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Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

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Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

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KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

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Walk Kansas program offers health benefits -3/2/2014, 12:08 PM

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Preserving the Family planning event March 14 -2/27/2014, 3:49 PM

Nex-Tech hosting Tech Edge Conference in June -2/27/2014, 4:28 PM

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Student graphic designs featured in exhibit -2/26/2014, 3:49 PM

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Extension offers financial planning programs -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

FHSU alum to host pitch fundraiser -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Program to focus on parenting teenagers -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

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To strengthen relationships, celebrate success -2/14/2014, 10:04 AM

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Whitetail agent has message -2/2/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays native wins award at bioscience symposium -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Be aware of earned income tax credit -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Learning to make the most of every day in 2014 -1/29/2014, 10:00 AM

'I, Frankenstein' a monstrously bad movie -1/28/2014, 10:15 AM

Snow still piling up for Eicher family; vacation time extended -1/28/2014, 8:54 AM

Adaptability, self-regulation key for divorcing parties -1/27/2014, 9:59 AM

God gives us gifts, wants us to share with others -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

Celebration Church announces new series service -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

'Jack Ryan' lays new foundation -1/21/2014, 10:01 AM

Eicher family rings in New Year in style -1/21/2014, 8:48 AM

Seeding to begin on I-70 in Sherman County -1/17/2014, 5:39 PM

The memories behind a bottle of wine -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Eichers gather as one big family for holiday -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Process of divorce can leave families in limbo at times -1/13/2014, 10:15 AM

KDA creates easy-to-follow guidelines for farmers, ranchers -1/8/2014, 3:34 PM

Eichers busy during holiday season -1/7/2014, 8:18 AM

Kansas online tax filing now available through KS WebFile -1/6/2014, 4:22 PM

Rep. Huelskamp announces military academy nominations -1/6/2014, 2:42 PM

Traveling Lincoln Exhibition coming to Hays library -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

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Fatalities on Kansas' roads hit all-time low in 2013 -1/3/2014, 10:15 AM

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'American Hustle,' 'Anchorman 2' worth seeing -12/24/2013, 9:10 AM

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Bridge replacement project to start on K-27 in Wallace County -12/23/2013, 8:30 PM

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Management minute -- Mentoring 101 -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Hibbett Sports prepares for new location -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Another year's FHSU graduates find 95-percent rate of success in jobs, advanced study -12/20/2013, 11:42 AM

Public record, Dec. 20, 2013 -12/20/2013, 10:42 AM

What the Bible says: Is it really OK to OMG? -12/20/2013, 10:05 AM

FUMC to host night service -12/20/2013, 10:04 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless hosts annual holiday toy drive -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Holiday traditions build strong families -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

Public record, Dec. 18, 2013 -12/18/2013, 10:42 AM

'The Desolation of Smaug' shows improvement -12/17/2013, 11:28 AM

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Chamber schedules events -12/13/2013, 8:50 AM

Utility, bank establish training program -12/11/2013, 8:07 AM

Excerpts honoring America's veterans -12/11/2013, 8:46 AM

'12 Years a Slave' intimate, powerful -12/10/2013, 10:09 AM

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'Pain & Gain' painfully fun

Published on -4/30/2013, 7:26 AM

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Whether we admit it or not, conflict is one of the best catalysts for growth. That's why phrases like "If there's no pain, there's no gain" and "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" are so ubiquitous in our culture.

From a storytelling point of view, conflict is absolutely essential to drama. The upside is the conflict usually is resolved by the hero, and everyone lives happily ever after. That is certainly not the case in director Michael Bay's latest film "Pain & Gain," which tells the unfortunate true story of three personal trainers in Miami who kidnap and extort a wealthy business owner.

Movies that focus on criminals as the apparent protagonists are not a new phenomenon. Heist movies involve illegal activity but the perpetrators are usually intelligent, sly and likable with partially commendable motives. The anti-heroes of "Pain & Gain" are unenlightened morons who are stumbling through a poor plan of action in pursuit of their perversion of the American Dream. I enjoyed this film -- I'm just not 100 percent certain this is something that should be enjoyed.

"Pain & Gain" has funny moments and some dynamic action, but the thing Michael Bay is really known for is eye candy, which is present in spades. Bay has an undeniably unique style that treats everything as if it's on a pedestal -- women, cars, biceps, money, drugs and weapons to name just a few.

Aside from my misgivings about why a film like this entertains us, I was not personally offended by "Pain & Gain." That being said, I'm not easily offended. This film deserves every inch of it's "R" rating, and I have a hard time recommending it. Fans of raunchy, just-for-fun entertainment will find some laughs in the end, but for me, the journey is more important than the destination.

4 out of 6 stars

James Gerstner works at the Fort Hays State University Foundation and is the founder and editor of Six Horizons Media at sixhorizons.com. Contact James at james@sixhorizons.com, @sixhorizons on Twitter, Facebook.com/sixhorizons.

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