US Catholic Faith in Real Life

In ‘Lucky,’ a contemplation of the reality of death

‘Lucky’ tackles both aging and death with feeling and dignity.

By John Christman |
Article Culture
Lucky
Directed by John Carroll Lynch (Magnolia Pictures, 2017)

Harry Dean Stanton died on September 15, 2017 at the age of 91. This was just after completing the film Lucky, in which Stanton plays a man named Lucky who is approaching the end of his life and contemplating the reality of death and the meaning of existence. It’s a powerful convergence and gives Lucky an even more momentous and sobering dimension.


Women are the true heroes of Star Wars

It’s not only in Star Wars where men flake out and women hold firm—it happens in scripture, too.

By Rebecca Bratten Weiss |
Article Culture

I went to see The Last Jedi with some immature trepidation, since I’m more emotionally invested in this story than I should be, not being a teenager doing crappy cosplay before I knew cosplay was a thing anymore. For me, you see, the Star Wars epic is not just a story. It’s one of “my” stories—the stories I have carried with me and that helped shape my imagination, my sense of humanity, and my understanding of our relationships to the cosmos.


Reminiscing about high school with ‘Lady Bird’

Greta Gerwig’s characters are real, flawed people whose struggles and successes aren’t all that different from those I faced at my all-girls high school.

By Rosie McCarty |
Article Culture

I have never seen a movie more true to experience at an all-girls Catholic high school than Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird.


In ‘Mother!’ the side of motherhood Catholics don’t talk about

Invasion and destruction aren’t the experiences new mothers expect.

By Jessica Mesman Griffith |
Article Culture

Religious horror is a film genre in its own right, and Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist are among my all-time favorites. But even horror movies that aren’t explicitly religious stoke my religious imagination, exploring questions of who suffers and why and to what end. The best aren’t the goriest but rather those that articulate or give shape to our deepest unseen fears.


The morality lessons in NBC’s ‘The Good Place’

We’re all doing the best we can, but is it enough to get us to the ‘good place’?

By Elizabeth Lefebvre |
Article Culture

“Who was right?”

It’s one of the first questions Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) asks after arriving in the afterlife, curious about how her new surroundings work. Her guide, an immortal being named Michael (Ted Danson), explains, “Every religion got it about 5 percent right. It’s not the heaven or hell idea you were raised on, but generally speaking, in the afterlife there’s a good place and a bad place.”


Pixar finds success in a kid-friendly movie about death

‘Coco’ celebrates the Mexican Day of the Dead.

By Molly Jo Rose |
Article Culture

Pixar Animation Studios’ new release Coco tells the story of young musical hopeful, Miguel, whose family bars music from the house after a grandfather abandons the family to follow a musical career generations earlier. The plucky Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) has no choice but to sing and strum his guitar quietly in the attic of one of the rooms where his family lives in the bustling town of Santa Cecilia, Mexico. There, alone with his guitar and street dog Dante, Miguel plays along to VCR recordings of mid-century heartthrob Ernesto de la Cruz.


In ‘The Florida Project,’ a glimpse of a troubled—and magical—childhood

An impoverished childhood spent near Magic Kingdom shows that reality and mystery are both important.

By Ann Christenson |
Article Culture

Kids are seen and heard a lot in The Florida Project, set during one hot, sticky summer in a $35-a-night motel near that true Orlando resort Walt Disney World.


In ‘Still Pilgrim,’ a reminder of why prayer works so well

The title of Angela Alaimo O’Donnell’s new volume is both a paradox and an invitation.

By Nick Ripatrazone |
Article Culture
Still Pilgrim
by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell (Paraclete Press, 2017)

The title Still Pilgrim is both a paradox and an invitation. As Christians we are called to be pilgrims—to move and journey both within and outside ourselves—and yet we are also called to contemplate. Angela Alaimo O’Donnell quotes both T. S. Eliot and Psalm 46 to show that stillness is a deliberate action in an endlessly moving world. In O’Donnell’s poems, stillness means devotion.


Required reading for bored again Catholics

Timothy O’Malley’s new book answers questions about the Mass you didn’t even know you had.

By Anna Keating |
Article Your Faith

Growing up my parents made me and my siblings go to Mass every Sunday. As a teenager I remember thinking it was way too much church. Most of my friends didn’t go to church at all. They went waterskiing in the summer, snow skiing in the winter, or just hung out on Sundays and slept in. And yet there I was in church praying the Lord’s Prayer for the 1000th time while my little brother painfully squeezed my hand.


A coming-of-age narrative that gets it right

‘Anne with an E’ explores the complexities and nuances of female adolescence.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

Judging by the stories media tell us, boys are the only humans perplexed by puberty. Film and television tales of moving from adolescence to adulthood focus primarily on young men, as though girls did not also lurch awkwardly toward maturity. Think of Boyhood, The Sandlot, Stand By Me, This Boy’s Life, Almost Famous, Big, The Summer of ’42, Breaking Away.


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