I am sceptical. Prayer meetings have little use to me (I say this acknowledging that my own social location has influenced my view and in now way am I making these claims universal). I have seen prayer be used as an excuse to remain unmoved. I seen prayer used to misinterpret the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And I have seen prayer used in such vague ways that do nothing but remind me that it has lost its power amongst the Western privileged. I do not say this as a pessimist for I am happier than I have been in quite some time. I say this because I, and many others before me, have thought this but feared the wrath of the less educated who would demean it with claims of blasphemy. I can only hope that I will see prayer become something more substantial. Until then...amen.

Post-Harry Potter Denial

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:17 PM 0 comments
I am sitting down right now watching Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Why this film? Because I have already gone through the other three films out right now, saw Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix in the theatre twice, watched The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers this afternoon, and Fellowship of the Ring earlier this week. I have also recently watch Spirited Away and, as usual, can't stop talking about how flippin' awesome the film Pan's Labyrinth was. All of this because I read the seventh and final installment of the Potter series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which-I still stand by-should have been named Harry Potter and He-Who-Must-not-be-Named. I read the 700 plus page book in two days and am rather sad that it's over. Lord of the Rings is over, Eragon was an awful film, Narnia was just decent, and now, I know how Harry Potter ends (don't worry, no spoilers here). Fantasy is truly my favourite genre of films, books, and life. I love every page I turn and wish I was a part of every world I see on the big screen-even the screen version of Narnia...but not Eragon.

The Harry Potter books were just about the only fiction I read. With them gone I only have Chuck Palanhiuk to turn to (Fight Club, Survivor, Diary), and he just doesn't have enough books out right now. So here I am, whining about the end of something, once again. I don't care if people say it would ruin the credibility of the books, I really want Rowling to do the seven years of school Harry's parents went through. That would be frikkin' awesome...and allow me to stall my fictional grief for another 4,000 pages. I can only take so many academic books that try to enrich my mind. And why is it that I can remember all these little details from a fictional book or a movie, but I can't, for the life of me, remember the book I just finished on the subject I'm studying.

Fantasy has the magical power of showing us a utopian world within the world. It shows us that our lives might be missing something important. Unfortunately, I interpret such films literally and find that what I'm missing could not possibly be found in this life (and if not here, maybe not ever if there is not afterlife [that one's for you Garrett]). When I was visiting Colorado, Garrett told me his ideal heaven was Hogwarts. I told him I would agree with that, but say that my heaven was Hogwarts and Jedi Academy school. Picture it: my lightsaber is my wond. I saber fight and then cast a spell in the middle of the battle. That's just good entertainment. But until then, here's for all the upcoming fantasy and perhaps a dream come true when VR technology lets me chill in middle earth, take a road trip to the Death Star, and be pack for pumpkin juice at Hogwarts by 6.

Sunshine

Posted by Tim Posada On 12:20 AM 0 comments
I saw the film Sunshine and felt like saying a few words about it. Critics and film lovers alike gave it a B...I agree. I actually quite enjoyed it. Good special effects, intriguing character deaths, though they basked in them to the point of cheesiness most of the time. It was a film worth seeing that didn't really bother to deal with a deeper meaning.

This is a film from the freak that brought us Trainspotting, 28 Days Later, and Millions. His films (with the exception of Millions) are an artistic blend of sadism and hallucination topped with a dash of hope. Sunshine falls into such a category though it is one of his weaker achievements. Poor acting for a crew with such accomplished past films. The film's enemy was intriguing but a little cliche since his reason for trying to destroy the ship's mission to reignite the sun was because God was calling humanity to die out with the sun. However, he is never shown in the film but appears much like a ghost in an acid trip-a very nice effect.

With all this said, the film was great. The music was unique but epic when it needed to be (though the song at the credits was lacking). I watch this film as I do so many others these days, with my eye critical to the film's technique and what it was hoping to do. This is how I could enjoy such films as The Fountain, The Matrix Reloaded, and Spider-Man 3-I acknowledge the flaws and simply surrender to what the film is trying for. And Sunshine tried for something that I thought worked. It's a thriller in a spaceship on its way to the sun. It was intense and kepy my interest the entire way. Director Danny Boyle and writer Alex Garland proved, once again, that they are a good team that can do something fresh whenever they change genres and decide to make a film. Sunshine didn't change sci-fi the way 28 Days Later changed the zombie movie genre, but it kept me interested. I'll buy it when it comes out-it's totally worth seeing again.

PS I've heard that many people did not like this film. National Public Radio gave it a bad review and Roger Ebert only gave it 3/5 stars (and it was one of the worst written articles that guy has ever done). In fact, one of the guys I saw it with didn't like it. I can only say that sci-fi is a tough sell that, I dare say, most people don't get. So if people say this film blows, then they probably don't care for sci-fi to begin with (or at the least the good stuff [I know elitist that sounds, but, fuck it, it's true]).

Real Community

Posted by Tim Posada On 11:27 PM 0 comments
My old roommate and still close friend Garrett stay in California for a week. The surrounding events made for an interesting dynamic: finals just finishing, I walked in Fuller's graduation ceremony, my parents were out, and along with Garrett was his two sisters and brother. For the few days that my parents were here along with Garrett, we all hung out, ate dinner together, and even went to the beach together. I must admit that some of it was stressful because I was being pulled in several directions. But the end result was still a fun week.

Every time I hang out with Garrett, I am reminded about what a blessing truly is. We always say that our material belongings are a blessing (and not the privilege they really are), but my friends are my blessing. Steve and Casey are two of my closest friends in my life daily. In my extended friendships are Tyler, Shane, and Jon and my roommates Dominic and J.D. Garrett and Jacob are two of my friends that I also do not see as much but have a continually close connection. This is why I often reflect on how much I loved college. The friends I made are here to stay. I may not see them that much, but I will always remain close to them, love them, and be able to connect with them. As Tyler once told me, every time we hang out, we pick up where we left off. It would be easy simply say that I'm living the past, but I believe it's something else. Steve recently read a book called Urban Tribes. According to my read-headed lover, this book addresses a growing trend in community development. "Urban Tribes" are defined by people who live together in urban settings. They consist of friends made in college and their goal is to merge those friends with the friends they each make at work. While I do not live in an urban area but something between the urban and the burbs, this urban tribe things rings true to my life. I watch a show like Scrubs and see my life embodied in a hospital sitcom. I watch Knocked Up and see myself doing to same silly antics with a group of goofy friends that never bothered to worry about growing up and letting the 9-to-5 change my life. I take hope in the friends I have made.

These are the same friends that have given me a safe haven to be myself in. I don't have to worry about getting married right because it's simply not a priority. And that whole "biological clock" argument is simply insecurity masked in faulty reason. I find that the way I live is closer to a truly biblical community than that of the average American isolated and far too fucked norm. I love having people in my life, daily. The American Dream is often based on the bad theology of individual motivation. Community is often turned into a pleasure rather a necessity. Now that's unbiblical. Anyone who lives their lives in isolation, whether married or single, is not living a healthy life that has a chance at embodying the Kingdom of God. I'm not overreacting on this point either, if we truly want to understand what the Bible says about community, then we have to be able to acknowledge that we have used our own social locations to falsely interpret scripture on several occasions. When we can do this, then we can see that we are not living according to the Bible's definition of church-we're living according to America's.

In closing, I love my friends. I love how they build me up and tear me down. I love that we, together, have been able to hold onto the convictions we had in college. While social justice, real community, and video games are usually trends for the young and impressionable, we have been able to hold onto that fire. Some of us have been able to see it, others have tried and gotten burned, and still others are just beginning. Regardless of which, we are all living more healthy and full lives that can actually cause change in a country that's apathetic, a job that lacks ethical concern, and a church that's bored.

