Sunday Matinee #30 Deadpool
Again with the Deadpool? Hey, he's highly quotable!
Good morning, Dear Reader, R-Rated Movie Club is all up in your DMs. Writing about movies and theology has been a blast and having subscribers like you tells me there’s a desire to seek the sacred in the secular out there. This week, we review the poll results from earlier this month. Thanks for participating!
Audience Reaction Poll Results
Not every movie is for every person, especially R-rated movies. Earlier this month, I asked you which of these 5 options typically turn you off from turning on an R-rated movie and here’s what you said:
It looks like intense or persistent violence is the main turnoff for this crowd.
I get that. For me, the first thing that comes to mind there is gory horror movies. That’s not always my cup of tea. But there are plenty of other violent movies, like action or war genre. Sometimes, it’s a moment of violence that’s brief but intense, like in Reservoir Dogs, even if the infamous ear scene doesn’t actually appear on screen! There are a few movies I really don’t need to see again because of the violence. Terrifier comes to mind.
As for our three runners-up, we have:
Adult themes / activity / drug use - Some subject matter just isn’t for us, yes? I have a tough time watching hardcore drug use depictions, but I don’t know that it’s ever made me avoid a movie. Some adult themes aren’t subjects to my taste, however.
Frightening and intense scenes - I think this is my toughest one, personally. I saw a trailer for the new Evil Dead Rising and I thought, nope, too scary, not interested. Similarly, I stopped watching Amazon Prime’s Man in the High Castle because I was tired of being too tense about who was going to get shot in the head every episode. Maybe this is why I never watched Game of Thrones, either.
Sex and/or sexually-oriented nudity - Again, not for everybody. And even if it is, it isn’t always for watching with everybody. I was on a first date in high school to see The English Patient and we had no idea about that bathtub scene. Awk-ward.
Hard language (swearing, etc.) - No one in this group of voters seems to mind. In all honesty, I don’t either. Every once in a while, I wish many movies didn’t have a lot of this because it would be more acccessible to more people. But then, I supposed I couldn’t write about those movies here, so maybe it’s okay!
What about you? What did you vote for? Or if you’re reading this in the archive, what would you vote for? Send me an email and let me know.
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Quotes with Notes
Full Text: Genesis 32:22-31 (Revised Common Lectionary)
10th Sunday after Pentecost (August 6, 2023)
Sign up for a free course at EnterTheBible.org to learn more.
Context: Jacob is now married with children. He is going home to face his brother, Esau, after doing him wrong. But one night, all alone, he finds himself wrestling a man until the dawn. He never gives up, even after his hip is knocked out of socket. Jacob refuses to let the man go until gives Jacob his blessing.
28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans and have prevailed.”
Deadpool (2016) | 20th Century Fox
Starring Ryan Reynolds, Ed Skrien, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand
Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick | Directed by Tim Miller
Context: Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is a foul-mouthed mutant assassin out to get revenge on Ajax (Ed Skrein), the man who tortured him to gain the secrets of his mutant rapid healing factor. He has Ajax at swordpoint, ready to kill him, when Colossus (Stefan Kapicic/Greg LaSalle), a mutant member of the X-Men superhero team and oversized Russian with metal skin, stops him. By his side is his new trainee, Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), who can create high-impact kinetic charges. She’s a teenager who vacillates between sullen silences and mean comments.
Colossus: This is a shameful and reckless use of your powers. You will both be coming with us.
Deadpool: Look, Colossus, I don't have time for the goody two-shoes bullshit right now. And you are?...
Negasonic: ...Negasonic Teenage Warhead.
Deadpool: Negasonic Teenage... What the shit?! That's the coolest name ever!
The night before a test.
The waiting room for a job interview.
The silent phone that needs to ring.
There are challenging times in our lives that serve as prelude to specific moments. Sometimes, we call this time “wrestline,” as in we are wrestling with our emotions or nerves or excitement as we prepare for something to happen. The people who know us best can tell us what that looks like for us:
I see you shiver, with antici–
If we go all the way back to Genesis 25, which we contrasted with Planes, Trains & Automobiles on July 2, we will recall Jacob stole his brother Esau’s birthright and blessing and then ran for the hills. Now he’s older and (somewhat) wiser (only “somewhat,” as he did get tricked by his uncle into 14 years of servitude instead of 7), and ready to come home. Only, he’s sure he’s doomed. He’s received word that Esau and 400 men are coming to meet him and well, “nerves” doesn’t cover how he feels.
In that long, dark night of the soul, Jacob wrestles with his situation. This wrestling manifests with a literal wrestling match with a mysterious man throughout the night. We’re never told outright who the man is, though Jacob names the wrestling ring Peniel which can be translated as “Face of God.” In this wrestling, Jacob is given a new name and a fresh identity: Israel. This can be translated as “Wrestled with God.” Jacob’s descendents - Abraham and Sarah’s descendents, really - shall be called Israelites from this point on.
Jacob earns this new name through his actions. Yes, it is bestowed upon him, yet its inspiration is from what he has done in action and attitude. Have you ever had a nickname? Where did it come from?
Superheroes have code names. They don’t always use them, especially in the movies for some reason, but they have them. Deadpool is right, Negasonic Teenage Warhead is one of the coolest names ever. We don’t know from the movie how she gained that name, though we see her explosive mutant powers and that explains quite a bit. It’s a wonderful moment in an action movie, taking a brief pause to acknowledge the coolness of the new name.
Both of these moments are brief pauses in bigger stories. And in each, we are introduced to a new name, each having to do with identity. To wrestle with God and tell the tale, Israel is a name of strength. To explode with fire and kinetic energy, Negasonic Teenage Warhead is a name of strength, too. Whether it’s a name or a code name or a nickname or a new name, living into our identity is crucial. We want to live into our identity as loveable so that we might love ourselves. We want to live into our identity as capable of loving so that we might love others. We want to live into our identity as strong because we are all good enough.
If you could pick a nickname that sums up your actions and attitudes, what would you call yourself? Have you had nicknames you wish you could forget? What about nicknames you have always loved? Do you embrace the name “beloved child” that God has for you?
And just in case you’re wrestling with a challenging time these days, stay for some bonus antici–
A Word of Encouragement
Thanks, everyone, and I hope you have a wonderful day. May you find holy wisdom anywhere you look, whether in the scriptures or even at the movies. And to today’s preachers, may worship bring you closer to the holy as you do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly in the name of God. God’s peace and good movies to you!
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