Review: Old Fashioned #oldfashionedmovie

I am probably too medicated to have been able to cry at all the right parts in the indie film “Old Fashioned.

Oh, don’t say that, they will say. Don’t cop to your being medicated. That doesn’t reflect well on Christianity. You should be able to pray away all your depression and anxiety….

I know I run a risk in reviewing a film that is Christian-themed. I might align myself with the more-righteous-than-thou who decry my meds. I might also align myself with the fanwagoners who try to pack the theaters when any faith-based film projects onto a silver screen.

The cool thing about Old Fashioned, which several of my colleagues helped to direct and produce, is that it is a film that is so counter-cultural, it is effectively without niche. It is not a Kirk Cameron morality tale. It is not a saccharine rom-com with Nicholas Sparks-caliber lines.

Old Fashioned is, on the surface, a sweet romantic tale about a born-again believer man who has grown a tad curmudgeonly in his set apart ways, and the attractive tenant who moves in above his antique store. The romance spools slowly and sweetly. As each character unpacks his and her personal histories, we see their fine lines and their friction.

But Old Fashioned is also about a larger love story. The film is an allegory for the Gospel, about how a perfect God came to offer a perfect love in a broken world. There are moments in Old Fashioned, whose lighting is perfect and whose soundwork is really strong, that crystallize perfectly the way divine grace is offered freely, and how we reject it and fail to offer it to each other in the form of forgiveness.

Old Fashioned is not a perfect movie. At times the script felt a little uneven to me.  Sometimes scenes where body language and facial expressions were totally winning felt a little squandered because the dialogue bordered on the preachy. But it is a good film with solid performances and a wonderful message for the righteous, the proud, the hypocritical, dastardly, wicked and vain. And even the overly medicated.

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When I’m all about that cause…and that cause is kinda all about me

I never knew that Martin Luther King made a segue to Cleveland, OH in the midst of his third attempt to march from Selma to Montgomery. He flew mid-march (as opposed to mid-March) to CLE in order to offer a testimonial at the Nobel Peace Prize dinner where he was honored in 1964. The newspapers said his feet were badly blistered from walking for days. The headline read that he was barely able to walk, so badly was he limping.

Have you ever walked with a limp because of a cause for which you were walking, literally or figuratively?

When I was in high school, I burned my candle at both ends over every cause. Every ticket was sold out in my naive conservative heart to saving the unborn, the whales, that remote village in Tibet. I was so overbooked and overachieving that I eventually lost pounds and hair that I couldn’t afford to lose. I was an 83 lb. mess. I walked with a limp.

The difference is that MLK’s cause depended on him and his team to lead the revolution. My causes would still march on to their proverbial Montgomeries without me.

I wonder how many of us are behind causes that need us?

That would actually fizzle if not for our dedication?

***

I’m 10 days into a 30 day water challenge. I am replacing my favorite fluids of coffee, soda with 70 oz. a day of H20. My skin looks better but the struggle is real. I still have a huge crush on coffee. I am not alone, it would appear.

I scan my Instagram. Pictures of familiar faces flushed, at the end of the finish line of their 10K. I see Facebook feeds full of Crossfit selfies, Tweets hashtagged with #P90X, Snapchats from Pure Barre, and everyone I know in the First World has recently sworn off gluten, allergies or otherwise.

These are our causes, the fights we fight, the shows about which we tell. These causes are worthy and life-changing–don’t get me wrong. But at first blush, it would appear that these causes are all about bettering ourselves. Project Self achieved, (Selfie, Appendix A).

***

And old friend is dedicating the next year to the handstand. I am loving Jon’s project which he is chronicling on the ‘gram. His reflections are thoughtful and far from precious. What good can come from gaining another perspective, one, in fact, that revolves one’s world a whole 180 degrees?

Jon’s project rocked my navel gaze. I realized that Project Self is often a step toward Something Greater Than Self.  First we cut out cookies. Then we go help the Girl Scouts sell ’em. In my case, I’m still hovering in phase I. Sometimes my fight is bigger than self and sometimes it is just so basically about wanting a latte.

I like to believe there are many causes that I support but which don’t cause me to limp, nor will they fizzle if I step away. To name a few: the end to human trafficking, the right to observe religious liberty, the right to equal pay for equal work.

Still, there are other causes, much less organized and publicized which might suffer if not for my marching: my children, my marriage, my students. They are too much a part of me to walk away from them–it is hard to walk away from one’s very self. So I will keep marching and feeling all the glory of the limp I develop.

The good news is that I get to keep the causes in the next life, marching to Zion, maybe even breaking into a run.

 

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Way recommending: “Who’s Picking Me Up from the Airport?”

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I am an unlikely audience member for Who’s Picking Me Up from the Airport?: And Other Questions Single Girls Ask and for this reason, I read it with great relish. What I hadn’t anticipated is how much I would enjoy it and, moreover, how much I would have needed it!

This book is effectively an encouragement for Christian women who are single and age 30+. These women are single not due to widowhood or separation/divorce but because they are still seeking a life’s partner. Still seeking–that’s the error in the perception as the book readily points out. Author Cindy Johnson lays bare what a raw deal single women, especially those in the Church, are given. Ever being postured as not quite whole, their lives not fully realized because they are not yet paired off with someone–we have done a terrible job of ministering to singles and focusing for way too long on their relationship status. The chapter that spoke most into my heart was “Call It What It Is: Why Being Single is Lame” where Johnson offers a “what not to say” to one’s single friends. I have been the offender in almost every one of the points offered. Points. Well. Taken!

The book is not long–150 pages and it is organized in a brilliant way that reads easily, like a memoir. Johnson pairs her own anecdotes as well as letters from her single friends, both male and female, who share their stories in dating and seasons of singledom. Johnson discusses so many beautiful aspects of the single life and how rich it is, but she also shares her journey through relationships that she had expected to turn out otherwise. Her voice is delightful, not just in contrast to the voice one might expect from a non-fiction book on dating and the single life. Johnson’s tone is consistently sincere and funny and she pulls no punches. This book is a gift and I believe that it would be a great gift for a friend, an addition to a pastor’s bookshelf, and would be a great women’s book club pick.

***

*Johnson and I have gotten acquainted through our mutual literary agent. I received a free copy of this book in advance with no expectation of review or endorsement.

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