Archives For November 2011

Your Top 5 Comedy Movies…

November 21, 2011 — 24 Comments

A warning to any person who interviews to work with me.

I ask a lot of questions but to be honest assuming I have done my research on you and know your work ethic, I want to a few simple things.

I will learn more about you from asking this question than fifty others.

What are your top fives movie comedies?

Over the years I love asking people what their Top 5 (fill in the blank) as it keeps great conversation and I do learn more about that person in the process.  If you have read the book or watched the movie High Fidelity (2000), you will get the glimpse of the power of identifying your  “Top 5” of anything; your top 5 breakup songs, Top 5 places to live, Top 5 embarrassments in life, Top 5 songs about death, Top 5 _____.  There is a great line in High Fidelity and I don’t completely agree with it but the idea always amuses me.

“I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like… Books, records, films – these things matter. Call me shallow but it’s the (expletive) truth.”

Ultimately I do care “who” you are but this sometimes can be more fun.

So let’s have fun.

Here is my rule for identifying your top 5 comedies:  The comedy must be at least 5 years old so you can test if it has “staying power.”  If you don’t understand, there is a possibility for The Hangover to eclipse this list.  You will notice that all of these movies are incredibly quotable.

Tommy Boy: Pure dumb and clean humor.

“Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug.”

Monty Python and the Holy Grail: The finest of English “humour” to hit this side of the pond.

“I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty-headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.”

Wedding Crashers: The classic buddy movie…never leave your brother behind.
“Never walk away from a crasher in a funny jacket! Rule #115!”
The Big Lebowski: Crass it may be but it is the most quotable movie…ever.
“At least I’m housebroken.”
Caddyshack: I grew up on this movie and being a golfer, it makes that much more special.
“Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former greenskeeper, now, about to become the Masters champion. It looks like a mirac… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”
The Fringe list: The Hangover, Airplane, Anchorman, Old School, Animal House, Strange Brew, Top Secret, High Fidelity, and National Lampoon’s Vacation (and Christmas Vacation of course).

When I need the best laugh, I simply press play to watch The Big Lebowksi. Any Lebowski fan will love this line,

“Obviously you’re not a golfer.”

So have you thought about your top 5?

Would you believe there is a “help” website to find your top five?  Check it out here.

Comedy likes are so personal and can have tremendous variety.  Take a look at these.

College Humor’s Top 100 Comedies

Only these guys would come up with a countdown to awesomeness like The 40 Year Old Virgin, Superbad, Anchorman, The Hangover, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Glorious top 5.  I want these guys running the country. No wait…the world.

Time Out London’s Top 100 Comedies

How typical that the English would come up with two Monty Pythons in the top 5 and This is Spinal Tap.  I guess they need to represent their homeland best.  I do appreciate their Zucker brother humor by keeping Airplane as #2.

AFI’s 100 Years, a Hundred Laughs

The irony of their top two is that Some Like It Hot and Tootsie both feature cross dressing.  Although I love AFI and these two movies are they the top two comedies of all times?  Hmm…


What are your top 5 comedies and why? 

You know a good speaker when you see one.

But are you one?

Do you ever wonder exactly why a speech can be so good? It can bring shivers down your back. It can inspire you to change the world.  Sometimes it can be as simple as provoking the feeling that you aren’t alone.  Everyday I have the opportunity to speak in public or watch someone else do it.  I am fascinated by those who do this so well so I try to study and emulate them.

More people fear public speaking over death for example.  It is frequently ranked as the #1 fear for people as a matter of fact.   With so much fear attached to public speaking, often people shy away from trying to better themselves at it.  As Flannery O’Connor put it, “A Good Man is Hard to Find.” As it a good speech. I have a long way to become a good orator.

Winston Churchill noted that in each speech,

“There must be character, personality, delivery and occasion,…”

As in all things in life, Sir Winston. Thank you.

I like keeping things simple in life so there are two attributes that can be applied to about anything in life, especially speech:  Planning and Delivery.

Let us study two of my heroes of speech and rhetoric.

PLANNING: Churchill’s “Our Finest Hour” Speech

Churchill grew up with a lisp and had to overcome incredible odds to become the speaker we know him as today.  He was known early on in his political career as a rambler but over the decades, he transformed into a master of public speaking. How did he do it?  Churchill would often say that for every minute in a speech one should prepare an hour.  His work ethic was untouchable and it helped eventually him do best what was needed in the moment.  In Churchill’s preparation, he knew that his pause was his secret weapon.  By intense planning, he knew when to best use the pause.  Churchill has given thousands of speeches that you will neither hear nor read in life but if you could only read one, read his amazing “Our Finest Hour” speech.  Whenever you feel down and frustrated by life’s circumstances, it will uplift your spirit.  If you are in that Dunkirk point of life in retreat as the Allies were; learn from the Brits and regroup, reassess, and get back in the game.  You can read the full speech here.

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.'”

