A Bloody Mess…

Twenty-first century cinematic ministers fare little better than their predecessors.  Southerners in contemporary cinema never get it easy either.  Combine the two and you have a recipe for ridicule. The King (2006), directed by the British James Marsh, is an attempt to wrap a Southern gothic fairy tale in religious garb.  Despite a great cast, including Gael Garcia Bernal, Paul Dano, and William Hurt, the extra religious layer burdens a film that is in no shape to shoulder it. … [Read more...]

Virtual Dystopia

One of the most interesting parts of Conrad Ostwalt's book, Secular Steeples, is his comparison of secular and sacred apocalyptic films.  One of the characteristics of secular apocalyptic films is that humans must and do overcome the apocalyptic threat before them through world unity, technological advancements, military might, etc.  Contrary to this, sacred apocalyptic films wait for God to act decisively while humans must endure the violence around them.  Lately, I have observed a string of vi … [Read more...]

New Homebrewed Christianity Podcast

Our friends Tripp Fuller and Chad Crawford have a new podcast up over at Homebrewed Christianity featuring Phyllis Tickle and a capsule review of W. by yours truly.  Follow the link after the jump. … [Read more...]

The Real Thing…

Looking at religious documentaries that expose a certain element of Christianity, we can trace a thread back at least to 1972 and the Academy Award winning film, Marjoe.  Marjoe Gortner began preaching at the age of four, leading revivals and even officiating weddings.  Urged on by his parents, until the age of fifteen, Marjoe left his "ministry" and returned in his young adult years when he realized the financial profitability of his preaching.  Read on for a review and check out the featured vi … [Read more...]

"Without Them, I'm Not Me…"

These are the words that Tammy Faye Messner (formerly Bakker) uses to describe her outrageous eyelashes in the opening of the documentary The Eyes of Tammy Faye (2000).  I've said in several places that I feel like we are in a hey-day of religious documentaries.  Any discussion of this genre must include this insightful film about one of televangelism's most (in)famous figures. … [Read more...]

W.: A Pop Theology Dialogue

We are trying something new here at Pop Theology.  I recently went to see W. with a few friends including Pop Theology contributor Richard Lindsay.  We immediately thought that a conversation about the film might be a great way to approach it rather than just a simple review.  As most everyone knows, Oliver Stone's W. focuses on George W. Bush's rise to the White House and then the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.  While there is much to talk about here in terms of brilliant filmmaking from Stone … [Read more...]

Old Fashioned Television

Ironically, the greatest thing about the cable movie network AMC is its original television series like Breaking Bad and Mad Men.  By far, the most popular of the two, Mad Men has garnered loads of critical acclaim and an audience that will no doubt increase as each season releases on DVD.  The first season of Mad Men is already available on DVD.  Pop Theology contributor Richard Lindsay offers an insightful look book on this hit series' first season.  … [Read more...]

One Dark Night

Along with the religion and film class in which I am a teaching assistant, I am also preparing for comprehensive exams, one of which is a closed book, timed exam on the history of religious cinema.  I will do well to watch a religious film or two each day until that exam which, off course, this bodes well for Pop Theology as I hope to provide capsule review of each of these films as well.  I recently watched John Huston's famous The Night of the Iguana (1964). … [Read more...]