Sunday, March 20, 2011

"You psychotic... NERD!": brief _Paul_ review and some thoughts

My favorite acting duo are Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, and their most recent movie Paul is pretty danged funny. Not quite as funny as Shaun of the Dead, but still pretty good. As the post's title promises, here is a brief review.

Synopsis: After visiting San Diego's Comic Con, hilariously shy sci-fi nerds Clive and Graeme (Frost and Pegg, respectively) decide to make a tour of popular alien "sites", such as Area 51. During their trip they meet Paul,  a laid-back, smoking, clever and somewhat vulgar alien. After not-quite kidnapping a woman, the party makes their way to where Paul is supposed to meet his fellow aliens, where a fistfight with Sigourney Weaver ensues and fireworks are set off, and everyone lives happily ever after.

If you're already familiar with Pegg/Frost movies, you know to keep an eye out for constant references and clever revisitings to other Pegg/Frost/pop culture movies, and this movie is brimming with such things. General sci-fi nerddom references (and characters from other Pegg/Frost movies!) appear, and according to this interview, the references just happened (as one who is surrounded by near-constant nerddom, references do just happen). Now, since I rather like references to things and appearances of cool people, I was very fond of the movie. References aside, the movie is a general haphazard journey of nerds and an alien being chased by Jason Bateman through the Southwest, and is tremendous fun (<-- very!!).

Paul also mercilessly pokes fun at Christians for being ignorant, hokey and slightly crazy, which brings to me to my thoughts:

First, No, I'm not offended by this, and I think that this reputation is worth addressing. So here we go.

The not-entirely-kidnapped Ruth (Kristen Wiig) in Paul is the movie's shining example of Wacky Christian Lady, calling unfamiliar things "of the Devil" and resorting to singing "Amazing Grace." She insists quite fervently that the Earth is only 4,000 years old, and is the only world because God made it (this logic doesn't follow, but whatever, I'll leave it). Eventually, she "learns better," and learns how to employ painfully awkward swearing.

Sure, you can say the directors were "being mean," but really, can you tease a kid about being fat if he isn't? Likewise, can you mock Christians for being hokey and ignorant and crazy if there aren't Christians who are like that? You can't really tease a reputation that doesn't exist. We certainly do seem to get people angry and upset with us, and I don't think it's necessarily got anything to do with what Jesus said about the world hating us because of him. Certainly, that happens, but I think more often the case is, quite simply, that we come off as ignorant asshats.

Again, as I've said before, I don't think the age of the Earth (or evolution) matters beans in regards to God's character, so I'll ignore that point right now. The point at hand is our character, fellows, and how we react to the world and the people in it: do we react with the love we were commanded to conduct ourselves with, or do we cover our ears and whine apoplectic insanities? Can't we just hush ourselves and listen to what other people might have to say? I dare say we still have plenty to learn. 

If you recall, you're still imperfect, too. I know I'm still figuring this "love others" stuff out.

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