Here are three things you need to read this Sunday

Dec 28, 2014 at 10:56 am
It's Sunday, and before the Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers in their regular season finale, you should kick back, grab a cup of coffee, and read something worthwhile. Here are three suggestions to start:
  • "Martin Brest Directed Beverly Hills Cop, Midnight Run And, Yes, Gigli. Then He Vanished. Why?" by Matt Patches — Playboy

    A wonderful insight into what drove Patches, a director who produced some of the most enjoyable action-comedies, to leave Hollywood entirely. It appears to have began with 2003's total dud, Gigli, starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. 

    Gigli delivered a devastating blow. Compounded by Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s off-screen relationship, Brest’s film was a megaton bomb dropped on an evolving career. By the end of its run, the $54 million crime dramedy earned $6 million domestically and vicious reviews to match. Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson, who knows Brest through industry colleagues and met with the director during early development on Rain Man (a film Johnson would later produce for director Barry Levinson), says Gigli stands out, even among Hollywood’s spectacular failures. “I have a sneaking suspicion it was really shattering for him,” Johnson says. “I’m not sure he was able to work up the energy or enthusiasm to go right back at it and found other things to replace it. He’s a talented filmmaker with a lot to say. I can’t believe he’ll stay disappeared."

  • "Can AIDS be cured?" by Jerome Groopman — New Yorker

    Researchers still have "tremendous" hurdles to jump across before finding a cure for the thirty-five million people across the world living with AIDS, writes Groopman. Now, he says, a full cure is getting closer within reach.

    There are still tremendous hurdles. Thirty-five million people in the world are living with the virus. In sub-Saharan Africa, where most new cases are reported, sixty-three per cent of those eligible for the drug regimen do not receive it; those who do often fail to receive it in full. In the United States, a year’s worth of HAART costs many thousands of dollars per patient, and the long-term side effects can be debilitating

    Now researchers are talking more and more about a cure. We know as much about H.I.V. as we do about certain cancers: its genes have been sequenced, its method of infiltrating host cells deciphered, its proteins mapped in three dimensions. A critical discovery was made in 1997: the virus can lie dormant in long-lived cells, untouched by the current drugs. If we can safely and affordably eliminate the viral reservoir, we will finally have defeated H.I.V.

  • "Sinners in the Hands" by Sonia Smith — Texas Monthly

    The story of how a small town in Texas grappled with whether or not a local church was, in fact, a legitimate cult.

    The somewhat improvisational theology of the church is perhaps best described as Calvinism with a sprinkle of Puritanism. A banner at the top of the church’s website displays the images and names of pastors from whom the elders have derived inspiration. The names span a range of Christian traditions, from sixteenth-century leaders of the Protestant Reformation like John Knox to nineteenth-century Calvinists like Charles Spurgeon and twentieth-century evangelists like Rolfe Barnard, whom they characterize as “a man after God’s own heart.” But their message seems most infused with the sentiments of Jonathan Edwards, whose sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”—which compares man to a “loathsome insect” who is kept out of the pit of hell only “by the mere pleasure of God”—sparked the First Great Awakening, which swept the American colonies in the 1730’s and 1740’s. The elders share Edwards’s enthusiasm for a God of “everlasting wrath.” Even children aren’t spared and are considered hell-bound until they are born again.
If you have any suggestions for future reads, feel free to email [email protected] or drop a line in the comments below.