The Taser's Edge

Movies for Which I Have Some Hope, Episode 1

Up in the Air: Jason Reitman (Juno, Thank You for Smoking) returns, as does Jason Bateman (at least in team with Reitman).  I have enjoyed both of Reitman’s first movies.  One suggestion: the intricate opening credits he seems to love really kill my love for his movies.  I think I saw Touch of Evil on Turner Classic Movies right before seeing Thank You For Smoking for the first time in the theater, and whoever introduced Touch of Evil talked about how important it was to Orson Welles to just start his films, with as few opening credits as the studio would allow.  Reitman seems to be on the opposite end of the spectrum.  He has to be pushing his producers to allow him to do those ridiculous opening credits.  And his movies would actually be better without them.  Still, this is an excellent trailer that makes me want to see his film (a quality of all recent trailers involving George Clooney).

For fun, compare Clooney’s narration of the Up in the Air trailer to Sean Penn’s opening narration from the 21 Grams trailer:

Sometimes he talks to the Lord, and sometimes he yells at the Lord

Tonight I watched Robert Duvall’s The Apostle for the first time since high school (several years back now).  I had forgotten how good some of those scenes are:

I always am interested by characterizations of Christians in popular media (not to say that an indie film is necessarily “popular” but the medium is).  A lot of the time Christians are just so flat or else they’re caricatures.  I like them best when they, as Frederick Buechner has popularized the image from Daniel, have “feet of clay”–plenty of human messiness and conflictedness about them.  And thus my favorite representation of a Christian, the most authentic I know, is Benicio del Toro’s character, Jack Jordan, from 21 Grams.  Conflicted, messed up, utterly in need, and utterly real.  I would love to give you a good clip that would show you this, but apparently the makers of 21 Grams are incredibly efficient at policing YouTube.

The following was the best I could come up with, and while it has an interesting picture of a Christian preacher, it unfortunately doesn’t show off del Toro’s character.  I guess you’ll have to watch the movie.  At the same time I wouldn’t recommend it if you can’t take a couple of truly intense hours.

And if you’ve got a favorite fictional Christian, feel free to comment about it.