I’m just barely returned from the world of Harry Potter. Having put off reading the books for so long now, I finally gave in and picked up a couple of the books in a used bookstore. After they sat on the shelf for a month or so, I finally started reading. Of course I’ve heard many things about the books, and am aware of the controversy that they caused in some ultra-conservative circles who forgot that C.S. Lewis also wrote children’s fantasy with magic in the books. I’d heard that they were well-written, and I now have to say that indeed, they are. Much better than a John Grisham novel, and not sloppily-written as a number of the bestselling authors are in the grownup world. As a writer, I confess I’m a little taken with the story of a single mother in a tiny apartment crafting a novel series in her spare time after work and landing a worldwide sensation. Also as a writer, I’ve been making a point of reading well-written fiction in the past few years, and despite being branded as children’s literature, the Harry Potter series landed squarely within this category for me.
Like a lot of other bloggers in this general emerging/missional conversation, I’ve mentioned some movies in the past, considering some metaphor or other that I’ve extracted. There are in fact a lot of movies out there with poignant themes, but I thought I would take a stab at listing ten that have themes relevant to the conversation in which we find ourselves. Some of these I’ve mentioned here before, and others I haven’t. I’m listing them in alphabetical order since this isn’t really a “top ten” list, so there isn’t another order that would make any more sense than that. For each one, I will attempt to give a bit of a precis and some reasoning why it fits into this list.
What do you do when your kid is a “smart, sensitive, restless, chain-smoking 16-year-old who [is] flunking out of everything at school”? In the case of author David Gilmour, his response to his son Jesse is told in his new book The Film Club: A Memoir (Canadian title, The Film Club: A True Story of a Father and a Son). Perplexed and exasperated, “Gilmour finally let Jesse drop out, with only two conditions: he couldn’t do drugs, and he had to agree to watch three movies a week with the old man” (CBC Review). Now this is a decidedly unusual approach, to say the least. No hitting the roof? No throwing him out? No grounding until he’s 37? No “Then get a job, you bum!”? I haven’t read the book, but I understand it works out in the end… both are presently at the University of Toronto, one as a student and the other as a visiting literary professor. It sounds like through this exceptionally bold move, Gilmour just stumbled into something. Something important.
Whodathunkit? The 2008 Pulitzer Prize awards have been announced, and for the first time ever, rock and roll gets a mention. I think they made a good choice for this ‘first’ — Bob Dylan was awarded a special citation “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” He’s now The Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Bob Dylan, and in my mind, it’s well-deserved. Why didn’t anyone thunkofit sooner?