Hot Takes

The Art of Political Murder: Another Prophet Ends Up Murdered

By Jacob Sahms On April 26, 1998, someone entered the garage attached to the parish house of San Sebastian Church where Bishop Juan Gerardi was appointed priest. Two days prior, Gerardi had published Guatemala: Nunca más, part of the Recovery of Historical Memory (REMHI) project that highlighted government suppression after the civil war in Guatemala. On that […]

News of the World: Tom Hanks Goes West

By Jacob Sahms Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has seen the best and worst of the world as a leader in the Confederate Army, but he’s retired to a different occupation: reading the news to anyone who has ten cents to pay. When he arrives upon a young girl alone in the woods, he’s drawn into […]

Songbird: No Longer Science Fiction

By Jacob Sahms The year is 2024 and COVID-19 has mutated, leading to absolute, militaristic lockdown. Bike courier Nico (I Still Believe, Riverdale) rides around the city freely thanks to immunity to the disease, while his girlfriend Sara (Sofia Carson) waits expectantly for the day when they can vacation outside of the city. When Sara […]

Let Him Go: Grief, Parenting, & Marriage Become Tangled for Costner’s Ex-Sheriff

By Jacob Sahms Let Him Go is one of my favorite films, maybe even my favorite. There’s an organic struggle here, about marriage, about aging, about self-discovery, about parenting. Yes, it’s undeniably a thriller, but it’s insightful in the way that Larry Watson’s story explored all of these issues. Kevin Costner has always looked comfortable in […]

The Mystery of D.B. Cooper: Airplane-Jumping Robin Hood?

By Jacob Sahms Emmy-nominated documentarian John Dower delivers a thrilling, thought-provoking film about the only unsolved airline hijacking in American history in The Mystery of D.B. Cooper. Interviewing several individuals who are certain that their friend or relative was Cooper, the film paints an interesting exploration of the crime committed by a mysterious man who was both […]

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Netflix) Highlights the Human Struggle

By Jacob Sahms “The Mother of Blues” Ma Rainey (1886-1939) sang blues professionally, beginning in 1923, with songs like “Moonshine Blues,” “See See Rider Blues,” and “Soon This Morning.” She also delivered the titular “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” song of Netflix’s adaptation of the August Wilson stage play, the final film of Chadwick Boseman’s illustrious, […]

Jingle Jangle (Netflix): Re-Capturing Joy

By Jacob Sahms The toy inventor Jeronicus Jangle has joy, oodles and oodles of joy. He creates for anyone and everyone, until the fateful night when his apprentice Gustafson steals from him. This is the story that a wise old grandmother (Phylicia Rashad) tells her grandchildren between the fire and the Christmas tree. It doesn’t […]

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix): Rising Up, with Family

By Jacob Sahms In the late 1990s, a smart Appalachian teen finds his place in the world thanks to a knack for algebra and the hard knock home education he receives from his family. In bittersweet terms, his life is both a representation of the struggle of poor America and the culmination of generations of […]

The Mandalorian (Season 2, Episode 1): Are We In This Together?

By Jacob Sahms Thanks to the global pandemic that has ripped major motion pictures (Wonder Woman 1984, No Time to Die) from theaters for the seven months, the first episode of the second season of Disney+’s The Mandalorian might be the most-anticipated project of 2020. That’s not to say that it would’ve been received without […]

Love and Monsters: Do You Have What it Takes?

By Jacob Sahms After a giant asteroid crashed toward Earth, and Earth’s nations united to fire missiles at it, and after the missiles destroyed the asteroid but rained down chemicals on all living things, ninety-five percent of the population was killed off by mutated bugs and other mutated live forms. Joel (Dylan O’Brien, Maze Runner, […]