Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: April 2006

Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Lack Of Assurance

If I had to specify one doctrine, one fundamental truth of the Christian life that ministers need to properly convey, it is the ability of the believer to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can have a relationship with God and are on a final destination to be with our Lord in heaven.

That is why I have found myself scratching my head lately as preachers, both of a nationally recognized level down to the local country church, have been dodging the issue, and at times simply making statements to the contrary. I have heard this kind of comment more and more lately; "It is not for me to know or say who is in heaven, only God is judge." This kind of response has come typically after being asked if Jews would be in heaven or someone who died without turning their life over to God through Christ.

Now, of course we cannot know the heart or decision that a stranger has made, nor can we make specific presumptions about someone if they have not shared with us their decision for Christ. But it is this kind of speaking in general terms that is bothering me. The fact is that God has provided a way so that every person who chooses can know with certainty that they are secure in the arms of God. And we preachers need to make darn sure that our people understand that. This isn't a guessing game. We don't do our best and then hope at the end of the day that God will allow us into heaven. God wants us to be certain of our salvation, and ministers need to stop being wimps on this issue. Yes, God is judge, but we can know who is and is not going to be with the Father and in this post-modern world of relativism, that is one concrete truth that we cannot afford to be wishy-washy on.

Consider 1 John 5:12-13 "He who has the Son has the life; He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (NASB)

I understand that sometimes the believer might experience doubt to their own salvation. Most of us have. But those doubts are typically based on emotion and feeling rather than the fact of God's word. John 10:27-28 says "My sheep hear My voice, I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand." (NASB)

If the preacher of God's word cannot be bold andunwaveringg on the basic understanding of sin and salvation, then not good things are happening. Stand firm and know that you can be assured of your salvation!

Friday, April 28, 2006

An American Haunting

This film, which debuts in theaters on May 5th, is a portrayal of the famous "Bell Witch" of Adams, TN. Within the subcategory of horror, possession films are typically my least favorite. I am assuming this film revolves around the framework of possession just based on it's tag line: "possession knows no bounds."

Anyway, I had a rather hearty chuckle when I first saw the trailer on television a couple of nights ago. The opening line of the trailer, delivered by the classic deep threatening voice, went something like this; "To this day, residents of Adams, TN live in terror because of the Bell Witch."

It just so happens that my church is located about 10 minutes from Adams, TN and we have church members who live there. As far as I know, they are not living in terror. Kind of funny when you know the actual people in the town where a film is based. Not that I blame the film makers for using that line. When you are doing the "true story" thing, you have to bring the fear to the present day or it doesn't connect quite as well.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The Beast Reviews: The Da Vinci Code

I have finished the book and will offer just a couple of my thoughts.

First of all, on the back of the book in big yellow letters is this word: FICTION. Now, I acknowledge that just because a book is classified as fiction does not remove the potential harmful nature of it's message. Especially when it comes to non-believers. But when I see so many Christians being duped by the conspiracy theme and the outrageous claims of a book that is self-proclaimed fiction, I find myself wondering if I should have pursued that professional bass fishing career that I considered after first witnessing Roland Martin yell "SON" after hooking a 5 pound largemouth. You see, we as Christians have a book that is not fiction, but rather one that is grounded in historical fact and corroborated by it's textual abundance, primary source authorship and 2nd century church fathers. What a difference we would see in our communities and world if Christians would get as "hyped" about the Bible as they do an admitted work of fiction that incorporates radical historical claims, most of which are completely false.

The book is definitely an interesting read. The story moves quickly and there is not a lot of annoying dead space. There is a nice twist at the end, and the one aspect of the book that I did find refreshing for my own life was a first time genuine interest in the art of Da Vinci. I do all of a sudden have a desire to visit the Louvre in Paris. That is a big deal to me, because up to now visiting Universal Studios and Disney World in Orlando, FL was about as close to leaving the country as I ever wanted to go.

I am beginning a series with my students during our worship on The Da Vinci Code beginning May 7th. I have finished the book and am now starting my study and note taking on refuting his major points of error. For those of you who are interested, I will be happy to share my notes with you. Just send me an email and I will get them to you.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Tragedy at Everest

Read my post on Mount Everest from several weeks ago to be caught up on my tracking the expedition of Team No Limits to summit Everest this year.

