I SPENT FATHER’S DAY WITH CARY GRANT AND ALFRED HITCHCOCK AND A FEW STRANGERS IN A DARK ROOM

MV5BMTc1MjczNTgxM15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwOTYwNDg3OA@@._V1_SY317_CR12,0,214,317_For Father’s Day my daughters took me down (okay, we walked) to the vintage (that means sticky seat smelly dull screen) theater here in town where they show off-the-beaten-path films, movies just days before they come to DVD, and old movies.  Old movies are some of my favorites, so that is what I really like to watch and that is what my children took me to see–a showing of North by Northwest starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint.  It is one of my favorite movies of all time, and here are some of the reasons why.

1. Cary Grant is so super cool.  He is cooler than anybody else in movies and television today.  Grant doesn’t even have to work at it.   It flows out of him.  Never mind that he is not really acting because he plays the same basic character in every movie (see Arsenic and Old Lace, Bringing Up Baby, An Affair to Remember, etc..)  It doesn’t matter.

2.  I like most all of Hitchcock’s films (Vertigo being an exception) but I think this one is him at his best because of the way his style and nuanced storytelling accentuates the cloak and dagger aspect of the plot.  Psycho might be more famous, but North By Northwest is far better.

3.  Cary Grant wears yellow boxers in the movie.  Yellow.

4.  The scene in the field outside of Chicago is one of the beset bits of storytelling in cinema history.  It is so well done it is almost literary, in that as I watch it my mind forms words to describe the scene.

5.  Trains.

6.  Martin Landau as the suspiciously jealous homosexual henchman is absolutely fantastic.  A possible regret of the film is that there is not more of him in it.

7.  Spy.  North by Northwest was made in 1959, three years before the first James Bond movie, Dr. No, was released but six years AFTER Fleming introduced James Bond in the novel Casino Royale.  There is a kindred spirit between Thornill and Bond–even their appearance.  Consider the grey suit worn by Grant and how it matches so much of the look of the early Bond (particularly From Russia with Love, see also #5 above)  films.  Coincidence?  I think not.  And I like them all!

8.  This film is the best ‘mistaken identity’ motif ever done.  The whole plot depends on Thornhill, a Madison Avenue (paging Don Draper) advertising executive for a nonexistent CIA operative.  How cool is that.

Needless to say, I enjoyed my Father’s Day because the sprouts spent it with me (I did miss Mrs. Greenbean, though).  A cherry Coke and a bag of popcorn perfected the whole experience.

MEGAMIND–THE REDEMPTION OF EVIL

The Greenbeans enjoy movies.  I like old movies and have recently inflicted North By Northwest and Red River upon my otherwise unsuspecting family.  The public library is a great resource for these types of films; although sometimes you have to wait so long that you forget you ordered it.  But, it is always worth it. 

Because I have inflicted so many old movies upon them of late they got to pick and decided that we would go see the movie which apparently everyone  else has seen, Megamind.  The only real problem for me is that Megamind is in 3-D, which is an abbreviation for “Three Times the Dollars”.  Wow, it is so expensive.

I enjoyed it very much, though, and thought it was witty.  The Marlon Brando gig was a very nice touch!

What shouted at me, though (you guessed it), were the theological themes.  (NOTE—SPOILER ALERT’S BELOW)

  • Metro Man—He is intended to be a Christ-figure, but vainly so.  He walks on water, has a death and resurrection type sequence, and his cape is handled and even looks like the Shroud of Turin.  His failure in the film is almost a lament that the Christian community has backed away from the real problems of society. 

 

  • Evil—At first it appears the film is portraying a typical Hollywood dualism with a hero and a villain.  However, what we see is that the villain, although evil, is never able to completely destroy or even win a single battle against the hero.  Good always wins.  This is similar to the claim that Christians make regarding the One True God.  Evil, though strong, is not an equal opposing force to the Lord.  God and only God is almighty.  The Devil is not equal to God in power and strength and therefore, evil cannot win.

 

  • Megamind’s Parallel—Is Megamind Judas or is Megamind Satan?  Is he the misguided traitor who doesn’t understand the ramifications of his actions or is he the original author of atrocity?  How about this for an answer:  I perceive Megamind wants to be Satan but actually doesn’t actually have it in him.  He is more of a Judas figure, and the film portrays him sympathetically as such, almost a proto-Gnostic Judas.    

 

  • Megamind’s Redemption—The transformation of Megamind from ultimate villain to the one who saves the day is truly a story of conversion.  Change is possible, and people can be enlightened.  In the film this change is brought about by romantic love.  We understand that true conversion is triggered by the love of God which engages us and leads us to want to change (Romans 12:1-2) our minds from evil to bad.  This is what the power of the gospel is all about. 

Aside from all that, there are some enjoyable aspects to the film—the rock-n-roll music from my high school days was a blast from the past and the mock President Obama “NO YOU CAN’T” posters made me laugh-out-loud.  It is a fun film, and if you have the $300 dollars it take to go see it in 3-D, I highly recommend it.