Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fireproof: Part 8

So, the Big Kiss (with the actress who is not Catherine) is not the end of the movie!  Nope, because just like all good little almost-RTCs, Catherine wants “what happened to you to happen to me.”

Yeah, never mind that Catherine was fine the way she was.  She wants to be like Caleb.

Because Caleb is just that awesome.

So, to a musical montage-y song, Caleb takes Catherine to that old church camp where his own father converted him.  In fact, he tugs at her hand when she hesitates, literally leading her to the cross!

Wow!

Montage continues: Caleb’s dad is informed of the bad good news, and even calls his wife over so she can vicariously celebrate the marital victory of the son who loathes the sight of her.

Caleb and Catherine head out to church, waving at the awesome older couple.  I still want the movie to be about them.

Finally, Caleb and his dad take yet another walk outside, just two manly men being manly men together.  And John drops the big secret: he didn’t do the Love Dare on Cheryl.

CHERYL DID THE LOVE DARE ON JOHN.

That sounds kinda dirty when I put it that way.

This completely blows Caleb’s tiny mind.  I guess from the RTC perspective, I can see why: a woman took charge of things and tried to institute changes in the household, and we know that’s not how a Good Christian Wife should behave.

Though, honestly, I think the bigger deal here is…honesty.  John’s been making out like he was the one doing the Dare.  He’s been bearing just a bit of false witness, methinks.

But it’s all okay, as John had correctly determined that Caleb would never accept advice from a mere woman.

Caleb:  Dad, I have treated her so wrong.

Gee, no shit, Sherlock.

John:  Caleb, she deserves your respect.

GEE, NO SHIT, SHERLOCK.

John is just so mild about all this, too.  I tell you, my atheist father would not be nearly so mild blasé about it if I treated my atheist mother with half the scorn and derision with which Caleb treats his.

So Caleb jogs back to the house and hugs his mommy.

Caleb:  Mom, I’m so sorry.  I didn’t know…I didn’t know…

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES KNOWING MAKE???  No matter which one of his parents did the Love Dare, Cheryl has always loved Caleb and been nothing but good to him.  This had nothing to do with Cheryl doing the Love Dare and everything to do with Caleb being a misogynistic prick.

Jerk.

And finally, the real last scene: the “reaffirmation of vows” of the Holts.

Because it’s a covenant marriage now, you see!

Covenant marriages are pretty gross: the only grounds for divorce are physical abuse, adultery, or a felony that results in jail time.  So the kind of emotional abuse that involved Caleb screaming into Catherine’s face, and wagging fingers in her face but never actually smacking her?  Probably not an out for Catherine.  She just needs to forgive him and love him, like the Bible tells her to.

And I’m totally sure that a person desperate to leave his or her marriage would never engage in the forbidden activities (like, say, adultery) as a way to get out.

The one bright spot in all this is that Georgia doesn’t even have covenant marriage laws.  So this is all through the church, and presumably means nothing in a legal sense.  There is nothing about this ceremony that would prevent Catherine getting out if she still wanted to.

Just the pressure from her newfound church, where she is a baby Christian.  And from her smug father-in-law.  And from her abusive husband, who has managed to make it several weeks without yelling at her.

And from the super-glued salt and pepper shakers, now sitting atop the wedding cake.

It’s really just compounding the tragedy: now nobody will be able to properly season their food.

wedding

Do all these wedding guests have to get Catherine and Caleb another wedding present?  If so, it’s a pretty good scam: they should renew their vows every year!

Oh yeah.  This marriage has been saved by the love of Jesus.  Fer sure.

 

 

Fireproof: Firefighting, Part 1

Today we have a special treat, everyone!  Inquisitive Raven has volunteered to tell us everything that is wrong with the firefighting aspects of Fireproof.  So, without further ado…

***

Hi, Inquisitive Raven here. After Part 4 of our Hostess’ deconstruction of Fireproof, I offered to do a critique of the fire/rescue incidents in the movie.  As a result of it kind of exploding out of control, this looks like it’s going to be a three part critique.

First, a little about me, and why I think I’m qualified to offer such a critique. From 1994 to 2005, I was a volunteer EMT at the Manoa Fire Company in Haverford Township, Pennsylvania. Although I was never a firefighter, I did participate in some firefighter drills, and I have some idea of how a fire company operates.

