Tag Archive: Greg Kinnear


Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

As Easter creeps closer, there are things to be done.

It is the traditional time of Spring Cleaning. So much dust and dirt collects in my house that I feel like I can never keep up with it. One week I clear cobwebs and the next week they are back again. Dirt and sand gather for some party I was never invited to join.

During this time of the year, now that taxes are done, I find myself going through a ton of paper that needs to be shredded. I always think I am going to get at those big closets or piles of clutter but the regular stuff gets me distracted every time. In the end my goal becomes to get through one nasty place a day.

All of this is in preparation for Easter, making sure the house is ready. Or maybe it hearkens back to the Jewish holiday of Passover in which cleaning happens in earnest. There can be no leavening agent left in the house before the start of Passover which is the night of April 3rd this year.

I always remember this because the Last Supper was the Seder dinner, the first night of Passover that Jesus and his disciples would have observed.

Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

For this week we think about those Christian movies more than usual. And in the past few years, Hollywood has responded to people wanting more movies about Christian faith. I recently watched Heaven is For Real starring Greg Kinnear. I am not sure a movie like this would have starred a big name of a name or talented actor of an actor as Kinner as recent as a few years ago if the script was poorly written.

If you are looking for a movie that is family friendly, this one is beyond a few outbursts of anger and one scene in which dad tells his daughter she needs to punch someone without hurting herself. But content wise, this movie is better for pre-teens and up. Their minds are better able to understand the nuances.

The story is about a four-year-old boy who nearly dies from mis-diagnosed appendicitis. It is during this time that he goes to heaven, meeting family members, Jesus, and God. As the boy recovers he slowly begins talking about his experiences with his family. For the dad, who is a minister, it causes a crisis of faith. He is torn by people who support him and others who doubt that such a thing could happen.

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Many of my friends who have seen this movie state that the book is better and I do not disagree. In the book, much of the action took over two years to happen. As the movie goes, much of the action takes place within a year’s time. But Greg Kinnear and Kelly Reilly give heartfelt sincere performances as parents trying to understand what has happened to their son and how that affects their life in the present.

I enjoyed the movie because of that sincerity. I likes the little boy who focuses on what he saw for minutes at a time while his father seems to want to dig deeper. That’s how we adults operate, we want every detail and the little kids want to play in the sand box. I believed the story that this child saw something but defining it for adults was not always easy. Isn’t that faith in a nutshell?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

The past month and a half has been a blur to me.

Since my father’s death, I have had days in which I felt pretty normal. Then there were days when I was pretty sure I was going to start crying while doing the shopping or run to the post office. What could set me off? Pretty much anything, such as “how are you?” or “want fries with that?” or seeing a guy with big arms wearing a cut-off flannel shirt.

My first day back to work saw me shaking and I thought about running out of the library. But I was there and I would have to do this sooner or later. I would have to get back to normal – whatever that it.

Having young kids still at home helps in a strange way. They have activities and routines that need attention. I had to make sure Sam was signed up for baseball, Sara still has a gazzillion activities, and David’s band just performed in a Battle of the Bands in Watseka. So while life is not the same as it was before December 30th, it is not all that different except for one essential.

The thing is, I know I am not alone. My aunt who died four years ago is still mourned by my cousins. Another cousin’s husband just lost his mother. Friends on facebook are posting about lost parents or uncles or aunts. I have simply joined a group that I thought I was not joining for another ten years. But that group understands what I am going through, they know the shaky smile and sudden memories that hit out of the blue.

I dont know how she does itLately, I have been wanting to watch all of my old favorites that are sappy and make me cry. Sleepless in Seattle, An Affair to Remember, You’ve Got Mail. Somewhere along the line I saw a trailer for I Don’t Know How She Does It starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Greg Kinnear, and Pierce Bronson. I had to get it!

The story is about a working woman who also has a family. She is a high powered financial executive working with Pierce Bronsan to create a new type of investment tool. Meanwhile her husband is starting a new project for his architectural company. Then there are the kids with birthday parties and bake sales.

Yes, she has a nanny but that person is unreliable. What the character is trying for, more than anything, is to have it all. The great (well-paying) job, the wonderful husband, a loving family. She wants to be a great mom who makes terrific strides at work.

I understand, I really do. I understand why a woman returning from a business trip takes a rolling pin to a perfect store-bought pie to make it look home-made. I understand the need for a shower, trying to make things great for the birthday party, and keeping the husband happy. I understand backbiting co-workers, the in-group at the pricey private school looking down at their noses at the working moms, and family members who do not always get it.

I love this scene in which Kate throws everything in the air and catches most of it.

I love this scene in which Kate throws everything in the air and catches most of it.

There was a lot to like about this movie, Hello Pierce Bronson. But I also liked how various characters broke the fourth wall as if this was some sort of documentary. They expressed their opinions on what Kate was doing from their vantage point and it worked for me. Keep in mind, this is a movie to share with girlfriends and not the kids. They do not care about our struggles but our girlfriends do!

Sadly, I fell asleep while watching the movie and did not get to see the end. I had spent the day being a busy mom and when the time came for me for some ‘me’ time, well, I passed out. How any of us do it all and stay sane most of the time is beyond me.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

Starting earlier this year with the release of Son of God, it is being said that 2014 is the year of the biblical movie.

Just looking at a list of movies shows that there are at least four major motion pictures with biblical or faith-based themes to them.

Last week, an independent movie called God’s Not Dead starring Kevin Sorbo was released. The story is about a college student who feels pressured to give up his faith by an atheist professor. Instead of giving in, that kid played by Shane Harper (Spencer from Good Luck, Charlie), chooses to defend his beliefs and does so scientifically.

While the critics have not been kind, I am interested in seeing this movie. I want to see how they portray the conflict and how our main character, Josh, is able to defend his beliefs.

NoahThis week, the big production of Noah makes it to the big screen. Russell Crowe stars as the man who is given the task to build a boat that will save his family and many of the creatures of the earth. I became excited about the movie after watching several trailers showing water rushing down and the very human story of all those people being left behind.

It has been reported that the word “God” is not used in this movie. Instead other names are used, which actually is appropriate considering this is a story from a Jewish standpoint. In the Jewish tradition, you do not call “God” by his name because that word is so powerful. “Yaweh” is a more common term that is allowable. I also read that the director, Darren Aronofsky, has been wanting to make this film for years but it took his great success with Black Swan to make that possible.

In April, Heaven is For Real comes to the big screen starring Greg Kinnear as the father of a young boy who states he saw Jesus when the boy was very sick with appendicitis. Adapted from the book of the same title, I expect a very gentle telling of this story. I find Greg Kinnear can be very subtle and engaging, he is able to tell a story well. I wonder how they will deal with various parts of the book that show a family in crisis as well as the moments of joy.

This fall, Nicholas Cage stars in the remake of Left Behind. I wonder what kind of performance he will give knowing how intense this actor can be. Finally, we will go through Exodus starring Christian Bale (Batman series) as Moses and Ridley Scott in the director’s chair in the month of December.

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

Kelly Riley, Connor Corum, and Greg Kinnear in Heaven is For Real

What some might say is that Hollywood realizes there is some good money to be made by playing to Christian believers. But I believe these movies do not get made unless producers believe they will actually get their money back.

I also believe that there are people hungry for movies about faith and belief. Otherwise a movie such as Heaven is For Real may have never seen the light of day. Noah and Exodus are made for the spectacle they create. But movies like Heaven are made for us normal people to ponder.

Until next week, see you in the Rental Aisle.