October 25, 2020, 07:20:57 AM

Author Topic: Mark's Movie Reviews  (Read 42317 times)

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Online Bignutz

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #465 on: October 11, 2020, 08:14:19 PM »
U-571 - 2000

Matthew McConaughey, Harvey Keitel, bill paxton.

WW II. U boats are terrorizing atlantic shipping. They communicate with berlin over an encryption box, the enigma machine. We want one of these so bad we can taste it. Then a u boat gets disabled, we race out to pirate the enigma before the Germans can get there to save their sub. Tension, drama, suspense, acting. . . It's all sorta kinda here.

This is kinda sorta a true story, 'cept in real life the Brits did it, not us. So this is like a wet dream where you're doing Meredith Baxter, but then you remember she's gay and that means you must be a girl.

It's ok, nothing like great. The plot is pretty predictable, all the war time cliches are here. The acting is luke warm, which, I dunno how actors are supposed to get all juiced up for a script like this.

Only recommended if you just really have a thing about submarines.

Ps: u boats didn't have bathrooms 'cause they didn't have the pressure to flush when they were submerged. So you went in buckets and dumped them over the sides next time you surfaced.  Most of the boat didn't have room for two guys to walk past each other, so there was a lot of backing up and scrunching into a nook. And no showers. The atmosphere was pretty, um, ripe. U boats were seriously not romantic places.

Chicago museum of science and industry if you want to see a real U Boat. BTW, they had only enough bunks for 1/2 the crew, so when your shift was up you got to crawl into someone elses stink to sleep. :o
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #466 on: October 11, 2020, 08:21:59 PM »
Went there as a kid.

took my kids there in turn.

definitely the best part of chicago. we must be sure to preserve it somehow when the rest of the city disintegrates.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #467 on: October 11, 2020, 08:58:57 PM »
Phenomenon - 1996

John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall

I like this movie. It's like cocoa krispies - what's not to like?

Travolta is George, just a guy living in (the movie is very confused on this point) either Auburn CA or Napa. Which are 100 miles apart, but, seriously, details. He gets "hit" by a light from space, and suddenly turns very smart. And doesn't sleep. And reads 2-3-4 books every night. And develops telekinesis. And breaks military codes. And scares the living crap out of everyone in his sleepy little town, plus the air force and the FBI. George just wants to raise superlative tomatoes, which he's had some fertilizer breakthrough (the smart thing) and the tomatoes are pretty incredible. Everyone wants a piece of him, 'cept Lace (kyra), he wants a piece of her but she's not buying. The movie is a bit like flowers for algernon, except you've never heard of that movie so that doesn't help.

I consider it a very sweet movie. It helps that one of the plot lines is a guy who knows way too much and no one understands him. Anyways, it tugs at the heart strings and is a good date night movie. It's like movie jello - there's always room for jello, and everyone likes it. Not like they like tiramisu or burnt vanilla bean ice cream with bittersweet hot fudge which just light up your entire nervous system, but everyone likes jello.

Recommended for a light evening.


===========================================

Mark's 5 minute bittersweet chocolate sauce

Need some emergency chocolate sauce on ice cream? Here's a 5 minute recipe that's guaranteed to calm her down:

Ingredients:
2 squares   unsweetened baking chocolate
2-3 tbl   sugar
1 tsp    vanilla
1 tbl     butter
1/4 cup   milk
1 tbl     corn starch

Directions
Combine milk, sugar, butter, vanilla in a bowl. Heat in a microwave until nearly boiling, about 2 minutes.

Melt chocolate into milk, about 1 minute. This may require a bit more heat, 30 seconds or so.

Add corn starch, mixing thoroughly.

Heat in microwave until it boils and thickens, about 30 seconds.

Stir and serve.

Serve over burnt vanilla bean ice cream. Breyers is the best store brand, of course. It's made in Green Bay. Us cheeseheads, we know our milk fat.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 06:56:03 AM by marklawrence »
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Offline OneTwoSixFive

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #468 on: October 12, 2020, 03:10:58 AM »
Phenomenon - 1996

 The movie is a bit like flowers for algernon, except you've never heard of that movie so that doesn't help.

===========================================
'Flowers for Algernon' is (as you say) not that well known as a film. It is better known as an excellent book by Daniel Keyes. The relation between a lesser known movie to a (comparatively) well known book, is similar to the two excellent 'Night Watch' and 'Day Watch' books (written by Lukyanenko) which were pretty big news as books and somewhat incomprehensible (if you hadn't read the book) as films (the plot got altered a lot as well). I'd be interested to hear what you think of the film versions, if you ever get to watch them.

« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 03:12:27 AM by OneTwoSixFive »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #469 on: October 12, 2020, 11:56:41 AM »
Charly - 1968

Cliff Robertson, Claire Bloom

Based on Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes, 1958

Awards: Best Actor

Flowers for Algernon has been made into a movie at least three times; this is the first and best of them.

Charly (Cliff) is a 30 y/o man who is mentally retarded, with an IQ of 69. As an infant he had phenylketonuria, an inability to process the amino acid phenylalanine. The resulting buildup in his blood damaged his brain development as a fetus. There's an extremely small protein, aspartame - one molecule of the amino acid aspartic acid connected to one molecule of phenylalanine - which is 200 times as sweet as sugar and marketed as NutraDeath. Even those of us who do not have phenylketonuria have a limited ability to metabolize phenylalanine, so if you eat a whole bunch of NutraDeath (the little blue packets) then one day it will suddenly taste really awful, and will continue to do so for the rest of your life. This happened to me when I was about 28.

Well, enough of that, back to the movie. Charly can read and write at about a 1st grade level, and has a job as a janitor at a bakery where he's the butt of practical jokes pretty much every day. He has enrolled himself in nite skool, where he's attempting to better himself with the help of his teacher Miss Kinnian (Clair). Miss Kinnian is contacted by a research lab looking for a test subject, someone retarded. They have developed a process, working on mice, where through surgery they can correct the brain damage from the phenylketonuria and regrow the damaged brain tissue, resulting in genius level mice. They wanna try it on a person.

Charly goes for the surgery.

As a result Charly gets *really* smart, serious genius level. And falls in love with Miss Kinnian. Who falls in love with him.

Then their prize test mouse Algernon starts getting dumb again.

The original story, "Flowers for Algernon," was written as the diary entries written by Charly starting before the surgery and continuing. By this method Daniel did a fabulous job of bringing you into the world of a retarded person who is then lifted up to where he finds the original researchers rather dull, second rate intellects.

I find it worth remembering that intelligence is a bell curve, so if you're smart there have to be dumb people to even things out. When I was 16 I took my first college class in psychology and I had to visit an institution for the profoundly retarded - some with IQs in the 20s. They were infants for all practical purposes, an adult sized body with diapers and barely the ability to walk. I found this experience profoundly humbling - in my mind one of these souls volunteered for this job so that I could have my share of brains and three-quarters of theirs, which enabled me to do physics and cost them any chance at a family life or any kind of productivity. The scales must balance. I have no tolerance for people who think the profoundly retarded are entertaining.

This movie was made in '68, when Laugh-In was exploring the new idea of a visual medium with Grass Valley Group image processing equipment. Everyone was really excited back then at the idea of their (by today's standards laughable) visual effects. And this movie has a bunch of those. We're far enough removed from those days that now it's cute and quaint. I saw this movie when it came out, 52 years ago, and thought the effects were exciting. I'm old.

The movie is entertaining and affecting; it's a good date night flick. Recommended.

The book is highly recommended.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2020, 01:35:33 PM by marklawrence »
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Offline iarwain

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #470 on: October 12, 2020, 01:06:00 PM »
I've never seen Charly or any of the Flowers for Algernon movies.  The premise sounds absolutely fascinating though, I'll be on the lookout for it.

Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #471 on: October 12, 2020, 09:26:27 PM »
The Prestige - 2006

Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Andy Serkis   

By Christopher Nolan

Two magicians spend their lives - in the most literal fashion, they both wind up dead - competing. They both want to do a particular trick, "the transported man," where the magician seemingly teleports. It's a rather complicated and confusing plot.

In the beginning of the film they're working together, but a trick goes very wrong and Jackman's lover winds up dead, drowned, seemingly because Bale tied a real knot on her instead of a slip know just before she went into a tank of water. That's pretty much the end of their cooperation. They each strike out on their own. Jackman is by far the better showman, but has only ordinary tricks designed by Michael Caine. Bale is not so much of a showman, but he's doing the transported man, the teleportation trick, and Jackman is insanely jealous, plus angry over his lover.

Tesla gets involved when Jackman pays him to design a machine, a machine which works magic - Tesla was, in many ways, ahead of his time, but ahead of his time doesn't include magic. This is by far the weakest part of the movie, the part where Tesla supplies the magic machine.

My girlfriend got deeply confused by people disappearing and popping up other places with all explanations withheld - after all, you never reveal the trick. Even Bale's wife is kept in the dark, very much to her detriment. Girlfriend left in the middle to take a shower. Then she came back clean but still angry, still hating the movie. Apparently not a date night flick. Dark, hard to follow, cute wife with cute little girl being lied to by her husband on a daily basis; it's not hard to see how a woman might take exception to certain plot devices.

