Media Matters Archive

Medals (from a Mennonite) for Olympic Coverage

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February 27, 2014 Third Way

NBCpaid $775 million dollars in hopes that the U.S. would care about curling. Or maybe skeleton. Or maybe some other event that we only hear about every four years, if at all. Viewership declined significantly from the 2010 Vancouver games – which makes sense given the time difference in Sochi, Russia compared to North America – but NBCstill ran away with the ratings for two-plus weeks thanks to the Sochi games.Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira are actually formidable anchors, but when they respectively filled in for Costas, it was like trading in your HDTV for an Etch A Sketch.

The Monuments Men

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February 21, 2014 Third Way

When we think of the destruction wreaked by war, we usually think of the human lives lost, the loss of infrastructure, such as buildings, roads, and rail lines, maybe even the environmental cost. But we don’t often consider the destruction of art or historical artifacts.The film is worth seeing, beyond its enjoyment, for the information it provides and the questions it raises. Too few of us know about this fascinating chapter in the war.

The Lego Movie

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February 14, 2014 Third Way

I have noted with grave concern that for many years now Lego has steadily increased its production of violent toys, so the idea of sitting through a 100-minute commercial for Lego toys was not remotely appealing. But based on the current popularity of animated films and the rave reviews I was reading, it seemed clear to me that The Lego Movie was destined to be one of the highest grossing films of 2014, so I joined a sold-out throng of eight-year-olds on opening night.What do you call a film that beautifully challenges the myth of redemptive violence so prevalent in […]

Just Another Super Bowl

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February 7, 2014 Third Way

The Super Bowl was practically over before the coin toss this year. Unless you were a Denver fan hoping that your team would soon show up, there wasn’t much to do but eat good food and watch the commercials.Cheerios gets my nod for the best ad from this Super Bowl, not because it was the best-produced ad of the night, but because they brought back an interracial family.

Families and Faith

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January 31, 2014 Third Way

One concern many families of faith share is how to pass on their faith to their children. At least one sociologist has made this a major project in his scholarly career. It turns out that one of the most important factors in children adopting religion is the warmth of the father—or if not the father, then the grandfather.The highest generational transmission of religion from generation to generation occurs in families with a high degree of warmth—particularly if the father is perceived as warm and close.”

Nebraska

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January 24, 2014 Third Way

Director Alexander Payne’s movies haven’t always resonated with me. Though Payne has a penchant for finding the humor in selfish and complex characters, he doesn’t usually elevate them into sympathetic ones.Witty dialogue, a melancholy ambience, and eccentric people that struggle to communicate effectively—the characters in Nebraska are more emotionally realized than in director Alexander Payne’s previous films.

Her

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January 17, 2014 Third Way

Spike Jones’ sci-fi-romantic-comedy-drama (there’s a mouthful) Her is a captivating film set in Los Angeles in the near future. Despite, or maybe because of, its quirky premise of a man falling in love with his operating system, it raises profound philosophical questions about relationships and technology, about reality, love and death.All the philosophical discussion in the film can make it sound cerebral, and it’s certainly intelligent, but this is a very emotional film.

Top 10 films of 2013

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January 16, 2014 Third Way

You’ve heard/seen the Oscar nominees announced today. Now it is time for Third Way Café’s almost-as-famous round up of favorites—paying little heed to what “the academy” will vote on.These reviewers pay heed to viewing films through an “Anabaptist values” lens. Favorite this and share on Facebook and Twitter or wherever you hang out.Here, each in their inimitable style, not standardized in format, in the order our reviewers submitted them, are the Third Way Café Top 10 for 2013.Vic Thiessen’s Top Ten Films of 2013Counting down from 1010. The East – This quirky suspense drama from Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling […]

Saving Mr. Banks

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January 10, 2014 Third Way

Just a few years after the 1935 publication of Mary Poppins (written by P.L. Travers), Walt Disney promised his daughters that he would make a film of the book. Unfortunately for him, Travers had no interest in allowing Disney to turn her book into a sweet children’s film or, even worse, into an animated film. But Disney persisted for twenty years and, in 1961, when Travers was experiencing financial struggles, he persuaded her to fly from London to Los Angeles to talk about purchasing the rights to film Mary Poppins.A funny, touching, tragic, profound, beautifully-told film and should not be […]

American Hustle

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January 2, 2014 Third Way

Rated RAfter the buzz fades, of being “had” by one more movie, there are a number of interesting questions that can be explored.