Tag Archives: Lord of the Rings

Jake Goes to the Movies

What an interesting world we live in that something like going to the movies is worth writing a blog post about. I mean, going to the movies was never really a big deal before, and like so many other things, it was something we took for granted. But, like so many other things, movie theaters throughout the country are starting to open up and show films again. Many studios are making some of their classic films available to show in theaters again, since there isn’t a lot of new stuff coming out yet. So, there are a lot of really great classic films you can go see right now. Locally, Megaplex opened toward the end of June, and my wife suggested I take some time to go see a movie since it has been a while, and things have been stressful. Trying to decide what to see was tough. There were quite a few movies that I have seen dozens and dozens of times, but never on the big screen. So how did I decide? And what was the experience like? Well I am going to tell you.

I picked The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. I know, that might be surprising that I picked that one. I love Lord of the Rings, and I saw Two Towers and Return of the King multiple times in theaters while they were there the first time around. Fellowship came out while I was on my mission, so I missed the theatrical run completely. The first time I saw it was on a DVD on a small TV. This was before HD was really a thing. Since then, I have watched it on Blu ray and 4K digital streaming on much bigger televisions, but it still doesn’t compare to the big screen. So when I thought about going back to the movies, this title was appealing to me. 

About a week later, I went back to Megaplex- a different location- and saw Ghostbusters, another classic I have never seen on the big screen-but I have always wanted to. So, since it is the 35th anniversary of the film, and because this version was supposed to have 8 or 9 minutes of bonus footage, it sounded cool, so I went to that one. So now I have been to two different movies in the post COVID19 world. And how was the experience?

Let’s talk about the facilities first. From everything I saw and encountered, it seems like Megaplex is doing everything they can to keep their guests safe. The two locations I attended were the District in South Jordan and Valley Fair in West Valley. Both seemed very clean when I walked in, I could smell the cleaner at the District. Neither was crowded. This will probably change over time and is probably a combination of people not going out as much and there not being anything new in the theater. There were hand sanitizing stations throughout both locations. At the end of all the concession stands, there was an automated dispenser, and just past both ticket podiums there was another station. At the District, there seemed to be a table set up with hand sanitizer outside each auditorium. At Valley Fair, it seemed to be fewer- maybe every other one. Either way, there was plenty to go around.All of the employees were wearing face coverings, and the concession employees were wearing gloves. I was pretty impressed all the way around.

Each film is only being shows maybe once or twice a day. This gives the employees quite a bit of time to thoroughly clean each auditorium, which is good. When I walked into each auditorium, it smelled like it had been cleaned pretty deeply. It was strangely comforting. In addition to fewer show times, they only sell seats on every other row, with a max of 50 people in each theater. There is also a requirement that there are at least three seats between each group. They have their online ticket purchasing set up to account for this. And I totally recommend purchasing online. The ticket then gets emailed to you, and then I added it to my digital wallet on my phone, and they just scan you through instead of needing any kind of a paper ticket.

When I walked into the Valley Fair location, they had a sign saying that face coverings were required. I didn’t notice the same sign when I went to the District, but when I went there it was before the county order requiring face coverings in public, and my trip to Valley Fair was after the order went into effect, so I imagine that is why there was a difference. I don’t know how well they are enforcing it. I wore a mask in, so I don’t know what they would have said if I hadn’t had one. Overall, I felt comfortable going to the theater, and I was excited to do it.

How was the experience, though? This is a little harder to describe. I was very excited to get out of the house, and to be going to see a movie. I know there are a lot of people who don’t want to go out for something as small as a movie- and I get that. I also know there are many that think I shouldn’t go out, and I understand that as well, but I also feel like I try to go out responsibly. And I also believe that if we go out and socially distance and wear face covering, we can open up safely and get to a new normal more quickly. As I was saying, I was very excited to go out and see a movie. I was excited about the popcorn and I was excited for the trailers and for the whole experience. 

