Monday, February 23, 2009


So let's talk reflections. First, let's talk about the reflection I saw of myself as Ollie and I walked past a window on our way to Korea House the other night. I couldn't help but exclaim, "OH MY GOSH." Ollie responded by saying, "Yeah, Babe. Your stomach HAS gotten a lot bigger lately." So brave of him. I knew he was right, and I wasn't offended. Cannon has grown so noticeably these last few weeks. I seriously don't know how my belly can grow any more, but my guess is that it will. I seriously thought today that I need to carry some heavy duty lotion in my purse because my skin stings so much during the day from all the stretching.

Today as I was chillaxing on the couch, I decided to take some video of my belly as Cannon rolled around. I thought maybe I could trick him into performing for me. I promise every time he starts moving like crazy, the moment I point it out to someone, he stops. I felt like Elmer Fudd trying to be vewy vewy quiet to sneak up on my little bunny.

Then I thought I would take a picture of my feet from my perspective. I couldn't stop laughing.

Anyway, went to the doctor this morning. I love my doctor. He is so kind and compassionate. Clearly loves what he does. He said that he expects to see me at my next appointment (next Monday), but that Cannon will likely come next week! I feel both excited and nervous. I could have my baby boy in my arms next week! If not next week, then probably the next! Either way, that is so soon!

Today I hung out with Mandy, Caroline, and Luke. Caroline was so precious. She said, "Cannon birthday party?" Mandy answered, "Yes, Cannon is going to have a birthday party really soon!"

Oops...I fully intended to "reflect" on more, but I'm going to bed.

Ok, I can't believe I am posting this picture, but what the heck.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oscar Ruminations

As many of you may know, I (Oliver) love to watch film and have been trying to make my way through the films that are Oscar nominated films. However, I have little to no desire to see The Reader and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Milk is a possibility and so is Doubt but there are many factors that have kept me from going to see them such as time, lack of desire, money, and getting the house and myself ready for the arrival of Cannon.

This years list of Oscar films have been very thin. I have been extremely disappointed in what I've seen so far. Other than Slumdog Millionaire and The Visitor, every thing has been disappointing and uneventful. I feel as if this downward spiral is a result of the writers' strike last year and the trickle down effect to this year. The problem with the films these years is that the acting may be spectacular (i.e. Gran Torino, The Wrestler, and Frost/Nixon), but the stories overall are too thin to move for the two-ish running times of the film.

I'll take the fact that Clint Eastwood is doing great work as an actor in the twilight of his career but the story and the character he portrays are so extreme that the resolution and climax are too big of a leap. It is too far reaching. It's interesting seeing Eastwood dealing with the subject of death in the last couple films that I've seen of his (Gran Torino and Million Dollar Baby). His struggle with life after death and how that relates with the decisions that we make in this life are interesting, but the film falls flat on its face. Gran Torino is a two hour film that needed half of its length to get its message across. There is a redemptive overtone to the film but the story leading up to the resolution left me bored and empty when the climax of the film happens. I emphasized the fact that you have to have great acting with a great story and not allow one to fall by the wayside. A well told story should draw you in. It's not supposed to keep you at a distance. I never found myself ever relating with any of the characters or empathizing for them.

Same goes for The Wrestler. Mickey Rourke is fantasatic as well in this film and I hope that he wins the Oscar for his job here. I also love Darren Aronofsky and all the films that he has directed. However, even though Rourke's life embodies the character of Randy "The Ram" Robinson, the story, just like Gran Torino, spun its wheels for most of the one hour 45 minute running time. Rourke is very real and the story is much more down to earth and tangible than in Gran Torino because of the dysfuntion in his life and the despair he feels from being an over the hill, broken down wrestler and being an absentee father to his daughter. The story was too packaged. You see how The Ram is broken down physically and emotionally throughout the film but his digression is scattered and underdeveloped. The depth of detail with his daughter and his life outside of wrestling is disappointing because it doesn't give the depth to The Ram that the story around him deserves. If we are to empathize with him, there needs to be more to his character than the fact that he is a wrestler who is past his prime and who pines for his days of being in the limelight.

Frost/Nixon is an interesting story and the premise of the interview between David Frost and Richard Nixon coming together was fascinating but it's a topic that is more well suited for a documentary rather than a feature length film. It was educational to me since I knew nothing about these interviews or anything about David Frost. However, this film didn't have enough substance to warrant its two hour running time as well. I don't know if my life is getting too busy that I can't set aside two hours for a film. I just believe that if a film is going to be two hours, it should move and develop the story and characters to warrant it. A story should flow; not get bogged down and spin its wheels over the same plot lines and issues that have been revealed or resolved.

All these films are definitely worth seeing if you want to see actors at their best (Eastwood in Gran Torino, Rourke in The Wrestler, David Sheen and Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon). However, if you want to see complete films, you need to see Slumdog Millionaire, The Visitor, and Frozen River. This films stand way above the rest this year because, in my opinion, a great film will stick with you way after you have waled out of the theater or way after the credits have stopped rolling. Each of these films have done that for me this year. I just rented Frozen River last night and it hasn't left my mind. It's a devastating film. Melissa Leo, who plays the lead in the film and is nominated for best actress, is wonderful as the mother in this film. She plays a mother who is desperate and at her last straw perfectly. She is right on the edge throughout the film on whether her life is going to come crashing down around her or not and the decisions she makes draw her closer and closer to that edge and she brought me there right with her.

The premise of Frozen River is centered around Ray Eddy (Leo) who is a wife who has been abandoned by her husband a week before Christmas. Her husband is a gambling addict and left with all the family's money. What makes matters worse is that they had just put a down payment on their dream home, a double wide trailer home, which they are endanger of losing because she doesn't have the money to pay for the rest of the down payment for the delivery of the home. In the midst of her despair she goes looking for her husband and runs into a woman, Lila, who found her husbands car with the keys in it. Through circumstances, Ray finds out that Lila smuggles illegal immigrants across the Canadian border outside the jurisdiction of the border patrol because she lives on an Indian reservation. Ray ends up getting caught up into the trafficking of the illegals as a result teetering on the edge of doing what is right and legal or what she deems best for her and her two sons. The film and characters draw you in and the reality of the situations and decisions that Ray makes hit you right between the eyes. She wants to do what is right but also realizes the enormity of the decisions that she is making and the impact it will have on her and her children. What is the right decision? It is heart wrenching to watch these lives spin out of control but it also shows the reality of the ambiguity that can confront us if we allow desperation and the world to control us rather than God. It shows what a lack of hope and the absence of grace can do to lives. It also shows how decisions that we make have repercussions and that we are responsible for the decisions that we make. The fact that we have a Creator that has gone the distance for us, gives us hope and should never allow despair to reign over us.

Slumdog Millionaire, The Visitor, and Frozen River are films that will make you look deeper into our lives and search out the Truth and find freedom from what the world tries to tie us down with. There can be freedom and that is a wonderful truth!