26 February 2011

myTunes: Vintage by Break of Reality

This post is mostly for Kristen...but it also applies to anyone with awesome taste in music.  Love you, Sis.

20 February 2011

Flicks I've Picked: The Last Exorcism

This is the second installment of Flicks I've Picked.  As you have probably surmised already by reading the title, the flick that I picked this time was Daniel Stamm's The Last Exorcism.  (Just so you know, that website is way scarier than the movie itself...but the website is rather scary, as far as websites go.)

The film is set up like a documentary, following the "final exorcism" of Reverend Cotton Marcus (played by Patrick Fabian), a scammer/preacher, who has been faking exorcisms for money.  This documentary is meant to expose exorcism as the sham that Cotton believes it to be.  When Cotton arrives at the Sweetzer farm to meet with the tragically possessed Nell Sweetzer (played by Ashley Bell) however, he is unexpectedly faced with something that he has never encountered: The possibility that this young woman may actually be possessed by Satan.

The resultant questions are these:

  • Is Nell possessed?
  • If so, what is a phony exorcist going to do about it?
  • If not...what exactly is going on?!
I don't want to give anything away here, in case you're planning on watching the film (which I will get to in a minute), but suffice it to say that one or more of those questions may remain unanswered.  (They certainly did for least after one initial viewing.)

Speaking of "one initial viewing," will I watch this again?  The answer is yes, I will.  Why?  Because much like Winter's Bone, something in the end of the movie all but demands that I watch it again, to search for clues and answers that I may have missed.  To me, if I did miss them (which I'm sure I probably did), then that warrants a second viewing.  Why?  Because I care...I care enough about the people in the film that I want to know what actually happened...what didn't happen...and why.  If I didn't miss anything...then I may be frustrated by a second viewing, feeling that I've wasted my time on a DVD with nothing but loose ends and the mother of all abrupt, confusing, and possibly pointless endings.

Yeah, you heard me.  The mother of all abrupt, confusing, and possibly pointless endings.  When I run into something that steals that accomplishment away from TLE, I'll be sure to let you know.

What's good about this movie?

The way that it was made is absolutely fascinating and captivating.  Stamm's direction seems to have been trying to get as close to reality as possible...without actual reality.  The creepy farmhouse that much of the movie takes place in is a real creepy farmhouse...not to be confused with its distant cousin, the fake creepy farmhouse.  Additionally, most of the actors (aside from Fabian and Bell) played characters with the same first name, in order to keep them from escaping too far.  They weren't looking for actors acting...they were looking for people experiencing.  And that comes across absolutely brilliantly in the film.

What's even more brilliant about the film is Ashley Bell, a relative newcomer to the filmmaking scene.  Her performance is so lavishly layered and creepily crisp (please take note of that awesome alliteration) that even if I didn't want to watch the film again to try to piece the puzzle together...I might just watch it again for her performance.  Little trivia tidbit here for you, according to IMDB, "Bell did all the bends and contortions of her body on her own.  No special effects were used - she has hyper-mobility."  That statement will mean very little until you see the film...or at the very least the film's trailer.

What's that you said?  Trailer? it is...but be forewarned.  Not only is the trailer (like the website) way scarier than the movie itself...but the trailer is my opinion...terrifying.  So if you think that you might be frightened by the trailer...then by all means, DO NOT WATCH IT.  If you do and you get scared, I totally warned you.

So yeah, that's the gist of it.  If you're looking to be scared out of your wits (which I wasn't) then you may be let down by TLE.  If you're like me and you can appreciate a film, even with its shortcomings *COUGH-ENDING-COUGH*, for the unique way that it was made, and a cornucopia of stunning performances (not just Bell), then TLE may be worth your time.

If you've seen it, or see it after reading this, let me know what you think.

Stay Classy,

17 February 2011

myTunes: Sons and Daughters by The Decemberists

The winds are blowing like crazy outside and I love it.  There's just something about the wind...the idea that the air that I breathe and that gives me life takes on a life of its own.  There's a natural strength to it.  Oftentimes it is a subtle strength, but on nights like tonight, it's a force to be reckoned with.  I think that we all have that inside of us.  Anyway, I just think it's awesome.  It actually has nothing to do with this post (well, I guess now it does, but whatever).

I really don't have anything to say other than those airy thoughts (pun intended).  It's just that I finished watching Tuesday's episode of Glee a little while ago and the final song from that episode got me to thinking about what my favorite songs on the planet are.  I'm thinking I want to integrate that into my blog somehow, but I'm not sure how yet, and I don't care to take the effort to even think about that right now.  Just wanted to share this song.  I took my brother to see The Decemberists for a graduation gift last summer.  Not this past summer, but LAST summer, you know?  I guess that doesn't really matter to you.  Oh well.

This has always been one of my favorite songs of theirs and one of my favorite songs, period.  When they closed the show with this song, I'm not going to lie, I cried.  Just so simply beautiful and beautifully simple.  No complexity.  Just hopes and dreams and the belief that we can make them so.

When we arrive
Sons & daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now

These currents pull us 'cross the border
Steady your boats
Arms to shoulder
'till tides will pull
our hull aground
Making this cold harbour now home

Take up your arm
Sons and daughters
We will arise from the bunkers
By land, by sea, by dirigible
We'll leave our tracks untraceable now

When we arrive
Sons and daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls aluminum
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now
(We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon now)

When we arrive
Sons and daughters
We'll make our homes on the water
We'll build our walls aluminum
(Sons and daughters)
We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon
(We'll make our homes on the water)
We'll make our homes on the water
(When we build our walls of aluminum)
(We'll fill our mouths with cinnamon)

Here all the bombs they fade away (x20)

That's all for now.  Just wanted to share that awesomeness with you guys.

Okay, now I think that I may be adding this as a section entitled myTunes.  We'll see.  I'm accruing a lot of sections these days, it seems to me.


06 February 2011

Flicks I've Picked: Winter's Bone

Recently I came to realize that I really don't have a hobby.  For those of you that are saying: "What?!  How could this be?  For I distinctly remember reading this very post about you getting a new hobby.  I believed you.  You lied.  I'm done following your blog.  You suck at life."

To these disgruntled readers I have only this to say:  I did not lie intentionally...and I did the whole money tracking thing for a while...but it didn't really stick.  I'm not closing any doors here, but it's just not something that was a really fun use of my "extra time."  There's always tomorrow.

Anyway, I love watching movies.  Absolutely love it.  I love watching great movies.  I love watching terrible movies.  Just love it.  (But if I'm watching a terrible has to be on purpose...due to it's terribleness.)  I love to watch movies for one specific actor especially with Brocklee so that we can shout the following at the TV:

"Ghost of Idina Menzel!  RISE UP FROM THE RUBBLE!  We are so friggin tired of naked Salma Hayek and Colin Farrell!"

Anyway...I've decided to be more intentional about the movies I watch.  The first of these was the one for today's post.


Welcome to the new section (among the ever-growing collection of sections) of News From the Liminal State.  This new section is all about movies and is entitled...

[Trumpet Fanfare a la Tim Hardy]

Flicks I've Picked

I feel as if that's a safe name.  It covers all movies that I'll watch...because I will have picked (chosen) to watch them...but doesn't necessarily mean that I would pick to watch them again.

But most importantly, It rhymes.

Last night, I watched Debra Granik's Winter's Bone.  Winter's Bone is not only nominated for the Best Motion Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Writing (Screenplay based on material previously produced or published) Oscars...but it has also already won three times as many film festival awards than Jon and Kate have had kids.  (They had 8 kids right?  I'd assume so from the title of that show...but I never watched it.)  Anyway, that's a lot of awards.

Winter's Bone is the story of 17-year-old Ree Dolly (which I have typed as Dee Rolly two times here and then deleted), a young girl in charge of and responsible for way more than she should be.  Left behind by her meth chef of a father, Ree's every move is made to support, care for, and protect her two younger siblings and her mute mother (driven crazy by husband Jessup's crank cooking).

The movie is essentially Ree's search for her father, the search being spurred on by the fact that, if he misses his upcoming court date, the Dollys' house and possessions will be taken.

Ree wants desperately to find her father...but there are many who are hell-bent against her search.  Jennifer Lawrence (Ree) and John Hawkes (Ree's uncle, Teardrop) definitely win my admiration for their expert usage of subtlety.  The whole movie (except for some moments) is quite subtle actually.  It's an anxious when you look at your older dog and you can't tell if he's breathing or not.  It's like waiting for the tiniest inhale or exhale to ensure that he's alive and just sleeping soundly.

