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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays-Week 6-Jesus Christ Superstar

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Regarding JC's hair, I scribbled in my notes that he had a Friends-era Jennifer Aniston bob. Very pretty.

 

Also agree about Judas. I thought he had a good point. He says:

 

 

 

300 silver pieces for JC's ointment budget? Are you kidding me?! Let's buy him the generic, gently used ointment for 50 silver pieces and use the rest to feed the poor. Or like, buy one new tub and JC can turn it into 100 tubs.

 

Hahaha love it.

 

But maybe he cant maintain his pretty Jennifer Aniston hair with generic ointment?

 

But I agree, JC should be using generic and 300 pieces of silver is pretty steep in comparison to the 30 Judas was paid to betray Jesus.... That has to be some be some high end hair/foot ointment

 

 

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JC also gets overwhelmed when lepers ask him to heal them. JC says they're crowding him too much and he tells them to go heal themselves. WTF? Is that what really happens in the bible? I thought JC healed the sick. I didn't know that complaining was a big part of it.

 

 

Jesus has a couple of moments of pique in the Bible. You just have to consider that Jesus is not portrayed as a divine figure in the Musical. He never performs a single miracle. This is about Jesus the Human Being. That being the case, I'm sure--as any person would be--he's pretty upset about being swarmed by a group of lepers expecting him to heal them with a touch.

 

As for the "jaded Mandarin" line, I'm not sure if it's an old saying or not, but taking it at face value, the definition of "Mandarin," besides the obvious, is a "person of influence." So in this case, I would suspect a "jaded Mandarin" is one only paying lip service to the thing he's preaching. In the mythology of the Musical, I think it's implied that 3 years ago, Jesus and Judas were bros: hot headed youths on a mission to help their people. But as they gained in notoriety, Jesus began to soften some of his stances. So basically, the whole movie is Judas saying, "What happened to you, bro?"

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I've gotta run out shortly, but just to mention a few things that I really liked about JCS...

 

The location was absolutely amazing! I loved the setting and how they used it when setting up the scenes, especially their use of foreground and background in the same shots. It was really beautiful. And bless them all for working so hard to use the location despite the fact it was obviously hot and uncomfortable. (I swear every time Herod appeared he looked more sunburnt than the last).

 

Agree about the location. It was almost distracting!

It was definitely too hot - did anyone notice how sweaty the dancers were in Simon Zealotes?

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The setting was actual Israel, which continues to amaze me, especially since most movie productions go to locations in North Africa to substitute for the Holy Land (see Last Temptation of Christ, Kingdom of Heaven, etc). These weird singing hippies went to Israel to do dance numbers about Jesus to the most conflict-prone area of the past three millennia.

 

I guess they just had great security....

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Jesus has a couple of moments of pique in the Bible. You just have to consider that Jesus is not portrayed as a divine figure in the Musical. He never performs a single miracle. This is about Jesus the Human Being. That being the case, I'm sure--as any person would be--he's pretty upset about being swarmed by a group of lepers expecting him to heal them with a touch.

 

Thanks for being patient with my questions. I'm just like, "who is bible?" So, if they didn't know that JC was a regular person with no powers, why did they think that he could?

 

As for the "jaded Mandarin" line, I'm not sure if it's an old saying or not, but taking it at face value, the definition of "Mandarin," besides the obvious, is a "person of influence." So in this case, I would suspect a "jaded Mandarin" is one only paying lip service to the thing he's preaching. In the mythology of the Musical, I think it's implied that 3 years ago, Jesus and Judas were bros. Hot headed youths on a mission to help their people. But as they gained in notoriety, Jesus began to soften some of his stances. So basically, the whole movie is Judas saying, "What happened to you, bro?"

 

Ah, that makes more sense. I thought Judas was referring to the literal mandarin fruit lol.

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I thought the odd meters were interesting and some of the melodies are very catchy (get out of my head, Everything's Alright!).

+1 ... "Everything's Alright" is catchy AF. Multiple occasions this week, Ive found myself humming and singing it
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Ok, so this fucking movie. As I mentioned in the announcement thread, this was the first musical I ever saw live (organized through a school trip when I was 10) and my family subsequently rented the film on VHS. I greatly enjoyed both experiences, even though I had no affinity for musicals beforehand.

