Media Matters Archive
The Voice, Revisited
I’ve tried to stop using the phrase “guilty pleasure” to justify liking things that friends or critics may consider mundane or uncreative. I really like Three Dog Night and the movie Short Circuit, and while I will tell you that my favorite TV shows of all time are The Wire, Sports Night,and Friday Night Lights, I will readily admit that these days the only show that I watch with any regularity is NBC’s reality singing show, The Voice. I’m pretty sure my happy cells increase by 15 percent during the fall and spring when The Voice airs. I like the […]
The Wind Rises
Hayao Miyazaki is a Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, illustrator, producer, and screenwriter whose career has spanned six decades. He is best known here for his films Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away (which I consider a masterpiece).A clear theme of the film is the tension between an artist who wants to make something beautiful and those who use his talent to make machines used in war.
Son of God
A year ago, the History Channel featured a 10-hour miniseries called The Bible. The brainchild of Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, The Bible was so successful that the episodes about Jesus have been adapted for a feature-length film, which was released on February 28. As predicted, Son of God, with its built-in Christian audience, has done very well at the box office, though it remains to be seen how fast it will fade. The major film critics were not impressed with the film (i.e., they panned it), and the response from the average viewer has also been on the negative […]
Sodak RecordsI have listened to your music for almost 10 years and I still enjoy the old ones, and I’m sure these tunes will build new ones.
Medals (from a Mennonite) for Olympic Coverage
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.