Showing posts from August, 2013

The Final 53

On Saturday the Denver Broncos finalized their 53 man roster. There are some interesting choices that were made in the final cut down. Among those decisions were keeping just five wide receivers, but keeping three quarterbacks and 11 in the secondary.

Some pleasant surprises:
* Keeping Zac Dysert. Dysert showed some great skills during the final preseason game and provides the Broncos some great depth.

* CJ Anderson. Anderson ran great during the Broncos' first pre-season game, then got injured. I thought he was out, but the Broncos kept him — the fifth running back on the roster.

* 11 Defensive backs. I thought secondary cuts would be the hardest, so did the Broncos. Instead, they kept pretty much everyone. The team has six corners and five safeties, offering a great mix of youth and experience.

Some surprises:
* The Broncos have just five wide receivers. The team cut all the receivers that played on Thursday night. Tavares King and Gerell Robinson were expected to vie for a spot,…

2013 Broncos Season: Preseason, Week 4

The final week of the preseason has come and gone. Next time the Broncos take the field, it will be for keeps.

Preseason Week 4: Arizona Cardinals 32, Denver Broncos 24
Preseason Record: 2-2 (1-1 Home)
Key Play: Up 24-17 in the fourth quarter, tight end Jake O'Connell made a reception in Denver territory and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Cardinals. Following the turnover, the Cardinals scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion to take the lead.

Recap: The fourth preseason game is an interesting dance. From one standpoint, key players don't see the field, which is a disappointment. However, it's a chance to see your depth as a team and to see who's fighting for a roster spot in the season. Last night didn't disappoint from that standpoint. The Broncos did some good things, and there were some players that got a chance to shine. One of the hard things will be seeing who doesn't get picked up as the cuts start rolling in today. Most of all, the Bro…

Upcoming Releases — September

Here's a look at the new movies coming to a theater near you in September.

Friday, September 6:
Riddick — It's been a while since Vin Diesel suited up as Riddick. My guess is that there aren't many people that have fond memories of "The Chronicles of Riddick," but this installment looks like more of a return to "Pitch Black." That was a weird, edgy film that worked. If they can recapture that here, this might be a cool film. And Diesel has been hot lately since the resurgence of the "Fast & Furious" series.

Friday, September 13:
Insidious, Chapter 2 — Full disclosure, I never saw "Insidious." While I applaud the idea that horror movies are moving away from cutting young women to ribbons and focusing on people being haunted by ghosts, I still can't make myself care about this movie. Maybe I'll RedBox the first one and change my mind... But this seems fitting for a Friday the 13th release date.

The Family — This is a mob a…

Not Down With 'The Message'

One of the more common movements in Christian circles is citing "The Message" when reading Scripture. It's becoming a popular translation, and I feel like in 20-30 years it might be one of the most dominant forms of Scripture read at church.

That bugs me. I know what the version is trying to do. Eugene Peterson, who transcribed "The Message" translation, was looking for a way to make the Gospel fresh to connect with modern adults. He said, "While I was teaching a class on Galatians, I began to realize that the adults in my class weren't feeling the vitality and directness that I sensed as I read and studied the New Testament in its original Greek. Writing straight from the original text, I began to attempt to bring into English the rhythms and idioms of the original language. I knew that the early readers of the New Testament were captured and engaged by these writings and I wanted my congregation to be impacted in the same way. I hoped to bring the N…

My Life in Fantasy

I once saw an exchange with a friend of mine on Facebook. Someone asked him if he was still playing Fantasy Baseball. He responded, "I wouldn't call it a fantasy." Yep, that pretty much sums it all up.

Four years ago, someone asked me to play Fantasy Football. Having never done it, I said yes. I didn't really know what I was doing, but I still loved it. I drafted Michael Vick and Tim Tebow, and both ended up exploding and giving me enough points to finish second in the league.

The next year, I did it again. It didn't go well, and it was frustrating. That was when I announced my retirement from Fantasy Football. But, much like Brett Favre, it didn't stick.

The following fall, when a friend asked me to play again, I said yes. This time I thought strategy would save me. Then another friend asked me to play and, suddenly, I went from retired to playing in two leagues. Again, it didn't go according to plan. And, again, I announced my retirement from Fantasy F…

How Genoa is saving "The Newsroom"

Genoa is an ongoing storyline on the second season of "The Newsroom" that is coming to a head. The show has two episodes left, and this storyline will have major fallout. Not everyone is excited about the storyline, in fact some have complained, but I think it's improved the show during its second season.

