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D’Souza Delivers: 2016 Review

I have a confession to make. Until quite recently in my life I have been a conspiracy nut. I love conspiracy theories to this day. One of my favorite shows is Ancient Aliens on the “History” Channel, which regularly asserts cover-ups on a global scale of alien intervention on our planet. I’ve been a conspiracy nut since I was a child. Having always had a flair for the dramatic, I would say I was quite prone to believing most stories told with passion and fear. Although I was older (10 years old) when I finally met my father he had a profound influence on my thinking. My father may be one of the smartest men I’ve ever known. He also believes there is a planet just beyond Pluto that harbors an alien race that is bent on infiltrating Earthly society. He’s not crazy, but he believes crazy stuff and can quote you a lot of solid research to back it up. I always pretty much believed everything he said, and it sparked my own interest in the world of conspiracy theories.

I’ve since moved on from that stage in my life (how is another story for another day), but I say all this to tell you that it was my sordid history with conspiracy theories that made me nervous to go see Dinesh D’Souza’s documentary Obama’s America: 2016. I worried that it would be full of conspiracy rhetoric and my old self might not be able to resist the temptation to connect Kennedy’s assassination or the Holy Grail to our current Commander-in-Chief. I was worried I might not be able to look at the film with reason. I needn’t have worried. 2016 is not a conspiracy film by any stretch of the imagination. It most certainly does tell a sordid tale of the man who would become our first Black President, but it does not rely on the stretches and leaps we’ve seen from the birther movement or the Coast to Coast crowd.  Instead, D’Souza paints us a picture of our 44th President. He traces his roots; back to Hawaii, his time in Indonesia and the people who shaped his life. D’Souza, though soft-spoken and seemingly easy-going, is thorough and relentless in his investigation. He begins with Obama’s childhood in Indonesia and then takes the audience through a more in-depth look at the men who shaped his views on life. D’Souza asks the question-  if we are all shaped by our past, how has Obama’s past shaped him, and how have we seen that reflected in the decisions he has made for our country as our President?

Obama’s father was a communist; a distant but idealized figure in his life. As my own father shaped my views early in my life, so did Obama’s shape his.  If Obama’s father was an anti-colonial communist, how did that affect Obama himself? D’Souza uses Obama’s own words from “Dreams From my Father” to bring the point home. On an emotional trip back to Kenya Obama visited the graves of his father and grandfather, sitting between them and weeping for a time. When he was finished, Obama says he felt relieved, as if he had “closed the circle”. Their struggle had become his “birthright”. Remember, his father was a communist and staunch anti-colonialist.

Although in may seem strange in print, when considering Obama’s past and the present path he has this country on it is difficult to deny the intimate connection. D’Souza connects the dots with clarity and reason, but also by using his own life and his own direction as a touchstone for making those connections. Wonder why Obama’s first act was to return the bust of Churchill? Wonder why he has agreed to reduce our warhead stockpile from 7,000 to 300? Wonder why he constantly talks about “fair share”? As historian Daniel Pipes tell us, “He doesn’t think well of the United States”, and that is reflected in his policies.

I’ll refrain from making all the connections for you. D’Souza does that much more interestingly in less than two hours. Besides the actual content of the film the filmmaking itself was adequate, although not superior. A particularly emotional scene with Obama’s younger brother George will put a lump in your throat, but it’s not as slick as a Stephen Bannon film and not as smarmy as a Michael Moore production. However, 2016 makes its point and makes it well. The production itself may have been more well suited to the television format, but obviously a theatrical release makes more of an impact. And make an impact it has indeed. The film, which launched in only 400 theaters nationwide has placed third at the box office this week so far – an astonishing accomplishment for a documentary, let alone a conservative one.

D’Souza has created an informative, thought-provoking piece of work that will inspire viewers to examine their own pasts and influences in their lives and how those have worked to create who they are today. The conclusion is not very comforting, but the film does leave us with this thought: the answer to America’s woes will never be found in just one person, it will be found in WE the people.

crossposted at kiradavis.net

The Story Behind October Baby

If you have heard of the controversial movie October Baby, you will want to see this interview with Gianna Jessen, who is the inspiration for the movie.

I am a friend of Gianna’s on Facebook, having “friended” her after seeing a YouTube video of her speaking at a rally. She is an amazing lady!

Courageous! The Movie

I am not one for going to the movie theater, preferring instead to watch movies from the comfort of my own couch. It just makes logical sense to me. It does not cost a drop in the bucket what the cost of going to a movie theater costs these days. I can have all the snacks I want at a mere fraction of the cost, and most importantly, I can actually pause the movie and go to the powder room when necessary!

I’m sure it came as quite a surprise to my husband when he received an email from me telling him that I wanted to go see this movie! I knew we had an upcoming trip out of town, away from the kids, and knowing how much he loves going to the movie theater, I thought this would be a great surprise for him to have me actually say I want to go to a movie theater.

I had seen the preview several times, but did not read any movie reviews. I have found that so often, the movies I like are given bad reviews by other reviewers. Knowing this movie is a wholesome movie made me stay away from reviews even more.

I have visited the main page of the website, but did not want to go any deeper until after I saw the movie. Needless to say, I was completely surprised by the entire plot.

This is just a blurb from the actual synopsis of the Courageous website:

From the writers of Fireproof and Facing the Giants comes a story about four law enforcement officers whose lives are deeply tested as they embrace their calling to serve and to protect. As crime fighters, they must face danger every day. Yet when tragedy hits close to home, they are left wrestling with their hopes, their faith, and their priorities as men. 

