Your Monday poll #21



  1. Steve Evans says:

    I don’t see any votes in here for the South Park Movie.

  2. We just watched TLToC Saturday night for the first time in years- I forgot what a good job Willen Dafoe did in that role- but I still can’t get Bobby Peru out of my head.

    Honestly, I liked The Nativity from just a couple of years ago.

  3. There is another film made by evangelicals which has a wider circulation than any you’ve listed. It’s called simply “The Jesus Movie.” I purchased a copy in Cakchiquel before my last trip to Guatemala. You can buy the film (which depicts scenes from the NT) in practically any language. It’s a remarkable endeavor.

  4. Kevin Barney says:

    When I was in middle school, I remember ranting about how blasphemous Jesus Christ, Superstar was. My good friend, who also happened to be the son of the Lutheran pastor, asked me whether I had actually seen it. Uh, no; I hadn’t. I was probably repeating an opinion I had heard at church–likely from someone similarly uninformed.

    So I can’t really vote effectively, because several of these I haven’t seen.

    There were aspects to Passion of the Christ I liked a lot. The satan was really cool; I liked the verisimilitude of using ancient languages (even if the Romans would have been speaking Greek in that setting, not Latin). But I thought the violence was overdone. My favorite scene in the movie was the flashback with Jesus making a table for and laughing and joking with his mother; it needed a lot more of that, I thought.

  5. It’s gotta be Scorsese for showing the Man in the God made Man, although I don’t like the ginger Judas.

    The controversy surrounding his last temptation — ultimately rejected by Jesus — was stirred up by idiots.

    Robert Powell’s Jesus is too ethereal. The Passion is a remarkable film, although in retrospect, the torture is overdone. I own the DVD but can never bring myself to watch it.

    The Lamb of God is a very good LDS film, although the KJV dialogue is jolting given the very Hollywoodian craft on display.

    The claymation Miracle Maker is good for kids.

  6. Kevin Barney says:

    Tracy, I liked The Nativity, too.

  7. Never seen Superstar.

    Margaret, the LDS church also distributed that Jesus Project film.

    There’s also a newish version of the Gospel of John starring our favourite Scottish Lostie. It’s hokey, though.

  8. The Nativity does have its moments, but ultimately devolves into a Christmas card.

  9. The Nativity does have it’s moments, but ultimately devolves into a Christmas card.

    Yeah, that may be true, but it did capture the humanity more than many movies/shorts about Mary and Joseph/ Christ’s birth. That, and I can watch it with my kids.

  10. Mark IV says:

    Why am I not able to vote for this?

  11. Peter LLC says:

    I haven’t seen most of these–do any feature Jesus cuddling/riding a dinosaur? Or is it a raptor? I keep seeing stills to that effect.

  12. J. Chad says:

    I voted other, since the 1927 King of Kings was not on the list

  13. Life of Brian.

  14. Mary AA says:

    What about Pasolini’s The Gospel According to St. Matthew? That’s a good Jesus picture.

  15. Kevin (#4),

    I liked The Passion‘s Satan a lot, too. I thought it was sort of a nod to Death from The Seventh Seal. As for Superstar, I have sort of a cringe/love relationship with the musical because it was instrumental to my conversion to the Church. Back in the day, I embraced it because it was the first to bring the Passion story to life and gave its characters conflicted emotions. I appreciated that. I revisited it recently on YouTube, however, and it makes me very uncomfortable. He does work in mysterious ways.

  16. You also forgot Godspell.

    Like Kevin, I remember the uproar about Jesus Christ Superstar and how we were admonished in church to never see it, but for some reason, Godspell got the go ahead.

  17. Just a nitpick – the wording “Something made by Christ’s own church (Lamb of God, Testaments, etc.)” carries an implication that the film is chosen because of its makers, and not on its own merits.

  18. I can’t believe “something made by Christ’s own church” is winning. Maybe it is because “Passion of the Christ” and “Other” (Life of Brian) are splitting the vote.

  19. tern,
    If you have a church movie in mind, tell us what it is and let’s debate its merits!

