Location: Forest Town, California, United States

Many people ask where Helga and I (Vinnie) met. It was at a Jesus Freak festival in the days of my squandered youth. Some brownies were going around that tasted funny and the next thing I know, I'm married to a hippie. But she was cute, and I wouldn't serve a church that hired a divorced pastor, so we are still together till Judgement Day, when I assume we will go our seperate ways. Let me (Helga) add, that it seems the Universe brought Vinnie and I together, who am I to argue. He does have a judgmental nature though, which I find unforgivable.

Friday, April 28, 2006

A Proposal for Posting the Ten Commandments in Movie Theaters

Vinton here, with an important public policy proposal.

We all have shared outrage at the movement of the courts banning the posting of the Ten Commandment on public lands, such as schools, parks and sewage treatment plants --everywhere except courthouses. It is therefore all the more important that the Ten Commandments be posted on private property, and what better place than those dens of iniquity, the local movie theater?

My hope is that such postings will eventually lead to a change in the content of the film. Let us consider how this proposal may improve the motion picture industry.

(And remember, these are Commandments interpreted by an ordained minister. Moses did not bring down the 10 Suggestions. That would be more like the morally relativistic tripe my lovely wife, Helga, will be offering following my post.)

1) "You shall have no other Gods Before Me"

There are a great many folks in the motion picture industry who have a mighty high opinion of themselves, seeing themselves as godlike. I'm not just talking about studio chiefs, agency execs and movie stars, but even local movie theater managers. (Such as the local tin horn dictator who still will not allow me into his theater, years after a little incident involving Shakespeare in Love. I was kicked out of the theater when I simply encouraged people to cover their eyes so as not to observe Gwyneth Paltrow's nakedness. I'm sure I was just expressing the outrage the Bard himself would have expressed if he knew sexuality was being injected into his work. I never saw the words "tart" or "tramp" when looking in my Bartlett's for Shakespeare quotes for use in a sermon.)

2) "You Shall Not Make for Yourself an Idol"

This is definitely a commandment for the film industry (let alone the TV industry with their Randys, Paulas, and Simons). They are always intoducing new "Stars" that we are to bow down to. This was not a problem in the beginning days of the film industry. Until the '20s, there were usually not even cast lists in the credits. Now we have allowed actors and actresses become idols. As deplorable as those films made from video games are, at least they are peopled with people you have not heard of and will probably never hear from again. If we must have "stars", they should be people no one would worship. Rob Schnieder comes quickly to mind.

3) "You Shall Not Take the Name of the Lord in Vain"

Hear that, scriptwriters with your potty-mouthed pens!

4) "Remember the Sabbath and Keep it Holy"

Now I know, sadly, that we are no longer a Christian nation, and there is little hope of reviving the blue laws (look for a petition I will soon be circulating to bring them back). But the trend of the day is to respect the traditions of Jews and Muslims. That is why movie theaters should be closed not just on Sundays, but on Fridays and Saturdays as well. (People who handle their money well would never consider going to theaters at any time other than the midweek bargain shows anyway.)

5) "Honor Your Father and Mother"

Oh, how film history would have improved if James Dean had just said, "You're right, Dad" and fallen in line.

6) "Thou Shalt Not Kill"

Now I'm not saying there shouldn't be killing in films. The Bible is chock full of killing, so there is a place for it in films. But John Wayne had a reason to kill, and some secret agents were even licensed to do so. It is certainly true that seeing extreme violence and graphic gore will not corrupt a young mind like seeing a woman's "no-no" parts, but violence has still gone too far.

7) "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery"

No one stands before old Vinton in his contempt for slasher films. But at least they rightly show the deadly consequences of unlawful relationships outside of marriage. We need to be teaching our children that hanky panky leads to hockey masks, chainsaws and ice picks.

8) "Thou Shalt Not Steal"

Ever since The Great Train Robbery, Hollywood has been inspiring criminal minds. When Ocean's 13 comes out, you can expect another spree of casino robberies. It's not like that is as heinous as taking money out of the offering plate, but it is still wrong.

If films must depict crime, why not jaywalking or keeping library books past their due dates?

9) "Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness"

Doing away with John Grisham films would greatly lessen the occurance of false witness in films, and that would just be the beginning of the numerous benefits that absence would provide.

