On "The Interview" and Creative Freedom


The year is 1940. Adolf Hitler is at the zenith of his power. Having conquered multiple European territories and formed multiple international alliances, the German dictator is seen as the most dominant leader in the world. Charlie Chaplin – Hollywood’s most dominant leader – decides to release a film that Read more

Home Alone & Church at Christmas


The Wise Guise has enjoyed presenting high-quality Christmas content since our first year. We've posted old Christmas-themed Facebook notes from yours truly in addition to the infamous 2012 Christmas Movie Smackdown and a Christmas YouTube Hall of Fame. As I write this, I continue my tradition of watching classic TV Read more

SAG, Golden Globe nominations push "Boyhood" out front in Oscar Race


Is “Boyhood” really the frontrunner for Best Picture? Upon release this summer, it certainly felt like a contender. The perfect review scores and strong limited box office seemingly guaranteed that. And yet, the lack of star power in the film made it feel more like a production made for Read more

Sneak Preview: Favorite Films of 2014 So Far


Every year I rank my favorite films of the previous year in January or February. You can find past editions in our archives, including the 2012 edition when I ranked my top 50 movies of the year. Like I said then, and will reiterate now, I need to get Read more

Why WWE was right to fire CM Punk


Fittingly, as we were all giving thanks for the wonderful things in our lives yesterday, former WWE superstar CM Punk interrupted the holiday with a long, rambling podcast as close friend Colt Cabana’s guest. It’s filled with the typical, ego-charged rhetoric from Punk we’ve come to expect. He says he’ll Read more

Rugby: My New Favorite Sport


Last week I experienced the thrill and experience that is the sport of Rugby. Well, the thrill and experience that comes from watching the sport of rugby. Last Saturday, I went to the USA Eagles v New Zealand All Blacks game in Chicago. Packed into a sold out stadium, with Read more

Faith

Home Alone & Church at Christmas

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Faith, Featured, Movies | Leave a comment

homealonelogo Home Alone & Church at Christmas

The Wise Guise has enjoyed presenting high-quality Christmas content since our first year. We’ve posted old Christmas-themed Facebook notes from yours truly in addition to the infamous 2012 Christmas Movie Smackdown and a Christmas YouTube Hall of Fame. As I write this, I continue my tradition of watching classic TV Christmas specials late at night. Currently, for the first time ever, while watching Frosty Returns, I realized that Elisabeth Moss (Peggy from Mad Men) voiced the protagonist Holly in Frosty Returns. A Christmas miracle if there ever was one!

This year, I’ve decided to blog about several less memorable scenes of classic Christmas films. It’s not that these scenes haven’t always been special, but instead, they are scenes overshadowed by their place in the film, other more iconic moments, or in my case, scenes that are more memorable to a child’s mind when I first saw the film compared to re-watching these films as an adult.

Beginning with this first post, I wanted to dive into the church scene from Home Alone. I still remember seeing Home Alone in theaters when I was four years old. Every Christmas, I’d dust off the VHS or DVD or watch it on TV. This year was no different. When I was a kid, the church scene was the one that bored me the most. Finding myself restless and anxious for Kevin versus The Wet Bandits with his house filled with booby traps, I’d want the church scene and serious conversation with Old Man Marley to just hurry up and be over.

Now, as I’ve become an adult starting my own family with my own son, it’s the scene in the church that I want to last forever because it’s so rich and emotionally powerful. For those of you that haven’t done your duty and rewatched Home Alone already this year, here are two YouTube clips. Neither is high quality, but together, they capture the best 8 minutes of the film.

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The Sacred, the Secular, and Lecrae

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Entertainment, Faith, Featured, Music | 4 Comments

lecrae anomaly album cover The Sacred, the Secular, and Lecrae

It boggles my mind and, yet, it’s the primary example that it can be done with hard work, faithfulness, and, most importantly, the grace of God.

It boggles my mind because I first met Lecrae back in the early days of college when he performed a concert at Christ United Methodist in Memphis, TN where I was a youth group intern for the summer. He was also well-known by my friends who worked at Kanakuk Kamps over the summer. We all had hope for Lecrae because, while he was a Christian rapper performing in Christian environments, he was not like most of the other Christian rappers. He was not like most of the other Christian artists.

His work was at a higher level than most other Christian art, whether they be film, music, or television. It was at the next level.

But not in my wildest imagination did I ever dream of the day where Lecrae would sit in with The Roots on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and be introduced as having the #1 music album in America.

