6.29.2004

MOVIE REVIEW: Fahrenheit 9/11



Last Friday, I went to see Michael Moore's new documentary/political piece, "Fahrenheit 9/11".
Since then my buddy Ben has posted a few of his remarks regarding the film on his blog, Bar-Talk. A few comments have been added to his post by some of his frequent visitors, including me. They have done nothing but prove that this movie is controversial to the bone. I went pretty in depth there with my thoughts on the film and war in general. If this interests you, head on over there. Go ahead and chime in, if you'd like, too. Here or there.

If you don't want to read over it (it's kind of a lot), here are some of my opinions, in a slightly smaller nutshell:

Michael Moore spread himself too thin. He doesn't dig deep where it counts. Instead, he skips around covering too many issues and none of them thoroughly enough. It showed.
On top of this, the film is extremely one-sided, mainly because of everything that Moore leaves out of it. He only uses facts (of which some were pretty flimsy), anecdotes and footage that support his claims and he completely omits anything and everything that might counterattack his stance. Of course, it should be noted that - and this is no shocker - Moore probably wasn't all that concerned with making an objective movie. I don't think it would surprise anyone to know that his primary goal with this film was to sway people away from re-electing Bush in the upcoming elections, even if it meant misleading them. I find this to be somewhat insulting.

By choosing to be strictly subjective, Michael Moore sacrifices his credibility in exchange for manipulative power. Which is greater? That's a good question. I might argue the latter. In addition, I think he subjects his film to rightly being considered false propaganda. Many people hanging in the balance will not notice this and be easy prey for Moore's manipulation, some just blindly accepting his claims. That's a shame, as I think people in general need to start thinking for themselves more, rather than regurgitating whatever the media feeds them - I don't care if it's from FoxNews, Michael Moore, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Penn or their church pastor. Just think for yourself. I was taught this at a young age. It's a good idea.

Though I have all these probelms with "Fahrenheit 9/11", there is still some value in seeing it. First of all, it's important that everyone keep an open mind to hear other people's opinions. It's important to look at the big picture here and I think the main thing that Michael Moore is trying to get across is that the war that is being fought right now must stop. He may not go about it the right way by laying every single ounce of blame on the Bush family, but at least it seems that his convictions are in the right place.

There are also a few moments in the film that are extremely powerful and worth remembering. He does express some valid concerns about actions that took place after Sept. 11th and before our attack on Iraq. It's just that he doesn't explore them...and he HAS TO DO THAT if he's going to make the kind of claims he's made and expect viewers to take him seriously. Otherwise, I'm just going to assume that there's nothing at the end of those trails he's led us down.
At the very least, "Fahrenheit 9/11" will provide fresh material for some interesting conversations and debates.

Other people's thoughts on "Fahrenheit 9/11":
Matt LaBash (The Weekly Standard)
Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun Times)
Jeffrey Overstreet (Looking Closer)

A couple interesting side notes:

-The theater where I watched this movie was located in the Great Lakes Crossing mall in Auburn Hills, MI. That should ring a bell if you've seen Moore's other film, "Bowling for Columbine". Moore visited it in the movie.

-I went with my friend Sam and his friend, Brian, who I just met the day before. Before the movie started, we bumped into a group of guys who both of them sort of knew from when they were all at Michigan State. After we walked away, I found out from Brian that one of those guys was Robert Hamburger - creator of the Official Ninja Webpage: Real Ultimate Power! It was so cool. And by cool, I mean totally sweet. He wanted to meet up later and let off fartbombs in the mall....

6.25.2004

MOVIE REVIEW: Saved!



Wow! I was just about to put together my own little analysis of the film, "Saved!" (I had a summary typed out and everything!), but after reading over Brett McCracken's review over at Relevant, I don't think I could say it any better.
As always, the readers' comments following the review are just as amusing and infuriating as ever, further illustrating the points the film was trying to make. Enjoy - and go see the movie!

