Art, Music, & Film: November 2004 Archives

The long awaited advent of that Art House film was greeted by yours truly and Son almost on the day of its arrival.

Yes, Spongebob Squarepants:The Movie (Bigger. Better. More Absorbent.) is with us in full cinematic glory, and indeed glorious it is--from the live action pirate beginning to the post credits live action clearing of the theater, every moment is a triumph.

Seriously--it's not for the very young. One woman near me brought her son, who may have been three or four and there were some moments that would have been frightening (especially given the big screen) to one so young. However, if your munchkins are in the 5-whatever age-group, Spongebob provides exactly what they need to be semi-permenantly wound-up.

Except for Ellyn, I've anecdotally notices a tremendous divide on the part of Spongebob, and it showed in the attendees at this theatre--they were overwhelmingly male. Some mothers reluctnatly trudged in to endure the high-pitched voices and the hyperactivity of Spongebob and Patrick, but most of the cause for the attendance was male. Linda despises Spongebob and is constantly lamenting that Samuel can't see Bugs Bunny and friends. But those of us who have come to know and love Spongebob know that the secret is in his kindness and his irrepressible good cheer even in the worst of circumstances.

The Spongebob movies is everything you've come to expect of Spongebob and more--as the advertising line says: Bigger. Better. More Absorbent.

So it you're of a Spongebob mind, grab a kid and run for the nearest theater. If not, you may want to pay the exorbitant rates and become acquainted with the residents of Bikini Bottom because you are missing out on some generally pleasant, exceptionally generous and kind (if somewhat below the average wattage) company.

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I was surprised at how well this film succeeded for me, and how strongly it reinforced my conviction that the death penalty is in nearly all cases unjust. You are well aware that this is the movie for which Charlize Theron (next to Halle Berry definitely in my icongraphic hall of Most Beautiful Women in the World--well there's a few others including (still) Sophia Loren, etc. but that's for antoher post) went plain. But not only did she "go plain," she also demonstrated an amazing acting ability. Who'd have guessed even after such films as The Astronaut's Wife?

In the film Theron plays Aileen Wouros, a down-and-out prostitute who is pushed over the edge and begins to kill the men who solicit her services. Ms. Wouros was a real person who was executed in 2002, an action I protested to the Governor and it consituted the first vigil I maintained. (Although being who I am, I didn't join any large crowd of people doing so. I prefered my vigil in the silence of my home in prayer.)

What struck me in the course of the film was how I was able to sympathize with the plight of this woman who had everything taken from her and was expected to survive, to make it on her own. Don't get me wrong, almost every choice she made was wrong--from the very beginning. However, the film shows the consequences of not reaching out to help people who find themselves in this situation. It shows the consequences of "victimless" crimes such as prostitution. It shows the consequences of our refusal to love even the unlovable, of our insistence upon meeting a set of arbitrary social standards before you are acceptable. The tragic irony of the film is that just when someone is able to reach out and try to help, Wouros has reached the end of the line.

I expected to be horrified by the violence in the film, and in a sense I was, but it was not the violence coming from Wouros, is was the violence directed at her. She is not a likeable person. She is not a person I would want to engage on any level. And yet, it is precisely that kind of person we are called as Christians to pay the most attention to. We are not allowed our preferences in whom we serve. I was reminded of this over and over because part of the story has a very deeply personal significance which I cannot share.

The film touched me and saddened me. I do have to admit that I was so assaulted by the language used that I came very, very close to turning it off on several occasions. But I stayed the course and I'm glad that I did. A superior film on many levels.

Recommended, but language and violence pretty much limits any household viewing.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Art, Music, & Film category from November 2004.

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