Kareoke Culture

Posted by Tim Posada On 9:56 PM 0 comments
Saturday night, my friends and I celebrated our friend J.D.'s exit from the bachelor life by going to a San Clemete Irish pub on kareoke night. I was incredibly fun. We began our musical performaces with an out of tune version of "Minnie the Moocher," sung by Dominic and your humble narrator. The night would continue with "When a man loves a woman" sung by Dom and Jackson, "Time is on my side" sung by Jon Berk and J.D.'s best man Dave. Later, I sang my token cover song "I believe," changing the line "He'll see me a person, not just a black man," to "canadian" at the end. The crowd cheered. The climax occurred after a rather shady rendition of "Baby got back" sung by a large of group of marginally attractive women who reffered to themselves as the Pirates Princesses. Steve, Jon, and myself took the stage to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody"...and then every guy in this side of the pub jumped on stage and joined together in the loudest sing along of one of the most difficult rock songs to sing. It was incredible. I'm convinced the kareoke man hated because none of us took the songs we were singing seriously, or at least as intensly as our two predecessors that monopolized the mic until we showed up and showed them up with our amazing stage presence.

What was amazing was how loud we all were. We were that group that sang to every song. Danced to every beat. And razed our glasses after every singer. We empowered those who would normally feel self-concious on stage. The amazing part was that we were all rather sober, though everyone probably thought we were drunk. This may be a negative, but I'll take it as a positive since we didn't need artificial material to give us energy and comfort to be loud and happy. We're naturally good-hearted people that love others and don't have any inhibitions about what others think. Though I must say that John Englehardt is my favourite drunk. He met a random dude and kept hunging him and eventually got a shot of whiskey from the guy. He also met an fellow seminary student and they each confided in each other about their drunken states.

I couldn't help but wonder about people that do this on a normal basis. This was my first official kareoke experience-or atleast one with music in the background. I wondered if this was place people went because they couldn't get real jobs here. Was this the only place they could truly express themselves without worrying about because taken that seriously. It's like a person that masks their aggression in a joke. Besides us, these people took their oke seriously. These were people that did theatre, choir, and band in high school. This was their tribute to the past. I don't want to sound pessimistic, but there were some people there that just looked defeated. I wonder what would happen if they would have taken that singing lesson more seriously or, at least, gone out for a part at the local theatre. But until that realization, kareoke seems to serve an important part in this culture, giving people their three minutes of fame with the safety of their day jobs. But alas, Blessed Union of Souls would simply remind us that "love will find a way." Perhaps love will lead people into something real beyond kareoke.

Little Children: wow!

Posted by Tim Posada On 8:57 PM 0 comments
Last night I watched Little Children, a film by director Todd Field. Field's films are dark with with a powerful moral core that questions the integrity of suburban life (see also his film In the Bedroom). As I watched Little Children I couldn't help but wonder how this film was not nominated for "Best Picture." True, I felt like I was watching the sequel to American Beauty, but this should not take away from the power of a film that, in many ways, tells the a more compelling story than American Beauty while tapping into the real horror of white, middle-class life. Infidelity, pornography, perversion, isolation, gossip, and day care: this film has a threesome with comedy, melancholy, and beauty. Ben Folds' picture of the rockin' suburbs finds a home in this film, right next to Edger Allan Poe's usual dose of disdain for the complacent and Van Gogh's idea of a good Christmas present.

Little Children tells the stories of an unhappy mother and a stay-at-home dad who are unhappy in their given situations. During this time, a many who was arrested for exposing himself to a minor (probably masturbating in front of a young girl) moves into the area, and an ex-cop, with nothing else to do, makes it his mission to make this "ex-con" feel unwelcome by posting fliers with his mug all over town, while honking at his house in the middle of the night. This character is the scapegoat of the community. In Walter Wink's Unmasking the Powers, he addresses a community's need for a scapegoat (using the story of the Legion-possessed man as his support). A scapegoat serves several purposes. Obviously, scapegoats allow blame to be cast where it should not be cast. However, this man has done terrible things and, to a degree, does not redeem himself right away. But the community's demonizing of him reveals their own fears. The film reveals the secrets of several people in this suburb: a transvestite neighbour, a husband who travels to sleep with random men, people having affairs, women gazing at men they wish they were with instead of their boring husbands, and a husband choosing porn over his wife. The "pervert" is the blatant example of this community's hidden sin. These are not good people. They are petty, arrogant, and uninspired to do anything meaningful beyond join a book club and discuss what they want to see happen rather than cause change.

