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Episode 69 - The Christs

Battle of The Christs  

92 members have voted

  1. 1. Which 'Christ' belongs in The Canon?

    • Last Temptation of Christ
      84
    • The Passion of the Christ
      8


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Devin and Amy dive into a "versus" episode following last week's Christ theme. Will Martin Scorsese's non-traditional take on Christ's life defeat Jim Caviezel's magical eyes? Tune in, and head over to the Earwolf forums to cast your vote.

 

 

 

Canon commenters! This week we're doing a single episode thread that also has a poll at the top. So if you're the type that just wants to click a button and be on your way, that's cool. Or if you want to write out your reasons behind your vote and talk about other's reasons, that's also cool!

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I think this one will be a blowout. Can any self-respecting cinephile vote for Passion over Temptation? I would vote for Temptation simply for its incredible lighting. Amy touched on color a bit, which relates. In particular, I'm always struck by the light coming in and out during the scene of Mary Magdalene cleaning Jesus's wounds. I agree that the narrative shift makes it so much more of an engaging experience.

 

Also, David Bowie, my favorite person of all time, is in Temptation. It automatically wins on that note.

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I actually love that Passion was in languages closer to what was probably spoken at the time but Last Temptation is a better movie in almost every way.

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They're both movies I consider to be bad. However, Passion stands out historically a lot more than Last Temptation does. So I cast a reluctant vote for that weirdo Mel Gibson and suggest people read Kazantzakis's novel instead of watching either movie.

 

I also want to briefly address Evan and Amy expressing exacerbation that Gibson said his movie is about forgiveness...it's important to understand that he's not necessarily talking about what's explicitly on the screen. That statement has to do with the viewer's relationship to the movie. I grew up in the southern evangelical community, and it was not unusual for speakers to address the crucifixion of Christ in graphic terms as a sort of embodiment of the punishment for our sins. I think we're meant to relate to Christ's suffering as what we had coming. So from that perspective, I get what he's going for.

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Absolutely the winner here is Last Temptation. Passion only cares about the violence and evil nature of man and no one has any character development and is literally torture porn. Last Temptation actually tries to figure out what life was like than and who Christ might of been and how he overcomes his self doubt inside. It's a wonderful film and really to me is what Christianity should be about. Not even a contest in my mind.

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You could maybe argue for Passion on a cultural level, because fucking EVERYONE was talking about it, but man, was it just a chore to sit through. 90% of that movie is ugly, brutish Romans and Hebrews laughing like idiots while Jesus flails around and bleeds out. The violence just ceased being gruesome and got real boring.

 

Last Temptation was phenomenal. Just aesthetically the movie is fantastic, and presented much more human Jesus than I've ever seen. I especially love the scene where he says he is proud of resisting women, and the Sermon on the Mount where he kind of fucks up his speech. He really came off as a man who had no clue what to do, but had a calling from the highest power to do it. I also love the depiction of Judas as striving for revolution who sees Jesus as the greatest chance for that.

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As Bob Dylan said of religious songs, "The beautiful part of it is that the people singing believe it so much. Any time people sing about what they believe, it elevates it. […] When the people believe what they’re singing, it’s just that much better."

 

The thing about The Passion is that Gibson really believes in the story and people. Scorsese is just tinkering intellectually in Last Temptation. I don't think I would rewatch either of these, but if I have to pick, the choice has to be The Passion of the Christ.

 

I was confused by Devin and Amy's take that making the Jewish leaders the villains is an innovation. Perhaps Catholic schools underplay this because...well...they reasonably have a guilty conscience surrounding the subject.

This is didn't come from Gibson (whatever that lush thinks of Jews before or after the fight around the movie). It came from the sources.

 

Gibson's version is backed up by /all four gospels/ (all confirmed to be written within decades of the events) and all agree that the Roman authorities had no particular interest in Jesus of Nazareth at all, That it was the Jewish authorities who were demanding it. The ones that address Pilate's relation with the Sandhedrin at all portray it as *tense* with Pilate annoyed at them maneuvering him into it, Just as Gibson portrayed, Jesus was *controversial* and while the Jewish authorities wanted him dead, they didn't want to actually do it themselves. Thus the midnight arrest and pre-trial by the Temple leaders.

