Sunday, July 05, 2015

OH, GO AHEAD AND PAY SOME ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN

One of the nice things about the job I actually get paid for (sadly, nobody tosses money at movie reviewers these days) is that it affords me the opportunity to drive all over north Georgia. And since I have a camera with me at all times, I have, as of late, had the urge to share some of the weird and/or interesting things I run across on Instagram. Here’s a sampling:

Not a giant or a rat... but it was alive, so it had that going for it. #fairgroundart

A photo posted by EegahInc (@eegahinc) on

Ran across this little #church today where apparently they're trying out some DIY #stainedglass

A photo posted by EegahInc (@eegahinc) on

Not sure if my sweet gum tree is feeling frisky or if I'm being invaded by #podpeople #natureisweird

A photo posted by EegahInc (@eegahinc) on

Haven't seen one of these in a while. Classic #anightmareonelmstreet pinball machine. #noes

A photo posted by EegahInc (@eegahinc) on

#catholic #monasteryoftheholyspirit

A photo posted by EegahInc (@eegahinc) on

“Wonder is a great grace, the grace that God gives us in our encounter with Jesus Christ.” Pope Francis noted back in 2013. “It is something that draws us outside of ourselves with joy.” And, as His Holiness’ recent encyclical, Laudato si’, pointed out, that inner experience of meeting the living Christ can then transform the way we view the outer world, allowing us to approach nature and the environment with an openness to awe and wonder. Me, I guess I just like to try and expand it just one step further and leave myself open to the weird and wonderful in just about everything, even otherwise benign statues of chicken farmers.

So, if you feel like following along on my travels through the ATL and up into Deliverance territory, just head on over to Instagram and follow me at eegahinc. If you do, I’ll be sure to follow back so I can see what kind of wonders you’re finding in this wonderfully weird world we live in.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

NOW SHOWING AT A BLOG NEAR YOU

Now Showing Marquee 3

With so much of the world gleefully falling apart right now, I doubt very many people have noticed my general lack of blogging over the past few weeks. Just in case you have, though, it’s because two broken down cars, a HVAC on the fritz, and a furnace pouring smoke into the house caused me to temporarily set aside blogging so as to earn a few extra bucks. Apparently, nobody trades repairs for cartoons or movie reviews. Fortunately, everything is almost fixed now (my broken stuff, that is, not the world), so I can get back to blogging soon.

Of course, while I’ve been preoccupied, others have more than taken up my slack when it comes to discussing faith and movies. For instance, while it’s still close to a year away, folks are beginning to wax philosophic on the upcoming Batman v. Superman movie. Over at Crisis magazine, Sean Fitzpatrick views the clash of titans as a “contemporary mythical sign of a contemporary educational disparity.” Meanwhile, Catholic Skywalker links to a priest’s perspective on the inherent heroism he hopes will emerge during the story.

Catholic Skywalker also has some words to say on the differences between the atheism of Woody Allen and that of Joss Whedon and how one of them manages to leave open the window to hope. Along those same lines, Joe Wetterling from The Baptized Imagination continues his examination of Whedon’s first big television hit and the things Buffy got right.

As long as I’m on the topic of TV, I may as well give a nod to one of the more fun new shows from last season, The Flash. Writing at Speculative Faith, Adam Graham ponders the two father figures who helped shape the titular hero, while the Aspie Catholic serves up his wish list for season 2.

All that is good fun, but I would be remiss if I didn’t bring things down a little and acknowledge the passing of Sir Christopher Lee. It’s hard to imagine this blog existing without the steady stream of Lee’s Hammer Films output I partook in as a kid. And I’m hardly the only one, as evidenced by Jason Dietz’s ode to Horror of Dracula over at the Non-Modern blog. As for Thomas L. McDonald from God and the Machine, he’s appears to be partial to The Devil Rides Out, considering it to be Lees best work (I discussed it here). As for my own fave, that’s like choosing between my children, but for today, I’ll go with The Wicker Man, which Lee himself apparently considered one of his finest performances.

And finally, just because it’s been such a rough month, I think we could all use a little cheering up, so here’s Godzilla and some pals doing a jig.

godzilla02

Monday, June 08, 2015

THE JUKEBOX HERO HYMNAL: Hymn 026: Hear Me Lord by George Harrison

I suppose it’s odd that George Harrison remains my favorite Beatle considering how virulently anti-Catholic some of his songs can be. Still, based on lyrics such as the ones you hear in compositions like “Awaiting on You All,” it’s actually pretty easy to dismiss his criticisms as a misguided ignorance of the faith (Harrison was baptized Catholic, but never confirmed). The truth is, he doesn’t really say anything about the Church that I myself didn’t believe at one point in my life before taking the time to actually seek out the truth. It’s like the old familiar quote from Archbishop Fulton Sheen says, “There are not a hundred people in America who hate the Catholic Church. There are millions of people who hate what they wrongly believe to be the Catholic Church - which is, of course, quite a different thing.” And while George hailed from jolly old England rather than the States, I think Sheen’s words still apply.

But you know, as much as I bemoan Harrison’s misconceptions about my faith, I’ve always admired his commitment to his own. While the rest of the Fab Four quickly abandoned the spiritual teachings they dabbled with in the East, Harrison himself became a lifelong devotee to the Hare Krishna strand of Hinduism up until the time of his death, doing his best to live by the religion’s beliefs. He gave up meat, gave up drugs, and limited his sexual activities to marriage, though by all accounts he was a little slow getting around to that last one. Well, nobody becomes a saint overnight, I suppose.

In fact, if his loved ones are to be believed, Harrison was never really satisfied with the pace with which he was advancing in his faith, always feeling guilt whenever he stumbled (guess it’s true, you can take the boy out of the Catholic church, but you can't take the Catholic out of the boy). Perhaps that’s why on the same album on which we find his chart topping paean to Krishna, “My Sweet Lord,” we also hear Harrison begging for help and forgiveness with “Hear Me Lord”…

Forgive me lord
Please, those years when I ignored you, hmm
Forgive them lord
Those that feel they can't afford you, hmm
Help me lord, please
To rise above this dealing, hmm
Help me lord, please
To love you with more feeling, hmm
At both ends of the road
To the left and the right
Above and below us
Out and in, there's no place that you're not in
Oh, won't you hear me lord

As with anything so blatantly religious, “Hear Me Lord” received mixed reactions, with some like sociologist Ian Inglis finding the tune a bit too evangelical and self-righteous. Others like NME’s Alan Smith and Rolling Stone’s Ben Gerson, however, recognized the song for what it was and heralded the raw emotion in the song. Of course, it probably didn’t hurt with the professional music critics that the song contained contributions from the likes of Phil Spector, Billy Preston, Gary Wright, and Eric Clapton, but still, they loved it. In the end, “Hear Me Lord” is an undeniably sincere plea to God for aid, and one that most Christians should find very familiar…

“Hear my voice, LORD, when I call; have mercy on me and answer me. ‘Come,’ says my heart, ‘seek his face’; your face, LORD, do I seek! Do not hide your face from me; do not repel your servant in anger. You are my salvation; do not cast me off; do not forsake me, God my savior!.” ~ Psalms 27:7-9

So maybe that’s why Harrison has always held the greatest appeal to me where The Beatles are concerned. Many have made the argument that Paul and Ringo were better musicians, or that Paul and John were better writers, but when it came to who was the true Psalmist of the band, well, that was George and no one but George, hands down. Godspeed, Dark Horse, I pray the Lord heard you when you called.