I find that I left this film angry and confirmed in my hatred of the burbs, but still hopeful. I refuse to allow my family to become a vacuum of apathy that only cares about who's front lawns are properly cared for. The highlight of my week will be spend reflecting on the old days when I felt more alive. My family will not be tied down by the need for a big house. My family will know our neighbours (but this will be in a city context, still no suburbs). Little Children is a reminder of what happens when everyone around you is white-or has been assimilated into the "white" way of life. It's a sad attempt at the American Dream that ultimately ends in some poor attempts at meaning through meaningless jobs or the pathetic idea that life is all about making it to retirement. Pardon the tangent but I really hate how privileged and isolated so many are in this fucking country. While Little Children does not truly offer a way out, it offers hope in a place that, by nature, is bound to tear itself apart. Conclusion: see Little Children, it's better than every film that was nominated for "Best Picture." Sorry, as much as I loved Little Miss Sunshine, but Little Children was a little better.

I have little respect for Relevant magazine. Some time ago they did a film review on the film The Motorcycle Diaries. But this review did not actually discuss anything about the film save the concept of portraying Che Guevara in a possitive way. The review simply tore the film apart for portraying a montrous killer as a young idealist. Unfortunately, such a review only furthers the distance between North American (or western) views on such things this film addresses. It would be easier for us all to simply disregard Che as a muderous revolutionary whose lust for power proved that the CIA was justified in aiding his assassination. It's very western to demonize someone and believe that they were not pure-hearted idealists. I do not know the complete story about Che. What I know is limited to the credibility of those whom wear his T-shirts and this film that I cannot shake.

The real Che and the Che of his diaries may be two different people, but that is not what is important. The Motorcycle Diaries is not about Che, it is about a young potential med student who goes on a road trip in hopes of finding himself and getting some tail, but instead realizes that the world he wanted to take advantage of was too fucked up for another apathetic academic snob to ignore. The Relevant review missed it spent its view hundred words more worried about the messenger than the message.

This is a gorgeous that has caused me to rethink things. Suddenly, I don't to learn German in order to better understand certain cultural scholars, instead I have, once again, heard the call of Spanish and the hope of reading from large body of writers that revealed much about the oppression of Latin America: Che, liberation theologians, and Octavio Paz. I find myself torn by a film. When a bunch of stuck up white people are tyring to say that film is ruining the youth of America, I find myself moved by something those same ignorant/apathetic/don't-know-any- better white people would not even be able to find amidst their complaints.

I've been taking a road movie class, and find that this road movie critiques every other Americna road movie. While it does so in several ways, I find myself stuck on one scene. Che and his traveling companion come across an older married couple traveling and looking for mining work (this is the only work they can get since they are communists). They ask if Che and co. are looking for work, and they say no because they are traveling just to travel. Here is the biggest kick in the nuts (this could work literally as road movies are a male dominated genre) of most American road movies. The road movie is a reflection of western privilege. Only in the U.S. could someone travel just to travel. We dream of being mobile...with our back up plan. People camp and travel because they are forced and we camp and travel for liesure activity. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that?

Fast food and coke vs. Lent

Posted by Tim Posada On 2:07 PM 0 comments
This year I tried to give up something for Lent. Two years ago I attempted to give up cussing, but that only lasted half a damn day. This year I took a 40 day fast food and coke embargo. I was a weird experience. I found out how dependent on easy food I am. I'm a stress eater and not having easy access to food was hard. Also, I love coke. Beer, cocktails, slurpies, martinis, cider, shakes, or juice-nothing tastes better than a coke on tap (I don't care what any fool says, coke is better than that piss water Pepsi). I went to In 'n' Out today. It was amazing. Luckily, the 40 days has given me a new appreciation for less heart burn (though I had a lot of red wine yesterday, causing that trend to change).

