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No, HBO Isn’t Porn—and That’s Part of the Problem

Ramin Djawadi has done a superb job of composing the music for HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones. As one who hasn’t watched the show, I only recently binge-listened to the music from all seven seasons. I don’t think I’ve ever done that with any other TV series. From the iconic main titles sequence for each season, to the elegant “Light of the Seven,” to the epic “The Army of the Dead,” Djawadi has created an impressive musical tapestry.

The music from this series is just one example how Game of Thrones is no run-of-the-mill television series. The production values, quality of acting, and narrative complexities of GOT (not to mention its plethora of Emmy nominations) all point to the impressive artistry exemplified by the show’s participants.
Look, I get it. Game of Thrones, in addition to other HBO shows, isn’t just all hype. It is a genuinely intriguing drama, and it understandably has captured the interest of millions of viewers. If not for its graphic sexual and violent content, I wo…

Is UNPLANNED Just Pro-Life Propaganda?

Filmmaker and human rights activist Jason Jones recently wrote the following:

When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote the novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, could she have guessed its impact? That slavery would die less than fifteen years later? . . . Unplanned can be the Uncle Tom’s Cabin of the abortion issue. And today’s pro-life movement can be the movement that drives its success.
That’s a bold statement, especially when considering the artistically-checkered past of Unplanned’s filmmakers. Conventional wisdom would lead even a pro-lifer such as myself to receive such a claim with at least a grain of skepticism.
At the same time, comparing Uncle Tom’s Cabin with Unplanned isn’t entirely without merit. While far from identical, these two stories have some striking parallels. I want to specifically address the similarities between the criticisms they have received from their contemporaries.
Consider Uncle Tom’s Cabin. No one can accuse author Harriet Beecher Stowe of subtlety. Restraint and nuance were…

SHAZAM! (2019) – Film Review

Based on its marketing materials, this newest cinematic treatment of a DC superhero displayed a scope of humor thus far not seen in the DCEU. Could Shazam! actually be giving the MCU a run for its money? The answer is…complicated.

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): 7 out of 10
As one might expect, Shazam! is one of the goofiest superhero movies to hit modern-day cineplexes. As one might not expect, Shazam! mixes a heavy dose of content that many might consider troubling—especially for younger theatergoers. This is, in fact, not a movie for children.
In the world of Shazam!, the seven deadly sins provide a formidable presence, personified by seven expertly-and-grotesquely rendered demonic beings. The threat they pose provides for some tense moments—including one scene in particular that flirts with the horror genre.
Even though Lust is one of the seven deadly sins, t…

Captain Marvel, Disney Princesses, and the “Feminist Agenda,” Part 2

The response to Disney’s Captain Marvel has been fraught with controversy, even before the film was released. Greg Morse, a staff writer at Desiring God, wrote about the movie after seeing it, and his article has received a lot of criticism (rightfully so, in my opinion). Morse makes four dangerous rhetorical errors in his piece, and in my last blog post we examined the first two: unclear language and genre confusion. Now let’s look at the other two problems: reverse chronological snobbery and a demeaning attitude toward women.

3. Reverse Chronological Snobbery
C. S. Lewis coined the term “chronological snobbery” to describe the belief that the “intellectual climate” of our own time is automatically superior to that of the past, as the beliefs and practices of previous generations are outdated and less enlightened. This is a dangerous and pernicious mindset, blocking us from learning from past eras.
Another detrimental mindset is reverse chronological snobbery. This is the belief that t…

Captain Marvel, Disney Princesses, and the “Feminist Agenda”

A few days ago, an international Christian ministry I greatly respect published an article critiquing the new movie Captain Marvel. I found the article to be confusing, troubling, and even dangerous. It doesn’t so much critique the content of the movie as it does the existence of the movie and the reason for the movie. Those are issues I can address without having first watched the film (which, for the record, I have not).

As I see it, there are four main problems with the article: unclear language, genre confusion, reverse chronological snobbery, and (most importantly) a demeaning attitude toward women.
1. Unclear Language
The article’s author, Greg Morse, pushes back against what he calls the “feminist agenda,” but he never clarifies what that term actually means. It may be that he views all forms of feminism as inherently opposed to Scripture; I can’t say for sure. The truth of the matter is that feminism, like many other ideological positions, is too broad a description to condemn or…

Not Quite a Top 10 List, or In Defense of Dan Brown (Sort of)

“What is your favorite phone app?”
The question made me pause. I was sitting across from another business professional in a “speed networking” event as we got to know each other. Neither of us knew how to answer.
I mentally reviewed the apps I use most frequently, but they fell more in the “necessary” category than the “fun” category. Right before settling for a rote answer, it hit me: my favorite app, by far, is Libby.
The service Libby provides isn’t new. In fact, it’s probably old hat for most of you. But as someone who is historically behind the times, I’ve only started taking advantage of technologically-enhanced reading aids this year. Libby allows me and my wife to borrow audiobooks from the library and listen to them while doing dishes, folding clothes, driving, or performing other mindless tasks. It’s free and fun, and why haven’t I been doing this longer?!
If not for Libby, I would have only gotten through two fiction books this year. With Libby’s aid, however, I completed ten f…