Category: Arts & Leisure

Finding forgiveness in BoJack Horseman

The first season of Netflix’s BoJack Horseman ended on a dark note, raising surprisingly existential questions for a pun-filled animated series about a washed-up actor who happens to be a horse. What does it mean to be good? What does it mean to be happy? BoJack – the show and the horse – genuinely wanted to know. Luke T. Harrington explored those themes over at Christ & Pop Culture, finding…  [more]

The human complexity of Her Story

A Christian view of people requires a willingness to be surprised by them. Her Story, a video game about a woman being interviewed by police investigators, emphasized this by forcing me to reckon with a complex character who is simultaneously warm, kind, funny, deceptive and cruel. Hannah, the woman at the center of Her Story, reminded me that human beings are incredibly complex. Scripture informs us that people are…  [more]

Instead of Facebook, a book of faces

A book of photographs titled Face elicits obvious comparisons to the social media giant. The latest from photographer Bruce Gilden, the collection of portraits might be more appropriately titled Mug Shot. If these folks filled your Facebook news feed with selfies, you’d probably be tempted to click the “hide” option. In a world overflowing with Photoshopped and filtered images, Face stops our…  [more]

You named your kid Atticus?! Relax

We knew we wanted our son to have a Swedish first name. One that would balance out the very Spanish last name he’d carry through life and would pay homage to the Swedish half of his gene pool. And so my husband and I created a list, culled from the Internet and my grandmother’s family records. We weeded out ones we couldn’t pronounce or spell and ones deemed just too weird. (Sorry, Torbjörn.…  [more]

The earned ‘conservatism’ of Trainwreck

As a director, Judd Apatow has consistently blurred the line between sex comedies and romantic comedies. The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up are both distinct in that much of the laughs arise from sexual situations, yet the gags also serve a narrative that ultimately argues in favor of genuine human connection. Trainwreck continues in that tradition, with a feminine (and occasionally feminist) twist. Written by…  [more]

Love & Mercy: the spiritual haunting of a musical genius

As vapid summer pop music and mindless popcorn flicks reign supreme on the charts, a quiet little film called Love & Mercy explores the heart and mind of one of the most important musical artists of the last century. Brian Wilson - who ironically helped to perfect surf music, one of the most excellently shallow forms of pop ever invented - took a major creative and spiritual left turn when he stopped touring…  [more]

The approaching scourge of virtual-reality porn

Before the Internet, it was easy to think of pornography as a worldly problem far removed from the church. Videos and magazines could only be bought in stores, which required showing one’s face at a public establishment - something most Christians probably avoided. But by the time I was 15, I had a computer in my room with a wire to the world. Suddenly, pornography could be accessed at the touch of a button…  [more]

The best films of 2015 (so far)

The second half of 2015 has a tough act to beat, at least as far as the movies are concerned. It’s not only the quality of the films themselves, but the variety displayed among them. From smart science-fiction to broad comedy to foreign-language allegory, my favorite pictures of 2015 run the gamut. Here’s a list of the top five films of the year, at least at its midpoint. 5. What We Do in the Shadows If…  [more]

Monasticism and the Googleplex

Nathan Heller had me at the title: “Google’s Monastic Vision for the Future of Work.” Heller’s New Yorker article breezily condenses a decade or so of Google’s corporate real estate travails into a jambalaya of metaphors, all while describing a design project for their new headquarters that looks like the latest version of the Biosphere. As the headline hints, Heller lands, finally, on…  [more]

Fallout Shelter and the cost of free-to-play video games

I got hooked on a little iOS game last week that made an unexpected impact on me. Fallout Shelter is mostly a promotional product, put out by Bethesda to tout their upcoming blockbuster Fallout 4, yet it’s left me wrestling with ideas about right, wrong and the value of entertainment. Fallout Shelter is a base-building game - the player manages and expands an underground vault full of cute, cartoony people in…  [more]

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