Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Escape Through Entertainment

Everyone needs a little time to escape now and then, but how each of us defines "escape" can vary greatly.

I love going to movies. They give me two complete uninterrupted hours. No phones. No doorbells. No one "yelling" Mom! For two hours, with popcorn and pop in hand, I get to experience a new world. And don't give me a thought-provoking piece: give me adventure and laughter. I'm there to turn my brain off for a couple of blissful hours.

This summer's been great for that. I've seen Cars 2, Captain America: The First Avenger, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Cowboys & Aliens, and my favorite, Thor. (Ladies, if you haven't seen Thor yet, go. You will not regret it.) Clearly, none of those movies are going to win Oscars, and that's perfectly fine with me. I don't go to the movies to think.

But, when I pick up a book for entertainment, my goals are very different. I don't want to read a mind-numbing piece for hours. Give me something with intellectual challenge, something that will not only transport me to a new world, but make me ponder that world. Does what I've read dispute or support my beliefs? Does it open my eyes to see beyond my narrow vision?

I recently finished a debut novel by Cliff Graham called Day of War. It's a Biblical fiction work that takes us back to 998 B.C. when David is living among the Philistines at the time they are preparing for war against King Saul and Israel. The story focuses on Benaiah, one of Israel's Mighty Men.

While staying true to the Bible, this work is gritty, detailed, bloody, yet poignant. Graham does an excellent job of getting inside his characters' hearts--characters who are very human. Best of all, this story showed me a new perspective on David's time with the Philistines. I don't know if it's the "true" perspective, but that isn't the point. It made me think.

For me, that's the best kind of literary escape.

What about you? Do you go to movies to turn your mind off or to be challenged? What about when you read?


  1. Good questions, Bren. I would like to go to the movies to be challenged, but very few do that without an agenda anymore and since their agenda is not in sync with mine: I'm not going to waste money on them. I would love to watch a thoughtful piece on the big screen most of all, but instead I'll enjoy Captain Jack and get to laugh. I'll drift away to Venice and the hint of romance in The Tourist.

    When I read, it's a rare time when I want easy or light. I want provocative in words and thoughts. I want beauty and ugliness in real form. I want . . . life in the pages.

  2. Nicole, it's so true that many of the critically acclaimed movies push an agenda ... and they say Christian fiction is preachy.

    Our family did watch The Kings Speech the other night. Loved it and highly recommend it to anyone.

  3. Brenda,
    I think it depends on my mood. There are times I need something to challenge my mind and there are times my brain is overloaded and I just want escape. I have to say escape with a challenging thought is the best surprise of all. I watched Inception earlier this year and I have to say I think about it from time to time. The idea of invading another persons dreams became a very intriguing idea to me.

  4. Dawn, funny you should mention Inception. When I told my kids about the blog I was going to write, immediately they asked, What about Inception?

    We still argue over its ending. I guess that makes a pretty good movie, doesn't it?

  5. They did leave the ending wide open, didn't they?! My take was that he was back inside a dream. What a great piece of a story-a top that doesn't stop spinning. What did you think?

  6. I agree with you. I think he was still dreaming, but others in my family say otherwise. Now I have to watch it again.

  7. My oldest son loved Inception because of its thought-provoking points. It bored me: I'm sorry.