Friday, February 17, 2006

Pop Culture Roundup

I've been reading Organic Church, yet another book in the 'How to save the American church' section. This book comes from a much different angle: it proposes smaller churches without big fancy buildings meeting where people hang out. One quote, roughly paraphrased, goes like this: 'If you want to reach people for Jesus, you have to sit in the smoking section.' It's the direct opposite of every book proposing to make your church bigger, flashier, and more comfortable. I have some disagreements with it (he seems to challenge the traditional 'quality over quantity' rule), but giving it its own post might be better to discuss it.

We saw The 40-Year-Old-Virgin this week. It was the Unrated Version, so it included some extra footage which made the movie over 2 hours long. I don't think comedies are usually that long, but this turned out to be a pretty involved story. They had an extra-long setup for the eventual relationship, spent a lot of time with the 3 friends who want to help him with that first time, and the final resolution was actually sort of sudden. There were plenty of good moments, and Steve Carrell is a solid comedy actor. One would expect Rob Schneider to star in a movie like this, but Carrell helps humanize the character and make it more than a one-joke movie.

We've moved on to Buffy Season 5. Okay, I said that Season 4 was a transitional season. This seems much more like a transitional season. We're halfway through it already and the big evil of the year isn't that established yet. They've spent more time on some of Buffy's personal relationships: Riley, Joyce, Dawn, Giles, even Spike, and her studying her destiny a little more. One subplot has Joyce, her mom, undergoing treatment for cancer, which has made this season a little rougher to watch in our household. The whole season really is a downer compared to previous seasons. I used the word 'season' a lot in this paragraph.

We saw Rent last Friday evening...not the movie, the actual show. There were many teenage girls there who 'Woo'd absolutely everything. There was at least one sitting behind us that sang every song. And of course the moment 'Seasons of Love' started everyone went nuts. Anyway, I had chosen to not like this musical for a long time just because everyone else made such a big deal out of it the first couple years after it opened. I have to say that after seeing it and hearing the rest of the songs, I quite enjoyed it. A lot of people balk at works like Rent and Brokeback Mountain because they deal with 'the gay thing', and never make it past those prejudices to consider the actual relationships between characters. It's all propaganda, they'll say. That's too bad.

I picked up Tenacious D's album this week, expecting every track to be like their singles: over-the-top rock songs with over-the-top lyrics. As it turns out, Wonderboy and Tribute are the only real good songs on the CD. The rest consists of 2-minute songs that sound like they were writing them as they sang them and weak comedy bits. I wonder what I could get for it on eBay.

Tall Skinny Kiwi has been added to the blog list.