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Getting to Know Fred

Getting to Know Fred

My childhood memories involving Mr. Rogers were probably pretty average for kids my age; he was the nice storyteller that my parents trusted enough to give full control over our afternoon TV; his show always moving at a infuriatingly slow walking pace, with enriching guests like Yo-Yo Ma and other musicians showing up to uphold virtuous habits and innocent ways of looking at the world that the rest of the shadowy empire of children’s television was ruining so thoroughly.

Do I sound cynical? While Mr. Rogers has always been held relatively dear in my mind, he wasn’t exactly the most…

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Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

Tully: Ever-Present Wounds and Subdued Joy

The following review was written by Caleb Ackley. Tully is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and other outlets as of today, July 17. Spoilers below.

Charlize Theron isn’t a name typically associated with the average in society. Known best for her roles which require both acting ability and incredible athleticism — think suave assassin in Atomic Blonde or shaven-headed warrior in Mad Max: Fury Road — the name of Theron rarely evokes the pedestrian struggles of a stay-at-home mom. But the year is 2018, after all, and anything, it seems, is possible.

Enter Tully, the latest offering from director Jason Reitman, which stars…

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Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Feeling Pretty, Feeling Loved

Most of the time, I do not feel anything close to “pretty.” On some rare days, I feel like a bombshell the likes of Margot Robbie or Lauryn Hill. But most days, I feel a little ashamed when I look in the mirror. My eyes are too puffy. The skin under my chin is starting to descend down my neck. I look tired, all of the time. My upper arms are too jiggly and I pretty consistently appear to be at least several weeks pregnant. Most days, I put on a light layer of make-up and resignedly think to myself,…

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Suicide, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the Irresistible Father

Suicide, Blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, and the Irresistible Father

I know that there’s already been quite a bit said about suicide on this site, but I’d like to add my own two cents, and this from the standpoint of an ordained pastor who is called to step into these situations as a representative of Jesus Christ—to actually try my best not to make the situation worse.

During my summer of clinical pastoral education (something required of most seminarians), on my second night of rounds as a newly minted hospital chaplain, I was summoned to the critical care unit. A young man had been brought in with a terminal gunshot wound…

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The Real Battle Lines in The Incredibles 2

The Real Battle Lines in The Incredibles 2

This one was written by Jeremiah Lawson. Spoilers ahead!

Brad Bird’s films may be some of the most misunderstood animated films released under the name of Disney/Pixar, thanks to film critics who, over against any of Bird’s own public statements, insist that he embraces and endorses an Ayn-Rand-style objectivism. There have been inevitable attempts to read Bird’s new film The Incredibles 2 as a state of the union film. There have also been reviews proposing that Bird’s new film is trying to say so many things it may not be saying anything; or that the politics of the film seem hard…

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Nine Rules From Chris Pratt, Generation Award Winner

File this under unexpected! Some inspired misdirection from the soon-to-be-appointed Youth Minister General of the United States, Burt Macklin Starlord himself, ht HE:

The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

The Revolutionary Message of Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Grateful for this write-up on the new Fred Rogers documentary, opening in theaters this month! By our friend Mike Cosper:

One of the achievements of Morgan Neville’s new documentary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor, is the profound contrast he’s able to demonstrate between the world of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood and the rest of children’s entertainment.

We’re shown clowns being pounded in the face with pies, gun-wielding Transformers and grenade-throwing GI Joes, and (perhaps the most serious offenders) Ren and Stimpy committing various acts of violence upon one another. Then we see Fred Rogers, speaking gently and slowly into the camera, entertaining with…

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The Things We Think And Do Not Say

The Things We Think And Do Not Say

I operated as if there’d be a verdict. An easy answer. A story. I operated as if we were setting the tone for the rest of our lives. It did not occur to me that we could simply muddle through. Change things later. Forgive ourselves.

I was a freshman in college when Jerry Maguire came out, and I remember watching through my fingers the scene in which he wrote his explosive mission statement (NOT memo) and wondering why he was getting so excited about interrupting the status quo. What’s wrong with just doing your job and flying under the radar? I thought….

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The Weight of Silence

The Weight of Silence

This review of A Quiet Place comes to us from Sam Guthrie.

How do you survive in a world where you’re being hunted by blind monsters that possess a keen sense of hearing? According to the box office hit, A Quiet Place, you plan really well. You prepare, train, and pray that your children don’t make a sound, that life remains muffled, and you know where and when it’s safe to whisper.

In a post-apocalyptic world where a blind alien species has all but wiped out the human race, the Abbott family (parents played by real-life power-couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt) has…

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Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

Stupid Kids Doing Stupid Stuff

This little piece comes to us from the Rt. Rev. Scott Benhase.

In the film “20th Century Women,” there’s a compelling scene between a mother and her teenaged son. The mother has just brought him home from the hospital; he was rushed there after playing a game with his friends that went wrong. The game involved him hyperventilating while another boy stood behind him, wrapping his arms around his torso, and squeezing. Which caused him to pass out. Normally, a person comes to just a few seconds after this, but in this case, the boy remained unconscious. By the time his distraught…

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Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Titanic Wills and the Gauntlet of Sacrifice

Spoilers ahead.

Consider yourself warned.

For ten years now Marvel has been patiently building a universe, populating it with heroes and heroines equal parts human and super-powered, propelling all of them towards a titanomachy we imagined they could be prepared for but in reality are largely powerless against.

Avengers: Infinity War offers our protagonists (and, sympathetically, the audience) various electives of sacrifice—not to elect between sacrificing and not-sacrificing, but to opt for one of the alternatives in a series of cruel binary determinations. Infinity War requires the surrendering of one or another of our heroes’ convictions to perhaps save the universe, but holds…

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When God Watches Movies

When God Watches Movies

This review was written by Mockingbird intern Jeff Dillenbeck.

What is the purpose of movies? Is it to entertain? To communicate? I’ve typically seen movies as meant to be artistic expressions (especially after seeing most of the best picture Oscar nominees, this past year), works that evoke emotion or relay something about the human experience in way that the written word can’t quite capture. Like other the other art forms, film has the power to move its human audience—to provoke thought, to encourage, to empower.

But what do movies have to say to the divine?

That’s what film critic Josh Larsen (of the…

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