Top Five Questions Rocking the Moviegoer World

Ever since I heard a local news anchor make the hilarious claim that The Gospel of Judas is “rocking the Christian world,” I’ve become fond of that phrase. (I have yet to meet any Christian whose faith has been overturned, or even jostled, by the re-emergence of a heresy that was long ago dismissed by thinking Christians.)

So I’ve decided to look around for what might (not) be rocking other people’s worlds.

In that spirit, here are the Top Five Questions Rocking the Moviegoer World This Week:

5. When is Eddie Izzard going to get the big screen break he deserves?

The extraordinary “executive transvestite” comedian certainly deserves better than a voice-over role as a koala bear in Disney’s spectacularly forgettable animated flick The Wild. This guy could be bigger than Robin Williams ever was if somebody would hand him the right role.

4. Which is worse: The DaVinci Code‘s silly fabrications masquerading as a serious discrediting of Christianity, or Tom Hanks haircut?
Apparently, the scandal of The DaVinci Code’s empty claims against the church is becoming a tiresome subject. Hollywood is now obsessed with a whole new aspect of the film. That’s good. Let’s get the Hollywood press out of the business of theology and back onto the subject matter they’re best at… frivolous fashion trends. Hair-esy! I say… Hair-esy!

3. Does the announcement about Paradise Lost – the movie – mean that we can look forward to a whole franchise about Satan?
I doubt we’ll get a franchise, but the devil is definitely in the details of Hollywood’s future. The director of Slither is now working on a comedy called Scratch. And the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, is also in talks to play the horned meddler in an adaptation of Glen Duncan’s novel I, Lucifer.

2.
Who’s the best choice to play Satan, Father of Lies, in Scott Derrickson’s big screen adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost?

Five options:
a) Tom Cruise

He’s just got the steely determination and the vacuous, salesman personality that the role demands.

b) James Frey

Because he has experience with the whole “passing yourself off as something you’re not” thing.

c) Donald Rumsfeld

Whatever the President says, we know that Rumsfeld has a lot of experience at being “the Decider” in military matters, and this is, after all, a role that calls for an actor who can be convincing as a military mastermind.

or

d) Stephen Colbert?


The late night comedian didn’t win the Pulitzer like he’d hoped, so Derrickson should tap into Colbert’s hellish rage while it lasts.

1. United 93: Do We Need to See This?

Gavin Smith at Film Comment says it’s a must-see.

But Lisa Schwarzbaum writes in Entertainment Weekly:

Do we need to see this? No. There’s no right or wrong way to remember 9/11, no shame in skipping the movie-fied sight or prize for those who dare to look. Do we benefit from recognizing, in United 93, that there’s no difference between those who died and us, in fear and in courage? Absolutely.

I agree with Schwarzbaum. There is no “SHOULD” here. For some it will be rewarding. For others, it would only tear scabs off of wounds.

As sure as I am that many will find the film rewarding, I have concerns that will keep me from it, at least for now.

As Sam Phillips sings, “Pictures steal our memories and turn our minds to salt.” When we look at someone else’s manifestation of an event, it can affect our memories of that event. For this reason, I never watched a videotape of my own wedding. I don’t want to think of what it looked like from the back of the auditorium. I want to preserve as sacred the experience I had at the front of the auditorium, seeing it from that place.

So many of my high school experiences are lost in my memory, and I cannot call them up, all because of my preoccupation with photographs and video. When someone mentions graduation, I see my videotape playing in my head. I see my parents’ photographs. I’ve lost my own experience.

After September 11th, T Bone Burnett, who was just down the street from the attacks, wrote:

I would prefer not to relate the emotional aspects of the event, as you will hear it all from the media, and although some of it will be useful most of it will be a hypnotized unconscious and irresponsible effort on the part of the media to try to “make” your emotions for you. I would urge you to avoid this as much as possible. Your emotions are your own as are your thoughts and impressions, and they are sacred. Try to keep them that way and avoid the mob effect that you will be submitted to. Try to think and feel for yourself.

