What the Frak, Logan?

Movie review by Tim Eason


In the spirit of Battlestar Galactica and for the purposes of this review, I’m substituting the word “frak” for the mother of all expletives.

This review contains spoilers!


I did not read any reviews prior to watching the latest movie in the X-Men universe, entitled Logan. I was looking forward to a grittier version of my favorite childhood comic book character, the Wolverine, as played by Hugh Jackman. The movie is rated ‘R’, and I went in expecting more blood and some expletives not usually heard in a comic book movie; however, what I got was more than I expected.

The basic plot of Logan involves the usual “government versus mutants” theme that we’ve seen in other X-Men movies. In the past installments, mutants have represented outcasts and the populous fear of those who are different. Logan goes a step further, touching on current events by making one of the main characters a Mexican refugee and mutant seeking asylum from the US government by fleeing to Canada. This new mutant is a little girl, brilliantly played by newcomer Dafne Keen, who has uncanny (reference intended) abilities similar to Wolverine. As the two become intertwined in her effort to reach Canada, with Professor X along for the ride, it is revealed that they are very closely related.

The basic premise of family in Logan could have made for an endearing and poignant close to the Wolverine story. The word “family” is prominently used a few times throughout the film and is clearly the theme that the writers intended to convey. But the movie loses the possibility to create a credible character/audience bond before the very first scene even hits the screen.

I had assumed that the ‘R’ rating was because the movie wanted to make Wolverine more believable by giving his character more punch. But before the movie even started, it occurred to me that the choice for a “hard R” might be a cheap money-grab. The Marvel character, Deadpool, appears in a short prologue to the movie. The 2016 film by the same name was also rated ‘R’, and for good reason. The f-bombs, gore, sex, and juvenile talk were amped up to an unprecedented level for a Marvel film. Despite this, or possibly because of it, Deadpool did extremely well at the box office, becoming the highest grossing ‘R’ rated movie of all time worldwide (it’s in second place in the US, ironically behind The Passion of Christ). It garnered numerous award nominations. After I suffered through a screening of Deadpool and hated it, seeing this obnoxious character dropping F-bombs and showing his skinny, naked butt as an intro to Logan did not bode well for me. The first scene of the actual movie confirmed my fears that it was going to deliver so many F-bombs that even Samuel L. Jackson might actually take note of it.

Logan opens on the side of an El Paso highway, which should have really intrigued me considering that El Paso is the sister city to Las Cruces, my hometown. But I was quickly distracted by the amount of “fraks” being dropped by a gang of Hispanics trying to “frak up” the Wolverine as they attempted to strip his car. As a native New Mexican and having grown up in a bilingual setting, I noticed the word, among other colorful language, being used repeatedly in Spanish as well. It immediately felt forced.

Here’s my theory: After the success of Deadpool, a couple of screenwriters wrote the word “frak” around 50 times, interspersed with the word “shite” (spoken without the Irish accent) more than 50 times. They put the title “Logan” on the manuscript and presented it to the studio. “This is a great start!” they said. “But something’s missing… Put a boob shot in there somewhere, add some other words to go in between everything else and we have a movie!” It honestly feels that forced in Logan.

I’m obviously not a person who swears on a regular basis. I’ve been intentional about that my entire life. My position on swearing has partly to do with my upbringing and my faith, but I’ve developed a philosophy on swearing that I think is hard to refute. If you cuss all time, the words lose their impact. Since I don’t usually swear, if you were to hear me say “frak” or “shite”, you would know that I was really, really angry or passionate about something. In fact, when I have dropped the occasional swear word in the past, friends who curse on a regular basis would stand dumbfounded. “Did Tim just really say that? He’s serious about this!”

I’m not against using occasional colorful language to make a point, and I’m not ignorant of how some people talk. However, in the context of Logan, all of the words in the movie become meaningless. Because when you’re expecting substance, but you get a whole lot of babbling, it makes it hard to take anything seriously. Maybe that worked for Deadpool since it’s a dark comedy, but I expected more from Logan. The word “frak” outweighs another F-word, “family”, to the extent that the intended primary theme is drowned out. Some people would argue that the Wolverine is supposed cuss to make him more believable and closer to the comic book version. I agree, but only to an extent. My argument is that the amount of swearing in Logan is unrealistic, even in a comic book setting, and totally ruined the film.

As for the gore, it also feels forced. “How many different R-rated ways can we show Wolverine’s claws go through someone’s head? We have the R-rated real estate, so let’s cram as much as we can into it.” Blood and guts don’t bother me so much. I am a Walking Dead fan after all. Still, the increased violence didn’t seem to add anything to the film. It felt like a kid running around with a toy gun, trying desperately to look cool. In fact, there is a scene in which a group of mutant kids are torturing a baddie with their individual powers… trying desperately to look cool.

