Dec 1 2012

Emmanuel and the 7 Deadly Sins in Christmas movies

maureen

Pride makes Clark Griswold do stupid things in Christmas Vacation. In fact, pride is a driving motivation for Clark in all the Vacation movies. His gloriously ridiculous light show, buying things for his family before he has the money and hiding his fears and problems from his family reveal the pressure he feels to measure up to the man he thinks he is supposed to be. When he finds out about his bonus Clark feels devalued by his boss and is devastated, not only that he might disappoint his family, but that in disappointing them he might lose their love and respect. Christmas Vacation is a reminder that love and worth are not determined by deliverables.

In The Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington envies Santa and wants his job. Bored with his own role as king of Halloweentown, when Jack discovers Christmastown he finds it so much more appealing that he tries to turn Halloweentown into another Christmastown. Eventually Jack recognizes that he can take the imspiration and renewed energy that he found in Christmastown and bring that to the work he is meant to do. Continue reading


Aug 9 2010

Sex, Lies, and Don Draper in Mad Men

maureen

He presents a slick, appealing image but Don Draper is a man on the run. He’s escaping his past by taking on a new identity. His carefully constructed persona earns him admiration in the first seasons. At work he is known for his creativity, good looks, and integrity.

Advertising presents an idealized image of a life that can only be attained by purchasing the product being sold. Advertising creates discontent with real life. It plays on envy and pride to create a desire to mold a life that matches the image presented in the ad, and to purchase whatever products necessary to prop up that image. Mad Men’s creator Matthew Weiner chose advertising as a subject, he said, because “it’s a great way to talk about the image we have of ourselves, versus who we really are.”

Don Draper is the personification of a man who is reaching for the image. He doesn’t think he can attain it as himself, Richard Whitman, so he becomes someone else. For awhile he succeeds in selling himself as the person he wants people to believe that he is. Even after his charade is discovered by a few people he manages to dodge consequences. He’s tried to compartmentalize his life, presenting himself as a successful, creative advertising executive and charming family man while feeding his alienation with lies, sex, and alcohol. But he can’t maintain the persona 24/7. While the excessive drinking is accepted cultural behavior in 1960’s New York for Don it’s more than social. Don’s lost and hurting so he self-medicates with gluttony (alcohol) and lust.

Just as he does at the office, Don is carrying on a charade at home. He is the image of affluent, upper-middle class America in the sixties. But his relationship with his wife Betty is based on lies. He’s married her and given her a name that is not even his own. He cheats on her. He carries on the social pretenses of the lifestyle but he’s not really engaged. Don’s personal emotional space isn’t just wide, it’s a chasm. Even with Betty. Continue reading


Feb 1 2010

Lost TV Characters and the Seven Deadly Sins—Will Season 6 Change How We See Them?

maureen

(Other Sinema7 blog posts about Lost are available at http://sinema7.net/tag/lost/)

Lost starts Tuesday. Hopefully some of the questions that have built up over the last five years will be resolved. I recently came across this article from 2008: Get Lost in the Seven Deadly Sins by Amelie Rosseau, on the Lost Media fan site.

And here is a YouTube video called The Seven Deadly Sins of Lost:

I agreed with many of the assessments in these. I think each of the characters, like most of us, have more than one sin that motivates his or her choices. Here is my take on which characters seem to be driven by which sins:

Pride – Benjamin Linus &  Charles Whitmore are in a power struggle for the island. Pride is probably the besetting sin of leadership and power. When someone thinks they know what’s best for other people and is willing to lie, manipulate, and maybe even kill to further his own agenda that’s driven by pride. Jack is prideful, but not even close to being in Ben and Charles’ league. After years of feeling rejected and victimized Locke’s ego has to be stroked by feeling special and chosen. Juliet is just a bit sanctimonious about being right, and she’s pretty sure that she’s right on just about everything. It is ultimately Eko’s pride that drives his unwillingness to repent of his sins which apparently leads to death by smoke monster.

Envy – Jin’s insecurity pushes him toward envy. Charlie struggles with the same sort of thing. He’s jealous for Claire’s attention. He’s trying so hard to restore his image and wants so desperately to be a hero that he tags along with those that might be considered leaders hoping to be identified with them. Continue reading


Feb 27 2009

Gluttony gets giggles in Paul Blaurt: Mall Cop

maureen

Last week while everyone else was watching Academy Award nominated movies I went to see Paul Blaurt: Mall Cop. It’s basically a formulaic comedy featuring an overweight mall security officer.  While many critics proclaimed the jokes tired and recycled, they made me laugh, again.  Sometimes it’s nice to go to a movie and just laugh without having to be smart or in on the joke. It also struck me that a very large (excuse the pun) part of this movie hinged on Paul’s weight problem. Continue reading


Dec 18 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins at Christmas – Part One

maureen

Gluttony – Holiday Stuffing

Everywhere we turn at Christmas there is food. It’s possible to graze all day every day between Thanksgiving and New Years’. We turn to Paula “a stick of butter” Deen and Rachel “Yum-O” Ray to help us whip up something delicious. It’s fun to sit around and watch TV cooks whip up something delicious then go into the kitchen and pull out all the stops, imagining ourselves as The Next Food Network Star.

At Christmas people bring food to work. Every get-together involves eating and drinking along with the merriment. If we don’t try every dish someone is likely to have hurt feelings. If we can’t think of anything else to give at Christmas we offer a tin of sweets or basket of meat, cheese or chocolate. There is candy in our stockings and candy hanging from our Christmas trees.

Continue reading


Oct 18 2008

The Theme of Gluttony in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

maureen

Gluttony is one sin that can be rather difficult to hide. While I suppose there may be some thin people who overeat the results of this particular sin are largely, sometimes very largely, evident. Thomas Aquinas defined it as “inordinate desire not regulated by reason.”

In What’s Eating Gilbert Grape the title character feels trapped. Gilbert lives in a small town with few opportunities but can not leave because he is needed at home to help take care of his mentally challenged younger brother Arnie. His mother Bonnie is extremely obese and cannot take care of the family or the house. Most of the time she sits on the sofa eating and watching TV. Continue reading