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I also have a sister who is a professional firefighter in a small town (population approximately twenty thousand). If I need information on how pros do things differently from vollies, I can ask her.  Actually, I did ask her one thing. I sent Isis-sama’s question about how fire chiefs are chosen to her because I didn’t think it was likely that professional companies elect chiefs the way the volly company I was a member of did.  Her response was as follows:

We’re civil service so follow their laws:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2457&ChapterID=11

Every 2 yrs a promotional exam is offered. You have to pass to be eligible for promotion, then they look at actual scores, yrs experience, degrees, certifications, vet status, oral interview… But traditionally civil service puts the most emphasis on exams.

So yes, you have to display some degree of knowledge if not actual competence though hopefully, years of experience point to that.  I’d kinda figured out  most of it, but I hadn’t thought about fire service as civil service ergo exams. It seems obvious once that detail is brought up.

One other point: Caleb is not a fire chief. The chief is in charge of Albany’s entire fire department; Caleb is in charge of one shift at one company out of eleven. The characters in the movie are pretty consistent about addressing him as “Captain.” I think the Haverford Township volly companies each having their own chief is a historical artifact from a time when they were completely independent fire associations. Even with unified dispatch and township controlled equipment purchasing, they’re still more autonomous than professional fire services which are municipal departments. My sister’s town has a chief in charge of the whole shebang, and a deputy chief in charge of each shift. Philadelphia’s organization is more complex, but then Philadelphia has a population a couple of orders of magnitude larger than any of the other communities mentioned in this post (1.5 million vs. 20 thousand, 48.5 thousand, and 77 thousand).

On to the main critique: Fireproof is available on Netflix, so I watched the scenes that involved actual fire/rescue activity, fast forwarding through most of the rest of it. I’ll start with some general comments before going on to the specific incidents. I’ll also be linking to websites of some of the five companies in the township I used to run in, and the Philadelphia Fire Department when I think it might be helpful. I currently live in Philly, so it seemed like the obvious professional fire service to refer to. I also looked up Albany, Georgia’s real life fire department, so I could put things seen in the movie in context.

I’ll start out with some general observations. One has to do with cops. Cops show up at incident locations for various reasons. Even if there’s no actual law enforcement required, they can direct traffic and handle crowd control. EMS isn’t supposed to enter an incident location until it’s declared safe by the cops. I didn’t see any cops at all at the fire scene, and they show up late to the accident scene. In fact, the protagonist ends up doing the initial crowd control. In all my time as an EMT, I think I remember at most two occasions when we beat the cops to a scene. They usually got there first. Admittedly, the movie is about firefighters, well, one firefighter, but the occasional shot of a cop at the scene helps paint a picture of a richer world. I can think of three factors affecting who gets to the scene when and why the cops would tend to get there first. One factor only applies to vollies while the other two are applicable to everyone.

The factor that’s only applicable to vollies is the fact that vollies aren’t required to be at the station at all times, so you have factor them getting there into the response time. The firefighters don’t have specific shifts, and while the EMTs do have specific shifts, it’s not always possible to get a minimal crew (EMT and  driver) to sign up for them, nor are they required to be at the station as long as they can get there in under five minutes. In fact, the difficulty of getting people to cover day shifts during the work week is the reason that Manoa started having the day shifts covered by paid paramedics. The issue here is that vollies have jobs outside the fire service. They’re doing this in their free time. For pros, the fire service is their job and they’re expected to be in the station or with their vehicle whenever they’re on duty and not doing something on a call that requires them to leave the vehicle.

The factors that apply to pros as well as vollies are a) the fact that firefighters need to gear up before responding and cops don’t, and b) unless a call comes in before the firefighters get back to base after a previous call, they’re starting from their HQ while the cops are likely to be on patrol somewhere and often have a shorter distance to cover to get to the scene. In fact, in Philadelphia, the cops are first on scene so often that they’re authorized to transport patients under certain circumstances, although it should be noted that the circumstances in question tend to involve gunshot and stab wounds. Basically situations where the patient is in danger of bleeding out, and you know you don’t need to protect the patient’s spine.

