Wednesday, March 16, 2005

One Thumb Down; One Thumb Up

On the weekend, for the first time, Les and I rented a couple of DVD's. We were given a DVD player before Christmas, but somehow had never found the time to rent one until now. We rented the movies 'Ray' and 'Terminal'. I would have to say that 'Ray' was pretty much a disappointment for me, but more on that later on... 'Terminal', on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise! I don't think I even knew this movie existed until I saw it on the New Release shelf. It's a Tom Hanks movie about a Crococian (spelling?) man who ends up in limbo in JFK. There has been an overthrow of the government in his country and so it is no longer being recognized by the United States, so they will not allow him into the US nor out of there, and he is stuck in the terminal. I thought Hanks was surperb in this role. I don't think he gets very much attention now that he's a bit older, but he was wonderful in this role. Another thing that I liked about this movie is that it was a fresh story, not one that you could figure out in the first 10 minutes. I also liked that for the most part it was a pretty 'clean' film with some very good messages about the character of a man. Les and I both really enjoyed it!

Getting back to 'Ray' though, we were both so disappointed in it. I think all the hype and build up I've heard about it really made me expect a better film, a rounder story, but I guess I was expecting too much. At first I felt the film was fairly biographical without getting into may of the intricacies of Ray's life that would have been interesting to follow and would have developed a better understanding of the person. Most of the story focused on his heroine addiction, but once he addresses the addiction, the story ends, decades before his life, before many of his musical accomplishments, etc. I really thought this film could have been more... Then yesterday as I was checking Carolyn's blog, I read something that interested me more than most of what I saw in the film. You can check it out here ( ...check out the entry entitled 'Ray Charles on Praise' is an excerpt of some of Ray's own words to his biographer as quoted in a recent issue of Rolling Stone:
"When we were writing my book, I remember telling you that I'm not really looking at Jesus, I'm looking at God. Well, I'm looking at it differently now. .... I think about stories. Songs are stories. And if you're going to write a good song, you're going to have to praise a woman. That's the key. And if you're writing a book about God, you're going to have to praise God. That's what Jesus did. Praised the Father. Taught us about praise. I used to think all that church praise, all that hooting and hollering, was overdone. Stop shouting. Be Cool. Besides, if God is God, why does he need all this praise? Now I'm thinking it ain't God who needs the praise -- it's us who need to do the praising. The praise makes us stronger. That's why I'm getting stronger."
Now that's a part of Ray's story worth telling!

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