PN’s Top Take-Aways in 2012

looking backAs we approach 2013, it is always nice to take a look back at the accomplishments of the past year. And while I am not particularly happy about the fact that I went post-less for the past six months, I am going to work on being more consistent with my posts this year. That said, of the articles I did write, there were a few observations and musings I was particularly proud. So – since it’s my blog, I offer you some small slices of the work from 2012. I hope it sparks your interest to read the full article, subscribe and come back again in 2013. Slainte!

From The Conflict Within Us All

With the opening shot – a quote from the Book of Job, set to the angelic tones of a classical church choir –the film immediately takes on a reverent tone. Yet within the struggles of each character is an unconventional questioning of God, faith, the family dynamic, life itself and our place in the grand scheme of it all.

Simultaneously, there appears to be a counter-argument here, that things happen for a reason right down to the molecular level…

I repeat, I am in awe of the scope and the magnitude of this film. And so it is without hesitation that I say Tree of Life is not for the casual film goer. This is not for the popcorn-munching, check your brain at the door just entertain me movie fan. If you are that type of person, please avoid this film – it’s just not your thing.

If, however, you are patient, and want to be challenged … if you plan to reward this film with multiple viewings … then by all means, dive in and let the imagery and sounds marinate the senses and soul – after all, these elements are just a few of many things that Malick does so well.
The imagery in the film is still-life stolen from a museum; the choral music is omnipresent throughout – this is a spiritual process and experience for both director and audience.

From Greg Smith, Goldman Sachs, and the (Higher) Road Less Traveled

Greg Smith was a Goldman Sachs executive director and head of the firm’s United States equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa prior to yesterday’s very public resignation (in the New York Times).  Heart of Darkness 2

I have two children that I pray I am raising to be good people. Yet, they are inundated by a society steeped in cynicism and entitlement. As a parent, when I have their attention for so very little time in the day, how am I to ensure that the lessons I teach are truly reaching them? How are they to respond to a crisis of conscience when the world offers them examples like this as an acceptable form of behavior – particularly when the behavior is lauded even, judging by the (countless) comments and tweets I have read.

By resigning, Mr. Smith finally held himself responsible for the poor choice of pursuing a career with Goldman Sachs. Publishing the Op-Ed piece was self-serving, and terribly misguided choice on Mr. Smith’s part. It was an even poorer decision by the New York Times editorial board.

From The End is Near: Is the Movie-Going Experience on Life Support?

On top of that, the last time I went to the theaters, I counted at least 9 different people texting, and in one recent trip 2 people actually answered their cell phones and carried on a full conversation. So, Grey’s ire is not too far removed from what I have seen as well.

Add to the increased cost in the average trip to the movies with the growing availability of OnDemand services as well as streaming content – and the home theater experience is a very real threat. God knows, in our family it is much more economical to rent a movie OnDemand, heat up the popcorn in the microwave and settle in our PJ’s for the night.

That said, unlike Grey, I don’t think that the movie-going experience is dying, nor is it dead. I do think it is undergoing a metamorphosis and is still trying to figure out its next iteration.

From The Mouths of Madness, Part One

Fast-forward almost twenty years later, and everyone from movie critics to constitutional attorneys are espousing the violence of television and movies as a large part of the problem.
To that, I emphatically declare a resounding and singular response: bullshit.

At what point, in this day and age, will we stand-up and demand of one another some personal accountability? At what point will we all be graceful enough to admit that there is evil in this world, and that the answer lies deep inside that twisted soul? At what point will we collectively agree that this Age of Entitlement has gone entirely too far?

From The Mouths of Madness, Part Two – Where was God?

… in the days that have followed the Aurora, CO shootings, I have heard countless stories of the people throwing themselves in front of their wives, girlfriends, children, and friends when James Holmes opened fire.

From what I have read, 8 of the 12 victims died protecting the ones they loved. There were countless other victims wounded doing the same thing.

It stands to reason that if evil is the absence of Love and God, then these people were Good – full of love for their family and friends they were protecting. Where was God that night you asked? I would argue he was most definitely there that night – helping these folks make the unfathomable, split-second choices they made diving in front of sure death for their loved ones.
I would argue that God was most definitely there.

Here’s hoping that in 2013, God continues to grace us all with his presence, especially in times when we don’t understand why things are happening.

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