Showing posts from October, 2015

NFL Picks, Week 8

We've reached week eight, which includes a clash of unbeatens in Denver. The Packers and the Broncos square off and the smart money is on Green Bay. But I am going with my heart. Lindsay's picks are in brackets.

NFL Week 8:
Patriots over Dolphins (Patriots)
Lions over Chiefs (Chiefs)
Falcons over Buccaneers (Falcons)
Vikings over Bears (Vikings)
Bengals over Steelers (Steelers)
Cardinals over Browns (Browns)
Titans over Texans (Texans)
Rams over 49ers (49ers)
Saints over Giants (Giants)
Ravens over Chargers (Chargers)
Jets over Raiders (Raiders)
Seahawks over Cowboys (Seahawks)
Broncos over Packers (Broncos)
Panthers over Colts (Panthers)

Last Week: 9-5
Lindsay: 7-7

Season: 67-38
Lindsay: 57-48

Week 8 Spread:
Dolphins +7.5 over Patriots
Lions +5.5 over Chiefs
Falcons -6.5 over Buccaneers
Vikings -1.5 over Bears
Bengals -.5 over Steelers
Cardinals -5.5 over Browns
Titans +3.5 over Texans
Rams -8.5 over 49ers
Giants +3.5 over Saints
Chargers +3.5 over Ravens
Jets -1.5 over Raiders

Do You Like Scary Movies?

In case you missed it, tomorrow is Halloween. In addition to binging on "fun size" candy bars and dressing up, it's typically a time to watch seasonal, scary movies. If you want horror on the small screen, "Ash vs. Evil Dead" debuts tomorrow on Starz. It's based on the "Evil Dead" movies, which are a good watch, too, if you're looking for something a little different.

But if you're looking for a movie to set the mood, here's a few suggestions by genre.

Something New: It Follows (2014)
* "It Follows" is one of the most interesting, well-made genre films I've seen in the last few years. It quietly debuted in theaters earlier this year, and now it's available on video and DVD. If you're looking for something weird that's a throw back to a bygone era, "It Follows" fills the void. It even, to some degree, follows the old 1970s model of throwing in a moral component to people's death.

Traditional Slashe…

Now Playing

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

Steve Jobs
Starring: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Seth Rogen, and Jeff Daniels
Synopsis: What do you think of when you think of Apple? Do you picture computers, iPods and phones? Or do you think of Steve Jobs, the company’s co-founder, who is probably the most enduring symbol of the company and, for many years, served as its public face. Jobs will always have an enduring legacy in the tech world for what Apple and its products mean, culturally. Much of his life and legacy was chronicled in Walter Issacson’s book about his life. That book, in part, served as the basis for this film. But screenwriter Aaron Sorkin wasn’t looking to make a page-by-page film based on the book. Instead, he sought to capture the essence of Jobs — his larger-than-life professional footprint and the way his personality made him difficult to deal with. Sorkin said in an interview he started thinking how he would turn Jobs’ story into a st…

Faith in Film — Devil

Tonight we look at a difficult film, "Devil," which was advertised like a straightforward horror movie but turns out to be something else. It's written by M. Night Shymalan, and it follows some of his familiar trademarks while looking at the idea of redemption and forgiveness.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this movie work for you, why or why not?

2. Have you ever experienced a deep loss? How did you respond in that situation?

3. Have you ever experienced a situation that made it difficult for you to offer forgiveness?

4. How does it feel to forgive? How does it feel to be forgiven?


Fall TV Roundup — Week Six

In these weekly posts I look at pilots and second episodes of new shows this fall. If you don't see a new show listed below, check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Supergirl, Mondays at 8 p.m. on CBS (Premiered October 26)
About: We live in a superhero rich time. There's shows from the Marvel and/or D.C. Comics world on every network. Now CBS is getting into the action. "Supergirl" also carries the weight of a lot of expectation. It's tangential to the bigger D.C. universe players, it comes from the team behind "The Flash" and "Arrow," and there's the potential to bring younger eyeballs to greying CBS. In addition, it's a superhero show built around a female hero. That's something that's been a cry from the public, and something potentially important. In other words, CBS has a lot riding on this show. And the premier was… OK. Honestly, I expected more given the cast and the production team behind this show. The pilot was too busy a…

2015 Broncos Season — The Bye Week

There are five unbeaten teams in the NFL through week seven — with the Broncos, Patriots, Packers, Bengals, and Panthers all at 6-0. But that won't last. The Broncos are probably the ugliest winners of that list, having looked mediocre in six games that they managed to win, largely thanks to the defense.

