Saturday, May 05, 2007

Pop Culture Roundup

At Bob's recent recommendation, I picked up a book this past week called Organic Community by Joe Myers. Myers draws from his experience in business to describe a new approach to creating church community, but comes at it from the opposite end of many business-based "Jesus as CEO" sorts of books. Myers advocates against churches being about statistics and master plans and bottom lines at the expense of relationships and stories. He advises that churches can't force genuine community and shouldn't see members as cogs in a machine. Instead, he argues, churches need to be about addressing particular needs and affirming particular gifts of particular people according to each church's particular context. A lot of this was reaffirming for me, but it's written in such a way that I could hear familiar concepts in fresh ways. He uses baseball analogies, so you know it's awesome.

We saw Spiderman 3 last night, and for me the jury is still out. I didn't know how they were going to successfully juggle so many villains, because other superhero movies that try to do that...well...suck (see Robin, Batman and). The main focus on the movie is Peter's own inner torment, which worked so well in 2, but in this film is augmented by the black symbiote on his suit. This symbiote causes him, among other things, to begin wearing his hair like he's a member of The Cure, walking down the street goofily oogling all the women that pass by him, and say really cheesy things in a jazz club. All this because he's Mean Selfish Peter. Harry's part in this one is very good and James Franco--who was so stiff in 2--hits it very well. As cool of a bad guy as the Sandman is (and as good as Church is in the part), they probably could have cut his stuff and focused more on Venom. Topher Grace is awesome in this. And it wouldn't be a Sam Raimi film without an appearance by Bruce Campbell. And it wouldn't be a Marvel film without Stan Lee. Those parts were cool.

The Sopranos this week was...weird. In some respects it set some things up, but for the most part this was a slower, character development sort of episode. We had a lot of focus on how Vito's son is dealing with his dad's death and orientation, which included some unhelpful "advice" from both Phil and Tony along the lines of "Get over yourself and be a man." Obviously, it wasn't that simple for the kid, but still we watch as he's carted off to some sort of camp for "those kinds of kids." Besides that, Tony loses a lot of money to gambling and takes it out on Carmella and A.J. gets his heart broken. There was also a lot of focus on Hesh, which I don't think they've done before. And the ending seemed so anticlimactic.

Entourage, meanwhile, is starting to annoy me. No one could have been surprised last week when Vince ended up sleeping with Amanda, his hot female agent, and now they start to deal with complications. In addition, there was an incredibly obvious plot involving Drama, Chuck Liddell, and a Punk'd-like TV show. Finally next week we start to deal with the fight brewing between Ari and Amanda to be Vince's agent, and I'm sure that complications will play a role. So hopefully it'll get better.

I think I have a crush on Amy Winehouse.

Around the web, these Saturday Night Live shorts are freaking hilarious in a "What did I just watch?" sort of way:

A Business Meeting

Dear Sister

Andy Popping Into Frame