Though based on actual events, the Genoa storyline is fictional. It's a story that's allowed the characters in "The Newsroom" to live and breathe in their own world. This has freed up the episodes to feel more like the hallmarks of Aaron Sorkin's greatest shows.

With "Sports Night," which was a fictional sports show in a fictional sports world, and "The West Wing," which was about a fictional Presidential administration, Sorkin allowed the characters to experience events that weren't bogged down by actual history. Sure, the stories mirrored history, but they weren't known events. That allowed the shows and characters to…

2013 Broncos Season: Preseason, Week 3

Another game, another recap. This time it was for the Broncos' first game at home, a preseason tilt with the St. Louis Rams.

Preseason Week 3: Broncos 27, Rams 26
Preseason Record: 2-1
Key Play: With the game tied 20-20, the Broncos blocked a Rams punt. This led to a short field and a five-yard touchdown run from Lance Ball, giving the Broncos the win.

Recap: This is a win, but it was ugly. The Broncos turned the ball over four times, and with all the starters in they trailed 20-10 at the half. Of course it's hard to say how this game would have ended were it no preseason. The Rams scored a touchdown with just under two minutes left. An extra point would have tied the game. It was preseason and it was pouring. So the Rams went for two points and missed. At times the Broncos did some good things, but for a game that was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the regular season, this team has plenty of work to do. They don't look like Super Bowl favorites right now. And a four tu…

The Mile High Experience

Tomorrow I will do my usual game re-cap for the old Broncos. But today's post is devoted to the Mile High experience after Lindsay and I attended our first game in person. Below are some thoughts I have after experiencing a game in person.

* The Hotel VQ is awesome. Last August we toured the stadium and noticed a little hotel nearby. When we got the chance to go to the game, we remembered the hotel and got a room. It was a fantastic idea. First, you get free parking. Second, it's about 10 minutes from the stadium. So it was easy to walk into the game and easy to get back to our room, and a bed, shortly after the game.

* The seats are tiny. This seems to be a trend at professional sports. Somehow the seats at professional sporting events are designed to make commercial airlines roomy.

* There is a lot that happens during TV timeouts. I never really thought about what happens at the stadium during a TV time out, but there are performances, dance parties in the stands, fun trivi…

Guilty Pleasure Drama — Congo

Today I continue my Guilty Pleasure series with the final drama entry.

Congo (1995)
Starring: Laura Linney, Dylan Walsh, Bruce Campbell, Joe Don Baker, Ernie Hudson, and Tim Curry
About: I'm not going to claim this is an incredible movie, but I do think it gets a bum wrap. Most people don't really think of "Congo," but if they do they don't think highly of it. Still, it might be one of the most faithful adaptations of a Michael Crichton novel. And the screenplay comes from playwright John Patrick Shanley, who gave the world "Doubt." The film also has a pretty decent cast, an interesting story, and a good flow. Would the special effects be better if the film wasn't 18 years old? Yes. Is this the deepest film? No. Still, it's entertaining and has a fun vibe and story. I love Crichton books, so I'm not exactly impartial. But of his books that were adapted into film, setting aside the gold standard in "Jurassic Park" (which isn't …

Now Playing

Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

The Butler
Starring: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Alan Rickman, Robin Williams, James Marsden, Jane Fonda, John Cusack, Liev Schreiber, Cuba Gooding, Jr., and Lenny Kravitz
Synopsis: In 2009, director Lee Daniels delivered a hauntingly beautiful story of courage and overcoming long odds with “Precious.” It was a powerful story that earned a number of award nominations. Though different in style, tone and story, Daniels has once again delivered a powerful story with “The Butler.” The film takes a hard look at the struggles of African Americans to gain respect, rights and equality. And it presents it all through the eyes of a butler working at the White House. Part “Do The Right Thing” and part “Forrest Gump,” the film has a style and pacing all its own. Though it’s only mid-August, the arrival of “The Butler” signals a move to awards season. One of the fun aspects of “Forrest Gump” was the way it interwove historic…

The Broncos' Goat Rodeo

After a 13-3 season last year, the Broncos seemed to be on top of the world. Then it came crashing down as the Baltimore Ravens stunned them at home in the playoffs.

