US Catholic Faith in Real Life

5 questions with Randall Wright on ‘Summer in the Forest’

A new documentary traces Jean Vanier’s founding of L’Arche, providing a window into the existence of people with disabilities.

By Elizabeth Lefebvre |
Article Culture

Getting dressed. Going to work. Enjoying dinner with friends or family. Celebrating an engagement. These are just a few of the moments a new documentary, Summer in the Forest, captures that provide a glimpse into the lives of people with disabilities living in L’Arche communities.


Who gets to be a hero?

The Black Panther is the hero we need right now.

By Pamela Hill Nettleton |
Article Culture

In ancient Greece, heroes were half god, half human. Comic superheroes followed that mold—unlikely people with exceptional abilities to leap tall buildings or fly invisible planes, celebrating the potential greatness hidden in mere mortals and making common folk feel as if they, too, might someday rise. 


The saintliness of Fred Rogers

Fred Rogers believed that love, embodied as justice and compassion, could change the world.

By Danny Duncan Collum |
Article Culture

This is the year when America seems to be experiencing the 50th anniversary of everything—the Tet Offensive, the 1968 riots, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy. But in the midst of that maelstrom, on February 19, 1968, the still, small voice of Fred Rogers began to be heard on the nation’s embryonic network of public television stations. 


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.


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