Friday, May 20, 2011

A Letter from the End of the World

Dear Jesus Christ,

I heard from some very reliable sources that you plan to make an appearance sometime today and bring about the Rapture. I'm sure you'll be very busy calling up all the people chosen to ascend to heaven and filling out all of the necessary paperwork, but I hope to take a few moments of your time to thank you for all you've done.

First of all, thank you for writing the Bible. Your death at the end was absolutely wonderful and moved me to tears. I'm not so sure about the following resurrection scene, though. A little too much deus ex machina, I think, but the rest of the book made up for that. Except for the book of Job. I think it could use a rewrite. Eliphaz seemed to lack depth and could use more characterization. But that's just me. Otherwise, great book and I look forward to the sequel.

The announcement of the coming revelations also made me wish I paid more attention in my math classes. Although you said in your book that "no man (including yourself) knows the hour or the day of the end," a gentlemen from Oakland pinpointed the exact date when you're making your big comeback by adding numbers and dates I've never even heard of! Very clever, sir. I hope that you include cliff notes in your sequel for those who are not mathematically savvy.

I also want to thank you for ending the world on a Saturday. Everyone would have been too busy on weekdays to experience the rapture, so having judgement day on a weekend is convenient for everyone's schedules. One question, though: will there be a barbecue before the ascension? If so, I would love to go at least for the food. I heard you're a real wizard at the grill.

If there is no barbecue, though, then I would have to respectfully decline your invitation to ascend into heaven (if I am one of the lucky chosen). It's not that I don't appreciate all that you've done, but I don't believe I would do well in heaven because I'm not a good Catholic. I may have gone to Sunday school, but I'm afraid that the teacher's lessons were wasted on me. I have felt anger towards my fellow man, I have desired to sleep with women, and I have used your dad's name in vain numerous times.

Besides, Mark Twain, another reliable source of mine, once told me that there is no humor in heaven: "Let us swear while we may, for in heaven it will not be allowed." Twain also informed me that: "Singing hymns and waving palm branches through all eternity is pretty when you hear about it in the pulpit, but it's as poor a way to put in valuable time as a body could contrive." I think, then, I would prefer hell because, as Twain puts it, "heaven for climate, and hell for society." I'm sure heaven has very pleasant air conditioning and lovely music, but, being a social animal, I would prefer to share a drink or two with Mark Twain, Freddy Mercury, and, if I'm lucky, William Blake.

So in conclusion, I want to thank you again for all of your hard work and I wish you the best of luck with the end of the world. I apologize again for not joining you and please know that it's nothing personal.

Have a happy judgement day,
David R. Matteri

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Whew! Well, midterms have come and gone and finals are just three weeks away. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, so my brothers and I started off the summer movie season by watching Thor last Sunday.

Like most big budget summer blockbusters, the visuals of Marvel's latest movie are absolutely stunning. From the aerial shots of magnificent Asgard to the rampaging automaton in the New Mexican town, the audience certainly gets their moneys worth of computer-generated delights (although I still wouldn't pay more to see it in 3D).

The most satisfying scene of the movie is when a girl points a taser at Thor. "You dare point such a puny weapon at me?" He demands, forgetting that Odin took away all his powers when he was banished from Asgard. The girl then pulls the trigger and the god of thunder goes down like a sack of bricks (oh, the irony!).

There's not much else to say about this movie. The action scenes are big and explosive, Loki runs around and lies to everyone because daddy didn't love him enough, Thor goes through a quest for redemption, and Stan Lee makes another cameo appearance. Sometimes looking for Stan the Man in Marvel movies has become more entertaining than the movie itself; it's like playing Where's Waldo, but with robots, superheroes, and explosions.

Some people thought of this movie as absolute garbage. Well, to be sure, it's not the next Godfather or Gone With the Wind. It was built to introduce the uninitiated to Thor and entice them to see the god of thunder again in the coming Avengers movie (you hear that? that's the sound of dollar signs flashing in the eyes of Hollywood producers). The acting is, admittedly, sort of bland and the plot kind of simple. I'm not sure why there is an Asian dude in the Norse pantheon. Oh, wait, that's right, they're not gods but space aliens. Got it.

My attitude coming into the theater was the same when I saw Suckerpunch. I was not expecting to be blown away by superb acting or a deep story; I wanted to see Thor hit things with his hammer. I find it hilarious when people come out of movies like this and complain that Hollywood ripped them off. Really? You are surprised? Did you not pay attention to the trailers? Perhaps you should have gone to the Cannes film festival or (gasp!) read the comics for better stories.

Next up on my summer movie list: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.