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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays-Week 6-Jesus Christ Superstar

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Tanks, tank tops, and tighty-whities. It's got everything its sequel Guatama Buddha Respected Journeyman lacked. We watched:

 

JC2.png

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Jeez Cam, I know you have a child, but do you ever sleep? I worry about you!

 

Me on the other hand, I have no excuse.

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Jeez Cam, I know you have a child, but do you ever sleep? I worry about you!

 

Me on the other hand, I have no excuse.

 

Awww! I appreciate it. No, no. I'm good.

 

 

http%3A%2F%2Fmashable.com%2Fwp-content%2Fgallery%2F25-exhuastion-gifs-for-when-you-cant%2Ftired-cat.gif

 

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Please tell me I'm not the only one to sing "Batman!" during the intro to "Damned for All Time."

 

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First before we really get into it all, I want to thank those of you who took a chance on this movie whether you liked it or not. I know rock operas have a bit of a bad reputation after Tommy so I appreciate you giving them a second chance with this. I know this movie isn't perfect and neither is the musical, but as I said this is my mom's favourite and as a result I have an emotional attachment to it that maybe helps overlook some of those flaws. However, I don't want that to hold anybody back. We all come here because we love to talk about movies. The good, the bad and the weird, we welcome it all. So if you hated this, looking at you Fister, please don't hold back let us know. If you loved it, please tell us too. If you just want to talk about how some of the characters are in "era" specific clothing and others like the soldiers are in more modern garb and there is no real rhyme or reason too it, please let us know.

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Please tell me I'm not the only one to sing "Batman!" during the intro to "Damned for All Time."

 

Of course not. They are very similar:

 

rVDOvVu.png

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I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. I had seen parts of it before--from my parents watching it anytime they came across it on tv. I remember my thoughts were usually "what is going on?" "what are they wearing?" "why are they watching this?"... And I would usually leave the room and go do something else.

 

This was the first time I watched from start to finish, and I enjoyed it. I like a lot of the songs and have been listening to the soundtrack at work/ while driving. I did lose a little steam near the end of the movie though...but overall I enjoyed it a lot.

 

I was a little surprised/impressed it was basically 100% singing and no spoken dialogue.. but then I am not sure if maybe that's why I lost steam near the end. I was trying to think if I had seen many other musicals that were all songs and no spoken dialogue.. I think Phantom of the Opera was the only one I have seen and thought was close, but has some minor lines here and there?? (It's been awhile since I've watched). But I remember losing some interest near the end of that one too.

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Why did they bring the cross with them on the bus? And why did they only bring one?

Was the whole play/ musical they put on in the middle of the desert an elaborate plan to ditch the guy playing Jesus?

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Why did they bring the cross with them on the bus? And why did they only bring one?

 

I know you're joking, but I kind of like how the "meta"-ness folded into the narrative. A simple answer to the question though is that he is destined to die on that cross. There's no escaping it. It's the same reason Judas has that song before his suicide. He realizes that he's been used, not just by the Pharisees, but by God himself. He was born to betray Jesus; Jesus was born to die on that cross. He takes it with him wherever he goes.

 

I'm not sure if anyone else caught it, but when "actor" Jesus sees them pull down the cross from the bus, he gives it such a look--like an animal sizing up its rival. The movie was full of little moments like that that absolutely nailed a moment or an emotion.

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I know you're joking, but I kind of like how the "meta"-ness folded into the narrative. A simple answer to the question though is that he is destined to die on that cross. There's no escaping it. It's the same reason Judas has that song before his suicide. He realizes that he's been used, not just by the Pharisees, but by God himself. He was born to betray Jesus; Jesus was born to die on that cross. He takes it with him wherever he goes.

