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    The Roots of Addiction and Sound of Metal

    Movies about addiction usually focus on the challenges of turning from substance use to recovery. But in Sound of Metal, Director Darius Marder focuses on what happens when the foundation of recovery comes crashing down. The film follows Ruben, a drummer in a tandem rock group with his girlfriend Lou. For Ruben and Lou, their […]

    The Law of Advent and the Gospel of Christmas

    Breaking from the norm of conventional Christmas cards, someone sent us a melancholy card, dripping in satire, that reads, “Cheery and bright have taken the year off. Introducing the ‘reflective and moody’ holiday card.” Funny. Fitting. What are we to do in a pandemic during what is hailed to be the most wonderful time of […]

    Confessions From Social Media’s Dr. Frankenstein

    On The Social Dilemma and the Endless Struggle to Think Well of Ourselves

    Newborns and the Kingdom of God: Reflections in the Dead of Night

    In the Palm of my Hand, He Stares up at Me, Trying to Make Sense of this Help Received in the Dark

    Scrubbing the Guilt Away: Ramy and the Scales of Righteousness

    Ramy Youssef on the Whiplash of Religion and Sex

    Fathers, Nightmare Clowns, and a Pity Still More Vast

    Reflections on Shia LeBeouf’s Honey Boy

    A Tennis-Ball-Shaped Anvil (and Other Things That Weigh on Us)

    “It’s no accident, I think, that tennis uses the language of life. Advantage, service, fault, break, love, the basic elements of tennis are those of everyday existence, because every match is a life in miniature.” – Andre Agassi Stumbling across Andre Agassi’s autobiography Open was like overhearing a parishioner’s confession to a priest. It doesn’t […]

    Endings, New Beginnings, and El Camino

    Spoilers ahead! El Camino opens with a flashback of Jesse Pinkman standing by an Albuquerque creek; the shot is filtered in sepia, the badlands of New Mexico as a backdrop. On the bank, Jesse dialogues with Breaking Bad’s weathered enforcer, Mike Ehrmantraut. In the conversation, Jesse hopes for respite and a new start in the […]

    All I Want is a Wink from the Cross: Arcade Fire’s Everything Now

    In Arcade Fire’s 2017 album, Everything Now, the pop rock crew provides a sweeping commentary on loneliness, relationships, and (the search for) rest in a digital age. While Arcade Fire stays true to its anthemic tracks, soaring vocals, and visceral sound, the heavy doses of loneliness leave me incrementally sadder with every listen. The album […]

    Reserved Seating in Addiction Circles For The Likes of You And Me: Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

    In 2018, Gus Van Sant (director of Good Will Hunting) added to his excellent directorial résumé with Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot. An under-the-radar biopic of late sketch artist John Callahan, the film examines his road to recovery as an alcoholic after a car accident leaves him a quadriplegic. From the beginning […]

    Dead to Me: A Dark Comedy of Forgiveness

    In the Netflix original series, Dead to Me, Judy (Linda Cardellini) helps Jen (Christina Applegate) cope with the sudden loss of her husband, Ted. The two form an unlikely friendship tracking down Jen’s husband’s killer in the pristine landscape of Malibu. Thanks to Liz Feldman, the creator of the show, clicking “Next Episode” never felt […]

    Trial by Fyre

    In the game Jenga, players pull foundational wooden blocks from a block tower and place them strategically back on top. The tower gets higher and weaker, and all it takes is one misplaced block to bring it all tumbling down. If you’ve never played Jenga, but think you’d enjoy seeing the disastrous toppling of a […]