Sun(Fun)day Night (BONUS): Amazing Movie Mash-up

This time last Sunday night, I (and you too?) was watching the Oscars. If you haven’t done so yet, check out my post on where you can watch the nominated films.

Have you ever wished your favorite movie characters could be in the same film – TOGETHER? Now, thanks to editing and production so amazing I don’t even want to begin to figure it out, you can see this:

The tone does shift towards violence about halfway through when the Aliens show up. Until that point, it’s pretty fun to see how such a great range of favorite actors and characters (check out where at least four James Bonds connect) come together in one place within a story:


Sun(Fun)day Night Post: How to Watch the Oscar Nominated Films and Who Should Have Won Best Picture

Since you and I may be watching the 88th Academy Awards tomorrow evening, I thought I’d get this post completed early. Plus, you’ll find a link below which both ranks all of the films nominated this year and tells you how/where to watch them now!

Or perhaps, you feel like me and may very well #boycottoscars because this year it’s blatantly #oscarssowhite . It may be useful to watch just to see how Chris Rock handles this reality.

If you’re not too busy planning what to teach in next week’s classes, you may want to hustle and watch some of the nominees between now and about 8pm Sunday night.

 Vox (pictured above) has a very cool article in which their film critic both ranks all of the nominees across the categories and lists where/how to view each one right now. For even more fun(ctionality), you can filter the films various ways and reconfigure the list as you wish.

If you like speculating on the Best Picture Oscar woulda, coulda, shoulda’s  check out this fun post from the Washington Post.  Two film critics go through the Best Picture nominees and winner for each of the last 40 years. They then speculate on who should have won each year. A few times they believe the actual best picture of the year won the Best Picture Oscar, but more often than not, this is not the case.

Here’s one year with which I really agree with their conclusion:

Oscars 1981

Can you guess which film my eleven year old self LOVED in 1981 (and my 46 year old self still loves) and which one I couldn’t even sit through today – 35 years later!

And who starred in Chariots of Fire anyway?  Oh yeah, Ben Cross, Ian Charleston and Nigel Havers.

Sun(Fun)day Noon – Congrats to Hawks & Supercut of Motivational Coaches from Movies

It’s early on this Sunday, but I have a few fun posts in mind for today. So, I thought I’d get an early start (and I’m not quite ready to settle in to my grading/planning for the day).

Congrats and kudos to the @hartleyfootball team for winning last night and making it to the semi-finals for their division in the state of Ohio.

Hawks Football

Coach Birchfield is exceptionally skilled at motivating his players, students and colleagues. But just in case he needs some inspiration from legendary movie coaches, here’s a great supercut of all-stars:

In case you’d like some more movie coach fun, check out the results of this recent “tournament” determining which coach is the most motivational of all time.


Halloween Things – Top 10 Fears, Bible and Horror Movies, Activities

OK, so it’s not an elegant title, but I hope it’s a descriptive one.

First, the Washington Post published a story and infographic (above) which shows what scares Americans these days. BOO – It’s not a monster under your bed — IT’S THE GOVERNMENT!!!

The always interesting religious and spiritual blog aggregator Patheos, has two thoughtful article worth spending a few minutes reading:

“Are Horror Films C(c)atholic?”

“Thinking Inside the Box: How Modern Horror Movies Echo the Scary Stories of the Bible”

And, for fun (especially for the younger set):

26 Halloween Sites for Your Students

Friday FunLink – Images: Stars and Star Wars

It’s Friday again and most exciting event of the week was the release of the full Star Wars VII trailer:

As of this posting, it has only 38,331,374 views. And I’ve contributed at least ten of those!

Less noticed this week was the release of the biggest, widest, largest high-res photo of the universe ever taken. One of the 268 combined sections:

Star Image

The special on-line site to scroll through an interactive version of the full image can be found HERE.

Soon after I posted the Sun(Fun)day link on the new Star Wars poster, I discovered a great companion site. Here you can “watch Star Wars evolve through its spectacular history of posters” It’s worth a look. Aside from the original teaser poster (above) here’s a few of my favorites:

Star Wars Class - 9

Hey – I have a T-shirt with this on it!

Star Wars Class - 8

Ahh…so gloriously low tech. And check out those action figures!

Star Wars Classic - 5

I’ve always thought this was the most dramatic and gripping of the main three posters. And only 55 days until Star Wars VII hits the theaters!




Sun(Fun)Day Night – New Star Wars Poster and Movie Posters Without Text

It’s Sunday night and the countdown to a return to the classroom continues. How ready will you be to teach Monday morning? I’m feeling hopeful, but I still have much to do today!

My 14 year-old son ran up to me earlier today with our Chromebook to excitedly show me the brand new Star Wars poster which “dropped” today. Here’s the full poster and a link to it’s source:


Star Wars New Poster - 2

Those who have been following the colossal hype leading up to it’s December 18, 2015 premier, know that this image gives a big detail which has been missing so far in the early trailers. What’s up with the planet looking thing in the upper right? Is it a new (the third) Death Star? Sadly, the text at the bottom doesn’t offer any insight.

The text-less version of this poster (in the heading for this post) got me thinking about an interesting link I found recently. The creators took 20+ familiar movie posters, removed the text, and left only the (often) iconic images.  My favorite ones (the posters, not necessarily movies) are:

Text Less Movie 1

Text Less Movie 2

Text Less Movie 3

I think what I find most interesting about these is how the blank areas (where the text was) accentuate the iconic image that we associate with this movie. For most of these we don’t need the text as that lone image is so powerfully familiar.

