Patheos Featured Writers

Joseph Susanka
Columnist

Joseph has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since graduating from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999.

In early 2003, he decided to pursue his growing interest in film, attending night classes in screenwriting, cinematography, and film history at Los Angeles City College for two years. (It was during this time that he came to more fully appreciate how just patient, supportive, and saintly his wife is—a fact for which he fears he can never be suitably grateful.) 

Fortified by just enough cinematic knowledge to be dangerous, he followed Greeley' advice to go West; a move, oddly enough, that involved heading East to Wyoming. Accompanied by his wife and sons, he came to rest in the town of Lander, "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks." 

A regular blogger and columnist for Crisis Magazine, he spends his free time exploring the beautiful Wind River Mountains, keeping track of his (for the moment) six sons, and thanking his lucky stars for Netflix. He can be reached at JosephSusanka@gmail.com, and followed at www.facebook.com/JosephSusanka.

Works by Joseph Susanka
SSF: "The Snowman"
Joseph Susanka | December 20, 2015
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Happy Thanksgiving, Y'All!
Joseph Susanka | November 25, 2015
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Now THIS Is What Coldness Sounds Like!
Joseph Susanka | November 24, 2015
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SSF: "Azarkant"
Joseph Susanka | November 23, 2015
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SVS: "Air Force One"
Joseph Susanka | November 20, 2015
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WARNING: Dangerous Time Sink Ahead!
Joseph Susanka | November 18, 2015
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SSF: "The Monk and the Fish"
Joseph Susanka | November 16, 2015
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SVS: "Lawrence of Arabia"
Joseph Susanka | November 13, 2015
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Commendable in the Eyes of God, Country, and Family
Joseph Susanka | November 11, 2015
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Going To Space With xkcd (And Ten Hundred Easy Words)
Joseph Susanka | November 10, 2015
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SSF: "Ray's Big Idea"
Joseph Susanka | November 09, 2015
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SVS: "The Killer"
Joseph Susanka | November 06, 2015
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To run away from the culture is to surrender it; one Catholic university is teaching......
Hell on Wheels: The Grand Dangers of Tiny Sins
Joseph Susanka | September 21, 2012
If a little evil can work for good, why not a little more?...
The Dark Knight Before the Dawn
Joseph Susanka | July 26, 2012
A week after the shootings in Aurora, a young father returns to themes from The Dark......
The Unimpeachable Testimony of Dr. John Watson
Joseph Susanka | July 17, 2012
The BBC's latest imagining of Sherlock Holmes places him in modern-day London -- and......
The Blinding Glare of Our Idols
Joseph Susanka | June 13, 2012
God warns us against idols not because He is jealous of our misguided affections, but......
Out of Violence, Into First Grade
Joseph Susanka | May 22, 2012
There is no "use by" date on education, perseverance, and freedom....
No Insurance Policy for Love
Joseph Susanka | May 07, 2012
The scariest part of parenting is imagining a future in which we cannot make everything......
"Seven Chances" and Answered Prayers Unrecognized
Joseph Susanka | April 30, 2012
We humans are not just in the business of looking gift horses in the mouth -- we want to......
Embracing Martha While Pining for Mary: Win-Win?
Joseph Susanka | April 23, 2012
The longer I am a father, the more I am convinced that prayer and parenting are......
The Absurdity of God's Forgiveness
Joseph Susanka | April 02, 2012
The Son (Le Fils) is a cinematic expression of our own wondering at the mystery of God's......
King Lear in Lent
Joseph Susanka | March 26, 2012
Shakespeare's famous play warns us against flattery and encourages us to embrace our......
Obamacare Questions: Windmills or Giants?
Joseph Susanka | March 19, 2012
When policy is debated, it is absurd to create giants where there are none, but reducing......
Breaking the Promises We Make to Ourselves