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Last Temptation of Christ forsure, not only has it got the best director in the world, and the greatest actor " Willem Dafoe" who is great in everything, even if it's just to say "

" that movie it self teaches us about Jesus and Unlike Passion that is just a lesson on how to the romans beat people up. you really don't walk away from that movie having learned anything new. the punishment of christ is not learned by the viewer. why this is important simply isn't learned. i learned more about Jesus from a Kirk Cameron's saving Christmas movie then I ever did from The passion of the Christ.

 

speaking of the second greatest story ever told, could you please do "Kirk Cameron's saving Christmas" I hope he makes a Saving Easter movie.

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You could maybe argue for Passion on a cultural level, because fucking EVERYONE was talking about it, but man, was it just a chore to sit through. 90% of that movie is ugly, brutish Romans and Hebrews laughing like idiots while Jesus flails around and bleeds out. The violence just ceased being gruesome and got real boring.

 

We're in agreement, but here's something else to chew on. No one talks about Passion any more. Meanwhile, I feel I could discuss Last Temptation with a stranger in a bar later tonight. Any discussion of the same sort on Passion I imagine would amount to, "Man, wasn't that gruesome?"

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Okay, I love the Earwolf site, but man it should have been clearer and cleaner to navigate to and figure out where stuff was. Now that I have that gripe out of the way, my vote was for THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and it seems like that will be the runaway winner. My minor quibble with Devin and Amy's discussion was that you can't say Scorsese's movie is really about the Passion Play or the biblical account at all--it is based on the Kazantzakis novel and needs to be evaluated strictly as an adaptation of that. Gibson's direction of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST isn't bad per se, but it is hard to evaluate that as an actual movie. For me it is Scorsese all the way with a movie that probably plays even better now than it did when it first came out.

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Incidentally, asking voters to choose between Gibson and Scorsese these days is putting a huge thumb on the scale. I would have rather seen a versus between The Passion and Apocalypto.

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We're in agreement, but here's something else to chew on. No one talks about Passion any more. Meanwhile, I feel I could discuss Last Temptation with a stranger in a bar later tonight. Any discussion of the same sort on Passion I imagine would amount to, "Man, wasn't that gruesome?"

 

On the other hand, the impact of Passion on the box office is still felt today in that it sort of opened the door for what I'd label "church group" movies. Plus, the role that movie played in arguably one of the 2-3 biggest movie stars of his era will always make it relevant to certain discussions.

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First time on here. Listened to the podcast because I love Last Temptation. Growing up in Oklahoma, I didn't know this movie existed until I randomly saw it around around 17 years old on TV. It was maybe a half hour in and I was immediately confused by the portrayal of Jesus and Judas, but it was a good confusion that captured my attention and imagination. Jesus had been called a man in my life many, many times but I had never seen him actually interpreted as a flawed human being before. And I had never though of Judas as a good guy before. I feel in love with the soundtrack. Later when I went back and watched it I was a little disappointed by the intro with the whole Jesus building crosses thing. Just seemed shallow for such a magnificent movie.

 

I never saw Passion and probably never will. There's a church and gas station on nearly every corner in Oklahoma. I knew enough people that saw it. It held no interest for me. Yes I voted for Last Temptation anyway. Sorry I might be corrupting your internet poll ;) if it helps hearing about the flashbacks make me want to watch it a little.

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On the other hand, the impact of Passion on the box office is still felt today in that it sort of opened the door for what I'd label "church group" movies. Plus, the role that movie played in arguably one of the 2-3 biggest movie stars of his era will always make it relevant to certain discussions.

 

Good point. Come to think of it, this is why I didn't see Risen, the recent film Amy brought up. When I noticed the end of the trailer had contact info for "group ticketing" I figured it was a pandering work.

