Tag Archives: looper

Talking Back

As of June, high school officially ended for me. I am graduated. Gradumacated. One of the Alumni. Which sounds far more sophisticated than it actually is. (All it means, so far as I can tell, is that you managed to get through twelve grades without screwing up. High five.)

I take a step back, get a look at the past four years. Reminiscence. I can see my fourteen-year-old brain making calculations: only four more years. Only four more years and I’ll be done. Adolescent folly. I was stupid back then. Still am, just in different ways.

If you had asked me what I meant by done I probably couldn’t have told you; not precisely anyway. I had the vague notion that school was an adversary, pinioning my arms behind my back. Once I completed the obligatory twelve years, I’d be free. Free to do the Real Stuff. College, a job, a family, the works. I could, in effect, “get on with life.”

Get on with life? Get on with life? Look around you, fool. This is life.

I think it would amusing to encounter my younger self and give him – me – a talking to. Maybe in a restaurant over eggs and coffee, like in Looper. I would take aim and fire, but with words, not a gun. I’d point out the wrongness of that thinking, the wastefulness of it, the ingratitude the seeps from it like bog water.


Pause in your consideration of the lilies and consider yourself for one moment. You have been blessed to grow up in a faithful covenant home, a home where your education is as much a matter of the heart as of the head. You have been given an opportunity, by God’s grace, to grow and to learn and to expand your tiny horizons. And here you stand, a gripe on your lips. Your education is not a ball-and-chain – it’s a springboard. Onward and upward. Be thankful for it. Take advantage of it.

You are discontent. You greedily anticipate the next stage in life, the one where you’re no longer a high schooler. But do you think this discontent will fix itself when college comes around? It won’t. You’ll spend four years in college wanting to be finished with college. A vicious cycle, we call it. It won’t stop with marriage. It surely won’t stop with children. It won’t stop with the career you’ve always wanted, nor with a fat retirement check. On the contrary: the cycle will only spin faster.

Repent. You don’t want a monster like that on your hands. Put a gun to its head and pull the trigger, kid. Put yourself out of its misery. You need help, so pray to the only One who can give it.

I can’t step back in time and give myself this advice. I can only be thankful that God has opened my eyes to its truth; that He has given me a deeper thankfulness for where His providence has placed me, in the here and in the now. Present tense.

It isn’t finished, of course. I will struggle with this again and again, no matter how candles are planted atop my birthday cake. The beast won’t die this side of Glory. But knowing what I’m up against is half the battle – and I’m not going it alone.

2012 Year in Review: Movies

Top Ten

Artistically and thematically brilliant, Nolan’s final Batman film is a triumph of superhero storytelling: ambitious, thought-provoking, emotional, and redemptive. A spectacular achievement on every level. When I say the trilogy couldn’t have ended any better, I mean the trilogy could not have ended any better. I could go on and on about how amazing it all is, but ultimately, my verdict can be summed up as follows: not only is this the biggest, boldest, and best Batman movie of them all, it’s the most magnificent superhero film I have ever seen. Simple as that.
2. LOOPER (2012)
A carefully constructed sci-fi action-puzzler that runs as smoothly as clockwork. Thrilling? Yes. Action-packed? Yes. But look beneath the guns and gadgets and you’ll see something even better: a thinking brain and a beating heart. Bravo, director Johnson. Bravo. You’ve given us a sci-fi film for the ages.
It’s good to be back in Middle Earth again. There are a few minor technical missteps – and some (understandable) liberties are taken with the original material – but the overall result is so sumptuous, so exciting, and so impressive that any flaws are easily forgiven or forgotten. This is epic fantasy filmmaking at its very, very finest. Jackson has laid a terrific foundation for the rest of the trilogy, and I’m looking forward to Part II.
4. THE AVENGERS (2012)
The finest film Marvel has yet produced. Flawless casting, spectacular set pieces, thrilling action, clever writing, and an enthralling story – all revolving around superheroes that are truly super. Forget big, dumb fun. This is big, smart fun. Big, smart, explosive fun.
Not for the weak of heart (or stomach), but a powerful film nonetheless. The story itself isn’t new or incredibly original, but it gains a lot of emotional heft from the bond between the two lead characters: a thing of beauty amidst so much ugliness. The performances of Bon Win and Sae-Ron Kim are understated yet wonderful, and the action is brilliantly done, making most Hollywood stunts look silly by comparison.
Continue reading 2012 Year in Review: Movies

For Those That Are Interested…

My full review of the movie Looper just went live on Moviebyte:

In the year 2042, time travel hasn’t yet been invented… but in 2072, it has. It’s also been outlawed. It’s so illegal, in fact, that only the mob uses it. When they want to get rid of someone, the target is sent 30 years into the past, where he’s promptly offed by a “looper” with a blunderbuss. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is one such looper — and he loves what he does for a living. Continue reading —>

Soundtrack Review: Looper

(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Composer: Nathan Johnson
Running Time: 48 min.
Released: 2012




Innovative. That’s the first word that springs to mind as I listen to the score for Looper. Composer Nathan Johnson didn’t exactly go for the traditional approach – and I, for one, am delighted that he didn’t. According to one interview, his stated goal was to write music evocative of Looper’s futuristic, wormhole-riddled world; a world which is, quite literally, falling apart. In pursuit of that goal, Johnson and his team got creative with their instrumentation… like, really creative. They scavenged hardware stores for plastic tubing and sheets of metal. They captured the audio of slamming car doors and used it as a foundation for kettle drums. They even found a way to incorporate the clicking sounds of a revolver (as if emphasizing the movie’s violent premise). Crazy stuff. Awesome stuff. But of course, all this innovation wouldn’t be worth squat without heart and brains to back it up: Looper has both. I trust it is no exaggeration to say that this is the coolest, cleverest, most exquisite sci-fi soundtrack to come along since 2010’s Inception.

A Day in the Life gives us an first aural taste of the main theme, which resurfaces throughout the score in various forms. Part of the fun here lies in keeping an ear out for it, listening to the way Johnson builds it, reshapes it, and tucks it away under layers of other music. It’s like a treasure hunt for soundtrack geeks. Hunting the Past is tense and bristling with apprehension; Her Face is tender, melancholy, and sweet, and so is Revelations – until the final two minutes, when it throws away restraint for driving intensity. La Belle Aurore serves as a sort of prelude to Showdown, another action cue that simmers for awhile before erupting halfway through. Last but not least is the track Everything Comes Around, which is simple, yet mesmerizingly atmospheric. A brilliant way to end a brilliant score. Here’s hoping the film is brilliant, too.

Buy the MP3 album on iTunes or Amazon.com.