To start the off-season, the Broncos seemed to say and do the right things. The team moved quickly to secure players to make another run — including signing receiver Wes Welker. Then things began to shift. There was the screw up with Elvis Dumervil which ended with him in a Ravens uniform. Some Broncos executives were arrested and rumors of a Von Miller suspension surfaced.

After two weeks of the preseason, the picture has become even murkier. The Broncos have injury issues. Stewart Bradley, signed to fill the void at middle linebacker, had surgery and is out. Champ Bailey is hobbled. The other cornerback, Dominique Rogers-Cromartie is also banged up. Derek Wolfe, the best pass rusher on the defensive line, left the second preseason game in an ambulance. And Von Miller is, indeed, suspended — for six games.

And that'…

Building a 'House of Cards'

Beau Willimon delivered a scathing look at the political process with "Ides of March," a George Clooney film based on Willimon's stage play. The world of "Ides of March" depicted politics as it likely is today — brutal, dishonest, and cruel. People are used as pawns in a larger game, then discarded. Politicians thrive on back room deals while keeping their public persona pristine.

In fact, the world Willimon created had more in common with "Game of Thrones" than what we think of when we think of our political system, or what we'd like to imagine our political system is like. If "The West Wing" presented an idealized vision of what our political system could and should be, "Ides of March" offered a vision of how they really are.

So it makes sense that Willimon would be drawn to the TV adaptation of "House of Cards." The show centers on Majority Whip Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a veteran of Capitol Hill and a shrew…

The End In Sight

"Dexter" has just four more episodes until it bows out for good. Since the beginning of the season, the question has been how the show will end. I think there are two schools of thought on this.

First surrounds the idea that Dexter Morgan (Michael C. Hall) isn't a great guy. He's a serial killer. Sure, he's the protagonist of the series, but he's still a serial killer. The show has long walked the tight rope with Dexter, and it would make sense for him to be caught. For as noble as they've tried to paint his mission, what he's doing is still wrong. It's illegal. It's immoral. It's unconscionable. So it would make sense for him to face punishment for it.

The second theory surrounds the fact this is a TV show and, for the most part, people like to see things end well for the protagonist. We've invested eight seasons in Dexter, Deb (Jennifer Carpenter), and his son, Harrison. It's hard not to hope he gets his happy ending.

So the que…

Guilty Pleasure Action — Replacement Killers

Today the guilty pleasure summer series continues with another action entry.

Replacement Killers (1998)
Starring: Chow Yun Fat, Mira Sorvino, Michael Rooker, and Til Schwieger
About: Anytime you can get a movie that, in less than 90 minutes, sets the record for most blanks fired in a film, you know you have something special. When "Replacement Killers" was made, Yun Fat was just starting to be established in America. Long a Chinese action star, with this film he transitioned to being an action star in the United States as well. The story is pretty simple, the soundtrack is fitting, and this movie even includes an Academy Award winning actress in Sorvino. It's also the first feature film from Antoine Fuqua, who went on to offer the world "Training Day." This isn't a movie you have to think about too deeply, but it's kind of fun if you like action movies. It's a film that turns gun play into art, and it has a couple of charismatic leads. The final se…

2013 Broncos Season: Preseason, Week 2

Recaps of Broncos games continue this week... hopefully all the way to the Super Bowl. But given last night's horror show, we'll have to see.

Preseason Week 2: Seattle Seahawks 40, Denver Broncos 10
Preseason Record: 1-1
Key Play: In the second quarter, trailing 17-7, Broncos running back Ronnie Hillman fumbled as he neared the goal line. Seahawks defensive back Brandon Browner picked up the fumble and returned it 106 yards for the touchdown to put the Seahawks up 24-7.

Recap: What went right for the Broncos on Saturday night in Seattle? The answer is very little. When the announcers, late in the fourth quarter and looking to fill time, commented that the Broncos did some good things and had some things to work on. I would agree with the last bit... Usually when you're in a game you want to dominate in all three phases. Well, that was certainly true of the Seahawks. Russell Wilson looked good running the first team offense, which enjoyed success in the first half. The Seahawk…

Tragedy at Fruitvale

"But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous." — Matthew 5:44-45

Oscar Grant was heading home in the early morning hours of New Year's Day, 2009, when his life came to a brutal end. "Fruitvale Station," a film that soared at the Cannes Film Festival, chronicles the final 24 hours of Oscar's life. It begins with cell phone footage of the events at Fruitvale Station, and it closes with a 2013 tribute to Oscar held at the same station.

