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Cameron H.

Musical Mondays-Week 6-Jesus Christ Superstar

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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?

 

It's mostly the same crowd. This all goes into Old Testament prophecy. Basically, they are waiting for the Messiah to come and establish his kingdom. In their minds, this means overthrowing Rome. When it becomes clear that the "kingdom" Jesus is offering is some artsy-fartsy, intangible kingdom, they get pissed.

 

When he goes into Jerusalem ("Hosanna"), this is supposed to be the triumphant return of their king. It's supposed to be the first step of their revolution. Instead, it goes down much different.

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Btw, feel better soon, Cam Bert!

Thank you. I'm over the hump of it now fortunately. It was my time. So far this month we had eight of twenty teachers out with it so it was only time it came to me. I may watch Hello Dolly with my last day off tomorrow. That or the movie Fister was talking about on Letterboxd.

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Not to mention aside from the "we're making a movie" opening and closing, him and his scene is also the most anachronistic.

Well, aside from when Judas just kind of casually jaunts away from some random tanks.

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Well, aside from when Judas just kind of casually jaunts away from some random tanks.

Yes, I was thinking in terms of clothing but you're right tanks and fighter jets are far more anachronistic.

Then there is also all the postcards, mirrors, fur coats and money of the market scene. I guess Herod's palace can be third.

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Thank you. I'm over the hump of it now fortunately. It was my time. So far this month we had eight of twenty teachers out with it so it was only time it came to me. I may watch Hello Dolly with my last day off tomorrow. That or the movie Fister was talking about on Letterboxd.

 

Why not both?

 

A general comment about the music in JCS. Although JCS is billed as a rock opera, I didn't think it was "rock" like Tommy. Tommy had in-your-face guitar riffs, while JCS had ragtime dance breaks. I really felt like JCS was closer to Cats (again, not a bad thing). The standard orchestration for Tommy is drums, bass, guitar 1 & 2, horn, and keyboard. That's it. On the other hand, JCS's is more like a regular pit orchestra than a rock band.

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Yes, I was thinking in terms of clothing but you're right tanks and fighter jets are far more anachronistic.

Then there is also all the postcards, mirrors, fur coats and money of the market scene. I guess Herod's palace can be third.

 

Can 4th be mandarin fruits? LOL. The mandarin citrus fruit didn't exist in JC's time.

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Can 4th be mandarin fruits? LOL. The mandarin citrus fruit didn't exist in JC's time.

You've really gone all in on the mandarin stuff!

 

mandarin_fail.gif

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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.)

 

Thanks for this explanation... Im not really religious, but in a similar boat as a couple others have mentioned. With being dragged to church when I was younger. My mom was religious but my Dad wasn't (still isnt). So we'd go through spurts of going every Sunday to church …to not going for awhile. And after my mom passed away (when I was in high school) I stopped going all together... Since I never really bought into it, even when I was a kid. And was baptised (late) and went to church mainly for her sake.

 

But anyway.. I am familiar with the story but the Romans/Jews part in it was hazy and I dont think I ever fully understood their parts in it. Makes more sense now

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A general comment about the music in JCS. Although JCS is billed as a rock opera, I didn't think it was "rock" like Tommy. Tommy had in-your-face guitar riffs, while JCS had ragtime dance breaks. I really felt like JCS was closer to Cats (again, not a bad thing). The standard orchestration for Tommy is drums, bass, guitar 1 & 2, horn, and keyboard. That's it. On the other hand, JCS's is more like a regular pit orchestra than a rock band.

 

Tommy is the only one that you guys have done for MM that I have not watched yet... But you all do reference it a lot so I feel like I should...but then when you do reference it I think maybe I shouldn't.. haha

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Tommy is the only one that you guys have done for MM that I have not watched yet... But you all do reference it a lot so I feel like I should...but then when you do reference it I think maybe I shouldn't.. haha

 

You should watch it!

 

giphy.gif

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Tommy is the only one that you guys have done for MM that I have not watched yet... But you all do reference it a lot so I feel like I should...but then when you do reference it I think maybe I shouldn't.. haha

 

I kind of think you need to watch it, just know that you're probably not going to like it. It is something else, that's for sure. Just don't buy it or anything. Watch it for as cheap as you can :)

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I kind of think you need to watch it, just know that you're probably not going to like it. It is something else, that's for sure. Just don't buy it or anything. Watch it for as cheap as you can :)/>/>

 

I think I will... I have been warned, but I am curious.

