Category: Arts & Leisure

Justice League: Wonder Woman Amidst the Lost Boys

Among the many refreshing things about this summer’s Wonder Woman was the way the movie looked at its title character, played by Gal Gadot. As the first blockbuster superhero movie directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, the film focused on Wonder Woman’s power above all else. It was a small but important counter to Hollywood’s culture of objectification. Justice League—the latest installment in…  [more]

Accidental Courtesy and the Difficult Call to Love One’s Enemies

America’s greatest sin may be the pernicious racism that has persisted since the country’s inception. No matter the economic heights the nation climbs nor the technological feats achieved, the United States has been plagued by the injustice of racial inequality. The documentary Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race, & America, available on Netflix, chronicles one man’s unlikely and unusual…  [more]

Taylor Swift’s False Reputation

I've followed Taylor Swift’s career from the beginning. I’ve admired her flair for storytelling, her ability to transform the mundane details of everyday experience into profound life lessons. I’ve also admired her knack for creating an endless number of catchy melodies. Being a fellow millennial woman, I feel like I’ve gone through the awkward transition from insecure, adolescent teenager…  [more]

Redemption and Restoration on HGTV’s Fixer Upper

Fixer Upper, the fifth and final season of which premieres on HGTV later this month, stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, a husband-and-wife team who renovate houses around Waco, Texas. Chip brings construction expertise and goofy, self-deprecating humor, while Joanna brings focus, design skills, and the ability to laugh at Chip's antics. In each episode, Chip and Joanna are hired by clients to find and renovate a…  [more]

Lost in Ozark

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a lost man. A middle-aged financial planner with two kids and an unfaithful wife named Wendy (Laura Linney), he lives an uninspiring life in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s a life that appears on the surface to be managed, yet not long after we’re introduced to the Byrdes in the Netflix series Ozark we find them on the run, fleeing to the rural backwaters of the Missouri…  [more]

Happy Death Day’s Scars of Redemption

Despite its slasher trappings, Happy Death Day is more fantasy film than horror flick. Sure, some viewers might jump when an attacker in a baby mask kills medical student Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe) after her late-night birthday party. But when the scene cuts to Tree back in her bed, beginning anew the day that just ended, we know we’re in the realm of wish-fulfillment. Happy Death Day doesn’t want to…  [more]

Star Trek: Discovery and Creation’s Diversity

The Star Trek franchise has long been a place to try new things and imagine the future of humanity—and of television. In the 1960s, it broke ground in terms of diverse casting and depicting interracial romance. In the 1990s it introduced black and female captains. The franchise also imagined technology that would come to be; early flip-phones were designed to mimic the original series’ communicators,…  [more]

Thor: Ragnarok’s Prophetic Call to Confession

Thor: Ragnarok will be remembered as the goofy Thor installment, thanks to a zany middle section set on a psychedelic planet named Sakaar where Jeff Goldblum, sporting blue eyeliner and space pajamas, presides over a gladiatorial tournament. And while those scenes are enough to recommend the movie, I wouldn’t want to overlook a rich and theologically resonant narrative thread that involves Thor’s home…  [more]

Beck’s Colors: Songs in the Key of Joy

It’s not unheard of for me to cry while jogging. Something about the endorphins and just the right track mixed with a bit of exhaustion can prove to be an intoxicating concoction. If you find me nearing the end of a five-mile trek, just drive by blaring the closing minutes of Sigur Ros’ “Glosoli,” and you are sure to get me all puffy-eyed. Recently I went running after a particularly good…  [more]

The Horrible Familiarity of Stranger Things

For the last year, a part of me has been stuck in the Stranger Things story. Stranger Things opened a new world for me, and I’m not just talking about the “Upside Down”—the dark and evil abyss that swallowed young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) in season one. Certain pieces of art feel like a privilege for a generation to take part in, and Stranger Things has been like that for many of us. My…  [more]

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