 

I'm not sure if anyone else caught it, but when "actor" Jesus sees them pull down the cross from the bus, he gives it such a look--like an animal sizing up its rival. The movie was full of little moments like that that absolutely nailed a moment or an emotion.

giphy.gif

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I know you're joking, but I kind of like how the "meta"-ness folded into the narrative. A simple answer to the question though is that he is destined to die on that cross. There's no escaping it. It's the same reason Judas has that song before his suicide. He realizes that he's been used, not just by the Pharisees, but by God himself. He was born to betray Jesus; Jesus was born to die on that cross. He takes it with him wherever he goes

I was expecting this to be more along the lines of the "traditional" story. But felt like this was told more through Judas' perspective. And that Judas wasn't exactly the villan/betrayer but more of the anti-hero..

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First before we really get into it all, I want to thank those of you who took a chance on this movie whether you liked it or not. I know rock operas have a bit of a bad reputation after Tommy so I appreciate you giving them a second chance with this.

 

Since you mentioned Tommy...here's an excerpt from Stephen Holden's review of Cats, of all things.

 

Appearing as a record album in 1969, then revamped into a "rock opera" for the stage and the movies, "Jesus Christ Superstar" struck many as a sensational fluke. A "rock opera" whose music wasn't really rock, a show whose songs ventured outside the stylistic conventions of Broadway, "Jesus Christ Superstar" fitted no categories. And because it didn't, it was viewed with curiosity and some contempt by the rock and Broadway establishments alike. A real "rock opera" was the Who's "Tommy." A real musical comedy was "Gypsy."

 

Another interesting article from 1970. "Webber and Rice just can't cut it," yet here we are, almost 50 years later, still discussing it.

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Overall, I really enjoyed JCS. I think my biggest quibble is that whenever it adhered to closely to scripture it got a bit boring, and unfortunately, that would be anytime the movie focused on the titular "Superstar." I enjoyed it when they got into interpretation and philosophizing. They basically created their own Judas and Mary Magdalene and they are arguably the best parts, and in a lot of respects, it's their perspectives that drive the movie forward. When ever Jesus stops to sing, they never give him much to say, or a point of view, that isn't already in the Gospels. They just try to cram as many words into a line as they possibly can to make sure they're covering their bases. So anytime he would open his mouth to sing over either Judas and Mary, all I could think was:

 

giphy.gif

 

I just really enjoyed Judas. He was sympathetic and it was nice to see him played, not as a villain, but as someone who shares the same ideologies as Jesus, but simply has a different focus. Both of he and Jesus are concerned less for the future and more for the moment, so it's interesting to see how those similar points of view diverge.

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As someone who doesn't know the bible at all, my first viewing was confusing. I mean, I know the basics like Jesus and the crucifixion, but I didn't have prior knowledge about some of the other major characters or events. They kept introducing villains (?) to the story and it was hard to keep up. I even dozed off at one point. However, some of the music was interesting and I didn't hate this movie, so the next day, I listened to the soundtrack and read the synopsis. For my second viewing, I also followed along with the sheet music and that helped a lot. I ended up giving this 2.5 stars for mostly the music. As mentioned previously, I thought the odd meters were interesting and some of the melodies are very catchy (get out of my head, Everything's Alright!).

 

Something that I need help with though - why do they arrive and leave by bus? What does that mean? Is that how the stage version does it?

 

Also, what's the sign that they nail to the cross, above Jesus' head? And who are the other people on the other 2 crosses?

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Speaking of small moments that are amazing, here's a potpourri of some of my favorites.

 

Chekov's Flogger (Or What The Passion of the Christ got wrong)

 

I loved how the movie sets up the Roman flogger in the Overture. What's brilliant about it is how your mind subconsciously goes back to that scene when Jesus is being whipped at the end of the movie. You've already seen the the torturer's effectiveness with a whip, so without getting too graphic, the movie can convey that same brutality being played out on Superstar. To add to this, I appreciated that instead of cutting to JC's mangled body, they cut to the flogger's exhausted face. Talk about effective.