New Star Wars VII Trailer Fun

Late last week I received an urgent phone call at about 3:30pm from my 13 1/2 year-old son.  Breathlessly he said, “Dad, the new Star Wars trailer is on-line.  Ya gotta see it.  It’s AWESOME!”  [As of publishing this, it has over 36,000,000 views in three days]


I was 7 years-old when the first Star Wars movie was released on May 25, 1977.  I clearly remember the lines around the outside of the movie theater when I first saw it a few weeks after its release.  Needless to say, I was blown away by how mind bogglingly cool it was.  My best friend Derek and I acted out roles in Star Wars all summer while we collected the action figures and trading cards.

The funny thing is that I distinctly remember seeing the trailer for it a few months before its release.  I still remember today how odd the droids, storm troopers, space ships and big bear-like thing (later I learned it was a wookie)  This trailer looks positively antiquated by today’s standards.  And it doesn’t use any of what is most likely the best movie theme song of all time!


I was engrossed and thrilled by the new trailer for the movie premiering on my daughter’s 12th birthday – December 18, 2015.  Apparently many others were too.  So excited that someone created this fantastic mash-up of Mathew McConaughey watching the trailer [6,000,000 views at publishing]


OK, so this post really doesn’t have anything to do with technology and/or education.  The new Star Wars film is so personally and culturally monumental that I couldn’t resist dorking out and embracing my inner dork (which I don’t think I do enough). So please forgive my indulgence.

And BTW, the image at the top is from this article on Open Culture.

And these two images are priceless:

Star Wars 1

Star Wars 2

Strange…Chewy hasn’t aged a day!

“The Miracle Maker” and NBC’s “A.D.: The Bible Continues” Episode I

A big smile appeared on my face when I saw that Crux featured an article about the greatest Jesus movie that far too many people haven’t seen (or then shown to classes or groups).  I learned about it a few years ago from a theology teacher who mentioned it to the class in passing.  His opinion, with which I concur, is that “The Miracle Maker” follows the stories of the gospels quite closely while telling the story of Jesus in a creative and engaging way.

Take a moment to watch the trailer for it to see if it peaks your interest and curiosity.

Aside from the truly jaw-dropping use of stop-motion animation (be sure to watch the “making of” feature on the DVD after you view the movie), I most like the perspective from which the gospels are told.  The main character, who witnesses almost every moment of Jesus’ ministry from early teaching to Ascension, is Tamar – the fictitious name for Jairus’ Daughter.  She begins the film as a sickly ten year-old, dies and is raised from the dead by Jesus.  The dinner in the Road to Emmaus story is at her home and she is on top of the hill when Jesus ascends.

I’m in the midst of showing “The Miracle Maker” to my sophomores as one third of an assignment (Word version & PDF version) in which I want them to compare and contrast how Jesus is portrayed in a trio of popular films.  The other two films that I use are:

I just streamed the first episode “The Tomb is Open” of NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues and I was pretty pleased with it.  Here’s my immediate thoughts:

+ The production values, from cinematography to use of CGI effects, are much improved over The History Channel’s The Bible. I show the Old Testament segments of this now two year-old mini-series to my freshmen with this disclaimer – “It follows the OT stories quite well and it shows both the Judges and the Prophets in ways most Bible films do not.  But, I feel it goes too far in both glorifying and sensationalizing the violence and bloodshed in the stories.”

+ The first episode showed the bloodshed and butchery which was a central part of the Jewish Passover ritual in the Temple.  I’ve not seen this aspect (which is referenced in John’s Gospel) in other films.  Unfortunately, the scene is used for exposition on the reasons why the Sanhedrian wanted to eliminate Jesus rather than any explanation of the ritual happening in the background.

+ Jesus and the Apostles are portrayed as they might have actually looked.  Jesus looks more Semitic than he does in previous films, including The Bible. John and Mary Magdalene appear of African descent.  Pilate looks appropriately Roman.  Unfortunately Caiaphas, the High Priest, doesn’t look Semitic at all.

+ Dramatic effects are used a bit too much.  The darkness, earthquake and Temple curtain tearing after Jesus’ death are all described in one or more gospels.  These after-effects of the crucifixion are shown for too long and in a manner bordering on cheesy.  And I think this is the first film to show the actual moment of Christ’s resurrection (spoiler alert – it involves an angel with a sword!)

+ Joseph of Arimathea, also a member of the Sanhedrian, is a central character.  The tension that his request to recover and entomb Jesus’ body likely caused between him and Caiaphas is shown quite convincingly.  The burial itself was interesting.  John the Apostle places Jesus’ body on the slab while Mary, the mother of Jesus, cleans the blood from his face and hands.  Meanwhile, what I assume is a traditional Jewish funeral prayer is chanted by a cantor.

Mark Burnett, producer of the twelve episode series (broadcast on Sundays at 9pm EDT/8 CDT) has described A.D. as “The Bible meets ‘Game of Thrones’ meets ‘House of Cards.'”  This is a ironic way of promoting a broadcast network series – especially since the two shows referenced are watched by millions either via cable or streaming (or both).

I’m looking forward to seeing what that future holds for the coming eleven episodes.  As this first season only covers to about Acts of the Apostles chapter 10, Burnett is hopeful he is given a second season to continue the biblical story.  He goes so far to dream of an annual series premiering each Easter Sunday.

If both the first and second episodes are available for streaming after the broadcast this Sunday, I’m considering showing this movie to my sophomores rather than “The Bible.” If so, I’ll let you know how it goes for us.

UPDATE: A blogger at Patheos posted a quite detailed summary about and reflection upon the first episode of A.D.  He plans to post summaries of the additional episodes after they air.  I’m going to use these summaries as an aid to my students’ viewing of the episodes in class.