Christ and Pop Culture

With Disney's new Aladdin remake recently making waves at the box office, a lot of people are wishing for a Seeing & Believing review. Your wish is our command! Wade and Kevin explore the latest live-action remake of a beloved Disney classic to see how it measures up, both as a successor to the animated original and as a standalone film in its own right. Then the guys turn their attention to a film that is decidedly less family-friendly: the raunchy high school comedy Booksmart, Olivia Wilde's feature-film directing debut. Starring two promising young actresses in the form of Lady Bird's Beanie Feldstein and Short Term 12's Kaitlyn Dever, Booksmart aims to misbehave. How well does it succeed?

Music interlude by Ashton Jenicek, "Know." and Lee Rosevere, "Not My Problem" Used under Creative Commons license 3.0. Theme music by Alexander Osborn and Lindsey Mysse. Used under Creative Commons license 3.0.

Direct download: 202_Aladdin_and_Booksmart.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:47am EST

In this episode of Persuasion, Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson discuss Singin’ in the Rain after watching it for the first time ever. To help with the analysis, classic movie enthusiast and Christ and Pop Culture staff writer Gina Dalfonzo joins the conversation. If this movie is on your Never Seen List, you’ll be convicted to watch it just from Gina’s summary alone! Her passion for the film is stirring and her knowledge of the genre as a whole is a tremendous help in understanding this classic

Direct download: 167_Podcastin_in_the_Raid_with_Gina_Dalfonzo.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:27pm EST

After last week's big 200th-episode blowout, Seeing & Believing is back to its regularly scheduled programming with reviews of two films about two exceptional individuals. Keanu Reeves is back to his headshot-dispensing ways in John Wick <i>Parabellum</i>. If something with a bit less mayhem is more your cup of tea, the guys also take a look at Patrick Creadon's documentary about Father Ted Hesburgh: priest, presidential advisor, and leader of the University of Notre Dame.

Music interlude by the Fisherman, "Future Was Now." Used under Creative Commons license 3.0.


Erin and Hannah continue their Never Seen series with Mean Girls—a film never seen by either. After watching this 2004 film for the first time, conversation begins with gut reactions, favorite lines, and memorable scenes (some quite cringeworthy!). Then Erin and Hannah hash out the messages that Mean Girls tells. How have these messages shaped our narratives around social interactions? Or are these merely reflective of society? Key to the discussion is what makes us who we are.

Direct download: 166_Mean_Girls.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:50pm EST

The guys have something special in store for listeners this week. To celebrate the 200th episode of Seeing & Believing, Wade and Kevin decide to dig into their favorite films of all time and answer one deceptively simple question: what do they prize most in a film? Each host has come up with a list of their five cardinal virtues of cinema: the characteristics, themes, and stylistic techniques that make them fall in love with a particular film and that many of their current favorites have in common. Tune in to get a peek behind the curtain at what makes Wade and Kevin tick as film critics.

Direct download: 200_Our_Five_Cardinal_Virtues_of_Cinema.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:38am EST

Erin and Hannah discuss Casablanca with its memorable lines and Hollywood glam. It has shaped our cultural narrative in countless ways. Casablanca is responsible—at least in part—for why we associate Paris with lovers and the feelings that stir when we hear the song “As Time Goes By.” Interacting with the origin of these cultural emblems and ideals enriches our understanding of them.

Direct download: 165_Casablanca.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:36pm EST

Wade and Kevin's fellowship is reunited just in time for this week's review of Tolkien, the biopic about a certain fantasy author that seeks to dig into where exactly the man got his ideas for his own fellowship. The guys also take a look at Shadow, the latest film from the Chinese director best known for his martial arts epic Hero. Does Zhang Yimou's departure from the aesthetic that made him famous to American audiences pay dividends in his latest? Listen to find out!

Music interlude by Wilder Adkins, "Henrietta's Waltz." Used by permission.

Theme music by Alexander Osborn and Lindsey Mysse. Used under Creative Commons license 3.0.

Direct download: 199_Tolkein_and_Shadow.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:51am EST

Erin Straza and Hannah Anderson kick off a new series titled Never Seen, exploring a collection of key movies that you might be surprised to learn have never been seen by your Persuasion hosts. To help with the series launch, Vox.com movie critic Alissa Wilkinson joins the conversation to help frame up the role movies play in our lives and the power these silver screen stories can have upon us individually and collectively. Conversation touches on the shame that comes when you’ve missed a key film, to the way our movie choices are shaped by those with power in the industry, to the way older films can make us cringe based on today’s standards for equality and tolerance. Is it possible to catch up if you’ve missed an entire era of stories? Is the life of a film critic as glamorous as it seems? Should we shame people who don’t watch the same movies we do?

Direct download: 164_Behind_the_Silver_Screen_with_Alissa_Wilkinson.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08pm EST

Wade is off for the week, so Kevin gets Dave Canfield of Screen Anarchy and Mindframe(s) to help him plumb the depths of two complex films: Claire Denis's sci-fi experiment High Life and Penny Lane's documentary about the Satanic Temple, Hail, Satan? Denis's film is her first foray into genre fiction, but it's anything but straightforward, evoking themes surrounding scientific ethics, the value of human life, and mortality. Lane's documentary deals with even thornier issues, especially for Christian viewers, as it delves into the practices, beliefs, and political priorities of the Satanic Temple and its self-professed Satanists.

Music Interlude by Goingside, "Such Friends" by grapes (c) copyright 2014 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Theme music by Alexander Osborn and Lindsey Mysse. Used under Creative Commons license 3.0.

Direct download: 198_High_Life_and_Hail_Satan_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:16pm EST

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