WHALE OF HOPE
Date: Fri, 4 May 2001
was really struck by the images of the whale. I was reminded of
Jonah and his story of redemption. Chuck changed his whole life
because he became a better man. The grasping for "hope" through
the whole movie, his relationship with "Wilson" and his rebirth
on the outhouse raft complete with resurrection symbol painted on
the thing! What a great conversation starter of a movie - can't
wait to use it and your notes next month!!
THOUGHTS ON CAST AWAY
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001
From: Avon Lady
thought this was a fascinating. Although I did think that it was
unusual that he didn't pray once -- many of his personal feelings
were not voiced. Only when Hanks tried cheering himself up in "dialogue"
with Wilson did he verbalize any feelings.
not commit the sin of abusing time," was repeated throughout the
film. First in militant enthusiasm; lastly in irony.
film made me think about 'to do" lists, and the exaggerated feeling
of accomplishment I have when I cross them all off. There is something
more important than accomplishment of man-made goals. We can be
a slave to time; or we can cherish the gift. Hanks, as a FedEx manager,
enslaved everyone to beating the clock in order to get the job done.
His job carried over into his personal life and clouded his own
judgments about relationships.
think that the director of this movie wanted everyone to realize
how difficult it is to slow down in these times by forcing them
to sit through over an hour of viewing Hanks personal struggles.
It was a superb dynamic, in my opinion. I was very restless as Hanks
seemed to get nowhere, until I slipped into a deeper way of relating
to his journey. Sometimes when it seems we are getting nowhere;
we are actually covering more ground spiritually.
the movie ended sadly, I thought the twist was crisp as Hanks stood
at the crossroads and was suddenly given directions by a young lady
without his asking. There was no question that Hanks could have
found his way wherever he was going after navigating his way back
home from an unknown island. He knew how to get anywhere -- but
this time he stood a changed man; where his directions would take
on a new course. He had befriended time.
am reminded of the scripture in Joshua 10:13 where time stood still
for Joshua when he was fighting the Amorites. I think that God saw
a man who was making the most of his moment and he made it bigger.
That's how I walked away from the movie; hoping that my moments
are lived that way.
Date: Tue, 27 Mar 2001
From: "Jon Brisbin"
informative reviews of Castaway, but I have to address a few nit-picks
to the responses/reviews by readers :-)
An atheist/agnostic will undoubtedly bypass references to any form
of supernatural power that would appear to be higher than Man. Even
if they're an atheist by choice and know better, you have to expect
someone like Robert Zemeckis to avoid spiritual quandries. If you'd
like to change that, then by all means, WITNESS ;-)
The screenwriter may very well have put "spiritual-journey" scenes
into the purchased screenplay, but the producers and directors and
re-writers yanked them out. Don't be so quick to blame the screenwriter
since they almost never have significant control over the screenplay
unless they're rewriting and/or directing (I'm sympathetic to screenwriters
since I aspire/feel-called to be one ;-).
Hollywood execs DO HAVE a liberally-slanted misconception of the
moral beliefs of the true "moral majority". Deal with it! :-) Unless
you are an unsaved agnostic that's been raised in a spiritually-devoid
family/culture and do not have the benefit of guidance from the
Holy Spirit, then consider that they don't know any better unless
YOU tell them ;-)
Castaway is just plain, good 'ol, WONDERFUL FILM-MAKING.
Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2001
From: Rev Kat
strongly urge all of you out there who think that Cast Away has
not redemptive themes to look at this film and think about HOPE.
At every turn, Noland is faced with a hopeless situation--and at
every turn hopelessness is transformed into a victory. "The sun
still rises." In the midst of the darkest and most overwhelming
odds, Noland understood that hope never dies. That constant hope
is what we saw symbolically expressed in the angel wings on the
Fed Ex package. And Nolan kept it with him always.