This has been a tough time for our country. This summer saw the controversial outcome of the George Zimmerman trial, a case where many believe a young man was shot because he was black and in the wrong neighborhood. It's hard not to think of that when watching "Fruitvale Station," the story of a young black man who was shot and killed…

Now Playing

Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

Clear History
Starring: Larry David, Jon Hamm, Kate Hudson, Michael Keaton, Bill Hader, Danny McBride, and Amy Ryan
Synopsis: This is the latest TV movie from HBO. Larry David has been at home at HBO for nearly a decade, bringing his loveable curmudgeon alter-ego to life on "Curb Your Enthusiasm." It's rumored the show will be back for another season, but it's been off the air for more than a year. "Clear History," a one-off movie about a curmudgeon who gets fired from a company right before his shares would net him a billion dollars will appeal to "Curb" fans. In fact, it would be fair to say the film feels very much like an extended episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm." David is playing a different character, but the mannerisms, ideas, and the way it's constructed is all familiar. This time he's surrounded by a great cast — including Hamm, McBride, and a very colorful character…

Guilty Pleasure Comedy — Radioland Murders

Today I continue my Guilty Pleasure series with another comedy entry.

Radioland Murders (1994)
Starring: Brian Benben, Mary Stuart Masterson, Ned Beatty, Michael McKean, Jeffrey Tambor, Larry Miller Corbin Bernsen, and Scott Michael Campbell
About: When most people think about George Lucas they think about "Star Wars," or maybe the "Indiana Jones" franchise. But one of my favorite Lucas projects is this 1994 comedy that slipped under the radar. It's set in the 1930s at a radio network on the night it launches. It takes audiences back to a magical time when programming required you to use your imagination. It's also a murder mystery with a twist. And, to top it all off, it's a slapstick, screwball comedy that fits with the era it's depicting. That's a complex description, and it's a complex concept to describe. It as a film that didn't land big with audiences, but one that's still fun to watch today. It's something a little diffe…

Guilty Pleasure Drama — City Hall

Today I'm continuing my summer look at Guilty Pleasure movies with another drama entry.

City Hall (1996)
Starring: Al Pacino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda, Danny Aiello, Marin Landau, and Richard Schiff
About: Pacino is a great actor. He has been the lead in some iconic films and created some iconic roles. Somehow this film gets over looked a bit. In some ways it was ahead of its time. By now we have plenty of gritty shows and movies that examine the corruption in our political system. But that wasn't exactly the case in 1996. This was a movie that had an interesting mystery to it and some powerful sequences. To this day I think the speech Pacino makes at the funeral of a young shooting victim is one of the best I've seen in a film. But this is also a movie about losing our illusions about the nobility and honesty in politics. We'd like it to be there, but it isn't. That's something we get in our current entertainment — with shows like "House of Cards"…

Age of the Anti-Hero Continues

"If it's ever said that we did for Detroit what "The Wire" did for Baltimore, it would just be the highest compliment. I wouldn’t presume that we’re yet anywhere close to being mentioned in the same breath with that show." — Chris Mundy, producer/writer for "Low Winter Sun"

AMC is a network in transition. "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" put the network's original programming on the map. But both are aging. "Breaking Bad" is in the midst of its final eight episodes. "Mad Men" returns for another season next year, but that will likely be it.

So the network needs new life. "Hell on Wheels" has a niche audience, "The Killing" had a tremendous third season but hasn't attracted many new views, and "The Walking Dead" is a ratings juggernaut so long as it sticks to slaying copious amounts of zombies.

On Sunday, behind the premier of the final eight episodes of "Breaking Bad,"…

Worship in Rest

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God." — Exodus 20:8-10a

Rest is something we don't get enough of, for the most part. With the advent of technology, we are more connected than we've ever been. I get my e-mail to my phone and, at times, have even done work on my phone. When I was on vacation, I got plenty of work done thanks to my phone, wireless Internet connections, and my laptop.

We literally never unplug. We also live chaotic lives. We work long hours. We skip meals. We wedge in sleep when we get around to it. And we bounce from activity to activity. With the advent of all this instant access, thousands of channels, and plenty to offer stimulation, our attention spans are getting shorter, too. We are an instant gratification culture. We don't have time to wait, time to waste, or time to be still.

