Of Balloons and Buttons

I guess our lives are getting a little bit back to normal (from when my wife and I first got married) because we are watching more movies.  When Lesley and I were dating and first married, we went to movies all the time.  But the double combo of two small children and frequent USAF moves kind of knocked us out of the movie going routine.

On Friday night, we saw Up, the latest Disney/Pixar movie with our children.  On the one hand, it was interesting, enjoyable, and thought provoking.  On the other side of the coin, don’t expect it to hit The Lion King, Cars, or Toy Story heights (the best of the animated movies in my book).  Up chronicles the story of a boy who grows quickly into a man and then an elderly man who ends up deciding to follow a childhood dream.  Major influences on his life, past and present, are his girlfriend/wife, a childhood idol, and a neigbhorhood scout.  Its message is positive but be aware that it delves into topics such as not being able to have children, becoming a widower, an absentee father, and the potential extinction of a species.  In other words, weighty topics of mert but ones that might be a bit much for little kids.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which we watched streaming over the Internet from Amazon.Com, was not a family film but another which makes you think about big topics.  It is based loosely on the F. Scott Fitzgerald story, but the writers took that initial short story, embellished it, and placed it in a modern context. The hook of the story is that the main character literally ages backwards.  As a mental infant he is physically an old man (not in size but in appearance).  Over time he grows younger and dies 90 some odd years later as a baby.  It surely makes you think about life differently.  And what made the story even more fun is that much of it is set in New Orleans and you’ll be able to recognize many of the filming locations (if you are familiar with the city).

Both movies seem to emphasize the topic of making your life count – especially making the important relationships that you have count while you have them.  We never know how long any of them will last.  That’s good.  That is important.  Some reviews complain (particularly about Buttons) that it was depressing.  I didn’t find it so.  Since we only have so much time, let’s get busy living instead of getting busy dying (to quote another favorite movie).  

What’s missing from both (not surprisingly) is any reference to the Divine (Buttons had some but only to add local flavor).  Other than the mother, no character really expresses any opinion whatsoever about God.  If the good folks who wrote the Westminster Catechism centuries ago were right and that our primary purpose is to, “Glorify God and to enjoy Him forever” it is hard to make a statement about the purpose of our whole lives and leave God out of our story (really out of anyone’s story).  

I recommend both movies and hope the generate discussion in our larger society about not wasting time – especially with those who really mean something to us.  For Christians, I think it is important to consider what it means not to waste time with people.  Maybe we’d have a different answer than our pop-culture would.

All the best and until next time,

Tom

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