But after the 40 days, I found that it did not cause me to reflect on the cross. I hate to say this but I am numb to the Christian calender. This may be a flaw, but I find such dogmatic things to be a huge distraction to understanding the Bible. I love the Lord and continue to search meaning in the scriptures and books on theology and biblical interpretation, but I cannot find God within the walls of a church. It has a become a huge distraction. When I was a music major I began to hate music. Thus, I switched to a different degree and found a new love for songwriting. I do not mean to demean those that still find God in church practices. I am not even making a declaration that I will not take part in them. I truly believe that I must be within a community in order to understand God-I am simply distracted by Sunday morning politics. In Karen Osiek's book Beyond Anger, she discusses the importance of feminists within the church as well as those who choose to leave the church. Both make important statements: there is hope within and there is hope from without. I find myself somewhere between there. I believe that the American church can become something amazing, but it is not there yet. I am within my church to, hopefully, find the reasons for those traditions and, also, become part of the change I always whine about.

Lent can be a powerful event, but for now it didn't bring me closer to God-just lowered my belt size. I haven't left my church and do not plan to (and hopefully if any from my congregation read this will not see such vulnerability as a negative). I am simply a guy with Donnie Darko synrdrome-I see something wrong but am paralyzed to change anything because I was shot down when I tried to make such changes.

Ninja Turtles for the Entire Family

Posted by Tim Posada On 2:44 AM 0 comments
So my roommates and I dressed up like the ninja turtles and went to see it on Friday night at the West Covina AMC. Our cast was as follows:
Casey-Raphael
Steve-Donotello
Jon-Leonardo
Tim-Michelangelo
Dominic-splinter
Jackson-Casey Jones
Matt-Foot soldier
Katie, Mellissa, and Kristen-themselves
We planned for the 9pm showing, but alas re arrived at the theatre at 8:30, thus the sold out showing forced us to wait an extra 1 and a half hours for the next show. We spent out time taking pictures with hundreds of jr. highers. Surprisingly, only three moderately adolescent boys gave into pathetic vocabulary with claims that we were gay. There were two bratty kids inside, but Master Splinter took care of those kids with his ancient words of wisdom about the ninja way. The majority of people loved it and wanted to take pictures with us. One such girl jumped and teared up like she had just met Justin Timberlake. Before the film began we all went to the bathroom, a teenager asked me what film we were going to see and I said, "Music and Lyrics," and walked away leaving the poor kid stumped. Everyone had a great time. The actual film was alright, it needed a better storyline. But the character chemistry was good-though Splinter's voice vaguely sounded like a New York godfather's. We all had a great time.

Year of the Fish (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:53 PM 0 comments
It’s Cinderella in New York’s Chinatown. But this Cinderella isn’t a daughter-in-law put to work for the evil stepsisters, she’s a immigrant from China that refused to do the usual work at a “massage” parlor, thus she was forced to do all the cleaning and cooking. Add to this a unique visual effect also found in Richard Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, and this is a shoe-in for the “most indie film ever” award. Also, the fair godmother isn’t as much a nurturing figure as she is a creepy old witch that runs a sweatshop. Besides the intriguing visuals only, possible through painting over top of what was filmed, The Year of the Fish has a wonderful soundtrack created from within the film. The romantic interest is a professional accordion player, and his music becomes the music of the modern fairy tale. Just as the melody sung by Mercedes becomes the theme of Pan’s Labyrinth, the accordion consumes each scene’s mood and is then elevated when the full orchestra builds on what the accordion began. Unfortunately, this film does play on many stereotypes. All the Asian characters fall into the normal categories of bitch, slut, and innocent/ignorant/weak. While it may be argued that the leading lady defies these stereotypes because she is stronger, she begins from this stereotype and is really only elevated with the help of another man. And the conclusion does not defy the system of oppression that allowed Asian immigrants to be imprisoned in places like a “massage” parlor. It actually makes light of the system. However, it might be more appropriate to say that the film does not try to answer the question of oppression, but simply states that amidst such tragic circumstances people can still find love and happiness.