But that might have been the easiest portion of their schedule. So now they've had a week to rest and tinker, so let's hope that the Mile High Magic can, indeed, return as the Broncos make their way to the playoffs. Here's somethings to look at.

* November will be a challenge: The Broncos face two of their fellow unbeatens in November, beginning with the 6-0 Packers on Sunday, November 1. The rest of the month includes a date with the Colts (Nov. 8), with the Kansas City Chiefs (Nov. 15), the Chicago Bears (Nov. 22), and the New England Patriots (Nov. 29). The good news is that three of those games — Packers, Chiefs, and Patriots — is home. In fact, the Broncos have pl…

The Wounded Healer

As Christians, we don't like to dwell on the idea of suffering. In fact, as thinkers and writers like Donald Miller have pointed out, sometimes we lead people astray because we give the impression that suffering ends at the moment of conversion. That's obviously not true, but it creates a false narrative for the world.

I contend that the biggest struggle for Christians and non-Christians alike is to reconcile our idea of a loving and benevolent God with the suffering in the world. There's been countless songs, movies, stories, and poems from people trying to work that out.

A couple weeks ago in Faith in Film, we looked at the movie "Tree of Life." It's not a great movie to sit and watch, or an easy watch, but what fascinates me is that you feel the writer/director, Terrance Malick, trying to work out the question and faltering. Through the point-of-view of Jack as a boy (the character that best represents Malick) you hear this question of God, "Why shou…

Creative Vision

"Dad, in this life I've learned there are Mac people and PC people, and the choice defines you." — Dawson Leery, "Dawson's Creek"

My first computer was a PC. In fact, I had that computer all throughout college and I thought it was great. I had it for a long time, in fact I still have it. Then I started working for a newspaper, and we worked exclusively on Macs. In 2007 I got a MacBook Pro. I will never leave Mac.

The footprint of Apple — the company co-founded by Steve Jobs — is almost as large and outsized as the man was. In fact, people have iPods for music, iPads for reading and entertainment, iPhones to keep them connected to the world and some iteration of Mac computer to do their work. The vision of Jobs, a beautiful, accessible piece of equipment, is a reality. It's hard to imagine a world without that glowing apple with a bite missing.

The new biopic, "Steve Jobs," takes a look at the man and his enduring vision. It's not an all-e…

NFL Picks, Week 7

Week six was a wild one, and as a consequence my picks were just .500 for the week. But I'm still going strong for the season, as is Lindsay, whose picks are in brackets.

NFL Week 7:
Seahawks over 49ers (49ers)
Bills over Jaguars (Bills)
Falcons over Titans (Falcons)
Rams over Browns (Browns)
Lions over Vikings (Vikings)
Colts over Saints (Saints)
Steelers over Chiefs (Steelers)
Dolphins over Texans (Texans)
Patriots over Jets (Patriots)
Redskins over Buccaneers (Redskins)
Chargers over Raiders (Chargers)
Giants over Cowboys (Giants)
Panthers over Eagles (Eagles)
Cardinals over Ravens (Cardinals)

Last Week: 7-7
Lindsay: 7-7

Season: 58-33
Lindsay: 50-41

NFL Week 7 Spread:
Seahawks -5.5 over 49ers
Jaguars +4.5 over Bills
Falcons -4.5 over Titans
Browns +5.5 over Rams
Lions +2.5 over Vikings
Colts -4.5 over Saints
Steelers -1.5 over Chiefs
Dolphins -4.5 over Texans
Jets +9.5 over Patriots
Buccaneers +3.5 over Redskins
Raiders +4.5 over Chargers
Cowboys +4.5 over Giants
Panthers -2.5 over …

