Love, Simon – teenage romantic comedy that is funny, wise, and kind

Photo: 20th Century FOX | Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a teenage romantic comedy that wore its heart on its sleeve, full of love for its characters. … Fortunately, director Greg Berlanti remembers those films and has intentionally brought the genre up-to-date, using the bestselling YA book Simon and the Home Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli as his source material.

What’s changed in the thirty years after Sixteen Candles? A few things. It’s a digital world now and social media and interconnectivity is a constant presence. The opportunity for online discussion creates both a safe place to talk about yourself anonymously and a dangerous place for online bullying and the spillover into the school cafeteria. And there is now a growing acceptance of a variety of sexual identities with younger adults and teens that was openly shunned in the 80s, although the risk of coming out as LGBTQ to family and friends is still present (and the United Methodist Church’s attempt to find a way forward is perhaps one of the most controversial movements in recent church history).

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Movie: A Wrinkle in Time – what happened?

Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader | Photo: Disney

There is no doubt in my mind that Ava DuVernay is a gifted filmmaker, capable of creating the memorable Selma as well as the outstanding documentary 13th. When she announced her desire to make a film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s beloved 1963 novel A Wrinkle in Time (with the blessing of Oprah Winfrey), I had high hopes that something wonderful would happen.

What happened?

The more I thought about the shortcomings of this film, I came to the conclusion that no movie could do justice to this classic children’s book, which is primarily a novel of ideas and imagination, touched with Christian theology. Every major work of ideas (i.e. Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, A Pilgrim’s Progress, Ulysses, Moby Dick, Animal Farm, The Narnia Chronicles, etc.) begins to fall apart when its big themes are reduced (or blown up) to screen size. One of the reasons that draws readers back to classic children’s fiction as adults is the depth of wisdom that reveals itself upon later readings.

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Five Halo Movie Review “I simply stand in awe of Black Panther”

Photo: marvel studios

Movie Review by Rev. Bruce Bachelor Glader

Ryan Coogler’s entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is so much more than a superhero movie…

It is a film that celebrates African culture with a surprising expansiveness. It is a story about royalty, political alliances, and conflict that is Shakespearian in nature. It is an adventure movie that at times mimics a James Bond picture, with amazing inventions and complicated supervillains. It is also a thoughtful reimagining of Black History in which the imaginary country of Wakanda is an advanced (and hidden) civilization living in isolationist mode; America is the country in need.

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