Film Freak: Mary and Max

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I recently watched a great Australian stop-motion movie called Mary and Max. As many of you readers know, I like to watch stories in which characters display traits similar to those seen in Aspies like myself. This movie is actually based  on a true story (however, I believe there may be some embellishing).  The story focuses on a girl named Mary Dinkle who lives in Australia.  She has a father who works in a factory that staples tea bags, while her mother is an alcoholic and kleptomaniac. Right away, we learn that Mary is inquisitive. She wants to learn where babies come from, but her mother gives her some dubious information. So, she randomly finds a phone book for New York and picks one of the names. The name she picks just happens to be Max Horowitz, a reclusive man who has drifted from job to job and has difficulty coping with the world around him. To make matters worse, the letters cause anxiety attacks in Max because he doesn’t really know what to tell Mary. Eventually, Max gets institutionalized as a result of the attacks, and he learns he has Asperger’s Syndrome. Mary becomes intrigued by this, and it inspires her to pursue a career in psychology. She’s also married her high school crush. I love how Max tells her that he has come to terms with his Aspergers and that he doesn’t wish to be cured.

What I like best about this movie is that it is very balanced in how it portrays Max.  Yes, the man does have problems coping and socializing with others. However, it shows his strengths too. Max does have goals–including winning the lottery, getting all the characters from his favorite cartoon, and having a real friend. His psychologist tells him they are stupid goals, but I believe that is not correct, especially since he meets all of them. If you meet a goal, it shouldn’t matter that it is stupid.

I think this is a great movie and will both entertain and educate those who watch it.

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My Favorite Saints: Mary Magdalene

This time in my latest installment of My Favorite Saints, I am spotlighting Mary Magdalene, a woman who was one of Jesus’s disciples. There is much misinformation about her. The most common of these is that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers. This was mostly speculated by the Gnostics, who relied very little on the actual Bible, but it is still perpetuated today, as evidenced by the works of Dan Brown. There is also speculation that she was a prostitute.
Mary Magdalene is first mentioned in Luke 7:37-50 as the woman who anointed Jesus’s feet. We also know that she had seven demons possessing her (Luke 8:2). We also know that she is the first woman to see Jesus after his resurrection(Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25; Luke 23:49).
Mary Magdalene is often considered “The Apostle of the Apostles”. Women were second class citizens in Jesus’s time. However, Jesus did not concern himself over the status of anyone who needed his help. The Pharisees even accused him of being a drunkard.
I find Mary an inspiring figure in the Bible. She exists to show us that we must not discriminate when spreading the word of God. We must share it with anyone, even those who are shunned by society. If indeed Mary Magdalene was a harlot, she would be scorned. That Jesus sees past these accusations and only sees a woman who needs his help shows that we must also adopt the same attitude.

One Faith, Many Paths: Alecia Talent

This is an interview I did with Alecia Talent, a woman I met on Christian Anime Alliance. She asked not to have her picture shared.

1. What was your childhood like?

It was less than ideal, to say the least. Both my parents are mentally ill, and I am learning more and more how different my childhood experiences were from other. I grew up unable to depend on my parents like other kids, and I had to care my sisters often while my mom struggled with various illnesses. I was raised nominally Christian, so we went to church, but we didn’t discuss religion much at home. I mainly grew into my faith by personal experience, versus seeing it modeled by my parents. We moved out of state when I was 12, and moved often after that so that I never started or finished at the same school until college. It was a difficult time, and I’m extremely happy to be an adult now and out of my parents’ house.
2. What is your current profession?

I’m an administrative assistant for a missions organization. I track and care for over 200 missionaries all over the world! It’s a fantastic job.
3. What evidence can you give for the existence of God?

Nature: particularly the cell, the details of the universe, the fact beauty exists and we recognize it. It’s not hard to find God. Just hard to admit it’s Him. I’m a big follower of the Intelligent Design movement, and the more I study science the closer it brings me to God.
4. Who is your favorite biblical figure besides Jesus?

I don’t really have a favourite. I enjoy them all. Every story is different and so relevant to different aspects of life. Maybe as I get older, one will pop out at me.

5. What is your favorite biblical passage and why?

Again, I don’t really have a favourite, but I love everything John wrote. His descriptions of the Lord and his talk of love are just wonderful, not to mention the awesomeness of Revelation. He’s a fantastic writer. Hebrews is another favourite, again for it’s description of Christa nd our relationship to Him. Ia lso love the emotions of the Psalms: they’re good for every circumstance!
6. Who inspires you to become a better person?

God. Trying to impress or model others always falls short.

My Jem Wish List

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is far from the only girl cartoon I’ve watched. The very first one I watched was Jem. It started out as the odd cartoon out on the “Super Sunday” block back in the 80’s (or “Super Saturday”, depending on where you lived), because it was the only girl cartoon in a 2-hour block of boy-oriented cartoons. I’ve recently learned that it’s going to be turned into a live-action movie. I’m a bit worried about this, because Hasbro’s previous live-action movies based on their toys haven’t necessarily been stellar. Michael Bay’s Transformers movies are an abomination of my childhood. Battleship was a joke. But there may be hope for the Jem movie, if they do what I suggest below:

1. Keep it in the 80’s. Unless you bring up the modern day as a framing device, I would suggest keep the modern times out. The premise of the cartoon would really only work in the 80’s. The hairstyles and songs were way too cheesy to fit in to the current day.

2. Only show the good side of fame. We don’t need a darker and edgier version of Jem.

3. Make it kid-friendly. The Transformers movies’ biggest crime is that they aren’t kid-friendly movies, despite their PG-13 rating.

4. Some 80’s cameos would be nice. I hear Molly Ringwald is slated to appear. It’s a start.

For now, I’m cautiously optimistic. The movie might be good, or it might bomb. But I always reserve judgment until I see it for myself.