Date: Tue, 6 Feb 2001
the basic things in life ( shelter, food, clothing ) are taken care
of, what do we do with our time? What is it that we treasure the
most in life? Companion-ship? Things? The experiment that Cast-Away
is conducting seems to be - Isolate a man from people, friends,
love ones, his normal everyday environment, put him in an semi-hospitable
island and see what he does. What would we do? Could a woman survive
equally as well? Noland was too busy to develop meaningful relationships
while "living" in civilization. Now that he is literally all alone,
he is slowly going insane not having a single soul to commune with.
of the population are involved in "reactive" relationships, that
is, by the very nature of our needs we have to involve ourselves
with others; grocer, mailman, waiters and waitresses etc. But what
about hermits, those who have left civilization to live on their
own whatever the reason might be. I suppose with them it's a personal
decision to ostracize themselves from their community. Nolan's predicament
was thrust upon him, therefore his growing need to communicate with
someone. His attempt at "creating" someone to commune with (The
Wilson soccer ball) was a sad one. Thinking about it, I'm not surprised
that Chuck didn't reach out for G-d, due to the fact that the director
is an atheist. This revelation was made public when his movie Contact
of us would probably reach out to G-d in extreme dire circumstances
and some of us would not. Cast-away is painfully humanistic at its
core. The message seems to be that life is "open" to us and we are
"free" to create from it what we wish. Existentialism seemed to
be the dish of the day. When our life-patterns are disturbed and
thrown for a loop we are put in a difficult situation to make difficult
choices. It was saddening to see Chuck Noland confused at the end,
I'm sure ever questioning but not knowing why this had happened
to him. No one seriously to take his questions, fears, confusion
to. Yes, life is open to him but it seems to be a cold start. Noland
at the crossroads - what will he do next? what would we do? does
it matter? Do we not occupy a place in this world? Is there not
a reason for us being here? According to Cast-away, I guess not!
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001
From: Dods Pengra Houston, Tx
"Let's not commit the sin of turning our back on time." I think
that was the line. This movie touched me very deeply. With such
a wonderful score by Alan Silvestri and great direction from Robert
Zemeckis, it's no wonder that I loved it so much. I didn't realize
it, but, collectively, there are seventy-three minutes in the movie
with no dialogue or music. I found that absolutely amazing. Being
busy now, it seems to be addictive. The busier we are, the more
important our lives seem to us and to the others that know how busy
we are. The more important our lives, the more meaning we think
we take on. "Nicoli....tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock."
That says to me how we are destroying the childhood in ourselves.
When I was in high school, I was enjoying being young, making a
few more decisions. Now it's all about resumes and what organizations
you belong to. We are snuffing out the light of the youth. "We live
and we die, by the clock." Chuck's transformation, I feel, is most
felt in his dealings with his friend who's wife has cancer. In the
first place, he feels a need to be part of the fixing process. "I
know a doctor...he's supposed to be the absolute best..." Then when
he returns, it's..."I'm so sorry that I wasn't there for you...."
That says more to me than anything. Just because I tell you it's
broken doesn't mean that I asked you to fix it. Words are fairly
useless, and at those times we need to realize that presence is
saying more than any words could. We all seem to fight to out do
the other in how busy we are. "You think you're busy? I'm busier."
I just keep thinking about those seventy-three minutes of silence
in the movie. Maybe we should be spending more time in silence.
Silence with God. Away from the phones, the traffic, the tv, the
noise, and just listen to life happening around us.
Dods Pengra Houston, Tx
Subject: Cast Away or Out Cast
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2001
Movie, If you try, just a little, the redemptive message is plane
to see. God has provided a way to get off the island. It was due
to no work of hanks that half of an outhouse floats up on a Island
in the middle of nowhere. We also discover that this world will
never satisfy, but God has a plan for our lives while we are hear(delivering
a message?). Andy, your preconceived prejudices of Hollywood don't
allow to see that some have a pulse.