 

Showing Many With Few

 

There's a line in I think "Simon Zealotes" where sings of the "50,000" person throng following Jesus. Now, its abundantly clear this was filmed on a shoestring budget, so there's no way they can portray that kind of multitude. So what they did, which I found profoundly more interesting than showing a horde of extras, is they considered what "50,000" would actually mean at the time (I.e. A threat to the Romans). So right when the 50,000 line is sung, in the background, they have a platoon of tank topped clad centurions march over to the apostles to check out what's going on. Very cool.

 

Judas, or He of the Superhuman Hearing

 

In "Poor Jerusalem," Judas is waaaaay in the background and obviously fed up with all these fawning fools. He begins to walk away as Jesus begins to decry that no one is seeing the bigger picture--he includes Judas specifically. And right as Jesus sings Judas' name, Judas stops in his tracks. I realize that it was probably a pretty easy trick to choreograph, but it was really effective to me.

 

Revelations

 

One of the things I remember about seeing this when I was younger was the ridiculousness of Caiphas and Annas' vocal pitch--crazy deep in the former and uncomfortably high in the latter. I remember making fun of their voices at the time, but now I realize now that this is to illustrate their extremism and how their rigid devotion to the law has caused them to be discordant. Also, very cool.

 

Anyway, those are just some of my initial thoughts. I'm sure I have more.

 

Also, I apologize for any weird typos. I typed all this shit on my phone. I'll try to clean it up later if I can :)

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Also, what's the sign that they nail to the cross, above Jesus' head? And who are the other people on the other 2 crosses?

 

Traditionally, the sign says "INRI" (Latin: Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum) which means "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." Basically, it--and the crown of thorns-- were meant to mock him, and I would suspect, strike some fear in his followers (i.e. We killed your "king.")

 

The other two people were, I believe, a murderer and a thief. In the Bible, the thief asks for Jesus to use his God powers to save all three of them, but the murderer repents his sins and asks Jesus for forgiveness. To the murderer, Jesus says, "Hey man, tonight you'll be chilling with me in Heaven" while we're to assume the thief went to Hell. Basically, this is to say it's never too late to repent. It also says, "You might only be a thief, but if you don't have Faith, then you're pretty much screwed."

 

Oh, and I THINK using the bus as a framing device is a way of showing how Jesus' story still resonates in the present, but I'm open to other interpretations. I doubt they use it on stage. I'm sure CakeBug knows, but of course he's currently nailing his job interview :)

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Overall, I really enjoyed JCS. I think my biggest quibble is that whenever it adhered to closely to scripture it got a bit boring, and unfortunately, that would be anytime the movie focused on the titular "Superstar." I enjoyed it when they got into interpretation and philosophizing. They basically created their own Judas and Mary Magdalene and they are arguably the best parts, and in a lot of respects, it's their perspectives that drive the movie forward. When ever Jesus stops to sing, they never give him much to say, or a point of view, that isn't already in the Gospels. They just try to cram as many words into a line as they possibly can to make sure they're covering their bases. So anytime he would open his mouth to sing over either Judas and Mary, all I could think was:

 

giphy.gif

 

I just really enjoyed Judas. He was sympathetic and it was nice to see him played, not as a villain, but as someone who shares the same ideologies as Jesus, but simply has a different focus. Both of he and Jesus are concerned less for the future and more for the moment, so it's interesting to see how those similar points of view diverge.

 

Same... I felt like Jesus was kind of whiny. And felt like I def wanted more Judas and less Jesus in this.

 

But In the very beginning I intially wondered if it was problematic that they had Judas played by Carl Anderson-- a black guy. Since I was expecting it to be like the traditional story, I was thinking: "so the role of jesus is given to a guy that looks exactly like the "accepted" appearance of Jesus. White guy, long blonde hair.. But Judas the "villan" is black??".. So initially I kind of thought it was messed up. And I was afraid this was going to be another example of an older movie being blatantly racist.

 

But as I watched more and saw that this Judas wasn't really the villan. I found him to be more sympathetic and understood why he was critical of Jesus.. Cause he was whiny and did come across like he was buying into his "superstar" status and did need to tone it down..

