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Posts from January 2007

All Time Best Movies

It's that time of year when movie studios promo and posture for Oscar nominations.  The Golden Globes just finished up (which by the way, have you ever seen the documentary on what the Golden Globes really are?  What a fraud.) and the buzz is high on movie awards.

I'm not prepared to pick which movies should and shouldn't win awards this year.  Mainly because I've only seen a few movies in the theater this year, and "Night at the Museum" and the like are not going to be nominated for much.  In looking back at past best picture winners, I've determined that the movies I think are worthy and great tend to be films that are different than the Academy voters think.  So, in the spirit of the Academy Awards, here are my picks.  Oh yeah, in my picks it doesn't matter when the film came out, only that I've seen it and I also created new categories.  Feel free to differ with me.  I'm right, of course, but you have the right to be wrong.  Ha ha.

Best sports movie: Hands down, it's Hoosiers.  I've made hundreds of teenagers on church youth Hoosiers_1 trips watch this film in order to broaden their minds about basketball.  OK, actually, I just played it on every trip because I like it.  How many Upward coaches have told their teams to "run the picket fence" just because I showed this film?  Gene Hackman as Coach Norman Dale was incredible.

Best musical:  Singin' in the Rain.  This is another film I forced teenagers to watch.  I even used it as a theme for a sermon series.  Gene Kelly is a great dancer, but Donald O'Connor is just as good and maybe better.

Best fantasy film:  The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.  The Academy was right on this one.  What Lordoftherings a powerful series.  Tolkien's books could never have been made into films before the technology used to make these came around.  Peter Jackson came across looking like a genius, a heavy, long-haired, thick-glasses, no shoe wearing genius.  I think he thought he was a hobbit.

Best sci-fi film:  Star Wars, the first one that was really the fourth one.  You know, the one that Starwars4anewhope came out in 1977.  I remember seeing this for the first time and the opening scene of the star destroyer filling the screen.  I was captured right there and thirty years later, I still love watching these films.  I know the effects are better now, but the first film was still the best (OK, Empire Strikes Back was good, too.)

Best war film:  OK, two votes here.  For a theatrical release, I pick Saving Private Ryan.  However, the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers is my favorite.  Both are realistic, and while Ryan was bigger than life on the big screen, Band of Brothers took you into the lives of real people.  Something about seeing the real guys talk about what was to come in the following episode that made this series stand out.  If you've not seen Band of Brothers, you need to rent it or buy the series.  Put your "cuss box" on the TV, you'll need it, but the stories of patriotism, brotherhood and friendship are worth it.

Best comedy:  Airplane.  Surely, it can't be?  Yes, it is. . .and don't call me Shirley.  This is my Airplane favorite, but Fletch is also a great one. . ."It's all ball bearings these days!"

Best historical drama:  Apollo 13.  I can watch this one over and over.  In fact, I watched it yesterday.  When Lovell's voice comes in after the 4 minute blackout on re-entry and the music swells, I get goose bumps every time.

Best movie to watch at a men's retreat:  Braveheart.  An overabundance of testosterone and great, inspiring speeches.  Makes you want to paint your face blue and take on the world.

Best "chick flick" that I wouldn't want to watch again because it made me cry:  A Walk to Remember.  Watching this film makes guys clear their throat and fake cough just so no one knows tears are welling up.  Well. . .that's what I hear anyway.

Best illustration of heaven I ever used from a movie:  Titanic.  The closing scene where Rose dies and enters the ship and is greeted by her great love and is surrounded by a great group of witnesses.  I used this to show the "bride of Christ" coming home.  It works.

Best TV show turned into a movie series:  Star Trek.  I'm biased.  I've always loved Star Trek.  Yep, I'm a nerd. I know Mission Impossible was good and many other TV to big screen events, but Star Trek has an incredible built-in audience that will help any of the films make money.  Of course, I also believe that every even numbered film was good (The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country, First Contact) except Nemesis and the odd numbered ones were just OK (The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier - a terrible, not Shat-tastic film, Generations and Insurrection).  A new ST film is in the works now with a young Kirk and Spock by J.J. Abrams.  Looking forward to this one.  Live long and prosper.

Best guilty pleasure movie:  Anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it.  I like watching Ahnold.  I would say the Terminator films are my favorite, but I still like the others like Predator, Commando, Total Recall, Kindergarten Cop, Twins, and Conan.

Best animated movie:  Toy Story 2.  I love the story line of the toys being sent to a museum in Japan.  Reminds me of the old toys in my closet still in the box.  Hope they don't turn bad like the old prospector.

Best western:  The Cowboys.  This John Wayne classic has always been my favorite "Duke" film.  It's probably not his best, but something about the story of his taking the boys on the cattle drive and them becoming men grabbed me.  For a non traditional western, I love the Australian based The Man from Snowy River.  That's another of those films I forced teenagers to watch.  Great picture, especially when the cowboy rides his horse down the side of the mountain.

