Episode 52: Persepolis and Buddha

• January 13th, 2018


Sorry about the wait for this episode, I started work again for the church and my time for editing has greatly decreased. The good news is that Mike and I have two more episodes in the can and they will be released shortly. But our latest episode is here, and we are watching the Oscar nominated Persepolis, about an Iranian girl's experience growing up in Iran and France, and the Indian import "Buddha," dramatising the life of the ancient sage. 

Persepolis (2007) - IMDb

Guatama Buddha - Wikipedia

Next episode we tackle more familiar territory with another docu-drama based on the life of prominent Christian, Lee Strobel, The Case for Christ. Then in TV corner, the ABC comedy "Kevin (Probably) Saves the World." See you soon...

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Episode 51: The Chosen People? and American Gods

• September 12th, 2017


What does it mean to be one of God's chosen? Is it a blessing, a curse, a responsibility, or a privilege? Or is it all of the above? The film The Chosen People? A Film About Jewish Identity, asks these very questions. This movie is an independent effort by filmmaker Joshua Gippin. After getting funded on Kickstarter three years ago, Josh is ready to release his film October 9th, 2017 at the Summit of Faiths during Peace Week in our hometown of Akron, OH.  Look for it at a film festival near you.  Mike and I got to see a preview of the movie this summer.  I am especially excited about this film, because not only did I help fund the movie on Kickstarter, but I also have a small part in the movie itself!


Mike and I have also eagerly anticipated the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman's novel of the same name, "American Gods."  I read the book at Mike's recommendation, and he has not steered me wrong.  But does the show stand as tall as the novel? Listen to find out.


Next time we will continue our exploration of religions other than Christianity.  (We need a break after the massive amount of Christploitation we covered in our last episode!) First up is the French-Iranian animated feature Persepolis based on the graphic novels, and then the Indian television series “Buddha” which is available to stream on Netflix. Until then, shalom.


The Chosen People? A Documentary on Jewish Identity


American Gods Official Site | STARZ


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Episode 50: Triple-ation-Christ-ploitation-stravaganza

• July 4th, 2017

50_-_Front_Cover.jpgThis is our 50th episode! We've been podcasting for 6 years! We're releasing this episode on the 4th of July! And we have 7 Christploitation movies watched and reviewed in this episode! It's a triple celebration, Christ-ploitation, extravaganza! (Triple-ation-Christ-ploitation-stravaganza!!!)

As you can tell, I like to make up words and use exclamation points, but Mike and I are very excited about today's episode. We give our reviews on a slew of Christian faith based films. They include:

God's Not Dead 2

Do You Beleive?

Joseph and Mary

The Young Messiah

Christian Mingle

Miracles from Heaven


Then we do a quick update of all the TV shows we have done in our 6 year history. I mean real quick, this is not a 2 hour podcast, I promise!

Next episode is going to be another special one. We are reviewing a new movie by independent filmmaker Joshua Gippin titled The Chosen People? A Film About Jewish Identity. I had the opportunity to be a part of this film and we got to see a sneak preview. The film will soon be in the film festival circuit so you might be able to catch it there. Then in TV Corner we are looking at the new Starz show "American Gods" based on the book by Neil Gaiman. Be warned, this show is not for the easily offended.

So, thank you for listening and we'll do this again at episode 100! 

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Episode 49: Silence and The Young Pope

• May 29th, 2017

IMG_20170529_091230.jpgHave you ever wondered what really tough Christian ministry looks like? Martin Scorsese gives us a glimpse into the hardships and trials of two 17th century monks witnessing in Japan in his 2016 passion project, Silence. Mike and I have never been as divided in opinion over a movie as this. But we we equally flummoxed by the cable TV show "The Young Pope." What's it's message? Maybe you will know.

Next time we have our 50th episode, and we have so much in store for you, we are going to take a quick look back at all of the shows we reviewed in TV Corner. Then, we are going to review no less than 7 Christ-ploitaion movies for you.

God's Not Dead 2

Do You Believe?

Joseph and Mary

The Young Messiah

Christian Mingle

Miracles From Heaven


We will see you then to celebrate 6 years and 50 episodes of Checking the Gate: A Film and Religion Podcast.

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Episode 48: Last Days in the Desert

• April 4th, 2017


Welcome, to what has inadvertantly become a bimonthly podcast. The Bible tells us that Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting, and at the end of those day he was tempted by the devil. Did you ever wonder what happend on the other 39 days? Well, you can keep wondering, because you will not find a satisfactory answer in the Ewan McGreggor vehicle Last Days in the Desert. After Mike and I give our review on that film (with, naturally, a tangent into the artistic quality of the Star Wars Special Editions), we review the funny but now defunct TV Land show "Impastor."

Next time we will dive into Scorcese's new and misunderstood movie Silence starring Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson and Adam Driver. (Expect more Star Wars tangents, it's a safe bet.) And in TV Corner we review the recent HBO series "The Young Pope" staring Jude Law, Diane Keaton, and James Cromwell.