 

Plus I felt like no other actor/singer, regardless of race, would have nailed the Judas part like Anderson did. So ultimately I put my initial thought away--that it was maybe subtly (or overtly) racist.

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Same... I felt like Jesus was kind of whiny. And felt like I def wanted more Judas and less Jesus in this.

 

But In the very beginning I intially wondered if it was problematic that they had Judas played by Carl Anderson-- a black guy. Since I was expecting it to be like the traditional story, I was thinking: "so the role of jesus is given to a guy that looks exactly like the "accepted" appearance of Jesus. White guy, long blonde hair.. But Judas the "villan" is black??".. So initially I kind of thought it was messed up. And I was afraid this was going to be another example of an older movie being blatantly racist.

 

But as I watched more and saw that this Judas wasn't really the villan. I found hin to be more sympathetic and understood why he was critical of Jesus.. Cause he was whiny and did come across like he was buying into his "superstar" staus and did need to tone it down..

 

Plus I felt like no other actor/singer, regardless of race, would have nailed the Judas part like Anderson did. So ultimately I put my initial thought away--that it was maybe subtly (or overtly) racist.

 

I'm leaning toward (hopefully) not racist. For one, they establish in "Heaven in Their Minds" that he was Jesus' "right hand man." I got the feeling that before the "myth overshadowed the man," the two of them were co-leaders.

 

Judas is the tragic hero. His whole deal is, "Hey, instead of wasting money on foot rubs, maybe we should be donating that money to the poor." And I get both sides of that argument. It's also important to note that Judas descends at the end--clothed completely in white! Obviously, in this version, Judas finds his peace and redemption.

 

Overall, I think we're supposed to take away that Judas is a good man just rebelling against the role in which he's been cast.

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Oh, and I THINK using the bus as a framing device is a way of showing how Jesus' story still resonates in the present, but I'm open to other interpretations.

 

I took it that way too.. Plus with them doing this play/musical in the middle of the desert for no audience also is a way of showing this... That people "now" did not witness Jesus / this story but it is still important & needs to be told?

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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).

 

My favorite scene tbh is when Jesus comes across the market in the temple and starts flipping tables, because it has been 100% my mental image of that story and idk, this loving, patient man losing his cool really speaks loudly of the situation.

 

Overall I'm glad I watched it, and I really meant to pull out my Bible and go over some of the parts covered to do better comparisons, but I haven't taken the time yet.

 

I'll get more into some other points and criticisms later.

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Same... I felt like Jesus was kind of whiny. And felt like I def wanted more Judas and less Jesus in this.

 

But In the very beginning I intially wondered if it was problematic that they had Judas played by Carl Anderson-- a black guy. Since I was expecting it to be like the traditional story, I was thinking: "so the role of jesus is given to a guy that looks exactly like the "accepted" appearance of Jesus. White guy, long blonde hair.. But Judas the "villan" is black??".. So initially I kind of thought it was messed up. And I was afraid this was going to be another example of an older movie being blatantly racist.

 

But as I watched more and saw that this Judas wasn't really the villan. I found him to be more sympathetic and understood why he was critical of Jesus.. Cause he was whiny and did come across like he was buying into his "superstar" status and did need to tone it down..

 

Plus I felt like no other actor/singer, regardless of race, would have nailed the Judas part like Anderson did. So ultimately I put my initial thought away--that it was maybe subtly (or overtly) racist.

 

+1 Jesus was a whiny brat. He says "you'll be sorry when I'm gone" and I couldn't hep but LOL because it's what a kid says when he threatens to run away from home. And this:

bkotLBK.png?1

 

appears in a serious song for JC, but I couldn't help LOLing again when I saw it, because it reminded me of a kid throwing a tantrum in the middle of a grocery store aisle.

 

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.

 

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:

 

Hey woman, your fine ointment, brand-new and expensive, should have been saved for the poor. Why has it been wasted? We could've raised maybe 300 silver pieces or more. People who are hungry, people who are starving, they matter more than your feet and hair.

 

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.

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