Tag Archive: entertainment

Lars and the real girl

so last nite tbV and i finally watched the movie ‘Lars and the real girl’ which had come highly recommended by our Philly friend Janell Anema and it was indeed well worth the watch.

Ryan Gosling [who i have been completely against since he starred in ‘The Notebook’ which is a movie which irritated me beyond belief for reasons that most people don’t really care much about] is phenomenal as Lars, who is a likeable yet completely socially strange office cubicle worker who develops a sweet and completely innocent romantic relationship with an anatomically correct sex doll [basically], a ‘Realdoll’ who he calls ‘Bianca’ and introduces to his brother and his pregnant sister-in-law and then later to the rest of the town as his girlfriend.

Lars is completely serious though and probably the most powerful and defining scene in the movie is the one where his brother and sister in law get all excited because Lars is bringing across ‘his girlfriend’ [having been a complete recluse living in their garage converted into a room] and then it cuts to their stunned speechless faces as they sit opposite Lars and this dressed up sex doll ‘Bianca’ that they have just been introduced to. Cue long drawn out pause ending in a ‘can i speak to you in the kitchen?’ moment between the couple.

amazing story, brilliant performances by all the key and support players and it scores bonus points for casting Mark Brendanawicz [from my favourite current sitcom, Parks and Recreation, actor Paul Schneider] as the brother of Lars.

but where the movie comes to life is when they take Lars to this doctor/psychologist under the pretence that they are taking Bianca to get checked up and she suggests to them that they have to go along with the delusion which Lars has created if they want to get to the bottom of it.

Lars brother and sister-in-law approach the leaders in the church and after initial reluctance they agree to go along with it and soon everyone in this small town are treating Bianca as if she is real.

this for me was when it stopped being a movie about Lars and this girl and became a movie about Lars and the church – at one key moment of the movie Lars is all upset and shouts at his sister in law that no-one cares for him. she counters with the fact that everyone in the village has included and welcomed and supported and loved Bianca because of him, because they love Lars and it is their way of showing it.

you REALLY have to see the movie if you want to really ‘get’ this because it most likely starts sounding pretty creepy somewhere between ‘sex doll’ and… well just at sex doll probably, but in actual fact Bianca is anything but. as they start to treat her as if she is real and continue to love and treat Lars as if nothing is wrong with him, slowly the townspeople start to realise a whole lot of stuff about themselves.

the church being the church. instead of getting caught up with ‘the need to fix Lars’, they choose instead [some of them against their better judgement altho they change through the story] to focus on the primary goal of the church, that of Loving Lars, and the results are powerful.

yeah just go and watch this movie! Ryan Gosling, all is forgiven. how he wasn’t considered for a Oscar for this performance i do not know [altho he was apparently nominated for a Golden Globe]

and church, let’s learn from this. Love first. Let God largely take care of the rest… but never at the expense of Love.

i imagine this is a much bigger post or discussion than what will fit in here but let’s get it started…

a soccer player [who was worth something like 40 million something – does it really matter when you hit 40 million whether the next word is pounds, euros or dollars?] scores a goal.

a hundred facebook statuses [stati?] read something along the lines of ‘amazing goal – so worth the money spent’

i get angry. [i know, not allowed, how absolutely elizabethan of me]

i post something about how no football player [or goal] is ever worth that amount of money. especially when hundreds of thousands [millions? does it matter once you’ve gone past hundreds?] of people are literally starving to death around the world

angry mob [but since we’re online they can’t exactly storm my castle with flaming torches, especially because of the high-tech moat system i have employed]

so discussion happens. well kinda. words are written and people [a lot of them strong christian types] strongly defend the soccer player, the club, the industry, the system.

but there is a huge disconnect. because arguments will be made [with the understood eyebrow raising condescension implied as to ‘how can you even think such a thing you stupid, you.] and perhaps scripture, or scriptural ideas will be referenced and argumentative questions will be thrown [what are you saying? he should give the money back? how much of it? how much is too much?] all in defense of how much the person is worth his wages blah blah blah

what probably won’t happen is Jesus will not be quoted or referenced, because it is very hard to believe that Jesus would support the idea of a soccer player being worth millions of currency while people [specifically ‘least of these’ type people – Jesus’ favourite type it seems] are left to starve to death or barely survive in miserable circumstances and conditions.

