Tag Archive: redemption


The Incredibles 2

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

This past week we made what might be our last trip to the drive-in for the summer.

You never know, we could make another trip because one must watch scary movies at the drive-in. In reality, I am guessing we are done.

The_Incredibles_2 posterBut it was a great one to finish off the summer season – a double feature with The Incredibles 2 and Christopher Robin. I will talk about the latter sometime in the future. But right now I want to talk about the long-awaited sequel to what I think is one of the best movies of all time.

Why did Brad Bird wait so long to make this sequel? I am sure he has some good reasons. Timing was not right, didn’t want a fake storyline to drive the plot, couldn’t figure out how to make Edna a crucial part of the storyline.

I am sure the reasons were endless.

Luckily what we get is a great storyline.

The supers remain in hiding. And when a bad guy shows up, the family tries to stop him. However, their attempts are futile; the bad guy gets away despite our favorite super heroes managing to save the capitol building.

That is when Lucius meets this rich guy named Winston Deavor. He is super rich and super crazy about supers. Winston is the salesman of the company while his sister, Evelyn, is the creative genius who invents items for the future of right now.

They want the supers to be supers again.

And their choice for this job is Elastigirl – Helen.

The reason why becomes clear. Elastigirl is smoother, more about finesse than bombast power. That means less damages, and more feel-good moments.

But for Helen, it is also about guilt. The guilt of not being there for the kids while breaking the law to help supers be legal once more.

the-incredibles-2 meeting

Frozone, Elastigirl, and Mr. Incredible meeting with Winston Deavor

What I loved about the first Incredibles movie is that it explored the idea of giving participation trophies and making everyone feel they’re special.

This movie is exploring the guilt of life. Helen deals with working mother guilt even though she is smart and good at her job. Bob is guilty over not being out doing superhero stuff while wondering if he is doing a good enough job as a dad. Two other characters deals with the guilt of the should-of’s and could-of’s we all face in life when something tragic happens. Their individual response may be different to that guilt but how they deal with it is interesting.

Yes, these guilt issues are a part of the subtext, but we also get a ton of great action scenes. Elastigirl is the star, people love her, even fellow heroes. Jack-Jack is starting to display all of his powers which can be frightening and exciting. Edna is fascinating for all of her fashion personality quirks.

Can you have a movie that is fun and exciting while dealing with all of these emotions? Yes! Just because we are getting a lot of great action scenes with super-powered people doesn’t mean we can’t handle a few emotions along the way. Everyone knows that emotions are so much messier than the end results of a great battle. But dealing with them and coming to a new understanding can be a great adventure.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watching a Christmas Movie?

by Karyn Bowman

So what makes a good Christmas movie?

This time of year we all talk about what we like or don’t like in a Christmas movie. But it comes down to a few factors, two actually.

Redemption and Reconciliation.

After much thought and deliberation, it seems true that the best movies in this genre are all about the redemption of a lost soul or the reconciliation of a relationship whether it is between lovers or among family members.

Do I need to bring in a case in point?

Bruce Willis going through a window in "Die Hard." Image from IMDb.com

Bruce Willis going through a window in “Die Hard.” Image from IMDb.com

How about Die Hard? In this movie the good guy, that’s Bruce Willis, is visiting his wife and children in California. He is a New York City police office unwilling to move to California but he still loves his wife. So he comes to visit at her Christmas office party.

To say things go horrible wrong as terrorists invade the party would be an understatement. But with a few smart moves and a partnership with a Los Angeles police officer, McClain is able to save his wife and most of her co-workers. In the end, there is a satisfying reconciliation between the couple.

If you need more, there is always A Christmas Carol. Ebenezer find redemption from being a miser who cares about no one to a man who keeps the spirit of Christmas in his heart all year-long. Granted, he needs the help of four different ghosts and to see what lies ahead in the future if he does nothing. We stick around for the journey because we love the destination of Redemption.

What other movies can we label this way?

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

Elf   – Reconciliation and Redemption

It’s a Wonderful Life   –   Redemption

A Charlie Brown Christmas  – Redemption

A Christmas Story   –   Redemption

The Holiday  –  Redemption

Love Actually  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

The Cheaters  –  Redemption

Bad Santa  –   Redemption

The Santa Clause   –  Redemption

Miracle on 34th Street   – Redemption and Reconciliation

Any Hallmark Channel Christmas Movie  –  Redemption and Reconciliation

We could go on and on like this. The truth is if movie makers could figure out the perfect Christmas movie we would have more of them that are great. But perhaps we must remember Bette Davis who once shamed a reporter who tried to say there were many great movies in the vaults. She responded by saying that about 5 – 10 great movies were made on any given year but the rest were crap.

Christmas movies get us in the heart whether it is about a reindeer, a journey to the north pole, or an old man who says he is Santa when logic tells you there is no way that man could be Santa. I love watching them and know I will be doing a lot of that this weekend.

So what about your favorite Christmas movie? Is it about reconciliation or redemption?

