Sunday, November 23, 2014


Christ the King Sunday: I roused the troops for the 8:30 am Mass and we helped distribute advent wreaths after in the parish hall. As much as I love sleeping in, we all do, the day goes so much better when we go to Mass in the morning. I really need to make this switch for our sanity. I had one of those squirrelly Masses where I was dealing with one child on my left and another child on the right for the entire service, so I'm not sure what the readings might have been sheep and goats? Something along the lines of Judgment is coming, I am pretty sure. Christ is King, whether I can hear the entire homily or not. Hallelujah!

After Mass, I took the girls down to the newly refurbished Cinerama movie theater, a place I'd last been in about 1988. We saw the third installment of the Hunger Games story, Mockingjay Part 1. It isn't a fun movie and that's good. I liked how the victors of the games are made real by seeing the nightmares, the addictions, the pain and wounds from being forced into these traumatic situations over and over. Katniss takes a bit of a back seat in this movie and that's fine, there are a lot of side characters worth exploring because they are being played by excellent actors. The movie tells the story in some ways better than the book. It's not often I say that.

The Cinerama is worth visiting. For $15 you get a reserved seat number, a large comfy recliner chair with cup holder, the giant old movie screen and up-to-date Dolby Atmos sound system, plus the building has been painting with a cool wraparound retro sci-fi mural, and a rotating selection of Paul Allen's costume collection are on display in the lobby. Concessions were more reasonable than I expected. A large bag of mixed chocolate and butter popcorn was $7. They also serve beer, wine and hard cider, along with other better-quality treats.

A funny thing about The Hunger Games world. It's post-apocalyptic dystopian fantasy. Though set in the American landscape there is very little reference to the common past and no religious references at all. I guess that is a reflection of it being a teen drama. What inspires the revolutionaries is Katniss's bravery and love for their families and friends. The few wise adults she consults are mostly tragically flawed; Haymitch is a drunk, Plutarch is manipulative, Effie is superficial, President Coin is cunning, only Cinna was really good, but he was killed for designing her too awesome of a dress. Her mother plays almost no role in the movie except as a piece of story that must be protected. Most adult advice comes down to, "You can do it. I believe in you."

Katniss isn't inspiring the way Frodo and Sam inspire us to heroism. You get the feeling that Katniss would just as soon chuck the revolution if she could transport her circle of friends to a safe alien planet and never bat an eye worrying about the rest of the world she left behind. It's been a while since I read the books, but I don't remember getting the impression that focus ever changes all the way to the end. She never finds anything bigger than herself or her family to fight for; she would never make an ultimate sacrifice for the cause. The story ends up being only about her survival. That scene in The Silver Chair where Puddleglum and Eustace and Jill fight with the Green Lady about whether the sun and Aslan and magic even exist and they believe in the idea of those things, the goodness of them, so strongly that they smash her magic lantern and break out of her hypnotic spell just to preserve the idea of them...that kind of faith in an idea bigger than the self never happens in Katniss' world. There's only safety to hope for. It keeps Hunger Games from being really meaningful entertainment, but it is enjoyable.

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