 

This movie is important to me because I was raised prrrrrretty damn Catholic, so Catholic that my grandfather (and my great uncle) was a Catholic priest. "How's that?" I hear you saying. "How can someone have grandchildren AND be a priest? That sounds... odd."

 

Well, FUNNY STORY, his wife, my father's mother, died of an aneurysm shortly after giving birth to twins when my dad was six. My grandfather subsequently became a deacon in the Catholic Church and, when all his children turned 18, meaning he was no longer legally bound by any earthly attachments, he was ordained into the priesthood. So the anniversary of my grandfather (who passed away several years ago) becoming a priest was also very close to the anniversary of his wife's death. This is a Category Five Catholic Guilt Tornado we got going here.

 

ANYWAY, I set this up because, obviously, religion and the Church had a profound influence on my Dad's Italian Catholic family. It helped provide a support structure for the emotional shared responsibility his family would have to take on in order to prosper after such a tragedy, one that really defined my family for a couple generations. As a kid, the concepts of Catholicism were really difficult to grasp for me... being a child. I mean, the Holy Trinity? What in the fuck is that? God is both the Father and the Son and then there is the Holy Spirit? Whatever the fuck that is. What do they mean when they say Jesus "died for our sins"? How does that work? How does his brutal execution help me now? Is that why I have to go to fucking catechism classes AND church. This shit is boring.

 

But it was not boring to my dad, nor the rest of his family. They love the Church, and while I believed in God in the way any 10 year old kid might when forced to go to church every week, it was really hard for me to comprehend what it was all about, especially on an emotional or spiritual level. This movie, as silly as it might sound, really helped codify Jesus the Man for me as a kid, what it must have been like for him to have lepers and the poorest of the poor, the most destitute and ill-treated souls, falling over him, begging for leadership and miracles.

 

Other things it helped me understand emotionally....

 

-Why the Israelites responded so negatively to Jesus' message of love, turning the other cheek, etc. They expected a military leader or a Moses-like figure of charisma and grand action for a messiah. They wanted to see to Romans crushed, not forgiven and embraced.

 

-Mary Magdalene's unique relationship to Jesus and how they loved each other intensely, but how there was a definite distance between them. The biblical basis for this relationship is... negligible, but how it's been interpreted over the centuries continues to fascinate me and I think this film captures that simultaneous intimacy and remoteness quite beautifully.

 

-Why Caiaphas, the Pharisees, and the other Sanhedrin were so dead-set against Jesus. He represented an upheaval in Judaism in a nation in which religion and statecraft were inextricably interwoven. If Jesus declared himself, or was declared by others, a king amongst them... it would represent a profound shakeup in the social hierarchy, one the Romans would not take kindly to. This was especially true when the Romans themselves had Caesar, who considered himself partially divine. You can't have these backwater cultists declaring THEMSELVES the One True God, and therefore above Caesar. The Sanhedrin only operates with the approval, and at the whim, of Rome, and were vulnerable to being crushed if Rome became too upset.

 

-The story of Judas and how he could have possibly betrayed Jesus, then felt so guilty about it (or terrified of reprisal) that he hanged himself shortly thereafter.

 

So whatever I believe now or believed then, Catholicism was and is paramount to my family. This movie helped me understand religion better, on a human and emotional level, and thus helped me understand my family's relationship to God. When I see people use Christianity as an excuse to persecute transgender teens in school, to kill Muslims with drones, or to ban Syrian children from refuge in America (AAHHHHH THIS ENRAGES ME SO MUCH), I do occasionally still think of this Singing Jesus and wonder what THAT GUY would think about such utter, unconscionable bullshit. Plus, those songs are pretty great.

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Thanks for being patient with my questions. I'm just like, "who is bible?" So, if they didn't know that JC was a regular person with no powers, why did they think that he could?

 

 

No, it's cool. I don't want to come off like a know-it-all either. My mother has worked in a church since I was eleven, so I was basically forced to participate until I was old enough to leave home. When I got into my teens, and developed into what psychologists describe as "a sarcastic little bitch," I became the scourge of Sunday School teachers. I would ask all these deliberately hard questions that I knew they had no chance of answering. Not out of any real desire to hear their answer, mind you. Just a sadistic need to watch them squirm.