and what also won’t happen is the people defending overpaid soccer [and you can interchange soccer for music or entertainment or business or even church leader/speaker type – the soccer one is just a more blatant example but it is the same across the board for me] player guy won’t ever make a statement that it is okay for the poor person to suffer, starve or die. the position they take leads to that natural conclusion but they won’t ever state “i am okay with the idea that for the soccer player to get 40 million something, hundreds of people will go hungry” because i don’t believe that is a defendable argument – so play the emotion, challenge the lack of viable solution, ask the argumentative question, quote some out-of-context biblical scriptural idea, but refuse to be drawn on the fact [in my opinion] that the system is horribly wrong and broken. and disgustingly so.

the “are you suggesting?” questions are difficult because i don’t know that i have a solution – i do feel that if the player got 20 somethings instead of 40 somethings then possible the people who watch the games would be able to pay half of what they pay and so there would be a lot more money around for them to be reaching out to some of their ‘least of these’ people… but finding a solution is not my initial intention, because i believe it has to start with the acknowledgement that there is a problem. [and yes the problem is the heart of man and so on, but the one we are faced with is a problem of economic disparity that can not be denied] once we acknowledge there is a problem, that the system is broken, that it is ludicrous and shameful and wrong that the soccer player/actor/singer/politician/pastor/writer gets 40 million of something while the majority of people have to live on under 2 of something a day, then hopefully we can start working together on solutions.

at the very least, let’s stop celebrating the wrongness.

who remembers – with great reminiscory reverberations – sitting up all nite as a lightie playing monopoly til all hours of the morning? [pretty much the only way to finish a decent game]

or waging full on risk warfare with your little yellow three edge single men wedges and your bigger yellow five edge ten-men wedges until you had cornered the last remaining opponent in australia and piled the biggest force known to world domination in indonesia to ensure a ridiculously bad-sported overwhelming victory?

well i just thort it was time to highlight a couple of other games that may be just what you need if you have never evolved past those, cluedo, dominoes or uno…

and probably king of the pile is ‘settlers of catan’, or as i got to know it ‘die siedlar von catan’ [my good friend steve taylor taught me the game using a german set] quite a whole bunch of years ago actually, altho it’s maybe just in the last 5 or so that it has taken off hugely amongst me and my friends [in fact, three years ago i ‘happened to be’ in joburg when boardgames.co.za was running their annual Settlers competition and i happened to come second so for a while i was officially the number 2 player in the country!]

the thing about settlers as opposed to one or two of the other games i might mention here is that a game is likely to take you between 2 and 4 hours [our record is 7 and a half *cough* deane hill *cough* please move already cough] and so it is a longer game, but if you do have the time, it really is an absolute winner.

probly the coolest element of settlers of catan is that the board is different every time because the board is made up of these hexagon shaped cards that have one of five resources on them – wheat (hay), tree (wood), brick (clay), ore (ore) and sheep (baa) – and so these cards are shuffled and then put face up to form the board and a differing layout of the resources which affects gameplay – so the game is always different which is nice.

i’m not going to explain the whole game to you here cos it won’t make sense without seeing the board and the pieces and so on but the basic idea is that you have settlements (little hut pieces) and cities (bigger hut pieces) that sit on the edge of three resource pieces, and each resource piece has a number on it, and every time the dice throws and you have a settlement/city touching a resource with that number on it, you pick up the corresponding resource card – so as dice are thrown you are picking up different resource cards which you then use to build roads, more settlements/cities and buy armies and monopoly style community chest/chance type cards which give you special powers and bonuses.

and when settlers – as it is commonly called – becomes a little bit normal for you, there are a series of expansion packs you can buy – which are basically other games using the settlers formula and i’ll talk about my best one – cities and knights – in a later blog

you will never want to play monopoly or risk again… so if you have never played the recommendation would be to change your facebook status to “anyone got a copy of settlers of catan they want to teach me” and take it from there – the game itself will cost you a few hundred rand and so is fairly expensive (cheaper if you bring over from overseas) but it is worth hours and hours of fun and competition…

let’s hear it from those who have played the game…

to see my review of the settlers expansion game Cities and Knights click here

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