The problem is, we need that. And when we do stop, we crash.…

Leadership Learning

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly..." — Theodore Roosevelt

The Global Leadership Summit, offered by the Willow Creek Association, was this week. On Thursday and Friday, for eight hours each day, we as participants got to hear from 14 different speakers on leadership. And that doesn't even cover the extras at the conference. It was a lot to take in and a lot to consider, an…

2013 Broncos Season: Preseason, Week 1

I have decided that this season I will recap each and every Broncos game. After all, I watch the whole thing, so it makes sense. So for those of you that love Broncos recaps from people who are too emotionally invested, merry Christmas. For those that don't, at least the NFL only has one game a week.

Preseason Week 1: Broncos 10, San Francisco 49ers 6
Preseason Record: 1-0
Key Play: Second quarter, middle linebacker Nate Irving forces a fumble, recovered by outside linebacker Shaun Phillips and returned nine yards for a touchdown. Score: 7-3, Broncos

Recap: The first preseason game is rough. You don't see stars for very long — if at all — and the players are rusty. So the games are ugly. This was an ugly game. There were no offensive touchdowns and, in fact, little offense in general. Behind second-year starter Colin Kaepernick, the 49ers were able to mount a decent opening drive, leading to a field goal. The 49ers then had one decent drive in the second half, which led to anothe…

Now Playing

Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

2 Guns
Starring: Denzel Washington, Mark Wahlberg, Paula Patton, James Marsden, Bill Paxon, and Edward James Olmos
Synopsis: Seeing Washington and Wahlberg headlining a film gives one a sense of hope. Hope that the film will rise above its description. Hope that it will offer great performances. Hope that it’s more than just a loose plot strung between action sequences. Anyone who had that false sense of hope about “2 Guns” was probably feeling good during the opening sequence. It was clever, allowed inter-play between its two star leads and offered a glimmer of hope. It turned out to be one of the best parts of the film, which devolved into everything you’d expect. Washington seems drawn to these types of films. It feels similar to “Safe House,” “Déjà vu” and “Out of Time,” all recent entries on Washington’s resume. Wahlberg has similarly been drawn to these sorts of action films as well. And while both do fine jobs in the lead ro…

'The O.C.' A Decade Later

Ryan: Sometimes I think you talk just to make sounds. Seth: Well, sometimes I do. - "The O.C."
Monday marked 10 years since the premier of "The O.C.," a teen soap on FOX that premiered in the summer, likely because people didn't think it would gain much traction. After all, it had been a few years since "Beverly Hills 90210" limped to the finish and a few months since "Dawson's Creek" ended, taking teen angst off the small screen.
I had just graduated college, I was trying to adjust to my first "adult" job, and I was WAY TOO EXCITED about a teen soap premiering. In other words, I was at my TV when the show debuted, and I stayed that way throughout its four-season run.
I have long been a fan of teen dramas. Though in recent years I've become more drawn to the prestige dramas, for a long time in my life I had a theory about TV. While in film I tend to be drawn to things that make me think deeply, TV has been more a place of …

Who Are We?

"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people." — Gandhi

We are embracing a new vision statement at First Pres, and as part of thinking that through the big question has been why now? In response, most of it has come down to the idea that our culture has changed. Someone in our group meeting asked, what is the culture now?

It's a valid question. What is our culture? Who are we? If we don't know that, we won't really know who we're trying to reach or how. I've been thinking about that question. I think our art — TV, movies, music, books, visual art, etc. — is a reflection of our core values. If you agree with that, and you consider those mediums now, it says a shockingly high amount about how our culture has changed.

In a recent survey from the Pew Forum For Religious Studies, it was noted that 77 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians. That's excluding Mormons. That's a huge number, but when you look …

'The Killing' brings its third season to a close

"You can't put a price on wisdom." — Det. Holder, "The Killing"

"The Killing" is a fascinating show. It's pilot drew effusive praise. It's first season drew effusive criticism. It's second season drew crickets. And it's third season came as a surprise.

But showrunner Veena Sud and her stars, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, made the most of a second chance. Without a doubt the third season was the show's best, and it offered the drama, gritty stories, and acting showcases that were promised in the pilot. Like so many shows in the modern era, it also failed to save its best for last.