Four men, one calling: To serve and protect. As law enforcement officers, they face danger every day. Yet when tragedy strikes close to home, these fathers are left wrestling with their hopes, their fears, and their faith. From this struggle will come a decision that changes all of their lives. With action, drama, and humor, the fourth film from Sherwood Pictures embraces God’s promise to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers." Souls will be stirred, and hearts will be challenged to be … courageous!

Having seen all of the movies that have been produced by Sherwood Church in Albany, Georgia, I thought I knew what to expect. A heart-felt movie that dealt with real life, but not with quite the same depth and reality as Hollywood. This movie provides very little distinction between the production quality of professionals and those who are called by God for the purpose of bringing Him glory in their movies. That is- with the major exception of the foul language that seems to be a "necessity" in every Hollywood movie.

Please do not get me wrong- unfortunately, I have grown accustomed to the harsh language that peppers our world today, and in fact, at times have been known to speak in a way not so becoming of a lady. Sadly, I’ve grown so accustomed to this reality that there are very few times I’m actually phased by foul language. However, in many movies that come out of Hollywood today, it’s as if they just stuck a four-letter word here and there to seem cool and acceptable to their audience. 

There were times in this movie that I was literally hanging on to the edge of my seat, anticipating what was coming next! There was a moment of actual fear, as I became so lost in the story that it was almost reality for me. There were times I laughed. And there were many times I cried. It hit home for me because of past experiences in my life.

I was not aware of the fact that the movie deals with the tragic death of a loved one. The raw emotion portrayed by the family members who lost their loved one struck a cord in me that cannot be explained. Only those who have lost a loved one in a horrible tragedy know that raw emotion. Only those who have clung to the hem of His garment in the aftermath of the tragic death can know exactly what I’m talking about.

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this movie! Support a Christian movie that has a lot to offer- entertainment, wisdom, knowledge, strength, comfort, laughter, tears, action, romance, and challenges. I specifically challenge any man who is a father to go see this movie. It very well could change your life, and how you view the calling on your life.

While it is a very well made movie, technically, in my opinion, it is a movie made from the talents and gifts of many every day, ordinary people. It is not a movie made by the Hollywood stars and starlets who see millions of dollars per movie. The real-life quaintness was refreshing to me.

If you go to the movies to critique the camera angles, lighting and video technique, this may not be the movie for you. However, I still recommend it to you. I simply challenge you look through the eyes of your heart rather than the eyes of the technical critic in you. 

".. honor begins at home."

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid;
do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”  
Joshua 1:9


Atlas Shrugged: Part 1

It has been 21 years since my grandfather directed me to read Atlas Shrugged. It changed my life. I know that sounds cliche, but it is the truth, nonetheless.  He died just after I graduated high school, not long after. I will never be able to thank him enough for getting that book into my hands.

Skip ahead 21 years: Years of re-reading Atlas fairly regularly, adding in more Rand, Mises and Hayek, getting “educated” and living life. I have children of my own now. None have read Atlas yet, but I am hoping that my oldest will pick it up soon. I have been Galt’s Girl all of his life.  Surely, the curiosity will win him over soon. As Dagny said last night :” I would never force a man to do anything”.

When I heard that Atlas was finally going into theatrical production, I confess I wasn’t hopeful about a movie’s ability to incite the same fire and thought that the book does, but I was grateful that it was being done. The timing seems so perfect, so relevant, so … final.  I have wondered over the last year how each detail in the book would be handled. Worried over what would be omitted to keep the attention of the ADD generation.  I was right to be concerned, there is a lot to cover and a lot of it matters greatly to the character development.

I was thrilled to find out that I was in one of the original opening markets. I bought a ticket the moment they were available online. I showed up at the theater way too early. I was excited. It happens occasionally.

It is probably a good thing that I got there early. The theater was sold out and I managed to snag a great seat. It was interesting to watch people coming in and finding their seats. Many were as outwardly excited as I was. There was a lot of smiling, patting backs, and laughing over seat shifting. It really was a great crowd. The previews started and that is when it became an almost surreal experience.

I won’t go into the previews, but they seemed odd and silly. The crowd was SILENT. All I could hear between mundane previews was the occasional shake of a candy box or rustle of a popcorn bag. No one talked through the previews or shifted in their seat. I don’t even think many of us were breathing.  Most of these people had been waiting as long as I had.

After an insane number of previews, the production logo appeared on a black screen. The man next to me, easily in his seventies, shed a couple of tears. He wasn’t the only one, I don’t think. He was whispering under his breath and I turned and smiled at him. He actually took my hand and squeezed. The last thing I remember is him saying “maybe now…” and the film began.

No details, no spoilers. I will say that there were a few omissions that I was sad for, and the film’s small budget was apparent, but overall I loved the movie. I believe that the female roles were superbly cast, that the actors in the film were passionate about the film they made, and that the crowd in the theater felt much the same way I did.  I don’t think anyone left to get more popcorn or hit the bathrooms during the movie. Not a single cell phone rang (mine was turned off), and there wasn’t a single conversation. When it ended there was an ovation. I have never seen a movie that ended with the entire crowd clapping, most standing, and almost no one leaving.

It sounds so simple, but at the end of that movie, I think I knew everyone in that theater and nearly everyone I saw was BEAMING as I walked past. They stood in the hall and outside the theater talking afterwards. There was talk of drinks in some of the crowds. I bowed out.. came home… and tweeted. The only thing that could have made the experience better for me would be to have seen it with @TheTwisters .. or my father. I will do a Part 2 once the movie has played for most of those who will take the time to see it.  Until then, let me leave you by saying .. go … see it… and take a friend who hasn’t read the book.

Government “help” to business is just as disastrous as government persecution… the only way a government can be of service to national prosperity is by keeping its hands off. ~ Ayn Rand