#BlogElul via the Movies 20 – Messing Up the End

Sometimes you just can’t end it. Or when you do you end something you do it poorly. Do you recognize these behaviors as exemplified by movies?

NEVER QUITE FIND THE ENDING – It is hard to find the right way to say goodbye. Sometimes you try them all. How many times did people in the theater think The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King had too many endings?

CAN’T QUITE LET GO – It’s time to leave it alone already, but you keep finding ways to make it a bigger deal than it really needs to. Maybe it’s a Peter Jackson thing, but he has decided to stretch the slim tale in The Hobbit into three books. Sounds like two books too many.

PLEASE STOP. REALLY STOP. – That couple that keeps breaking up and getting back together. Just end it! Sequels to movies that didn’t deserve them are now so ubiquitous it is hard to pick just one. Horror movies are too obvious. Let’s go with American Pie. The first one was funny. The 3 Hollywood sequels were fair at best. The “side” sequels wear abysmal. I’m sorry Eugene Levy has such big mortgage payments to need to be in all of them.

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#BlogElul via the Movies 16 – Some Kind of Wonder-Full

Movies are fickle things. Tim Burton is one of the most amazing directors to create a world immersed in his fantastic vision. Why is that Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorshands are still full of wonder, but recent Tim Burton fantasies such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland are not “wonderful” or perhaps “wonder-full”? I know my age makes a difference regarding wonder. It’s a piece (and only a piece) of why I love the original Star Wars trilogy and am much more ambivalent on the second threesome.

Wonder is that which arouses astonishment or marvel. Things enriched with positively experiences of amazement and transformation. The High Holy Days are supposed to that. Choirs, robes, shofar, sermons, big musical pieces, the sheer number of attendees are all supposed inspire you into awe. Thomas Carlyle said, “Wonder is the basis of worship.” Nowadays, we often seek such wonder differently. Choirs and robes are often no more. Sermons often don’t live up to the anticipation. The music and even the congregation are intentionally scaled back for alternative or intimate services. At least the shofar is still the shofar.

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