As I went, though, something was lacking. It was more noticeable at Ghostbusters than Fellowship. I was there in the theater. The lights went down, the movie started, and then it just almost felt right. The problem? The lack of a crowd. Especially for a movie like Ghostbusters. I didn’t realize how much I would miss being with a crowd at a movies. Ghostbusters had been scheduled to have a limited run in theaters before COVID19 hit for the 35th anniversary. So, I thought about what it would have been different if the theater had been packed with long time Ghostbusters fans, it would have been much more enjoyable- laughing together, cheering together, just experiencing it together. Movies in the theater are better experienced in a big crowd. Unfortunately, we can’t do that right now, and I am ion board with that. In the mean time, I will probably go again, and long for the days when we can all be together again and experience these kinds of things together.

30Days30Characters: Day 4- Samwise Gamgee

November is starting to fly by for me. I think going through this list of characters I put together and listing why they have meant something for me has been a lot of fun and has contributed to the month going so quickly. It will be Thanksgiving before I know it. It has also been fun to start seeing some of the reactions to my list of 30 characters. Starting tomorrow, each week will have a specific medium from which the characters will be drawn. This upcoming week will be comics. To finish out this week, though, it’s one of my all time favorite characters of any medium.

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Liz’s Goodbye: Some Spiritual Lessons from Fandom

If you haven’t heard by now, Jake has decided that The Geeky Mormon needs to go in a new direction, and as me contributing articles does not fit with his vision for the site, I will no longer be writing. For the time being, plan on me still writing, but exclusively for my personal blog, The Jedi in Jeans. It was a pleasure writing for The Geeky Mormon and sharing all of my geeky thoughts with you. Before I go, here are a few things I want to share with you that I have learned from both my interests in sci-fi and fantasy, and from my faith as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in other words, from being a Geeky Mormon. I won’t elaborate on some of the themes too much. A picture’s worth a thousand words, so I will include pictures/quotes from our favorite stories as well as appropriate scripture references. I may very well have addressed some of these themes in my other posts. Other than that, I will leave the interpretation to you.

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Hello 2017

Someone compared the end of 2016, or maybe just the whole year, to the Battle at Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings. This is one of my favorite parts of the film series. It is one of my favorite battle scenes in any film I have seen. Besides being a great action sequence, it is a pivotal moment in the story. During this battle it seems totally hopeless for the people of Rohan. They are outnumbered and outgunned, as it were. The elves come to help, but they still have all the odds stacked against them. There is a moment where you can see that even Theoden has lost all hope, when he orders them to fall back to the Hornburg. He has given up.

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My 10 Favorite Movies

Recently, Tim Champlin tweeted me and asked if I could do a list of my ten favorite movies. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so I jumped at the opportunity to do it. Before I get into this list, I want to set a few ground rules. First, these are my favorite movies. I don’t know how to quantify “favorite,” but I do know that it is not the same as a list of the ten best movies. Some of these movies may not be great, but they are movies I could sit and watch again and again, for the most part. Also, you can’t argue someone’s favorite movies. You just can’t. Another rule I set for myself was limiting myself to one movie per series. Otherwise, this list would be nothing but Star Trek, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings. That would be boring. So, in no particular order, here is my list.

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The Importance of Being Funny

Part of this essay is based on a term paper I wrote for my English 333 class at BYU

This is mainly about The Hobbit but I cite Steve and Bucky as an example because Civil War is still on everyone’s minds.

Steve: Remember that time we had to ride back from Rockaway Beach in the back of that freezer truck?

Bucky: Was that the time you used our train money to buy hot dogs?

Steve: You blew three bucks trying to that stuffed bear for a redhead.

Bucky: What was her name again?

Steve: Dolores.  You called her Dot.

Bucky: She’s got to be 100 years old right now.

Steve: So are we, pal.

(source: Pinterest)

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My 10 Favorite Books

My wife challenged me recently to come up with a list of my ten favorite books. This was a pretty big challenge. I don’t know that I could say that his list would be my definitive list, since I am continuing to read new books all the time, and meeting new favorites all the time. In other words, I feel like this might be my ten favorite books right now, but that could change in a month. As I put together my list, I thought about series, like Harry Potter or Wheel of Time. If I included all the books from those series, it would be impossible to keep it down to just ten. I decided I could only count one from any given series. I even tried to keep it to just one from each author (I also cheated on both of these rules). I also excluded any religious texts. Yes, I love the Book of Mormon, but I thought of this as more secular titles. So, all of that considered, here is my current, as of today, list of ten favorite books.

