This week brought us our final debate, which means that the end of the 2016 season is upon us. That is good news, except that the next two weeks are liable to be the ugliest of the last year and a half, if that’s possible. This is the time when we really need to be intentional in balancing the cynicism, the propagated fear, the muck-raking, the uncloseting of skeletons, and the overall general nastiness one thing that has the ability to overcome it all – beauty.
Last week, we explored and embraced a diverse sampling of beauty. If this is your first visit to the blog, enjoy a snapshot of the last week.
I first heard about The Daniel’s Swiss Army Man this summer when I was in Beverly Hills for the Variety Faith and Family Film Summit. I took a Lyft from my hotel to a nearby cinema to watch the new Star Trek movie, and the driver – a hopeful actor named Joe – shared that one of the benefits to living in Los Angeles is that you get exposure to all sorts of unique indy film experiences as well as the big blockbusters.
As an example, he told me about an indy film that he’d just seen, Swiss Army Man. Joe shared the unlikely premise, insisted that Daniel Radcliffe (famous for playing Harry Potter) demonstrated that he had acting chops like we wouldn’t have expected, and said that it was the most original and unique film that he’d seen in ages.
Considering that I was in town to discuss a genre that is not known for originality and uniqueness, my interest was piqued. I made a mental note to see the film when the opportunity presented itself.
That opportunity came last Friday, on my birthday. I had invited some friends over to watch the film, and while the film disappointed in some ways, in most ways it was a big success. I found myself both moved and confused, and all in a good way. I also agreed with Joe’s assessment all the way. It was absolutely unique, and Radcliffe was amazing.
It seems a bit obvious to say that the film is not for everyone, because that’s true of all films. In this case, I would say if you demand typical film fare, don’t have the stomach for discussions of bodily functions, and need your films to make immediate sense, this film is probably not for you.
Otherwise, I’d highly recommend it to mature audiences.
On Day 15, I shared a scene from Swiss Army Man that I found to be one of the most beautiful examples of effective filmmaking. I also found it worthy of note that this scene is the six minutes of filmmaking that Daniel Radcliffe is the most proud.
If you didn’t watch the bus scene on Day 15, give it a look now.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about the past two weeks is when someone has made suggestions of beauty, suggestions that I otherwise would never have considered.
On Day 17, I featured one of those suggestions, from Lyndall Cave of Lacombe, Alberta, Canada. Lyndall actually wrote with two suggestions, and so you’ll be seeing that name again over the next two weeks. But the first suggestion that I took from Lyndall was for the choral work of composer John Rutter.
I was a music major in college, and I directed the student choir at my small Presbyterian college. And so I was very familiar with the work of John Rutter. But having lived overseas for the past fifteen years, and attending church in less traditional and formal settings for most of that time, I hadn’t thought about Rutter in years. It was nice to revisit his work, and to share one of his most famous compositions, For The Beauty of the Earth.
I don’t have a lot to say about this day, except that you need to go and watch this short video if you haven’t. It’s a brilliant piece of animation.
You know, this is one of those things that we know we should do, but we’re just so hooked on looking at that screen. I know I am. I want to make a concentrated effort to not be looking on a screen as often as I can, and to notice the world right in front of me.
At first, I thought this was quite possibly the most beautiful idea I’d had this month so far.
But then I realized that it was only the second most beautiful idea.
Unplugging in a nice little cafe, nursing a hot cup of coffee, nibbling on a homemade chocolate chip cookie, all while writing in an actual paper notebook or reading an actual paper book… this is the most beautiful idea to me right now.
As my friend Scarlett reminded me, having the ability to do this used to be mundane; a part of the daily grind if you will. But now that I have a family, the idea of relaxing anywhere in solitude warms the cockles of my introverted heart.
But in a cafe? Yeah, that would pretty much be the summit.
Stay tuned for more examples of embracing beauty, and please share this post with your friends! Let’s help spread beauty all over the internet.
Also, if you have an example of beauty that you want to share, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be happy to include it!