BlogOn Movies & Media

Join me. Give up drinking soda at the movies.

I drank a Diet Coke yesterday for the first time in a couple of years.

I immediately regretted it. Why?

I gave up soda years ago as I read more and more about its unhealthy effects on the body, and its addictive influence. Tasting some again after a long “dry” spell, I realized that it tastes like battery acid with corn syrup flavoring, and I didn’t like the short-lived adrenalin rush.

Why did I give it up? Here’s a concise summary of the reasons.

Some of my friends drink gallons of this stuff, just as I used to do, and don’t seem concerned about its effects. Sometimes, they’ll go through a liter bottle in a day. They’ll rarely sit through a movie without the largest size soda they can buy. But these same folks will shake their heads over the plight of people who are addicted to drugs or hurting themselves in other ways.

This worries me. But at the same time, there’s another lesson here, for me specifically: What else am I doing on a daily basis that has similarly destructive effects? What is breaking me down, little by little, almost imperceptibly? What are other people hoping I’ll wake up and realize?

I want to know.

Because it would be foolish of me to get all high and mighty about soda, or drugs, or pornography, or sexual misbehavior, or shoplifting, or any destructive behavior, when I know that I’m probably telling myself little lies about something in my life in order to justify similar folly.

And now… a scene from a film I’ve never seen. Can you name that movie?

Michael: I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.
Sam: Ah, come on. Nothing’s more important than sex.
Michael: Oh yeah? Ever gone a week without a rationalization?

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Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet

Jeffrey Overstreet is an author and a teacher. His books include a cinematic memoir (Through a Screen Darkly, Regal, 2007) and a four-volume fantasy epic (The Auralia Thread, Random House, 2007-11). For more than 15 years he has lectured at universities, conferences, and churches in the U.S. and abroad. His writing on faith and art, recognized by The New Yorker and indieWire, has been published in Christianity Today and Image (where he has been a columnist); and in Books & Culture, Comment, Paste, and more. He's earning a masters in creative writing at SPU. Want to invite him to teach or speak about creative writing or cinema? Email

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