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‘Zoolander 2’ – 0 Cannarfs

zoolander-2So, it’s been quite a while since my last post of any sort on this blog. If you’re out there in internet-land and you’ve been sorely missing regular posts here, I have a few things to say:

  1. Are you okay? Do you need some help figuring your life out?
  2. Are you aware that there are many better blogs out there for any number of purposes that this one might have filled?
  3. Thank you.
  4. I’m sorry.

That said, here’s my cannarf review of the new movie Zoolander 2. What’s a cannarf, you ask? Well, it’s essentially a completely subjective scale where you rate things from -10 to 10 based on how it was vs. how you expected it to be. Ergo, it’s all about expectations.

For Zoolander 2, I’ll be honest – as much as I dearly love the first movie (and when I say love I mean “watch it at least once a year and still laugh out loud” love…), expectations were pretty low for this one.

What Worked

The best new material in this movie mostly involved Billy Zane, Sting, and Kiefer Sutherland. Let that sink in for a minute.

The Billy Zane connection with Zoolander goes back to just one scene in the original, but that scene had a certain quality about it that just resonated. I remember watching the original Zoolander and only knowing Billy Zane from a crappy made-for-TBS movie that he did in the late 90s. Didn’t matter. “Put a cork in it, Zane!” was still an amazing line from the movie’s title character.

Kiefer Sutherland’s parts in Zoolander 2 were even better because of the seriousness with which he approached them contrasted with the ridiculousness of the situation. He basically played a version of himself, combined with Jack Bauer, with a healthy dose of emotional trainwreck mixed in. He sort of stole the show.

And, after the whole, “I guess one of my role models would have to be Sting. I’m not really – I don’t really listen to his music, but the fact that he’s out there making it… That inspires me” bit from Hansel in the first movie. The (SPOILER) revelation that he is Hansel’s father in this movie was a really nice touch.

Oh, and KYLE MOONEY! His character is possibly the most memorable and (hopefully) quotable one in Zoolander 2. The whole “Aw, man! You guys are so old and out of touch! You’re dinosaurs, and look like fools. I hated everything about what you did. You’re awesome,” schtick was what my wife and I walked out laughing about the most.

What Didn’t Work

Basically everything else. The formula for a movie like this has to be the same as a male model walk-off, right? First movie walks, second movie duplicates and elaborates… There’s never enough elaboration in comedy sequels 10+ years after the fact (see Anchorman 2, Dumb and Dumber Too), and Zoolander 2 was no exception.

There was a real missed opportunity to build the legend of Derek Zoolander, too, in my opinion. Part of Mugatu’s rage in the original is directed at how Zoolander’s signature looks (Ferrari, La Tigra, Blue Steel) are all just the same look. There’s a moment in Zoolander 2 where another character mistakenly identifies a look on a deceased celebrity’s face as Blue Steel. Zoolander objects that it’s a different look called Aqua Vitae, and they use advanced computers to detect “over 14,000 facial variations” between Aqua Vitae and Blue Steel. The implication is that Zoolander is, in fact, a genius with a massively expressive face the likes of which mere fashion mortals can never understand, but only hope to appreciate. However, the joke never went farther than that.

Outside of that – Fred Armison was weird; Kristen Wiig was not very funny; and all of the other celebrity cameos (outside of the ones mentioned in the “What Worked” section) felt like, “Oh, there’s so and so… Hmmm…” And, in relation to Armison and Wiig – I’m speaking of their characters, of course. I think they are both very funny, and probably did the best they could with the mediocre script.

Verdict – 0 Cannarfs

Zoolander 2 was pretty much exactly what I thought it would be. No surprises, no disappointments. If you’re thinking about seeing it in theaters, I wouldn’t. Unless you’re a die-hard Zoolander fan (like my wife and I are), or you’re buying your tickets with someone else’s money (gift card, baby!), you’ll probably end up thinking you wasted your money.

But what do I know… Have you seen Zoolander 2? What was your take?

 

We’ve Moved!!

The Pursuit of God has officially and finally moved to…

JoeRob.com

Click the link above to head over to the new site. While you’re there, make sure you subscribe using the orange rss button or the email subscribe button on the top right of the page.

Peace.

The Middle

(Why are you still here?! Head over to joerob.com and click the orange rss button on the top right so that you won’t miss anything when pofgblog.com goes static next week!)

There are some different theories about stories, and how they are put together. Some are super simple, like this one…

Very simple story arc model.

Some are a little more complex, like this one…

This story arc is more complex because it ends with a word that I think is French.

And some are more complex and fluid still, like this one…

The most complex one yet, because it uses both French and algebra.

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Why I Don’t Judge People

Judgmental people are mean people. At least, this is how we tend to see them.

(If you’re reading this at http://www.pofgblog.com, go ahead and click on over to www.joerob.com at some point and subscribe there. This blog will become a static “We’ve Moved!” page in a week or so anyways, and I don’t want you to miss anything!)