Padre Nuestro (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:53 PM 0 comments
Padre Nuestro won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic feature. This is the story of two Mexican illegal immigrants who sneak into New York. One is going to meet his father he hasn’t met, while the other is simply trying to get away from all the trouble he brings upon himself. The second boy then steals the identity of the first and poses as the son of someone that is not his father. The other boy survives on the street, befriending a homeless woman, and tries to find his father, while being forced to do low pay jobs and sexual favours to survive. What makes this film so unique is that it is a foreign language film set in New York. Unlike most films like this, the social oppression of illegal immigrants is in the backdrop of this film. The storyline takes a much larger role than any political statement. The end result is a compelling story about interlocking characters, leading to the climax with their final interaction.
Padre Nuestro was a very intriguing film, but it did not deserve to win best dramatic feature. There were several other films that were more deserving than this one. This film once because of its setting and story. Letters from Iwo Jima provided much the same response—telling the same story from a different perspective. And like Letters from Iwo Jima, Padre Nuestro was not a truly engaging and strong story but was just different enough to cause people to take notice.

Bugmaster (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:52 PM 0 comments
Bugmaster was the most difficult film to understand at Sundance. This film is one of director Katsuhiro Ôtomo’s (Akira and Steamboy) few live action features. It is a period piece set in a mystical Japan where people called “Bugmasters” travel and use their special herbs, potions, and powers to calm bugs that cause pain to humans. The film features two driving stories, one in the past and other in the present. The two stories are connected by the lead character. Unlike Ôtomo’s normal dose of anime, the special effects of this film are subtle. But like most anime, the storyline is thick. Many compared this film to those of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke), this comparison is only made by people that do not know enough about Japanese cinema. The only commonality between the Bugmaster and Miyazaki’s films is the purity of nature. Bugmaster looks at the spiritual realm of creation and discusses a growing spirit that exists deep in the forest. Unfortunately, this film becomes hard to follow at this point and ends rather abruptly, thus to say more would require a second viewing.

Save Me (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:52 PM 0 comments
While For the Bible Tells Me So was very informational and well done, Save Me did a better job at presenting both sides of the “homosexuality” argument. The lead character Mark (Chad Allen) is put in a ministry meant to help gay men become straight. While there, he finds a community he loves and is able to kick drugs. But while there, Scott (Robert Gant) and him fall in love. While films like Saved portrays Christians as a completely irredeemable, dogmatic bunch, Save Me has a much healthier perspective. Once again, as opposed to Saved, which felt like it was made by a bitter person trying to get back at the private high school he or she went to, Save Me was made with the hope to bring people together. Many of those involved in making this film are Christians and gay (Chad Allen actually attends All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena). With this said, the Christians in the film that believe acting on homosexuality is wrong are portrayed as single-minded and evil but humans that, just like the gay Christians, have God in them as well. This is a powerful film because it does not answer any questions but simply concludes that God is with everyone. While the film did suffer from Lifetime channel production value, it remains a powerful piece of art that will bring about a conversation better than anything else.