Another thing I noticed is that the company in the movie, or at least the protagonist’s shift seems to consist of five people: Caleb, the rookie,  the two black guys our hostess mentions, and one more white guy. In Philadelphia, that’s a ladder crew.  An engine crew is four people. Note, that’s in Philly.  The town my sister works in puts three people on a crew, maybe four for their single solitary ladder. Haverford Township’s apparatus* is capable of carrying anywhere from five to eight crew members. I’m not sure what the minimum crews for any of the vehicles are, but Manoa routinely puts more than the minimums into the field. The company in the movie has two engines and a ladder. One engine and the ladder get dispatched for both calls, with five people total. Sorry folks, that doesn’t work. The Albany Fire Department runs eleven companies with 166 firefighters. That’s not counting administrative, fire prevention, or training personnel. They also have twelve engines and two ladders. By my calculations, assuming the shift structure described in the movie is accurate, they can put three person crews on the two 500 GPM pumpers, and four person crews on the rest of the apparatus for three shifts and have a battalion chief for each shift plus one extra person who I imagine either fills in gaps when people are out or works at the busiest company in the department. With two engines, there should be eleven or twelve people on a shift at any given time at the company in the movie. Even if there’s no crew for the second engine, I’d expect there to be eight people in the company, so why do we never see more than five?  Okay, there seems to be more than five firefighters at the end of the big house fire, but there also seems to be another company present, so I’m assuming any firefighters other than the five known guys are from the other company.

If anyone is wondering why a ladder is being dispatched to an MVA and a fire in a one story building, AFAICT, it’s being dispatched as a rescue. At least one of Haverford Township’s ladders seems to carry a lot of rescue related equipment although it doesn’t seem to function as a full on rescue unit. In fact, it seems to be optimized for high angle rescue, hence things like the Stokes Basket. Makes sense for a ladder, right? And real life Albany doesn’t seem to have a specialized rescue unit. Well, the ladder in the movie seems to be doing the job of a light rescue.

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During the opening credits, the camera pans around the fire house finally tracking down the gear rack to show us the protagonist’s helmet with name and rank, then drops down toward the floor. The first oddity I notice is that the toes of the boots are pointing away from the wall. At Manoa, the boots are placed with toes pointing toward the wall. That’s so firefighters can come into the engine house**, stick their feet in their boots, and start pulling on the rest of their turnout (aka bunker) gear in the shortest possible time. There’s more weirdness with the disposition of the turnout gear later.

For example, at each of the calls, there’s one firefighter who isn’t wearing turnout gear. At the fire scene, he’s at least in uniform, but at the accident scene he’s wearing a blue fire company T-shirt, which tells us who he’s with and all, but probably doesn’t count as in uniform. I didn’t spot him as crew, the first few times I watched the MVA rescue scene. At Manoa, the actual uniforms are saved for special occasions, that volly thing again, but if you’re on a call, you’re in turnout or you’re in an EMS jumpsuit which you don when the call comes in. The only exception is if you respond directly to a scene and are waiting for the apparatus to arrive with turnout gear. In which case, the turnout goes on as soon as it arrives. Fire scenes and extrication scenes aren’t always safe, so it’s a good idea to wear protective clothing… like firefighter turnout. The ambulance also carries helmets and protective coats even if the coats aren’t quite as heavy as turnout, specifically for scenes where our jumpsuits might not be enough protection. So, vollies need to wear turnout at the scene, both for protection and identification. At a scene with pro firefighters, I’d expect everyone to be in turnout except maaaybe the highest ranking officer who would be there purely as an incident commander. Since the IC is staying back and giving order, zie can get away with it. The guys in the movie can’t.

Next post, I discuss the  car on the train tracks.

 

*”Apparatus” is the official term for vehicles used by fire services. I use “vehicles” in these posts a lot, because “piece(s) of apparatus” is more of a mouthful than I want to deal with.

** The engine house is the part of the fire station that actually houses the apparatus.

Fireproof: Part 7

We all seem to be on the same page re: the weirdness of Caleb confronting Flirty Doctor, not, yanno, Catherine, about the workplace flirtation.  It’s yet another example of Caleb treating his Marriage as a machine that needs to be fixed, not a relationship between two sentient humans.

All of which made me wonder something, so I went back and counted: it has been twenty full minutes of movie time between instances of Caleb and Catherine talking to each other.  The last time was their terse exchange at the hospital after Caleb was injured.  The next time is happening right now.

