How The Lego Movie Helped Me Overcome Fantastical Disappointment

The following contains spoilers for The LEGO Movie.Popcorn, soda, and candy? Check. Everyone is happy.My excitement for The LEGO Movie only grew as I sat in the crowded theater. The humor and creativity teased in the trailers exceeded my expectations. The animation was splendid. The cameos were many—and hilarious. I was giddy for almost the entirety of the film, exclaiming with Emmet, Wyldstyle, and Batman, "Everything is awesome!" (Seriously, I haven't stopped singing it. It's way too c … [Read more...]

‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ and the Racial Tone-Deafness of Conservative America

It’s arguably one of the strangest entertainment stories of the year so far, and, depending on who you ask, can easily be spun a number of different ways.It’s either a classic David-and-Goliath tale cut tragically short when David had his chance taken away at the last second, or it’s a tale of an insidious subculture mercifully stopped short of infiltrating the mainstream. The press is, of course, spinning it both ways.Here’s what we know for sure: when the Academy Awards were announced, … [Read more...]

The Kiddy Pool: Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Paradox of the Loving Addict

Every week in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.I felt tremendous sadness when I learned of the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. I could wax poetic about his brilliance as an actor and his contributions to contemporary American cinema, but I am not an astute film critic. Suffice it to say that I always found his characters compelling. I watch, like so many of his audiences, as an outsider, on the periphery of his … [Read more...]

Ones and Zeros: A Reflection on Spike Jonze’s HER

Theodore Twombly is only human, and that’s a problem. If Mary Shelley has taught us anything, it’s that mortals should not mess around with creating life artificially; but that is essentially what the protagonist of Her does, without much more than a cursory glance through the instruction manual. His creation is Samantha, an artificial-intelligence “OS” fashioned in imago Theo (“How would you describe your relationship with your mother?” his computer asks him while installing Samantha’s program) … [Read more...]

Ocean’s 11, 1944: Sorting through the Jumble of THE MONUMENTS MEN

 Picture this: It’s 1941 in Paris, and a young SS commander named Stahl has forced his way into the apartment of a French art curator to notify her that her brother was found to be working for the French Resistance and summarily shot. The curator works for the commander at a museum where Stahl oversees the city’s art collections and picks out the best pieces for shipment back to the Fatherland. He threatens the curator that if he finds her allegiance to lie with the Resistance she to … [Read more...]

What I Learned From Philip Seymour Hoffman

by Alissa WilkinsonThe great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead yesterday of a heroin overdose in his apartment in Manhattan, and I swore aloud when I saw the news, unconsciously: he was 46 and probably the greatest actor of his generation, but I've also always felt like I learned from him, in some odd way. Lots of things. Here's just a couple.One reason is that if you go to theater in New York, you get (got) to see him work there, too. Seeing Hoffman onstage was a revelation - … [Read more...]

Listening Closely to Wolf of Wall Street: Music as a Moral Clue in the Films of Martin Scorsese

As far as film directors do, Martin Scorsese is the king of being misunderstood. Ever since Mean Streets in 1973, Scorsese has drawn heat for his seemingly sympathetic portrayals of awful people and glorification of depravity. Forty years later The Wolf of Wall Street is drumming up the same criticisms.Not much more needs to be said in defense of Scorsese’s intent and morality. Tons of great reviews and commentaries have come from both inside and outside of Christendom in the last few weeks, … [Read more...]

Beware the Frozen Heart

“Mom, it’s kind of rude for a princess to say ‘Don’t know if I’m elated or gassy,’ right?” “Mom, why does she love chocolate so much? It’s not very princessy.” “Mom, why is Elsa so unkind to her sister?  Why won’t she open the door and play with her?”  “Mom, why does it say ‘beware the frozen heart?’ ” I took Rosie, my 5-year-old daughter, to see Frozen last month.  I clutched her mittened hand as we crunched through the slushy parking lot toward the theater, unaware we were also heading towa … [Read more...]

Christmas, in Four Movies

To give you a taste of the kind of content found in each issue of Christ and Pop Culture Magazine, each day for the next two weeks, we’ll be counting down our ten favorite features from the magazine in 2013, allowing you the rare opportunity to read each exclusive magazine feature in full. For more features like this, download the magazine for iPad and iPhone from Apple’s Newstand.Number 7: We experience traditions through the stories we tell each other. D.L. Mayfield reflects on how four fil … [Read more...]

3. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire: “We are the Audience” #CaPC25

All this week, the writers of Christ and Pop Culture unveil their 25 most loved things of 2013.  Previous #4: Before Midnight #3: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire We watch it all, the dystopian future, the brave teenage heroine, the heartbreaking love triangle, the pathos, the greed, the cruelty, the injustice, and we are entertained. We should not be so quick to dismiss this, the truth that we are entertained as we watch people, children, battle to the death. But we are not gleeful. After all, … [Read more...]