 

I will say, though, it wasn't all bad. I had one teacher, a principal in his day job, who really liked me and the challenge I presented (at least I wasn't just sitting there quiet and dead eyed for an hour), but for the most part, I was universally despised.

 

Anyway, one day I had an epiphany. The reason they couldn't answer a lot of my questions is because they had never really read the Bible. They were just parroting back whatever they happened to pick up during weekly sermons and whatnot. I was affronted by this hypocrisy. How dare they try to teach me something that they have no real knowledge of?!? (Mind you, these were all volunteers and not, like, Biblical Scholars or anything, but, you know...that's what being a shitty teenager is all about.) However, I also recognized that in order to absolve myself of this very same hypocrisy (and realizing that it wasn't really fair for me to be mock these people and make their lives difficult if I didn't really know what I was talking about), I took it upon myself to learn what I could and interpret it for myself. Consequently, I'm pretty good (although, by no means, perfect) at both defending and attacking the thing ;)

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Ok, so this fucking movie. As I mentioned in the announcement thread, this was the first musical I ever saw live (organized through a school trip when I was 10) and my family subsequently rented the film on VHS. I greatly enjoyed both experiences, even though I had no affinity for musicals beforehand. This movie is important to me because I was raised prrrrrretty damn Catholic, so Catholic that my grandfather (and my great uncle) was a Catholic priest. "How's that?" I hear you saying. "How can someone have grandchildren AND be a priest? That sounds... odd." Well, FUNNY STORY, his wife, my father's mother, died of an aneurysm shortly after giving birth to twins when my dad was six. My grandfather subsequently became a deacon in the Catholic Church and, when all his children turned 18, meaning he was no longer legally bound by any earthly attachments, he was ordained into the priesthood. So the anniversary of my grandfather (who passed away several years ago) becoming a priest was also very close to the anniversary of his wife's death. This is a Category Five Catholic Guilt Tornado we got going here. ANYWAY, I set this up because, obviously, religion and the Church had a profound influence on my Dad's Italian Catholic family. It helped provide a support structure for the emotional shared responsibility his family would have to take on in order to prosper after such a tragedy, one that really defined my family for a couple generations. As a kid, the concepts of Catholicism were really difficult to grasp for me... being a child. I mean, the Holy Trinity? What in the fuck is that? God is both the Father and the Son and then there is the Holy Spirit? Whatever the fuck that is. What do they mean when they say Jesus "died for our sins"? How does that work? How does his brutal execution help me now? Is that why I have to go to fucking catechism classes AND church. This shit is boring. But it was not boring to my dad, nor the rest of his family. They love the Church, and while I believed in God in the way any 10 year old kid might when forced to go to church every week, it was really hard for me to comprehend what it was all about, especially on an emotional or spiritual level. This movie, as silly as it might sound, really helped codify Jesus the Man for me as a kid, what it must have been like for him to have lepers and the poorest of the poor, the most destitute and ill-treated souls, falling over him, begging for leadership and miracles. Other things it helped me understand emotionally.... -Why the Israelites responded so negatively to Jesus' message of love, turning the other cheek, etc. They expected a military leader or a Moses-like figure of charisma and grand action for a messiah. They wanted to see to Romans crushed, not forgiven and embraced. -Mary Magdalene's unique relationship to Jesus and how they loved each other intensely, but how there was a definite distance between them. The biblical basis for this relationship is... negligible, but how it's been interpreted over the centuries continues to fascinate me and I think this film captures that simultaneous intimacy and remoteness quite beautifully. -Why Caiaphas, the Pharisees, and the other Sanhedrin were so dead-set against Jesus. He represented an upheaval in Judaism in a nation in which religion and statecraft were inextricably interwoven. If Jesus declared himself, or was declared by others, a king amongst them... it would represent a profound shakeup in the social hierarchy, one the Romans would not take kindly to. This was especially true when the Romans themselves had Caesar, who considered himself partially divine. You can't have these backwater cultists declaring THEMSELVES the One True God, and therefore above Caesar. The Sanhedrin only operates with the approval, and at the whim, of Rome, and were vulnerable to being crushed if Rome became too upset. -The story of Judas and how he could have possibly betrayed Jesus, then felt so guilty about it (or terrified of reprisal) that he hanged himself shortly thereafter. So whatever I believe now or believed then, Catholicism was and is paramount to my family. This movie helped me understand religion better, on a human and emotional level, and thus helped me understand my family's relationship to God. When I see people use Christianity as an excuse to persecute transgender teens in school, to kill Muslims with drones, or to ban Syrian children from refuge in America (AAHHHHH THIS ENRAGES ME SO MUCH), I do occasionally still think of this Singing Jesus and wonder what THAT GUY would think about such utter, unconscionable bullshit. Plus, those songs are pretty great.

