Robertson, Rooney and Ebert, oh my!

Surely it says something about the Passion media storm that even the folks at E! Online News are being driven to dig out some sources in havens of mainstream faith such as Grand Rapids, Mich.

I mean, Grand Rapids is to the Dutch Reformed what Waco is to Dr Pepper.

This lively little story by Joal Ryan also contains one of the day’s most off-the-wall summary paragraphs.

In the runup to release, the movie has been derided as anti-Semitic and praised as important. Gibson has been called “crazy” by 60 Minutes’ Andy Rooney and a “talented genius” by evangelist Pat Robertson, also slammed in Rooney’s commentary on Sunday’s broadcast.

Clearly the critics are divided. While some are lashing out at the director and his motives, others are finding ways to praise the film — even if it makes them nervous. E! notes that the movie review site had tracked 33 critiques — 17 positive; 16 negative.

Meanwhile, one of the most influential populists gave it a thumb’s up:

In the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert called The Passion “the most violent film I have ever seen,” which was more warning, than criticism. In a four-star review, Ebert said he was “moved by the depth of feeling, by the skill of the actors and technicians.”

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About tmatt

Terry Mattingly directs the Washington Journalism Center at the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. He writes a weekly column for the Universal Syndicate.

  • dw

    Grand Rapids is to orthodox Christianity as Tulsa is to televangelists. :)

    Ebert also had this line in his review caveat:

    “The MPAA’s R rating is definitive proof that the organization either will never give the NC-17 rating for violence alone, or was intimidated by the subject matter. If it had been anyone other than Jesus up on that cross, I have a feeling that NC-17 would have been automatic.”

    This from a man who defended the violence in Pulp Fiction.

    I think I’m going to wait a bit to see The Passion — and watch it on an empty stomach.

  • Joe Hootman

    Off-topic, but as a Texan, I can’t resist that great line by providing a link: