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Location: Montgomery Area, Alabama, United States

Former BUFF driver; self-styled military historian; paid (a lot) to write about beating plowshares into swords; NOT Foamy the Squirrel, contrary to all appearances. Wesleyan Jihadi Name: Sibling Railgun of Reasoned Discourse

Monday, March 28, 2005

Easter at the Movies

Easter passed quietly with us this year.

Sunday school, Easter service, family meal with no guests, some measuring for furniture and experimental painting in the new house. A real Sabbath for a change.

Watched every cheesy movie ever made about Christ, it seems: King of Kings, with a particularly unconvincing Jeffrey "I Was a Cardboard Jesus" Hunter in the key role. This is the Revised Standard Version of Bible movies--lacking the beauty of King James (Zeffarelli?) and the realism of the NIV (Mel Gibson?). If Jesus had been this wooden, Peter and Andrew wouldn't have followed Him, they'd have made a boat out of Him.

The Greatest Story Ever Told--oh dear. Max von Sydow playing an Aryan Jesus in Arizona's Monument Valley. This movie must please that region's neo-Nazi survivalists for a variety of reasons, none of them closely related to the story the movie purports to tell. Whoever's in charge simply shouldn't let a German play Jesus. The incongruities are just too great. It's like listening to a Mariachi band trying to render Miles Davis. For my part, I keep expecting to hear the Beatitudes morph into Teppichfrescherung: "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall FILL THE STREETS OF BERLIN WITH THE BLOOD OF THEIR OPPRESSORS! BLESSED ARE THE STOSSTRUPPEN, FOR THEY SHALL INVADE POLAND!!"

The Robe, which casts a piece of clothing in the role of Jesus--pretty good casting, considering the competition. Not a bad movie, either.

Ben Hur--well, it's great, of course--it's the best gladiator-meets-Christ movie yet, but its not as good as Spartacus or Gladiator. Can we get Ridley Scott to do a remake, d'ya think?

Ah, yes. Jesus of Nazareth. I know Zeffirelli takes a liberty or two with the textus receptus, but it's beautiful! And it was my favorite until Mel did Passion. It may still be. I had forgotten how much I liked it. It had been at least ten years since I'd seen it on TV. I now need to get it on DVD. Robert Powell's Jesus is still aloof (and Aryan), which I definitely think Jesus was not, but he has a certain piercing magnetism that carries off the role better than anyone else had to that time. His portrayal may not be "authentic" (will that ever be possible?), but he conveys a sense of controlled power in Jesus' presence that we can only guess at. Not everyone does, but I like his portrayal. And did I mention that the film is beautiful? It may be more of a Tuscan sunset than a West Bank son-rise, but I like it. A lot.

Didn't watch Passion this year, despite having it on DVD. We were too busy on Good Friday and it's a Good Friday, not Resurrection Sunday, movie. Perhaps next year. Someone with Mel's talent, drive, and faith now needs to tell the rest of the story. Christ ain't on the cross any more, Mel, and the Resurrection is at least as important as the Crucifixion.

Just a thought.


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