The Rapper and the Nun

So Sister Cristina Scuccia is a 25-year-old Sicilian nun who appeared on the Italian edition of The Voice. J-Ax, apparently, is a rapper of devilish reputation.

When asked by the host what the Vatican thought about her appearing on The Voice, Sister Cristina replied, “Listen, I really don’t know. I am waiting for Pope Francesco to call me on the phone . . . He always says we should go out and evangelize, telling [people that] God doesn’t take anything away from us, but will give us more.”


A Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

Crafted by one Caleb Slain, this is a wonderful mosaic of Hoffman’s work. My favorite performances had to have been those given in Charlie Wilson’s War, The Master, Mission Impossible III (in which he definitely plays against type, and to great effect), Doubt, and Synechdoche, New York. (His Oscar-winning performance as Truman Capote goes without saying.)

See if you agree with me that there are a couple of overwrought turns, particularly in Patch Adams and Almost Famous.

Warning: there are many many uses of the eff word. Many many.

Is This the Worst Sitcom in the History of Sitting?

Imagine some comic “genius” finds himself standing in an elevator next to a TV-network executive and decides he has 30 seconds to make a pitch for what he believes will be a groundbreaking situation comedy.

COMIC GENIUS: Think “Adolf and Eva — their home life.” Like The Honeymooners, only starring a genocidal madman and his lady love. Imagine the gags: Hitler has a bad day at at the Eastern Front and decides he’s not taking the garbage out no matter what Eva says. Eva think Hitler’s having an affair and so decides to bug his office. Hitler and Eva are tired of their wacky next-door neighbors, the Mengeles, coming over every Saturday night and showing them more photographs of “twins.”

EXECUTIVE (laughing hysterically): Stop it, stop it, oh my sides!!

Now imagine that the genius pitching the idea is decidedly not Mel Brooks.

Well, I give you Heil Honey, I’m Home!

For some more background, check out the indispensable Mental Floss’s take.

Nice Italian Boy Teaches Philosophy at Oxford

Vince Vitale is

Senior Tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics, Tutor in Philosophy and Mission at Wycliffe Hall, a member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford, and a speaker for RZIM Europe.  He holds a D.Phil. in Philosophy and an M.Phil. in Theology, both from the University of Oxford. His primary research interests are in philosophy of religion, epistemology, and ethics. Vince is erstwhile Secretary of the Joseph Butler Society for the Philosophy of Religion and previously taught with rank of Lecturer in the Philosophy and Religion Departments of his alma mater, Princeton University, where he committed his life to Jesus Christ as an undergraduate and later served as Director of Athletes in Action Christian Fellowship. Vince has a passion for the intersection of faith and sport. He played varsity soccer at Princeton, has been awarded Blues in football and boxing at Oxford, and has traveled with Athletes in Action soccer teams to four continents. Vince and his wife Jo met at St. Aldate’s Church, Oxford.

This according to his profile at Ravi Zacharias International ministries.

In this brief video, Vince makes the case that God is not only not dead; he’s alive and well in … the philosophy departments of institutions like Oxford.

Enjoy and be edified:

H/T to TitusOneNine

A Strange Preview: Persecuted

So Persecuted, regarded as either an “action drama mystery” or a “Christian thriller,”  stars former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson as a Roman Catholic priest (and Dean Stockwell, Raoul Trujillo, and Bruce Davison as other people). provides this synopsis:

Nationally acclaimed evangelist John Luther is the last obstacle in the way of sweeping religious reform in the States. When a U.S. Senator and Luther’s own supporters abduct and frame him in the murder of an innocent teenage girl, an unprecedented era of persecution is unleashed. Out on personal recognizance, Luther escapes police surveillance in search of the truth. And suddenly, a once-normal life is targeted by a team of ex-military operatives who wage a relentless campaign to eliminate the incriminating evidence. As evangelist turned fugitive, Luther vows to expose anyone involved with or profiting from the girl’s murder; a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the entire Christian community in America.

Everybody got that?

It sounds — and looks — a tad overwrought, nay hysterical (and not in that good way, like when everyone starts screaming simultaneously and then stops abruptly). But we live in perilous times, and who knows what wackiness has yet to be unleashed upon the God botherers by those who are bothered by God.

Take a look for yourself. And remember: today’s paranoia is tomorrow’s 20/20 hindsight. (I have no idea what that means. But on the off-chance that it’s profound, I call dibs.)

A Strange Preview: Sin City 2

I was under the impression that Sin City 1: A Ton ‘o Sin had not done that well at the BO, but it turns out that it made about $74M domestic and was generally well received critically. I saw it when it came out in 2005 and my reaction was one giant shrug—some fancy optics but no heart.

Enter Sin City 2: Really Skanky Sin. Co-directed by Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Spy Kids, Terror Planet) and starring Mickey Rourke and Bruce Willis and Josh Brolin and Eva Green and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jaimie King and Juno Temple and Jessica Alba and Christopher Meloni and Jeremy Piven and Ray Liotta and, last but not least, Lady Gaga, the sequel enjoys four plots and exhibits even more elaborate processing techniques that give the appearance of a black and white film but with color highlights, and that render live-action as virtually animated. (The first film won the Technical Grand Prize at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.)

Frank Miller is the comic book writer/artist who created the the Sin City world. His most famous titles also include 300, Ronin, Wolverine (1982 edition), Daredevil (1979 edition), and The Dark Knight Returns (1986 edition). He also created the character of Elektra (which also debuted as a film in 2005 and stunk up the joint). The first Sin City‘s production was both milestone-setting and controversial (see this from Rotten Tomatoes).

Miller has become infamous of late, earning the ire of other comic book artists/graphic novelists for, well, I’ll let Wiki say it:

Daredevil: Born Again and The Dark Knight Returns were both critical successes and influential on a new generation of creators. Batman: Year One was met with even greater praise for its gritty style. Works such as Ronin300 and Sin City were also very successful. However, fellow comic book writer Alan Moore has described Miller’s work from Sin City-onwards as homophobic and misogynistic, despite praising his early Batman and Daredevil work. Moore previously penned a flattering introduction to an early collected edition of The Dark Knight ReturnsBatman: The Dark Knight Strikes Again, a sequel to The Dark Knight Returns, received mixed reviews, while All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder in particular consistently received harsh criticism and was hailed as a sign of Miller’s creative decline. The filmatization of 300 has been perceived as promoting fascist values, and as hate speech against disabled people.

Holy Terror has been criticized as anti-Islamic propaganda. In addition, some of Miller’s works have been accused of lacking “humanity,” particularly in regard to the abundance of prostitutes portrayed in Sin City. In terms of his film work, Miller’s scripts for Robocop 2 and 3 were unsuccessful, while his 2008 film adaptation of Will Eisner’s The Spirit met with largely negative reviews, earning a metascore of 30/100 at the review aggregation site

So there.

Given this perception of Miller (or at least “late” Miller) as a neo-fascist, I’m stunned to learn that he’s still making a living in Hollywood, where normally you’d have to be a rapist to earn that kind of generosity of spirit.

Perhaps the community is truly growing. Or perhaps nothing really matters more than money. Or perhaps Miller’s vision does not reflect the Group’s in all particulars, and so the name calling is just Stage One in the Bringing to Heel. (I don’t have an opinion about Miller, frankly, as I am not familiar with  his work except for that first Sin City film, which, as I noted, I did not care for. I have never read a single one of his books and have yet to see 300, which is now enjoying a sequel of its own, 301 or something like that, which opens tomorrow.)

Anyway, here’s the trailer.