“Summer of ’90: ‘The Witches’”: Slant Magazine

on the last great children's nightmare factory of the 1980s: Children's movies are traditionally designed to comfort. There's an unspoken contract between parent and filmmaker: "For the next 90 minutes, your child will be entertained, but not threatened. No need to worry about your little darlings waking up at three in the morning, bawling in terror. This movie is guaranteed not to trouble anyone's mind. Most people are inherently good. The bad guys don't win."Children's movies, for the … [Read more...]

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A Vindication of the Rites of Whores: Rumer Godden’s “Five for Sorrow, Ten for Joy”

When I asked people to recommend books about life in religious communities, this (as well as Godden's In This House of Brede) was one of the most frequent responses. It's a story set among the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, whose charism involves prison ministry--and so many of the sisters are themselves former criminals, what we'd call "ex-offenders" or "returning citizens." These are I think the same nuns you see in Robert Bresson's terrific nun-noir The Angels of Sin. (This is the Bresson for … [Read more...]

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A Survey of “Missionary Kids”–Fascinating Even if You’re NOT a Parent

but maybe especially interesting for parents seeking to raise their kids as disciples. Missionaries' children aren't the only ones facing some of these pressures. Just some really powerful words here about faith and its challenges: You may wonder why I ran this survey. I am an adult MK and, like so many others, “wouldn’t give it up for the world.” In my full-time work, I teach and mentor MKs of all ages and, perhaps most importantly, advocate for them with the missions that send them … [Read more...]

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Feeling Better: I review “Inside Out”

for AmCon: Pixar’s “Inside Out” is a charming, vividly-imagined film with terrific comic timing. Its insights are sharp and its message accurate. So why was I the only person in the theater who didn’t sniffle?“Inside Out” takes us into the brain of Riley, a buoyantly happy 11-year-old girl about to face her first major life challenge: a move from Minnesota to San Francisco. We see the world inside her head, including a control room operated by her emotions. Joy (Amy Poehler) is in charge, a … [Read more...]

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“Pro Wrestling (With Angels)”: I review the new Mountain Goats album

at AmCon: CDs of “Beat the Champ,” the new album from indie folk/rock band the Mountain Goats, come with a small white sticker proclaiming: THIS RIGHT HERE IS AN ALBUM ABOUT PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING. I guess they had to get the ironic disclaimer out of the way: Yes, this is a weird thing to do, roll with it please. If you do roll with it you will find an utterly unironic tribute to the wrestling heroes of singer/songwriter John Darnielle’s childhood—and one of his band’s best albums. … [Read more...]

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A Little Free Library: Read the Comments!

Via Prince of Petworth:Hi all- I live at this house and it’s my free library. We’re a house of returning citizens (ex-offenders) and we made this library (and do other things) to be a positive force in our neighborhood. The artist, a friend of ours, created a painting scheme that looks like row houses that are the covers of DC-based books. We also put up the Free Minds logo (a book club that works with kids who via Title 16 have to go to adult prison as juveniles) because they’ve supported so … [Read more...]

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From Sarah Ruhl, “100 Essays I Don’t Have Time to Write”

There were times when it felt as though my children were annihilating me. Finally I came to the thought, All right, then, annihilate me; that other self was a fiction anyhow. And then I could breathe. I could investigate the pauses. I found that life intruding on writing was, in fact, life. And that, tempting as it may be for a writer who is also a parent, one must not think of life as an intrusion. At the end of the day, writing has very little to do with writing, and much to do with life. And … [Read more...]

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