Following the montage, Caleb wakes up to see Catherine’s purse on the couch, instead of at the hospital with her, where it belongs.  Catherine isn’t feeling well and is taking a sniffly day in bed.

Caleb asks if he can get her anything, and she answers (firmly, but not unkindly) that she is fine.

Caleb nonetheless heads out to get her the two things everyone needs when they have a cold: medication and Chik-fil-A (Caleb no doubt started to like it the moment he converted).

Chik

Oh.  Yum.  Good thing Catherine didn’t get sick on a Sunday.

Catherine asks him the obvious question: why is he doing all this?  You would think the obvious answer would be, “Because I love you,” or “Because I care about you,” and/or, “Because I can’t stand to see you in pain.”  But oh no…

Caleb:  I have learned that you never leave your partner.  Especially in a fire.

Gosh, that’s…sweet?  Is it supposed to be sweet?

And so personal, too!  Nothing here about Caleb rediscovering his love for Catherine, loyal, big-hearted, funny Catherine.  Who has terrible taste in furniture upholstery, but that only makes Caleb love her more.

Nope.  Don’t leave your partner.  It makes Jesus cry.  Marriage is an institution, don’tcha know.

Caleb actually fesses up about The Love Dare (granted, I suppose he couldn’t keep it a secret forever), but Catherine…found the book yesterday!  And read it today, while sick in bed!

So, now Catherine knows that Caleb has been secretly manipulating her all these weeks.  Making nice not because he wants to, but because he was dared to by his old man.

She must feel so flattered.

Catherine:  What day are you on?

Caleb:  Forty-three.

Catherine:  There’s only forty.

Caleb:  Who says I have to stop?

I’m sure you’ll all be shocked, but there’s an undercurrent of smarmy in Caleb’s tone here.  I mean, he really wants a cookie for being almost-bearable to live with for three extra days.

Catherine:  Caleb, I don’t know how to process this.  This is not normal for you.

Caleb:  Welcome to the new normal.

Smug prick.

Catherine also calls Caleb out on the fact that he was faking it till he made it for awhile, and Caleb owns up to that, because he “didn’t know what love was.”

Which also must make Catherine feel so flattered.  They both got married for a reason, yanno?  And now Caleb is telling her to her face that when he said he loved her and when he proposed to her and when he married her, he didn’t know what love was.

In other words, their whole life together has been a sham from the start.

What an unbelievably smug prick he is.

[SPOILER ALERT FOR BREAKING BAD]

(Actually, this scene reminds me quite a bit of the last scene between Walter and Skyler, when he tells her that his meth empire was the only thing that ever made him feel alive.  Except that we were meant to see Walter as a sociopath who was incapable of loving another human being.)

[/SPOILER ALERT]

Anyway, Catherine takes this disgusting admission pretty well, all things considered, though she does tell Caleb that she is not ready to trust him yet.

And THEN the movie actually does one thing right.  One of the things we have been hoping for from the start.

No, Catherine doesn’t throw the bum out.  No, Caleb doesn’t get repeatedly smacked in the face.

What Caleb does do is get down on his knees and beg Catherine’s forgiveness.  I’m going to give you the whole thing, because never say I don’t give credit where it’s due:

Caleb:  I am sorry.  I have been so selfish.  For the past seven years, I have trampled on you with my words and my actions.  I have loved other things when I should have loved you.  In the last few weeks, God has given me a love for you that I had never had before.  And I have asked him to forgive me.  And I am hoping, I am praying that somehow you would be able to forgive me, too.  Catherine, I do not want to live the rest of my life without you.

Damn.  That is a pretty good apology.  Not best ever, but pretty good.

It is also too little, too late.  Not just for the Holt marriage, but for this movie.  Up until now, Caleb has treated this relationship like an object to be fixed.  It isn’t even Caleb and Catherine’s marriage, it is The Marriage.  Do the right things, follow the instructions in the book, and Generic Spouse will respond in the proper way because God wills it.  Caleb has changed his ways: where before he abused and talked over Catherine, now he simply works around her, maintaining the Marriage as he would a car, but never focusing on Catherine, the person.

If this speech had been the culmination of Caleb realizing that he has never really communicated with Catherine, it might have more power.  As it is, I suspect that the Day 40 Dare, which Caleb is a few days late on, is “Give Spouse Passionately Sincere Apology.”

