Passengers (2016)

Two wine glasses making a toast
In Passengers, Jim Preston (Chris Pratt) has an impossible problem. He’s on a 120-year trip to colonize the planet Homestead II. He’s supposed to be in suspended animation for the trip but wakes up 90 years too early. Not good. He can’t be suspended again. Even less good.

He searches for help but finds none. He spends over a year solo on the Avalon. He tries to keep himself occupied, but eventually reaches his limit. He falls in love with a suspended woman and wakes her up, condemning her to never start the life she had planned.

After traveling for 30 years, the Avalon is moving at half the speed of light. It has a shield in front of it, but it isn’t impenetrable. Unbeknownst to Preston, the ship was critically damaged before he wakes up. It’s up to Preston and his victim, Aurora Lane (Jennifer Lawrence), to fix it.

The Avalon is really beautiful. Graceful, delicate and vast. It is a good backdrop to this lonely love story.

After hitting bottom

Thought bubbleThere are two ways to look at hitting rock bottom.

One is that you can’t lose any more. “You’re bottom is where you stop digging.” You’ve lost your family, home, career, money, self-respect. What more can you lose?

The other is to treasure anything that you get after the point of crisis. You’ve lost your home, but you’re grateful there’s a shelter that you can stay at. Your family is gone, but you’ve met someone who is willing to pray with you.

The former is a natural attitude toward a bottom. Is the latter grateful attitude more likely to lead to recovery?

Know the “enemy”

It’s interesting to go to international English language newspapers.

With the Internet being borderless, you can learn things from different perspectives. Especially in war and conflict.

I’ve learned some of the enticements ISIS gives to get Taliban fighters to join it in Afghanistan. One is to “join the winning team.” Another is “the West hates Muslims.”

That Syrian media portrays Bashar al-Assad as hugely popular and well-loved.

When Russia was making bombing attacks in Syria, the Russian use of the Iranian airbase was controversial in the Iranian parliament. Iran has a constitutional provision that prohibits it from allowing foreign armies to deploy on Iranian soil.

Brazil is undergoing a political crisis far beyond the impeachment of the president. Due to corruption charges against many of its politicians.

The Palestinians are following proceedings in the International Criminal Court about crimes committed during the Gaza conflict by both sides. Israel rejects the court’s authority.

The local paper glossed over the players in a recent terrorist attack from Gaza. In Israel, a non-Hamas group claimed responsibility, but the paper said “Israel holds Hamas responsible….” so that the U.S. paper didn’t have to explain the messy details of the Gaza conflict where there are multiple actors.

The contrast between the Chinese culture and the U.S. culture was an interesting subtext of the Shanghai Daily. It seemed to me that even though China has over a billion people, the articles have a “small-town” feel to me. The local, small-town paper, The Star in DeKalb County Indiana has plenty of stories of conflict and disunity in the U.S.