To

Resolution towards Redemption

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

In this week before the end of the year and after Christmas, some people take a look at their life and decide how to change it.

 

I feel it especially strong as my birthday is on this week. I think about the past year and wonder what can I do to make things better in my life, make my life what one could call ‘worthy.’ Being the best at making sure the couch does not run away is not my life’s goal.

 

Perhaps that is why it is interesting to me that two of the most beloved Christmas stories –  It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol are really about redemption, appreciation and making a change in one’s life.

 

These stories feature men who learn through visitations from other-worldly beings that there are things in life that matter, that how they interact with people matters. Scrooge sees how his bitterness will cause his afterlife to be one of harder work than his life while George Bailey sees how his community would look without his presence.  

 

Because of these experiences, Scrooge and George see the sweeter side of life. They find a renewed appreciation for those who love and work for them. These are the stories that make our hearts swell.

 

Usually at this time of year I recommend Down in the Delta starring Alfre Woodard as a woman who kicks her drug habit and becomes a better person after her mother forces her to move in with family in a Southern state. I love the multi-generational story, I love how the characters grow. I especially love the significance of the silver candelabra. It is a feel-good story on so many levels that features good acting from all of its players.

 

Another movie I have been thinking about in regards to redemption is 50 First Dates. I know what you are thinking, how can an Adam Sandler movie be about redemption? I think Adam Sandler could be one of the greats of our time if his fans did not always expect stupid comedies from him but that is another discussion for another day.

 

This movie is about a man who falls in love with a beautiful girl – Drew Barrymore. The problem is she has no short term memory because of a car accident. She remembers the day of the accident before the crash occurred and relives that day – everyday. Sandler figures out a way to get her up to speed every morning. In doing so, Sandler shows that while his character is a jerk most of the time, for the right person he is willing to change and be better.

 

None of these movies are suited for the smaller members of the house because, contextually, they deal with grown-up themes. However, a movie about redemption that is great for the younger children is Kung Fu Panda starring Jack Black.

 

No one believes that a panda can be the ‘Dragon Warrior,’ the ultimate Kung Fu warrior. Only one person sees his potential beyond being a great noodle maker. And yet when the time comes to fight a great enemy, the panda finds it within himself to do it. He finds the secret ingredient. Our family loves this movie and laugh with it every time we watch it.

 

Happy New Year and good luck on your new year’s resolutions.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Family Movie Night

Sprinting towards the new year for me means making resolutions.

I look for goals to set in order to be better. I am trying to curb my late-itis, my desire to actually write more and maybe work on that novel I have been talking about. I think many of us look to that New Year’s Day as a time of making things better – be it weight or  personal issues.

Sometimes, I seek inspiration from the movies.

There are many that have been made about redemption or pose a cautionary tale. The movies I list for this week are for adult consumption. I  like to think that kids do not need to make resolutions this serious.

Picture from IMDb.com

I think about “Citizen Kane” which was written and directed by lead actor Orson Wells. The story is about a rich man who ran newspapers, married well and left his wife for a singer. He tried to make the singer an opera star but that failed. At the end of his life, he dies alone and a servant begins to burn everything. His final muttering of “rosebud” pushes reporters to examine his life more closely.

This movie was ahead of its time in the mid-forties with camera angles and story-telling devices but it has inspired others throughout the years. All the while Citizen Kane, a thinly veiled portrait of William Hearst, posed the question of how to truly live a good life.

Al Freeman Jr. Wesley Snipes and Alfre Woodard in "Down in the Delta," Picture from IMDB.com

Redemption is not hard to find, you have to look for it. And find it you will in Down in the Delta  with Alfre Woodard. A drunkard who is raising a 13-year-old boy and an autistic 2-year-old daughter with her mother in the projects of Chicago, Woodard plays a woman who can not read or write or find work to support her family.

That is when her mother takes charge, forcing the younger woman to visit an uncle in the South. Woodard must clean up her act, earn money to pay back her ticket and remember what it was like to be a member of the human race. It has been a few years since I saw this movie but I love it for its simplicity and hardness.

The late Bernie Mac and Angela Bassett in "Mr. 3000," picture from IMDb.com.

 Sports movies like to tell the tale of a redeemed hero and one that I had not thought about for years is Mr. 3000 starring the late Bernie Mac. This movie has the former player coming back to baseball because it was discovered that three of his hits were not legal. Suddenly he is not Mr. 3000 and if he is to remain so he must be a player again and get those three hits.

 Is there resentment among his new teammates? Are they aware of his deficiencies as a player in the past and in the present? Can he learn that sometimes a sacrifice fly is nobler at times? Will his knee hold out long enough for him to get to 3000 hits? You and I know the answers to these questions but enjoy the ride as a rich and selfish man learns a hard lesson. Plus, I enjoy watching Bernie Mac work his magic along with Angela Bassett.

 What movies inspire you to be a better person?

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

 Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note to P.O. Box 306, St. Anne, IL 60964.