Soooo….last time I posted an update was December of last year. I missed January, and February went by so quickly it almost feels like it didn’t count.
The reason I missed my January update was that I went to the Faith & Film Festival at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis January 26-29. I had a great time sharing movies I love with curious faith-minded viewers, and listening to other people’s perspectives on art. I even got to meet a couple of people in person who I’ve been digital distance buddies with for several years. I know some of you were there that weekend, and I loved hearing from you. Let’s do it again next year!
My month-plus of busy time concludes next week with the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri, an annual pilgrimage I’ve enjoyed making for about a decade now (the festival itself turns 20 this year). I feel especially lucky to have so many awesome events within driving distance. If you’re going to be there, let me know!
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My January and February work:
The Best Movies of 2022 (Think Christian)
‘The Devil Conspiracy’ is Boring as Hell (Sojourners)
The Pale Blue Eye (The Pitch)
Knock at the Cabin (The Pitch)
Cocaine Bear (The Pitch)
Joe Pera (The Pitch)
Between all the excitement of festivals and work trips in January and February, I’ve fallen slightly behind on my writing, but I feel confident once things settle down I’ll be back on track. Anyone else remember that Douglas Adams quote about how he loves the sound of deadlines as they whoosh by?
Last week I wrapped up on my chapter on Christmas and Epiphany, for which I wrote about Children of Men (for Christmas) and Shazam! (for Epiphany). Children of Men is a movie I have an up-and-down relationship with, in that I think it’s great, but it’s such a rough watch I’d be hard-pressed to say I “love” it. Still, it’s a great perspective on the Holy Family and the Nativity, and I’m happy I got to include it. Once upon a time I discussed this with Faith & Film friends Jake Wampfler, Josh Salzberg and Leopoldo Sanchez. You can listen to our take on it here.
For Shazam! (the 2019 superhero movie, not to be confused with Kazaam, the 1996 movie where Shaq plays a genie), I got a lot of help from Joe George’s forthcoming book The Superpowers and the Glory, which happens to be coming out this month. Joe is a great resource on all things comic book heroes and theology, and a good writer. Go buy and read his book!
Next up I’m prepping my chapter on All Souls Day, for which I’ll be covering the documentary Dick Johnson is Dead and Pixar’s Coco. Both movies are really poignant considerations of the people we love and how we remember them — both while they’re still alive and after they’re gone. I wrote about both movies for Sojourners when they were first released. Those pieces are linked above if you’d like to read them.
Buster and Tahani love a good afternoon sunbathing session. I think they look like they’re ready to drop an album of moody folk-rock in this photo. Tahani is on vocals and lead guitar. Buster plays drums and broods.
"Dick Johnson Is Dead" is one of the most uplifting documentaries I have ever seen about the end of one's life and how death is viewed by different people. Brilliant!