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Just wanted to chime in as a practicing Catholic, and more generally, as a person of faith. I definitely have to go with The Last Temptation (gasp, blasphemy!). The dual nature of Christ is one of the most important aspects of Christianity, and for me, it is one of the most difficult aspects, and one that I have struggled to fully grasp as I've gotten older. I've never seen it dealt with like Temptation does, and I like to think that any religious person would be better for seeing this movie and coming away with deep questions about their faith. Much deeper questions (I think) than are raised by Passion.

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Just wanted to chime in as a practicing Catholic, and more generally, as a person of faith. I definitely have to go with The Last Temptation (gasp, blasphemy!). The dual nature of Christ is one of the most important aspects of Christianity, and for me, it is one of the most difficult aspects, and one that I have struggled to fully grasp as I've gotten older. I've never seen it dealt with like Temptation does, and I like to think that any religious person would be better for seeing this movie and coming away with deep questions about their faith. Much deeper questions (I think) than are raised by Passion.

 

Great to hear this. I've always thought that religious people would appreciate Temptation if they actually watched it. I'm a gay man in NY, so my social circle is a bit lacking in the devout area. I've never had the chance to put the experiment to the test.

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I admit, I have not seen Last Temptation yet (though I plan to by the end of the week), but I felt compelled to vote against Passion so I did it. Just a wretched movie. I sort of wonder if you two were worried Last Temptation wouldn't make it in, so you put it in a land slide VS.

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First off, loved the episode. I voted for Last Temptation, and honestly, that was my pick before I heard the episode but thought that I might hear something that might dissuade me from doing so (you never know with Devin and Amy, which is one of the reasons I love this show). My issue is that if Christ's story were not as well known in our Western Culture, that Passion wouldn't work because it's bare on characterization, and the motivation is razor thin as to why they are crucifying Christ. I remember telling my brother that it felt like a film that is entirely the third act of another, longer film but that this is all we are shown. So, in my mind, it was hard to care for why (even though I knew) they were doing this to him. Last Temptation on the other hand, not only shows the external motivation, but gives us that internalization of the struggle of someone who is both man and God. Not to mention that when he says, "It is accomplished," and the film stock goes into the "crazy" colors of overexposure it sent shivers down my spine the first time I saw it (I bought the Criterion DVD after having read Scorsese on Scorsese, and seeing the struggle to get the film made). Sorry for the long winded post, just some of my thoughts.

 

As a weird side-note, I remember really liking the cinematography on Passion, and that was about it. I always found it fascinating that Caleb Deschanel (who shot Passion) is the father of Zooey, and Emily, and was one of the original members of American Zoetrope.

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I admit, I have not seen Last Temptation yet (though I plan to by the end of the week), but I felt compelled to vote against Passion so I did it. Just a wretched movie. I sort of wonder if you two were worried Last Temptation wouldn't make it in, so you put it in a land slide VS.

 

I can tell you that I chose these two films not as a safety net but rather because I think their differing approaches make for an interesting discussion. I'm less concerned with what actually gets into the Canon and more concerned with what makes for a good discussion and sparks interesting debates in the forums.

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I vote Last Temptation of Christ. At least it was in English.

 

I'm still not sure if this is meant to be sarcastic or not....

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Wish there was a vote for "neither" - I'm not trolling. Love you both, love this show. However, Apocalypto is the Gibson film to put in. Temptation is hardly Scorsese's best. For watchability, I have to give it to to Passion. Temptation was so hard for me to get through, even watched it a second time which was two too many for me.

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this wasn't a fair fight, it should of been Mel Gibson vs Kirk Cameron, Then it would of been interesting poll. both are bitch shit crazy and have amazing view points.

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See what made me vote for LTOC, is the fact that I feel like the violence in The Passion seemed it was put in to push the agenda of Mel Gibson and not really for the sake of the story. Granted I have no idea how violent it really was, but it just seemed excessive. Not to mention the whole idea about Jesus having a choice and still sacrificing himself anyway is pretty great.

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Wish there was a vote for "neither" - I'm not trolling. Love you both, love this show. However, Apocalypto is the Gibson film to put in. Temptation is hardly Scorsese's best. For watchability, I have to give it to to Passion. Temptation was so hard for me to get through, even watched it a second time which was two too many for me.

 

Apocalypto vs. Braveheart would be an interesting Mel Versus.

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