The climbers are still acclimating to the altitude and 3 sherpas, or guides who the team hires to get them to the top, were doing routine camp supplying and were on their way to Camp 1 from base camp. This takes you past the Khumbo Icefalls. Apparently on April 21st, a spontaneous ice break from the falls came crashing down on the group of 10 sherpas, killing 3 instantly.

This makes the death toll 4 on Everest in 2006, and the real climbing to summit has not even started yet. Team No Limits has currently suspended their expedition until they deal with the loss and shock and make decisions from there.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Representative Democracy

I recently read a very interesting article that dealt with the current status of the potential Roe v. Wade reversal. If you have been following The Beast's Lair at all, you know that I have been working through the process of discovering the role that Christianity should play in our democratic processes, especially in regard to the constitution and the freedom of religion, separation of church and state, etc. It has been a process similar to walking through water. Slow and quite tiresome.

I am convinced that our country is at a place where we have no idea what is going on. Although we recognize the undeniable fact that our country was built strongly on Christian principles and that perhaps the framers could "never foresee the possibility that our country would fall into such a non-Christian state," we also have to accept the truth that a continual searching and re-searching of the constitution is not only wise, but essential to maintain the kind of country that operates under the direction of the majority of the people and what ultimately comes out to be simply the right thing to do. We are taking the 10 commandments from the courts, but In God We Trust is still on our money. Schools are becoming less and less able to promote anything of a Christian nature, but we have prayer before every session of congress. We just don't know what to do.

But the thing that really interests me is the distinction between representative democracy and what is just clearly the right thing. In essence, our country operates that those things are one in the same. When the majority speaks, it is the right thing and our country responds. However, there have been times when our country has gone against the majority and said "you are all wrong and this is the right thing." The most obvious example is slavery. You can say to me "come on Phil, slavery is just obviously wrong. Regardless of the majority." So, how do we know when those times have come? How do we know when something is just obviously right or wrong, regardless of what the majority opinion may be.

USA Today ran a column Monday dealing with Roe v. Wade and what the states would do if the decision was reversed. Remarkably, some states are already implementing "trigger laws" that would immediately go into effect if the reversal does happen, making abortion immediately illegal, or at the least make the criteria very narrow for having the procedure. 22 of our states have made steps to impose significant restrictions. In contrast, 16 states would allow abortions at the current levels. 12 states are in middle ground. According to the article, the results show that the 22 states likely to enact the restrictions or ban make up 50% of the population, while the 16 states allowing the current level make up 37% of the population.

So, with that in mind, we can see that the current unrestricted access to abortion is available because of the action of the U.S. Supreme Court and that alone. The court went beyond the majority of the people, and amazingly, 30 years later, the decision does not reflect the majority of the people. So now, let's apply the same sentence to abortion that we did to slavery. "Come on Phil, it's obvious that abortion is just clearly right, regardless of the majority" Doesn't quite work this time, does it?

I return to my difficult walk through the water, even more confused.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Dragons

Oh, the story a picture tells. I love pictures. They bring back such vivid memories. Here is one of my favorites from a Universal Studios trip, an annual trip that Rexwilder and I look forward to. We are already counting the days to the next trip in July.

In this particular picture (click on the picture above to enlarge it), Diver, Rexwilder and myself have just stepped off "Dueling Dragons," an inverted steel coaster where two drains take different layouts and have "near collisions" with one another. Frankly, I believe this is one of the overlooked coasters among enthusiasts. Nevertheless, as we board the front row of the coaster, which is under a covered queue, we could see outside that it began pouring the rain. And I mean pouring. The rain was so loud and so hard and was falling at a tremendous rate just a few feet from us, where we would be taken in just a few seconds. To Universal's credit, they will only stop the coaster if it is lighting, and apparently it wasn't because we got the classic "Ice Ready?" As the coaster slowly began moving toward the downpour, a lone guy waiting in line yelled at us, "you better put on those sunglasses." Rexwilder and I looked at each other and we had the same thought immediately. "This is gonna hurt like crazy and we will be blind." Luckily, The Beast is never without my classic shades (which I have lost this particular pair you see in the picture, something I whine to Andi about everyday), so Rexwilder and I quickly throw the shades on, just in time. We casually look over to Diver who is looking at us like "you jerks." He didn't have a pair.