Joseph Susanka | March 12, 2012
An anime that asks some timely and terrifying questions of Americans facing an election......
"Au Hasard Balthazar" offers one of cinema's most powerful Christological metaphors....
Waiting on Happiness
Joseph Susanka | February 07, 2012
The more we pursue happiness and contentment, the less we have....
The Romantic Reality of Ordinary Life
Joseph Susanka | January 31, 2012
Butch Cassidy was a hopeless romantic who didn't realize greatness comes in the daily......
Nakedness Is Next to Godliness
Joseph Susanka | January 24, 2012
A man without shame is a man blinded to the reality of his own imperfections. But how......
Election '12: Dumbing Democracy Down
Joseph Susanka | January 17, 2012
Our demand for perfectly polished, error-free politicians dooms us to exactly the sort......
The Importance of an Entourage
Joseph Susanka | January 10, 2012
If anyone could be expected to distance himself from fallen human beings, it would be......
Authenticity and Realism: Talking with Grassroots Films
Joseph Susanka | December 20, 2011
Grassroots Films' startlingly beautiful cinematic eye is born of the production......
"A Man for All Seasons" and the Call to Fanaticism
Joseph Susanka | December 02, 2011
Few things are as important to me as distancing myself from the fanatics. Yet does......
Extreme Times and Elfland
Joseph Susanka | November 18, 2011
Whether Hollywood is trying to apply a salve on tough economic times or simply......
Shadow-Warriors No More
Joseph Susanka | November 11, 2011
Akira Kurosawa's great film "Kagemusa," and what it takes to become who we truly are....
Losing for the Sake of Winning
Joseph Susanka | November 03, 2011
Sometimes being right can be a very empty and lonely thing....
No Justice; No Mercy!
Joseph Susanka | October 27, 2011
An entry in the "revisionist Western" trend in cinema, Seraphim Falls is a much-needed......
White Mane: A Lesson in Practical Nuance
Joseph Susanka | October 20, 2011
Political polarization has damaged our ability to see whole pictures, and to realize how......
Scoring "The Way": A Q and A with Tyler Bates
Joseph Susanka | October 13, 2011
In an exclusive interview for Patheos, composer and film-scorer Tyler Bates talks about......
Seeing the Faces Behind Facebook
Joseph Susanka | October 06, 2011
I'm more "dialed in" now than I've been at any other point in my life, but I am less......
Parents: Be Not (Entirely) Afraid
Joseph Susanka | September 22, 2011
An obscure 1951 film becomes on occasion for facing fears about parenting....
When Actions Don't Speak Louder
Joseph Susanka | September 15, 2011
Our actions profoundly affect our children's lives -- and too often their lack of......
9/11 and the Hero's Equation
Joseph Susanka | September 08, 2011
Chesterton said, "For the man of action, there is nothing but idealism." For the heroes......
The Testimony of Two Towers
Joseph Susanka | September 01, 2011
They left their mark on a generation of films, but the towers of Ground Zero are......
Self-Sacrifice in Miyazaki's Spirited Away
Joseph Susanka | August 25, 2011
We are all spoiled materialists, gorging on things that do not satisfy, insisting on our......
Shining Light on Our Obligation to the Poor
Joseph Susanka | August 18, 2011
Seen post debt-ceiling debate, "Shoeshine" is a look at the consequences of a society......
Why the Wild Things Are
Joseph Susanka | August 11, 2011
In the film version of Maurice Sendak's classic tale, Max comes to understand why the......
Searching for Meaning in Evil's Turbulent Wake
Joseph Susanka | July 28, 2011
An art-house film noir from 2007, Noise is a gritty, hard piece that examines the......
The Booth at the End and Our Faustian Selves
Joseph Susanka | July 21, 2011
How far will you go to get what you want? We are dared to confront our selfishness in......
Elmer Gantry and the Cult of Personality
Joseph Susanka | July 14, 2011
As popular "celebrity priests" endure spectacular flameouts, Sinclair Lewis' story gives......
Cloning and Outcasts: Where Angels Fear to Tread
Joseph Susanka | July 07, 2011
If scientists of our time succeed in their efforts to clone humans, we will find......
Thank God for Desire
Joseph Susanka | June 30, 2011
Peter Falk's impressive film work included a largely improvised turn as an unnamed but......
No Sunrises Without Sunsets
Joseph Susanka | June 23, 2011
"That Evening Sun" explores the problem and promise of growing old....