(Speaking of, what have the Dares been for the past two weeks?  Isn’t Caleb supposed to be doing something new every day?  We haven’t seen any new stuff in the long time.  Unless “Sweep the Floor” and “Wash a Few Dishes” were on two separate days.  Guess we have to buy the book to find out.)

Catherine needs time to think.  As you would.

Recovered from her convenient cold, Catherine heads back to her favorite hangout, the hospital supply store, where she buys some sheets for her mom’s new bed.  This gives an opportunity for the receptionist to mention the Big Revelation: though Flirty Doctor contributed $300 to the Mom’s New Bed and Wheelchair Fund, Caleb paid the other $24,000.  And he did so two weeks ago.

Gotta say, it is still nice of Flirty Doctor to donate any money at all towards this cause.  And hey, why didn’t anybody ever think to organize a fundraising effort at the hospital to get Catherine’s mom the stuff?

Catherine once again walks out of the store in a daze, and dashes home to find her wedding ring.  Then she fixes herself up all pretty for Caleb.  Because once you spend money on your lady, she will reward you with the putting on of makeup and the fixing of hair.

Catherine shows up at the fire station, and tells Caleb she loves him and has forgiven him.  (Happily for us, if any happiness can come out of this trainwreck of a relationship, she does not use the word “respect.”)

But damn, it is such a quid pro quo view of marriage.  I’d reproduce the entire reconcicliation conversation, but it makes me ill.  I mean, he just paid for his marriage to continue.  They had $23,000 in savings, he spent it on his mother-in-law, she takes him back.  And isn’t this their money, not just Caleb’s?  Why has the thought of spending their savings on her mom never occurred to Catherine?

Biggest plothole in the movie.

Oh, and there is one more bit of grossness in this movie, but I’ll save it for next time, as I have a lot to say about it.

So we’ll close on this: Kirk Cameron infamously won’t kiss any woman but his wife.  Even though he’s, yanno, an actor.  So for the firehouse scene (the only time Caleb and Catherine kiss in the whole movie), they flew in Cameron’s wife (Chelsea Noble, who played Hattie Durham in the Left Behind movies), and shot the kiss part of the scene so that you can’t really see the actress’s face.

kiss

Not actually Catherine.

What more disgustingness could there possibly be?  Stay tuned–same atheist time, same atheist channel!

Fireproof: Part 6

Sorry, all, that I’ve been lingering on with this dumb movie—this summer has been incredibly busy for me.

Following Caleb’s triumph of conquering his alleged porn addiction by destroying the computer, and the delivery of the divorce papers, Catherine heads off to the medical supply store.  (Conveniently located in the same mini-mall as Bobby Lee Duke’s Lollipop Shop and the Biscuit Barn.  I wish I was making that up.)

I’m honestly not sure why Catherine goes to the medical supply shop—I guess she just hangs out there for kicks.  As we discussed in Part 1, Catherine’s mom needs a new hospital bed and wheelchair, but insurance won’t cover them.  Catherine and Caleb have the exact needed amount in their savings, but it never crosses either of their minds to use it for the equipment.  Caleb because he covets a boat, Catherine because…I don’t know why.

I also don’t know why Catherine is even there, except that it gives the receptionist the opportunity to tell her that all the equipment has been paid for and delivered that morning.  Catherine wanders out in a daze.

Yanno, we discussed how weird it is that Catherine never even thought about using their family savings on her parents, but it actually becomes even more pertinent now that they are actually divorcing (or so she thinks…sigh).  I mean, Caleb and Catherine’s assets would be divided, their nice big house would probably be sold.  Or Catherine’s parents could move into the house with her…or she with them.  Just sayin’, there are more options here than seem to appear in her mind.

Catherine, of course, thinks Flirty Doctor paid for all the equipment.  She thanks him for “giving money” and they hold hands.

Let’s get one thing clear, here: the movie wants us to think that Catherine is blinded by this shameful lust, and not seeing the Changed Man that is her husband.  But if memory serves, Caleb is the guy who never discussed Catherine’s parents with her and accused her of being selfish.  Flirty Doctor is the guy who listened to her problems and complimented her devotion and love.

So it’s not like Catherine is drawing unreasonable conclusions here or anything.

***

Meanwhile, Caleb is actually doing a chore around the house—collecting the trash.  (Well, it has been a few days since he last whalloped that poor, innocent trash can.  He’s probably just looking for an excuse.)