  20. I couldn’t stand Godspell when it came out. All that Summer of Love hippie gooeyness– and our Catholic guitar masses picked up on it, actually singing “Day by Day” as we approached the altar for the communion. It would be like the YM/YW singing “Circle of Our Love” while the sacrament was being passed. Brrrrr!

  21. Lamb of God is probably my favorite. Or maybe Passion. But I haven’t seen any of the others. My favorite scene in Passion is when Christ stumbles while carrying the cross and Mary rushes over to him. He says, “See, Mother, I make all things new.”

    I get bothered that my favorite scene isn’t actually in the scriptures, but made up.

  22. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned The Life of Brian.

  23. Peter LLC says:

    Ahem, narrator, see #12, written 1.5 hours ago.

  24. Although you could definitely see the Catholic elements in Passion coming out in the prominent role of Mary in the film, I liked it in the sense that it seemed like the most realistic portrayal of the scriptural descriptions (with the exception of some of the extra-scriptural elements already mentioned). For example, as difficult as it was to watch, what would Jesus really look like after being smote/beat up by members of the Sanhedrin, getting flogged almost 40 times with a multi-thonged whip with metal and bones interwoven into it, and being nailed to a cross? It seems like other versions that I have seen sanitize it a little (e.g., showing Christ after supposedly undergoing the scourging and having only a few neat lash marks on his back). I’ve often asked myself why such graphic imagery helps me appreciate the sacrifice more. I’ve noticed, similarly, that I never appreciated the sacrifice of the men who stormed Omaha beach as much as immediately after seeing its graphic portrayal in the first 30 minutes of Saving Private Ryan. Maybe there is something wrong with me.

    That said, I agree with Kevin that the violence was still probably over-done in Passion.

  25. #20 – Susan – that was one of my favourite scenes too. For me, The Passion of the Christ was a spiritual experience. The violence was a bit overdone, but I came out feeling an increase in my testimony and a deeply felt gratitude for the Saviour.

    I like The Lamb of God too. It’s much better done than a lot of church films that have been done since.

  26. Why would anyone want to watch a filmed depiction of an individual in agony to the point of bleeding from every pore, then taken prisoner, then being stripped and mocked, then beaten with whips, then forced to carry a large wooden crossbeam through the streets while people spat on him, then suspended from said crossbeam by nails in his wrists and palms with only a small foothold to relieve the pressure, then stabbed with a spear?

    It doesn’t matter whether you believe in the faith claims of christianity or not. Graphic depictions of the physical suffering of Jesus of Nazareth are not in any way uplifting, nor do they encourage viewers to act in loving ways toward their fellow beings. A snuff film is a snuff film.

  27. I haven’t seen The Passion- purposely avoided it, actually- because all the talk of the vivid violence frightens me. (I threw up when I saw Platoon- really) Is it a movie one should see? It makes me a little more inclined to see it with so many names I respect saying positive things… yea or nay?

  28. Uhhhh, Nick and posted at the same time.

  29. Two other nominations:
    1. The Book-of-Luke portion of the 6-tape Genesis Project production which the Church co-sponsored and released through the Distribution Center in the 1980’s. It’s was filmed on original sites in original languages, with English voice over in KJV’s text. Being in the same words, it brought to life for me the scenes that I read in the Bible. Some copies still await on ward-media-center shelves.
    2. This, which was the first version that I saw.

  30. I largely agree with the sentiments about The Passion‘s violence. However, a case can be made that it needed to be overdone precisely because Jesus’ torture and death were not simply torture and death — they represented an atoning agony and so had to go beyond the ordinary horror that attended flogging and crucifixion. The violence of The Passion is one way to symbolise this, although perhaps too bluntly for my taste. Still, I like the movie.

  31. I’ve always wondered the source of the description of Jesus’ scourging (Gk: flogging) as being with a multithonged leather whip into whose strands were woven bones and cutting metals. It seems to have almost taken on a doctrinal flavor to it. It’s not in the explicit scriptural description (all it gives is a very brief statement: he was scourged/flogged). Is it historically/archeologically crystal clear that this was the method used by the Romans to scourge/flog? Could it have simply been a cane? I really don’t know – does anyone know much about this that could shed some light?

