Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

What's Best?: Free-for-all Friday

This week's "What's Better?" winners were:

M&Ms [over Eminem]
Being There [over Being John Malkovich]
Bullwinkle [over Bull Durham]
A Man Escaped [over Woman, Thou Art Loosed!]

All those are "better" but which is "best"?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What's Better?: A Man Escaped or Woman, Thou Art Loosed?

Okay, so here's an interesting juxtaposition. I'm not quite sure how I want to frame this other than by saying that these are two titles that just beg the following question....

What's Better?: A Man Escaped or Woman, Thou Art Loosed?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's Better?: Bullwinkle or Bull Durham?

One is a moose, the other a catcher. Neither is a bull, though both are called bulls. One has a flying squirrel sidekick, the other has a slightly crazy love interest. Both have suprisingly good dialogue.

What's Better?: Bullwinkle or Bull Durham?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

What's Better?: Being There or Being John Malkovich?

Hal Roach vs. Spike Jonze! Peter Sellers vs...well, John Malkovich.
These two items are both comedies that are actually funny but that are also surprisingly thoughtful and slyly provocative.

What's Better? Being There or Being John Malkovich?

Monday, August 21, 2006

What's Better?: Eminem or M&Ms?

One is small and sweet; one is big and bold. One makes music; one tastes like heaven. One is creative; one is created.

Today, I ask, "What's Better?": Eminem or M&Ms.

Friday, August 18, 2006

What's Best? Free for all Friday!

Our "What's Better?" winners this week were:

An American Werewolf in London
Douglas Sirk
"Dancing in the Dark"
The Scream

So, let' s make it short and sweet...which is best of the four winners?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

What's Better?: Scream or The Scream

Well, we've had music, authors and films on the blog battle, so why not a work of art? I understand there is an Edvard Munch biopic on the way, so until then, we'll just have to amuse ourselves by asking, "What's Better?": Scream or The Scream?

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

What's Better?: Dancer in the Dark or "Dancing in the Dark"?

Lars von Trier vs. Born in the USA. Bjork vs. the Boss. Tragic arthouse film versus mainstream pop music. What more could a blog battle ask for?

What's Better?: Dancer in the Dark or "Dancing in the Dark"?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What's Better?: Douglas Sirk or Captain Kirk?

One is the captain of the Starship Enterprise. One is the director of Magnificent Obsession and All that Heaven Allows. One means death to red shirts; one uses red, autumnal colors.

"What's Better?": Douglas Sirk or Captain Kirk?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

What's Better?: The French Lieutenant's Woman or An American Werewolf in London?

To begin round three of this Internet diversion, I give you John Landis versus John Fowles. A literary adaptation versus a horror flick. Oddly enough, both films are listed in IMDB.com as having been released in 1981.

What's Better? The French Lieutenant's Woman or An American Werewolf in London?

Monday, August 07, 2006

What's Best? Days of Wine and Roses or Umberto Eco

Never overestimate the power of music, I guess. After last battle featured a final between two musical entries, this round features one author and one film.

What can I say that I haven't already. You know the drill:

"What's Best?": Umberto Eco or Days of Wine and Roses?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

What's Better? Umberto Eco or The Insider?

Today's semi-final features an intriguing match up. Say Michael Mann and many think "Genius, cool, hip, and surprisingly deep." Say Umberto Eco, and many people think, "confusing, dense, and impenetrable."

Then again, say Umberto Eco, and many people think, "Genius,cool, hip, cool, and surprisingly deep." Say Michael Mann and many think, "confusing, dense, and impenetrable."

So who's the real deal and who's the emperor with no clothes?

"What's Better": The Insider or Umberto Eco?

What's Better? "Living on a Thin Line" or Days of WIne and Roses?

Ah nothing like a good voting scandal to really rock the house. Malick was in the lead and even declared the winner by one exit poll, but late reports from the precincts pushed The Kinks ahead. No hanging chads here, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, allowing the certification to stand.

Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick had their own battles to fight...over a band of zombies. So, all due apologies to the Malick multitude. This semi-final asks:

"What's Better?": "Living on a Thin Line" or Days of Wine and Roses?

Gregory of Nyssa: The Life of Moses (Prologue)

I'm excited to be reading this book even though it is a busy time of year and I don't know how quickly I can progress.

In the prologue Gregory is making a comparison about how the measurable is precisely that because it has limits, whereas the attributes of the divine are without limit and hence cannot be said to be achieved through measurement. He says:

Just as the end of life is the beginning of death, so also stopping in the race of virtue marks the beginning of the race of evil. Thus our statement that grasping perfection with reference to virtue is impossible was not false, for it has been pointed out that what is marked off by boundaries is not virtue.

This quote is heavy and kind of deep, but the first half resonated with me especially. The whole context of this discussion provides a framework for me to undertand why it is that pursuing good and filling one's life with good can be easier or more successful than eliminating evil.

I think it was either Willard or Foster who tied our lack of understanding of the disciplines to the fear/rejection of salvation by works. We are creatures of habit, though, and sometimes the good in an activity can be extrinsic as well as intrinsic.

Many sayings or proverbs have foundations of truth in them. "Idle hands are the devil's playground." Well, no and yes. Doing nothing is better than doing evil. But it may be easier to not do evil when you are focused on doing something good (or even neutral) than when you are simply trying to avoid whatever it is you are tempted by.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

What's Better? Umberto Eco or Echo and the Bunnymen?

You know, I'm a literature person. It's high time a blog battle had a literature enrant. Umberto Eco has done philosophy, literature crticism, even literature of his own. Foucault's Pendulum, The Name of the Rose, and The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana are titles that just reek culture.

Echo and the Bunnymen may have a funny name, but their talent is dead serious. "Enlighten Me" may be their highest chart topper in the U.S., though they did a ripping cover of "People are Strange" that ought to be familiar to anyone who saw the movie The Lost Boys.

So, "What's Better?": Umberto Eco or Echo and the Bunnymen?

Friday, August 04, 2006

What's Better? The Thin Red Line or "Living on a Thin Line"

Okay, so I said I learned in the last blog battle not to underestimate the power of music. (The two finalists were musical despite a majority of entrants from the world of film.) Couldn't have round two without some musical choices.

The Kinks may be better known for "Lola," and I was tempted to run a "Lola" v. Lolita match, but why pass up a chance to let you all torment me by voting on one of my favorite whipping boys?

Yes, Terence Malick enters the arena as the 800 pound gorilla/heavy favorite, fresh off a recent work (A New World...hmmm...could have matched that against the Aladdin song "A Whole New World") that was so good, even I had to grudgingly admit I liked it. The Kinks...well hard to vote against the band Pete Townsend called "much more quintessentially English." (And give him props for using "quintessentially."

So, "What's Better?": "Living on a Thin Line" or The Thin Red Line?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What's Better? Days of Wine & Roses/Night of the Living Dead?

Now here's a pair of heavy hitters. On one side there is Jack Lemmon at his peak, Lee Remick, Jack Klugman, direction by Blake Edwards, music (which one an Oscar, I think) by Henry Mancini. Social importance! Actorly moments.

On the other side, we have perhaps the best zombie film ever made. Mmmmm...zombies.

Did Todd say two things with no business being compared? Well, let's compare them..."What's Better?": Days of Wine and Roses or Night of the Living Dead?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

What's Better? The Insider or The Outsiders

Well, time for another blog battle. We'll do eight items this time, so we should be done in one week. We'll see how many replies we get or if everyone is bored by this yet.

Today's match features Director Michael Mann and Russell Crowe in an Oscar nominated performance. In the opposite corner we have young stars, Oscar winning director Francis Ford Coppola, and a beloved young-adult book. So web surfers, "What's Beter?": The Insider or The Outsiders?