The movie about the song

Movie trailer review, I Can Only Imagine (2018). In the early 1990’s I consumed heaps of contemporary Christian music, but 2018’s “Christian music” film is about a song I can’t say I like. I didn’t expect Mercy Me’s I Can Only Imagine, to have become the biggest song in contemporary Christian music history. But they made a movie about it.

It makes commercial sense to make a movie about this song. It’s popular, it made money, so many people love it.

Although a smaller song can resonate, there is more to this film than making a commercially viable film about a commercially successful song though. The trailer to I Can Only Imagine tells us there is a heartbreaking story behind the song.

In the trailer, the thrust of this story is the song writer’s pain in growing up with a solo Dad who was unkind to him. Mom had left home, but as a young man he turns his pain into song.

The father (played by Dennis Quaid) may learn to see his son differently, not in terms of making a hit song, but in terms of making a song that resonates with his father (as well as others).

Personally, I’m open to this film, but a little unconvinced I will be inspired or uplifted.

The trailer prepares us for an inspirational movie, though, a trailer that’s showing us the movie is potentially feel good and uplifting.


Star Wars music today–is it any good?

In 1977, the Star Wars theme music cemented unmistakably in pop culture. Everyone or almost everyone knows it although the others are in denial or have never seen the film.

The Star Wars main theme is not the only remarkable, memorable moment of Star Wars music.

The entire film scoring of the original Star Wars—which includes every section of music in the film—was brilliant.

To add to its unanimous two thumbs up in the popular consciousness, it was voted the American Film Institute’s top film score in 2005 and won the Oscar.

In 1980 and 1983, Star Wars continued its resonance in popular culture.

“The Imperial March”, from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, is resounding and powerful…utterly memorable. The Imperial March is now an iconic part of popular culture.

“The Asteroid Field” is palpitatingly good, the music accompaniment to the asteroid field scene in The Empire Strikes Back.

There were many other resonate moments. Return of the Jedi boasted “Into the Trap”, “The Emperor”, “Return of the Jedi” and “The Forest Battle”, and more.

John Williams’ musical soundtrack to 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens starts off like the old days. It’s compelling as the Main Title and “The Attack on Jakku Village” recalls the old days of the smooth transition between opening music and what follows.

These transitions are delightful in all the original Star Wars films as the booming main title smooths subtly into the evocative tones of the first scenes.

Unfortunately, the rest of the musical soundtrack to The Force Awakens made me think about the good old days when Star Wars music was original, lively, and resonant. Or it was unshakably memorable, music you wouldn’t forget–The Force Awakens has little that compels or resonates in that vein. It seems rather lackadaisical and repetitive.

All this soundtrack does is sit in my CD rack as a necessary addition to my collection, but not a very liked one. It’s hard to recapture a little of the old magic of. Done once, but not again. Perhaps watch the film instead.

Essential reading

I wouldn’t call myself an avid devotional reader. Apart from the Bible, the devotional literature I have read is minimal. So minimal in fact, that the devotional book I’m currently finishing is the only devotional book (apart from the Bible) I’m about to finish in its entirety.

It’s so good I couldn’t put it down. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas A. Kempis is essential reading for any Christian or anybody.

It’s humbling, challenging, inspiring, and glorifies God, and can put ego in perspective.

This God-focussed book may boil it down to Christ divine, his grace and love for fallen humanity is available for those who want to seriously follow him.

Of course, that summary may simplify this special, spiritual book, which will take one by the heart and spirit as much as the mind.

It’s also beautifully written as if God was orchestrating his music through it.

Offside Mozart in dramatic telling

Revised from the original published at Entertainmentnutz, 2000. Amadeus (1984) ***** Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge. Director: Milos Forman.

Amadeus is a compelling tale of the fictional drama of Austrian court composer Salieri and his jealously and revenge on Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This fiction has an element of real life to it, in that it could happen in people’s situations.

Jealousy and revenge are the basest of human desires that can seem to worm their way into people’s hearts given the stimulus. Not that it’s condoned. It’s undesirable. Amadeus shows us its insidious effects, leading to a downfall.

In Amadeus, the stimulus to jealousy is Salieri’s inability to match Mozart’s musical level. It is a pride that he should be the best rather than Mozart who seems his moral inferior.

Salieri’s (F. Murray Abraham) confession of jealousy and revenge to a Catholic priest frames the drama, giving a confessional air about proceedings and a sense of tragedy.

All the same, Salieri cannot resist the divine sound and charms of Mozart’s compositions. His music somehow reflects the glory of God, as God has no favorites in which to express his gifts, though questionable is Mozart’s moral life and squandering of money.

Salieri and Mozart’s (Tom Hulce) professional and personal relationship was tainted from the beginning because of Salieri’s innate problems with Mozart.

Every part of a relationship is flawed where serious rivalry is involved. It smolders under the surface but is alive in the heart. Salieri’s characteristics—his ambition and pride—contributed to him following through on the way of the flesh, rather than asking for God’s help and subduing himself.

It takes a while for Salieri to unleash his “demons”—in a sophisticated plot involving the ‘ghostly’ presence of Mozart’s overbearing father and the naïve complicity of Mozart’s wife (Elizabeth Berridge) who is susceptible to Salieri’s good manners. Salieri’s passions had been simmering underneath for a good hour-and-so into the film.

It may be faulted at being too literary minded. However, Amadeus works. The production values are done to the hilt—wonderful to behold, immaculate—and stage operas compliment the drama.


The final judge?

There are different levels of engaging media and art, but the top level perhaps, is when a work or piece of art speaks to the heart. Then one has engaged with the “eyes” of the heart, which is a genuine response. One can begin to see everything in “level one”, the level of seeing what speaks to the heart, and this may be a genuine response. Would seeing with the “eyes of the heart” be the final judge?

Heavy in small, but memorable, doses

Been a week away from reading anything. Haven’t read Dante’s Inferno for a week. It concerns me because I should be reading something every day nearly.

A week is too long absent from a book. But, alas, there is a time for everything under the sun. There is a time to rest from reading.

Predicting in a week I’ll be back to the book and from there on to the finish line–when the book is finished.

Reading books is interesting, but it can also take it out of you. Inferno is ‘heavy’ in the sense it’s about lost souls in hell and Dante is giving a commentary on it. His commentary is sometimes caustic though I know it’s sort of humorous because he meets people he disliked in hell. Dante is also very serious about what’s going on in the underworld–it’s horrific.


At the end of this week I read less of Dante’s Inferno and am listening to music. Inferno is still on my radar to finish because I just want to. I don’t like to say that I finished the book half-way through. That’s not even finishing it. If I stopped reading it, I would become a statistic, the half finishes statistic. Following through on reading the book is a must, but at my leisure.