The Moviegoer: The Colossal Vitality of Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby Illusion

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.I went into Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of The Great Gatsby with some reluctance. Luhrmann's penchant for superabundant style--made famous by Moulin Rouge, whose popularity still escapes me--could go one of two ways insofar as it is a competent filmic rendering of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel. Undoubtedly, Luhrmann's eccentric auterism could serve well both the source material's extravagant parties at Gatsby's … [Read more...]

God and Country Music: The Really Attractive False Heaven of Small Town Living

I have written more than one God and Country Music column on the relationship between Nashville and Christianity. And really, you wouldn’t have present-day Nashville without American Christianity. From George Hay's “strictly clean and decent” policy at the Grand Ole Opry to the chorus of Eric Church’s hit ”Like Jesus Does,” religious life has been an important aspect of country music. From an anthropological position, it’s fascinating how this type of popular culture has been a safe haven for rel … [Read more...]

Mad Men Recap 6.7: Are Good Deeds Ever Just Good Deeds?

Bob Benson always seems to be around. Whether conspicuously eavesdropping, or dropping in at opportune times, Bob has been something less than a full fledged character--more a recurring bit of odd comic relief. If you're like me, you may be asking yourself over the course of this season: who is Bob Benson. If so, know that we're not the only ones. It's not just that Bob's always around, but that he's often always available to help. Whether he's serving up a cup of coffee for Don because he … [Read more...]

Music Matters: Sweetly Singing over the Pain in Iron & Wine’s ‘Ghost on Ghost’

Each Tuesday in Music Matters, Matthew Linder explores the intersections of music, culture, and faith.Iron & Wine's new album explores pain and vulnerability within the context of a relationship's many stages. Listen to the entire album on Spotify here.Listening to Iron & Wine is like wrapping yourself in a warm, soft, and cuddly blanket and drinking espresso while a poet recites stories of love from a coffee-shop stage. Reminiscent of the lush and intricately crafted soft rock of … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Re-reading Gatsby (Careless People and Beautiful Little Fools)

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I re-read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby this week in anticipation of seeing the new Baz Luhrmann film. The last time I read the book, I was 15 years old, a sophomore in high school, and I didn’t much care for the American classic. Reading the text again and seeing the film changed my opinion -- not because the essentials of Fitzgerald’s story have change … [Read more...]

The Moviegoer: Exorcising Iron Man’s Demons

Each week in The Moviegoer, Nick Olson examines new and upcoming films.Sometimes, amidst the explosions, one-liners, and frantic pace of our superhero movies, a memorably interesting image appears, however briefly. During my mostly entertaining two hours with Shane Black's Iron Man Three (why Three, by the way?), one such image is Tony Stark sitting on the couch beside his Mark XLII suit, staring off into the distance. Part of a particular sequence in rural Tennessee that is my favorite … [Read more...]

Citizenship Confusion: Why I Support Internet Sales Tax, as a Christian

Every Thursday in Citizenship Confusion, Alan Noble discusses how we confuse our heavenly citizenship with citizenship to the state, culture, and the world.The first thing you need to know about the Marketplace Fairness Act--commonly known as the Internet Sales Tax Act--floating around Congress and provoking much scorn and praise on the Internet is that it is not a new tax. Despite what you've heard this is not an effort by the Federal Government to raise our taxes. It is designed to help … [Read more...]

Mad Men Recap 6.5 & 6: Hoping for Eucatastrophe, Worrying About the Bomb

Mad Men Recap 6.5: Hoping for EucatastropheMichael Ginsberg's father, Morris, is a holocaust survivor who, in the riotous aftermath of the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, is most worried about his son's perpetual singleness. His bachelorhood isn't marked by mad philandering, but something more sheepishly innocent. Morris is so concerned that his son find a woman to love that he even sets him up for a blind date without Michael knowing. The date isn't a total disaster, but Morris isn't … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Who Cares for the Care Workers?

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.Who cares for the Care Workers? Who looks after the ones who look after everyone else? Sunday night’s episode of Call the Midwife was another intense installment as the Poplar community grappled with a tuberculosis epidemic along with the everyday births, deaths, lives, and loves. In season 2’s episode 6, Sister Bernadette is diagnosed with the disease, and her fel … [Read more...]

Vikings Are People Too

On March 3, History Channel premiered its much-discussed miniseries The Bible, which proved to be thoroughly popular both on its original airdates and now on DVD.  But what intrigued me more was the show that followed The Bible’s premiere, History Channel’s first original fictional series, Vikings.  The series ended its inaugural season this Sunday but will return for a second season sometime in 2014.  The brainchild of former Tudors scribe Michael Hirst, Vikings follows the exploits of the semi- … [Read more...]