Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Top 10 Movies of 2014

So, I should obviously make a resolution to update my blog more than twice a year.

I've made this list for the last 6 years and have to admit that I had my first draft of this list made sometime around last July. I love movies but I also love looking forward to what's coming next. Here's the list for 2014:

1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (December 17)
This is really no question. Someday we'll look back and realize how lucky we were that we got six of these movies and that they really are so good. I was originally opposed to the idea that they would split such a small book into three movies but they've done such a great job at connecting these to the Lord of the Rings movies that I will be sad that it's over after only the third film.
(No Trailer Yet)

2. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 (November 21)
I'm going to need to see Catching Fire a second time when it comes out on Redbox. I was sitting a little too close to the screen at the theater and had to leave instead of being able to see the whole movie. I really liked the parts that I saw though and I love these stories. I think that especially with the last movie and then going into these that they have the potential to go above simply being an action movie to being able to say something significant about how we view ourselves and our entertainment.
(No Trailer Yet)

3. X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23)
I waiver on my excitement of this movie from time to time. On one hand, they've promised to undo all of the dumb things that happened in X-Men 3 with time travel but on the other hand they're already planning the movie to come after that. I'm really just excited that we get another movie with Patrick Stewart as Professor X once again.

4. Interstellar (November 7)
This movie is this high purely on pedigree. It's directed by Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy) and written by his brother who really did a great job writing those movies. I really have no idea what it's going to be about but with the team behind it, it has the potential to be great.

5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4)
We really are spoiled by how many comic book movies get made these days. In the past this probably would have been #1 or #2 on my list but it's hard to put it that high when we've had The Avengers combine so many superheroes in one movie. That being said, I really enjoyed the first Captain America movie and they say that this is the movie that will start the momentum moving story-wise toward The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

6. Muppets Most Wanted (March 21)
I love, love, love The Muppets. I think they were classically funny but that they did a great job making them fresh with the last Muppets movie. If they have anything half as singable as "Muppet or Man" I will be very happy.

7. The Lego Movie (February 7)
I would never have imagined that this would be on this list but the trailers for this movie have been so funny. Throw in Lego Batman and I'm pretty excited.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1)
A comic book movie with a talking raccoon, a talking tree and Andy from Parks and Rec? It'll either be fantastic or terrible but I've got hope for the former.
(No Trailer Yet)

9. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13)
The first How to Train Your Dragon was as good of a film as a lot of the films that Pixar has released over the years. 99% of the animated movies out there are telling the same story of "celebrate your differences" but the first one did such a better job of expounding on that. This one should be good too.

10. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2)
If Tomorrowland and Minions hadn't been moved to 2015 this probably wouldn't have made my list. I still remember going to see Spider-man during the opening weekend in 2003 and I'm pretty sure I've seen every episode of the cartoon from the 90s. I wish that Sony and Disney could just agree to let Spider-man join The Avengers but I'll be happy to see him battle by himself for now.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It's STILL Ok To Be Single

A year ago I wrote a post about why my single friends needed not to be depressed. Later that evening I started dating my wonderful girlfriend (a story for another day) and obviously changed my mind, right?


I still agree with what I said last year. Valentine's Day is cool and it doesn't help yourself or anyone else to be gloomy about it. What I said last year still stands true (we don't freak out about not being able to celebrate Secretary Appreciation Day, 100% of married people were single at one point and singleness does not define you) but I think a couple other things can be said as well....

1. Marriage is not the epitome of the Christian life. Christopher Yuan, author and professor at Moody Bible Institute spoke recently about why Christians are losing the Gay Marriage debate and he argued that it was because we've made marriage the ideal state of being. It is cool and it should be held in high regard by the church... but it shouldn't be held in TOO high of regard. Marriage is not the ideal state of being, righteousness is.

2. There's always another goal to pursue. People, for the most part, seem wired to want the next step. Single people who aren't dating want to be like their friends who are. People who are dating and actually like the person who they're dating eventually wish that they were like their married friends. Married people who don't have kids eventually wish that they were like their friends who do have kids. There always seems to be something else.

It's not romance and family for everyone. For some it's a job, a car, a house, money, prestige, respect or power. In the end, none of this provides fulfillment. Christ provides fulfillment.

Everything (including relationships) on this Earth is temporary. Our relationship with Christ is eternal. It's why He deserves the place of most importance in our lives. Not because He'll help us endure until we get what we most desire, because He is the most valuable thing we could ever desire.

And that is why even though this year I'm not in the same place relationally that I was last year (at this time of day, at least) I can still relate to and think about these things. I'm extremely humbled and grateful to be dating a dedicated follower of Christ but the temptation to continue to want to be at the place of life where other people are and the temptation to find fulfillment in these things is still constant.

So it's on this Valentine's Day that I remember that it's ok to be at whatever stage of life we're in because Christ offers us something we can't fully find in any other person: