18 Jan 2017

Silence According to Scorsese: a Looking Closer interview

“I believe you are previewing Silence today,” said the email. I blinked. I had only just opened my laptop on a Tuesday afternoon in order to prepare my notes for my film class at Northwest University. But everything else vanished in a moment. All I could do was study the

29 Feb 2016

The day I met Alejandro González Iñárritu

It was almost ten years ago now that I sat down to talk with Alejandro González Iñárritu about his first Best Picture nomination: a film called Babel, which I found challenging, ambitious, and complex. To date, it’s the only one of his films I enjoy. Last night, when Iñárritu won the Academy Award

24 Dec 2015

Bret Lott and the Ambition contest winners

It’s Christmas Eve. I feel like handing out some gifts. A few weeks ago, I invited people to send me their lists of films, books, or songs that speak to them about ambition. Then I asked a jury of Looking Closer Specialists to vote on the lists they found to be

13 Dec 2015

Writers of Ambition: a roundtable interview

This may be a first: I don’t know that I’ve ever interviewed several of my favorite writers at once. But Ambition has made me ambitious. In Ambition, the Chrysostom Society’s latest collaborative book of wisdom and testimony, nine members of the Society — Diane Glancy, Emilie Griffin, Bret Lott, Erin McGraw, Gina Ochsner,

26 Oct 2015

Cary Elwes made a Madeleine L’Engle movie?

Today is the birthday of Cary Elwes — best known (whether he likes it or not) as Wesley from The Princess Bride, and as the author of a new memoir: As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride. Here’s something that isn’t very well known about Elwes:

13 Oct 2015

#AllTheFeels: A conversation with Inside Out imaginations

How Joy and Fear Became Joy and Sadness: My Chat with Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

10 Oct 2015

The Innocence Mission Returns

The Innocence Mission have a new record coming out this week: Hello I Feel the Same, from Korda Records. To mark the occasion, I’ve rediscovered a conversation that I enjoyed with them way back in 2002, and that got lost as this blog moved from place to place. Maybe I’ll set

05 Oct 2015

A film score scholar defending… Ladyhawke?

An interview with film score scholar Timothy Greiving about his passion for soundtracks… including one of the most unpopular scores ever composed.

24 Feb 2015

Flashback: My conversation with Sam Phillips

This weekend, Sam Phillips joined Joe Henry onstage for what was reportedly a knockout, 2 1/2-hour concert. Oh, if only I could have teleported down to L.A. to at the Coronet. I’ve been in a bit of a funk, knowing that I was missing one of my dream concerts. To

09 Dec 2014

Coyote Hunting at Christmas with Linford Detweiler

In this, my fourth Looking Closer conversation with Linford Detweiler of Over the Rhine, we talked about the stories behind the songs on the band’s third “Reality Christmas” album, Blood Oranges in the Snow.