Lounging Larry meets Marilyn Hotchkiss…

MARILYN HOTCHKISS’ BALLROOM DANCING & CHARM SCHOOL (2005)

A film with flaws, some dancing moves, and it asks an essential question...

Most films are flawed, but even ones with a dance floor full of stereotypical characters and plot holes—like MHBD&CS—can still show off some good moves. Frank Keane is a baker with burdens, including the recent death of his wife and chancing upon a road accident that thrusts him into another’s life . . . and death. As far as stereotypes go, Keane attends a widower’s support group (with predictable fellow grievers) and risks joining a dance group (with predictable dance partners). But I liked Keane (Robert Carlyle) and was thankful he’d “accidentally” run into John Goodman’s dying Steve Mills. It is because of Mills that Keane ends up at Marilyn Hotchkiss’ dance studio. Before dying, Mills got Keane to keep a long-ago promise made to Lisa, Mills’ 1960s junior high “crush.” Meeting Mills also causes Keane—and perhaps you and me—to wonder about the choices we make in life. A moment that deeply touched me involved the grown-up Lisa. Played quietly by Camryn Manheim, the brief scene reinforced MHBD&CS’s central question: what did you do with the choices you had?

 

Questions you are invited to use or ignore:

A question I’d ask you over a cup of coffee: How did you feel when the “adult” Lisa closed the door and sat at her desk?

A question I’d ask to get a church group talking: What are some of the choices you’ve make in your life that you’re . . . proud of or regret or question or are still in flux?

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Meet Lounging Larry

Wanna "watch" a movie with me? Pull up a comfy chair.

On an occasional basis, I’m gonna invite my alter ego, Lounging Larry, onto the webpage. That dude watches a lot of movies. Maybe he’ll appear weekly. Maybe he’ll take a long nap and not show up for a month. We’ll see!

I’ve loved movies ever since watching a professor’s collection of silent films during seminary. Yeah, my fellow students studied theodicy and Christology. Me, I sat in dark rooms and laughed with Buster Keaton and cried with Charlie Chaplin. That explains my educational limits.

All Lounging Larry reviews will be less than 200 words. It’s a self-imposed limit to curtail my brilliance and your boredom.

All reviews will include one or two questions with the thought that—maybe with a friend, maybe in a church group—you might use my film suggestions as a springboard for discussion.

I will only review films I enjoy. I won’t stick a thumb up or down. However, you may think my “good” film is a lousy waste of time. Your problem, not mine. Continue reading →

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Good Friday

Quote from my Kindle book...

Good Friday—thank God that we have the courage to place this date on the church schedule—calendars into our soul to remind us, to force us, to acknowledge that ALL we know, as mortals, ends. This is the truth . . . dirt will be shoveled into the earth’s gaping wound where your coffin will be lowered. This is the truth . . . someone you’ll never meet at the Social Security Administration tags your name, digitally shifting it from a file for the living to a file for the deceased. The dearly departed don’t complain.

We weep.

How dare we treat any day, any person, any moment casually.

Yes, of course we’ll continue to ignore people and opportunities. I know that. You know that. The mortgage must be paid. The boss makes demands. We should’ve taken a nap. The kid has to get to soccer practice. But on this day, which will mostly be like other days, claim Good Friday’s truth about forever.

God does promise to never stop loving us.

But we have lovers and children and strangers who cannot wait until tomorrow to hear how much we love them today.

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