Monday, April 09, 2007

Post-Lent Pop Culture Roundup

I couldn't wait until Friday, and it's my blog and I'll do what I want.

As I wrote yesterday, I only read one book during Lent. I skimmed one or two others, but I only really read one. That book was The Last Week, a team effort by Borg and Crossan. Their primary focus is the story of Jesus' final week as told by the Gospel of Mark. First off, I hadn't realized that Mark does give an account of every day of Jesus' final week. That was a small revelation for me to start. The discussions that really stuck with me dealt with the symbology of the "triumphal" entry into Jerusalem, and what is really meant by Jesus as sacrifice. They suggest that the entry is largely satirical: Jesus on a donkey rather than a mighty horse like a Roman emperor might ride, and so on. They discuss the meaning of sacrifice quite a bit, and how temple sacrifice didn't carry a focus on the animal's suffering or a belief that the animal was somehow taking humanity's place, but it was rather a gift to God to help maintain a healthy relationship. The idea of sacrifice may still be troublesome for people, but this at least provided some context for what sacrifice really meant, and how Jesus as sacrifice may have been understood.

During Lent, I watched a couple movies. Here they are in brief soundbites:

~Over the Hedge - Lots of fun shots at suburban life (my favorite is a woman in her SUV and on her cell phone: "Of course I can talk, I'm just driving"), and a lot of recognizable voices. My favorites were William Shatner as the overdramatic possum and Steve Carell as the strung out squirrel. I also found that there's an entire theological theme that you can develop from this movie about humanity's use of food, particularly the role it plays in social gatherings and how much we throw away.

~Happy Feet - I thought that for me personally, a movie about penguins would be a slam dunk. For some reason this didn't do it for me. I wasn't much for the "musical-ized" versions of a bunch of pop songs (I don't want to see Moulin Rouge for the same reason), Robin Williams just didn't seem that funny, and I just wasn't feeling the "humans see a bunch of penguins tap dancing and decide to destroy the environment somewhere else instead" bit. Of course, I was also watching this movie around 10:00 at night in a hospital waiting room after sitting with a young woman's family all day waiting for her to give birth. That might've played a role.

~Just Friends - Ryan Reynolds plays a dorky guy who gets burned when he tries to take a high school friendship to the next level, moves to Los Angeles and becomes a player with a successful career, then somehow finds himself back home again 10 years later still trying to win over the girl. Some of the post-high school movie cliches are there (moron jock turns into drunk fat loser). Ana Faris is hilarious as a crazy Britney-ish pop singer.

~Take the Lead - Think Sister Act 2, except they dance instead of form a choir. Meh.

If you don't want to know what happened, skip this paragraph. The best weekly 1 1/2 hours of television began last night. The Sopranos got me to sit up when Bobby took a swing at Tony...then again, Tony was making a lot of cracks about Janice. Still, you don't expect that sort of thing from Bobby. So at that point, you wonder whether Tony will make a decision about that as the boss or as the brother-in-law. It seems he does both by making Bobby take out a hit in order to make a business deal. And we had a duck sighting! I've read in numerous places that David Chase doesn't want to end the series in a nice neat package (i.e., Tony's death or imprisonment), so I'm hesitant to wonder stuff like, "Will Bobby do it? Will Phil? Etc." This was immediately followed by Entourage, where Ari begins his quest to get Vince back as a client. It seems to be one of those things where you know it'll eventually happen, but wonder how and when. The first step that he takes is by trying to get Vince the dramatic role that he's wanted since the first season, which makes me wonder if they're eventually headed to an Oscar storyline. Drama trying to get everyone to notice the billboard for his new show was hilarious.

To my shame, I haven't been listening to a lot of new music. Nelly Furtado's Say It Right is my Musical Junk Food of the Moment and I've been digging Fall Out Boy lately. But as far as anything from my favorite genre, there hasn't been much to speak of. I am planning a few concert outings to Robert Randolph and DMB this summer. We need to pay a ridiculous amount of money to the government first, though. Clergy taxes=craptastic.

Around the web...I got nothin'. You'd think I would, what with screwing up my Lenten discipline and all. But no. Nothin'.