"Waste Land" is Filled with Riches
Joseph Susanka | June 16, 2011
They are not redeemed by his art. Rather, his art has been transformed by the......
The brutality of Ingmar Bergman's "The Virgin Spring" often leads critics to dismiss it......
The Illusion of Self-Sufficiency
Joseph Susanka | May 26, 2011
In The Illusionist (L'illusionniste), Sylvain Chomet, the insane genius behind The......
"La Jetee": Signposts and Restless Memories
Joseph Susanka | May 12, 2011
The avant-garde film short La Jetee speaks to our age: Humanity's only chance, we are......
Saints Are People Too
Joseph Susanka | May 05, 2011
The beatification of John Paul II reminds us of the lessons we learn from saints,......
Suffer the Little Ones
Joseph Susanka | April 28, 2011
The suffering of children reveals deep truths about humanity and our hope....
1400 years past the trial, passion and death of Christ, Jeanne d'Arc endured a similar......
Love's Little Ways and "The Road Home"
Joseph Susanka | April 14, 2011
Despite the unrealistic depictions of volcanic, all-consuming love that permeate our......
Standing Still at the Tipping Points
Joseph Susanka | April 07, 2011
The Day the Earth Stood Still is a Christ-imaged warning to humanity. The original was......
These Pricking Thorns of Guilt
Joseph Susanka | March 31, 2011
Death and Guilt have a great deal in common. In "I've Loved You So Long", fine......
An indestructible fabric of dazzling whiteness, created with noble intentions, terrifies......
It Takes a Town to "Get Low"
Joseph Susanka | March 18, 2011
The catalysts for grace-filled repentance and retribution often come from the most......
"The Rules of the Game"; there are no such things as merry flings, no "friends with......
How many times must a man be a man before he is a better man, or a perfected one? Sci-Fi......
Scarlet Street: Film Noir Loves a Tell-Tale Heart
Joseph Susanka | February 25, 2011
The iconic and morally unambiguous endings typical of "films noirs" hint at the value......
The Road Less Traveled: Reconsidering the Easy Life
Joseph Susanka | February 18, 2011
The true "long con" is the one we work upon ourselves....
Divorce Granted
Joseph Susanka | February 11, 2011
Cary Grant's frothy delights leave us pondering the dramatic shift in our understanding......
Trust and Doubt: Our Endless Dichotomy
Joseph Susanka | February 04, 2011
The White Ribbon is a chilling tale of unexplained mishaps, distrust and evil in pre-war......
To Be Pickering in a Henry Higgins World
Joseph Susanka | January 28, 2011
Whether in the vinegar of Shaw's Pygmalion or the broth of My Fair Lady, the common gulp......
Can otherworldly visual artistry jump-start the imaginings of adults who have forgotten......
Capes, Masks, and Ordinary Heroes
Joseph Susanka | January 14, 2011
It is the "ordinary" heroes among us that will always serve as our truest and greatest......
"Departures": Death, Where Is Thy Sting?
Joseph Susanka | January 07, 2011
May we all be granted the comforting grace of this understanding as we draw ever-nearer......
Bedford Falls: The Post-Clarence Years
Joseph Susanka | December 26, 2010
There is an intriguing ancillary question raised by Bailey's adventures that remains......
Wes Anderson: Themes on Broken Fatherhood
Joseph Susanka | December 16, 2010
There is something encouraging in his repeated efforts to grapple with the need for......
Bicycle Thieves and the Victory of our Fragility
Joseph Susanka | December 16, 2010
The moment of ruinous revelation that draws inexorably closer to all parents from the......
Seeing All the Colors of Paradise
Joseph Susanka | December 10, 2010
A devastating yet deeply hopeful story of a father's struggles against selfishness, and......
Paved-Over Grace: The Road to Perdition
Joseph Susanka | December 03, 2010
Though production values, acting, and cinematography are all top-notch, the film is not......
Searching Amidst the Bread and Circuses
Joseph Susanka | November 26, 2010
While it is sometimes difficult to look at the typical blockbuster offering as anything......
Beyond "Happily Ever After"
Joseph Susanka | November 16, 2010
While the film industry as a whole may focus on the silver linings at the expense of the......
The Brutality of Grace
Joseph Susanka | October 19, 2010
As one catches sight of the Divine even in the midst of this vale of tears, they are......
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