Teethe (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:51 PM 0 comments
It’s hard to describe how bad this film was. The concept is great: a teenage girl, who runs a purity campaign, discovers that she has teethe in her vagina and begins to enjoy the power that comes with such a gift/curse. In a male dominated culture, it is easy to see the appeal of this film. It is summed up in the opening credits. The credits are a digital image of eggs and sperm swimming around. At key moments the music becomes very intense and several sperm attack one egg. This continually happens until the end the credits when one egg eats three of the sperm. Terms like “nail,” “penetrate,” and “prick” all reference the dominance of male masculinity. This rhetoric subtly works to keep women in subordinate roles. Thus, a film like Teethe becomes a powerful statement against male dominion over sex. It has the potential to reveal the power of women to “eat” men who do not see their sexual partner as an equal.
Alas, the end result was a very poor film. The acting was terrible. The music was overly dramatic. The plotline was weak. The character development was stereotypical at best. The only thing this film could do was make an audience laugh and convulse in the same breath. Three men were castrated and a gynecologist lost four fingers. Teethe was a film that did not know what it wanted to be, and the end result was mediocrity with a double-shot of shock value. Many women after the film laughed about how it redefines the term “chick-flick.” Unfortunately, this remains more true than most people will realize. This film is not a film about “girl-power.” It is a film that exploits girl, thus allowing women to enter the same game that men have been a part of for years. Thus, the same system this film may claim to go up against is actually the same system it is a part of. Thus, Teethe is just a like a “chick-flick” because it allows women to remain in their subordinate roles still playing the same game their supposed male rival is playing.

Banished (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:51 PM 0 comments
Racism is not a dead issue, and Banished is one of many documentaries that reminds people that it is not. This film focuses on the stories of several black families who try to trace their family roots back to their former family homes before their grandparents and/or great grandparents were run out of certain towns. The families found out that legal records could not justify the current ownership. One man tried to have his relative dug up to be given a proper burial, and upon requesting for the city to cover the burial costs, the city refused and tried to charge the man with stealing from the city.
While there are interesting parts to this documentary, it proves one of the classic flaws in many such films: too preachy. Michael Moore successfully ruined the documentary-director voiceover narration, and this film, like Moore’s, falls prey to the same awkward feel that leaves no room for dialogue. But this film does make incredibly sound points. In the hometown of the main leaders of the KKK, many people try to blame the KKK for creating a high image of racism. But the people do not want to admit that the KKK feels comfortable in this city for a reason. While some may argue that retribution for slavery is a dead issue, this film shows that it is not. The families interviewed in this film are not asking for reparations from slavery time but from 60 years ago. These are easily documented wrongs that only extreme denial can avoid. And the white people of the cities in this film do deny their responsibility.

The Island (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:50 PM 0 comments
The Island is a telling story about the pain of a saint. The story begins with a young crewmember who is forced to shoot his captain after they are captured by Nazis. The boat is then blown up and the young man is washed ashore near a monastery, where he would spend the rest of his life. The story then takes place when he is much older. People constantly visit him to receive healing. While he is a bit senile and eccentric, he heals everyone who comes to him and tells them what they need to hear. When he is not healing people or moving coal, he spends his time praying for forgiveness.
This is the story of a saint. Many ask questions about why certain people are blessed with such gifts while others are not, and this film does not bother to answer that but reveals the paradox. Many consider this monk crazy, but God chose him to be a healer, prophet, and servant. But for all his transcendent power, he has no peace. He is given this amazing gift, but his religion is so dogmatic that he can only obey and hope that God will see his redemption through his servant hood and grief. Yet there is hope in this film. Could someone evil truly do what God allows this man to do? The point comes through the implications of the story: God exists in people whether they realize he is there or not. This has profound implications for the rest of the world beyond the label “Christians.” I wonder if anyone will agree.

How could a first time director score interviews with Desmond Tutu and Mel White? Few films have been as moving as this one. To here the stories of Christians who can accept homosexuality as something blessed and not something to overcome is rare. Whether, I agree or not is irrelevant because these stories provide hope for people who would otherwise leave the church altogether. This film, by itself, it very bias, but so is the other side of the argument. If people can transcend their biases when watching this film, then they will be able to see a group of people that are still loved by God and, more importantly, can still remain part of the Christian community. Mel White has been a longtime hero of mine, and to hear what he had to say (and to meet him) was so encouraging. God is working through this man’s ability to bring about a more diverse community of God. Anyone should be able to watch this film and see what homosexual people have been mistreated and things must change. And the film is honest in its representation of Christian conservatives—who have caused much pain. I do not know if I believe homosexuality is acceptable or not, but I know that people can remain within the body of Christ in such a state. This documentary offers great insight into a growing trend in Christianity: people reinterpreting the Bible and finding out that they may be wrong and should change their approach to those they considered sinners.

