When Miley Met Hannah

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We often talk about how pop culture—movies, music, video games, TV, the Internet—influences young people who consume it. But what about those who produce it? Especially if they’re quite young, how does being the at the epicenter of a pop-culture phenomenon influence them? One supernova star whose influence—for better, for worse—we’ve chronicled over the last […]

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Eduardo Verástegui Talks About Faith, Little Boy and the Power of Media

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The New York Times ran “nearly 900 film reviews in 2013,” according to the Times itself. That’s not quite three films per day, but it’s getting close. With that huge number of motion pictures being made each year (and certainly the Times didn’t review every one), it might surprise you to know that Focus on […]

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A Country Chat With Garth Brooks

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On March 27, the first part of my two-part blog on Garth Brooks appeared here. Today, I’d like to give you a behind-the-scenes look into the questions and answers that occurred at this “pep rally” to dedicate a new teen area at a Denver hospital. What follows comes from two different interviews—one where I had a […]

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Ad and A.D. Add Up to a Big Easter on TV

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About 3.7 million people tuned in to watch Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus on the National Geographic Channel last Sunday—the most ever to watch a show on the network, and a 300% improvement on NatGeo’s typical Sunday-night ratings. It was a success. But it wasn’t a surprise. Jesus—or, rather, shows predicated on Him—is big business these […]

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Unpacking Madonna’s Spiritual Beliefs

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Madonna’s 13th album, Rebel Heart, includes quite a lot of spiritual imagery—sometimes couching temptation in terms of a struggle requiring divine assistance, other times merging erotic sexual innuendo and religious iconography in deliberately provocative ways. In a lengthy new interview with Rolling Stone, the Material Girl talked about some of her spiritual experiences growing up, […]

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Pop Culture’s Top 10 Movers and Shakers (2014 Edition)

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Oscar night group selfie

Pop culture was, as always, in a giving mood in 2014. Hollywood gave us blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1. Television parceled out its annual allotment of crime procedurals, prestige dramas, reality shows and zombies. Ariana Grande gave us a “Problem” (with help from Iggy Azalea). Grand […]

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Bale’s Take on Moses: Schizophrenic, Barbaric, Mercurial

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Still of Christian Bale as Moses in "Exodus"

Every time a big-name Hollywood director announces he’s going to tackle a familiar biblical story, I hold my breath. On one hand, it’s exhilarating that these scriptural epics are getting mainstream screen time—not to mention eye-popping budgets and special effects to retell these tales on the grandest cinematic scale possible. On the other hand, when […]

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