Now Playing

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

Beasts of No Nation
Starring: Idris Elba and Abraham Attah
Synopsis: "Beasts of No Nation" has drawn some rave reviews and there's talk of award nominations, particularly for young actor Attah, who carries a lot of this film. It's also an interesting gamble — a movie with loft aspirations that made its debut on NetFlix. Now, the cinema is coming to our home, too. Cary Fukunaga — who brilliantly directed the first season of "True Detective" — writes and directs this film, based on a book, about a child soldier in an unnamed African nation. It's not an easy watch, in fact it's a somewhat brutal film to watch. That's in part because of the good performances from Attah and Elba, who plays a violent and brutal military leader. It isn't a feel good movie or the kind of film you're supposed to be excited about watching. It's one that tells a specific story of a specific  experience of gener…

Faith in Film — The Blind Side

Tonight we take a look at a bit of a lighter film in "The Blind Side." But that's not to say there isn't something to be taken away from this story of faith in action.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this film work for you, why or why not?

2. During tough times in your life, what ways have you been lifted up by others?

3. As Christians, what role do we have in helping those in need in the world?

4. How can we help make a difference in the lives of those in need in our community?

Thoughts: This film was one of 10 Best Picture nominees for 2009 and earned an Academy Award for star Sandra Bullock for Best Actress. It’s an inspirational and true-life story of Michael Oher, who is the starting right tackle for the Carolina Panthers. It is a moving picture of what is possible when someone steps out of his or her comfort zone to help another in need.
The basic story centers on the Tuohy family, who live in Tennessee. Both kids, Collins and SJ, attend Briarcrest Christian Academ…

Fall TV Roundup — Week Five

In these weekly posts I look at the new shows of fall, reviewing the pilot and second episode. If you don't see a new show below, please check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mondays at 8 p.m. on the CW (Premiered October 12)
About: This show was originally pitched to Showtime but found its way to the CW. It's an hour-long comedy/musical about a New York lawyer who picked up her life and moved to West Covina, CA to follow an ex-boyfriend, who turns out to have a girlfriend. Hilarity ensues. I liked the pilot for this show and thought it had potential. The musical numbers were funny, and I liked the interactions with the cast. The second episode was a massive drop off. The comedy was grating and uncomfortable, and the musical numbers felt forced. This is a show that had a promising pilot, but I now have no desire to watch the series. This might have been a good idea for a movie, or perhaps would work better in a 30-minute format. But the second episode was a c…

2015 Broncos Season — Week 6

Here's a look at my thoughts on the Broncos' win over the Browns

Week Six: Broncos 26, Cleveland Browns 23
Season Record: 6-0 (2-0 Home)
Key Play: In overtime, after the Browns picked off Peyton Manning, Malik Jackson sacked Josh McCown for an eight-yard loss on second and long, knocking the Browns out of scoring range. The Broncos got the ball back and marched down the field to score the winning field goal.

Recap: By this point in the season, we known who these teams are. The first couple of weeks it was reasonable to wonder if it would just take the Broncos offense a while to get going. Now, it might be time for some genuine concern. The Broncos' offense isn't very good, and it's going to get to them at some point. They need to use the bye week to get better. Part of the problem is Peyton Manning, who threw three more interceptions on Sunday and heads into the bye week with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions. That's an alarming number. Less alarming is the Br…

The People of God

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too …

Off Court Demons

"This is why you come out and work. You put your time out in the gym, and being a little kid from New York, shoveling snow, dreaming of one day playing in the NBA playoffs, give yourself a chance to win the NBA championship." — Lamar Odom

I don't watch basketball as much as I used to. But when I do, I root for the Lakers. While moving to Colorado made it easier to see the Broncos, it's much harder to catch the Lakers. Probably for the best anyway, as the team is a shell of what it once was.

I started following the Lakers because of my dad. But they really didn't become my team until Shaq and Kobe started winning titles in the early 2000s. Then Shaq left, Kobe was petulant, and the team spiraled downward.

But the Lakers had another great swing player — Lamar Odom. Odom began his career with the Clippers then went to Miami. As part of the trade that shipped Shaq to the beach, Odom returned to LA, this time with the Lakers.

As Kobe learned humility, Phil Jackson re…

A Return to Grief and Loss

"I understand the pull. I understand that your family and your past, I understand that going back to them feels comfortable and easy, because the alternative, what we do is very, very hard. But there can't be any doubt Laurie. Because doubt is fire. And fire is going to burn you up. Until you are but ash." — Patti, "The Leftovers"

My wife sometimes jokes that I like to watch some weird and depressing things. I guess that's true. I'm fascinated by a lot of different kinds of story. I think stories have power, and represent bigger issues their creators want to explore. Weird and depressing stories can have value that way.