DELIVERY: FDR’s Message to Congress after Pearl Harbor

Draft #1: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941, a date which will live in ‘world history’….”

Following the sudden and deliberate attack on the United States, FDR knew this was a moment to capture emotion and reason so in his final draft he changed ‘world history’ to ‘infamy.’  Read the original version a few times and you realize that it doesn’t fully embrace the magnitude of what happened at Pearl Harbor.  It is now one of the most famous opening speech lines ever.  Can you imagine trying to describe the emotion of a nation on the fly like FDR?  He mastered the moment and a nation became united and galvanized for war.

What does this mean to you?  

Part of your planning must be to anticipate the moments that could come.  You must plan for the moment in the same way that you planned how to get there.  Over my years as a history student, I studied Churchill and FDR extensively.  Today, I become discouraged occasionally and think, “I can’t do it like them.  I am not even in a position of ultimate leadership that would require this sort of planning and skill.”  But I then realize that I am wrong.  My team, which includes my family, look to me daily to master these skills of planning and mastering the moment.

Remember that yes you can do it.

Keep it simple. Plan, and plan for the moment.

It’s a Jelly

November 10, 2011 — 2 Comments

Ever wanted to achieve that specific goal in life?  You want it so bad, you can’t help it?  But you know deep down you can’t just step out and grab it.

Sometimes it requires more from you.

Sometimes in life, it requires a sacrifice.

Sometimes you need to give up a jelly donut.

I love jelly donuts because they are the “best of the best” when it comes to donuts.  My favorite movie from the Great White North is Strange Brew (1983)  I even parodied the McKenzie brothers with a friend at a Young Life camp. We of course drank “Eh” Root Beer instead of Elsinore but you can imagine how much fun we had with our accents.  We even played donut hockey with campers.  God bless Canada and their accents I say!

For Bob McKenzie, giving up the jelly was essential to get what he needed to accomplish the mission.  (Yeah, I know theirs was a bribe but you get the idea)

What are you trying to achieve today?  What do you need to give up? 

You may need to give up the jelly.

PS Maybe this is a better post for lent? But enjoy the clip from Strange Brew if you’ve never seen it.

I’ve never been a car junkie. Don’t get me wrong, I completely appreciate a beautiful automobile that can accelerate like an F-16.  I have always been amused by the reasons someone buys their car. Ask a financial expert and they will tell you that what you drive tells a lot about how you view your personal finances.

I often wonder how much a pastor thinks about what he drives.  If I were a pastor, I would probably be incredibly insecure about how people viewed my ride.  What does it say about their heart?  When a pastor asks people to give to the church, do they question where the money “really” is going?  If they preach about giving to the poor, are they doing the same?  If their church has exceeded 2000 attendance, can they get that suped-up sports car?  Or is their car too sissy?  Too bold?  Even worse, are they driving their wife’s Mary Kay pink Cadillac?  If you are a pastor reading this, I can only imagine how many things you are judged upon.

Not long ago I saw a pastor driving around in this amazing 330 BMW.  I’m not even sure what my pastor drives to be honest.  I’d like to think that he drives something modest but should I even care?  Whether you are pastor or not, the class-warfarist in me thinks that when faced with the choice in traffic whether to let a Ford Fusion or a Mercedes into my lane, sorry Heir Mercedes, you are going to have to wait.

For me I ask if I should purposefully drive a Yugo, a beat up old sedan, or a pickup truck?  A pickup truck might annoy my more liberal friends saying I was wasting gas and not using it to haul stuff on a regular basis. If I had an SUV, well…how American.  You suburban gas guzzling yuppie pastor.  So here I am…my wife and I have a minivan, which we love and loathe.  I don’t need to explain why.  If you have kids, you get it.

I read a few years ago about Kurt Warner after he received his big contract from the St. Louis Rams, he didn’t really upgrade his car, he just made sure he had a safe SUV since he had a bunch of kids.  I’m pretty practical like that but then again I bought a lottery ticket the other day and I couldn’t help but think what car I would purchase if I actually won.  The act of buying a lottery ticket says a lot about my heart I suppose.

I drive a 2008 Honda Accord, which I bought for its practicality and reliability.  My grandfather Papa Jack worked for General Motors for forty years and I recently.  I felt like a complete family letdown for buying a Japanese car but the truth is and we all know that our American manufacturers haven’t necessarily had their act together the past few years.  I’m starting to see a turnaround from them so when I need another car, I’ll definitely consider “Made in the USA.”  Recently my grandmother said that Papa Jack said he secretly always wanted to have a Volkswagen. That made me smile.

I work in publishing with that comes a lot of  interaction with pastors.  Many of these pastors are some amazing people.  Some of them do sacrificial things like not taking a church salary and only utilizing their book royalties.  I’ve seen every type of car driven by them but have never been bold enough to ask.  So if you are clergy, beware, I’ll be asking you what you drive this week.

So, what is your pastor driving?  Ever asked him (or her) why?  

What about you?  What do you drive and why?