State of the Blog

If you are reading this, I am probably already dead…

No, I’ve just been pulled in other directions. Owing to (1) preparing to do a part-time research master’s, (2) a resurgence of anxiety and depression, and (3) committing to writing film reviews over here, I have had less ability to post.

But I have returned (like Sauron) and intend to at least finish season one of Person of Interest and the series on pornography.

I have also changed my mind about some parts of online writing, more to follow on that.

Keep flying, cowboys.

Understudy Review: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 is enjoyable and amazing all the way through. It ping-pongs between comedy and tragedy and heartwarming Found Family love with effortless grace. It is the closest Marvel have come to making their Terminator 2; that is, a legitimately great genre movie that will still be worth watching when its originating cultural moment has passed.

But Vol 2 is not quite that movie. Vol 2 is a little long and a little unbalanced; not defined or incisive enough in its themes. It does at least have something to say and that something is backed up by what happens in the movie (which more Marvel movies could try).

If you liked the first movie, you will love this movie. If you’re waiting for the Marvel Shakespeare, keep waiting. If you want to have a fun time at the movies and can hold your bladder for two and a half hours, see this movie. If you want to take kids to the movies, pick something else.

Spoilers aren’t real.

The first mystery

Some people, including mature Christians whom I greater respect, struggle to understand how both (a) God sovereignly ordains and establishes the course of our lives and (b) we have a freedom that is appropriate to agents with moral responsibilities (the execution of which will be judged). If God has already decreed what will happen, how can we have the genuine choice that we intuitively feel we possess?

Fair enough.

But I want to suggest that there are even stranger mysteries behind and beneath the topic of free will. God is perfect and infinite. He created a good universe. That is, a perfect and infinite being created something genuinely good, but not perfect; something absolutely dependent upon its creator, but with real existence of its own. The God who is three persons created people who exist only as mirrors for the glory of the Son, yet have their own identity; who can only be understood in light of God, and yet are not God.

The first mystery is creation. God made something that was not him, but reflected him; something that came from his action, but not his nature; that reflected his nature, without being an extension of that nature. God made us good but not perfect. And yet he also made us perfectible.

Stick that in your metaphysical paradox pipe and smoke it.

Some reasons why School of Rock is the best school/teacher movie ever made

  1. The teacher’s obvious self-centeredness and arrogance is portrayed as an actual flaw that he overcomes by seeing the class create something better than his efforts.
  2. There is both a reaction against conventional discipline and an appreciation that there needs to be order and some kind of discipline.
  3. Many kinds of talent and ability are recognised and treated as valuable.
  4. The administration in the form of Miss Mullins is treated as a real person with understandable motivations.
  5. The chief source of pressure is the expectations of the parents – but they are also depicted as real human beings.
  6. The epilogue shows a compromise between different forces in education rather than one side being utterly wrong.
  7. Characters believe in something bigger than themselves and are changed by it (rock and roll).
  8. We see actual dedication and practice rather than pure talent.

    Apart from the unfortunate gay kid stereotype, it’s almost a perfect movie.