LAKERS VS. CELTICS: A Tale of Two Cities

The National Basketball Association’s marquee match up starts tonight. The two most celebrated teams in NBA history, the Celtics and the Lakers, battle for yet another championship. While the Celtics dominate their head to head competition (winning 8 of 10 championship series), their overall titles are rather tight. Boston has claimed sixteen crowns, to the Lakers’ fourteen titles. Echoes of Bob Cousy, Bill Russell, and Larry Bird may haunt the Lakers when the series starts in the Boston Garden. Surely, legendary Lakers like Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and Magic Johnson will be cheering on the Lakers when the series arrives in the Staples Center for games 3, 4, and 5.

Who are you cheering for? My partner on Purple State of Mind, John Marks, resides in Massachusetts.  He is surrounded by a sense of history, a connection to the origins of America, from the Boston Tea Party to Paul Revere.   Where do I sit? In the City of the Angels, pulling for the Lakers' purple power.

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My friend, Martin Hynes, has a smart, sexy and spiritual film opening in select theaters this weekend. I caught the captivating premiere of THE GO-GETTER at the Sundance Film Festival. It is equal parts road trip and romantic comedy with echoes of Garden State. Following his triumphant turn in Thumbsucker, Lou Taylor Pucci stars as Mercer, a young man dislocated by the death of his mother. Mercer hits the road to inform his wayward brother, Arlen. Mercer has only one thing holding him back—a lack of transportation. He “borrows” a car that contains the owner’s cell phone. Mercer begins a soulful conversation with Kate that guides his misadventures. As Kate, Zooey Deschanel portrays a genuinely original muse.
Tags | Film


Weezer’s “Buddy Holly” video brought together most of the elements of my childhood. The chunky guitars echoed seventies rock from bands like the Raspberries. Weezer embraced their inner geek by casting themselves within a homage to the sitcom, “Happy Days.” For a kid who grew up on Richie, Potsie and The Fonz, it was the ultimate trip, a delicious embrace of disposable pop culture. It put director Spike Jonze on the map, winning MTV’s 1995 Breakthrough Video award. “Buddy Holly” made music videos a respectable, cut-and-paste art form.

With their new video for “Pork and Beans,” Weezer has buried the MTV era and embraced the network that matters most, YouTube. The first single on their red album is classic power pop: short, sweet, and anthemic. But the “Pork and Beans” video takes the song to another level by embracing the absurdity of instant Internet celebrities. It is a massive, viral video test. The humor will be completely lost upon those who ignore those forward emails with links to strange outtakes. But for people who can’t get enough stupid human tricks, Weezer creates a wondrous chance to play name that meme.

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Tags | Music

'Purple State of Mind' Behind the Scenes

Check out some Behind the Scenes clips for the movie 'Purple State of Mind'. Enjoy!!

WE THE PURPLE: Idols, Celtics, Dancing and Democrats

For those who question whether democracy works, consider the choices offered to voters on a remarkably competitive Tuesday! American Idol gave us the dueling Davids, Archuleta versus Cook. The options could not be more distinct: squeaky clean teen or scruffy rocker dude. The boy sang sweet ballads, while the man rawked.

The height differential was also exploited on Dancing with the Stars. NFL all star Jason Taylor towered over ice skater Kristi Yamaguchi. Yet, Kristi and her partner, Mark Ballas, proved more fleet o’ foot. As a lifelong Dolphin fan, I was hoping Taylor would come away with that rarest of Miami commodities, a victory. Alas, hours of dancing on ice proved more helpful training than dodging NFL linemen.

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Creation Groans in Myanmar, China and the American Midwest

A cyclone washes out Myanmar. An earthquake rocks Sichuan, China. Tornados rip through Oklahoma and Missouri. How do we even begin to grasp the scale of such tragedies? When death tolls vary in the thousands, it is so hard to focus on how personal each lost life remains. It is so heartbreaking to read about it. How difficult to imagine the grief and confusion besetting the epicenters. Compassion arises from every corner of the world. Aid pours into these beleagured areas. But so many questions remain.

