Popular Culture

I Wanna Dance movie: Whitney Houston’s success and struggles.  Singer Whitney Houston was a global superstar with a complicated life.  Adored by millions, mocked by some fellow Blacks, this New Jersey church girl struggled with drug and alcohol abuse as she sought to navigate a stratospheric career and tumultuous personal life.  I Wanna Dance with Somebody presents revealing glimpses into her emotional and professional journeys.  (Short op-ed)

‘Elvis’ movie: All Shook Up meets Heartbreak HotelElvis lives.  At least in the hearts of his fans, and they are everywhere.  Warner Bros.’ new Elvis movie extends the legacy.  Why does the raven-haired, swivel-hipped crooner still fascinate millions nearly 45 years after his death?  (Short op-ed)

Respect’ movie: Aretha’s success, struggles, secrets, soul.  Entertainment superstar Aretha Franklin was an industry icon and international treasure.  Beloved by millions, honored by presidents, she also struggled with personal and family turmoil.  The Queen of Soul handpicked Oscar® winner Jennifer Hudson to play her in this long-awaited MGM biopic.  All Aretha was askin’ for was a little respect.  Does this movie bring it?  (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version

‘Wonder Woman 1984’ movie: Will you get what you want?  Suppose you could have anything you ever wanted – fame, fortune, relationships, pleasure.  Would that make you happy?  A megalomaniacal global villain is tapping human desires to help him dominate civilization.  In 1984, Wonder Woman races to foil his dastardly scheme.   (Short op-ed)  Washington Examiner version

Ben-Hur remake: Revenge, redemption, inspiring backstory.  Mark Burnett and Roma Downey have remade the classic MGM film for a new generation … complete with a chariot race for the ages, plus plenty of action, romance and inspiration.  What’s behind this story, and why has it endured so long?  (Short op-ed)

Batman v Superman movie: Superhero rumble.  Both stand for good, fight crime, and help the needy.  So, why are these two guys fighting each other?  Is it turf wars – Gotham vs. Metropolis?  Do they each have Lois Lane crushes?  Welcome to the backstory of how these two met.  (Short op-ed)

John Rhys-Davies: Veteran actor with heart and conviction.  When I interviewed veteran actor John Rhys-Davies at a film premiere recently, I already knew we had several things in common.  We both understand some Swahili, studied at UK universities, and married older women.  But I was not aware of his deep concerns about two significant social issues – slavery and anti-Semitism – that also ignite my passions.  (Short op-ed)

The Identical movie: Elvis-esque, secret past, conflicting dreams.  Ever have trouble getting people you love to embrace your life dreams?  You’ll likely identify with Ryan Wade.  Music is in his soul.  He has the looks, voice and moves of Elvis, and drives audiences wild.  But his preacher father has different dreams for him, setting up a monumental collision.  A fun Rock ‘n’ Roll parable with an upbeat, inspiring, message about finding purpose, revealing secrets, and experiencing redemption.  (Short op-ed)

Moms’ Night Out movie: Laughs, plus hope for frazzled moms.  Want laughs, plus a way to tell a mother she’s loved?  Take her to see Moms’ Night Out, opening Mother’s Day weekend.  On the set, actors and producers promised the comedy would be a hoot.  They’ve delivered, with loads of family fun.  I laughed out loud.  (Short op-ed)

Man of Steel movie: got hope?  “What’s the ‘S’ stand for?” Lois Lane asks Superman in the new movie.  “It’s not an ‘S’,” responds the Man of Steel.  “On my world, it means ‘hope’.”  Man of Steel is a fun film that taps deep human desires for self-identity, purpose and hope.  How do you find genuine, lasting hope?  (Short op-ed)

Les Misérables film: Mercy Triumphs.  Could receiving a healthy dose of kindness and mercy help transform a person’s life?  Victor Hugo thought so.  The 19th Century French social reformer wove his famous novel Les Misérables around the theme of grace trumping legalism.  A new film based on the successful musical opens Christmas Day.  (Short op-ed)

Who Said That?  “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.”  “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  “Money is the root of all evil.”  “God helps those who help themselves.”  Who made these statements?  Learning who actually said them – and, in some cases, what they really said and meant – might surprise you.  (Short op-ed)

Paris Hilton and What We Want.  The heiress scored number one on Google News searches in 2006.  What do people want to know about?  Why do celebrities rank so high?  What clues might this hold to our wants and needs and how to meet them?  (Short op-ed)

Elvis Has Left the Building.  As the world remembers the King of Rock ’n’ Roll, what does fascination with Elvis tell us about ourselves?  (Probe radio series transcript.)

Elvis is Dead.  Deal With It. The King lives on, at least in the hearts of his fans.  On the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death, what does the fascination with Elvis tell us about ourselves? (Short op-ed)

Basic Instinct, Showgirls & God?  Self-described “Hollywood Animal” Joe Eszterhas, the blockbuster screenwriter famous for steamy eroticism and dark thrillers, says God found him and life’s never been better.  (Short op-ed)

Superman Returns: Superhero Still Needed? (Includes Gospel & prayer) Superman has returned.  Bad guys, beware!  Why has the Superman story remained so popular?  What is it about the Man of Steel that captures the public imagination?  Does the world still need a superhero?

A Little “Kramer” in All of Us?  Comedian Michael Richards – “Kramer” on TV’s Seinfeld – saw his racist tirade at African-American hecklers ignite a firestorm.  Lots of people have dark sides.  Maybe everyone.  Maybe you.  I do.  (Short op-ed)

Your Money or Your Life! … or Your Wine?  An armed gunman at a Washington, DC, dinner threatened to start shooting unless guests gave him their money.  Ten minutes later, he had apologized and asked for a group hug.  What brought this dramatic change?  (Short op-ed)