I'm so-so on the movie. I don't like magic popping up in what's supposed to be a real-life type show, and I don't like Tesla being dragged into this sort of thing. Of course the acting was excellent, we got batman, wolverine, black widow, kip thorne and smeagol; how could the acting not be excellent. The plot was fine right up to the point where the Nolan bros had written themselves into a corner so they granted themselves some pixie dust, or perhaps tesla dust, to get out. Lotsa people wind up dead, many innocent bystanders to this Captain Ahab stuff.

I dunno if I recommend this or not. I do know it's a bad bet for date night.
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #472 on: October 12, 2020, 10:23:14 PM »
"The Prestige" is one of Nolan's best. Definitely difficult to follow at times, and it actually demands multiple views to find out what is happening. Christian Bale gives a great, subtle performance. Not for casual viewing. And David Bowie as Tesla? A great casting choice. Nolan loves convoluted plotting and multiple plot threads all running at the same time. He even showed this in his first film, "Following", which set the template for every other film he's done. With the exception of "Insomnia"; and even then, casting Robin Williams against Al Pacino was a stroke of genius, and there are plots within plots going on, as cat and mouse becomes a question of who is the cat, and who the mouse?
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #473 on: October 13, 2020, 09:49:43 PM »
Twilight - 2008

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Awards: $$$$$$ from *every* teenage girl on the planet.

Bella moves to Forks, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula, where it nearly always is cloudy, or so everyone believes. She's back with her father and starts going to high school there. Where she meets Edward (in romance novels, the male must always have a name that was previously used by a King.) Turns out Edward is a vampire: doesn't drink, only eats blood, lives forever, super strong, amazingly fast, cold-blooded (no heart beat, right?) so he lives at room temperature. Early on he saves Bella's life from a car crash, so now she's in love (Helpful hint: "Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker," but saving her life is a whole staircase up from both of those.) Lots of drama ensues as Bella tries to have a normal relationship with an intensely non-normal person who's a member of an intensely non-normal family. The main drama here is a few meat-eating vampires happen onto the peninsula, and one of them thinks drinking Bella's blood would be extra special 'cause Edward and his family are protecting her so it's a challenge. Which now Edward has to save her life again, see treatise above. BTW, Edward's family are "vegetarian" vampires - they only drink the blood of animals, never people. Although I doubt the deer find that very comforting.

Kristen Steward, Bella, in real life is a narcissistic slut who's slept with approximately every person associated with every movie she's ever been in. She's also, imho, a miserable actress. Robert Patterson, her "main squeeze" in the movie and for a time in real life, is also, imho, a miserable actor. Right at this instant that viewpoint is apparently shared by his latest director, who, we're told, threw him off the set of The Batman 'cause he couldn't be bothered to work out and put on some muscle - the 6'1" 160 pound actor thing worked ok as a vampire and also as a bit player who got deaded by Voldemort, but Bruce Wayne is not anything like 160 pounds.

There are four books, "Twilight," "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn," which turned into 5 movies, 'cause more tickets. The books are ok; I read them a long time ago. The movies are a bit less than ok, they really just a bit more than clear the bar of tolerable. But your wife will likely like them 'cause the boys are cute, there's *lots* of handholding, vampires mate forever (whatever mate means when you can't have kids. . .), and there's lots and lots of staring meaningfully into each other's eyes, but pretty much zero sex. I mean, he's like 150 years old,  how do the little blue pills work when you don't even have a heartbeat? And the vampire thing, which I gotta tell you I really don't get that part. So these are good date night flicks by the definition that a good date night flick is one she likes. As Leanne Morgan says, "He fills up my love tank, and then I'm willing to do all those vulgar things he likes."

Kinda sorta recommended. By me. Highly recommend by my girlfriend.

Gotta go, time for some of that vulgar stuff.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2020, 10:48:12 PM by marklawrence »
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #474 on: October 14, 2020, 08:52:47 PM »
New Moon - 2009

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

People are noticing that Carlisle, patriarch of Edward's family, has been hanging out for ten years but isn't aging. The family decides it's time to pull up roots and leave. Edward decides the best thing is for him to leave too, and leave Bella behind.

