Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Thunderbirds

Photos by Kim Carlson

One of the great things about where I live is being able to catch the Thunderbirds air show that follows graduation at the Air Force Academy. The whole front range area of Colorado Springs is their stage and they captivate all who live here with their breathtaking display of power and precision. Yesterday, Kim and I found a spot for lunch that made a good vantage point and we settled down for the show. I feel like a little child when I watch them as their magificent feats fill me with wonder,awe, and admiration.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Soloist

There are few movies, especially at the theatre, that I can embrace completely. Many I can enjoy for one reason or another but it is rare that a film has the power to engage me totally. Last weekend I saw The Soloist and it met the above criteria. I experienced a deep sense of catharsis after watching it.

The Soloist is an uplifting movie but not a feel good movie. It does not have a happy ending in the traditional sense. It tells a story honestly and openly. The acting of both Robert Downey Jr. as Steve Lopez and Jamie Foxx as Nathaniel Ayers is excellent. The sweet sounds of the soundtrack left me longing for more beautiful classical music.

Good art depicts life as it is in a beautiful, aesthetic way. Director Joe Wright is a master at making a movie pleasurable to watch from an artistic standpoint. Woven throughout the film are these amazing scenes of cityscapes and so forth that ordinarily would hold no appeal but he captures them in such a way that creates beauty. There are aerial views of crisscross designs of freeways or parking lots with pigeons flying over. Pigeons are not considered the most beautiful of birds but they look graceful as they flitter across the screen in this context.

I think good art also upholds the dignity of human beings. Not only are the scenes aesthetically pleasing but they hold a deeper symbolic meaning. In the midst of the horrors of homelessness and mental illness, there is beauty in the lives of those suffering people. Sometimes it is obvious as in Nathaniel Ayer's talent even though for him it can never be fully actualized.

The film underscores the value of friendship; that it can matter more than anything when trying to help someone. It is a great film for anyone involved in Stephen Ministry. It illustrates the importance of grace and simply being present for somebody struggling with life.