    The LDS sources for this that come to mind are Talmage’s Jesus the Christ and McConkie’s Mortal Messiah and conference talk, “The Purifying Power of Gethsemane,” though I am sure there are many, many others.

  32. Nick,

    Graphic depictions of the physical suffering of Jesus of Nazareth are not in any way uplifting, nor do they encourage viewers to act in loving ways toward their fellow beings.

    From my own experience watching The Passion, this is completely and utterly wrong. (Or WRONG! as Lars Glenson would say.) Here’s what I wrote about it in 2004:

    For me, it has reminded me that whatever I do in life, it is simply moth and dust if it does not reflect those two truths which this film so beautifully expresses: that there is redemption in Jesus from all that is bad and horrible within us, and that if we are to follow him we should remember his “new commandment” – that we love each other as he loved us.

    Other people may react differently. Even so, I think my experience cancels the universality of your assertion.

  33. Just to clarify, it’s not so much the film’s graphic portrayal of Christ’s suffering as much as it was, in my mind, perhaps one of the most realistic depictions – ie, it made me feel most like I was a witness to the actual events (which reminds me of another thing I liked about the film – the use of Aramaic and Latin, as well as a more conversational tone vs. only direct KJV quotations). The graphic nature of the violence probably sickened me as much as anyone else. I think that is what made me appreciate it more. It’s definitely not something that I want to see over and over again, or that I would show to my underage children. The violent nature of the film was terrible and reprehensible – just as the historical events themselves were.

  34. There were a lot of things in the Passion I really liked. I loved it when Christ stomped on the serpent with his heel in the garden. I loved that the movie opens with the scripture “by his stripes we are healed.” I loved the portrayal of Satan. This post is making me want to see it again.

    There’s another movie about Christ called Joshua. It’s a modern-day story, about a carpenter named Joshua who comes to a small town. It’s hokey and sweet and just my kind of movie.

  35. There’s also this Demi Moore classic featuring a German latter-day Jesus:

  36. Movie Jesuses give me the creeps. I’m particularly not fond of the way the LDS films portray Jesus. He always seems to come off as some bland Zen master.

  37. I understand your point, Ronan, but consider what we hear about the effects of violent media, especially on young people. Even if you assign spiritual significance to these images, the fact remains that you are being desensitized to brutal, almost indescribeable violence.

    I’m not convinced that a focus on these sufferings is a healthy thing, even for those who are able to conjure a sense of gratitude out of it. We see christians of various denominations, over the course of 2000+ years glorifying this violence, even to the point of inflicting torture on their own bodies, thinking that such a thing brings them closer to deity.

    In fact, I think it’s rather interesting that Mormon scripture really doesn’t emphasize the physical brutality suffered by Jesus of Nazareth. Rather, the focus seems to be more on the emotional torment. Food for thought.

  38. Kevin Barney says:

    #30 JT, Mt. 27:26 reads in part “and when he [Pilate] had scourged Jesus.” [The text doesn’t mean Pilate personally whipped him, but that he ordered it done.] The ENG scourged is a rendering of the GR participle phragellOsas, which = the LAT verb flagello, which comes into ENG as flogged. This was part of the verberatio, or preparation for crucifixion. The prisoner would be stripped, with his hands tied above his head, and whipped with a flagellum. A flagellum was a Roman whip made of leather with pieces of lead and bone tied into the ends. Jews only allowed 39 lashes (to avoid accidentally exceeding the 40 lashes allowed by the law due to an accidental miscount), but the Romans had no such set limit. It wasn’t unusual for the prisoner to die from the whipping before he even made it to the cross.

  39. I saw “The Passion” in Atlanta in a theater filled to capacity. In true evangelical fashion, the theater broke into applause with a lot of “amens” after the very brief resurection scene at the end.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the movie, but winced a lot during the flogging scene, especially when I thought it was over and could breathe again only to be disapointed when one of the guards said “turn him over” and the floggings continued.

  40. I’d prefer they didn’t make movies about Christ directly.

    That old 1990s LDS Christmas movie of the Nativity is about as close as I care to get.

    Maybe it’s the inner Muslim in me…

    Certainly I don’t like the Church’s most recent offerings where the actor playing Jesus looks like one of the “so easy even a caveman could do it” ad campaign actors.

