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Tired of election coverage at this point? Looking for a more optimistic view of the political world? You might be interested in the 1993 movie, Dave, the story of a presidential look-alike who agrees to stand in for the president but gets more than he bargained for. When the real president has a stroke, advisors in his inner circle use the look-alike as a surrogate, attempting to lead through a puppet. Only, they picked the wrong guy with too much on his mind to do what they want.

Optimistic, wholesome, and entirely unrealistic, Dave is a great escape from our current world, and an inspiring take on how politics could work.

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Horror movies are always about reckoning with something we have suppressed or believed gone for good–a demon, vampire, werewolf, etc. But when you think about it, the scariest thing that we ever have to reckon with is ourselves. Jordan Peele explores this concept in the movie Us by having literal doubles of the main characters appear with a choice: either deal with your dark side or be destroyed by it.

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For years, Crash was my favorite movie of all time. While it isn’t anymore, I still find it to be a remarkable movie with challenging questions for our lives. While some will say that it is simply a movie about race relations, it is so much more than that. It’s about prejudice in the more broad sense, about challenging expectations of good and evil, of recognizing the beautiful individuality of every person, that each and every one of us has the possibility of heroic feats… and embarrassing evil.

It is at the same time a cynical movie and and endearingly hopeful. It shows what we can be at our worst (and how prevalent that is in our world) but that even the worst sinners have opportunities for redemption.

For me, it’s a reminder that every moment is an opportunity for holiness, that it doesn’t matter what I did before, I can still return to God. But opportunities are not guarantees.

Crash is rated R and is not something suited for children, but for the mature teen or adult, it is the sort of the movie that can be discussed for ages.

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Disney is one of the largest, most influential companies in the the entertainment industry. For decades, it has created imaginative uplifting stories for children, transporting them to another world, a fairy tale world.

It’s awful, really.

Not in the “magic-is-bad-we’re-polluting-our-kids-brains-with-anti-Christian-paganism” way that you might hear from evangelicals, a la Harry Potter, but in the “this-is-shallow-story-telling-that-is-white-washed-and-misogynistic-rarely-having-any-moral-import-for-our-world” sort of way. For Br. Tito and I, Disney fairy tales do precisely what our show seeks to avoid: providing an escape from reality.

Which is why we both like the movie Shrek so much. Basically an hour and a half of subverting Disney, everything about the movie seeks to use the common tropes of fairy tales to make fun them and show how ridiculous they are. The main character, Shrek, seems to embody our own voice, going through a fantasy world with skepticism and confusion, pointing out the absurdity of it all while the people around his cling to what makes a better story rather than what is real.

It’s a deep kids movie, I’ll give it that.

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Everyone loves St. Francis. Really. Everyone. Throughout history he has been lauded by Catholics and Protestants, Muslims and people of good faith, environmentalists and hippies, even a 19th century business tycoon. His appeal is far and wide, and the images depicting him are as diverse as any saint.

Meaning… that when people try to make movies about him—and they do—they are going to be all over the map.

In honor of St. Francis week, Br. Tito and I watched two famous Franciscan movies (Brother Sun, Sister Moon and Francesco) to see how popular media has portrayed Francis is the past. Admittedly a bit underwhelmed, we spend the second half of the podcast imagining our own Franciscan movie.