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youth ministry

Movie Reviews that Don’t Suck

I don’t pretend to know much about film or movies. Fundamentally, I’m far too cheap to go to the movies very often. A few weeks ago Paul and I went to see The Martian while on our trip to Seattle:

  • Two tickets: $25.60
  • Parking: $6
  • Seeing The Martian with my son: Priceless
  • NO. It was $31.60! That’s twenty-two cents per minute!!!
  • Exclamation marks!

So that’s my bias. While I love watching movies I don’t know much about them beyond how much they cost per minute to watch. And I have a thing for documentaries.

Perhaps this is why I’ve been so intrigued to witness Joel Mayward‘s growth with his movie reviews?

I first took note of this several years ago as he posted excellent reviews on his blog. Then, as his interest grew, we started working with him on a few smaller projects. This grew and his interest continued to mature. A year or so ago we began working on a book with him eventually titled, Jesus Goes to the Movies. Earlier this year he and I spoke at an event where he presented an entire theology of Film & Ministry that completely blew me away.

Two New Things with Joel Mayward

  1. Cinemayward.com – Yesterday we launched Cinemayward.com with Joel. Here Joel will be focusing his attention on essays about the intersection of faith and film as well as more of his truly excellent movie reviews. Unlike most Christian movie reviewers, who tend to focus on surface things like counting cuss words or discounting an entire movie because of a sex scene… Joel’s review tend to go back to a central theme… “Where is Jesus in this movie?”  While geared for everyday Christians, Joel’s reviews help you think differently about film… beyond consumption, they introduce you to the
  2. CINE Film Discussion Guides – Also launching yesterday is a companion series to Jesus Goes to the Movies. The first half of JGTTM is a theology of film in youth ministry. But the second half is all about practical application which includes film discussion guides you can use right in your ministry. When we were publishing the book we wanted to make sure that the book stayed current… so we came up with CINE, building on the success of another downloadable curriculum line VIVA. Our first edition of CINE came out yesterday and includes film discussion guides for four Christmas movies… and it’s totally free. (Grab it here)

Why the investment in movies?

This last part is pretty simple. It’s two-fold.

  1. We believe Joel is onto something great. He’s helping us all think differently, deeper, and better about movies. He represents an uncommon Christian response to film that we think is needed and we want to get behind that… Joel possesses a characteristic we call “Very Cartel-y.
  2. Movies and film are powerful to teenagers. At the end of the day the Cartel is fully invested in helping youth workers reach more teenagers, better. Few things influence our culture quite like film. And since that’s true, we want to make sure we’re creating and supporting resources for youth workers that are excellent.

By Adam McLane

Kristen and Adam live in the San Diego neighborhood of Rolando with their three children.

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