 

This is all amazing! Thank you for sharing!

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The setting was actual Israel, which continues to amaze me, especially since most movie productions go to locations in North Africa to substitute for the Holy Land (see Last Temptation of Christ, Kingdom of Heaven, etc). These weird singing hippies went to Israel to do dance numbers about Jesus to the most conflict-prone area of the past three millennia.

 

I guess they just had great security....

Frame03a-Vera05aa.jpg

 

It blew my mind when I realized that Herod was City Slicker's Barry Shalowitz.

 

hqdefault.jpg

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This is all amazing! Thank you for sharing!

 

Thank you!

giphy.gif

And thanks for having the patience to read my profanity-filled babblings! I sure do take the Lord's name in vain quite a bit when talkin' 'bout Jesus.

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And thanks for having the patience to read my profanity-filled babblings! I sure do take the Lord's name in vain quite a bit when talkin' 'bout Jesus.

 

Your post was more entertaining than some parts of the movie itself, lol. And it was educational!

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Okay. Here's the thing: if I can't get into the music, I can't get into the musical.

 

And this movie's music is awful. And Jesus' singing is even worse.

 

I had hoped that the Mr Show sketch (Jeepers Creepers Semistar) was overly exaggerated. It is not. At all. It's just generic 70s bullshit rock that REALLY wants to have that experimental sound but just comes off sounding like it's what's causing the cast members to have what are clearly seizures that the producers are trying to pass off as dancing.

 

There is ONE song that had potential, which was King Herod's song. But for some reason, they decided to let Zero Mostel's son sing-talk through it. And that's to say nothing of his shitty, half-assed dancing.

 

herodgif4.gif

I also couldn't really stand Jesus. I did like how sympathetic they made Judas, because after about five minutes, I was like, "I'd sell this uninteresting, dead-eyed piece of shit out to the Romans, too."

 

And, for real, where did the other two crosses come from?

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Okay. Here's the thing: if I can't get into the music, I can't get into the musical.

 

This is kind of the same for me. For a feature that is presented all with song, a lot of the songs seemed to not really follow an identifiable tune for me. There were some that were a little catchy, but not much that really resonated or stuck with me.

 

That said, a lot of the vocal talent was really good. I rather enjoyed Mary Magdalene's voice.

 

 

Can I say it also seemed odd that the musical made no mention of the resurrection? I mean, I know the story didn't go that far, but it was something I kept expecting that just never happened lol

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And, for real, where did the other two crosses come from?

 

Maybe JC DIY'ed them using his carpentry background.

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Okay. Here's the thing: if I can't get into the music, I can't get into the musical.

Yeah-- if I don't like a majority of the songs I can't get into it either.

 

I had hoped that the Mr Show sketch (Jeepers Creepers Semistar) was overly exaggerated. It is not. At all.

The more I listen to the soundtrack / rewatch clips of the movie, the funnier I find the Jeepers Creepers sketch.. since it's pretty spot on with the parodying the shots/visuals, music & crazy dancing.

 

But even though there was some weird musical choices..I dunno a lot of the songs still worked for me. I did like the weird choices-- the non-typical time signatures in the songs and/ or multiple time signature changes.

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Can I say it also seemed odd that the musical made no mention of the resurrection? I mean, I know the story didn't go that far, but it was something I kept expecting that just never happened lol

It's not totally abnormal for a passion play (which is pretty clearly the inspiration for the musical) to not include the resurrection. Many do, but they just as often depict the suffering of Jesus - the idea being to show what he went through to redeem humanity.

