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A Not-So-Godforsaken Town: It: Chapter 2 Shows Us It Really Is Finished

Very grateful to Prof. Leigh Hickman for bringing her expert analysis to bear yet again. If you missed her essay on It: Chapter 1, start there. And be warned—spoilers ahead! The first line of voice-over in It: Chapter 2 starts with the word, “Memory.” Like an invocation of the muse in a Homeric epic, the […]

Once Upon A Time… In Heaven

Let’s get the shameless plug out of the way: one of my favorite essays I’ve had the privilege to write for Mockingbird was a contribution to our 2015 book Mockingbird at the Movies. The essay was an introduction to Quentin Tarantino, a review of the auteur and the cinematic world he’s built. In hindsight, it […]

From Losers to Lovers: How It: Chapter One Takes Us to Church

In gleeful preparation for the upcoming “It: Chapter Two,” this essay comes to us from Leigh Hickman.  In 1990, Tim Curry scared audiences in a TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King’s 1986 horror opus, It. While Curry’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown has cultural staying power, the adaptation as a whole hasn’t aged well, […]

Back in the Habit: Creedal Faith and “Sister Act”

In my denomination, there is an official checklist of things you are supposed to say when people ask why you feel called to ordained ministry. You need a solid story about feeling a call when you were serving the poor. Or, maybe it was when you were receiving the Eucharist. I have these stories. And […]

Simba’s Amnesia

This one comes to us from Blake Nail. Nostalgia bleeds through the screen as The Lion King remake plays before me. The CGI is astounding and the story still holds strong. For many, it’s a remembrance of their childhood. A flashback to simpler times. A time forgotten. However, through Simba’s eyes, something else has been […]

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

This one comes to us from Sam Guthrie. 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 […]

Spider-Man: Far From Home Is Fun but Sacrifices Character to Plot Twists and Gags

This review (with spoilers) comes from Jeremiah Lawson: Spider-Man: Far From Home is an enjoyable addition to the Marvel franchise. Tom Holland is winsome as Peter Parker and Spider-Man, and Jake Gyllenhaal is inspired casting for Quentin Beck. By now there’s hardly a need to avoid spoilers for this film, which has been out for […]

Just Another Late Night in Washington, DC

This one comes to us from Jim Moore. Sometimes life in America turns into one giant discourse on the work of the Law and the work of the Gospel. That’s how I felt tonight watching Emma Thompson star in Mindy Kaling’s movie Late Night. The movie revolves around an acerbic, cantankerous late-night comedian who has […]

Toys as Shepherds and Shepherds as Toys: Guiding the Lost in Toy Story 4

Grateful for this one from Jeremiah Lawson. For his insightful commentary on the first three Toy Story films, start here. Warning: spoilers here! Here in 2019 there seems to be an inverse proportion between the number of bids at epic storytelling and the number of successes. After eight seasons and years of commentary, Game of […]

Angels in the Architecture: A Defense of Repetition

A while back, an acquaintance asked me if I was “still writing for that website,” by which she meant Mockingbird. The question was delivered with a smirk that I interpreted as vague condescension from someone I know to be more into DIY than grace. I assured her that I was, in fact, still writing for […]

Be My Safe Space

I can’t explain it, but here goes anyway: I’ve been consuming all things Madeleine McCann lately, and by all things I mean two specifically: an Australian podcast called Maddie, and the recent (critically lambasted) documentary on Netflix, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. This obsession is inexplicable because, since being pregnant with my first son eight […]

Whatever It Takes: Friendship and Avenging the Fallen

This one’s for Kristin and Anna; Andy, Blake, Caleb, Chris, Jeff, Nathan, Reed, and Trevor. Some spoilers follow. “If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him [his friend, Etienne Boetie] I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was […]