SPIRITUAL CONNECTIONS
 

—1. Overview
—2. Cast and Crew
—3. Photo Pages
—4. Trailers, Clips, DVDs
—5. Posters (Robin Williams)
—6. Production Notes (pdf)
—7. Spiritual Connections
—8. Presentation Downloads

A SPIRITUAL WORD from david bruce

STORIES ARE ABOUT RELATIONSHIP
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SPIRITUAL THEMES
By Mike Furches

Not since the movie Vacation with Chevy Chase has a family vacation been as much fun as the new release of RV by Columbia pictures. The movie starring Robin Williams, Cheryl Hines, Jeff Daniels and Kristen Chenoweth, is a laugh out loud, family good time that won’t leave families disappointed.

While the movie resembles, the 1954 Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz classic The Long Long Trailer, the story stands on it’s own and will reach a new audience as well as hopefully have them checking out one of the comedic gems from the past, Lucille Ball. It is not a remake of the Lucy classic but has enough similarities that film buffs won’t be able but to recognize them.

RV centers on Bob Monro an overworked family man who has forgotten about the joys of fatherhood. While once playing kissie monster with his daughter, and enjoying every free moment with his wife, his family has taken a drastic turn. They have grown further apart and Bob’s emphasis is on his job and getting all of the “things.” His family represents many families, they have become more about possessions than they have relationship.

Bob is called into work, and told about a job responsibility he has to fulfill. He is told he has to cancel the vacation trip to Hawaii that the family had been looking forward to. He don’t have the courage to stand up to his boss, and is ultimately threatened with fulfilling the work responsibility or being fired from his job. Instead, he tries to satisfy both his employer and his family, but not tell the one that he is giving in to the demands of the other. He rents an RV under the guise of a vacation in order to make the business meeting in Colorado. None of the family is happy about it, and Bob’s decision to cancel the trip and take a trip in a giant lime green RV with the advertisement of “Rent Me” on the side is not their definition of a fun, family, vacation. They don’t make it out of the driveway before one sees there is going to be an abundance of problems for the family, and laughter for the audience.

Along the way, the Monro family meets up with Gornicke family, another RV family they just happen to meet when having difficulty with the sewage disposal system. Travis Gornicke played by Jeff Daniels and the voluptuous Marie Jo played by Kristin Chenoweth are as much fun to the Monros as a flat tire in a Kansas thunderstorm. The Gornicke’s have given up all of the luxuries of life to travel America and spend time together as a family. They home school their children, see the sights, and enjoy playing music together, but ultimately spend time together and meeting new people. It is nice to see Daniels, a decent musician in his own right, have a part where music is part of the character he plays. The Gornicke’s are to RV what Cousin Eddie and his family was to Vacation. Thankfully, Barry Sonnenfeld, in his wonderful direction, presents them with a respect and less gross humor than Cousin Eddie in Vacation. While Cousin Eddie was a bumbling idiot, the Gornicke’s are a family that can be appreciated, liked, and learned from.

The humor starts as soon as the Monro’s leave the driveway. Along the way, there is so much laughter that even the numerous small children in the advance screening didn’t become a distraction, instead, they enjoyed the story and the 98 minute screenplay wasn’t too long for them. Actually a surprise for me, for when I first arrived and saw all the children, I thought I was going to be distracted during the movie. The laughter was so loud that the only distraction was at times not being able to hear the dialog.

Usually in a movie like this you see all of the funny bits in the advance trailers. Rest assured, those trailers don’t touch the tip of the iceberg. While there are moments of adult humor, or sophomoric humor, they are generally mild, and nothing that would embarrass a family with smaller children. In fact the humor in the movie is one of the primary tools that keeps the audiences attention and allows them to have a good time. I have to admit, it was nice to sit through a PG rated film, and see the appreciation the audience had for it.

While RV is funny, it can’t go unnoticed that there is a powerful underlying theme. The relationships within families is addressed and addressed in a thought provoking way. Geoff Rodkey, who wrote the script has stepped it up and improved greatly on some of his past efforts such as, The Shaggy Dog and Daddy Day Care. While those were good movies, this movie has the subtle points of family that eventually hit home and becomes the overdriving theme. Part of the journey isn’t just for the father who has become obsessed with his work, but also the children. It is one of the beautiful things as a parent that I enjoyed seeing develop. Not only do we see redemption in the father, but in the children. There is the concept that each individual is responsible for their actions.

The Monro children have also moved away from their parents and become caught up in their own little worlds. While this is natural in all families, we see Bob, find ways to relate to, and take up for his children. It is from the finding ways to relate to, while at the same time being their father, that we see change start to occur. The children have become more about themselves than they have family, they are not excused from this by the film makers. The children, Cassie and Carl, learn lessons about honor, respect of parents, love and not casting judgment among others. The beautiful thing is this is done with respect for the audience in the way it is presented. RV seems to be a movie intended for families, where families were actually taken into consideration.

Then regarding the parents, we see both of them change, not just Bob, but Jamie. Both begin to see what is important. I am reminded of the passage Mark 8:36, “What will you gain, if you own the whole world but destroy yourself?” This family begins to understand this concept. They realize that gaining the whole world is not the most important thing to them. It is at the point where the family may lose what is really important that they finally realize this. All along the way there are those pointing in the right direction, but the things that we need the most are often times so foreign to us that we stay away from them.

RV is an illustration of what many have become. We have become so focused on the possessions that we forget about the things that are really important. We have forgotten about the relations between a man and a wife, the joy of tucking your children into bed and giving them a kiss, or even something as simple as playing catch with your son. Instead we are so focused on work, and the “things” we obtain. We have to have our own individual lap tops, our blackberries, our Ipods, our “things.” Our families, like the family portrayed in RV, are falling apart and we are so preoccupied with work that we can’t figure out why.

There are many good things about the movie RV, but none no better than the underlying theme of family. Sonnenfeld has done another masterful job at direction. I believe RV will be one of the years surprise hits because it is that much fun, and that touching. Is it a masterpiece? Not quite, but it is still pretty darn good. Good enough that I’m planning on taking my own family to see it again. Good enough that my wife has already told me that it will be a DVD that she watches over and over again, over the years, kind of like I have Vacation. The difference is this is a family I can respect. This is a family I can learn from, not just laugh at. In the end, the Monros, are family.


Continue:
—1. Overview
—2. Cast and Crew
—3. Photo Pages
—4. Trailers, Clips, DVDs
—5. Posters (Robin Williams)
—6. Production Notes (pdf)
—7. Spiritual Connections
—8. Presentation Downloads
Private Spiritual Concerns

I will not post these comments. I welcome your spiritual concerns and prayer needs.  I will correspond with you, usually within two weeks.
Email David Bruce

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