10) "Thou Shalt Not Covet Your Neighbor's House, His Wife, or Servant, or Ox, or Donkey, or Anything Else That Belongs to You Neighbor"

Now I'm not a big one on "contemporizing" Scripture. But substitute "automobile" for "ox" or "donkey," and you can see how movies tempt us to covet. I was glad to see that in the next James Bond movie, Casino Royale, Bond will be driving a bulldozer from Fiat. This will be a much less covetable vehicle than Bond's Aston-Martin or BMWs. Why haven't we seen Bond driving a Ford Citation, an old Mecury Comet or a Yugo?

Until these changes are made, I continue to recommend staying away from the movie theater. After all, a good sermon is all the fun you need.

Ten Positive Affirmations for Movie Theaters

Anyone who attends movies these days knows there is a lack of positive, harmonic karma in our society, particularly in pop culture. But the attempts of some politicians to post Ten Commandments in public schools, courts and (my husband's suggestion) to post the same antiquated laws in movie theaters, would be a futile gesture.

Commandments are such downers, I prefer affirmations. That is why I would like to see the following postitive affirmations (perhaps adorned with some colorful decoupage) posted in every American movie theater. The positive aura alone may shame the negative vibrations emanating from the screen.

1) "Begone Lookism and Ageism!"

For too long Hollywood has overvalued youth and beauty. Hollywood gives no hope for love to the elderly and attractiveness-challenged. Why can't we see love stories between Martin Lawrence and Kathy Bates? Sandra Bernhard and Kirk Douglas? Betty White and Catherine Zeta-Jones? It is just sad that it is too late for a Jamie Foxx-Shelly Winters love scene that would have stirred us all.

2) "Begone Guns and Weapons!"

Not even a children's movie like The Incredibles is free of weapons. Bruce, Colin, Wesley, and even you Angelina -- why can't we all get along? Talk it out! Remember, arms are for hugging! Even teenage boys will eventually look forward to action films ending with the big negotation scene followed by a big group hug.

3) "Begone Fossil Fuel Vehicles!"

I remember how I looked forward to seeing Run, Lola, Run, and my disapointment when I found out it wasn't car-free. Though I can't recommend Breaking Away, at least its bicycle-to-car radio was better than your average Hollywood potections. (Sure, Westerns didn't have cars, but the oppression of our horse brethren and sistren may have been worse.)

But I am grateful for the little blessings of the Universe, like the fact there is yet to be a Speed III.

4) "Begone Animal Abuse!"

Do you know anyone who found the abuse of the little doggies and fishes and cats in There's Something About Mary or A Fish Called Wanda or Meet the Parents funny? My friends in PASA (People Acknowledging the Superiority of Animals) didn't find those scenes funny. (Though a lot of my NOW friends think there could be a lot more of those Mary zipper scenes.)

5) "Begone Make-Up and Other Desecrations of the Human Face and Form!"

Be free Michelle Pfeiffer, Sharon Stone, and Susan Sarandon of the foundation and blush that hides your lovely wrinkles. I can't tell you how my stomach turned when I witnessed the devastion the razor has wrought on, say, Nicole Kidman's legs and underarms. If only we could see those lovely legs and underarms with free and flowing red locks.

6) "Begone Smoking!"

I do not mean, of course, that films should not portray the legitimate use of medicinal marijuana in films. But tobacco must go. Fortunately, computer technology has opened avenues to digitally erase those cancersticks from the mouths of Bogey and Bacall, and they can instead enjoy carrot sticks. (For purists, there still could be R-rated versions of The Big Sleep that include the cigarettes, as long as the film was followed by X-Rays of Bogart's lungs.)

7) "Begone Meat Eating!"

And I'm not just talking about the next Silence of the Lambs prequel. Protect Brother Cow and Sister Chicken not only from carnage on the screen, but also from fast food tie-in deals.

8) "Begone Saturated Fats and Processed Sugars!"

Hear that, Ms. and Mr. Concession Worker? People will come to appreciate snow peas and celery with a variety of tofu dips as a part of the film going experience.

9) "Begone Corporate Greed!"

Why should the rich enjoy movies more frequently than the poor? I see no reason to charge money for the filmgoing experience.

