Changeland was such a great movie, it caused T & me to argue

Last night, Tina and I watched Seth Green’s new movie Changeland. He wrote, directed and starred in it.

After it was finished, Tina and I wanted to talk about it so badly that we ended up arguing over what we wanted to talk about first and it prevented us from doing thing we were dying to do.

Throughout the movie, I was taking mental notes about what I liked and would like to talk about. The end of the movie quit at a cliffhanger moment and it immediately prompted one to think, “What’s going to happen next?” Tina naturally thought that was a great place to start the discussion.

“What do you think happened next?” Tina asked.

My brain was so chockfull of thoughts about the entire movie that I didn’t want to think about the multiple things that might happen next. I wanted to talk about acting choices, music choices, the buildup to the climax, the characters and the sometimes overtly didactic melodramas matched with somehow believably simple yet complex the movie was at the same time.

It was like watching a book.

My response to Tina’s question was, “It’s whatever you want it to be.” What was missing was a beat, and this is what I wanted to talk about. Without the “AND”, it became me shutting Tina down. So she asked it again before I got a chance to formulate my “beat, and”. I really wanted to talk about Seth’s character, his best friend’s character, Macauley Culkin’s character. There were these scenes of beauty matched with pain and agony. The were moments of self-exploration and defeat and self-awareness and discovery.

There’s this human tendency toward deep disappointment especially after a clear high, and I think we both achieved a level of disappointment that made it a challenge to come back from. I shouldn’t have approached Tina’s question with disdain or wrote it off. I could have moved past all that I was excited about, humored her for a few minutes with an answer. But instead, I let my disappointment stand in the way off a good time. And like Samson pushing down the columns, I took the whole party down with me.

I’m an asshole. A stubborn fucking asshole.

We made up this morning. And we talked about it and got rid of the bad blood. Scrubbed those floors and hopefully moved on.

And then we talked about the movie. I wrote my brother a text. “We watched Changeland last night. Seen it?” He said he had not. I wrote: “We liked it so much we got in an argument.”

He wrote that should be on the movie posters.

Ha.

Without spoiling the movie, I will reiterate that it’s a simple story while maintaining this odd level of complexity. It’s sometimes overtly in your face about teaching a lesson or two (didactic). But in the world of movies, suspend disbelief and let it play out.

Seth Green plays a character who has marriage problems and he and his best friend go on a trip to Phuket, Thailand. That’s all the plot you need. Don’t watch the trailer. You shouldn’t have even read this response to the movie. What were you thinking?

One of my takeaways from the movie was that I felt Seth Green’s character had a moment or two that I had while in France a couple weeks ago. We needed a negative PCR test. I got my results right away, but Tina’s wasn’t coming right away. In the event it didn’t arrive before we went to the airport, I Photoshopped mine just in case.

While doing it, I had to research what the proper way to abbreviate “Madam” is, because they used the abbreviation of Monsieur for me (naturally). In looking it up, I discovered that Mon Sieur is a literal way of saying, “My Lord.” And madam is “My Lady.” Which feels so medieval.

To throw around that word, “My Lord”, seems cheapen such honorary language, in light that “lord” to an evangelical world that I grew up in referred to the reverence of THE LORD. While it may have been used in a medieval fashion in some movies or plays, LORD was a reference to the deity and I remember always feeling a tinge of guilt for anyone of human descent getting that moniker. How disparaging toward Jesus.

But there’s this moment when I was in France when I discovered that when you are speaking to another human, you are almost Namaste’ing them. The god in me bows to the god in you. Or the sacred in me, bows to the sacred in you. Not only am I reaching out in respectful terms, I’m calling someone else lord, practically sacrilegious from the stand point of my upbringing.

That moment rushed me like a moment in the film when namaste took on a well-crafted newness to Seth Green’s character.

When everyone you meet is a lord and they are meant to have the highest respect and civility, well, then the need to see the LORD, who isn’t there except in imagination, it renders the imagined trite and the tangible deliberate and beautiful.

When we respect everyone we meet with honorary language, there becomes a moment of solidarity, of togetherness, of bonding to blood and breath.

I keep thinking about how diversity and new experiences, travel and discovery brought me not only to distant countries but also distanced me from the faith I grew up with. Once I saw how different so many others live and live free and happy, it makes that big stuff of yesterday into small stuff today.

Christianity still fights over little things, like homosexuality. I’ve been told by faithful people that it’s not an argument anymore. That most believers and evangelicals don’t look down on homosexuality or LGBTQ+ rights. But then leadership, dudes like Franklin Graham, aren’t reflecting that sentiment. On his Facebook, he continues to make absurd statements that homosexuality and transgendered people are inferior, while also preaching that we are ALL created in God’s image. Well, which is it? We’re all God’s creation? How is it hurting Franklin Graham if two men love each other. Or if a person born with women’s parts decides that they want to be seen as male.

The only thing it’s hurting is one’s proclivity to decide that words in a 2000+ year old book are more important than words, breath, blood, sweat and tears of words and actions of today. A current conversation dictated by old thought?

If I let that old thought keep residence in my head, I would NEVER have gotten to where I am today. And I see these poor schmoes who are stuck in 2000 year old thought and I’m like, “Man, watch Changeland.”

Or travel. Or meet your enemies. Your perceived enemies and share a meal and a bottle of your favorite booze.

Because that “old” way of thought is preventing new butts in old seats. And it’s just stupid.

These talking points about Critical Race Theory, and all the panties that are bunching up around it, stupid. I was taught in school that our checkered past is what is part of what makes America great. That we learned from our mistakes and that while the history of slavery is there, we must press on to continue to grow stronger.

I feel so disappointed by the philosophies of pursuing excellence in everything to see how, when you look into the church and its teachings, it can’t grow, because it’s too busy being a fucking stubborn asshole.

Jesus himself taught to expect ridicule and to dust yourself off from it: ““Whatever place does not welcome you or listen to you, leave there and shake the dust off your feet in testimony against them.”

Peter wrote:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

And yet, Big Bad Franklin Graham is antithetical to his own teachings. On one hand he calls out homosexuality and ignores the humility of Jesus. Turn the other cheek. Forgive 70 x 7. How can you lead by example when your example is riddled with ridiculous hypocrisy?

Graham is upset that anyone would criticize Hobby Lobby for the ad they took out claiming that only Christians have the right to lead America. And despite how it goes against America’s promise of no founded religion, again something that was driven into my head as a kid, and that all are welcome in America (that’s the promise of Jesus, and therefore the promise of a “christian” nation, the leaders continue to make a mockery of their “lord.”

I hope Franklin Graham would sit down with me at a dinner table. I support him and his views. I think he belongs here in this country just like I do. And we can agree that the Bible is full of great things, but there are some lackluster moments as well. And if he’s not going to follow all of Christ’s teachings, he can learn to let go of some of the things that make people ridicule him. What is it? Humility or a constant fight for how big Jesus is that you must do all his fighting for him? If Jesus is that BIG, he doesn’t need Graham’s hot air mouth blowing off steam over something Jesus could have or should have taken care of himself. If homosexuality were such a big deal, extinguish it. He’s all powerful and not at the same time?

Bullshit.

Besides, if it’s a big deal, it’ll be taken care of in the afterlife. No need to worry about it here. It’s not hurting or harming you. It’s just offending the dude you says is there, but never is.

And it’s making ya look bad, Franky. It’s making a big ass out of you. Let’s be friends!

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