6.23.2004

KIDS, GET YOUR CHURCHxCLOTHES ON



A good friend of mine, All-Business Dave (ABD), has spent the past 5 years or so steadily plugging away at a clothing line he began while in college, cleverly named "ChurchXClothes" (the "X" is silent). Over those years, he's been through a lot of hills and valleys, but has remained dedicated to his vision. Judging by his prolificness as of late, it seems like he's back on the up & up and beginning to really nail down what it is he wants to achieve with his t-shirts.
One main thing Dave and his small team of artists aim to do with their designs is to create images that question our "comfort-zone" way of thinking and cause us to step outside of the bubble that many Christians build around themselves - the idea being that the images will spark some relevant and meaningful conversations between people and challenge us to take action. Some of Woodall's designs prove he is not afraid of having the finger of accusation pointed at him or being labeled controversial or offensive. In fact, he practically welcomes it.
Now, ChurchXClothes is about to release a new line consisting of 10 t-shirts, and ABD is looking for some help. He has assembled about 20 designs and is planning on an initial printing of about half of those. What he's looking for is some willing people to take 5 minutes out of their busy lives to offer him some feedback. Go and take a look at the new batch of designs, and then leave him your comments, ideally listing your favorites. I already did and I urge you to do the same. Just do me a favor and don't cast any votes for the one that looks like a "God's Gym" shirt. This is one rare moment where Woodall's keen judgement slipped out the window. It happens to the best of us, though, so I can forgive it...as long as it doesn't end up on cotton. Still, there are more ideas and designs that hit the mark than ones that miss. Dave's just looking for someone to help him do some weeding.
So go and give him your input, then check back later to see if the ones you liked ended up getting printed (in about 2-3 weeks). If you're lucky, they'll be there and you can land one (or some) for yourself. This is a great chance to have an impact on CxC and support somebody that's doing his darnedest to incite some positive and necessary change in our culture.

6.21.2004

MUSIC NEWS: Snag Live Pedro the Lion MP3's Everyday



If you've been missing out, well, you better get a freaking move on before it's too late. Pedro the Lion, in an unprecedented move of sheer kindness, is offering one MP3 download a day from the tour that he is currently on, educating the masses about his newest album, 'Achilles Heel.'.
And I'm talking straight from his tour! He's playing a show, then the next day he sends the website dude the sound board recording, and all of a sudden - shazaam! We're hooked up with our very own peek into the previous night's performance. That's pretty sweet! Just keep in mind, each one is only up for a short time, so you gotta be on top of your game if you want to assemble your own 4-disc live box set at the end of the tour.
Now, the only thing is you need to enter a username and password when you access the downloads page (cough cough friend/enemy). Oh, gosh, I gotta take care of that cough! Someone pass me the Halls...

6.16.2004

MOVIE NEWS: Garden State



A couple months ago, when I sat down to take in a little film called "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", out of nowhere I was blindsided by this trailer for a film called "Garden State", written and directed by Zach Braff (known best for his role on TV's Scrubs, but famous in my home for looking exactly like a former classmate of mine, Jim Kelleris...or a young John Ritter - you choose which comparison suits your fancy).
Well, two months later, after having listened to Frou Frou's "Let Go" (the song featured in the original trailer) like a jazillion times, Fox-Searchlight has released a new and different, internet-exclusive trailer. So now I have a couple more songs to listen to get me through the next month and a half (the Postal Service's "Such Great Heights" and Travis' "Love Will Come Through").
I must say this is looking like one of the most promising movies of the summer, right alongside "Hero". And I'm sure I won't be disappointed, based on all those olive branches I saw sprinkled everywhere. C'mon, July 30th. Get here already.

SPORTS: Pistons Shake Up the World!



I don't know what to say about the Pistons showing everyone that this trophy belonged to us, other than that I enjoyed every tick of the clock watching it happen - not just last night, but all season long: every Ben Wallace rebound, every block, every shot that Rip Hamilton sunk after curling around a screen, every second of it all. It was all so sweet! ...(Hi-5!!!)

6.11.2004

MOVIE NEWS: Napoleon Dynamite's looking pretty promising



If you haven't seen the "Napoleon Dynamite" trailer yet, you absolutely must do that...now.
It looks like one freaking hilarious movie, in the same vein as, say, a Wes Anderson film (but probably not THAT great). Of course, I don't know if you can quote me on that, because I have yet to see the movie myself. But from the looks of the trailer, it looks like it would be something right up my alley. With dialogue full of terms like, "flippin' sweet" and "liger", this looks to be a classic that will supply us with an endless arsenal of laugh-inducing quotes for when we're among buddies. Just check out the trailer. You'll see what I mean. This may establish Jared Hess (the writer/director) as a name we'll need to remember.
Check the official "Napoleon Dynamite" site and join the fan club (which is a genius move itself). Then you'll have access to a list of dates where free screenings will be held throughout the month of June, as it opens in more theaters. There most likely will be one in your city. There are 2 here in the Detroit area.

A word about Napoleon Dynamite's opening weekend at the box office.

6.09.2004

ANNIVERSARY #2!