10) "Begone Dangerous Chemicals!"

Are the nitrates used for film safe for the environment? Till a decade's worth of scientific studies let us know for sure, we should return to the example of our ancestors and enjoy good old-fashioned storytelling around the fire. (As long as the fire is produced by environmentally senstive materials.)

Yours with Love, Peace, and Bioharmony,

Helga Lilith Goodearth

Thursday, April 27, 2006

From the Archives: May 1999

Two Views of a Prequel

View 1: Vinton

Well, I have finally seen the highly anticipated new "masterpiece" by that bearded directing "genius" the left-wing film work had been waiting for and it grieves me to announce that the film does indeed focus on nothing but sex, sex, and more sex. And I am not talking about the lastest by Mr. Stanley "Too Good to Live in America" Kubrick.
Before I continue the discussion of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, allow me to introduce myself. I'm the Right Reverend Vinton Thingball of the Pharisaic Reformed Brethren of Law Church, and I am writing along with my lovely, gracious and sadly hellbound wife, Helga, to inform readers on the sad and disgraceful cinema scene.
Helga and I do have contrasting opinions on may subjects (as one might expect of a man who during wayward Jesus Freak years accidentally sampled some hashish loaded brownies and the Marxist, Feminist Hippie bride he married under the influence of said brownies). But we do share a common, abundant acrimony toward the modern cinema and its preponderance of petulant pollution (albeit for different reasons). And we intend to go to every screening room we can get into for free for the weeks, months, if need be years to come to alert the world to Hollywood's evil ways.
But back to our review. This is the salacious tripe one would expect from Hollywood (I know, I know, Mr. Lucas says he is outside Hollywood, but if he is such an outsider, why isn't he telling his story the way moral people do, with flannelgraphs?) Hollywood, the industry of Betty Boop fills this lastest Star Wars atrocity with innueno, flashes of lasciviousness one will not be able to easily purge from one's mind. Who will forget the blue skinned beauties tending Sebulba the pod racer's every want and need? Or the bald bikini babe by the side of Jabba the Hut? If you have seen this film, I'm sure you have dwelt on these scenes, as I have, as Mr. Lucas jams these images front and center so they'll stick in our craniums.
But it is not just the blatant debauchery you must be warned about in the film, but also the rampant New Age Occultism, from the Jedi counsel taken straight from a Masonic Temple to the talk of "micro-clorines" (which is obviously just soft-sell demonic possession for the kiddies).
So, till I get back with my review of Eyes Wide Shut (and I assure you, my eyes will be throughout the screening), I urge you not to see this film, or any other, because a good sermon is all the fun you need.

A Second View: Helga

Let me say first of all, that my husband is right about The Phantom Menace being evil, but not surprisingly, he sights all the wrong reasons. So it seems my Karmic life duty to write Vinnie's wrongs.
I will leave it to others to point to the sexist, racist, and Fascist imperialistic messages this film extols (and keep at it sister critics).
But I must take my stand, even if I am the sole voice, to point to the fact that this film is a more than willing pawn of the cosmetic industry. I must cry out at Natilie Portman's extravagant use of eyeliner as the handmaiden, Padme, let alone her full white base assault as Queen Amadala. (And if you are worried about my giving away any kind of secret here, may I remind you the publicity for this film is filled with the names of men: Liam, Evan, Jake, and even Kenny and Anthony, but only one femyle name, Natalie. And it seems the previous film featured many male names as well, but only one femyle. And if that is not bad enough, Carrie is sometimes a man's name. Of course the Queen and the handmaiden double in the program, just as the bounty hunter and the princess double in the program in Return of the Jedi, because we can't risk more than one memorable femyle presence!)
But back to Revlon. The make-up industry is built on the premise that we must hate our own skin. What could better illustrate this than putting Queen Amadala in so much make-up that she is unrecognizable and interchangeable with any other woman wearing the same make-up.
And how do we know whether any Bantas were harmed in the making of this film? I saw no disclaimers.
So why support the patriarchal make-up industry or its doppleganger the film industry with your meager wages? So till they make film stock out of biodegradable material that can be used to fertilize gardens in third world nation, you can keep your stinking aisle seats.