If you plan on watching it, do so with subtitles.  The overall subtlety of the movie can make it extremely hard to hear sometimes.  Also know that the movie is disturbing.  I wasn't as disturbed as I thought I would be, given some of the reviews that I read, but the library's DVD skipped an entire scene...and I could tell from the scene after it (and a crying actress in the arms of the director offset after the filming of the scene) that it was the disturbing scene that everyone was talking about.  I got the gist of it from the special features and the tiny snippets that I saw as the DVD was skipping.  Just be forewarned.  The scene is at like 49 minutes.

Anyway, would I recommend it?  Yes, to some.  It is not a movie for everyone.  It is not a family friendly movie (it's rated R for a reason).  Why would I recommend it?  I think that if you want to watch's an important story to watch.  It's an important reality to understand.  Also, I plan on watching it again.  There's a line at the end of the movie...that I will not share with you, of course...that pretty much demands me to watch it again.

It's not as suspenseful as I was anticipating it to be...but there was an added level of creepiness due to the fact that Forsyth, Missouri looks freakishly like my hometown of Bristol, Indiana.  Other than the hills of Forsyth (and the cave from a deleted scene shown in the DVD's special features) I felt as if I was back in Bristol.  And don't get me wrong...if/when you see this movie, you may think that this statement is a negative.  It's not.  I love where I come from.  I love the people.  I love the place.  Love it all.  It was just eerie seeing a story like this take place in a place sort of similar to my hometown (except people never make meth in Northern Indiana...oh wait).

My honorable mention for this movie goes to Lauren Sweetser who plays the role of Gail, Ree's best friend.  Her performance is, for lack of a better word, beautiful.  There's a very natural quality to this woman's work.  From the look of her resume on IMDB, she is a newcomer to the scene, which may be a part of her tangible uniqueness.  I hope with everything that I have that she will continue on in the field and hold on to that freshness.

Also unbelievably amazing (but I don't have the time to really write about them) are the filming, soundtrack, and the general way that that the film was made.  If you watch this on DVD and you don't watch "Making Of Winter's Bone" in the special are missing out more than you know, seriously.

That's all for now, guys.

Stay Classy,

04 February 2011

Thoughts and Prayers for Today

This morning, after doing my Bible Study, I stopped by my friend Becky's blog.  It was a beautiful follow-up to this morning's readings.  So thanks for that, Becky.

Things have been a bit ca-ray-zay here lately, so I've fallen off of the blog-reading-wagon.  When I was on ol' B-Dizzle's blog I gravitated towards another post of her's from January.

I don't know what it is that drew me to that particular post.  Could it have been the title?

If You Read Only One Post of Mine, Make it this One

Nah.  Doesn't really grab you does it?  Don't you just kind of get the feeling that you could read it...or not...?

Okay, no.  I didn't get that feeling.  So I read it.  It has reopened my eyes to a tragic reality that must return to my daily prayers and consciousness.  I've known about this, but have known about a lot of things, and in my prayers, sometimes specificity takes a backseat to me saying "Listen God, we all pretty much just need you down here on Earth, and badly, so thanks for anything that you can do."

Becky's blog post that day was about the atrocious reality of human trafficking.  It really hit me.  I followed links from her post and found another blog to follow.  That blog is called  Also an organization to look into called Tiny Hands International.

Okay, if I keep going on like this I'm just going to end up posting all the same links that Becky if you haven't already, please read that post of hers and check out those links (some are on my page but more are on hers).

Anyway, I found something on that I felt compelled to share here on my blog.  It's a video.  And all I ask of you is that if you have two minutes and fifty-three seconds to spare, please watch it, consider it, and pray.  Please.  Pray.

I couldn't say it any better than Becky did:

"Praying is never just 'the least' we can do...  It's the most we can do..."

Today, and from now on, I am making a conscious choice and effort to pray for those who are enslaved by the terrors of human trafficking and for the young people, teenagers (and others) of our world who are, many of them, suffering (frequently in silence).

Stay Classy...but above all, stay in prayer,

03 February 2011

Hope For Tomorrow: Peace, Cooperation, and Understanding

This is the first post in what I hope will become a huge series of posts that show a hope for the world of tomorrow.  I ran into this article and video and had to share.  Unfortunately, the video is showing up awkwardly in my blog...but I've spent enough time trying to fix it (without success) and I just need to move on with my life.  So please click and watch in the blog, or go to the following link:

My hope is that our world will begin to realize what those in Teaneck, New Jersey so beautifully display:  ALL PEOPLE ARE PEOPLE.

Stay Classy,