Looking Back: Five 2009 Video Game Moments That Give Me Hope for the Medium

While devotion to the mediums of film, books, and music are often acceptable and even encouraged, it's harder to justify a devotion to video games. While those who appreciate these more respected mediums are often thought of as smart, perceptive, and thoughtful, video game devotees are often thought of as simple-minded fanboys simply out for another challenge or mindless fun.I am well aware that this perception is based on a certain reality: when it comes to artistic seriousness, video games … [Read more...]

Looking Back: Film in 2009

Richard Clark - Where the Wild Things Are In the months leading up to the opening of Where the Wild Things Are, we heard about the darkness that was prevalent in this film, the uneasiness that it might inspire in the audience, and the battles the director had with the studio in the midst of the film being made. It's not those things that caught me by surprise, but instead the simple fact that this film, despite my expectations, brought me back to my childhood in a way that no Pixar film or … [Read more...]

'The Road' Goes Ever On

Note: If you're one of the few people who are interested in seeing The Road but haven't read the book, be warned that there may be spoilers below.Even as a child, I loved the parts of The Lord of the Rings in which Frodo and Sam (and sometimes Gollum) trudge across wasteland and marshes to finally reach Mount Doom. I’m well aware, though, that most people find those sections, whether in book or movie, boring and/or depressing. If you’re one of those people, then you probably won’t want to see T … [Read more...]

Invictus: Showcasing the Power of Leadership, Forgiveness-and Hard-hitting Rugby

“I am the master of my fate: I am captain of my soul.” These words form the heart of “Invictus,” the poem by William Earnest Henley and the title of Clint Eastwood’s new film. The poem comforted and renewed Nelson Mandela as he suffered imprisonment from 1964-1990 in Apartheid South Africa. The fall of Apartheid led not only to his release but his eventual election to the Presidency in 1994.Invictus the film focuses on Mandela (played by Morgan Freeman) and Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon), the ca … [Read more...]

Why 'Precious' Is Actually Too Comforting

Yes, you read that right. A movie about an illiterate Harlem teen raped by her father is too comforting. Here's why.In the 1993 Afterword to her 1970 novel The Bluest Eye, Toni Morrison writes of the difficulty of achieving her desired effect of not only touching readers but also moving them. What’s the difference between being touched and moved? When you have a novel about a poor young girl who’s convinced she’s ugly, who is raped and impregnated by her own father, it’s almost impossible not t … [Read more...]

How "Taken" Challenged My Fathering

I have the world's most beautiful and precious two year old girl. Okay, I know what you're thinking and the answer is yes, "I am biased." But I love my daughter more than nearly anyone in the whole world (with the exception of her mother who I love even more). But after having seen the movie "Taken" just last weekend my fathering was deeply challenged.If you're not familiar with "Taken" let me bring you up to speed. In the movie Liam Neeson plays retired CIA vet, Bryan Mills, who has moved to … [Read more...]

Podcast #64: Where Are the Wild Things, Anyway?

This week, Ben and Rich discuss Where the Wild Things are, and why it makes a better film for children, grown-ups, and everyone in between. Plus, a short discussion about the emergent church. 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 respond to feedback on the show, so d … [Read more...]

Is 'Wild Things' Too Dark, or are Disney Films Too Light?

Shortly before Where the Wild Things Are came to theaters, speculation began to surface that the film was too dark for young children. Many early reviews seemed to back up this claim, suggesting that the film was too dark, depressive and emotionally confusing for children. It seemed, to the average parent, that it was time to take the PG rating seriously.Parental guidance is a good idea for this film. The reviewers may be right in some cases: there may in fact be children out there that simply … [Read more...]

Podcast #63: If This Were a Western, Michael Moore Would be the Bad Guy

Okay, so we don't know anything about Westerns, and couldn't pull off talking about them in any helpful way. Instead, we spend 30 minutes talking about our relative Michael Moore related articles, as well as how the experience of watching Capitalism: A Love Story in the theater actually went. Every week, Richard Clark and Ben Bartlett sit back and discuss the posts of the previous week on Christ and Pop Culture, acknowledge and respond to the big issues in popular culture, and give a sneak peak … [Read more...]

'Bright Star,' Dim Characters

“A Poet is the most unpoetical thing in existence because he has no Identity,” wrote John Keats in an 1818 letter to a friend. This certainly seems to be the case in Jane Campion’s Bright Star, based on the real-life romance between Keats and Fanny Brawne—only, in the film’s case, this particular axiom is true not only of poets but of most of the characters in the film, poets or no.This line itself is borrowed for the film’s dialogue and inserted into a conversation in which Keats tries, rather … [Read more...]