But there is probably nothing on TV that prepared me for "The Leftovers," an HBO drama based on the novel by Tom Perrotta and adapted by Damon Lindelof, who was an executive producer on "LOST." It debuted last summer, and the first season encapsulated the action of the novel. And it was often an incredibly rough watc…

NFL Picks, Week 6

It was a crazy week five, but I still went 9-5. But Lindsay was one better, cutting down the gap between us. Lindsay's picks are in brackets.

NFL Week 6:
Falcons over Saints (Falcons)
Broncos over Browns (Broncos)
Bengals over Bills (Bengals)
Bears over Lions (Bears)
Titans over Dolphins (Titans)
Vikings over Chiefs (Vikings)
Jets over Redskins (Redskins)
Cardinals over Steelers (Cardinals)
Jaguars over Texans (Texans)
Seahawks over Panthers (Panthers)
Packers over Chargers (Chargers)
49ers Over Ravens (49ers)
Patriots over Colts (Patriots)
Giants over Eagles (Giants)

Last Week: 9-5
Lindsay: 10-4

Season: 51-26
Lindsay: 43-34

Week 6 Vs. Spread:
Falcons -3.5 Over Saints
Broncos -4.5 Over Browns
Bengals -2.5 Over Bills
Bears +2.5 Over Lions
Titans -2.5 Over Dolphins
Vikings -3.5 Over Chiefs
Jets -5.5 Over Redskins
Cardinals -3.5 Over Steelers
Jaguars +.5 Over Texans
Panthers +6.5 Over Seahawks
Packers -9.5 Over Chargers
49ers +2.5 Over Ravens
Patriots -7.5 Over Colts
Giants +3.5 Over Eagl…

Faith in Film — Tree of Life

As we begin the second half of our exploration, tonight we'll tackle "Tree of Life," a fascinating and pensive movie, if a difficult watch.

Discussion Questions:
1. Did this movie work for you, why or why not?

2. How do you reconcile the nature of God with suffering in this world?

3. Why do bad things happen to good or innocent people?

4. What do you think of when you consider God? Who is God? How, as a mere human, can we rationally hope to understand God?

Thoughts: Few films received as mixed response as “Tree of Life.” It won the Palm D’Orr at the Cannes Film Festival — the highest prize for a film at the festival — and was a Best Picture nominee. But it wasn’t universally lauded, or even understood. It seemed like those that saw the film fell into two camps — they loved it for the style and exploration of larger themes or hated it for the style and the way it tackled those themes. There was very little middle ground. Such is the fate of many Terrance Malick films.

Fall TV Roundup — Week Four

Fall TV is in full swing, so it's time to analyze all the new shows. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new series. If you don't see a new show below, please check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mondays at 8 p.m. on the CW (Premiered October 12)
About: This series was originally pitched for Showtime, who rejected it. It was then picked up by the CW and is the lone new series to debut on the network this fall. That's a lot of pressure, and the potential for an odd fit. Rachel Bloom is a relative unknown, but talented. And the show's format is odd. It's an hour long comedy musical. Yes, musical. The pilot featured a couple lavish musical numbers which were great. It remains to be seen how often musical numbers are featured going forward, but that added a lot to the humor in the series. But I like the cast, I liked the story, and I liked the way it was put together. This was one of the better pilots I've seen, and the…

2015 Broncos Season — Week Five

The Broncos have one more game before their bye and they have yet to feel the sting of defeat. That's a good sign, especially since their offense hasn't come around yet.

Week Five: Broncos 16, Oakland Raiders 10
Season Record: 5-0 (2-0 Home)
Key Play: In the fourth quarter, trailing 9-7, the Raiders were driving and faced a third and five on the Broncos' 31 yard line. Derek Carr dropped back to pass and was intercepted by Chris Harris, Jr., who took the pick back 74 yards for a touchdown, putting the game away at 16-7.

