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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Arid Plains Meteorite

Asteroid City on IMDb


"football and flagbound bookA KXYZ B&W TV host (Bryan Cranston) introduces an imaginary drama of legen­dary play­wright Conrad Earp (Edward Norton) composing a 1950s play set in the desert of the American South­west where the whistle-stop town of Asteroid City boasts a celestial wonder. It's the subject of an Asteroid Day convention when Junior Stargazers and Space Cadets from all over gather to receive recognition for their science projects.

darkroomphotographerwoman teacherFirst to arrive are war photog­rapher Augie Steen­beck (Jason Schwartz­man) with his teen­age son Woodrow "brainiac" (Jake Ryan) and three younger, triplet daughters Andromeda (Ella Faris), Pandora (Gracie Faris) & Cassiopeia (Willan Faris.) Soon to join them are starlet Midge Campbell (Scarlett Johansson) with her daughter Dinah (Grace Edwards.) Since a photographer naturally takes pictures and a starlet gets hers took, these two hit if off right away and fall in love, but their adult wounds impede their romance. Woodrow and Dinah also develop puppy love but lack the experience to take it further. Montana (Rupert Friend) the leader of the cowboy band and June (Maya Hawke) the teacher for the kids also hit it off, but they are each used to being center stage, so how is that going to work? You would think that love striking like a bolt out of the blue where the asteroid hit would make it a done deal, but life is more complicated than that.

When the garage mechanic is unable to repair Augie's car, he phones his father-in-law Stanley (Tom Hanks) to come get the girls for their planned stay with him. Stanley learns that Augie has yet to break the bad news of their mom's demise to the children, so he forces him to do so now. The French have an expression, folie à deux, meaning a mischief one gets into only with an accomplice. Here the girls create an unexpected mode of grieving one might call a folie à trois. Micro plots of land are sold in a vending machine, but they're not zoned for burial.

The award ceremony is interrupted by an alien (Jeff Goldblum) in a flying saucer, which Woodrow leaks to his school newspaper. General Gibson (Jeffrey Wright) of the army imposes a one week quarantine on the whole town. The people are subjected to various indignities perhaps reminiscent of a soldier in a John O'Hara story:

It was a terrible thing when Carl passed on during the influenza epidemic. George could not even get leave for the funeral. In fact, there was no real funeral; the churches, and theaters and all such public gatherings were prohibited during the epidemic; the schools were closed, and you could not even buy a soda at a soda fountain. The death rate was shockingly high in the mining villages— (154)



It soon develops that Augie is an atheist but that his children are Episcopalian. This they would have got from their mother whose ashes are to be interred in the family plot they're headed to, presumably making Stanley and the whole family Episcopalian, too. We get the impression that Stanley was not too thrilled with his son-in-law, figuring his daughter could have done better.

This movie resonates well with what Jesus, Paul and the Bible have to say about mixed marriages, regard­less of the group­think that pervades the churches. Here are the words of Jesus from visionary Maria Valtorta, 631. The Last Teachings before Ascension-Day: (430)

II In the Mosaic religion matrimony is a contract. In the new Christian religion let it be a sacred indissoluble act, on which may the grace of the Lord descend to make of husband and wife two ministers of His in the propagation of the human race. From the very first moments try to advise the consort belonging to the new religion to convert the consort, who is still out of the number of the believers, to enter and become part of it, to avoid those painful divisions of thought, and consequently of peace, that we have noticed also among our­selves. But when it is a question of believers in the Lord, for no reason what­soever what God united is to be dissolved. And when a consort is Christian and is united to a heathen, advise that consort to bear his/her cross with patience, meekness and also with strength, to the extent of dying to defend his/her faith, but with­out leaving the consort whom he/she married with full consent. This is My advice for a more perfect life in the matrimonial state, until it will be possible, with the diffusion of Christianity, to have marriages between believers. Then let the bond be sacred and indissoluble, and the love holy.