Bella goes certifiable. She discovers that when she has an adrenaline rush see has visions of Edward (helpful hint: the formal name for this condition is schizophrenia, and it's not an indicator for that person being a good marriage partner.) She starts doing crazy ass stunts to get her little rush and vision. Meanwhile, Victoria, who's mate was killed in the previous flick, is out to kill Bella for retribution. Then Edward somehow gets word that Bella is dead (she's not, she's just gone all beautiful mind except without the nobel prize ideas) and decides life isn't worth living without this teenage schizophrenic narcissist (sorry, I'm really not a big bella fan). Big climax as (spoiler?) victoria is foiled in her murder attempt and edwards is foiled in her suicide attempt, thus allowing the soap opera to go on for at least three more movies.

girlfriend loved it. me: meh.
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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #475 on: October 14, 2020, 09:17:30 PM »
Eclipse - 2010

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Victoria, foiled yet again in her attempt to get back at edward for killing her mate, which mate, btw, was killed by Alice and burned by Emmett and Jasper so victoria is totally going after the wrong guy; this time Victoria raises an army of newborns, that is new vampires who were just turned and are dumb as fence posts, but extra fast and strong 'cause "their cells still have human blood in them for the first several months." Stephenie didn't pay much attention in her high school biology class, red blood cells only live about a week and never leave the blood vessels, they don't enter other cells. Anyways, the triangle between bella and edward and jacob heats up, more indians turn into werewolves, and victoria's army starts to march on the cullen family. Lotsa drama. Lotsa emotion. Lotsa bad acting. Bella wants to marry Edwards for all time and eternity (who knew? vampires are mormons!) but is wearing a bracelet that jacob made for her and is smooching jacob and telling him she loves him. Edward needs to pull the rip cord, this plane is nosing in at just short of mach 1. But true love. Which, kristen stewart is a great choice of actress for bella, they're both sluts. kinda like madonna and eva peron. Not a big fan of any of these women, real or imagined. I imagine you're getting that.

Love is a feeling, and feelings change, right? Like every 15 minutes in some people, right? Well, that's all true for teenagers, but notice in the wedding vows you promise "to love," which makes it a verb, something you do, not something you feel. You don't promise to feel love, you don't promise to feel loved, you don't promise to ask yourself constantly if this is really love, you promise to love the other person. Teenagers don't get that. Neither, apparently, does ms. meyer.

I'm tiring of these movies, but the girlfriend is still enchanted.

three down, two to go. #4 will really test me, it's 2 hours of whining about being pregant.
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Online ricky

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #476 on: October 15, 2020, 12:00:35 AM »
Mark, maybe you could complain about how much you dislike the "Twilight" series, get up and take a shower, and return and trash the movie some more. Oh, wait, you're a guy. So that behavior is unacceptable. I guess the only thing to do is grit your teeth and "think of England." Did you ever see "Barbarossa"? A mythic western about revenge and redemption. With Willie Nelson, Gary Busey, and Gilbert Roland. A bit slow, but well worth the investment of time. Would your lady enjoy it? Maybe, because it does include a doomed romance.
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Offline iarwain

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #477 on: October 15, 2020, 04:13:37 PM »
I had forgotten that there were five Twilight movies.  I've seen them all, but for a few of them I didn't really pay much attention when I was watching.  Good points that these relationships are seriously screwed up.  And all this fuss over a relatively plain girl with not much to distinguish her.  Then there's the age issue of a 100 year old vampire attending high school and scoping on a high school girl.  I guess vampires aren't PC.  And that's not even close to what happens with Jacob in the last movie, but I won't discuss that for spoiler purposes.

Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #478 on: October 15, 2020, 08:02:57 PM »
Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 2011

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

Bella gets engaged. 150 year old engagement ring. Alice plans this killer back-yard wedding to die for (kinda literally. . .). Bella gets married. Small amount of drama at the wedding reception - people and vampires and werewolves mixing freely, under truce. Bella gets a tropical honeymoon. Bella gets pregnant on her honeymoon. Baby grows incredibly quickly - as is well known in the Catholic and Mormon churches, in her youth and enthusiasm a new bride can accomplish in 4 weeks what takes everyone else 9 months. Baby gets born, 6ish pounds, healthy girl. Bella gets dead in childbirth. Edward races to save her by turning her vampire. (spoiler? 'cause without Bella, what's part 2?) Bella is dead for 2 days, then wakes up a vampire. Baby at 2 days old is already about 18 pounds. I dunno what they feed that little tyke, but I'm very happy not to be on diaper detail.

That's it. That's every bloody thing that happens.

Your wife will love it. Every second. And you'll have a nice nap.

