Tuesday, January 11, 2005

What if Spartacus had a Piper Cub?

Watching Michael Medved waxing poetic about Mel Gibson's "Passion of the Christ" on Bill O'Reilly last night (following guest Ann Coulter - a crapweasel trifecta all in the same hour), I wondered:

What if Gibson had made a movie about Jesus Cruz, a poor L.A. gangbanger, who is graphically tortured for two hours by a rival gang and then horribly killed? Would Medved be "overwhelmed by its lyrical sweep and devastating immediacy"? Would church groups across the country have organized bus trips to buy out theaters showing it? Would Gibson be hailed as courageous in his moral crusade to make the movie, despite major studios' unwillingness to show two hours of closeup torture?


Anonymous said...

Those movies have already been done, over and over again. Colors, Scarface, Resevoir Dogs, Kill Bill I or II, Gangs of New York, American History X. I could go on and on. Major studios don't seem to have a problem with these and there doesn't seem to be a shortage of people lining up to see them or critics praising them. Movies such as "Passion of the Christ" are on a shorter list. So in my mind the problem isn't with the violence, but the religious theme. I imagine church groups lined up because it's a story they're interested in and not one that gets told very often in theaters. Maybe they felt a need to support it. Could Mel have done it without the violence? I don't know. It seems to be a big part of the story. What would "Saving Private Ryan" be without the battle scenes. Would the emotion of the movie be the same without them? "Kill Bill" would be a two-minute short if you eliminated the blood baths.


Thomas More said...

I guess my point was, fans of the movie are willing to excuse and/or overlook the extreme violence, because of the religious subject matter. But in any other movie, these same fans would be calling this level of violence obscene.

Also, if the point of the movie is just to impress upon us how much Jesus's human body suffered, is that a movie that needs to be made? To me, this was just Lethal Weapon 5 starring Jesus Christ - it seemed almost perversely non-religious.

Thomas More said...

Also, the level of closeup torture in "The Passion" - two solid hours of it, with no letup - surpasses those other movies by orders of magnitude.