January 11, 2022

So this weekend marked roughly my dozenth watch of Knives Out. Not much else to do as I eagerly await the currently in-development sequels. On this viewing, what really struck me, aside from just how great Jamie Lee Curtis looks in phosphorescent pink, is just how good they manage to keep Marta. That our heroine is this movie’s ambassador of morality should come as no surprise. It’s a regular truism in storytelling in general that goodness is the ultimate decider... Read more

January 4, 2022

There’s a controversy at the heart of the James Cameron 1997 epic, “Titanic,” that has been hotly contested ever since the film exploded onto the scene nearly 25 years ago. This question, one that has weighed on my mind through every viewing, has significant implications for life and death for the young couple. No. I’m not talking about that stupid door. Y’all need to get over that … I’m talking about the film’s final scene wherein the elderly Rose goes... Read more

December 9, 2021

Well, the new West Side Story is coming out tomorrow, so why not talk about interracial romance on film? Today’s subject is the underappreciated 1965 masterpiece by Guy Green, A Patch of Blue. The center of the movie is a young woman named Selina. Blind and under the grip of her abusive mother, Selina is both caged and crippled. Gordon, an educated black man, encounters her in the park and feels immense sympathy for her upon learning about her situation,... Read more

November 18, 2021

In John Chapter 3, Jesus is instructing Nicodemus how to inherit eternal life, and his counsel is to be born again. Nicodemus’s mind immediately jumps to, “So, like I’ve got to enter my mother’s womb a second time or something?” and Jesus is like, “No, buddy, that’s like way too literal.” Symbolic rebirth is a common feature within stories about redemption or conversion. Often this transformation is more symbolic, the way Christ meant in his first instruction. But stories are... Read more

October 27, 2021

I watched a video earlier this week tracing the cultural origins of the werewolf folklore, and I learned that the monster intersects quite a bit with Christian history. At one point, it was considered a sin to even believe in werewolves, and a few centuries later, the Church was like, “Darn right, there are werewolves! Better repent fast or it’ll come for you too!” But it turns out a lot of what constitutes modern werewolf mythology actually came from the... Read more

October 7, 2021

Gens Y and Z have a special interest in making good guys out of really bad guys. Sometimes we give villains tragic backstories to show that they were good guys, actually, until society screwed them up (e.g. Joker). But other times we’re not as interested in literal bad guys as the deconstruction of the aesthetics of evil. Take Geralt of Rivia, mutated monster hunter and star of Netflix’s hit series, The Witcher. The show follows Geralt’s interactions with other magical... Read more

October 1, 2021

Of the twelve or so moments that make me tear up in Coco, there’s one in particular that stands out: the moment when Miguel crashes into the ghostly skeleton of his Papa Julio. I’m being serious. The moment is played for laughs, but Papa Julio’s reaction has always really hit me. He’s not angry, he simply cries, “Miguel?” No introduction necessary, this guy knows he has just met his great-grandson. Right off, Miguel’s ancestors immediately know who he is. And... Read more

September 14, 2021

Today’s post was actually inspired by a meme I saw from a Pokemon page I followed on Facebook back in high school. The post read, “To me, God will always be the guy who could have created Pokemon but instead decided, ‘Nah, malaria …'” The meme was made and shared by someone who was presumably outside of and unsympathetic to the faith. This itself didn’t bother me except for the unnecessary snideness toward God. After all, religion factors very little... Read more

August 30, 2021

In the first chapter of this series, I made a comment about Andy’s unusual role as the film’s protagonist. Andy is the central character, sure, but it isn’t really his story. Andy overcomes the trials presented to him, but he doesn’t really grow. In that way, The Shawshank Redemption isn’t really the story of Andy. It is the story of Red, Andy’s best friend. Red is the one with the character flaw at the start of the film, and he’s... Read more

August 24, 2021

It’s a somewhat dispiriting notion for the religious viewer that the most explicitly religious references within a film like The Shawshank Redemption come from the bad guy. On Andy’s first night in Shawshank, he tells the new inmates, “I believe in two things: discipline and the Bible. Here you’ll receive both. Put your trust in the Lord; your a** belongs to me.” But despite Norton invoking God’s authority, his intentions are far from holy. Not only does he launder money... Read more

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