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         It's been a while since I've talked to you about the movies that we've seen at area theaters.  That's because there hasn't been a run of great movies, surely evidenced by the recent Academy Awards Debacle.

         However, a couple movies sneaked in and out since the fabulous "Hacksaw Ridge" that we saw in November 2016, and we were fortunate to find both of them.  They were more good than great, but they weren't bad and that's good.  We also found a third one but it was disappointing and even unbelievable to me.

         We're often enticed to see a movie because of previews.  I poke Allan after each preview and say, "Nope.  Don't wanna see that one."  Only seldom do I say, "Hmmm.  Maybe that one."  The latter is what I said after the preview of "A Man Called Ove."


         A Man Called Ove.  Strange name.  Strange old man.  He was in charge of his neighborhood association and he yelled a lot and he had no patience with people.  He kept trying to hang himself -- literally, in his living room -- but the rope would break off the hook or the doorbell would ring.  He wanted to join his wife who recently died, and when he pulled up a lawnchair at her grave to visit for a while in the afternoon, he'd tell her that he was coming but it wasn't easy.

         I didn't have much sympathy for the man call Ove until we learned of his story through flashbacks.  As a young man he met a young girl on a train and she fell for him, too, and it was a love that became his world.  That's all good, to a point.

         Eventually, the old man called Ove begins to find meaning in the activity around him, in the neighborhood association.  The love of his wife had given him life, and the love of his neighbors helped him cling to the life that was left.  Strange name.  But not such a strange old man after all.


         Silence. I didn't like the ending of this movie, but the story on the way to that ending was amazing, inspiring, and also horrific.  My first thought in the first parts of the movie was that I'm very glad I'm not living in such times.  And then I realized that I am living in such times. 

         Last year alone, in 2016, there were 90,000 Christians around the world who were killed for their faith.  Many of them were beheaded.  Others were crowded into cages and hung into the sea until drowned.  Some were burned alive or bombed in churches.  Some were crucified or dismembered in front of their parents or their children.  The slaughter continues in other ways around the world.  You don't know these things?  Maybe it's time to turn the channel or page through more informative reading material.

         This movie is about two Catholic missionaries who went to Japan in the 17th century in hopes of finding one of their teachers who, they were told, had apostatized.  [The word means he didn't keep the faith, and I want to spell it apostasized but spellcheck won't allow it.]  In any case, the young missionaries said such apostasy surely would not have occurred in their honored and revered leader.

         Upon arrival in the backwoods of Japan, the two missionaries found amazing faith hidden among the villagers, despite the torture and killing that ensued when it was discovered by the Japanese government.  Some scenes in the movie are seared into my mind forever.

         The movie was both settling and unsettling.  The faith of the peasant villagers was settling because it was strong even unto death.  The faith of those who apostatized was unsettling because it displayed the weakness of humanity, of which we are all members.


         The Founder. I looked forward to this movie because I'm a fan of fast food and especially McDonald's.  Efficiency and good taste mean a lot to me. 

         I thought I would learn everything there is to know about the founder of McDonald's.  I would learn that hard work and industriousness and intelligence lead to success.  I would learn that paying employees well and including benefits contribute to loyalty and consistency.  I thought I would learn all about a true American success story and a founder with high ideals,  not to mention that cleanliness is next to godliness.

         I learned none of the above.  As a matter of fact, the movie portrayed Ray Croc, founder of the McDonald's franchise, as a  man often lacking in principle in both his personal and his business life. 

         In thinking about what the purpose of making such a movie might be, I decided it was most likely a hit piece.  A successful family oriented franchise would most certainly be in the bull's eye of today's culture of disorder and degradation.

         Oh, yes, I also appreciate economy.  So give me a Pick 2 for $3.  Make that a double cheeseburger and large fries.

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From the Editor

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and the starshine of Victoria.

The Victoria GAZETTE

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at www.VictoriaGazette.com

March 2017