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Online marklawrence

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Re: Mark's Movie Reviews
« Reply #479 on: October 15, 2020, 08:20:33 PM »
Breaking Dawn Part 2 - 2012

Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner

Based on the books by Stephenie Meyer

The Volturi - a bunch of 1500 year old italians who kinda sorta run the vampire world, get word that bella and edward have a kid. Vampire kids are illegal - if you take a 4 y/o and bite them, they're a 4 y/o vampire forever - one temper tantrum and a whole village dies. Can't be allowed. Kid must die. But it's all a mistake, 'cause bella was human when she had the kid, the kid is half human, has a heart beat, ages, grows up, all that stuff. The volturi are coming with their army, about 200 vampires, there's gonna be a lot of dead vampires. The cullens gather a bunch of vampires to support them, they got maybe like 25 + another dozen werewolves, 'cause jacob has "imprinted" on bella's infant, they're now mated for life. Even muslims don't marry them until they're like 7 or 8. This is all very weird at best, seriously sick at worst. Anyway, the war is scheduled, now we gotta prepare. Then we have the war. Magic flies fast and furious. Heads come off left and right. Little bonfires around the battle field finish off the job. It would all be seriously bloody, 'cept the vampire, thing, they got no blood.

Immortal? Let's think this through. You're sitting around on the earth for a few billion years. How long does human civilization last? 1,000 years? 10,000? 1 million? Even the dinosaurs only had about 100 million and any particular dinosaur type you name lived only for a tiny fraction of that - they were coming and going like antifa looters in seattle. You got about 4 billion years to kill. DVDs and CDs, they're gonna get seriously old. After about 4 billion years the sun turns into a red giant and burns up the earth; if you haven't made a space ship by then, well, burning vampires kills them. The good thing about being a vampire, you can use a solar sail. It take 1,000 years to get to the nearest star? You're immortal, that's like waiting a year for part 2 to come out. You're gonna need a big hydroponic lettuce garden and a bunch of rabbits. Maybe you have to visit 1000 stars to find your next planet, that's just a million years, no biggie for someone a couple billion years old. The sun is 5 billion year old a type G star, a yellow dwarf. they live about 5-15 billion years. Littler stars live longer. Then next step down is an orange dwarf, a type K star, they live like 20-50 billion years maybe. You find a nice planet on a type K star, you're set up for a long time. After that, however, you gotta be looking for a planet orbiting a class m red dwarf. They're quite small, so the planets that have a habitable region have a "year" that's like a few weeks long. Also the planet is so close to the star that it's likely tidally locked, same side faces the star all the time. You gotta live on the terminator, the thin line that separates day from night. On the sun side the atmosphere is probly burned off; on the night side it's frozen out. You gotta hope to find a planet that has an atmosphere on the terminator - not for you, apparently vampires don't need to breath, but you gotta have prey. Vampires can't make it on lichen and moss. But then, finally, after a trillion years your little red dwarf burns out, and that's pretty much it for light anywhere in our part of the universe. Every now and then a black hole blows up, that's really spectacular, but we're talking a huge searchlight that lasts a couple months once every 100 billion years or so. You're immortal, living on a cold, dead rock, in a cold dead black universe. There's nothing around to burn, you can't even commit suicide by doing the toasted marshmallow thing. Moral: be careful what you wish for.

Stars are put into classes, biggest to littlest it's O B A F G K M, which we remember with "Oh be a fine girl kiss me." Astronomers don't get a lot of action.

But then maybe with a trillion years of meditation you figure it all out and you say, "In the beginning there was darkness and void; and also there was me. And I said, 'Let there be light!' "

God is a trillion year old bored out of his mind immortal vampire?

Maybe I'll start a church. L.Ron Hubbard did, it worked out ok for him. . .

Stephenie Meyer is a mormon and it shows in these movies. Mormons don't marry "until death do we part," they marry "for all time and eternity." When they die (Bella in childbirth) they go to heaven where they "reconstitute their earthly body in its perfected form," which is what we watched Bella do as the venom transformed her from dead to vampire. Over the course of eternity they learn all there is to know, and eventually they go off and make their own universe and populate it with their children, where they are the god and goddess. They believe this has happened countless times before. The god of earth is jesus and his wife; the god of jesus is jehovah and his wife and jesus was once just a man living in jehovah's universe; and jehovah in turn has a god and goddess but we don't know anything about them. Brigham Young said, as a matter of prophecy, "As man is, God once was; as God is, man can become." And obviously they believe there's a mrs.god. Mormons believe they continue to have children in heaven, which has lead me to tell some mormons, "There must be some rule, after their 1,000 birthday or some such you no longer send cards. Otherwise you'd spend all eternity addressing birthday cards."

Girlfriend wants to watch Hunger Games next.

Right.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2020, 07:19:38 AM by marklawrence »
These are the nine people whose votes will determine our next president. Your vote means nothing.