Abby Olcese (@indieabby88) has been many things — a campus ministry leader at the University of Kansas, an English teacher in Prague, and an advertising assistant at Sojourners. These days, she’s a freelance writer based in Kansas.
Raised on a diet of Narnia, Bob Dylan records and Terry Gilliam movies, Abby is drawn to the weird, the nerdy, and the profoundly artsy corners of popular culture. She loves sharing this knowledge with others by writing about interesting new releases as well as lesser-known gems.
Abby is also passionate about the intersection of faith, social responsibility, and culture. She believes in the power of art to spark important conversations, inspire social change, and help people to better understand life in the kingdom of God.
When she’s not watching movies or writing things down, you can usually find Abby reading comic books or perusing the selection at her local record store.
Posts By This Author
‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Is an Advent Movie
In this sense, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an Advent movie. Director Rian Johnson’s wildly fun and thoughtful entry into the Star Wars canon finds its heroes at a precarious turning point. The film makes its characters grapple with the flaws of their established order, consider whether any of it is worth saving, and move forward by embracing the hopeful qualities of the Force and the Resistance.
‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’ Tackles the Good and Bad of Righteous Anger
Mildred rents the three billboards down the road from her house to cover with messages shaming the local police chief, Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) in hopes of galvanizing the department into action. She merely irritates the sympathetic Willoughby, but infuriates Dixon (Sam Rockwell), a dim officer with racist and homophobic tendencies and an anger management problem. As tensions escalate and anger begets violence (which begets more violence), Mildred and Dixon are each forced to address the deeper issues inside them that fuel their actions.
'Coco' Honors Family, Past and Present
'Coco' functions beautifully as a unifying reminder of the ways family and legacy influence us.
‘The Square’ Is a Bitingly Funny Satire About Human Selfishness
But help is something Christian, and everyone around him, has trouble giving to those who really need it. The Square is full of characters asking for help from unwilling people, including homeless people, charity workers, and women being attacked. Even Christian, an attractive upper-class white guy, can’t get help when his wallet and phone are stolen on the street.
‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Shows How Revenge Doesn’t Mean Justice
Kenneth Branagh’s new big-screen adaptation of Christie’s novel is a diverting, gorgeous-looking film that struggles a little at showing the humbling effect that dilemma has on the great detective. However, it does a good job of portraying the pain at the center of this story, and how it metastasizes in its characters.
'Thor: Ragnarok' Is an Intergalactic Superhero Party and Everyone's Invited
Much like Thor, many white Americans are only now reconciling with the idea that the narrative we’ve grown up believing cuts out huge chunks of the country’s history. It’s especially pertinent that this perspective comes to us from an Indigenous filmmaker (Waititi is Maori, from New Zealand), whose country has its own long history of racism, and who championed cultural representation on his set.
Clooney’s ‘Suburbicon’ a Needed, but Weak Response to MAGA
George Clooney’s new film Suburbicon is very obviously a response to the MAGA line of thinking. The film uses two parallel stories to explore both the hidden nastiness of the archetypal white, suburban family, and the day-to-day racism faced by an African American family trying to achieve their own American dream. It’s a setup ripe with allegorical potential, but while Suburbicon is built on good bones, it’s an unfocused mess that wastes its opportunity.
‘Blade Runner 2049’ Paints an All-White Future. Again.
Nearly all of the characters K encounters (human and replicant alike) are white. This is in stark contrast to the globalized aesthetic of the city, carried over from the original movie. It could be argued that in a world where a white man like Leto’s Niander Wallace is the one person creating a sizable chunk of the population, it’s not surprising that the creations themselves lack diversity. However, the reality for the film’s casting decisions is likely less about artistic interpretation, and more just plain laziness.
The Troubling View of Communion in ‘mother!’
mother!'s grotesquely literal take on the Eucharist also fundamentally misses what communion means.
From Ferguson, an Intimate Look at a Movement
As filmmaking, Whose Streets is dramatic and powerful. As a historical document, it holds even more weight.