Specials: See Sufjan! Costello/Harris tour. Arcade Fire buys a church. Terry Teachout goes to a movie alone. More.

Today’s specials:

  • First, The Arcade Fire release the best album by a rock band in the last two years. Then, they buy a church.
  • Any upcoming movie with a cast like this–Andy Serkis, Bill Nighy, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, and Mickey Rourke–deserves notice.
  • Terry Teachout goes to see Me You and Everyone We Know, and then he writes:
    “What to do? I treated myself to a good dinner, then went looking for a movie I hadn’t seen, which turned out to be Miranda July’s Me and You and Everyone We Know. On my way to the theater, I tried to think of the last time I’d spent an evening watching a movie by myself in a city other than New York. When I go out of town, it’s usually to visit a friend or cover a performance, so I tend not to be faced with the problem of what to do after dinner. At length I recalled that I’d seen Audrey Wells’ Guinevere in Washington’s Dupont Circle six years ago. I liked it very much, and I liked Me and You and Everyone We Know even more, but a few minutes into the film, it struck me that (A) I was watching a sad little comedy about the loneliness of postmodern urban life and (B) nobody in the world knew where I was.”
    Anybody out there like to go to movies alone? I find that when I see a movie solo, it’s a wholly separate experience. When I watch movies with others, I’m very aware of their response to the screen–whether they’re absorbed, thrilled, intrigued, discouraged, or bored. It affects my own experience significantly. Because I care, I start to get mad at the film for failing them… or I feel like telling my company what it is that they’re missing… or I feel bad about the fact that what they think is funny leaves me completely unaffected. On my own, I’m not self-aware or conscious of my neighbors (unless they’re obnoxious). I’m free to be drawn in, or disappointed, entirely based on what the film does to me. Now that I think about it, I don’t go to movies by myself often enough.
  • Expect to see THIS TOY showing up in blogs everywhere.

 

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About Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is the author of a “memoir of dangerous moviegoing” called Through a Screen Darkly, and a four-volume series of fantasy novels called The Auralia Thread, which includes Auralia’s Colors, Cyndere’s Midnight, Raven’s Ladder, and The Ale Boy’s Feast. Jeffrey is a contributing editor for Seattle Pacific University’s Response magazine, and he writes about art, faith, and culture for Image, Filmwell, and his own website, LookingCloser.org. His work has also appeared in Paste, Relevant, Books and Culture, and Christianity Today (where he was a film columnist and critic for almost a decade). He lives in Shoreline, Washington. Visit him on Facebook at facebook.com/jeffreyoverstreethq.

  • eucharisto

    The apostles represented the attitude of God’s people from Christ’s resurrection forward. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t remember any of them calling down judgement on a Roman province or town or whatever. And I’m quite sure that very, very few people would consider Pat Roberston a prophet, at least not in the Old Testament sense.
    Yes, God’s character hasn’t changed, but His attitude towards mankind has been changed. I simply don’t see that there is justifiable evidence from the Bible to say that big disasters are definitely and undeniably always from God. I won’t completely say they’re not, but I sure wouldn’t assume it either. I would say Robertson misses it significantly, and has over and over again.
    Another thing. It would be a special situation if Mr. Robertson had made but one comment, and later recanted or something, but unfortunately, this is a pattern that stretches back years in his case. In October 2003, he suggested that the State Department be blown up with a nuclear device, and later that year called down feminism with several pejorative terms. Most recently he called for the political assasination of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, effectively endangering the political stability between the USA and that forementioned country.
    The church, conservative or even moderate, takes the brunt of his comments, so the church has a right to speak out about him, and against his tactless comments.
    He may have some wonderful things to say spiritually, but he’s rendering those things ineffective by his outrageous comments.
    Then again, the press barely covered this story, not because it was less controversial, but because this is only one more ridiculous thing he has said, and no one even pays attention anymore.

  • Anonymous

    I honestly believe there is a fine line to be walked here. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever and we must remember this is the same God who allowed numerous showings of his anger to the people of the Old Testament (Jew and Gentile both). According to Scripture His nature hasn’t changed so it is quite possible God’s hand IS less upon this nation and the rest of the world as it has been in the past so I’d be very weary to dismiss such events as NOT having some signifigance in God’s plan for us.