Yours with love, peace and bio-harmony, Helga Earthgood

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Top Ten Movies to Avoid: Summer 2006

10 Films to Avoid This Summer

We can all agree that the dribble Hollywood puts out every year is morally degenerate, but we may disagree on the basis of the immorality.

The Most Rev. Vinton Thingball is appalled by the sexual promiscuity, vile language and leftist politics of the film world.

Helga (Thingball) artist's, the Rev.'s wife, is disgusted by the materialism, sexism, and right-wing propaganda of movies.

Together they will keep you informed on why you should avoid the theater and your DVD player.

Vinton here, and I do want to make it clear that Helga and I have not seen the films we are herein condemning. Forbid it that we should stoop to the hypocrisy of telling you to not see a film when we had seen it ourselves.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to see a film to castigate it on moral grounds. Now if we were judging films on aesthetic grounds, it may be necessary to see it, though apparently many members of the Academy of Arts and Motion Pictures don't believe that is the case. No, to judge a film as morally bankrupt all we need to see is the advertising, a press release, sometimes only the title. So without future ado: The Top Ten Films You Should Avoid This Summer!

Vinton: #1 The De Vinci Code
Now a number of theologians, some even from your liberal Baptist and Four Square denominations have condemned this film on the basis of theology. I have heard reports that the film is based on a book that endorses Scriptural errancy and bad Christology and feminism, and if that's not enough to say, "Kiss me, Satan, I'd like another" then I don't know what is. But I am not attacking the film on those grounds today.
No, it had come to my attention that the film has something to do with Leonardo De Vinci the artist. (Which makes the title seem rather strange to me, sort of like if the advertising said the film would tell you something about a fellow named "Of Nazareth".)
Anyway, the problem with exposing people to this Leonardo character, is people may become interested in the paintings he drew. And if that is the case, it will just lead them into art museums. And you know what that means, free access to nudity. I am ashamed to admit that in my wayward youth, I went into an art museum or two, thanks to our godless public school system. And there I saw more than you see on those decadent famed topless beaches of Europe. I saw full frontal and backtual nudity of both of your sexes of the human variety.
This film may lead people to full exposure, to not just your Leonardos, but also your Ruebens and your Picassos. You are hereby warned to stay away from this film, Tom Hank's scary hair and those nudey pictures.

Helga: #2 Superman Returns

Well, it's all there in the title, isn't it? Has there every been a man that was adequate, let alone super? Correct me if I'm wrong, but had there every been a Superwomyn film? I think not. Yes, there was Supergirl, how very patronizing. What kind of role model is Helen (Who?) Slater for the young womyn of the world. And in that film we were supposed to root against Faye Dunaway, someone who in such films as Bonnie and Clyde and Network could have very well been a role model if not for her fetish for shaving under her arms.
And don't get me started on "Truth, Justice and the American Way". Oh, if only that little spaceship had landed a little outside of Havana, and the young Jose Kent could have helped Che' build prisons to reorient those with tired capitalist middle class values, then we would have a hero to cheer, even if he was male. Til then, count me, and you, out of this comic.

Vinton: #3 Miami Vice

Do I need to remind you of pink T-Shirts? And not wearing socks is the very definition of light in the loafers! You don't have to admit it, but back in the '80's didn't you had a poster of Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas on the wall in your closet and you used to wonder as you looked at those two sets of twinkling eyes, and unshaven chins whether, "Maybe there are alternate lifesytles?" You know who I am, I mean, you are!
And as for all the bikinis that will be on view, we know nothing good could come of that. Along with the possibility of making Phil Collins and/or Glen Frye cool again.... Well, it reminds us that Anita Bryant maybe the only good thing that ever came out of Florida.

