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movies Archives

Q&A with Alexandra Pelosi on “The Trials of Ted Haggard”

posted by Patton Dodd

Alexandra Pelosi is the talented filmmaker behind “The Trials of Ted Haggard”–though, as she put it in the New York Times yesterday, she prefers to be considered a maker of television, not documentaries. Fair enough, as her light, earthy, humanizing […]

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No Best Picture for Wall-E

posted by Patton Dodd

Oscar has fickle and pedestrian taste, and the awards are rarely an indication of a movie’s potential shelf life or artistic merit. (See: Crash. Or, if you haven’t, don’t.) I was shocked when Atonement didn’t win last year, because its […]

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The Top Comfort Movies

posted by Patton Dodd

Movie Mom blogger Neil Minow put together a list of the top Comfort Movies–flicks that go down just right on those no-good, crummy, sniffling, sneezing days. Not a bad list, and hard to quibble with something as idiosyncratic as this. […]

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Stanley Fish’s Top 10 American Movies

posted by Patton Dodd

That’s the top story on the NY Times Most Emailed List right now (another list that never fails to fascinate–subject for another post). Stanley Fish is a hugely influential literary and legal scholar, and I’ve long been an admirer–but Fish […]

Jake Busey’s Christian Killer

posted by Patton Dodd

A month or so ago I announced that I was looking for movies with Christian killers, and many of you helped out with titles that hadn’t occurred to me. I’ve since seen more religiously motivated violence on screen than I […]

Hollywood’s Christian Killers

posted by Patton Dodd

I’m looking for movies that depict Christian killers of some kind, from slasher films like The Night of the Hunter and Martin Scorcese’s remake of Cape Fear (where the killer is a Pentecostal) to less incendiary accounts like Robert Duvall’s The Apostle. […]

Roger Ebert, speechless and chatty

posted by Patton Dodd

My undergraduate literary theory professor warped my brain, for better and worse. One item in the Worse category: He ruined my love of Roger Ebert. One dumb morning, Professor Grumpy (not his real name) worked up a full head of […]

Celebrity Bible characters

posted by Patton Dodd

Paul Asay put together a cast of characters for an imaginary “Genesis: The Movie,” with suggested celebrities to fill the roles. My favorite moment: She has no lines. She has no name. Lot’s wife is famous for one thing: turning […]

Stoning “W,” or The Silent Prayers of George W. Bush

posted by Patton Dodd

A quick word on “W,” Oliver Stone’s lazy bio-pic about our current president:  The movie is unimaginative and uninteresting on most every level–how many close-ups of the bottle of Jack Daniels do we need, exactly, before Stone has us convinced […]

The Dishonesty of ‘Fireproof’

posted by Patton Dodd

At The Daily Beast, Daniel Radosh (who, incidentally, started a Beliefnet book club for his “Rapture Ready”) uses the occasion of the Christian blockbuster “Fireproof” to make a larger point about insular Christian entertainment: Not only does it speak exclusively to […]

Is Bill Maher a secular fundamentalist?

posted by Patton Dodd

In my post on “Religulous,” I made the point that Bill Maher exudes a shockingly self-righteous certitude in his own position–and at the movie’s end, literally preaches a gospel of Maherism and warns doom for all who don’t see his […]

In “Religulous,” Maher is Less

posted by Patton Dodd

I’m way late to this, but just saw it last night and wanted to weigh in briefly. I had planned to address several of the key problems, as well as acknowledge its (few) pleasures as a movie, but Steve Waldman did […]

Best Political Film (or, Frank Capra is a Fascist)

posted by Patton Dodd

  The latest YouTube video from the always delightful, always informative Reel Geezers offers a brief history of Hollywood’s political films, focusing mostly on movies about the electoral process. They cover some of my own favorites–Born Yesterday, The Candidate–and also […]

Soft Pre-Launch

posted by Patton Dodd

The sidebar over yonder tells you all you need to know about the readiness of this here blog. I have not had time this week to get things up and running as they should be (and just think of all […]

Previous Posts

The Last Text Message
Today is my last day with Beliefnet, and my last day as the author of this blog. The Text Messages archives will remain live at this location, but posting will cease. If that sounds gloomy, it's an accurate reflection of my mind this ...

posted 3:47:12pm Feb. 04, 2009 | read full post »

Quitting Church: A Q&A with Julia Duin
Why do people stop going to church? This big question is the subject of Julia Duin's small book, Quitting Church: Why teh Faithful are Fleeing and What To Do About It. Duin is not a disinterested observer of the phenomenon of church-dropping; ...

posted 4:03:51pm Feb. 03, 2009 | read full post »

Rob Stennett vs. Marilynne Robinson
I'm overjoyed that my good friend Rob Stennett has won the Award of Merit from Christianity Today for his novel The Almost True Story of Ryan Fisher. (Here's CT's review of the book.) Stennett's hilarious book is about a real estate agent who ...

posted 2:36:44pm Jan. 30, 2009 | read full post »

What is spiritual restoration?
Slate asked for an essay on Ted Haggard's spiritual restoration. I'm okay with what I came up with for now, but the more I think about it, the more I think we need better thinking on what restoration looks like for very public, outspoken, ...

posted 9:00:56am Jan. 29, 2009 | read full post »

It's Not TV; it's Ted TV
A blog might not be the best medium for an essay like this. But I want to offer some more considered thoughts on Ted Haggard and his HBO documentary; I hope this performs some kind of service in a story that I hope will end--in its public ...

posted 3:57:44am Jan. 28, 2009 | read full post »

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