This is one of those films that takes forever to simply explain. Director J.J. Lask is in the film as himself, an author of the book On the Road with Judas, and in the film he has created the screenplay for his book. There is a fantastical interview show, where the characters of the book and the screenplay actors meet. Each version of the characters tell the love story they are embarking on. While oddly complex, Lask does a decent job of making it easy to understand. This is truly one of the cliché indie films. In true postmodern form, this film is all about taking a seemingly ordinary love story and telling it in an extraordinary way. People’s inability to move past broken hearts drives this story, causing all those emotional, love-sick, anti-Valentine’s day people to be reminded, once again, that they are alone and it’s their own fault. The end of this film accents this nicely. While the story of the major characters in the novel and screenplay is happening, a subplot about Lask occurs where he tries to convince the novel’s romantic interest to allow him to write the book and eventually screenplay about her. In the final moments of the film he is sleeping with her and talking to her about how she was portrayed. But when the camera pans back to the bed, she is gone. It’s a powerful moment that reveals that the paralyzing nature of love cannot change without choice.

Black Snake Moan (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:49 PM 0 comments
From the director of Hustle and Flow, Black Snake Moan proved to be a great surprise. Finally, a film that is sexual with a purpose. It’s a story about a woman (Christina Ricci) who was sexually abused and has grown up constantly needing sex to survive. She comes in contact with a bitter farmer (Samuel L. Jackson) after a bad night of partying. This farmer suddenly feels the need to nurse her back to health. During the process, he finds out that she has a deeper pain going on. He then takes it upon himself to cure her of her “wicked ways.” He then chains her to his living room as a way to make her go “cold turkey” on her addiction to sex. What follows is a lot of hysterical dialogue and surprisingly engaging characters. There are two intriguing aspects of the film. First, Samuel L. Jackson sings several blues songs, and they are extremely well done. The music and the lyrics are well thought through. Second, the symbol of the chain is quite powerful. We are given the its literal when Jackson chains Ricci to his living room. We are then given its symbolic use when Ricci has a small golden chain wrapped around the waste of her wedding dress. In one of the final moments of the film, she must choose to use sex to solve her problems or change, and she grabs hold of the chain and decides to take a new path.

Hounddog (Sundance Film Review)

Posted by Tim Posada On 4:48 PM 0 comments
Pre-viewing controversy surrounding Hounddog turned out to be more interesting than the film itself. Dakota Fanning is a very talented actor, but her ability to fascinate a crowd with her youthful performance could not deter the lack of intrigue built into the screenplay of Hounddog. Hounddog is about a little girl who is forced to grow up too quickly, lacking sufficient support from her family. Lewellen (Fanning) is able to be a playful youth until her father is struck by lightning and can no longer take care of himself. Add to this a stereotypically fire, brimstone, and whisky Christian grandmother, and Lewellen must forget about a happy life. Her only joy is in the music of Elvis—particularly his rendition of “Hounddog.” It is this redition that the stereotypically pimpled face milk boy sees Lewellen perform and halfway through the film rapes her. This was not an exploitive seen, and actually was not a strong enough event in the plot to matter—it should have occurred earlier in the film. And yet another stereotype (the black man as primitive witch doctor there to serve the interests of surrounding white), the neighbour and snake export helps Lewellen come to terms with her demons by singing the one song she feels caused her rape. But she sings “Hounddog” in its original context before Elvis redid it for a white audience. This is the only redeeming moment in this incredibly boring and over-dramatized film. The continually changing context of “Hounddog” creates an interesting look at the power of music to seduce and liberate. Unfortunately, the film is simply boring and relies on one-dimensional characters that have been created through far too many Deep South period pieces before this one.

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