The Young Pope trailer in IMDB

Silence trailer on YouTube


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Episode 47: Defending Your Life

• January 21st, 2017

IMG_20170120_233815.jpgWelcome back to the podcast after our holiday break. Back at the begining of the season, our Thanksgiving weekend, Michael and I gave our thoughts about the classic comedy Defending Your Life by Albert Brooks and the new NBC somedy about "The Good Life."  Both are very similar in concept, exploring and sending up our notions of the afterlife. If you want to know if they are similar in quality, just listen to the episode.

Next time we review the indie movie Last days in the Desert and the recently cancelled TV Land show "Impastor." See you next month!

PS Get ready for our 50th Episode coming up soon. We have something special in store for you!

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Episode 46: Spotlight

• November 7th, 2016


Hello faithful listeners! We recently completed our Star Wars Trilogy, this episode rounds out another trilogy of sorts on the podcast.  We have previously reviewed Doubt and Calvary, and this episode covers the Oscar winner for best picture, Spotlight.

Christopher Marlowe Officially Credited As Co-Author Of 3 Shakespeare Plays

George Lucas In Love (1999) (Short Film) on Vimeo

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone

The Boston Globe– The Story Behind the “Spotlight” Movie

                (Contains links to the original exposé)

Was The First Season Of 'Preacher' Even Necessary? -Uproxx

BBC – Rev.

Shaun Of TheDead / Hot Fuzz / The World's End (Blood And Ice Cream Trilogy) [Blu-ray]

Next time we delve into laughs in the afterlife in the old movie Defending Your Life, and the new TV show“The Good Place.”  See you on the othe rside!

PS Yes, that is me cosplaying as Jesse Custer, the Preacher.

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Episode 45: The Lightning Round

• September 9th, 2016

Lightning_Round.jpgHello media fanatics!  This month we offer up to you a smorgasbord of TV goodness (Well, most of it was good). With the new season of fall TV just around the corner, we take a look at some of the shows that graced our screens this last spring and summer. Four shows from four networks: Hulu's original show "The Path," AMC's comic book adaptation "Preacher," the short lived "Of Kings and Prophets" from ABC, and Nat Geo's documentary series "The Story of God" are all reviewed here. For extra info, you can check out these:

The Path on Hulu
In the Footsteps of...En Sabah Nur
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman
Of Kings and Prophets on Hulu
Of Kings and Prophets Cancelled by ABC
Cop Rock on DVD
Preacher on AMC
Preacher: What's Going On?

Next episode will look at the award winning film Spotlight, and TV Corner will be BBC's "Rev." Until then, Blessings!

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Episode 44: Star Wars: The Religion

• August 6th, 2016


“Greetings, exalted one!”  This episode is the last in our series on Star Wars.  The first was on how religion and myths influenced the creation of the Star Wars saga.  In last month’s review of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we found the film had more style than substance, and that the only mythology that it relied on was its own.  This episode is the reverse of the first one, we look at how Star Wars has influenced religion in real life.  We look at how Jediism has become an actual thing, where people take the values, teachings and concepts from the movie and apply them to daily life. Like any religious movement, there are several views on how to follow through on this application, and we look at two of them. But it still begs the question: Is this actually a religion? And our TV corner is the recently aired live show “Tyler Perry’s The Passion”

Jedi census phenomenon-Wikipedia


The Jedi Foundation


So Many Australians Are Claiming 'Jedi' as Their Religion That It's Becoming a Problem

In next month’s episode we offer our Summer TV Round-Up.  Mike and I will look at four shows that have graced the airwaves, the cable, and the streaming devices. There are so many choices now, and you’ll get our opinions on them. Until then, blessings!

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Episode 43: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Review

• June 18th, 2016

Sorry about another long wait friends and listeners, but this podcaster had another round of eye surgeries which prevented me from doing many things, including the things I love like talking about Star Wars.  But Mike and I are back and we have loads to talk about. We have the next several episode planned out, movies and TV shows viewed, and we are going to do a marathon of recording to get them to you in a regular schedule.

First, we need to present the second in our Star Wars trilogy, our review of Star Wars VII. Next time we will finish up our Star Wars extravaganza by getting the perspective of the real world followers of the Jedi religion. Much of FIlm And Religion literature looks at how religion is portrayed in the movies, here is an excellent opportunity to see things  flow in the other direction: how films impart ideas to religion.

Vatican newspaper upset at absence of evil in new Star Wars film | Film | The Guardian

 Is Star Wars The Force Awakens a rip off? JJ Abrams explains why it had to be similar to the original films

All the Backstory You Desperately Want to Know About The Force Awakens

 Backward-looking The Force Awakens might pay the price beyond the west | Film | The Guardian

[Video] George Lucas Calls Disney “White Slavers” in Charlie Rose Interview | Deadline

How Star Wars The Force Awakens Should Have Ended - YouTube

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