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...]


A couple of weeks ago, I watched and reviewed Flywheel, the first feature-length, widely-released film from Sherwood Pictures.  I have been amazed by the financial success of this film and their subsequent release, Facing the Giants.  I greatly anticipated their newest film, Fireproof, and have been tracking its box office results as well.  As I suspected, their filmmaking has improved and, surprisingly, so has their scriptwriting. … [Read more...]

A Long Overdue Miracle…

It is certainly unthinkable that precious few, if any, Hollywood films have yet to focus on the African American soldiers who fought and died in World War II.  In a way, it is also surprising that Spike Lee has not taken up the topic until now.  While it is also unfortunate that critics have generally slammed Lee's latest film, I certainly do not expect a much deserved and long overdue subject to excuse poor filmmaking.  I had been wanting to see Miracle at St. Anna for quite some time, but all t … [Read more...]

Before the Giants…

Before the surprising success of Facing the Giants, Alex and Stephen Kendrick, produced their first feature film, Flywheel.  With a budget of only $20,000, these relatively new filmmakers cast community and church members to tell a morally uplifting story about the power of prayer and the necessity of placing God first in your life. … [Read more...]

Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior

Over the next year, I will be co-directing the sociology of religion movie night along with Pop Theology contributor Wendy Arce under the supervision of Jerome Baggett, Dean of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley.  A monthly film screening that started over a year ago, the series features documentaries about religious subject matter, as Jerome argues that, and I agree, we are experiencing a heyday of religious documentaries.  This year, while we have convinced Jerome to include narrative f … [Read more...]


I am no anime or manga expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I recognize the artistic value, beauty, and potential for these art forms.  They, or animation in general, can image the limitless possibilities of our imagination.  Theology and film scholars are starting to catch on to the implications of great works like Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.  Unlike much mainstream animation, great anime often blends truly fantastic animation with deep storytelling.  Flipping through some past BFI … [Read more...]

Do You Believe In…

In college, I read a book that began to drastically change the way I thought about God and the ways in which God worked in the world.  For a young person from a conservative Southern Baptist background, Leslie D. Weatherhead's The Will of God was a radical reading experience.  Faced with theological inconsistencies during World War II, Weatherhead began re-thinking his concept of the will of God.  His text, a series of sermons to victims of the war and their families, resonates decades later wi … [Read more...]