    All that being said if there is one thing I have come to accept it is that these things don’t not occur in a vacuum and whatever signifigance they have for those affected it is just as much a reminder to us that we need to “stand in the gap” for this nation and the rest of the world and that we are to be vigilant in our own lives of how we life, if by God or of this world.

    As for Mr. Robertson I am careful to note that prophets of old were NEVER treated or looked upon well by the rest of Israel who they spoke to. The major difference though is that in our times, after the new Covenant, Robertson’s statements seem to lack one major thing….the redemption God provides. There is no judgement without love, just as a Father should not punish his child just to punish, but to correct, to edify. Now have I heard ALL his statements in the context in which they are given? No, but I haven’t seen him correct them or the context they were given yet.

    The main reason why I posted is not about Robertson though but that it is imperative we watch ourselves even as we speak out against a person like Robertson so that we don’t miss out on what God could possibly really saying in the midst of these circumstances. It is easy only to see the words of one misbegotten man rather then the real message there. Just as we don’t reject outright the message of being Pro-life because someone who believes the same message goes and blows up a clinic.

    CTDeLude

  • jasdye

    i didn’t feel that i needed to be persuaded of robertson’s buffoonery, so please excuse me if i didn’t click the links.

    but he ain’t senile – he’s always been *ahem* evil.

    although i would disagree with you on some issues, rick r (i do believe that God allows for and sometimes sends disasters – recall Job), what Robertson and the other non-Bible reading jerks passing condemnation need to realize is that our job is to be loving stewards of all that God’s given us, regardless of what we feel for their lifestyle (recall God’s compassion for the city of Ninevah, where the people didn’t know their left from their right hands).

  • Rick R

    When I read his comments earlier, I wanted to throw up, too.

    My thought about people like Robertson and similar people who say things like “Hurricane Katrina was God’s wrath against an immoral city” is this:

    My God, the God I believe in, the God who sent His Son to die for us, is a God of mercy and grace. He’s not a God of wrath.

    It disturbs me that Jesus’ message of forgiveness, redemption, and salvation gets distorted by some very visible Christians, ones who are so quick to judge.

    Oh well.

  • TerminalMFA

    off topic but very very true. his comments always sadden and anger me.

  • Anonymous

    I am with you on this one..the tragedy of yet another intemperate outburst from Pat is that the culture views this crazed camera hungry buffoon as a representative of evangelical Christianity.The BIG problem is: he is reflective of a judgmental anti-intellectual spiritual constituency within evangelicalism.
    He should retire and take up fishing in the Florida Keys or hone his golfing skills.
    Maybe he is just senile??

  • jasdye

    Bill Nighy, “The Science Guy”?

    Ooops, sorry.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Seeing family movies (and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is being marketed as one) in the theatre is always a dicey proposition, because you always gets unruly kids and parents who feel the need to check their cell phones or whatever — and sometimes, as when I last saw Fantasia on the big screen, you even get one set of parents openly criticizing another set of parents for not controlling their kids better!

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    Peter, perhaps I sounded like I was condemning a trip to the movies with friends, and for that I should be flogged. Of course I love to go to movies with others. I love a shared experience of something new, and the chance to discuss it afterward. When I see something extraordinary, it’s even better to turn and exchange that glance that says, “DID YOU SEE WHAT I SAW?”

    On the other hand, if someone sitting behind me is annoying, it’s a whole lot easier for me to move to another seat if I don’t have to explain what’s going on to the party that came with me.

    There are pros and cons to both solo and accompanied flights.

    Tonight, Anne and I went to see the new Burton/Depp show, and because the place was packed, we were stuck in the seats we chose, doomed to have some of Wonka’s dialogue drowned out by a large group of disabled people who vocalized enthusiastically whenever things got slightly exciting. I’m glad they got to come and enjoy the movie, but if I’d known I was going to have such constant interruptions, I would have saved my nine dollars and stayed home to enjoy a DVD. Now, if I’d been alone at the movie tonight, I could have moved to the other side of the theater and been just fine.