"Game of Thrones," throughout its three years, has become known for its penultimate episode. It's the game changer that makes you say whoa. "The Killing" followed a similar pattern. Technically Sunday's finale was two episodes, but it was the week before that was the whoa moment for the season. Following through the executio…

Guilty Pleasure Action — Serenity

We continue our Guilty Pleasure summer series with another action entry.

Serenity (2005)
Starring: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Jewel Staite, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Summer Glau, and Adam Baldwin
About: Like most of America, I never saw "Firefly" during its short, inglorious run on FOX. But I remember seeing the trailer for this film and being intrigued. Then I finally saw the film. It's hard to really describe "Serenity," or its TV show predecessor "Firefly," in a few words. You could call it a space western, which is accurate, but doesn't describe the wonder of the show and movie. The cast is great. The writing is great. It could be considered an action film, comedy or drama — and really it's all three. The movie is great and works on two levels. It can stand alone. Having not seen the show that inspired it, I didn't feel lost. But it also works as a fitting cap to a show that was cancelled too soon. It answers question…

Guilty Pleasure Comedy — 10 Things I Hate About You

Today I continue my guilty pleasure summer series with another comedy entry.

10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
Starring: Heath Ledger, Julia Stiles, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and David Krumholtz
About: When this film was released 14 years ago, it seemed like Ledger and Stiles would be big stars in the years to come. Now, the most successful is arguably Gordon-Levitt. It's hard not to think of the tragedy of Ledger when thinking about this film, or to wonder what happened to Stiles. This film also takes me back to college, which is when I saw it. It came out during the space between ending high school and beginning college. When I saw the trailer, I didn't know what to think. What I got was an iconic and amusing film that's just as watchable today as it was when it was released. This kicked off a string of teen films that were taken from classic works of William Shakespeare, in this case "The Taming of the Shrew." This film had good humor, an amusing story, and a gre…

Guilty Pleasure Drama — Lady in White

Today we continue our guilty pleasure series with a drama entry that just might creep you out.

Lady in White (1988)
Starring: Lukas Haas, Len Cariou, and Alex Rocco
About: When I was a kid, I was pretty cocky about what I could watch. I told my mom nothing scared me. She went on a hunt to disprove that hypothesis. One of her choices was "Lady in White," a ghost story set in 1962, that succeeded in creeping me out. In fact, it's a film that features a sweet little period tune that becomes a part of the reveal of the killer. That stuck out to me so much that, years later, while watching "The Green Mile" in the theater, when Tom Hanks' character plays the same song during a romantic dance with his wife, I clenched in fear. Watching the film now, as an adult, it doesn't elicit the same reaction. Still, it's a fascinating little independent film and ghost story. If you enjoy those sorts of things, this would be one to check out. It was a movie that neve…

Now Playing

Here's a look at the new movies I saw this week.

The To Do List
Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Rachel Bilson, Bill Hader, Sarah Steele, Alia Shawkat, and Scott Porter
About: “The To Do List” comes from Maggie Carey, who is no stranger to offbeat comedy. She previously worked on the TV show “In The Motherhood” and “Funny Or Die Presents,” and is married to former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Bill Hader, who co-stars in this film. “The To Do List” is about what you’d expect from a raunchy summer comedy. The film is set in Boise, Idaho in 1993, which adds some fun nostalgia to the film. Carey does a good job of capturing that little slice of life, which will probably be a fun trip down memory lane for those that were teenagers in the early 1990s. Plaza — who shines on the small screen as part of the “Parks and Recreation” ensemble — does a good job in the lead role. She plays Brandy as stiff and clinical in many respects, which only adds to the humor of th…

The Trouble With Rules

"You have all these rules and you think that they'll save you." — The Joker, "The Dark Knight."

Today I get to be the featured speaker at our Oasis service. The passage being considered today is Mark 7:1-23, a section where the Pharisees question Jesus about the fact that his disciples aren't following the letter of the Kosher laws. Jesus hits them back, questioning whether it's the rules or something more that is more important.

In fact, the central question for the passage is are we saved by the law or by faith? As believers, we should know the answer to that question. But the Pharisees were slavishly devoted to the law, and they thought that devotion to the law would save them. In the process, they'd forgotten why we had the law in the first place.

Sometimes we think of this as the spirit of the law rather than the letter of the law. As humans, we struggle with this idea. My wife watches two little boys during the week. As part of her job, she t…