A Gun Owner’s Review of ‘Spectre’

spectre.jpegRated PG-13, 148 minutes (watched 11/7/15)

One of the (few) downsides of being a gun owner is that you begin see through so many of Hollywood’s tricks and tropes. Once you begin your ride, you count rounds remaining in magazines/cylinders and wonder how long the bad guy waited for the ATF to approve his Form 4s for that suppressed short barrel rifle (spoiler alert: he didn’t). You shake your head when dozens of baddies can’t hit the broadside of barn while the White Hats are one-shot-one-kill and you wince every time the good guys muzzle each other. Perhaps most egregiously, you grind your teeth to powdery nubs when hero unnecessarily racks his shotgun over and over. Continue reading

Heart and Humor: Review of ‘War Room’

As much as I enjoyed the movie, this poster is awful.

As much as I enjoyed the movie, this poster is awful.

Rated PG, 120 minutes (watched 8/31/15)

Settling into my seat with my tub of popcorn and a Diet Pepsi that cost roughly half a mortgage payment, I expected War Room to be to an affirming, charming movie with a solidly biblical worldview. Confession: Though I respect the aim of God’s Not Dead, Son of God, Fireproof and the like, I thought they failed at being movies. I expected some stiff acting from War Room, and an admirable but predictable moral; I expected to give it a hearty “Meh.” What I didn’t expect was a surprisingly funny and well-done movie that holds up well enough against the explosions and spectacle in the theaters next door. When it was over, I walked to the car feeling like I’d seen a “real” movie. Continue reading

A Few Thoughts About my Grandpa Guy

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No jokes about how much hair I had in this photo.

My Grandpa Guy – my dad’s dad – passed away Sunday (Aug. 23). I prefer the euphemism “passed away” to “died.” Actually, the best option now that I think about it is “went home to be with the Lord.” It sounds like a trite cliche or church-speak, but it’s true for those that have put their hope and faith in Jesus Christ. Grandpa Guy put his faith in Jesus long ago. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 says it very well: “We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.” I mourn Grandpa Guy’s loss and I’m very sad that my dad doesn’t get any more time with his dad, but – and there is a but! – we do not grieve like those who have no hope! Jesus is our hope! Continue reading

Shopping Cart: A Trip Down Memory Lane

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Amazon.com turned 20 this week. I can’t say I’ve been on board since day one (I was only 13), but my shopping history shows I’ve been trying to make up for lost time. I’m fairly certain I made my first purchase on Amazon in 2004-ish, but Amazon only shows my purchases through 2006. I remember being very skittish about making online purchases in the beginning. How adorable I was back then! Heck, last week, I ordered sunscreen from Amazon because I was too lazy to go to Walmart. You’ve got to love Prime shipping!

So in honor of Amazon’s birthday, let’s take a look at an annotated look through my (partial) purchase history and see what we can discern about my shopping habits. (Note that even I list the number of purchases, that doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of items per order.) Continue reading

WWII POW’s pitch opens Royals’ season

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(photo courtesy KC Royals)

Mr. Mitchell is one of the nicer people I’ve talked to. I was initially a little nervous to call him; I thought he might be reluctant to talk about his experience as a POW or being shot out of the sky. Why would he want to relive that time of his life with some stranger over the phone? Perhaps he feels like that was another lifetime, because he was perfectly willing to (humbly) tell me his story:

BETHANY – Dale Mitchell took the mound at Kauffman Stadium in front 40,085 roaring fans. Opening Day, 2015: The defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals vs. the Chicago White Sox. Squinting through sunglasses, his cap pulled low, Mitchell cocked his arm back and let his pitch fly.

If you don’t remember Mitchell’s name from the KC starting rotation, it’s because at 90 years old, Mitchell had the honor of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Kauffman Stadium for the Royals’ home opener. A former high school second baseman, he and a grandson practiced the pitch on Easter and the next day it was the Royals’ star third baseman, Mike Moustakas who was on the receiving end. Continue reading

I’m Still Not Clear What They’re Avenging: Review of “The Avengers 2: Age of Ultron”

You know you've arrived when you even have to put the name of your movie on your poster.

You know you’ve arrived when you even have to put the name of your movie on your poster; half of a letter will do!

Rated PG-13, 141 minutes (watched 5/8/15)

There’s a moment of capital-T Truth in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Allow me to set the scene:  Two of our heroes are trapped in a crumbling church in a city that is levitating miles above the ground (yes, the entire city). A newcomer to the Avengers’ ranks is Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olson), and she is nervous. But hey, a swarm of homicidal, Pinocchio-quoting robots generally has that effect on me too. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) pauses from taking out said killer robots with Robin Hood kit,looks down at her, and grins:

“The whole city is flying. I have a bow-and-arrow. None of this makes any sense!”

Truer words have never been spoken, Hawkeye. He may as well have finished his thought: “Don’t think too much. Just go with it!” Continue reading

Where the Heart is? Review of “Home”

You know what? I kind of liked both How To Train Your Dragon and The Croods. Sure, I'll get it a shot.

You know what? I kind of liked both How To Train Your Dragon and The Croods. Sure, I’ll give it a shot.

Rated PG, 94 minutes (watched 4/4/15)

I chuckled more than I’d like to admit during a matinee of Home, but that doesn’t mean there’s anything new, groundbreaking or admirable here. Even for a non-Disney/non-Pixar computer animated movie, this is a generic and derivative animated feature.
Continue reading