And he finds an excuse when he stumbles upon opens up an envelope and reads a card from Flirty Doctor to Catherine.  The envelope is in Catherine’s room, on her dresser, so I’m not sure what business it is of her separated husband who happens to live in the same house until the divorce goes through.  Anyway, it’s all quite sweet—Flirty Doctor just writes how much he enjoys talking with Catherine and seeing her at work every day.

Proving that he is, indeed, a totally Changed Man, Caleb sits down with Catherine when she gets home, and they discuss the matter.

HA!  Almost had you there, didn’t I?  Of course Caleb doesn’t talk to Catherine about this—that would involve…talking, and we know Caleb doesn’t do that with the wimmin-folk.  Nope, instead he calls the hospital like a stalker, inquiring after a “Gavin…I only have a first name.”

Caleb stalks over to the hospital and confronts Flirty Doctor in his office, sticking a finger in his face, just like he always does when another human behaves in a manner of which Caleb disapproves.

Caleb:  I know what you’re doing!  And I have no intention of stepping aside as you try to steal my wife’s heart.

Caleb ends his little challenge (for “going after” Catherine) with a lovely little threat: he makes a fist and thanks Flirty Doctor for helping him with his hand.

fist

Changed Man!

What a horrible person he is.  Seriously.  Violence is still how he wants to solve all his problems.  Let’s just see how long it is until he bullies his wife again, too.

But don’t worry—the movie knows who the real villain is.  It’s Flirty Doctor…who was married all along, and takes off his ring every day when he comes to work.

Color me doubtful that a doctor could keep his marital status a secret in the workplace, especially in this pretty small city.  Ooo, but hey, it’s dramatic, right?

Frightened by Buck Williams’ fist of doom, Flirty Doctor blows off his lunch date with Catherine.  Catherine ends up eating lunch with a terrible actress random volunteer or possibly nurse that we have never met before.

The woman prays over her cafeteria lunch then dispenses this amazing wisdom.

Terrible Actress:  Catherine, you’re so young.  I would encourage you to make your choices carefully.

Hell, the woman is making Catherine’s case for her.  I mean, Catherine is young, her marriage sucks, and she has every chance to find someone who isn’t an abusive asshole!

Terrible Actress is apparently quite the busybody, noticing that “a certain young doctor” is trying to “woo you while you’re still married.”

Hey, lady, she really couldn’t be much more separated.  The papers have been served and they’re sleeping in separate rooms and have for weeks.

Catherine tells Terrible Actress to fuck off in the nicest possible Christian Film way, and we head into another Christian Song Musical Montage!

Caleb sits on the fire engine and contemplates his wedding ring!  Catherine sits on a bench and contemplates the middle distance!  Caleb sweeps the floor!  (Changed Man Alert!)  Caleb fights a fire!  Caleb trains his men!  Caleb takes a jog!  Caleb gazes at the door to Catherine’s bedroom!  Caleb prays!  Caleb sits in a tree and contemplates the middle distance!  Caleb lifts weights!  Caleb contemplates the abandoned church camp cross!  Caleb trains his men some more!  Caleb reads the Bible!  Caleb washes a couple of dishes!  Catherine notices that Caleb has done a few dishes!  Caleb fights a fire!  Caleb takes a walk!

There’s lots of Caleb and not much Catherine in this montage, is what I’m saying.  And man, but that montage took forever.

Did Flirty Doctor pay for all that stuff?  Will Catherine do the right thing and stay with her violent husband?  Stay tuned!  (More this week, I promise!)

Fireproof: Part 5

Time for Caleb to tackle his porn addiction!

Now, as I’ve said in the previous parts, porn addiction is not cool, and certainly not conducive to Caleb trying to fix his frakked-up marriage.  But his marriage is frakked up primarily because he is a selfish, abusive asshole who hates women, not because he looks at internet porn.  The movie has (against it’s own intentions, I think) shown this to be true.  The littlest thing sets Caleb off, and he screams in Catherine’s face, overpowers her, and then heads out into the backyard to beat up a trashcan.

I’m sure this is the line the movie wants us to see—Caleb hits a trashcan, not his wife, so it’s not really abuse!  I honestly would have though that in this day and age, there wouldn’t be a need to explain to people that there are such things as verbal and emotional abuse, but I guess not.