The climb up the lift wasn't too bad, but we were soaked by the time we made it to the top. Then, down the first hill we went. The next minute and a half were some of the craziest and most fun I have ever had on a ride. I am not exaggerating when I say it felt like someone was shooting little pins at us the entire ride. It didn't really hurt, but it didn't feel good either! But, you just couldn't keep from laughing. Diver, who closed his eyes and kept his hand over them the entire ride, never stopped laughing the full minute and a half. He was a great sport. He was getting absolutely smashed without the glasses. Even with the shades, you had to keep your eyes pretty much shut the entire ride. With all this confusion going on, it made the coaster feel like it was going 10 times faster than normal. It was chaos, soaking wet and going 60 miles an hour.

When we stepped off that coaster, we really felt like we had accomplished something great! We were soldiers of the coaster for that moment, we had defeated the dragons. We went to brag to the family who was waiting, and this classic picture was taken as we approached. In the background, you can partially see the track of the dragons we had conquered. At least for that day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A book a week

I have announced to my wife that as of this week, I will begin reading one book every week. It is a completely random decision on my part, but I have decided that I am missing out on a world of knowledge out there, so I better go to work. The Bible is really my only consistent read, and I have been digesting some Sherlock Holmes as of late, but now my goal is one book a week.

Currently, I am reading "The Da Vinci Code." Up to now, I have stayed away from it. Just the popularity of it alone is enough for me to not be interested. It is kind of like "The Blair Witch Project." I refused to see that movie just on principle, (although I did eventually see it, and it was terrible. Except for the very end, which was rather suspenseful.)

I am already getting swamped with questions at church about "The Da Vinci Code," so I figure I need to read the stinking thing. Andi and I have been having the best evenings together on the couch reading. It has been a nice vacation from television. Once I finish "The Da Vinci Code" I will post a review.

Monday, April 17, 2006

My biggest concern with The Purpose Driven Life

Pastor Scott Stiegemeyer over at "The Burr in the Burgh" has stated rather clearly his stance on Rick Warren's "The Purpose Driven Life." He is receiving some heat for his comments from PDL supporters, not particularly surprising. Pastor Scott certainly doesn't need me running to his defense, not to mention that the fact he is receiving feedback from a worship leader within the Saddleback church. Regardless of if the feedback is positive or negative, his blog is being noticed and making a difference. I have 3 family members and few friends reading mine. I can't wait for someone "high up" to smash my views at my blog. Well, not really. But anyway. . .

I have said before the The Beast's Lair is not a place to throw down judgment, and I want to remain true to that conviction for my blog. Nevertheless, the minister has a responsibility to keep working to find the space between being judgmental and protecting our sheep. I have students and adults under my care at my church, they look to me and frankly expect me to know what is good and what is not. Lot's of times I don't know, something that keeps me awake at night.

With that in mind, here are my concerns with "The Purpose Driven Life." First of all, I don't know anything about Rick Warren, save what I have read from his books and biography. His personal life, convictions, and character are all removed from my knowledge, and so my comments have nothing to do with Rick Warren the man. All I have to go on and process are the words he has written that are being digested and fed to literally millions of people. I also acknowledge that Warren's book is going to be much more scrutinized because of it's huge success, but that is exactly the point. When something is reaching so many people, any responsible minister is going to take a closer look.

My main issue with his book and study sessions that accompany his book are with the presentation of the Gospel, or I should say, the lack of presentation. Here is a quote from Saddleback's Study Guide and Teaching Video for the 40 Day's of Purpose:

"Do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ? If you aren't sure of this, I'd like the privilege of leading you in a prayer to settle the issue. Let's bow our heads. I'm going to pray a prayer and you can follow it silently in your mind:

'Dear God, I want to know Your purpose for my life. I don't want to waste the rest of my life on the wrong things. Today I want to take the first step in preparing for eternity by getting to know You. Jesus Christ, I don't understand it all, but as much as I know how, I want to open my life to You. I ask you to come into my life and make yourself real to me. Use this series to help me know what You made me for. Thank you. Amen.'

"If you just prayed that prayer for the very first time, I congratulate you. You've just become a part of the family of God."