Helga: #4 Cars

As Al Gore reminded us in "Earth in the Balance", the single greatest danger facing our world is the infernal combustion engine. Children should be taught that automobiles are evil incarnate, not some cute little personality, that will be our favorite toy.
I have a real problem with Hollywood anthopormorphizing inanimate objects because children have difficulties distinguishing fantasy from reality. I was talking about this the other day with my raccoon companion, Snuggums. I said, "Snuggums, do you think when children see talking cars, they'll think cars think like people? I think they do." And I think Snuggums thought so, too.
(Let me take this opportunity to also condemn the auto-centric Fast and Furious 3: Tokyo Drift and Talladega Nights)

Vinnie: #5 X-Men 3: The Last Stand

The biggest problem I have with these films is the subtext. A keen observer of these films will notice that there is a message about the evils of bigotry and prejudice. Now that is fine and dandy to a point. It probably is wrong to judge someone just because they can turn your lemonade into a slushy with a touch or they have can openers sprouting out of their knuckles and whatnot.
But what if someone takes that even farther and says that it is wrong to be prejudiced against someone because of their funny accent, or long hair or even worse, their religous beliefs? It is that kind of ability to judge on the outward that makes for a more efficeint country.
And I hear that Kelsey Grammer is even bluer in this film than he was off color on Fraiser.

Helga: #6 The Break-Up

I have seen the trailer for this film, and it is not pretty. I'm all for womyn tossing out good for nothing men (though I could never leave my Vinnie any more than I could do without my companion Iguana, Bella [or she could leave me]). The real problem I have with this film, is it seems to glorify bowling as much as any film has since The Big Lebowski.
Such an ugly, male-centric sport bowling is, all that focus on balls and the ball size and how many pins the ball can bring down. Nothing but a methophor for chauvenistic conquests. And to think that I had my hopes pinned on Jennifer, after that ugly Brad buisness, to denounce maleness altogether.

Vinton: #7 A Prairie Home Companion

This film, believe it or not, is based on a radio program from NPR. Now I could see a film based on radio, if it were the Rush Limbaugh show or Sean Hannity or even Laura Ingram (though I wouldn't want any single males seeing that on DVD late at night), but a show from the National People's Republic, that is something else altogether.
Plus, this is directed by Robert Altman, of M*A*S*H and Nashville, whose trademark is overlapping dialogue, and we all know what that is there for. (And if you don't know, I'll tell you. It is so two or three dirty remarks can be said at once, but only your sub-consious mind picks it up, which means you'll probably go right out and do whatever filty thing that was said without thinking about it.)
I'm making my pledge break right now: I pledge not to see this film.

Helga: #8 Lady in the Water

May we start with the condesending term in the title, Lady? Womyn in the Water would be much less offensive. This is an M. Night Shyamalan film, which means there will probably be a twist. Which will, of course, leads everyone to think of Chubby Checker's dance the Twist, which led to undue ogling of the femyle form. Why can't the twist ever be nice in M. Night's films? How about the twist being that the aliens just want to be friends? Or that instead of seeing dead people, we could see recycling people?
And something else, the film is about a sea nymph, a mermaid like creature. Was there ever a more sexist fantasy than that? A man can then truely "catch" his mate, and throw her back into the sea if he is not pleased. Toss this film into the sea, sight unseen.

Vinton: #9 Through a Scanner Darkly

This is an animated film. But it is not for the kids. It is based on a Phillip Dick novel about drugs and madness and dark government forces.
I have a real problem with making cartoons for adults. There used to be a clear lines as to for who would watch what: cartoons were for children and sports programming was for men and your cooking shows were for woman and you didn't cross those lines. There is a place for cartoons, but a limited place. Sometimes, you need to put children in the nursury during the Sunday evening service (though it is good discipline for them to seat through the Sunday morning service) and then the childcare workers might want to have a video for the kiddies. I myself have pondered making a cartoon for the kids using the book of Judges. Capturing moments like Ehud ramming the sword in the fat king's belly and the fat encovering the sword would just be easier to animate than do in live action. The kids would love it.

Helga: #10 Snakes on a Plane

As secretary of my local chapter of PASA (People Acknowleging the Superiority of Animals), I must urge the boycott of this film that will obviously make many look on our scaly friends in a negative light.
Snakes want to get along with us, if we try to get along with them. So the next time you see a rattlesnake, don't shriek, but smile and give it a friendly shake of the tail. Remember, a boa just wants to be a buddy, a python is your pal, and a Black Mamba just wants to get along.

Well, we hope this will be a helpful guide for avoiding the multiplex this summer.

Til next time, this is Vinton Thingball saying - "A Good Sermon is all the fun you'll ever need!"

and Helga Goodearth saying - "Don't support the sexist, oppressing capitalistic Hollywood corperations, instead smell an organicly grown flower for your entertainment!"