Anyway…

Caleb is once again sitting at his (rather outdated) computer, looking at pictures of the boat he covets.  Up comes the porn pop-up ad, but it’s sedate enough for a Christian movie: just the girl’s face, with the words “Wanna See?” below.  Caleb would have to click to see more.

Caleb is totally ready to click to see more, but he suddenly remembers that he is now a RTC, and as such, is not allowed to jack off to porn ever again.

He wanders around the living room for almost a full minute, and because Kirk Cameron’s acting is not sufficient to show us what he is feeling, he has to tell us.

Caleb:  Why is this so hard?”

(Heh, don’t mind my dirty mind over here.)

Actually, watching this, I am reminded of a much, much better movie (and one of my favorites) that I just saw last week: Rio Bravo, in which Dean Martin’s character is going through alcohol withdrawal.  To demonstrate that the addiction is a matter of the mind as well as the body, Martin has a habit, which we notice as the story progresses: every time he thinks about how much he wants a drink, he quickly rubs his mouth.  It’s simple, effective, and shows us Martin’s inner turmoil, instead of just telling us he feels bad.

Finally, Caleb goes to the most holy of books: not the Bible, mind you, but his dad’s handwritten Love Dare.  Miraculously, it is Day 23, and Day 23 is just the passage he needs!

Watch out for parasites.  A parasite is anything that latches onto you or your partner and sucks the life out of your marriage.  They’re usually in the form of addictions like gambling, drugs, or pornography.

Question: Did John know (or suspect) that Caleb was a porn addict when he wrote this book?

Othe Question:  So, which parasite(s) infected Caleb’s parents’ marriage?  Was Cheryl a bit too fond of the penny slots?  Did John shoot up?  Inquiring minds want to know!

They promise pleasure, but they grow like a disease and consume more and more of your thoughts, time, and money.  They steal away your loyalty and heart from those you love.

Eh, no worries there.  Caleb doesn’t love anybody but himself.

Marriages rarely survive if parasites are present.  If you love your wife, you must destroy any addiction that has your heart.  If you don’t it will destroy you.

caleb2

Caleb knows now that he has to destroy his addiction.

So he destroys his computer.

computer

Wait, what?

Caleb isn’t addicted to his computer, he’s addicted to porn.  Destroying his computer isn’t going to cure him of a porn addiction.

Besides which, does Catherine never use this computer?  What the hell gives Caleb the right to destroy family property?

Oh, and as usual, whenever Caleb destroys something, he is witnessed by the neighbor.  Except this time, his wife is out in the yard, too, as they both work on the garden.  Fun note: Caleb addresses the man, as he always does, and completely ignores the woman.

Mr. Rudolph:  Irma, I don’t want you talking to that guy.  He is weird.

Mrs. Rudolph:  Takes one to know one.

Damn!  Why isn’t the movie about this couple?  They seem way more fun than Caleb and Catherine.

Catherine comes home from work (wearing the coolest charcoal suit!) only to find the computer in the poor, abused trash can.  Nothing daunted, she heads into the house only to find a bouquet of roses where the computer used to live, along with a note that says “I love you more!

Why do I fear that this gesture of alleged selflessness will be thrown back in Catherine’s face the next time they have a fight?  “I gave up my computer for you!”

Seems Caleb and Catherine don’t talk for the rest of the day, because the next morning, all Caleb hears is Catherine leaving.  He wanders into the kitchen, and she has left an envelope for him on the table.  Caleb gets all smirky, because surely his crafty plans are working, and Catherine sees that she couldn’t possibly get along without him!

divorce

Caleb:  What?!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

This will never stop being amusing to me!  Hang on, there’s even more fun!

divorce2

I hate their decorating scheme, too.  Just sayin’.

Damn, that is the ultimate SNAP.  It does not get any better than this!

 

I mean…um, poor Caleb.  After all his hard work and effort: making a cup of coffee, giving her one call at work, she still wants to divorce his abusive ass!

I love you right now, Catherine.  Never change.  I mean, I know you will, because the movie will make you, but I’m just going to pretend for now.

Caleb calls his parents (well, his dad, but his mom gets to hear about it second-hand).  John is understandably shaken to hear just how badly his son failed in his manly duty to keep his failed marriage together at any and all cost.

Oh, if only the movie ended here…

But it doesn’t.