Podcast #80: Embracing the Documentary

If you don't watch and enjoy documentaries already, you probably think of them as boring edutainment, laced with boring things like "facts" and "ideas." Well, you're only half true. These days, the documentary genre contains all sorts of different films, many of which are some of the most entertaining things you'll watch. We discuss the benefits and dangers of this genre. We also herald the return of the CAPCAs (Christ and Pop Culture Awards), handing out awards to all sorts of different kinds … [Read more...]

Podcast #76: War is Madness, But So is March

Ben and I talk about the merits of sports in the midst of March Madness, and with the debut of HBO's The Pacific, ruminate on why exactly it is that men so love war films. Plus, the return of the top 5 with our top 5 war films!Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to christandpopculture@gmail.com, or go to our contact page. We would love to … [Read more...]

A Tea Date With Fate: Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland"

Many of us recall Disney’s first “Alice in Wonderland.” This animated spectacle formed many of our images of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the Cheshire Cat. Now comes Tim Burton’s remake. Burton’s past work makes this project ideal for the director. Add in Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter and the project appears to be headed for critical praise and box office gold.But does this match made in Heaven work? Wonderland (or Underland as it is actually called) is a visual treat. Tim Burton’s strongest suit … [Read more...]

'The Last Station' and the Gospel of Fluff

In The Last Station, an adaptation of a 1990 novel chronicling the last year of Leo Tolstoy’s life, an earnest young secretary Valentin Bulgakov (James McAvoy) arrives at the commune started by Tolstoy’s followers and is shocked to find that one of the young female disciples adheres to very few of the principles of Tolstoyism (most notably, celibacy). This young woman, Masha, tells Valentin (after she seduces him) that following Tolstoy isn’t about the rules; it’s about love.That’s the sort of … [Read more...]

Podcast #74: Love is Messed Up

Valentine's Day is over kids, and if you think love is still everywhere you look, you don't really know anything about what love is. This week, we discuss Tiger Wood's attempt to salvage his own love-life and what (if anything) it has to do with us. We also discuss the train wreck that is the mainstream romantic film.Programming Note: Starting this week, we'll be recording the podcast on Monday and publishing earlier in the week, usually on Wednesday.Every week, Richard Clark and Ben … [Read more...]

Protecting the Bible Post-Apocalyptic Style: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of The Book of Eli

The world of The Book of Eli is a vast wasteland of death and destruction, controlled by criminals, plagued by cannibals, and rampant with injustice.  The nuclear war that left the world in such disarray was caused by religion, particularly abuses of the Bible.  Thus Bibles were systematically destroyed and only one Bible remains—the “Book” of Eli, the movie's protagonist—which is the last known King James Bible.  Thus Eli has a book that many want destroyed and others want to steal in order to e … [Read more...]

Podcast #71: How "Chuck" "Lost" the "Assassin's Creed" While Emerging from Church

This week, Ben and Rich address subjects that were suggested by listeners like you! We asked for some subjects via Twitter, Facebook and the website, and tried to address as many as possible. Some subjects discussed: Assassin's Creed 2, Chuck, Lost, Haiti charity, the emergent church and more!Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture. We love feedback! If you’d like to respond you can comment on the website, send an email to c … [Read more...]

Assassin's Creed 2: Shot Through the Heart

Note: If you haven't played through AC2, you may want to finish first before you read this. There's some acknowledgement of end-game revelations.Assassin's Creed 2 opens with a telling disclaimer: "Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs." It's the first in a series of signals that what we are about to play is in fact a very different type of game.In an industry … [Read more...]

'Up in the Air': A Meditation on Scriptedness

The life of corporate axe Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) runs according to script (actually, a Golden Globe-winning screenplay). When he swipes his frequent-flier card through the airline kiosk, the clerk is prompted to greet him on cue with, “It’s a pleasure to see you again, Mr. Bingham.” When he fires a distraught employee, he recites a little speech about how all the great world leaders and conquerors have sat “right where you are today.” When he does one of his side gigs as a motivational spe … [Read more...]

Podcast #70: Avatar's Messiah Complex & Haiti's Tragedy

Ben didn't see Avatar. Rich did. Neither are really big fans, but Ben thinks it could be dangerous. Could it be? Also, in the wake of the tragedy in Haiti, Rich and Ben discuss the event itself, our response, the response of those in the media, and what our response should look like. Note: Pardon the ridiculousness at the 33 minute mark. We're going to get to the bottom of this eventually. We promise.Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett acknowledge and respond to the big issues in … [Read more...]