And, yes, Logan features a totally disposable scene with a girl showing her naked breasts. Again, the short scene seemed incredibly forced and inserted only to make that ‘R’ rating a little more… ‘R’.

All this noise made Logan a shallow, almost nonsensical story. Even the death of Professor Xavier became the equivalent of a footnote and almost forgettable. In my opinion, there was only one notable line in Logan. As the Wolverine is finally at death’s door he is holding his newfound daughter’s hand. His last words are, “So this is how it feels.” It leaves the audience wondering if he is speaking of dying or of family. That one line is the only profound bit of storytelling that I could pull out of this movie full of “fraks”. Did it earn the cost of admission? Not in the slightest.

“A Friend Indeed” – Dystonia, Social isolation, & Friendship (By Tom Seaman)

(Special thanks to the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation for permission to post this – and for the PDF!)

From “Dystonia Dialogue” Winter 2015 Edition
Written by Tom Seaman, Author of “Diagnosis Dystonia

OPEN PDF IN A NEW WINDOW

Friend-Indeed-DDWinter2015

Special thanks to the DBSA

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The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) (national headquarters) were kind enough to post my story on their main page. Because of that exposure, my story picked up a lot of traction. Thanks so much, DBSA!

Conference on Mental Health and the Church

Please consider helping us offset the $1500+ that we are spending to send me to this conference. It isn’t in our budget, but we feel that it is an important step to take as I enter the next phase of my ministry. Any little bit helps!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

Thanks!


Mental Health & The Church

Click here for more information about the event

Background:

I just found out about this event today. After talking it over with Monica, we decided I needed to attend. I used to travel the country conducting seminars and speaking at events on the topic of using media in the church. My book, “Media Ministry Made Easy”, and my website, ChurchMedia.net, were the go-to resources for many churches from 1999 to 2008 (I previously served as Media Minister under Lance Witt in Las Cruces, NM). During these years I was struggling with health issues, including Dystonia and the loss of my left hip at age 31. The physical burdens, along with the stress of “success”, and a myriad of medications quickly led to mental health issues. There were multiple suicide attempts, self-harm and hospitalizations. In 2008, I sold my business/ministry and asked my publisher to take my book out of print. Things went even more downhill from there. To make a long story short, I “re-entered” life and conquered opiate dependency after a serious breakdown in 2013. I still struggle with occasional depression, but I am making progress in that area.

I have felt (even during those dark years) that God’s next step for me is to put my speaking, writing and media presentation talents into health awareness for churches. I’m interested in addressing the needs and lifting the stigma in the areas of both physical and mental health. It is my hope that this conference will help me in my efforts to be an instrument for God in helping the church understand the need for more ministry in this area. With only my wife working right now, this is a financial stretch for us, but I’m confident that it will pay off. Please pray that God opens up my eyes, ears, and heart to learn all He will be teaching me during these days.  This is my first time traveling solo since 2008, so it’s a big step. I’m looking forward to it.

 

“EveryDayResolution” (1994)

I’ve written a song for pretty much every holiday on the American calendar. One year New Year’s Day fell on a weekend and I wrote a special song about New Year’s resolutions. I really like the way the verses flow. This was written in 1994 or 1995 — most likely 1994. I didn’t record it until the 1999 release of “Leap of Faith”. I tried a new “breathy” sound with my voice. This version is missing a bunch of overlapping voices during the percussion bridge. They were me in different voices saying ridiculous resolutions that people never keep. Feel free to listen online or download ~ and make getting closer to Jesus an EveryDayResolution. Enjoy!

Listen Online:


Download “EveryDayResolution”


Verse 1

I can’t believe it! Another year gone by.
It went by so fast, in a blink of an eye.
So many things undone, unfinished plans.
Last year’s resolutions all got out of hand.

Chorus

We resolve to get close to Jesus,
And pray to draw us near.
We need to make that resolution,
More than once a year.

It’s an everydayresolution.
I’m working on my crown.
It’s an everydayresolution.
No more messin’ around, starting right now.

Verse 2

When the New Year’s over, we take down the Christmas tree.
Get ready for real life again and get back to routine.
Decisions that we made, we try to keep.
But most of the goals we had don’t last more than a week.

Chorus

We still need to get close to Jesus,
Hear what He has to say.
We need to make that resolution,
Each and every day.

It’s an everydayresolution.
I’m working on my crown.
It’s an everydayresolution.
No more messin’ around.

It’s an everydayresolution.
I’ll take it day by day.
It’s an everydayresolution.
Jesus will help me all the way.