Friday, May 06, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

You may find this hard to believe, but I actually haven't been reading a whole least in terms of books. The last book that I finished is Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell, and that was a couple weeks ago. This book caused quite a stir weeks before it was actually released, causing many in more conservative circles to accuse Bell of being a universalist and unfaithful to the gospel and a heretic and a bunch of other things. Honestly, the book is pretty tame, but that's from the perspective of someone for whom this material isn't especially new. Bell questions the logic of substitutionary atonement and the disconnect between a God we proclaim to be love and the belief that God sends billions of people to hell. Bell proposes instead that many are already experiencing hell, and Jesus' call is to bring heaven to them starting in this age rather than the one to come. Bell's approach to scripture is pretty orthodox, yet still has managed to ruffle the feathers of many self-proclaimed orthodox Christians. Meh, the debate makes me weary. It's a good, thought-provoking book.

Coffeeson's favorite movie of the moment is Megamind. Will Ferrell voices the title character, a villain constantly battling Metro Man (Brad Pitt) for control of Metro City. Megamind finally succeeds, only to find his life empty and meaningless without a hero to fight. As a result, he seeks to create a replacement with strands of Metro Man's DNA...and it goes horribly wrong. Tina Fey voices reporter and love interest Roxanne Richie, and Jonah Hill is her doofy cameraman. As many times as I've seen it, it's a really fun movie, the voices are perfect, and the soundtrack features quite a few classic metal tracks from the likes of Ozzy, Guns 'N Roses, and AC/DC.

We went to see Water for Elephants this past weekend, the movie adaptation of a book both Coffeewife and myself thoroughly enjoyed. Naturally we were worried that the film would add, subtract, and ultimately mangle the story. Christoph Waltz is excellent as August, able to be either likeable or sinister when he needs to be. Reese Witherspoon is charming in pretty much everything she's in, and is able to convey a certain underlying sadness and stuckness that Marlena needed to have. And then of course there's OMG Robert Pattinson as Jacob. He does okay, though even Coffeewife had to admit that he seems to have certain mannerisms that show up regardless of the character he's playing. A movie is a much different medium than a book, so I understood the need to cut things out, rearrange things, combine characters (as they do with August), as with Harry Potter or any other book adaptation...the real question is how well it's done. All in all, they did pretty well with this one.

I've been introduced to Florence + the Machine through their album Lungs. Coffeewife's sister gave it to her for her birthday, and I've probably listened to it way more than she has. Anyway, Florence + the Machine is pop, rock, electronica, and soul, among other things. "Drumming Song" is one of my favorites: "There's a drumming noise inside my head that starts when you're around..." The only track I don't like is their cover of "Addicted to Love," but that's just because I don't like that song no matter who sings it.

As I've mentioned several times this week, I've discovered a few new bloggers during my time away. Among them:

Rucksack Revolution - Rev. Gene Anderson muses on life and faith, particularly his struggles with bipolar disorder and his work with the homeless.

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary - Jamie blogs her experiences as a missionary in Costa Rica with wit and irreverence.

Outlaw Preachers - A loosely configured group of people in ministry who tend to buck safe theological and ecclesial trends and viewpoints.

Hyperbole and a Half - Through story and pictures created by Microsoft Paint, Allie points to the absurdities of life. It. Is. Hilarious.

If you haven't seen Seth Meyers rocking it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, you should.