Most Recent Archive

Eighth Grade

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August 10, 2018 Vic Thiessen Media Matters

Do you remember eighth grade? I remember it all too well. For me, it was the most difficult year of my life, especially in terms of relating to my peers. But I cannot begin to imagine how much worse that year might have been if I had been a girl in our age of social media. That’s the premise of Bo Burnham’s debut film (he wrote and directed), Eighth Grade, which stars Elsie Fisher as 14-year-old Kayla Day. Kayla, in her final weeks of middle school, is trying to navigate the daily experience of being shunned or ignored by her […]

Climate Change and Women

August 6, 2018 Third Way Wider View

By Whitney Ricker, Climate Advocacy Intern, Center for Sustainable Climate Solutions Climate change is not often thought of as a gender issue, yet it is becoming increasingly clear that women are particularly vulnerable to its impacts. As we continue to see an increase in natural disasters and environmental degradation, global poverty and suffering are also increased, further marginalizing vulnerable populations. In many parts of the world, women are at a significant disadvantage as compared to their male counterparts, making their survival during times of crisis much more difficult. Globally, women between the ages of 25 and 34 are 22 percent […]

The King and Won’t You Be My Neighbor

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August 3, 2018 Jerry L. Holsopple Media Matters

  Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki takes the front seat in Elvis Presley’s 1963 Rolls Royce to explore America in a new film, The King. The coast to coast drive explores the American Dream, the roots of rock and roll, the 2016 U.S. election and the nature of success using Elvis as the metaphoric story. Ethan Hawke shares, near the end, that Elvis at each juncture in his career chose money, more money rather than what might have made him happy or fulfilled. Jarecki uses this theme to make social commentary on the U.S., suggesting that the dream is dead, or really […]

Three Identical Strangers

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July 27, 2018 Matthew Kauffman Smith Media Matters

The age-old psychology debate of nature versus nurture has been studied and argued for years, but it’s not super splashy. No Hollywood exec is asking Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to star in an action thriller where he must choose between his friends Nurture and Nature—all while saving a burning building. As far as I know, Nature vs. Nurture: The Musical isn’t coming to Broadway anytime soon. The new documentary Three Identical Strangers, however, plays out like a compelling mystery, leaving the viewers to believe nature wins—only to turn that whole theory on its head in the second half of the […]

Counting down in faith

July 20, 2018 Charles Kwuelum Wider View

By Charles Kwuelum On June 30, the Democratic Republic of the Congo celebrated its 58th anniversary of independence. Instead of celebrating landmark democratic achievements as a nation, the country faces the unpleasant challenge of multi-layered conflicts including political and ethnic violence. Militarized responses from DR Congo’s armed forces and rebel groups continue to shake its stability. In December 2016, President Joseph Kabila’s second and last term ended according to Congolese constitution. Elections have been delayed and the president has since remained in office. This has led to countrywide protests from citizens to demand elections. The peaceful protests were met with […]

Leave No Trace

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July 20, 2018 Gordon Houser Media Matters

One rule of good storytelling is that less is more. One of the things that makes Leave No Trace so effective is not just the story it tells but what it leaves out. Will (Ben Foster) and his 13-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), are living in a Forest Park, a nature preserve near Portland, Oregon. They find food, collect rainwater, and sleep in a tent. They also do drills to practice hiding from anyone looking for them. We’re not told why they are there or what they are afraid of. We learn that Will is a veteran, likely suffering from […]

First Reformed

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July 13, 2018 Vic Thiessen Media Matters

When I was growing up, many of the films I watched made some reference to faith or the church because both played a central, or at least regular, role in the lives of most Americans. But for decades now, films about faith, the church, or both have been few and far between, and when faith is portrayed, it is often viewed negatively, or at best is portrayed as naive. So when a critically acclaimed film comes along that not only takes faith seriously but portrays both its positive and negative aspects, I take special notice. It’s not surprising that such […]

When children can’t go to school

July 12, 2018 Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach Wider View

Before we know it, summer routines will end and children will return to school. But for more than 500,000 Palestinian children throughout the Middle East, schools may not be able to open in the fall. It has been five months since the U.S. announced it would be withholding most of its funding from the U.N. agency that provides services to Palestinian refugees. In addition to operating nearly 700 schools, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides food assistance, health care and other services to Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. It is unclear […]