I was privileged to film relief efforts in Sri Lanka following the tsunami. While huge stockpiles of goods sat under government inefficiencies, more nimble churches and NGO's met needs as quickly as possible. Horror is followed by generosity. Acts of kindness abounded. But our best relief efforts are often too little, too late.

PANGEA DAY: Short films for Social Change

Given all the tremendous pain and suffering being unveiled in Myanmar, it is easy to despair. So many have felt compelled to do their part to assist the beleagured people of Myanmar. And yet we’ve struggled to even import supplies amidst an oppressive regime.   How can human rights be extended around the globe? How can we come to see each other as equally precious in God’s sight?    What can a filmmaker do to bring more freedom and dignity to others?

Twenty-four short films from around the globe will premiere on MAY 10, 2008. Pangea Day started as the dream of Jehane Noujaim, director of the documentaries and Control Room. Having been born to Egyptian/Lebanese/Persian father and an American mother, Jehane embodies much of the conflict in the Middle East within herself. When she was awarded the $100,000 TED prize in 2006, she shared her dream of world peace. Not in the Miss America contestant cliche way, but in the power of image to sensitize and humanize us. You can hear her address to the TED (Technology Entertainment Design) Conference here.

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Tags | Film


Flashy summer films arrive with Iron Man. The record breaking box office demonstrates how relevant comic book heroes remain. Superhero stories that endure are wrapped up in our ongoing interpersonal struggles. In Spider-Man 3, Peter Parker dealt with his rage. The Hulk is all about managing our anger. The Dark Knight demonstrates how fine a line Bruce Wayne treads between our longing for justice and the blindness of vigilantes. Their divided selves mirror our own struggles.

Since we’re rapping about Billy Graham and vampires over at Purple State of John, I thought I’d add this unexpected link to Robert Downey’s thrilling turn as Iron Man. One of the funkiest takes on the film comes courtesy of Jeremy Hunt from the Billy Graham Organization.
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Tags | Film


Four hundred people filled the backlot at CBS studios to figure out how to navigate the digital age. The Biola Media Conference transformed the Seinfeld’ New York street into a marketplace of ideas. With record stores closing and network TV ratings plummeting, the old media conglomerates are struggling. Yet, on a weekend when Iron Man makes $100 million something is still working. What’s the blueprint for the Internet era?

I hosted the morning session of the Biola Media Conference. Kudos to the crew which transformed Stage 15 at CBS into a makeshift studio.  I interviewed Anita Renfoe, whose rousing MomSense routine sung to the William Tell Overture, received over 8 million views on YouTube. Anita’s unexpected breakthrough proves that funny and timely trumps all. I also chatted onstage with David Kinnaman, author of the groundbreaking study, UnChristian. The Barna Research Group suggests that the politicized faith of the Religious Right has dug a major public relations hole for the entire Christian community. It will take much more than better media to convince the next generation that not all Christians are judgmental, hypocritical, anti-homosexual and too political.

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Tags | Film

MONSTERS!? Cloverfield and Emerging Christians

Having heard my fill of speculation regarding emergent Christians, I finally found an appropriate equivalent.  The panic sweeping the streets in Cloverfield matches the hyperbole abounding on the blogosphere about whatever Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, Rob Bell et. al. MAY espouse. Fear can be fun. Fear can be silly. Fear can also be foolish. Why are we so wound up about a revitalizing movement?   Read more about it at OUT OF UR.

And if that isn't enough, I expanded the metaphor with a second post. How did producer J.J> Abrams create such advance buzz for a reimagination of monster movies?   When have we allowed panic to supercede discernment?   These random musings on faith and culture generated heated remarks.
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Tags | Film
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Craig Detweiler, PhD is a filmmaker, author and professor. He directs the Reel Spirituality Institute for the Brehm Center at Fuller Theological Seminary.