2 Movies in 2 Days

2 First Run Movies in 2 Days

We like to go to movies, but the last two days have been out of the ordinary for us. You see, normally I purchase SuperSavers, coupons to get into the movies at discounted prices, but we have to wait until the movies have been out for about a week and a half before the SuperSavers can be used.

This weekend, we will have gone to 2 movies that opened this weekend. Now before you jump to the wrong conclusion that I am spending big bucks, I happened to buy some coupons (at the price of the SuperSavers) that allow me to go to first-run movies at that discounted price.

October Baby
At any rate, last night we went to see October Baby. I had seen the trailer, and had read some about the movie a few months ago. It is released by a consortium of American Family Studios, Samuel Goldwyn Films, and Provident Films. Most would probably call this a Christian movie, though it is not all that preachy. It certainly tells a pro-life story, but one in which there is forgiveness and redemption for 1) a former abortion clinic nurse, and 2) a woman who aborted her child.

The synopsis of the film goes like this:

“You saw me before I was born.” Psalm 139:16 (NLT)
As the curtain rises, Hannah hesitantly steps onto the stage for her theatrical debut in college. Yet before she can utter her first lines, Hannah—unscripted—collapses in front of the stunned audience.
After countless medical tests, all signs point to one underlying factor: Hannah’s difficult birth. This revelation is nothing compared to what she then learns from her parents: she was actually adopted … after a failed abortion attempt.
Bewildered, angered, and confused, Hannah turns for support to Jason, her oldest friend. Encouraged by his adventurous spirit, Hannah joins his group of friends on a Spring Break road trip, embarking on a journey to discover her hidden past … and find hope for her unknown future.
In the midst of her incredible journey, Hannah finds that life can be so much more than what you have planned.

If you happen to frequent movie review sites like Rotten Tomatoes, you would find that October Baby may have hit some nerves. Obviously, the experts rate the movie much worse than the viewers.

Click on the image above, to make it larger. As as 4:50 PM on March 24, 2012 (the day after its limited nationwide release), there were 28 reviews of experts, giving the film a rating of 21% on the Tomatometer (an average rating of 4.4/10). On the other side, however, there were 1,560 user ratings (an average rating of 4.5/5), with 94% liking the film. Now, obviously, we’re not comparing tomatoes to tomatoes. There is a different rating scale. The “Approved Tomatometer Critics” have a scale of 1 to 10, whereas the Audience’s rating scale is from 1 to 5 stars, with 94% of the audience rating the film at 3.5 stars or higher. One mainstream reviewer, Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times, gave October Baby a pretty good review.

I am not a film critic. In reality, I watch films, and pretty much forget much of what I have seen. With the desire of giving full disclosure, I have been committed to a pro-life stance since I began to see the horrors of the abortion industry. I was a college student in 1973, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe vs. Wade, and sadly, I did not realize the implications of that decision until a number of years later. I am not objective on this matter. I believe that an unborn baby is much more than non-viable tissue, and must be given a chance to live.

The story of October Baby was told with grace, with some moments of comic relief. John Schneider, from the Dukes of Hazzard television show (1979-1985) plays the adoptive father. The role of Hannah is played well by Rachel Hendrix, in a convincing manner. The role of Nurse Mary was portrayed convincingly by Jasmine Guy, with a story line that concurs with public testimony of other former nurses at abortion clinics, like Jill Stanek

The actress who played the part of the birth mother, Shari Rigby, has an interesting back story. In real life, she had had an abortion some 20 years ago. When she was asked to read the script for the part, she asked October Baby producers, Andrew and Jon Erwin, how they knew. The Erwin brothers responded, “What are you talking about?” Rigby was able to play the part with such pathos, that when she receives a note from Hannah that says, “I forgive you!”, she slides down to the floor in tears, a true encounter with God:

I was deeply moved by October Baby. The community of faith supported it, as it netted nearly $605,000 on the first night of screening (Source: EW.com). It is worth seeing.

The Hunger Games

Tonight we went to see The Hunger Games. In our 14-screen movie theater, it was playing on at least 6 screens, with showings that started every 15 minutes. The theater was jam packed on Friday night. According the Entertainment Weekly, The Hunger Games had box office receipts of $68.3 million on its first full day (including the Friday morning screenings at 12:01 AM), making it the best ever opening day for a non-sequel movie.

The theater tonight was about half full. Maybe our small city is reaching its saturation point. The movie is 2 hours 22 minutes long. It was riveting, in that it did not seem that long.

I got Rose a Kindle Touch at Christmas. As an Amazon Prime member, about two months ago I found out that I could borrow the book, The Hunger Games, instead of buying it. They touted it as “I’m sure you want to read the book before you see the movie.” I borrowed it, put it on Rose’s Kindle, but didn’t say anything about it. I was disappointed to find out that I could not put it on the Kindle app of my non-Kindle device. Borrowed-from-Amazon books can only be installed on Kindle devices. She found it, and started reading it. I was hoping to read it perhaps some night, if she went to bed earlier than I. I never got around to it. Once, when I thought I might try, I found out that she had left the Kindle device in her office. 

About 10 days ago, when she finished it, she said, “You’re going to get me the 2nd book, aren’t you?” I checked the price, and the Kindle price for the 2nd book was just under $8. I thought, “if I buy that, then she’ll want me to buy the 3rd one later.” So, I bought the entire trilogy for $18.99. Since I bought the book, I could install it on Kindle apps (my computer, my Android tablet, my phone, etc.) So, about 10 days ago, I started reading The Hunger Games.

On March 18, I sent Kim a text message:

She posted the above photo on Facebook with the status: “Coolest text from my Dad!! #ilovehungergames #teampeeta.”

She knew we were going to the movie tonight. About 20 minutes after we got out, she texted me to ask me how we liked the movie. I responded, “the book is much better, but it was not boring.”

The book is much better, and offers so many talking points about the intersection of a life of faith and real life issues. It is so much more than a story about kids killing kids. David Bruce, of Hollywood Jesus lists seven major current issues:
  • Severe poverty
  • Starvation
  • Oppression
  • The effects of war
  • Moral complexity
  • Government control
  • Personal Independence

I have now finished the 2nd book of the trilogy, and am about half way through the 3rd book. There are more issues that arise in books 2 and 3, including what happens when a revolution occurs, and the ones who rise to power via revolution (or coup d’état) end up being just as repressive as the former government (thoughts of my Chilean pilgrimage come to mind).

At any rate, I enjoyed the movie The Hunger Games. It certainly sets itself up for 2 sequels. The books are better, however. The violence gives a springboard for thoughtful reflection about real life issues, and how faithful Christ-followers can use either the book or the movie as a starting point to engage our current culture.

One of my colleagues, Doug Welch, who has read the book, but has not seen the movie, posted a link to a review on EW.com, by Darren Franich, titled “What the movie missed about the book.” I concur with Franich. The book is much better than the movie.

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