  41. Doug Hudson says:

    Can I vote for “Ben Hur”? Its technically a Jesus movie, and its got a naval battle and a chariot race!

  42. The Backslider.

  43. Kevin Barney says:

    #28 manaen, I was teaching GD when those tapes came out, and I thought they were very well done. I would use them in class from time to time.

    I especially liked the angel Gabriel (or maybe it was John the Baptist; I forget); he had what looked like a huge afro, and he reminded me of myself from when I was in high school. A production done solely by the Church would never have an angel/prophet who looked as wild as that!

  44. Nick,
    Hey, man, I’m just sayin’ I felt uplifted.

  45. Kev,
    I remember someone at church muttering during the scene depicting the baptism of Jesus that, “that’s not how it happened.” Jesus was immersed, but John did not hold his right arm to the square. Jesus did not hold his nose or John’s left wrist either!

  46. Steve Evans says:

    Is there nothing uplifting in seeing a visual representation of the sufferings of the Savior? Perhaps we are saying that there’s never a need to see gratuitous violence, torture, etc. — and I am on board with that — but for the Christian, a keen sense of Jesus’ suffering has always been part of the atonement. There is obviously a line somewhere in the murky mists of subjective opinion where we transition into torture porn of sorts, but it seems to me to be perfectly in line with traditional Christianity and Mormonism to depict the suffering, crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

  47. #45 – That’s my view. I didn’t watch the movie, because I just don’t handle that type of violence well, but I have no problem with it other than the physical reaction I would have had.

    I see the complaints about the violence in Passion much like I see the complaints about the temptation in The Last Temptation – overblown and theologically suspect. I had no problem with either.

    Lamb of God is my favorite – along with the 1927 King of Kings mentioned in #11 and Ben Hur. I saw each of the latter two as a youth, and I really liked them.

  48. should have read, “I have no problem with either.”

  49. Ray,

    Take it from someone who feels perfectly comfortable watching Scorcese gangster films: The talk regarding Passion’s violence is not in the least overblown.

  50. The Jesus Film Margaret mentions in #3 is the most-watched motion picture of all times. More on the film is available here.

    Ronan, do you have any more details about the LDS Church’s distribution of the film? I’m intrigued.

  51. Christopher,
    Only that I’ve seen it in an LDS package in quite a few ward libraries.

  52. I must admit that I haven’t seen the Passion, but I after reading this post I probably should (especially before commenting). I’ve felt that there must have been many who were subjected to Roman brutality whom we don’t worship as atoners, and in this respect maybe Nick has it right. When we think about the atonement do we picture the violence or contemplate what happened and in the garden and how and why? If the film captures this, I’ll definitely want to watch it. If not, is it really more than a case report of 1st century violence with Jesus as the subject? I welcome any feedback.

  53. Proud Daughterr of Eve says:

    Why do those of you who love the Satan from “Passion” feel that way? He seemed androgynous, if not actual female to me and (a) that doesn’t jive with either scriptures or revealed truths and (b) let’s not start the dichotomy of male = good and female = evil again.

  54. Kade,
    I am very hesitant to recommend the Passion because the violence — particularly the scourging — is absolutely horrific. If you cannot stomach that kind of thing, avoid it. The reason I admire the film, and think it rises above a kind of torture porn with Jesus as the victim, is that the theology of the atonement underpins the agony. Jesus submits because he has accepted that he must descend below all things. Gibson makes this clear. Also, to see Jesus brutally nailed to the cross and to have him cry out, “forgive them, they do not know, they do not know,” is to have a tiny glimpse into the miracle that is Jesus. One need not see it, of course, but for me personally it was stirring. I just wish the scourging scene was two minutes shorter. It is seriously shocking and relentless.

  55. PDoE,
    Forget the theology, s/he’s simply menacing without being a silly caricature. The temptation in the garden is great cinema. I also think the androgyny is supposed to be juxtaposed with Mary. There’s that one scene where Satan carries a horrible man-baby as s/he surveys the scourging. It’s the inverse of the beauty of mother and child offered by Mary and Jesus – the Satanic counterfeit.

