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warning labels

christy and i went to see midnight in paris last night at the angelika cinema in plano.  a wonderful film-- loved it so much.  as we waited to buy our tickets, i noticed a sign on the table.  it was a message from the angelika management about terrence malick's tree of life.  evidently many moviegoers have demanded their money back after seeing some or all of the film (i have not seen it but want to, partly because supposedly some of it was shot in my hometown of bay city, texas).  the notice made points such as this:

  • tree of life is directed by terrence malick, a director not exactly known to play by hollywood rules
  • tree of life is not presented in a linear fashion (in other words, there is no guarantee the next shot will logically follow the previous one
  • tree of life is a work of art, so don't get mad at us if you don't like it
ok, i am paraphrasing a little.

christy thought it so silly to say such things, because we were at the angelika, a chain of cinemas that showcases arthouse movies.  "we're not," she said, "at cinemark" (but we will be tomorrow evening for harry potter).  people should expect a little variance from the norm where independent films are shown.  but if the patrons of the angelika need to be forewarned about seeing tree of life, what other movies need a warning label?  how about transformers 3? i have not seen it, but i saw the first two, hated both, and from what i have heard i would hate this one too.  here's my attempt at a warning to potential ticket buyers:

so you're back, huh?  two of these wayyy over the top, no story line evident, characters no one could ever care about, explosions every two minutes, giant robots you can't relate to or even tell one from another, the idea of a film franchise created solely from a toy collection... all that wasn't enough so you're back?  you know this franchise's targeted demographic is thirteen year old boys, right?  you know the same director of the first two-- michael bay-- who exploited megan fox to the point of giving preachers enough sermon material about lust to preach for months-- only now she's gone and there's someone else to exploit-- you know he's in charge again.  well, prepare yourselves for 2 1/2 hours of exploding stuff, people and giant robots who you won't care or notice whether they live or die, a total absence of any story. your kids may well learn to treat women as objects of lust and see everything in existence as something that would look better on fire or totally destroyed.  yep!  it's transformers 3!  hand over the cash!  we're not responsible!

we put warning labels on just about everything today.  cigarettes-- cancer and other bad health issues.  trash bags-- not toys for children!  toys for children-- not to be swallowed!  i even remember shampoo from years ago that included beer: "but don't drink it!," the commercial said.  our movies, tv shows, and video games have rating systems.  movie ratings now include exactly what to watch out for.  for example, transformers 3: "for intense prolonged sequences of sci-fi action violence, mayhem and destruction, and for language, some sexuality and innuendo."  really?  that's all you could warn us about?  i thought you were looking out for us, mpaa!

of course, the Bible is full of warnings too, but they are warnings with a purpose.  avoid sin and make good choices.  live a connected, fulfilling life with others, without seeing them as objects or opportunities for your own purposes.  enjoy family and health as much as you can.  do not be self-absorbed, but have compassion for others.  remember: everyone is a neighbor.  yes, you are the keeper of your brothers and sisters (genesis 4).  we can't attach warning labels to everything.  some things must be learned by experience.  so we'll make mistakes.  the good news is: there is always forgiveness with God, and we hope others will discover the grace in forgiving us when we are a little too human.  Jesus said the whole of the law could be summed up in two commands: love God.  love neighbors as yourself.  "do this and live," he said.  living any other way will lead to a life rated r: restricted.  alone.  separated from God and others.


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