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...]

The Perfect (Moral) Storm

I am serving as a teaching assistant for my advisor's Religion and the Cinema course.  In preparation for an upcoming lecture on the representations of preachers, ministers, and evangelists in film, I have been watching loads of films that feature such characters in lead roles.  As the lecture approaches I am trying to watch at least one of these films each day, all the while hoping that Netflix will not stall my account activity.  One of the early, most famous of these films is Rain (1932), di … [Read more...]

A Country Gospel: Pop Theology Turns 200

For Pop Theology's 200th post, we celebrate 1973, the year of the Jesus musical.  That year saw the release of  Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, and the lesser-known The Gospel Road: One Man's Journey on the Road to the Truth.  While perhaps not as popular as the first two and certainly not as cinematically polished, directed Robert Elfstrom and writer/narrator Johnny Cash manage to blend a reverent retelling of the life of Jesus with lively country gospel music mixed in. … [Read more...]