  56. Kevin (37) – Thank you for the description. I should have been more clear – what I am actually looking for are sources for the information that you mention (ie, how we know/understand that it was a leather, multi-thonged whip interwoven with bones and metal). Are there some good archeological or historical studies on the matter? I don’t believe that Talmage or McConkie mentioned a source, perhaps because it is common knowledge.

    This is all coming up because I was writing a paper around Easter and wanted to include a source for this, but all I could come up with was Talmage and McConkie (or similar sources), and I was looking for more of a “primary” source (as elusive as that term can be). I am also interested to learn how this became part of the regular description of the scourging both among Latter-day Saints and other Christians (or has it always been there?). The question stems from my own ignorance, not as part of any point I am trying to make. Just looking for a good source.

  57. The Passion was re-released on DVD with some of the most graphic material removed. I don’t know how different it is because I’ve only seen the original. It is excellent.

    The satan sequences were superbly done, but the most moving scene is when Jesus and Mary, who’s been fighting through the crowds to get near Jesus, finally make eye contact. She sees him fall with the cross, and runs to him, imagining a time he fell as a young boy and she comforted him, but when she reaches him — he looks exhausted and awful, covered with dried blood and fresh blood — he tells her something like, “Mother, I said I would overcome the world.”

  58. My problem with depictions of Jesus’ suffering (at least during the crucifixion) is that they tend to treat it as uniquely horrific, or even remotely unusual. Jesus was treated and executed as a common criminal, an enemy to Roman power. True, it was vicious and brutal and terrible, but it was also par for the course. He was treated like the same disposable, reviled scum as tens of thousands of others and executed in a like manner. The temple perpetuates the impression that there was something unique about His execution, but nails were very common and there is no suggestion anywhere that he was unusually heavy or overweight.

    There is an enormous amount of significance in His death and suffering (not the least of which is the fact that He was executed for being precisely the kind of Messiah He categorically refused to be, much to the consternation of many would be followers and, likely, His betraying apostle). Certainly, though, His death is not unique for being uniquely grotesque or painful. It is the intense brutality coupled with the utter commonness of His execution that captures it best. What made His death unique was not the unique pain or suffering it entailed, but the fact that it did not end Him. His life, execution, and resurrection represent a vivid emblem of the utterly opposed kinds of power present in the World and in the kingdom of God.

  59. Though I haven’t seen them myself, I’ve heard great things about this, and this.

    Perhaps our resident Brit (and Mel Gibson lover) would care to comment on the latter.

  60. Matt W. says:

    There’s a claymation jesus story that came out a few years back with qui gon jinn as Jesus’ voice. It’s pretty good for the kids.

    I also have an inexplicable soft spot for Ben Hur.

    In the “Alegorically referring to Jesus” realm, Matrix is good.

  61. True dat, Matt. The Matrix is great. And Children of Men (book and, especially, film) is, for my money, the most devotional, if veiled, nativity story in the contemporary western cultural canon.

  62. Steve Evans says:

    Brad, don’t mention that later movie around Jana Reiss, who inexplicably didn’t like it, despite the fact that it RULED.

  63. Kevin Barney says:

    On the flagellum (which is the diminutive form of the flagrum), see pp. 539-540 of Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which includes references to ancient authors who describe it’s construction.

  64. Kevin (64) – That is exactly what I am looking for – thank you!

  65. Eric Russell says:

    I think a depiction of Christ that showed his human side would be interesting, but the problem with The Last Temptation isn’t that Christ is a man, it’s that he’s a total nutter. The Savior’s words:

    No! I’m a liar. A hypocrite. I’m afraid of everything. I never tell the truth. I don’t have the courage. When I see a woman, I blush and look away. But inside I have lust. For God, I smother the lust, and that satisfies my pride. But my pride destroys Magdalene. I never steal or fight, or kill… not because I don’t want to but because I’m afraid. I want to rebel against everything, everybody… against God!… but I’m afraid. If you look inside me you see fear, that’s all. Fear is my mother, my father, my God.

    The film’s authors not only fail to understand Christ, they fail to understand Christianity.

