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Showing posts from July, 2013

Cliches are so Cliche

The other night Christy and I watched Gangster Squad, which was so disappointing. I mean, look at this cast: Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, Emma Stone, Josh Brolin, and the always lovable Jon Polito... and so many others! The cast was great (well, Sean Penn was really over the top playing Mickey Cohen) and the film looks stunning-- spectacular work by cinematographer Dion Beebe. Its over-violent in several places-- gratuitously so. It's biggest weakness was in the direction and writing. I mean, I have seen a ton of gangster movies-- one of my favorite genres-- but this one is filled with cliches that ruin it.

Example #1: One of the main sets is one of those typical '40s era night clubs where everyone would dress in their finest and there would be a live singer or comedian-- dinner and a show in the same place. The movie comes back to this same place over and over-- then one of the performers is a Carmen Miranda wannabe-- fruit on the head included of course. Really?

Example #2: Nea…

The Youth Will Set You Free

20 years.

It's incredible to think about, but it's been twenty years since God came in to my life in a surprising, life changing way: through youth ministry. The summer of 1993 started out with lots of excitement: I graduated with a degree in History from Sam Houston State in Huntsville. I then began the tedious work of applying to school districts. Without any contacts anywhere, I randomly applied in places like Tyler, Dallas, San Antonio, and, of course, Austin. May rolled into June. One day Mom came into the living room, where I was planted on the couch. You know, next to the phone I was certain would ring at any time. "Penny's been calling for volunteers for the youth ministry at church," she said. "Get up and go help her out." So I did. I walked into Penny Buckert's office and offered to help. I started showing up at UMYF meetings on Sunday nights. Later in the summer I found myself a camp counselor at Lakeview camp for a week, and an adult hel…