 

 

 

Maybe JC DIY'ed them using his carpentry background.

Or maybe he took one and turned it into three just like the loaves and fishes.

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And again, I really enjoyed Carl Anderson/Judas. I really liked his voice and what he brought to his songs, so I did like all songs he's in. Did also think Mary had a good voice. And liked the super low tone/ sometimes high pitched talk-signing from the Pharisees & priests.

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Sorry to be not so active in my pick, but I'm currently battling the flu so what free time I have has mostly been spent sleeping.

 

So as I said in the pick thread I didn't really grow up religious but I picked up things. here or there. As I kid I was fascinated with the King Herod scene. Mostly because the song is so different than the rest of the movie. It's a jaunty old timey number among these ballads and rock songs. Not to mention aside from the "we're making a movie" opening and closing, him and his scene is also the most anachronistic. I've looked into the history. Apparently it's the only non-original song. It was written in 20 minutes as a reworking of an older song of Andrew Lloyd Webber's. That doesn't really clear things up a whole lot. So then I look at the scene from an analytical point of view. Pilate passes Jesus on to Herod to be judged, so you have this "false king" being judged by an equally "false king." Then you have the issue of Herod tempting Jesus to use his gifts to save himself, another common theme of religious works. The best reason I can think of is make he seem further out of touch or so beyond the pale.

 

It hit me though, I don't even know who King Herod is or what if any significance he had in the bible. Maybe if I understood that part of it it would help me further understand this scene. So I ask any of you with a greater religious understanding to help me see what I may be missing.

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I also quickly want to point out something I find interesting about this movie. You have a multi-ethnic American cast filming a musical written by two British men and directed by a Canadian in Israel.

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Sorry to be not so active in my pick, but I'm currently battling the flu so what free time I have has mostly been spent sleeping.

 

So as I said in the pick thread I didn't really grow up religious but I picked up things. here or there. As I kid I was fascinated with the King Herod scene. Mostly because the song is so different than the rest of the movie. It's a jaunty old timey number among these ballads and rock songs. Not to mention aside from the "we're making a movie" opening and closing, him and his scene is also the most anachronistic. I've looked into the history. Apparently it's the only non-original song. It was written in 20 minutes as a reworking of an older song of Andrew Lloyd Webber's. That doesn't really clear things up a whole lot. So then I look at the scene from an analytical point of view. Pilate passes Jesus on to Herod to be judged, so you have this "false king" being judged by an equally "false king." Then you have the issue of Herod tempting Jesus to use his gifts to save himself, another common theme of religious works. The best reason I can think of is make he seem further out of touch or so beyond the pale.

 

It hit me though, I don't even know who King Herod is or what if any significance he had in the bible. Maybe if I understood that part of it it would help me further understand this scene. So I ask any of you with a greater religious understanding to help me see what I may be missing.

 

Here's a quick explanation of who these people were and what's going on:

 

Judea was occupied by Rome, and like they did in many places, the Roman's allowed the people to pretty much govern themselves--with some restrictions. One of those restrictions was that only a Roman official could condemn a man to death.

 

So when Caiphas and his boys decide that Jesus needs to die, they bring him before Pilate, the Roman governor. After Pilate questions Jesus, he feels like Jesus hasn't done anything wrong and doesn't want to sentence an innocent man to be crucified. However, the people are about to riot if he doesn't do it which obviously wouldn't be too good for him or his career.

 

Anyway, during the trial, it comes out that Jesus is actually from Nazareth, which is ruled by Herod (another Roman). Due to this technicality, and to keep the blood off of his own hands, he sends him to be judged by Herod.

 

As in the Musical, Herod demands Jesus to prove his divinity, and just as in the movie, Jesus refuses. Basically, at this point, Herod recognizes Jesus' innocence, but doesn't really care one way or the other. As far as he's concerned, Jesus is just another fraud. So he sends him back to Pilate.

 

Now Pilate is in a pickle, he can either kill this innocent man or risk open rebellion. In a last ditch attempt to save Jesus' life, he tries to placate the mob by having Jesus flogged. It still doesn't work. So, finally, he "washes his hands" of it and sentences Jesus to death. Pilate wasn't necessarily "bad," although, being Roman, I'm sure he wasn't exactly a friend to the Jews. He just found himself in a real life morality riddle.