  66. But do we assume Jesus always had perfect understanding of who he was and his mission? Or did he, as a young man before he began his ministry, struggle with his own forgetting, being housed in a tabernacle of flesh, and coming to terms with who he was?

  67. Regarding “The Passion,”

    I have absolutely zero desire to see a movie critics were dubbing “The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre.”

  68. Eric Russell says:

    I find most complaints about the violence in The Passion rather overwrought. It did feel intense on first viewing, but I then went and read The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the account on which The Passion is based and then saw the film again. I noticed that the film actually shows a great deal of restraint, cutting away right before particularly gruesome moments on multiple occasions. There’s a good deal of camera trickery employed in order to present a more intense experience than is actually viewed.

  69. Matt W. says:

    AS a former Catholic, my only issue with the Passion was it’s depiction of Mary. It was a bit too crazy for my sensibilities.

    Oh, and when Jesus invents the table. That threw me for a loop.

  70. MikeInWeHo says:

    Are you guys saying that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints somehow endorsed and distributed The Jesus Film??? Remarkable.

  71. My dad (a Protestant minister) took me and a group of friends to see “Jesus Christ Superstar” for my 16th birthday. Due to the great memories surrounding the event, I must cast my vote for this (other) even though it wasn’t a movie, it was a stage play. I also thought the Passion was quite well done. I’ve enjoyed this post and the walk through all of the different media depictions of the life of the Savior.

  72. #60 – Brad – Ronan has already addressed the first one in comment #7 (Desmond from Lost is Jesus)

    I’m sure somewhere he talked about the BBC Passion as well around Easter.(or maybe I did in one of my Easter posts at FMH) We watched it as a family and really liked it.

  73. #58

    amen brad

  74. Seth,
    That’s a silly throwaway line by critics.

    We learn from Paul that Jesus was tempted in every way we are. I don’t see why he would not suffer from self-doubt from time to time. In Last Temptation, Jesus worries about his worthiness; this is not the same as saying that he was a) unworthy, or b) insane.

    Mary’s depiction was “crazy”? Huh? I agree with the table thing, though. Chalk it up to Mel Gibson’s eccentricities.

  75. Eric Russell says:

    Ronan, I agree in principle, but the above quote doesn’t display self-doubt and temptation. It displays the maturity level of a 9-year-old. I could have no respect for anyone over 9-years-old who said the above. Much less an adult. Much less an adult who is supposed to be the manner of man we ought to be.

  76. PAssolini, The PAssion of ST MAtthews is the only movie about Christ that I ever felt retained the spirut of of the gospels

  77. FWIW, here are some church statements on Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ (note: some speculate that these statements were written by the same PR person who wrote the church’s 2001 statement on stem cell research):

    The First Presidency stated:

    We feel it is our responsibility to warn our people against the present-day wave of musical performances which are aimed at the destruction of sacred principles which form the very foundation upon which we stand. One of these is the rock opera, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar.’ We consider this musical a profane and sacrilegious attack upon true Christianity. It strips Jesus Christ of His divine attributes.

    Its prevailing theme presents the falsehood that our Lord—and this is quoting from a statement of one of the characters—is “just a man just the same as anyone I know,” and picturing Him absolutely as consorting, as all other men, with women of questionable repute.

    To the dismay of those who worship Him as the Savior of mankind, as the divine Son of God, He and His apostles are portrayed in earthly roles living below Christian standards. We encourage members of the Church and good men everywhere to oppose this kind of entertainment.

    Deseret News, Oct. 9, 1971, A1.

    Richard P. Lindsay, managing director of the Public Communications Department, released a statement on the film “The Last Temptation of Christ”:

    The film, “The Last Temptation of Christ,” is not the story of Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, who in Gethsemane and on Calvary took upon Himself the sins of the world, and rose from death with the promise of redemption for all.

    In our view this film trivializes the message and mission of Jesus Christ. We abhor the unconscionable portrayal of Jesus Christ in intimate sexual scenes and as a voyeur. Men and women are left poorer by exposure to the stereotypes the movie portrays.

    As our name implies, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints revere Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. Having experienced the uplifting power of His spirit, we encourage all people to truly seek the Savior and the eternal truths He taught, and to shun those things that detract from the dignity and spirit of His divine mission.

