Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Spider-Sense is Tingling

Spider-Man © 2002 Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment, Columbia Pictures Industries Inc, and Marvel Characters, Inc.
My spider-sense tells me there's a new Spider-Man movie coming out soon (OK, not really - I saw a trailer for it). The Amazing Spider-Man is set to hit US theaters on July 3, and will star Andrew Garfield in the title role instead of Tobey Maguire. After seeing the extended trailer, I have high hopes, but it'll have to be really good to replace 2002's Spider-Man as my favorite Spidey adventure. While we wait for the new movie to come out, let me share some thoughts about the original.

A couple months ago, I shared about how I see Superman as a sort of "type" for Christ. Well just as Superman can be seen as a representative for Jesus, I think Spider-Man makes a good representative for Christians. The 2002 movie also stands as an explanation of the two ways people can be transformed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

What Do You See?

Mr. Elwood P. Dowd is a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man. He is well-mannered and easy-going. He loves to pay compliments and invite people over to dinner - even people he has just met! He will just as quickly befriend a drunkard or an ex-con as anyone else. You might say he's never met a stranger! By his own admission, he believes every day is a beautiful day, and he has learned to find something pleasant in every situation. "I always have a wonderful time wherever I am, whomever I'm with," says Mr. Dowd.

Harvey © 1950 Universal StudiosIn short: he's crazy!

People think he's crazy not so much because he's always so pleasant (although perhaps that's a good enough reason nowadays!), but because whenever you meet him, the first thing Mr. Dowd wants to do is introduce you to his best friend, Harvey. Harvey is also very easy-going and soft-spoken. He and Mr. Dowd make an excellent pair.

Oh, and by the way, Harvey is a six foot tall white rabbit (six feet, three and a half inches, to stick to the facts).

And he's invisible.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Think Pink

Whenever the Pink Panther diamond is missing, we all know who to call... Inspector Jacques Clouseau! (or is that CHIEF Inspector?)

Sellers as Clouseau in 'Revenge of the Pink Panther' (1978)
Sellers as Clouseau in 'Revenge of the Pink Panther' (1978)
Many have imitated, but none can replace the great Peter Sellers, who - with writer/director Blake Edwards - created and perfected the character in a series of loosely connected films in the 1960s and '70s. The movies were so popular that the cartoon Pink Panther character who appeared in the first film's opening credits inspired a series of animated short films of his own! The animated version of the inspector from the second film's credits likewise got his own series of short films. In the live-action realm, Alan Arkin, Rich Little, Roger Moore, Ted Wass (as another detective), Roberto Benigni (as Clouseau's son), and most recently Steve Martin have all tried their best to take Sellers' place, but most agree that no one holds a candle to the original.

My personal favorites are 1964's A Shot in the Dark and 1975's The Return of the Pink Panther, but I also must admit I thoroughly enjoyed Steve Martin's reinvention in 2006's The Pink Panther. I know many "Panther-purists" may be unhappy with me for saying that, so let me try to explain myself.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Real McCoy (And the Real Hatfield!)

Last week, The History Channel aired a three-part miniseries about the legendary blood feud between the Hatfields and McCoys. More than 13 million people tuned in to watch this dramatic reenactment of a nearly 30-year war that broke out between two Appalachian families at the end of the Civil War. The show set a new record as the most-viewed telecast ever on basic cable!

Now, I've lived most of my life only a couple hours from where all the action took place, but I have to admit, I never took the time to dig in and learn what really happened until now. As it turns out, it's an interesting tale - albeit incredibly sad - with much to teach us.

Kevin Costner as Mr. Hatfield & Bill Paxton as Mr. McCoy © 2012 Thinkfactory Media
Kevin Costner as Mr. Hatfield and Bill Paxton as Mr. McCoy
Randolph "Ole Ran'l" McCoy and Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield started out as friends. They served together on the Confederate side of the Civil War, but through a series of events, that friendship became strained and eventually the bad blood between the two families got out of control. For one thing, Mr. McCoy may have felt put out when Mr. Hatfield found an excuse to abandon their Confederate band and returned home to build a profitable business while the others were out fighting. A land dispute between Mr. Hatfield and one of Mr. McCoy's relatives (and a later dispute over some hogs) did nothing to ease the tension. And things got even worse when it was suspected that one of Mr. Hatfield's relatives had shot one of Mr. McCoy's relatives after an argument. These and other conflicts would be hard for anyone to ignore, so it's no wonder the McCoys became so upset with their neighbors across the river!

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Real King

"The Hillbilly Cat"       "The Memphis Flash"       "The Pelvis"

Whatever you call him, there's no denying that Elvis Presley is the King of Rock 'n' Roll. 149 songs on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, of which 114 were Top 40 songs, 40 were Top 10, and 18 went to #1. Over a billion records sold worldwide. Over 150 different albums and singles certified gold, platinum, or multi-platinum. Even now, 35 years after his death, Elvis' popularity continues. Over 600,000 people visit his home, Graceland, each year. Last weekend, Amber and I visited both the Graceland mansion in Memphis, TN and the tiny two-room house in Tupelo, MS where Elvis spent his early years.

Visiting Graceland

Obviously, as I mentioned last month, I'm an Elvis person. I've been a fan for as long as I can remember. I used to sing Elvis songs for my friends in elementary school. I impersonated him once for a church talent show. I've even dressed up as Elvis for Halloween a couple times!