Based on this confession, salvation means turning your life from purposeless to purposeful. There is no mention of sin, forgiveness of sin, belief in the resurrected Christ, etc. I by no means think that there is one word-for-word prayer that is the "correct" prayer and unless a non-believer says those exact words, God will not hear. However, the foundation of salvation rests on the blood of Christ and the recognition and forgiveness of sin, not the lack of purpose in a life. Plus, in this salvation prayer, the words "use this series to help me" is beyond belief. Surely in our prayer for salvation, we would ask God first to use the Bible to help us. I appreciate a good Bible study or commentary for help, but not as an addition to a prayer of salvation! Furthermore, in this first lesson of the study that offers this prayer, there is no mention of any scriptures relating to the Gospels. Biblically illiterate people who read this prayer would do so with no knowledge of the cross or God's understanding of sin.

Secondly, I have concerns with Warren's use of scripture, including the use of paraphrases to get across a point that falls more in line with his "purpose" theme. This is how he uses a paraphrase to later support the salvation prayer quoted above. He quotes John 3:36a from The Message. I don't have anything against The Message, but you have to be very careful when using a paraphrase to make these kinds of points. Notice the difference below between three translations and The Message paraphrase.

NASB - He who believes in the Sonhas eternal life
NKJV - He who believes in the Son has everlasting life
NIV - Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life
The Message - Whoever accepts and trust the Son gets in on everything

What does "gets in on everything" mean? In context with the other versions, we can understand where The Message is going, but to the first time reader, the implication is not so clear. This paraphrase very neatly follows with the "purpose filled" and "experience the best out of life" mentality of salvation. The truth is God promises us eternal life. Not for us to "get in on everything."

Those are just two brief examples. I think Warren has plenty of good things to say, plenty of good points. I am sure his book has been an inspiration to many people. But for me personally and for the flock I am looking out for, we will not be diving into this study anytime soon. That is not being ugly or judgmental, that is being a minister.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Sunday, Faith and Fact

I just read an article in U.S. New and World Report entitled "Christ's Mission: New Debate About the Role of Jesus." It was pretty much just more of the same, professors and scholars latching on to the most miniscule piece of evidence in order to formulate a completely new and "radical" different understanding of Jesus the man and Savior. As usual, the Bible receives a completely different set of rules when it comes to determining it's historical reliability.

But, that is not exactly what I want to post about. At the very end of the article, the author writes that "the great argument of our time is the debate pitting faith against fact." (emphasis mine) This is just simply wrong. For some reason within scholarly circles (usually liberal), a believer who firmly rests on the mission and purpose of Christ based on scripture is in some way placing their faith over the facts. To believe in Christ as the Messiah who came to save the world from sin means that you are committing intellectual suicide, and that your faith is blinding you to the truth. It is absurd. When I have more time and in a future post, I will list the facts, not hype or theory, to the historical soundness and overwhelming evidence that what we read in the Gospels is the most reliable and trustworthy text that we have in antiquity.

Trust in the truth that Christ is alive! He has paid the ultimate price for our sin. That is fact. Now, let your faith rest on that.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Mount Everest and Team No Limits

Don't ask me why, but I have a strange interest in the yearly expeditions to summit Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world. I hate mountain climbing and have no desire to do it myself, but the mystery and intrigue of Everest is undeniable.

There are really only 2 weeks during the entire year when climbers can attempt to summit (reach the top) of the mountain. Those two weeks are the first two weeks in May. The reason is because the weather is simply too unstable during the rest of the year, and climbers run into weather problems even within those two weeks. Climbers have to get to "base camp" a few weeks before the attempt in order to begin acclimating to the altitude. Basically, there is no oxygen up there and your body has to get used to that, it takes weeks. Climbers begin at base camp and then make their way to 4 camps up the mountain. After camp 4, the final summit is attempted. Once you get to camp 4, not good things start happening. Camp 4 is above 25,000 feet, which is called the "death zone" because your body will never acclimate. All body systems, including the digestive system, shut down in order to continue to breathe.

Only in the last decade has Everest became overly populated by "amateur" climbers who have a passion to reach the summit. This sometimes annoys the pro climbers, because they feel the mystery and spirit of the mountain has become compromised by any amateur climber with enough money to hire a "sherpa" or pro guide to get them to the top. Even with money and a guide, getting to the top is no easy matter. Every year people die on Everest. As of this year, there have been 2249 successful summits and 186 deaths. That means that for every 12 people who make it to the top, one dies. Absolutely incredible.

