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...]

A Sacred and Secular Negotiation

In the closing minutes of his new documentary, Religulous, Bill Maher transitions from an agnostic point of view to an atheistic one.  He moves from saying, "I preach the gospel of I don't know," to saying, "For humanity to live, religion must die."  Such a transition signifies Maher's narrow-minded view of religion and also his misguided understanding of secularization.  Maher believes that the eradication of religion will help humanity flourish and put an end to many of the conflicts that di … [Read more...]

Bad Movie Monday: The Happening

It's been a while since my last bad movie Monday, what with the start-up of Monday Night Football and Heroes.  With a little extra time on my hands this week, I picked up a free rental of M. Night Shyamalan's latest film, The Happening (2008). … [Read more...]

Not So Ridiculous…

One of the great things about our Constitution is that it guarantees both the freedom of religion and the freedom from religion.  Individually, we are free to practice whatever faith we choose or no faith at all.  These two freedoms meet head-to-head in Bill Maher and Larry Charles' new documentary, Religulous.  … [Read more...]