Best comic book movie:  Spider-man.  This was a hard pick because I still think Superman:  The Movie with Christopher Reeve was just incredible, but Spider-man really set the standard and brought all the comic books back as potential movies.  I'm looking forward to next year's Fantastic Four film with the Silver Surfer.  Now, that's a cool superhero. . .or villian. . .or whatever he ends up being.

Best movie that makes you go "Oh wow, I didn't see that coming" at the end:  The Sting.  Sting Redford and Newman at their best.  The music was wonderful, too.  Come on, when you first saw this film, did you really know that Redford wasn't really dead at the end of the film?  They stung you, too.

That's just some of my picks.  Let me know what yours are.

Look Up

For centuries man looked up to the sky and stared at the wonder of the moon.  Then, in 1969 the impossible happened - man walked on the moon.  This sermon revisits that famous Apollo 11 voyage of Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin and parallels it to Abram's journey.

Look up!  Keep focused.

Download 01_look_up.mp3


My Bowl Picks - Results

I picked the National Champion correctly.  Here's how my picks look:

WRONG Dec. 26: Motor City Bowl at Detroit - Central Mich. vs. Middle Tenn., 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
RIGHT Dec. 27: Emerald Bowl at San Francisco - Florida St. vs. UCLA, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
RIGHT Dec. 28: Independence Bowl - Oklahoma St. vs. Alabama, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 28: Holiday Bowl at San Diego - Cal vs. Texas A&M, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
RIGHT Dec. 28: Texas Bowl at Houston - Rutgers vs. Kansas St., 8 p.m. (NFL)
RIGHT Dec. 29: Music City Bowl - Clemson vs. Kentucky, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 29: Sun Bowl - Missouri vs. Oregon St., 2 p.m. (CBS)
RIGHT Dec. 29: Liberty Bowl - South Carolina vs. Houston, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 29: Insight Bowl at Tempe, Ariz. - Minnesota vs. Texas Tech, 7:30 p.m. (NFL)
RIGHT Dec. 29: Champ Sports Bowl at Orlando - Maryland vs. Purdue, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 30: Meineke Bowl at Charlotte - Navy vs. Boston College, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 30: Alamo Bowl - Iowa vs. Texas, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
RIGHT Dec. 30: Chick-fil-A Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Georgia, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Dec. 31: MPC Computers Bowl at Boise - Nevada vs. Miami (Fla.), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
WRONG Jan. 1: Outback Bowl at Tampa, Fla. - Penn St. vs. Tennessee, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
RIGHT Jan. 1: Cotton Bowl - Auburn vs. Nebraska, 11:30 a.m. (FOX)
WRONG Jan. 1: Capital One Bowl at Orlando, Fla. - Wisconsin vs. Arkansas, 1 p.m. (ABC)
RIGHT Jan. 1: Gator Bowl - Georgia Tech vs. West Virginia, 1 p.m. (CBS)
RIGHT Jan. 1: Rose Bowl - Southern Cal vs. Michigan, 5 p.m. (ABC)
RIGHT Jan. 1: Fiesta Bowl - Boise St. vs. Oklahoma, 8:30 p.m. (FOX)
RIGHT Jan. 2: Orange Bowl - Wake Forest vs. Louisville, 8 p.m. (FOX)
RIGHT Jan. 3: Sugar Bowl - LSU vs. Notre Dame, 8 p.m. (FOX)
WRONG Jan. 6: International Bowl at Toronto - Cincinnati vs. Western Michigan, Noon (ESPN2)
RIGHT Jan. 7: GMAC Bowl at Mobile, Ala. - Southern Miss vs. Ohio, 8 p.m. (ESPN)

RIGHT Jan. 8: BCS Championship Game - Ohio St. vs. Florida, 8 p.m. (FOX)

So my record is 15-10.  Not bad.

The Right Stuff

Why would God choose a man like Abram to become the patriarch of His chosen people?  What is it about men and women like this in the Bible?  God saw something in them that maybe they didn't even see in themselves.  God knew these folks had "the right stuff."  This sermon looks at Abram's call.

Download 01_the_right_stuff.mp3


Reading the Bible Through

Yesterday, I encouraged everyone at First Baptist to read the entire Bible through this year.  While many Christians have read their Bible, or much of their Bible, I've found that most have never read the book in it's entirity.  It's long.  There are places where it's easy to get bogged down.

It was a number of years ago when I finally decided to do this.  I actually started in September that year, using the same schedule we handed out Sunday, so I didn't read it in order, but by the time the next September came around, I had read it all.

It's amazing how many adventurous stories, wise sayings, important information and special songs and poems are in the Bible.  I know you know this, but what makes the reading of God's Word so important is that through His Word, God speaks.  I promise that if you take this challenge to read it through, you will come across passages and sayings where it seems as if God is speaking right to you and your life situation.  You know what?  He is.  That's why His Bible is the Living Word.  It'll change your life.

If you've read the Bible through before, let me encourage you to read it through in a different translation each year.  I've read the KJV, NKJV, NASB, NIV, CEV, NLT, Living Bible and this year the Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Don't let today get over without reading Genesis 1 & 2 and Matthew 1.