The reasons for so many deaths are numerous, but the one that I find interesting is that when people successfully make it to the top, they spend too much time up there. Apparently, when you summit, you basically have to do the Chevy Chase impersonation of looking at the grand canyon from the movie Vacation. In other words, you say "this is awesome" and then you get out of there. When you stay too long, your body is unable to make the trip back down the summit safely to camp 4. More people die coming down than going up.

The other interesting thing is that because your body is barely able to breathe and walk at that altitude, it is impossible to carry anything other than what you brought. Because of that, there are perfectly frozen corpses, over 120 of them, that can be easily seen of past attempts that failed. They are perfectly preserved in the below zero temperature and they will remain on the slopes of Everest forever.

So, with that positive note, this year I am watching an expedition that has been named "Team No Limits." One of the 4 members, Larry Rigsby, is a doctor in Signal Mountain, TN, which is very close to Nashville. Thanks to the beauty of technology, these guys are blogging their journey. They are approaching base camp today and will begin the acclimating process through the next couple of weeks. If you would like to track their progress, you can check it out at Team No Limits website.

**update** Everest has taken another life this year. A climber not part of the Team No Limits has lost his life on the mountain.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

My only comment on The Gospel of Judas

And it is really a quote. There is nothing new here and nothing to get all freaked out about. Adam Gropnik with The New Yorker, although occasionally taking a few shots at the concept of biblical authority, makes an essential point in his article. . .

"Orthodox Christians will point out, correctly, that there is no new "challenge" to the Church in the Judas Gospel, much less a crisis of faith. This is an ancient heresy, dealt with firmly, not to say brutally, throughout Church history. The finding of the new Gospel, though obviously remarkable as a bit of textual history, no more challenges the basis of the Church's faith than the discovery of a document from the nineteenth century written in Ohio and defending King George would be a challenge to the basis of American democracy. There are no new beliefs, no new arguments, and certainly no new evidence in the papyrus that would cause anyone to doubt who did not doubt before."

That pretty much sums that one up. Has anyone ridden Expedition Everest yet?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Three Cheers for The History Channel

Since the first time I viewed the Zapruder film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy I have been hooked. As with most Americans, from the start I was convinced there was a shooter on the grassy knoll and that some kind of conspiracy had been covered up. It's interesting, because I was about 13 years old when I first saw the film and heard a lecture, and even at that age I was screaming conspiracy! There is clearly just something in the human brain that equates the incredibly large, grand scale nature of this crime with someone or something greater than Lee Harvey Oswald, one lone guy who shot a rifle.

Nevertheless, the more I studied the assassination, the more I learned about the real evidence and the so called conspiracy theories. About the time I had come to realize what the facts were saying, Oliver Stone released JFK, the worst historically factual movie ever made. He made District Attorney Jim Garrison look like a hero, when in fact Garrison had brought one of the most absurd criminal court cases in history. I heard a guy on a recent JFK biography say "just when the public had completely forgotten about the insane dealings of Jim Garrison, Oliver Stone brings him back to life as a superhero." The movie brought out the common conspiracy theory arguments, like the "magic bullet" and the planting of evidence by the mob.

So anyway, there is one book that will change your mind forever. It is called "Case Closed" by Gerald Posner. The book neatly and clearly takes every conspiracy theory and drains any credibility from them. Then, it shows how the bullet was not "magic" at all, and how Oswald clearly acted alone. For some time, this book has been the one light in a world of conspiracy "experts."

Last night on the The History Channel, they aired a documentary called "The Kennedy Assassination: Beyond Conspiracy." I couldn't believe my eyes, this was a documentary supporting Oswald as the lone assassin! It was incredibly well done and made such an impression on me that I have contacted The History Channel to see if they are selling the program. Gerald Posner was one of the speakers, as well as a computer animator who brought new evidence to light that clearly proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what really happened in Dealy Plaza that day. Check out the book and be looking for the program on The History Channel.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I suppose things come in waves and currently there have been several topics arise that have challenged and at times downright condemned the Christian faith and traditional Christian views as being old school and out of date.

The soon release of The Jesus Papers, a book that will "expose the greatest cover-up in history" relating to the divinity of Christ.