 

As for Herod's Song, my take is he's supposed to represent Roman decadence contrasted with Jewish austerity. As far as the occupied Jewish population was concerned at the time, the Romans might as well have been aliens. The song illustrates this culture clash.

 

(Again, I hope I'm not coming off as a know-it-all, and I hope this helps. I just want to clear up some confusion. I'm sure had I not grown up with it, I'd be wondering what the fuck was going on too.)

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Here's a quick explanation of who these people were and what's going on:

 

Judea was occupied by Rome, and like they did in many places, the Roman's allowed the people to pretty much govern themselves--with some restrictions. One of those restrictions was that only a Roman official could condemn a man to death.

 

So when Caiphas and his boys decide that Jesus needs to die, they bring him before Pilate, the Roman governor. After Pilate questions Jesus, he feels like Jesus hasn't done anything wrong and doesn't want to sentence an innocent man to be crucified. However, the people are about to riot if he doesn't do it which obviously wouldn't be too good for him or his career.

 

Anyway, during the trial, it comes out that Jesus is actually from Nazareth, which is ruled by Herod (another Roman). Due to this technicality, and to keep the blood off of his own hands, he sends him to be judged by Herod.

 

As in the Musical, Herod demands Jesus to prove his divinity, and just as in the movie, Jesus refuses. Basically, at this point, Herod recognizes Jesus' innocence, but doesn't really care one way or the other. As far as he's concerned, Jesus is just another fraud. So he sends him back to Pilate.

 

Now Pilate is in a pickle, he can either kill this innocent man or risk open rebellion. In a last ditch attempt to save Jesus' life, he tries to placate the mob by having Jesus flogged. It still doesn't work. So, finally, he "washes his hands" of it and sentences Jesus to death. Pilate wasn't necessarily a "bad," although, being Roman, I'm sure he wasn't exactly a friend to the Jews. He just found himself in a real life morality riddle.

 

As for Herod's Song, my take is he's supposed to represent Roman decadence contrasted with Jewish austerity. As far as the occupied Jewish population was concerned at the time, the Romans might as well have been aliens. The song illustrates this culture clash.

 

(Again, I hope I'm not coming off as a know-it-all, and I hope this helps. I just want to clear up some confusion. I'm sure had I not grown up with it, I'd be wondering what the fuck was going on too.)

tumblr_inline_nt64tnr5nM1rjbkfy_500.gif

 

Thanks for the insight. I guess I didn't fully get the whole thing about who was Jewish and what fell under Judea law. It makes a bit more sense.

 

Now this is where I need CakeBug (hope all went well!) or someone else, maybe Quasar, who's seen staged productions to chime in. I've actually seen the scene played different ways. 80% of the time it was played for laughs with them really either playing him camp/gay or just straight up comedic. I did see one production where they played it as straight as they could and brought the tempo down, which gave it a whole different feel but was seemingly more in line with the rest of the movie.

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So when Caiphas and his boys decide that Jesus needs to die, they bring him before Pilate, the Roman governor. After Pilate questions Jesus, he feels like Jesus hasn't done anything wrong and doesn't want to sentence an innocent man to be crucified. However, the people are about to riot if he doesn't do it which obviously wouldn't be too good for him or his career.

 

Now Pilate is in a pickle, he can either kill this innocent man or risk open rebellion. In a last ditch attempt to save Jesus' life, he tries to placate the mob by having Jesus flogged. It still doesn't work. So, finally, he "washes his hands" of it and sentences Jesus to death. Pilate wasn't necessarily a "bad," although, being Roman, I'm sure he wasn't exactly a friend to the Jews. He just found himself in a real life morality riddle.

 

I didn't understand why the mob/crowd adored JC earlier in the movie and then wanted him dead in these scenes. Are these different groups of people?

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I didn't understand why the mob/crowd adored JC earlier in the movie and then wanted him dead in these scenes. Are these different groups of people?

I assumed they were suppose to be different groups. After all they only had a bus full of extras to work with so crowd scenes would have to reuse people.

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