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How Skipping Movies with Sex Scenes Prepared Me for the Coronavirus

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To my shame, the initial response I had to COVID-19 was selfish—something along the lines of, “This is no big deal because only the sick and elderly are in danger, and I am neither.”
Thankfully, a couple online articles shared by friends of mine helped me see the self-centeredness of my position. With the necessary course correction these articles provided, my family and I became willing participants in the self-quarantine precautions widely recommended by both church and government authorities. We found the adjustment to be far easier than it would have been a few years ago.
What happened a few years ago? I instigated a practice that we might call “sexual distancing.”
DISTANCING FROM SEXUALIZED ENTERTAINMENT
The connection might not make sense without some explanation. Several years ago, I experienced a paradigm shift in my approach to entertainment choices. Because we live in a pornified society, it used to be that my primary, and often sole, criteria for evaluating a film or TV show wa…

THE CHOSEN and the de-Bastardization of Christian Filmmaking

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If I had to summarize the typical faith-based film in one word, it would be “shamefully, embarrassingly subpar.” Okay, so that’s technically three words.
Here’s the deal. As a Christian who loves visual stories, I am, more often than not, ashamed and embarrassed by the lack of creativity displayed by those who claim adherence to (and often inspiration from) the original Creator. A few years ago, I wrote a piece entitled God’s Not Dead and the Bastardization of Christian Filmmaking. I meant every word of it, and I still believe what I wrote.
Suffice it to say, it is a rare thing for me to fully enjoy a faith-based drama. It is rarer still for me to fully enjoy and fully admire a faith-based drama.
Enter The Chosen, a faith-based TV show on the life of Christ, with multiple seasons planned.
Technically, I have already reviewed this show, and it’s not typical to write two reviews of the same piece. However, I have more to say about this work of art (in both the literal and figurative sense),…

Joaquin Phoenix Apologizes for Gross Oversight in Oscar Acceptance Speech

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HOLLYWOOD, CA. – In a statement made earlier this morning to the press (minus CNN and its parent company Bablyon Bee, both of which were conspicuously absent), Best Actor winner Joaquin Phoenix apologized for failing to give his speech in its entirety during last night’s Oscar ceremonies. Securing the win for his performance as Joker in the movie The Joker, Phoenix apparently got a sudden case of the jitters.

“When I talked about the opportunity to use our voice for the voiceless, I completely forgot to mention unborn children,” he said. “I’m not sure why. They were written down in my notes, right at the top of my list of gender, race, queer, indigenous, and animal rights, but I guess I was so nervous that I accidentally skipped over them.”
Phoenix pulled out his notes and held them up for cameras to see. Photographs taken of the slip of paper reveal barely-legible scribbles, including one word which could be mistaken for “unshorn,” “untorn,” or (if you squint your eyes) “milkshake.”
Wip…

Objectifying Margot Robbie: A “Highlight” of the Last Decade

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A few weeks ago, many film critics released their lists of favorite movies, not just from the previous twelve months, but from the previous ten years. James Berardinelli, whose reviews and commentary I read on a regular basis, catalogued eighteen cinematic highlights from the last decade. One of these films was The Wolf of Wall Street, which he thinks “may be [Scorsese’s] most enjoyable all-time production.” He goes on to say, “This is delightfully re-watchable (and not just for the Margot Robbie scenes).”

That throwaway line is revealing. For those not familiar with the movie, Margot Robbie plays the main female lead, a character who is sexualized and objectified by the screenplay, the characters in the story, and the eye of the camera itself. According to Berardinelli, the delightfulness of the movie is due, in large part, to Robbie being in various stages of undress. There is more to the movie than just that—but certainly no less.

THE “ART” OF OBJECTIFICATION
We can’t dismiss Berardin…

FROZEN, Olaf, and Damning with Faint Love

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From my review of the original Frozen:

Olaf, the anthropomorphic snowman, is the comedic highlight of the film. Practically everything he said or did had me in stitches. I don’t want to exaggerate, but Olaf may be my favorite Disney sidekick, right up next to Pixar’s Dory.
My opinion has not changed. Olaf’s antics in Frozen serve to caress my funny bone like a giddy six-fingered tickler. The prospect of seeing and hearing more from him in Frozen 2 is exciting.
As we prepare for another narrative romp with the world’s favorite magical (literally) princess, I’m reminded of a scene in the original film that has stuck with me ever since 2013. For reference (and your viewing pleasure), here is the clip:

I’m sure you remember this segment. Olaf sings of his eager anticipation of summer’s arrival, when he’ll “find out what happens to solid water when it gets warm.” He imagines all the enjoyable activities he’ll participate in, blissfully unaware of what summer will actually do to him.
Near the en…

SHE HAS A NAME (2016) – Film Review

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While researching and evaluating films for inclusion in my upcoming online course, I came across this movie. The trailers intrigued me, primarily because of two factors: 1) the quality of the production looked higher than your typical independently-produced project, and 2) it looked like a film that highly regarded the sexual dignity of its actors. That was enough reason for me to check it out for myself, and I had enough thoughts to warrant a belated movie review for this 2016 film.

The film’s synopsis, as listed on the movie’s website, is simple:
Jason, a lawyer, poses as a john to build a legal case against a ruthless pimp who is trafficking girls in Asia. He meets Number 18, a girl forced to work as a prostitute in a busy red light district whose testimony is key to his case.
As a reminder, I rate movies based on three criteria: objectionable content (C), artistic merit (A), and my personal opinions (P). (C-A-P. Get it?)
CONTENT (C): 9 out of 10
With a nightclub being a major set piec…

“More Like This, Please”: How Good People Perpetuate Rape Culture

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Early American slavery wasn’t a tragedy simply because it was a societal evil. That was bad enough. What made matters worse was that so many good people did nothing to stop it—probably in part because it is uncomfortable to confront such a pervasive and culturally-ingrained practice. And yet, the silence of good people, in order to avoid discomfort, spoke volumes to those enslaved—not only to their discomfort, but to their humiliation—and, in many cases, to their death. For too long, too many in society just didn’t care—or, at the very least, didn’t care enough.

In light of that reality, read the following 2017 quote from Sarah Polley:
The only thing that shocked most people in the film industry about the Harvey Weinstein story was that suddenly, for some reason, people seemed to care. That knowledge alone allowed a lot of us to breathe for the first time in ages.
That is a heartbreaking statement. Whereas a majority of us were shocked by what Harvey Weinstein had done over the years, th…