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Desmond Doss, the Coward

Desmond Doss, the Coward

This look at the critically acclaimed film, Hacksaw Ridge, comes to us from our friend Josh Encinias.

I loved being in the House of Dietrich Bonhoeffer in college, but if I were to create a Christian fraternity today, it would be under a different namesake: Desmond Doss. Prince is the most famous former Seventh-day Adventist, but Doss is the most important Adventist you’ve never heard of. I recently spoke to David Permut, producer of Hacksaw Ridge—who walked away with two Academy Awards last night—who said he wanted to turn Doss’ story into a feature film for sixteen years before it happened.

“When I…

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Roll Credits: Freedom, Grace and the Neverending Sequel – David Zahl

Here is the grand finale video/talk from our recent Mockingbird event in Dallas, “Grace on the Big Screen.” Enjoy!

Roll Credits: Freedom, Grace and the Neverending Sequel – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Performance, Death, and Grace in Sing

Performance, Death, and Grace in Sing

Buster Moon desperately wants to save his theater… and himself. When he was a young koala, his parents took him to see a stage production in which a sensational Suffolk sheep named Nana Noodleman (voiced by Jennifer Hudson) sang about ‘finding a way home’ and ‘carrying a weight’ as she gracefully performed an operatic rendition of the Beatles’ Golden Slumber. That moment convinced him that the theater would not only become his career aspiration, but his very identity and legacy in the world. Sing, directed by Garth Jennings and starring Matthew McConaughey in the lead role as Buster, aptly demonstrates…

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The Eternal Solution of Vampirism or, “If I Were a Vampire”

The Eternal Solution of Vampirism or, “If I Were a Vampire”

Last weekend I made what I should publically refer to as a “shame-purchase.” When nobody was looking, I bought the entire movie collection of The Twilight Saga. Don’t make it a thing, but modern teen vampire stories are my kryptonite, and they almost always follow the same plot structure:

Awkward, fragile human (female) falls in love with strapping, obsessive vampire (male). Love between them is so sexy and intense that only way for the human to survive and thrive — to live — is for her to become vampire. Needs more blood.

This script hits really close to home. Mortality is so…

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Seeing Upside Down, Pt 2: The Beauty of Failure in Movies (and Life) – Ethan Richardson

Talk number three from our “Grace on the Big Screen” event in Dallas is here! Click here to watch the first part (tho’ both stand alone).

Seeing Upside Down – Part Two: The Beauty of Failure in Movies (and Life) – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

A Tribe Called Us: The Grace of Relationships in a World of Critics

Few things are certain in this world, but there is this: however critics feel about a movie, I will almost certainly disagree. There have been rare exceptions; the triteness of He’s Just Not That Into You, for example, pissed a lot of us off. Usually, however, I can be counted on as a contrarian. Such was the case with Passengers, which my husband and I saw in a theater with reclining leather chairs and a bar — hard to go wrong between those amenities and a Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence pairing. I was delighted not to be the only one who enjoyed the…

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Never Tell Me The Odds: Expectation and Redemption (On Screen and Off) – David Zahl

Second video from Dallas is here! Cue up the Badly Drawn Boy:

Never Tell Me the Odds: Expectation and Redemption (On Screen and Off) – David Zahl from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

From the Archives: Sneezing at the Cult of Productivity (over Sushi)

From the Archives: Sneezing at the Cult of Productivity (over Sushi)

The New Yorker made me laugh out loud the other day with their poking fun at the ever-escalating ‘cult of productivity’ in this country. In their Daily Shouts column, “3 under 3”, Marc Philippe Eskenazi introduced us to “the innovators and disruptors of 2014, all under the age of three years old, all impatient to change the world.” It’s really funny. For example, their top “pick” is two and a half year old Cheryl Kloberman, who is apparently making major strides as an Energy Conservationist:

What does it take to power an entire household with a flick of a switch? This…

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20th Century Women and Guilty Filmmakers

20th Century Women and Guilty Filmmakers

If I need another reminder of my overwhelming guilt and shame, I can always turn to the movies. It’s perverse, but I definitely derive some libidinal satisfaction in recognizing guilt on screen. Over the years we’ve seen various heroes or, more appropriately, antiheroes of this ilk. Martin Scorsese’s developed an impressive oeuvre on the subject. Manchester by the Sea overtly depicted a man dealing with it. You don’t have to look far. Movies like this do well to highlight the fact that we mess up. The gap between who we aspire to be and who we really are is significant….

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Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins

Learning About the Gospel from Self-Help, AA, and Tony Robbins

The following comes to us from Bill Walker.

The kind of religion many people in America grew up with went something like this: do or believe these things in order to be “right with God.” But as experience will show, following either of these directives tends to lead to greater frustration, disillusionment and anxiety. “Am I really good enough?” “Am I really saved?” This encounter with church or Christianity for many did not enable a more joyful, tranquil and abundant life. It did the opposite. Sometimes it told folks they had to vote Republican. In other instances, it made them feel…

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Seeing Upside Down Pt 1: The Down-and-Out Hero and Hollywood’s Love for the Lost

First of the talks from the Dallas event last month (“Grace on the Big Screen”) is here! What an incredible time that was. Many thanks as always to Mark Babikow for making the trip and capturing it all on tape:

Seeing Upside Down – Part One: The Down-and-Out Hero and Hollywood’s Love for the Lost – Ethan Richardson from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Slow Zoom Toward the Mysterious Unseen

Slow Zoom Toward the Mysterious Unseen

Here’s a beautiful reflection from our friend, Elsa Wilson.

We don’t do a lot of waiting nowadays. A few extra seconds of Internet load time merits a complaint call. We don’t like waiting, but we’re asked to do a lot of it. We especially don’t like waiting when it comes to movies. We tend to favor fast cuts and snappy punch lines. These movies “reward” the viewers (and also usually the characters) for their time by pairing questions with answers, effects with causes, and situations with explanations. There are actually storytelling formulas that dictate how long the viewer should be left to wonder…

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