I day tripped down to Omaha to see this and it was worth it.
Don is a good kid. He’s got a job, he loves his mom, and he’s the assistant youth pastor at his church. But when he realizes that his mom is having an affair with the youth pastor, he drops his plan to attend a college and goes to Reed College, which his hippy father had secretly enrolled him in. While at Reed, Don keeps his Southern Baptist past hidden to figure out who really is. He tries out a bunch of different campus groups and in Civil Disobedience, he meets Penny. He’s met her before and is intrigued by her. She’s very passionate about taking a stand against injustice, the main enemy being Aqualike water, which is bottled in Kashmir, India and is ruining the economy there. The movie follows Don through the ups and downs of his freshman year, including a prank involving a giant condom and a church steeple which the “Pope” of Reed College talked him into doing.
As an official backer of this movie, I am proud of how well it turned out. The part of the movie that sticks out is when Penny, who attended the church with aforementioned steeple, tells Don she is a Christian. And Don, who has being trying hard to not be one, is surprised. Her comeback was “I read the bible in lit class last year and it turns out I like Jesus, a lot.” In the book, she goes on to say that the Bible is best read with cigarettes and chocolate. Donald Miller’s line is “a story is someone who wants something and overcomes obstacles to get it.” I’m still trying to process what Movie Don wanted: Penny? to fit in? to know if God exists? Maybe it’s all of those. Movie Don’s dad said that life is like jazz because it doesn’t resolve but Don starts to think that maybe his father was wrong. “What if we’re not alone? What if all these stars… are notes on a page of music…swirling in the blue like jazz?”
Reed College is known for its parties and drugs and alcohol. There’s some innuendo as well. 17, A-.