Dana,
Today is our anniversary. Hard to believe that it's already been two years, isn't it?
June 9, 2002. It's a day I will never ever forget. That's for sure. Because it was the most monumental, thrilling day I have had the pleasure of living in all of my 27 years (or is it 28? Wait, am I 30?). On that day, I experienced a level of happiness and sheer joy that was unspeakable. Many would say that their wedding day was the happiest day of their life. I could certainly agree with that. Little did I know that you would continue to bring that much joy into my life on a daily basis for another 730 days straight. And here it is, the awesome thought for the day: I have that to look forward to for the rest of my life. Because you don't have to do anything other than just being you, lovely you, like you have done so perfectly well for the past 2 years (I think it must come natural to you).
And so, my sunshine, thank you for everything you have brought me over the last 2 years. Here's to another 70+! I love you immeasurably. Happy Anniversary!
Completely and utterly head over heels for you...still,
Mike (xo)

6.04.2004

MUSIC NEWS: Leslie Feist Releases Solo Album



Just wanted to take a moment to bring Feist to everyone's attention. Leslie Feist, one of many contributing members of the revolving door Canadian rock outfit that is called the Broken Social Scene, has taken an eraser to her first name and just released her second solo album - first that I knew of, though. And let me tell you, it will take you over. She is the three sirens that Homer spoke of, combined into one. She's like the female equivalent of Jeff Buckley, minus some testosterone. So, to those who know me, it should be no surprise that I haven't been able to exit the "Feist" playlist on my iPod since I got my grubby little hands on this gem three days ago.

I'm won't even bother trying to describe the album for you because you simply need to hear it for yourself. The folks over at Arts & Crafts know this. They're not dummies. That's why they've made the songs available for streaming download on Feist's official website. Once you hear them, though, be forewarned. You'll want to listen to Feist at work. You'll want to listen to Feist in your car. You'll want to listen to Feist at the dinner table. You'll want to listen to Feist in bed. All day Feist, everywhere Feist. So you better just go buy the CD or else the only place you'll be able to experience this bewitching album will be in front of your dumb computer. And that's just plain troubling.

Let It Die has only been released in Canada and the UK so far - that's the bad part. The good part is that, nonetheless, you can still get it for only 10 bucks, which is measley, especially for an import. Just go to the Arts & Crafts store. You can thank me next time you see me.

6.02.2004

SPORTS: Pistons Advance to the 2004 NBA Finals!






Just yesterday I got on here real quick to leave a short note about how I don't have enough time to do any posting until the end of this week, but I just had to put something up about this:

The Detroit Pistons knocked off the Indiana Pacers last night in a very ugly Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals (but who gives a crap - we won!). With the win, the Pistons have advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1989-90 season, which is when the "Bad Boys" won their second of two titles in as many years. It was so great to see Joe Dumars, the Pistons President of Operations, lofting the silver Eastern Conf. Championship trophy above his head after the game, for the first time since fourteen years ago when he did it as a member of the Pistons championship team in 1990.

I also have to add this: I love Rip Hamilton. The kid has been going off and is just now starting to garner the attention he has long deserved. He lit it up against Indiana all series, even when the Pacers tried to stop him by throwing "supposedly" the toughest defender in the leaugue, Ron Artest, at him.

So, anyway. I'm totally psyched for the Pistons/Lakers series to start. Game 1 is Sunday, June 6th. The majority of people out there are already counting us out against the L.A. in the Finals, but I like our chances. The only thing I'm worried about is the refs not giving our tough defense and rough-and-tumble style of play a chance against the Lakers. The league and its refs have a reputation of giving superstars the special treatment, blowing the whistle anytime someone so much as runs anywhere in the vicinity of Kobe or Shaq. Barring that, I think we've got a good chance to win. We match up against them really well. We've got a slew of 7-footers to throw at Shaq, two of which can step outside and knock down long jump shots, which will force O'Neal to step out from under the basket and make it easier for us to attack the rim. Besides, our D is gonna give 'em absolute hell. So go ahead - bring it, L.A.!

6.01.2004

BACK FROM SAN DIEGO



Well, I didn't want it to end, but our vacation has sadly taken that route, with me kicking and screaming the whole way back. So now I am here in the Great Lake State once again. I will hopefully have some posts up here soon to share with you about our trip to CA and show off some more pictures. But since we just got back, I have a lot of other things to catch up on that are pretty important. So I've got to take care of that first. But I hope to get back to posting real soon. So...I'll see you.