Jul 10, 2007
It is 11:30 a.m. on a clear, sunny Sunday morning in southern Dallas, and traffic is heavy on Highway 480 near West Kiest Boulevard. Just off the exit ramp, a lot of Range Rovers and Cadillac Escalades are navigating a maze of orange cones in vast parking lots that could belong to the Cowboys’ Texas Stadium. But this largely buppie crowd (young black urban professionals) has come not to see a football game, but to hear “Bishop” T. D. Jakes, pastor of the nondenominational megachurch The Potter’s House.
A friend of mine has an idea for teaching youth about sex: have them view one of those graphic birthing videos that the hospital has for first-time parents, the kind that shows the crowning and the afterbirth, the agony and the joy. The kids will get the idea.
Knocked Up shows it all too. And like Judd Apatow’s previous smash hit The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the film winds through all manner of profane humor on the way to endorsing a surprisingly traditional vision of family. Baby-having is presented as a rigorous, life-altering and unabashedly good thing to do.
The city of lights would seem the perfect setting for a compilation of 18 short films, each five to eight minutes long, about love and passion. But what makes Paris, Je T’Aime intriguing, beyond its role as a travelogue of Parisian neighborhoods, is that it offers a rare chance to observe in one sitting how numerous writers, directors and cinematographers—some famous, some not—employ different cinematic tools. Think flashback and flash-forward, fantasy and dreams, jerky hand-held camera work and all sorts of camera and editing gimmicks.
I have a recurring nightmare about the final exam on which my college graduation depends. Thinking I am prepared, I open a blue booklet only to discover that I am being tested in a language I do not know. I try to explain that there has been a terrible mistake, but the proctor is unforgiving. I am sent back to my chair to take a test that I have no hope of understanding, let alone passing. The number two pencil shakes limply in my sweaty hand.
Unfortunately when I wake up, instead of feeling relief, I recall real-life experiences that were all too much like my dreams.
Icon you not: In June, an image of Jesus could seen on a car window in Texas, the word Allah was visible in a sliced tomato in Britain, the face of God could be seen on the ceiling of a Tennessee church and Elvis’s profile was sighted on a rock in Colorado (Chicago Sun-Times, June 19).