If Asteroid City, pop. 47 + 1, had an instance of a mixed marriage, much more would an ancient city described in the Criswell Study Bible: “Corinth, the meeting-point of important land and sea routes, … a very prosperous city and the capital of the Roman province of Achaia.” (1 Cor. Intro) The Reader's Digest Bible Dictionary describes apostolic endeavors there: “Paul had established the congregation in Corinth, spending 18 months there during his second missionary journey. But controversies subsequently erupted over questions of morality, worship, and other matters. Paul wrote the letter known as 1 Corinthians to respond to those issues. Later, … Paul wrote a second letter, 2 Corinthians.” (Corinthians, 1&2) One of those other matters addressed was mixed marriages. After having dealt with all that, he states, (2Cor. 7:2) “Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man.” Let's see how that would have worked out. From Lenski & Lenski's Intro to Macrosociology:

One consequence of the more fully developed economy and stratification system in advanced horti­cultural societies is their increased emphasis on the economic aspect of marriage. In almost every one of these societies, marriageable daughters are viewed as a valuable economic property, and the men who want to marry them must either pay for the privilege or render extended service to their prospective in-laws. Fortunately for young men with limited resources, extended kin groups tend to view marriage as a sensible investment and are often willing to loan suitors part of the bride price. (200)

Since Christians by converted nature are honest & hard working, two of them marrying each other would be a win-win for both sets of in-laws. A non-convert marrying a disciple might be an improvement or might not, depending on other factors and what was available in general. In this large population, channeling all single converts to the smaller set of Christians for available matches would undoubtedly result some­times in a (perceived) loss of revenue to the parents of a son or daughter who married an Episcopalian or what­ever. How did Paul avoid that? According to Pastor Criswell, The First Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.

Date: First Corinthians was written in the spring, probably in 57 a.d., though it could have been as early as 54 a.d. Second Corinthians was written some six months later. In 50 a.d. Paul reached Corinth on his second missionary journey (Acts 18:1-4). In an eighteen month stay (Acts 18:9-11) [and then some (Acts 18:18) for ≈ 2 yrs. per Chuck Smith] a church was established. … He had received questions from the Corinthians (1Cor. 7:1) and wrote the letter known as First Corinthians as an answer to those questions. At the time, Paul was in Ephesus (1Cor. 16:8), near the end of his three-year stay there (Acts 20:31) and before his departure for Macedonia (1Cor. 16:5, Acts 20:1).

1 Corinthians 7In answer to the Corinthians' questions regarding the mixed marriages they'd entered during that time, the apostle Paul writes of same as an occasion for Christian influence on the unbelieving partner, (1Cor. 7:16) “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” Paul was not doing any match­making, so he wouldn't have been interfering with mate selection to cause any complaint.

Augie's broken down car exhibited symptoms that called for three different solutions in different cases. One was a 75 cent part that could fix it right away. Another was rebuilding the entire engine and working on it endlessly to no avail. The third was writing if off as a dud. Same with trying to convert an unbelieving spouse. Some will convert right away. Others will require time and effort, and who knows when they'll come around? A third set will want out of his or her marriage to a Christian, in which case (1Cor. 7:15) Paul says let them.

gift bought at
counterThe in-laws might complain of Christian duties interfering with family obligations. Paul covers that in, (1Cor. 7:32-33) “But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife.” Because he allows that family duties are unavoidable, he recommends not getting married in the first place, but concedes that's not for everyone. He wants the marrieds to make the best of their situation wrt God's kingdom. (1Cor. 7:29-31) “But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.” There has to be some give and take. We should consider the principle of moderation as espoused by St. John of Kronstadt: (552)

 Be moderate in all religious works, for moderation, even in virtue, corresponding to your powers, according to circumstances of time, place, and previous labour, is prudent and wise.  It is well, for instance, to pray with a pure heart, but as soon as there is no correspondence between the prayer and your powers (energy), with the various circumstances of place and time, with your preceding labours, then it ceases to be a virtue.  There­fore the apostle Peter says, (2Peter 1:5) “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;” (that is, do not be carried away by the heart only); (2Pet. 1:6) “And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness.”

One of the triplets started on saying grace (“Let us pray”) by enumerating the many blessings to be thankful for. It was a detailed list that could have turned into a groaner, but she limited it to a nominal minute allowing everyone to dig in. That has general application, and Paul's introduction of Christianity to a family that includes non-believers in it would not have compromised the faithful's familial duties. Similarly, the military quarantine was tolerated but only for so long. The alien took with him the meteorite, the source of the tourist town's income, but it brought it back before the publicity wore off.