    Ah, well. Anne’s such a fantastic date, it was a pleasant evening nevertheless…

  • jasdye

    And even I’m not that desperate to put that Mr. Potato-Head Storm Trooper on my blog.

    Or am I…?

  • jasdye

    1) Arcade Fire, a few listens? Really? I think I soaked it up on the first listen (largely due to the changing and overlapping musical styles. I mean, who can’t get into some Motown influences by a chamber rock/pop band that similarly loves folk and barn-rockers?) which is unusual for a record that I really like/love over time – eg, Adam Again’s stuff, all of it. But as I was trying to share the wealth, I realized that the production’s obviously low money and the voice may be an acquired taste. But I similarly think I’ll love it for awhile. Like Fred Hammond. Or Adam Again.

    2) I like to think that community enlightens a movie. But, dang, you really have to be choosy with your film-going community. For example, Hotel Rwanda and Kung-Fu Hustle were great movie-going experiences. And I’ve loved the communal Napoleon Dynamite experience most times I’ve seen it. Even the arguments we had after Million Dollar Baby were invaluable.

    On the other hand, I really regret being drawn to see The Interpretor.

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Oh, and lest you wonder, I go to movies by myself all the time, but mainly because (1) studios often don’t let you bring guests to morning preview screenings, and (2) I live three blocks from the Cinematheque and I try to catch as many films there as I can justifiably fit into my schedule, and it’s kinda impossible to secure moviegoing companions for each and every screening. Especially given how offbeat some of those films are. (And FWIW, while my wife tags along sometimes, she also enjoys having the apartment to herself.)

  • Peter T Chattaway

    Jeff, you almost make it sound like going to movies with other people always makes it a lesser experience than what you might have had if you had gone by yourself. Is there any way in which seeing a film with someone else enhances the experience?

    Just to cite one wingnut example off the top of my head, I saw Sam Fuller’s The Big Red One with a friend from church who is ex-military, and while he never saw combat, there was still something about the film that made an impression on him in a way that no other film I’ve seen with him has; I could tell because he kept saying “Oh, f—” in awe or surprise at what was happening on the screen.

    Okay, there’s nothing terribly articulate about that example, but I think my friend’s reaction sharpened my own reaction to and awareness of the film, FWIW.

    And I always make a point of bringing my father, who went to university in South Africa and was expelled from that country for his involvement in anti-apartheid activities, to press screenings for films set in that country, such as Country of My Skull (AKA In My Country). I find I get a lot more out of films like that, that way.

  • Tom Wilkinson

    I absolutely love “Me and You and Everyone We Know.” I’ve gone to see it twice now, once alone and once bringing a good friend I know I can share this with and who “won’t judge me.” Another friend said she was bringing everyone she knows (no pun intended) to see it this weekend. Definitely on my top 10 for this year. Consider it a must see.

  • sg

    Sufjan–what a gorgeous performance. Beautiful.

    Arcade Fire. Please go buy the album and listen to it 3 times. You should be hooked or else you need to be hooked up to life support… :)

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    I will be the first to admit I am a total music snob. Once a band makes a signifigant sound change I lose interest. The ablum with Stand on it had a few good songs as well as the one “Out of Time”. But they weren’t as tight as their earlier albums.

    Thanks for the info on “Arcade.”

  • Jeffrey Overstreet

    C. Rev. … how much time have you spent with the REM albums post-Document? Most of my favorites (with the exception of Life’s Rich Pageant) came after Document. And I loved Reveal, which was an altogether different sound for them, but full of highlights.

    Yes, Arcade Fire are amazing. But it takes a while for their songs to sink in…

  • The Cubicle Reverend

    I don’t think Mike Stype will be normal any time soon or whatever. Did you see him at Live 8? He wore a stripe of blue make – up around his head. They haven’t had a good album since Document. And I have never heard anything from Arcade Fire. Are they any good?

  • opus

    There are movies that I definitely prefer to see alone, simply because I know I’ll have a hard enough time dealing or wrestling with it, and I know I’ll need time to process it. Like you, I’m very conscious of others when I’m watching a film, especially if it’s a film that’s a little bit off the beaten path, so to speak. And that can be very distracting sometimes.


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