    “Church Issues Statement on Controversial New Movie,” Church News, Aug. 20, 1988.

  78. Richard Lindsay could not have seen the film. Can’t comment on Superstar, although I like that the words “rock opera” featured in a FP statement.

  79. Kevin Barney says:

    Wait–Passion portrays Jesus as inventing the table? I thought he just made one for his mother (and it was my favorite scene in the movie).

  80. PDOE, #53: I liked the portrayal of Satan as someone beautiful because that’s what he does—he tries to entice us. But it’s a surface beauty masking decay and hate and all that jazz.

    Matt Evans, #57: See my comment #21. Pretty sure he said “I make all things new.”

    I loved the heavy-handed symbolism in the movie. I can see why some wouldn’t. But I go for that kind of thing.

  81. I agree that the violence of The Passion was an important part of the story. Frequently, the violence was “interrupted” by scenes of Jesus teaching or practicing forgiveness. To me, the film was a remarkable portrayal of the Atonement. The film isn’t for the squeamish or faint of heart, but neither is Christianity.

    And while the film is corny in places, I have to cast a vote for Godspell as well.

    Finally, I have to echo what Doug said, and it may be my favorite Jesus movie of all: Ben-Hur. I’m having a hard time thinking of a film that better portrays the healing power of the Atonement. (Well, there is one other film about the Atonement that I liked as well, 2002’s Changing Lanes, but Jesus is seen there only in effigy, so I wouldn’t count it for the purposes of this discussion).

  82. Steve Jones says:

    #81 and what Doug referenced. I watch Ben Hur every Easter. the most powerful scene is when Judah Ben Hur is being marched to the sea as a slave and they stop for water, horses first, then slaves and no water for Judah. When Jesus walks over with his back to the camera and gives him water. The Roman turns and yells I said no water for him, then looks Jesus in the face and cowers. A most powerful scene, followed by the end when Judah recognizes him carrying the cross and Judah comes out of the crowd and tries to give Jesus water.

  83. Geraldine says:

    On the matter of there being “too much” violence in the movie, Passion, I believe the physical violence and agony he suffered are really “only” a type and shadow of the REAL, suffering he went through for every one of us, emotional, physical sufferings, illnesses, mental suffering, etc. AND maybe/probably the worst agony of all, the suffering he did for our sins and how our personal sins actually affect us and would/will affect us if we have to suffer personally for our sins, as he told us in D&C 19. And if we do not repent and come unto Him we will be required to suffer those things, which suffering caused Him, even the greatest of all to suffer, and bleed at every pore and would that he might shrink. But he finished his preparations to the children of men and completed the atonement. Seen in that light, there is no way the punishment and violence in the movie of “The Passion”, could hold a candle to what he actually went through, and I believe there is no way it the movie could ever be too VIOLENT. There is no way we can ever imagine the horror, pain, excruciating agony that Jesus went through for OUR sakes. Whether or not crucifixion was common, ordinary, suffered by countless people, there is no way their suffering came anywhere near what he went through. And, 2000 years later he still has vivid recollection of it, and Jesus is GOD and our SAVIOR!

  84. Um… I don’t see Monty Python’s Life of Brian anywhere.

    Hey, if someone can request South Park… ;)

  85. For future reference, please do not group “The Lamb of God” with “The Testaments” or “Finding Faith in Christ” or any other of Christ’s Own Church’s films. It is the one bright star of an otherwise sorry production company.

  86. Jacob M says:

    Couple of days late, but my thoughts are:

    1 – Ben Hur, hands down.

    2 – Life of Brian is one of the most magnificently funny movies I’ve ever watched on the subject, so it comes in at a close 2nd tied with Lamb of God.

    3 – 78 – I thought that Jesus made it a central point of his ministry to consort with people of ill-repute. Really odd argument for a Christian to make. Also, “all other men” consort with women of ill-repute?

  87. #87 – “Consort” did not mean “associate” in that statement.

  88. My favorite movie is Ben Hur. But it’s not really a Jesus movie, per se. So I guess I’d say it’s a toss-up between the Nativity and Jesus Christ Superstar.