In case you haven't heard, the movies found religion this week this month. Dogma, a primer in Roman Catholic theology for 20-somethings raised on Scooby Doo, and The Messenger, the second of three Joan of Arc films due out in a 12-month span, premiered this week. Bringing Out the Dead, hailed by critics and rejected by audiences, explicitly deals with spiritual exhaustion and redemption. Add to that the success of Trinity Broadcasting Network's film The Omega Code. Even the latest effluent Saturday Night Live-based film focuses on a Catholic student.
As Hollywood goes, so goes the magazine industry (Quick, name three magazines that didn't put either Tom Cruise or Nicole Kidman on their cover this summer). And so, when religion is big at the box office, you can bet it'll make its way to the newsstand too.
Books & Culture vs. New York Times Magazine on Paul Schrader
Okay, okay, I'll admit it. We're a magazine, too, and our eyes turn to Hollywood about as much as anyone else's for its role as cultural barometer. In July, our sister magazine Books & Culture took a look at former Calvin College student Paul Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Bringing Out the Dead. "Has any other artist of Schrader's generation rendered so uncompromisingly the somber Calvinist vision of human depravity?" asked Calvin College professor Roy Anker in the article.
Turns out that Schrader doesn't see himself that way. "[My characters] aren't dark," he tells The New York Times Magazine in its October 24 issue. "I've always been interested in people, perfectly intelligent people, who seem to have some sort of grasp on life but go around acting in a self-defeating way because they are expressing some neurosis—either ...1