The coming of the sesquicentennial has transformed me from an assiduous student of the Civil War into a budding fanatic.
The 150th anniversary of the battle of Gettysburg is still two years away. But you might be tempted to lay your hands on the Martin Sheen-Tom Berenger-Jeff Daniels “Gettysburg” movie of 1993.
I would strongly caution you.
Not because the movie is too violent. (It is violent, but what do you expect?) Not because it is biased, because it isn’t. Not because spending four hours learning about the battle of Gettysburg isn’t a good idea; it is a good idea.
The battle of Gettysburg endlessly fascinates. But “Gettysburg” endlessly runs on.
Watching Martin Sheen attempt to impersonate General Robert E. Lee is a fate worse than death by bayonet. I would prefer to see Britney Spears clad in butternut debating tactical matters with Old Pete Longstreet ad nauseum.
And the movie possesses no narrative unity. It just plods through events.
It plods through them with stunning verisimilitude. I guess that illuminates an important truth: There is a big difference between the pace of an exciting weekend battle re-enactment and the pace of a watchable movie.
Making “Gettysburg” may have been the thrill of a lifetime for all the re-enactors involved. I do not begrudge them one minute of the fun they had. It’s just that the movie version of a Civil War re-enactment is really boring.
The battle itself is immortal, as Abraham Lincoln so eloquently captured it. Realistic as “Gettysburg” is, such immortality has eluded its grasp altogether.
Here is the only truly captivating scene:
“Gettysburg” aside, let’s give Ted Turner credit for “Gods and Generals.” When “Gods and Generals” ended after almost four hours, I wanted it to go on for another four hours. “Gods and Generals” rocks.
St. Thomas Aquinas gave an excellent Pentecost homily. Click here.
Here is a less worthy attempt… (But shorter at least!)
Come, Holy Spirit! On our dryness pour your dew.
We live by holding fast to the doctrines of our Catholic faith. At the same time, we also see visible signs of the mysteries we believe in. Let us try to understand how the mystery of Pentecost fits into the annual rites of spring.
First, the basic facts: The Lord Jesus died on the cross. On the third day, He rose again. He remained on earth for forty days. Then He ascended into heaven. The Apostles prayed. Then Christ poured out the Holy Spirit.
Continue reading “Emitte Spiritum + non-Shakespeare”
To the peanut gallery which accuses me of being boring–
–to the free-spirits who cringe when they hear how I live out of my little black calendar, get up at the same time EVERY day, scrupulously maintain a slavish routine, observe the rules of every authoritative book, and fantasize only about whether it will be raining or sunny on the day of my funeral–
–to the interesting people who roll the way they roll and go with the flow, I say:
I admit it. I plead guilty. I am tedious.
May the court be merciful. Please take the following into account in sentencing me:
Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon…It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. (G.K. Chesterton–Click HERE for more.)