Filmwell’s Michael Leary: Things I Learned About Parenting Daughters From “Gilmore Girls”


My longtime friend, colleague, and Filmwell co-founder Michael Leary, a writer I admire, a man of impeccable taste in cinema, and — above all — a big-hearted father, has something to say about Gilmore Girls. The whole series is now streaming on Netflix. I won't hesitate to admit that I'm watching it again... ...and not just because my favorite songwriter, Sam Phillips, does the music. How did television get me to make time for a comedy about a mother, a daughter, and boy problems? Writing. I … [Read more...]

Now on Netflix: Django Unchained


Now that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is streaming on Netflix, I figured it was time to republish this article, which was requested by the editors of Christianity Today, and published in the March 2013 print issue under the title "Blaze of Gory" and online as "Django Unchained and the Quest for Revenge."•On Christmas Day 2012 — while Americans were still grieving for victims of the Newtown elementary-school massacre — Django Unchained, the new film by Quentin Tarantino, opened nat … [Read more...]

Ragamuffin (2014) – A Guest Review by Martin Stillion


Please welcome Martin Stillion, my friend of more than two decades — a former classmate, a multi-instrumentalist, an extraordinary editor, an accomplished journalist, a frequent contributor to Response, a devoted family man. I've often appreciated his discernment when it comes to music and movies.He posted some comments on Ragamuffin, a film that I've been hoping to check out soon, and I asked if I could share them. He responded by expanding them into a guest review. Thanks, Martin! … [Read more...]

Scott Derrickson May Not “Deliver Us From Evil,” But He Knows Who Can


This year, I've seen two priests on the big screen. Both have marched solemnly toward a showdown with evil.That evil takes two very different forms — a human being with a gun and a grudge, and a demon using a broken human being as his vessel. … [Read more...]

Battle in Seattle (or the Movie Directed by That Guy Who Was Almost Aragorn)


Many thanks to Matthew Kaemingk of Christ and Cascadia, who invited me to write on the subject of the spirit of protest in the Pacific Northwest, and about a movie directed by the man who was almost Aragorn. … [Read more...]

A Priest With a Death Sentence: Looking Closer at Calvary


At Christianity Today, Alissa Wilkinson got my attention early by saying, Well, I've just come from a screening of Calvary, the most "Christian" film I've seen in as long as I can remember. I don't think it will be winning any awards from the Christian world (although I guarantee it will show up on my end-of-year list here at Christianity Today, and a few others, too). It has bad words, and it takes place in a universe very like ours — that is, in one where people are suffering the ugly af … [Read more...]

Well-Made Movies Won’t Be… Left Behind


Today, Matt Zoller Seitz, editor of, defended The Good Lie, a movie in which the central characters are Christians, as "a good movie."Why did he feel the need to defend it? Well, the success of The Blind Side inspired some backlash — opposition to movies in which "a white lady comes to the rescue" of those in need, as if down-home American white folks are the world's saviors. And the marketing campaign for The Good Lie certainly makes the movie look like one of those.He's n … [Read more...]

Listen Closer: Second Impressions of U2′s Songs of Innocence

U2 songs of innocence large

Hey, U2 fans, music lovers, and iPhone users... you're invited! I'm joining Dr. Jeff Keuss and others on Monday night, October 13, for a live podcast conversation called "U2, Apple, and the Future of Music." It'll be at Hale's Ales Brewery and Pub in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood, and the dinner audience will be involved in the conversation, which will eventually be posted online. Want to join the conversation? Get your tickets here. Okay, let's not waste time talking about … [Read more...]

Listen Closer: Thom Yorke, Luluc, Lucinda Williams, Leonard Cohen, My Brightest Diamond, Sinead O’Connor


It's time to check the New Music Seismograph! What albums are shaking the ground beneath my feet?Those who have followed my blog over the past decade or so know that I'm averse to "rating" art with a point system. (I mean, really... how much can you learn about a record if I tell you "I give it a 72"?)But hey, just to shake things up, I'm going to make an exception. What good is a blog if it doesn't surprise readers from time to time? Introducing the Overst-richter Scale... … [Read more...]

Looking Closer at Left Behind – The Movie!


[This post will be updated over the next few days, so check back as this thrilling — dare I say rapturous? — cinematic occasion unfolds!]Yesterday, I received an advertisement distributed by Christianity Today in which Tim LaHaye said this about the new Left Behind movie:"You will be moved, blessed and thrilled."Yeah, I remember how, when I was six years old, I wrote a story, stapled it together, and then, to make it look like a real book, I put my own rave-review blurb on the cover, … [Read more...]