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001
heard this was such a great movie, but forgot to consider the sources
from which that opinion came from. I would think any person in a
situation so desperate as that would look to God. It bothered me
and seemed unrealistic that there was not one reference of God,
not one time did he ask for the help of God. He gave credit for
his survival to himself alone. Although to a believer it is obvious,
God is present. He created us to be survivors, which seems impossible
without the wisdom of God. You have to admit, Chuck was not too
wise at first with his resources. The whale, I thought was a spiritual
guide of sorts. The whale is a New Age symbol, but nonetheless,
it is God's creation corrupt by people. If a person were to ask
for God's help or even when they don't ask, it would be like Him
to use so! mething so tangible. The wings on the FedEx package also
was a sort of celestial guiding. Would he have chosen the package
if it's symbol were, say, flames and a pitch fork? In parts, it
seemed to move along too slowly, but later I realized it was necessary
to relay how his world had changed so monumentally. Well, it's only
a movie, I appreciated it for it's entertainment value and it was
well written. I've seen much worse. Besides, there isn't much to
do here in WI in the winter.
Subject: Unrealistically Godless
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001
From: Len Woods
Away was an entertaining movie and much more thought-provoking than
most of the dreck cranked out by Hollywood. And, clearly Hanks is
one of our better, more likable actors. My beef with the movie is
that Hanks' character did not utter a single spiritual reference--no
pleadings with God, no cries for divine help, not even a helpless
look up into the cosmos. I think this is utterly unrealistic and
believe that 99.9 percent of people in such a dire situation (including
the majority of self-proclaimed agnostics and atheists), would be
so desperate and frantic that they would instinctively reach out
(or UP!) for some kind of supernatural help and solace. Fools may
declare in their hearts that there is no God, but fools in trouble
typically act otherwise. Is Cast Away a classic example of Hollywood's
secular nature? Is the industry THAT out of touch with normal, average
people? I suspect it is. I'm NOT suggesting that the filmmakers
should have turned Cast Away into a religious conversion story,
but even a couple of spiritual references (even vague New Age ones)
would have made the Noland character more believable.
Subject: my thoughts
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 1
movie raises alot of questions and bravely, doesn't spoon-feed us
all the answers. This is one of the best movies I ever saw. It is
absolutely captivating entertainment, and it made me think about
my own life.
STATEMENT ON LIFE
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001
movie is a great example of how fine a filmmaker Tom Hanks really
is. Between moments of high anxiety and emotion, he throws in something
funny that we can all relate to. This movie was about the trauma
and difficulty of starting over and catching up while at the same
time fighting to survive. Once we pass basic survival, then the
battle of life begins and we face the crossroads to our future.
This movie truly entertained while making a profound statement on
Date: Tue, 02 Jan 2001
was a hugely disappointing film. All the potential was there to
create a truly great film. As it is, it slips into all that is banal
and wasteful about Hollywood. Think about it: do you know anything
more about Noland at the end of the movie than you knew at the beginning
of this film? He is introduced as two dimensional and he leaves
the screen as two dimensional (a less heavy two dimensional character
to be sure, due to his loss of weight). Throughout the movie, it
appears that none of the more what makes us human philosophical
or spiritual questions get raised or answered. Many of us have wondered
what it would be like to be marooned on an island and the questions
we might ask ourselves are many. These were largely absent in this
movie. How would you survive emotionally on such an island? What
would you do? Could you find meaning there? If so, what form would
it take? How would you choose to live your life? What would make
your life worthwhile? Is it possible to have a meaningful life without
any human interaction whatsoever? What would prevent you from going
mad? These are questions we inevitably bump up against on the island
called earth? Wouldn't they be fit for consideration on an island
where the sense of aloneness and a search for meaning would be drawn
out in an even starker fashion?. In the hands of a more reflective
writer and producer this script could have been made a redemptive
device in our on going quest for understanding life? Where is the
redemptive message in it all?