A researcher has discovered that perhaps the Sea of Galilee was frozen during the time of Christ, which of course explains how He was able to walk on water.

And most recently, fossils of a "transitional type" have been discovered somewhere in Canada. This is throwing heated criticism to the creationist point of view, citing that one of the major points of debate for pro-creation theorists is that there are no solid transitional fossils showing the evolution from fish to land animals. Darwin himself said that if these fossils were never found that his own theory would be in trouble. Well, they are saying that they found one.

Dang, I guess I will give up this whole church deal then.

But seriously, I believe that Christians have to find the line between educating themselves on what is happening and becoming so overwhelmed with all this stuff that we are robbed of the joy that comes from Christ and following Him. It is not enough to say, who cares, I have faith and nothing that happens is going to make me think any differently. I believe we owe our Faith a better defense than that. But, at the end of the day, the Christian does in fact rely on our faith and the indwelling Spirit to sustain us and correct us and to live the life we are called to live.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Beast Recommends Michael Mann

I am asked on a fairly regular basis what my favorite movies are and who my favorite directors are. It is a tough question because I have had to make two categories, one to include just horror films and another to include every other genre.

Since the majority of my movie posts deal with the horror side of things, I wanted to make a strong suggestion to those of you who follow The Beast's Lair but cannot quite understand the appeal to the darker side of cinema. I confess, if you are looking for the romantic comedy thing, then perhaps my wife may be of service to you. She is as strong in that particular field as I am in horror.

Anyway, with his 2004 release of Collateral, Michael Mann has earned a spot in The Beast's top 5 non-horror directors, and he is quite possibly number 1. Allow me to explain.

The first Michael Mann filmed I watched was the 1986 thriller Manhunter. The film featured the character of Hannibal Lecter, some 5 years before he became a household name in The Silence of the Lambs. I was just getting into horror films at the time and didn't have the slightest idea who Michael Mann was, even though by this point Miami Vice, which he produced, was a world wide success. The second film I saw was The Keep, another thriller that was actually filmed in 1983. Again, I loved the film but never really had any idea the director was Michael Mann. The Last of the Mohicans was the 3rd film of Mann I saw, and although good, I wasn't blown away by the film.

It was in 1995 that I encountered one of my most enjoyable theatre viewing experiences. I saw Heat, the LA crime tale, starring Robert Deniro and Al Pacino. (not to mention Val Kilmer and Tom Sizemore, the latter being perhaps the greatest actor nobody knows). I was moved by the film. The imagery, the music, the story, the characters, everything. The movie really did have a rather profound effect on me. If I starting going into details, this post will never end. Needless to say, if you have not seen Heat, rent it this week.

After my Heat experience, I of course paid attention to who the director was. Once I discovered his identity, I traced his movies and discovered that he had directed both Manhunter and The Keep, and was responsible for Miami Vice. He was making his move up my list. Heat alone was enough to earn him a top ten spot. I can't emphasize enough how music and imagery made that picture something extraordinary.

The Insider was next, a film about a 60 Minutes controversy surrounding a tobacco company. Again, Al Pacino is the lead man and although the theme of the film was not my normal stomping ground, the beauty of the scenes and imagery once again impressed me. Ali was next, and I began to recognize "signature" Mann work. I am pretty confident I could recognize a Michael Mann film at this point within the first few minutes of the picture.

The push over the edge came in 2004 with Collateral. I again felt myself deeply moved inside the theatre. The reasons were obvious, Tom Cruise's character came across very similar to Robert Deniro's character in Heat. They wore the exact same outfit the entire movie. Wore the exact same sunglasses. Even had the exact goatee. Check out the picture, you can see the similarities just from a photo, much less from their actions and character in the film.
I was once again amazed at the music in the film, the use of color in the scenes. Other things began to be noticeable as well, little quirks that maybe you wouldn't otherwise notice unless you followed his movies. For example, in several of Mann's films, one character is speaking to several character on the phone via a speaker phone. The one character will ask "who all is there?" The guy he is talking to will then rattle off like 6 people's names. You can also expect to find yourself rooting for the criminal, even though you have no idea why.

So, if you have not seen Heat or Collateral, go rent them this week. Oh, and when you get to the scene in Collateral where the coyotes run across the street and you find yourself lost in the tranquility and power of the moment, remember The Beast and you can hear me saying "I told you so."