I have my own impressions, however through it all the most difficult thing was to keep a sense of awareness separate from the food of emotions and confusion. To stay at the top of the string, not in the sway of the pendulum.

I believe that Greengrass is an artist, not just an entertainer. His work will be more valuable than most of the media regurgitations of footage and fear that force us to relive the experience while distancing ourselves from it more and more.

And yet, I cherish my memories of the experience, for all that they taught me, for the way it changed my life, for the sacred moments Anne and I shared walking on the beach a couple of hours later and reminding ourselves of the sovreignty of God in the presence of the beauty of his creation; walking under the hush of the skies while all air traffic was grounded, in the quiet of the coastline railroad while all trains were were held at their stations.

I don’t want to add to my mind’s available stock of imagery about that experience just yet, for fear the big screen’s intensity will burn over what is my very own.

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  • Pastor Derek

    I was just wondering if you were planning on blogging any of your interview with Eugene Peterson. I ask because he’s one of my favourite writers. His recent books, “Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places” and “Eat This Book,” are both worth their weight in gold and have been food to my pastoral soul. Interviewing him would be a wonderful opportunity, because while he’s not a dynamic super-pastor that attracts a lot of attention, he is someone filled with a rare biblical wisdom sorely needed in many pews and pulpits.

  • Just thinking…

    Re: Flight 93

    You said: When we look at someone else’s manifestation of an event, it can affect our memories of that event.

    That sums up why I have absolutely no desire to see this movie. These were real people, and I do not believe anyone in “the industry” can really tell this story objectively and dispassionately. If it was a pro bono effort by a non-profit production company, maybe I would go, but the shadow of exploitation of a tragedy for publicity and profit hangs over the whole thing, whether justly or unjustly. I know it’s inevitable, but I think it’s just too soon to turn 911 into a cinematic trend to turn a profit. I find it unseemly at best, offensive at worst, to treat the story of Flight 93 as entertainment.

    Coincidentally, your quote is exactly why I did not go see “The Passion.” I did not want Gibson’s personally skewed and biblically flawed expression of Christ’s suffering and death to replace in my mind’s eye the inspired, biblical description of that eternal and sacred event. For me anyway, God’s version is much more accurate than Gibson’s.

  • Mike Harris Stone

    re: Flight 93. I completely agree that there cannot be a “SHOULD” about this film, (or any film), for that matter.) But, I was also “down the street,” in Midtown Manhattan, on 9/11. It was my city. My best friend’s wife quit her job in the South tower the year before the attacks and knew many who died. I want to see the film simply to add to my knowledge, (emotional and intellectual), of what happened that day and am glad it was made. It’s amazing to me how many folks think our own government engineered it. Sigh.

  • wngl

    Rummy would make a fine Mephistopheles: he’s got the finesse required for the role. When it comes to unknown unknowns, he is the master!
    It would be awesome to see him playing the part with Tom Hanks’ hair from Da Vince Code.

  • RC

    4. As far as the DVC goes…i’m just really disappointed in the movie poster…movie about Da Vinci/Jesus/Famous Art, funny picture of Tom Hanks…what were they thinking???

    2. Of the choices…James Frey…my real choice…Christopher Walken!

  • Adam Walter

    5. I thought he did a wonderful job in The Cat’s Meow. But I’m only slightly interested in the question because I doubt any film role will ever come close to duplicating what he does with his stand up.

    2. Michael Moore. No question about it.

    1. I had no interest in the film until I read Prager’s piece (http://tinyurl.com/etovw), and now I’m determined to see it… “The only people likely to object to this film are those who don’t want Americans to become aware of just how conscienceless, cruel and depraved our enemy is, or those who think that our enemies can always be negotiated with and therefore object to depicting Americans actually fighting back.”


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