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Is The Book Really Better?

I grew up hearing that The Lord of the Rings films were actually pretty close to the books.  When I finally watched them, however, I found out that the films were actually quite a bit different. True, there were some things I liked better, and some of the changes were understandable or more interesting, but on the whole, I liked the books better.

That’s actually all I’m going to say about LOTR for this post, but it serves as an introduction to an important discussion. I am a book geek.  I have been since the first grade.  I will be until I go blind in old age. But that doesn’t mean I a hundred percent hate movies that are based on books.  I don’t always read the book first, but I am the kind of person who prefers to. This is the case especially when I’ve heard good things about the book as well, for instance, Life of Pi. On the other hand, sometimes I refuse to read the book because the film/television version I grew up watching is completely different and I don’t want to tarnish my feelings for the film (a lot of Disney movies I like are this way).  But if the movie is based on a book that I have read and liked, then I am going to hold it to a certain standard.

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10 Geeky Ways to Get Into the Holiday Spirit

(I’m writing my Christmas post now because my next post is most likely to be my reaction to The Force Awakens)

This is a bit of my OCD talking: I’m a skeptic when it comes to mixing sci-fi and fantasy with Christmas.  I was raised in a family where the religious side of Christmas was always observed, and I’ve continued that in my adult life.  Mixing Christmas with Disney princesses or superheroes or so forth can make me a little uncomfortable.  Holiday specials featuring these characters can get a little on the cheesy side so I tend to avoid those.  Storm troopers in Santa hats?  I’ll have to tell you no.  If we’re talking fan art, I might be a little more receptive.  Yes, I believe that Christmas is “magical,” but I don’t like to mix it with other people’s definitions of that magic.  Christmas should be about Christmas! I’m not a total purist, I’m just really picky.

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Why Captain America Isn’t Perfect

This is part 3 of the 3-part Road to Civil War series.

WARNING!  SPOILERS FOR ANT-MAN BELOW.  READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

The question everyone seems to be asking is why the Civil War installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a Captain America movie?  The truth is, we won’t have all the answers until it comes out.  However, here are some of my thoughts from what we’ve heard about the plot and based on my observations of Steve Rogers.

Captain America as a Leader

At the end of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, we see Captain America squarely in charge of a new Avengers team. The actions of this team under his leadership will lead to the debate over the regulation of superheroes. 

If you want to fight with Captain America, you better do it his way Marvel via Film School Rejects

If you want to fight with Captain America, you better do it his way
Marvel via Film School Rejects

Steve Rogers thinks of himself first and foremost as a soldier, but he has always been a leader. I f people expect Captain America to lead them, then he expects them to work like an army does. In Captain America: The First Avenger, he is the unquestioned leader of the Howling Commandos, and even the directors of the Strategic Scientific Reserve look to him to lead the fight against Hydra.  We don’t see much of the men who followed him aside from Bucky, but I think he had a good working relationship with these guys that probably set his expectations for similar experiences a little high.  

When Captain America goes to work for S.H.I.E.L.D., the situation is far from ideal.  What Steve Rogers expects from those who work with him is trust.  He prefers to know what other people are doing and what’s going on, whereas Nick Fury thinks it’s safer to “compartmentalize” assignments and secrets.  Finding out that S.H.I.E.L.D. was controlled by Hydra is the last straw. From then on, Captain America doesn’t want to be in a position where he isn’t calling the shots. Being in control is Steve’s way of coping with the fact that he can’t trust other people’s motives.

Cap in the Age of Ultron

Steve decides to take out the remnants of Hydra, but it is unclear whether he asked the other Avengers for help or if they volunteered.  But destroying Hydra is Steve’s project, so they let him decide what they do.  To an extent they consider him the leader, and he may even think of himself as one.

Tony Stark referred to Captain America as “the boss” at one point during Age of Ultron, but Tony doesn’t treat him the way Steve expects he would if he really thought that. In The Avengers Tony is condescending and even resentful toward him.  After the two work together for some time, there’s a little more respect and even some liking.  Yet Steve expects that the other Avengers follow his directions and not do anything to jeopardize them or their mission.  Tony Stark does his own thing. And Steve mistrusts Tony for this.

Tony wanted to see Cap's dark side: well, he got what he asked for over the cradle. Marvel via Transparent Things

Tony wanted to see Cap’s dark side: well, he got what he asked for.
Marvel via Transparent Things

Steve is more concerned at first about preventing Ultron from causing more problems.  But then Wanda Maximoff warns Steve the being Ultron was creating with the Mind Stone could be put to use by Tony Stark—and Steve takes it very poorly. His only thought is to prevent Tony from creating another Ultron, and he’s offended that Tony’s attitude and behavior are hurting the team as well as the world.  Civil War as good as almost started over Vision’s cradle.

It would be wrong to say that Steve isn’t sad to see the breakup of the original Avengers.  But at the same time I think he’s looking forward to working with the new team that has come together, probably more or less at his invitation. He has an advantage with this new team because he can set new terms for their working relationship. He can teach them how to work together, trust each other, and rely on each other in ways that the original Avengers never could: the way he wants them to.

So one of the hard parts of Civil War will be watching all of Steve’s hopes and expectations for the new Avengers go down the drain.

A Product of War

Captain America was created to fight a war that, for the rest of the world, ended seventy years ago.  But the war never ended for Steve, and the best thing he can think of doing is continuing to fight.

The things we think are temporary may end up being permanent. Marvel via DarlingStewie.com

The things we think are temporary may end up being permanent.
Marvel via DarlingStewie.com

During World War II, all civilian resources—food, clothing, and even entertainment—were redirected to the military and to mustering support for the war effort. It was a time period when people ate, slept, and breathed war.  Cap went on the ice.  The rest of the world had time to transition, but Steve didn’t. So a part of him still eats, sleeps, and breathes war because he didn’t get to see it end.  And whatever closure he thinks he has—Hydra being vanquished, for instance—is an illusion.

When he got up, furthermore, he was asked almost right away to help save the world from Loki. Steve never intended to be Captain America for the rest of his life, but that’s what nearly everyone else wants him to be.  So he has chosen to be a superhero: that is “home” for Steve now.  And if it is his job to keep the world safe, then he will do whatever he thinks is right to get the job done.  His job from the war, stopping Hydra, was left undone, so he is going to finish it. And his mind, it is an army—in this case, the Avengers—that is the best chance of stopping Hydra.

Doing the Right Thing as a Weakness

A lot of people don’t see why Steve had to crash the Valkyrie at the end of The First Avenger.  My explanation is that Steve didn’t want the world to have access to the Hydra weapons or technology that was on that plane: Hydra was so evil that he wanted to destroy it and every evil thing it created.  And, of course, he held Hydra responsible for Bucky’s “death.” 

A good captain goes down with the ship, right? Marvel via cinemablend

A good captain goes down with the ship, right?
Marvel via Cinemablend

Steve does whatever he thinks is right at all costs, and if you disagree with him about what it takes to keep the world safe, then he is not giving you the benefit of a doubt. 

In Captain America: Civil War, Steve will encounter a serious barrier to his goal of fighting Hydra just as Hydra is regaining strength, and his attitudes and choices in that time will put him in conflict with Iron Man and other superheroes.  And then we have the Ant-man post-credit scene. From the dialogue and other inferences about the situation, we know that Bucky Barnes turning up again in this manner only complicates an already difficult situation.  But why did Marvel choose to show this scene in particular?  Steve wants to help his best friend, at whatever cost to himself, and if he has to break the rules—if he has to fight Tony Stark—to do so, needless to say it’s going to get ugly.

How far will Steve go to make sure he doesn't lose his friend again? Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

How far will Steve go to make sure he doesn’t lose his friend again?
Marvel via Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki

Bucky is the only thing Steve has from the life he used to know: before he was a soldier, before ANYTHING.  If Steve can save Bucky, then he will be able, in some small way, to “come home.” It isn’t right this time: it’s personal. 

But Steve, however, will put his personal happiness on the line to do what he thinks is right.  I am prepared at this point to accept the possibility that Steve might even die in Civil War.  What I am really worried about is, can Steve put up with all of this and still be a good person?  

That’s the best speculation I can give you for now.  But of course, it could all change the moment the trailer comes out.