Not the #1 Christian rap album or #1 Christian album or #1 rap album.

Nope. Lecrae’s latest album, Anomaly, is the #1 album in America. Period. Full stop.

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A Christian Contemplation on Suicide

Posted on by Alex Beene in Faith, Featured | 1 Comment

sadddd A Christian Contemplation on Suicide
Have you ever heard a truly great preacher? I’m not talking about the stereotypical hell-fire-and-brimstone one the church of olden days churned out. I’m also not referencing the feel-good spiritual gurus who dominate the airwaves now, who seem to be OK with everything except not leaving a donation in the collection box. Read more

Things Worth Dying For – Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of D-Day

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Faith, Featured, Misc. Posts, Politics | Leave a comment

1942 d day normandy map Things Worth Dying For   Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of D Day

It’s tough to express feelings about D-Day as someone who was born over 40 years after June 6, 1944. Most historians refer to it as a turning point in western civilization. When I think of D-Day, I think of images. The opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. My visit to the eerily peaceful beach in spring 2010. But I also think of words – FDR’s D-Day prayer over the radio, General Eisenhower’s speech to his men, and more.

I’ve made it somewhat of a tradition here at The Wise Guise to commemorate D-Day with a reflective post. I’d urge you to read my best friend Jay Salato’s post from two years ago reflecting on the speech he had the opportunity to give at the commemorative ceremony at the U.S. Memorial Cemetery at Omaha Beach. Then, I’d urge you to re-visit my post from last year and listen to/read FDR’s prayer and Ike’s speech.

d day Things Worth Dying For   Reflections on the 70th Anniversary of D Day

This year, I want to share two more pieces of history that I’ve recently found to continue the impossible task of commemorating the courage and sacrifice of those men who charged Normandy Beach.

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On John Updike & Easter

Posted on by Michael Bowman in Faith, Featured | Leave a comment

easter On John Updike & Easter

While Joseph reflected on Good Friday last year, we urge you to enjoy this poem from John Updike and Michael Bowman’s reflections so that you can let this year’s celebration of Easter impact your life beyond Easter Sunday. Have a blessed week!

“Seven Stanzas at Easter” by John Updike

Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That-pierced-died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

Through his “Seven Stanzas at Easter,” Updike does a wonderful thing. He captured Easter. I want to join in his call this year, instead of falling victim to what Easter has become. While Easter bunnies, candy, and egg-hunts are all good, I hope we do not miss the point.

The point is the death and resurrection Jesus. If you have grown up in the Church at all, or have been a Christian for any amount of time, you probably understand that everything we believe in hinges upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. If Jesus had just died, then so what? The Resurrection is essential to our lives as Christians. We get it. But let us not take the Resurrection and dim down it’s light. Let it be transcendent.

The hope of this post is not to teach you something new about Christianity. It is here to help your processing of what Easter is this year. Maybe you have been completely numb to the Gospel, and Jesus, and the Church, and Christianity, and everything having to do with Easter for awhile now. Maybe you have been so incredibly busy that you have not had a chance to reflect on Easter at all. That’s okay. Be reminded of why we celebrate, in every sense of the word, Easter.

Let us walk through the door. The tomb is empty. The veil has been torn. He is risen!

My Weekend at The Masters: Bubba, History, and How It’s Supposed to Be

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Faith, Featured, Golf, Sports | Leave a comment

bubbagreenjacket My Weekend at The Masters: Bubba, History, and How Its Supposed to Be

It was clear on Saturday night how things were going to go, if you looked at Twitter, watched the Golf Channel, and listened to the pundits. On Sunday, here’s how it was supposed to be…

- Bubba Watson had only won 1 out of 14 tournaments that he had led going into the final round.

- Matt Kuchar had never finished strong on Sunday in a major tournament.

- The only other front-runner was young, 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, chasing history.

- And I’d be at Augusta National to witness it all.

And with the first Masters tournament without Tiger Woods in nearly two decades, the historic victory for Jordan Spieth was how it was supposed to be, right? After all, Jack Nicklaus set the record for youngest Masters champion. 17 years later, Seve broke Jack’s record. 17 years after Seve, the 21 year-old history-shattering Tiger Woods broke the record.

And how many years had it been since Tiger changed the golf world forever? 17 years. And Tiger was supposed to easily beat Jack’s record of 18 majors, which doesn’t seem so certain any more.

It’s just how it was supposed to be. It was going to be great when…

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