In all honesty, this post should be titled, “Why I Try Not to Judge People.” Because the fact is that, try as I might not to, I do still pass judgment on people in my mind and in my heart sometimes. I write people off as being weird, or not funny, or dumb, or immature, or a whole host of other things that I’ve decided in my sinful heart are beneath me or distasteful. Sometimes in my head, I box these people into the categories I’ve selected for them, and until the judgmental mood is broken in me, it is nearly impossible for me to think about them outside of the box I’ve placed them in.

Now there are about a million reasons why I don’t want to be judgmental towards other people. For starters, judgmental people are jerks, and nobody wants to be a jerk. Well, some people do, but they’re in the minority for sure. For the most part, we all want to be liked by the people around us. We want to be highly thought of, but we sort of shoot ourselves in the foot when we’re always calling people out and judging them, and putting them in boxes.

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Doors and Windows

(If you’re reading this at http://www.pofgblog.com, please remember that I’m in the process of moving this blog to my new web address, www.joerob.com. I’ll be posting in both locations for the rest of this week and next week, then all you’ll see here is a static “We’ve moved!” page. Go ahead and click over to joerob.com and subscribe so that you won’t miss anything!)

I’ve heard the phrase “When God closes a door, he opens another one,” or “When God closes a door, he opens a window,” here and there for probably my entire life. People who use this phrase usually mean, “If that particular opportunity doesn’t work out, then God will provide something else, maybe something better, and it will happen soon, and everything will be awesome.” It’s a comforting thought, but I’m not sure it’s theologically accurate.

The reality is, as my youth ministry compatriot Tim Schmoyer said in a blog post last year, that sometimes God closes a door so that we have to sit in a dark room alone for a little while. Here are three Biblical examples of what I think he means by that.

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Heartfelt Desire vs. Duty

President Obama looking pensive.

I’m feeling pensive today, so I thought I’d share something that I’ve been thinking about and pondering lately. It concerns this dynamic that believers feel a lot of times between having this burning passion to love, serve, and be with God, and doing things like reading scripture, prayer, etc., simply because we know we’re supposed to, even though we don’t really feel like it.

On the one hand, our culture has programmed us to think that our hearts (our emotions) are the ultimate, deepest part of ourselves. “Listen to your heart.” “Follow your heart.” “Do what you feel is right.” Phrases like these serve to highlight the fact that our post-modern society tends to believe that feelings and emotions are the only things in existence that can’t be argued and debated. People simply feel the way they feel (or don’t feel a particular feeling), and that is their reality.

But that kind of mindset makes it very difficult to have a satisfying faith life. I believe it’s simply not possible for any human being to feel a particular emotion all the time. None of us are ever 100% happy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for our entire lives. It’s simply not possible. In the same way, I don’t think it’s possible for a human being to be 100% “on fire” in our faith all the time. Jesus himself, when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, basically said, “Father, I really don’t want to do this. But I know that you have called me to do it, so I will.”

So how do we handle it when our spiritual fire dwindles or dies? I learned something on this issue from C.S. Lewis several years ago, and I’d like to share it with you.

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Some Other Things I Think About on Groundhog Day

Yesterday I posted a hard-hitting expose about Punxsutawney Phil, his insidious hold on American culture, and the shadowy organization that keeps him in power. Believe me, I took a pretty severe risk sharing all of that with you. Just take a look at this photo I found of Punxsutawney Phil from back when he was hob-nobbing with Castro and Guevara in the 60s. I’m still here, so they haven’t gotten to me yet, but I’m still being very cautious and trying to stay in well-lit public areas. The oppressive regime of P. Phil and his backers is normally right at the forefront of my mind each year on February 2nd. However, there are a few other things I normally think about at least once throughout Groundhog Day, and I’d like to share them with you now.

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Weekend Update

This weekend was crazy. Not crazy like an episode of Skins, but crazy in a cooler ways, with less alcohol and drug use. Here’s the rundown.

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An Embarrassing Moment in My Past

Sometimes I ask random questions in an effort to get to know you, the Reader, a little better, and to help you get to know me. Today I thought that, instead of asking and answering silly questions, it might be fun to share a silly story from my life. Specifically, a time when I completely embarrassed myself. Like, embarrassed myself in a way that was potentially non-recoverable. You know, like in The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when Arthur is talking to Tricia at the party and everyone gets quiet right as he’s saying loudly that everyone at the party is an idiot? Yeah, like that. Here’s the story…

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Sweating the Small Stuff = Finishing the Job

I want you all to know that I have an absolutely amazing wife. She works a full time job in the local school system, a second full time job (putting up with me), plus is completing a graduate school program right now, and is still full of grace and love and laughter and everything else nice in life.

Since she started grad school, I’ve had to step up my game around the house a bit. Even so, I still manage to irk Michelle fairly regularly. Please don’t misunderstand me, it’s not because she’s easily irked. It’s because I don’t always sweat the small stuff; I don’t always finish the job. Let me explain… Read the rest of this entry

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