by John Ellis Black Panther: Wakanda Forever opens and closes beautifully. As tributes to Chadwick Boseman, the highly anticipated sequel to Marvel’s 2018 smash hit plays all the right notes with its beginning and ending scenes, creating moving bookends for an excellent movie. Even the Marvel title card is a touching sendup of the talented … Continue reading ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ – Thanksgiving Day as Lament
by John Ellis I don’t like Will Smith. I’m not talking about Will Smith the person; I’ve never met him. I don’t like Will Smith the persona. During interviews, he comes across as acting to me, and not very good acting, at that. To be sure, Will Smith is undeniably a good actor when playing … Continue reading Will Smith and the Oscars, Cancel Culture, and Threading the Comedic Needle
by John Ellis I am (was) a theatre artist. But when asked, I always state that I much prefer going to the movies over the theatre, and not just because I can eat popcorn and not feel constrained by the myriad of ridiculous "theatre appreciation" rules audiences are expected to adhere to while watching a … Continue reading Film’s Superiority Over Theatre
by John Ellis A fascinating aspect of human psychology, that is likely more pronounced in modernity, is the apparent felt need to express character traits that are actually flaws and negative traits. Most of us do it. I must confess that I do it from time to time. For example, I’ve been guilty in the … Continue reading In Defense of Hallmark Christmas Movies
by John Ellis Wrapped up in American evangelicalism’s heritage is an (un)healthy stream of Neoplatonism. To be fair, during the fourth and fifth centuries, Neoplatonism did help rescue Christianity from the contra-Biblical dualism of Manicheanism. However, some strands of theological thought also adopted Neoplatonism’s flirtation with Gnosticism’s rejection of the demiurge’s creation. That has carried … Continue reading Does Bad Christian Art Lie About God?
by John Ellis Christian contemporary music (CCM) didn’t play much of a role in my formative years. My parents, youth pastors, and teachers all believed that there was no real difference between “real” rock and CCM; if Bob Jones University banned it, it was banned in my home, church, and Christian school. It didn't matter … Continue reading ‘Electric Jesus’: The Christian Rock Movie You’ve Been Waiting For
“If we humans are simply biological bundles of phenomenally experienced pain and pleasure that constitute happiness and unhappiness, why be obliged to maximize general happiness?” Christian Smith by John Ellis Herbert Spencer’s famed Darwinian maxim “survival of the fittest” has proven quite problematic for material positivists, not to mention problematic for the general well-being of … Continue reading ‘The Walking Dead’ and Christianity: Morality Did Not Evolve