Category Archives: tv/movies

movie update

took my kids to see zathura saturday night, after leaving disneyland. what a fun story. yes, it’s jumanji in outer space — but it never denies that. lots of great scenes those of us in youth ministry will want to use in teaching, once it comes out on DVD.

tonite, i’m in grand rapids for some meetings at zondervan (our publishing partner). jay, our publisher, and david, our marketing director, and mark yaconelli — author of the upcoming book Contemplative Youth Ministry — are here with me. after dinner with z peeps, mark yac, jay and i went to see shopgirl. i’d read this steve martin novella a few years ago, and really enjoyed its simplicity. the movie was lush. not a complicated story — just a character piece of a young woman in LA (claire daines) finding her way, and looking for reciprocated love. steve martin and jason schwartzman play totally opposite love interests. while the story is great, and reveals our longing for love beyond physical, the beauty of the movie is the way it is shot — with lots of long awkward silences, a slow (but not boring) pace, and acting that goes way beyond dialogue.


the other night, when jeannie and i finally arrived in pittsburgh after our delightful denver detour, we plopped into our westin heavenly bed and watched a pay-per-view movie (no, not that kind of movie, you freak). we watched millions, which i’d heard about, but hadn’t seen.

now, i know i see a lot of movies, and i recommend a few too many of them to my friends. so my recommendations can have the cummulative effect of crying wolf. but, really, this time: you gotta see this one. it’s just the most wonderful, creative, sweet and funny movie. where else can you get a thriller (stolen cash, money falls into the hands of an innocent, bad guy wants his money back), longing for love lost (mom has died, kids dealing with it in different ways), a cast of saints (in their original garb, with jaunty little halos, who pop into scenes to give advice to the little boy main character — peter is my favorite), and a justice theme (a cried — surprise — at the site of the clean water well in africa, pumping out life). oh, and those darn cute british accents to boot (especially little kid brits!).

the movie is in no-man’s-land right now: no longer in theaters, not yet out on video. so you might have to rent a hotel room for the night to catch it on pay-per-view. or you could wait ’til it comes out on DVD, i suppose. but the movie viewing hotel night sounds fun, doesn’t it?

that thing cartoons do when they start to run

you know that second, when a cartoon character starts to run (usually away from something or someone about to squash them), and their legs start to spin like propellors but their upper-body and head doesn’t move an inch yet. it’s usually accompanied by a little tinkly sound (not sure how else to describe it). this is recreated in live-action form in the amazing movie kung fu hustle, which i finally rented and watched last week.

that’s what i’m doing right now, here in pittsburgh, waiting for traction. many of the ys staff have been in reasonably full sprint for a day or two already. but my work doesn’t really start ’til today. i have eight meetings (well, one of them is speaking at the women in youth ministry critical concerns course) from noon today ’til 11pm. and tomorrow, saturday and sunday are no different, but all day long. monday, a bit less, but i’m speaking in the closing session again.

we have 3000 coming this time, a few less than sacramento, but still a great crowd. it’s so fun that jeannie gets to be with me in all three cities this year. she’s doing spiritual direction here in pitts. if you sign up for her as a spiritual director, don’t worry — she doesn’t tell me anything! and, my brother-in-law and nephew from detroit are coming tonite, and staying in my adjoining room. zack, my nephew, is a college freshman, and interested in going into ministry of some sort. he’s the one i wrote the open letter to last spring, upon his high school graduation.

pray for me, for strength, clarity, energy, compassion. pray for the 100 ys staff and volunteers. pray for the 3000 attendees. and pray for the poor people of pittsburgh who won’t know what hit ’em!