Havin' Fun With Killin' Jesus: Five Movies To Celebrate Your Good Friday
It's Good Friday, man. You should be out celebrating. Celebrating the sadistic killing of some guy who did nothing wrong, except maybe violate some liquor laws by turning water into wine.
The Crucifixion (and subsequent Resurrection) has long been fodder for the movies, so if you're looking to really get into the spirit of the day, skip church and watch one of these:
1. Can you hear me, Major Jesus?
The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Martin Scorsese's adaptation of The Last Tempatation of Christ was notable for a couple of things: It didn't include the Rolling Stones on the soundtrack; it did include Harvey Keitel playing Judas with the accent of a Red Hook numbers runner, and it featured David Bowie as Pontius Pilate.
Bowie wasn't bad at all; the script didn't call for him to do much, but he did it with a sort of weary "I'm trying to be reasonable with you people" charm. And, of course, he demonstrated one of the bedrock truths of history that Hollywood has passed on to us: All officials in Ancient Rome spoke with posh British voices.
2. Oh, that's gonna sting
The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Here's a great Good Friday drinking game for you: Rent The Passion of the Christ. Take a tiny sip of light beer every time someone puts the hurt on Jesus, alternating with tiny sips of water. Take a shot every time there's a bit of anti-Semitism.
Have your phone ready to call 911, because you're not making it through the movie without getting your stomach pumped.
3. Kickin' it old-school
The Robe (1953)
And the Lord said thou shalt not embed, so you'll have to click here to watch it. It's 10 minutes long, but the first 35 seconds tell you all you need to realize you're in the realm of the glory days of Hollywood: Overwhelming and overly dramatic music, a completely fake-looking cross fresh from the prop-design department; when the centurion whips Jesus, ol' JC is safely off-screen; and when Victor Mature intervenes he gets completely knocked out by one punch in the world's most unconvincing Easter-related fight. And that's just the first 35 seconds.
Continue on for the heavenly choir and -- if you can last that long -- for Richard Burton in what would be his worst movie until Exorcist II: The Heretic.
4. Oh, it's a cross. Get it?
King of Kings (1961)
Jesus, even as he's on the cross, doesn't quite look like he's been through the Mel Gibson bloodbath -- he just looks like he took a bad tumble in a street-hockey game. And he seems more annoyed than anything when he asks the old man why He's forsaken him. Mary Magdelene, as she discovers the Resurrection, looks like she just got back from the beauty parlor. Skip to the 8:45 mark to see the big finale, which is the world's silliest use of a shadow.
They don't make them like this anymore. Plus it's in Hebrew!! (Well, at least this dubbed version.) Take that, Mel Gibson, with your Aramaic!
5. "So there you are!"
Life of Brian (1979)
You knew we had to end with this one.