Today’s classic Peanuts is another Chuck-and-Patty under-the-tree conversation. It’s a nice, slow strip that has a nice, appropriate twist at the end. I think one thing I like most about it is the mention of specific names that elude people like Anne Baxter and Susan Hayward. The cultural difference makes it just a tad more bittersweet.
(image from gocomics.com)
Bill Watterson created a cast of characters with wonderfully realized voices. That’s particularly true of today’s classic Calvin and Hobbes, which is a “Calvin-style” celebration of Mother’s Day.
(image from gocomics.com)
Last night I had the opportunity to catch an early showing of the new Tolkien biopic. I’d known about the showing for a while, but wasn’t sure I would make the early showing, even though it had a 30-minute interview with Stephen Colbert and the cast/director of the movie screening afterwards. But go I did (the latest I’d ever gotten to a “Tolkien” premiere in my life), and I stayed for the whole thing. And while the movie is far from perfect, it is interesting on a couple of levels. Here’s the final trailer:
The most interesting thing about the movie was watching the story of Tolkien’s life from this end, after years of watching movies based on his writings. Sure, the director intentionally added a number of touches that made the leap from what he experienced in World War I with what he wrote about later, but that was almost unnecessary. You see the soldiers being gassed and you think “the black breath of the riders.” You see Tolkien waking up in the infirmary and you think “Rivendell.” So you don’t really need an imagined dragon or hooded figures on horses to make the leap to his great works.
Tolkien focuses on the professor’s early life, particularly with his boarding school/university friendships and how they lead into the Great War. You get a lot of time with Edith, who will become his wife. The through-line is a series of moments set during the Somme that involve his attempts at finding one of his close friends. It cuts and moves rather quickly, which can be a bit frustrating. But the acting and the scenery more than make up for the choppy pacing.
Stephen Colbert was a great interview host. He asked good questions of Nicholas Holt and Lilly Collins (JRRT and Edith) and Dome Karukoski (the director). It was clear that Karukoski had a deep knowledge of Tolkien’s world. There was a good deal of talk about “how Tolkien saved me from a bad childhood,” which was interesting. But it also seemed to personalize the movie in a way that forced a certain interpretation on the events of the story. I was glad when Colbert asked the faith question, as Tolkien’s Christian faith was mostly left out of the story. Even though the explanation was decent, it felt like there was something more to explore there.
Tolkien won’t set the box office records on fire, particularly in the summer season of blockbusters. And that’s okay. The movie good: wonderfully acted and nicely filmed. But the connective tissue that could have made it a great film just isn’t there. There are a handful of beautiful scenes, though, that will make the movie worth a purchase and the scenes worth sharing with others. Tolkien drops in most theaters this weekend.
Today the folks at Sony dropped the trailer for July’s Spider-Man: Far From Home movie. The movie holds an interesting position, as it is the first “Marvel” movie post-Endgame. And this trailer, much more than the previous trailer, gives away at least major spoiler from that movie. So polite of Tom Holland to tell us this before the trailer runs:
The other big “reveal” has to do with the inter-dimensional nature of the movie’s other “super,” Mysterio. As has already been said before: the character has always been deceptive, so it’s best not to take him at his word . . . even though Nick Fury has no problem doing so. Should make for an interesting story. (The short of the Tower Bridge under attack is amazing enough on its own, I think).
+ + + + + + +
I have to admit: my chapel talk today was Endgame-centric. No spoilers, mind you. It was more about the nature of the story and the public’s consumption of Marvel’s meta-narrative. And that tied into a revisit of the “five act play” of the biblical story and some of Paul’s challenges for the church in Ephesus as they tried to live fittingly. I no longer have any gauge for how chapel goes. It was an interesting challenge to give myself, though.
It’s baseball season again, which means lots of good back-and-forth between Charlie Brown and his always-losing team. Lucy always adds an interesting dynamic to the baseball strips. Sometimes the focus is on her obsession with Schroeder, which Chuck probably likes: it takes the focus off of him. Today’s classic Peanuts by Charles Schulz:
(image from gocomics.com)
While I’m moving rather slowly through it, my reading of the Letters of C. S. Lewis has been interesting on multiple levels. Right now I’m in the middle of a long letter from Jack to his brother involving a week-long trip with relatives through the area near Bath. Wonderfully descriptive in such a mundane, matter-of-fact way.
One of my favorite recent passages comes from a letter on 1 July 1921 to Warnie that includes an interesting comparison of landscapes and people. Lewis write:
Of landscapes, as of people, one becomes more tolerant after one’s twentieth year (which reminds me to congratulate you on your birthday and ask what age it makes you. The rate at which we both advance towards a responsible age is indecent.) We learn to look at them not in the flat as pictures to be seen, but in depth as things to be burrowed into. It is not merely a question of lines and colors but of smells, sounds and tastes as well: I often wonder if professional artists don’t lose something of the real love of earth by seeing it in eye sensations exclusively?
This is the second Sunday in a row that Calvin and Hobbes had something to say about friendship. I meant to post last Sunday’s Calvin strip at some point, but the craziness of the week just didn’t allow for it. Here’s today’s strip, which ends with a classic Calvin twist.
As frustrating as the layout constraints of comics can be, Watterson knew how to make good use of those first two panels.
And here’s the strip from last Sunday, where Calvin deals with another facet of friendship. No Calvin twist at the end of this one.
The first and ninth panels are wonderfully rendered, too.
(images from gocomics.com)