In his second letter to the Corinthians Paul says he's, (2Cor. 4:2) “... not handling the word of God deceit­fully.” An example of deceit can be found when, (Gen. 34:13) “the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister.” They told them they were allowed to inter­marry but used it as a ruse to gain an advantage, because actually they weren't. Paul wasn't being deceitful, so after he tells them in first Corinthians a mixed marriage is permissible, he's not going to tell them in second Corinthians it's not. Modern bibles don't use a specific plural ‘ye’ in, (2Cor. 6:14) “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: ...” so it is co-opted for a singular application prohibiting individual (mixed) marriages rather than go to his following rhetorical question and match (singular) case with, (2Cor. 6:15) “what part has he that believeth with an infidel?” It's a rhetorical question to be answered in the minds of the ones adsressed. If a couple is far enough along to consider marriage, then they can ask them­selves the question of how religious differences would affect their individual Christian commitments and act accordingly, rather than accept some kind of group prohibition that doesn't even apply. How­ever, in our movie the triplets for a time formed a coven of “witch-aliens,” which unequal yoking was most unfair to the aliens who hadn't been established as evil. As Montana put it, “I reckon that alien didn't mean no harm. No, he ain't American. No, he ain't a creature of God's Earth, but he's a creature of somewhere.”

The context of Paul's “not unequally yoked” statement includes, (2Cor. 6:11-13) “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.” Paul was expansive towards the Corinthians and laissez faire regarding their mate selections. They in return had been self-constricted. Unfortu­nately, when the modern Bible versions leave a ‘you’ under­stood in the expression to “be not unequally yoked,” the uptight reader inserts a singular ‘you’ in the phrase, being “straitened in [his] own bowels”, and forbids such a religiously mixed marriage. But the couple who even gets that far to consider it has then the option of exploring whether or not it would work, as it did seem to have in this movie. Unfortunately, a couple's usual season of court­ship occurs in their youth when they've yet to master Bible translations. Instead, they rely on what Bible they hear used in their church or fellow­ship, or sister congregations for that matter. That's why I feel it's important to use the King James Version (KJV), or at least make it under­stood that these modern versions should be checked against it.

Production Values

” (2023) was written and directed by Wes Anderson, who co-authored it with Roman Coppola. It stars Jason Schwartz­man, Scarlett Johans­son, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Jeffrey Wright, Liev Schreiber and Edward Norton. Also featured are Matt Dillon as Hank, Hong Chau as Polly Green, Willem Dafoe as Saltzburg Keitel, Fisher Stevens as Detective, Rita Wilson as Mrs. Weather­ford, Jarvis Cocker as a cowboy, Bob Balaban as Larkings Executive, and Jeff Goldblum as The Alien. Other familiar faces include Steve Carell, Adrien Brody, Margot Robbie, and Jeff Goldblum. Schwartzman does a swell job playing against type. All the actors consistently gave a reserved aspect to their performances forcing us to pay attention to their spoken lines rather than facial and body cues. That brings the cheesy sets into the fore and then the B&W subsets in this movie within a movie. It seemed to work although I can't say why.

MPAA rated it PG–13 on appeal for brief graphic nudity, smoking and some suggestive material. It seems to be border­line adult for the nude scene blurred, the smoking plenty, and the homo kiss distant. One thing it's not is predictable. Good writing, I would say, though I'd hate to have to analyze the whole thing. The musical back­ground is grounded western. The cinema­tog­raphy is primo. Runtime is 1¾ hours.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

This feels like a work in progress, but that seems to have been the intent. It's movie enjoyment at its abstract best as we try to connect the dots. The alien was a trip as was the dancing bird during the credits. It's a visual hodge podge, but the western music was familiar. For some­one who wants some­thing different.

Movie Ratings

Action Factor: Placid alien invasion. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture was quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print, software.

The Criswell Study Bible. Authorized King James Version. Nashville | Camden: Thomas Nelson Pub., 1979. Print.

Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Life & Times. Copyright © 1997 The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. Pleasantville, New York: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., 1997. Print.

Lenski, Gerhard and Jean Lenski. Human Societies. An Introduction to Macro­sociology. Copyright © 1970, 1974 by McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1974. Print.

O'Hara, John. The Cape Cod Lighter. Copyright © 1961, 1962 by John O'Hara. New York: Random House, 1962. Print.

Sergieff, Archpriest John Iliytch. My Life in Christ. or Moments of Spiritual Serenity and Contemplation, of Reverent Feeling, of Earnest Self-Amendment, and Peace in God: Extracts from the diary of St. John of Kronstadt (Arch­priest John Iliytch Sergieff). Trans­lated with the author's sanction, from the Fourth and Supplemental Edition by E.E. Goulaeff. St. Peters­burg. Jordans­ville, NY: Holy Trinity Monastery, 2000. Print.

Valtorta, Maria. 631. The Last Teachings before Ascension-Day. in The Gospel as Revealed to Me. Vol. 5. Translated from Italian by Nicandro Picozzi, M.A., D.D. Revised by Patrick McLaughlin, M.A. This 2nd English Edition has now replaced the First English Edition, The Poem of the Man-God. Web.