Recap: The Broncos continue to struggle offensively. The team ran for just 43 yards, failed to produce an offensive touchdown and gave up two turnovers. Nothing about the offense looks right. But they continue to win. Winning is important, but it can also be deceiving. The Broncos could well head into their bye week 6-0 and yet I still wouldn't feel great about the team. They need to make offensive improvement. And while I saw that for a couple games, Sunda…

Serving Our City

"Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings." — Isaiah 58:12

This weekend we put the focus on serving Colorado Springs as a church. It's a way to honor the call God puts on his people to give back to the Lord, to be good stewards of the place God has set us. And there is a beauty in seeing the people of God at work to restore the city.

Cities are a place of vibrance and life. But they are also places of hurt and brokenness. As the people of God, we've been given a great chance to speak into those places of hurting and make a positive difference. But, too often, that's not where we go.

This weekend, churches from throughout our city banded together to help make our presence felt. I am proud to be a part of a church where, for many, this isn't a once-a-year occurrence. But there was still power in banding together in service.

The past two …

NFL Quarter Pole Update

Every year in the modern NFL you get teams that regress and teams that rise. Predicting which will fall into each category is the real trick. We've hit the quarter pole in the NFL season, a good time to revise predictions. I'll also do mid-season and three-quarter pole revisiting. Below is that I predicted pre-season and my revision after four weeks.

Preseason Predictions:
NFC Playoff Predictions:
West Champ — Seahawks
North Champ — Packers
South Champ — Falcons
East Champ — Cowboys
Wild Card — Giants
Wild Card — Eagles
Round One: Cowboys over Giants; Eagles over Falcons
Round Two: Packers over Eagles; Cowboys over Seahawks
NFC Title Game: Packers over Cowboys

AFC Playoff Predictions:
West Champ — Broncos
North Champ — Steelers
South Champ — Colts
East Champ — Patriots
Wild Card — Dolphins
Wild Card — Ravens
Round One: Broncos over Ravens; Steelers over Dolphins
Round Two: Broncos over Patriots; Colts over Steelers
AFC Championship: Colts over Broncos (my heart says Broncos, my …

NFL Picks, Week 5

Another solid week for me as I opened up a 9-pick lead in standard. Lindsay's picks are in brackets.

Week 5:
Texans over Colts (Texans)
Falcons over Redskins (Falcons)
Bills over Titans (Bills)
Chiefs over Bears (Bears)
Bengals over Seahawks (Bengals)
Ravens over Browns (Browns)
Packers over Rams (Rams)
Eagles over Saints (Eagles)
Jaguars over Buccaneers (Jaguars)
Cardinals over Lions (Cardinals)
Patriots over Cowboys (Patriots)
Broncos over Raiders (Broncos)
Giants over 49ers (Giants)
Steelers over Chargers (Chargers)

Last Week: 10-5
Lindsay: 9-6

Season: 42-21
Lindsay: 33-30

Week 5 Spread:
Texans +2.5 Over Colts
Falcons -7.5 Over Redskins
Bills -2.5 Over Titans
Bears +9.5 Over Chiefs
Bengals -1.5 Over Seahawks
Ravens -6.5 Over Browns
Packers -9.5 Over Rams
Saints +5.5 Over Eagles
Jaguars +2.5 Over Buccaneers
Cardinals -2.5 Over Lions
Patriots -9.5 Over Cowboys
Broncos -5.5 Over Raiders
Giants -7.5 Over 49ers
Steelers +3.5 Over Chargers

Last Week: 9-6
Season: 34-29

Now Playing

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

The Martian
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Synopsis: There have been plenty of films where people have been lost or cut off from the world. Tom Hanks was stuck on an Island. Robert Redford was stuck on a sailboat. Ang Lee made a film about a boy trapped with a Tiger on a life raft. And all of them made the most of their survival experience. The same is true of “The Martian,” a new film from Ridley Scott, starring Matt Damon and based on the popular novel from Andy Weir. In it, Damon’s Mars explorer is left for dead on the red planet. Except he’s not dead — just stuck. But what makes this different from other movies about harrowing survival is the setting. When you’re on an island or stuck in the middle of the ocean, there’s at least a chance a rescue crew might stumble upon you. When you’re trapped on Mars, you’re years away from rescue on a hostile planet not designed to sustain human life.…