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I spent all day today driving back from Near the Finger Lakes, so I'm completely fried, but I just wanted to check in to say that it went pretty well. I won't know whether I got the gig for another couple of weeks, but my Master Class was well attended and enthusiastically received, and I think I handled the interview portion pretty well. Oswego seems like a nice community and the school has some good things happening. Thanks all for your support!

 

Of course, the other side of being away the last few days is I feel like I've missed the boat on JCS. So many great points, guys! I'll try to chip in where I can but you've all covered so much great stuff...

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I spent all day today driving back from Near the Finger Lakes, so I'm completely fried, but I just wanted to check in to say that it went pretty well. I won't know whether I got the gig for another couple of weeks, but my Master Class was well attended and enthusiastically received, and I think I handled the interview portion pretty well. Oswego seems like a nice community and the school has some good things happening. Thanks all for your support!

 

Of course, the other side of being away the last few days is I feel like I've missed the boat on JCS. So many great points, guys! I'll try to chip in where I can but you've all covered so much great stuff...

 

Glad to hear it went well! Get rested and give us your JCS magic.

 

Also, just to make your day, I bought the Across the Universe soundtrack yesterday.

 

Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?

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Glad to hear it went well! Get rested and give us your JCS magic.

 

Also, just to make your day, I bought the Across the Universe soundtrack yesterday.

 

Did I just BLOW YOUR MIND?

 

I came SO CLOSE to gifting you the AtU soundtrack through iTunes but I thought it would mostly look like a dick move so I didn't. So glad you caved and realise that at least something in that shiny turd is worth keeping! ;)

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I came SO CLOSE to gifting you the AtU soundtrack through iTunes but I thought it would mostly look like a dick move so I didn't. So glad you caved and realise that at least something in that shiny turd is worth keeping! ;)

 

Nah, I would have laughed about it...and saved six bucks.

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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.

 

I would've been amused if they had thrown in the release of Barabbas, but I assume that'd be a bit complicated to set up.

For some reason I always felt kind of bad for Pilate. Also recalling that his wife had a dream and warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus. But he had to play his part to keep the peace. I really liked how he was portrayed in this.

 

Tommy is the only one that you guys have done for MM that I have not watched yet... But you all do reference it a lot so I feel like I should...but then when you do reference it I think maybe I shouldn't.. haha

 

I saw Tommy as a stage play back in junior high and I don't remember anything besides the line "That deaf, dumb and blind kid, sure plays a mean pinball". Can't decide if I really want to revisit it sometime lol

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For some reason I always felt kind of bad for Pilate.

 

Oh, me too! He was Roman for Pete's sake! He had no personal or religious stake in the matter. I don't think he deserves the kind of vilification that history has thrust on him.

 

I've also always felt kind of bad for the Apostle Thomas. He steps out for a smoke or whatever, gets back and everyone's like, "Oh, man! You just missed Jesus! He resurrected, came in for a round of high-fives, and took off again. Tough luck, bro." And just because he's like, "Uh-huh. Whatever, guys. My best friend just died. I'm in no mood for jokes" he gets eternally branded with the epithet "Doubting." I understand the lesson is about having blind faith, but does he really deserve to have the entirety of his being tarnished for showing a sliver of objectivity?

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I've also always felt kind of bad for the Apostle Thomas. He steps out for a smoke or whatever, gets back and everyone's like, "Oh, man! You just missed Jesus! He resurrected, came in for a round of high-fives, and took off again. Tough luck, bro." And just because he's like, "Uh-huh. Whatever, guys. My best friend just died. I'm in no mood for jokes" he gets eternally branded with the epithet "Doubting." I understand the lesson is about having blind faith, but does he really deserve to have the entirety of his being tarnished for showing a sliver of objectivity?

 

Pff yeah, poor Thomas.

 

I think that leads in to one of my other criticisms for JCS is that we have no real introduction to the Disciples. Like a lot of it is left to the assumption that you already know the story and people involved. It feels like Peter is introduced pretty late too as someone important for us to care about. I mean, I'm guessing since the crew was small, if they really designated 12 people to only be the Disciples, it might make the crowd scenes more awkward when they reuse their cast. I could understand that, but I still felt a little disappointed lol

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Pff yeah, poor Thomas.

 

I think that leads in to one of my other criticisms for JCS is that we have no real introduction to the Disciples. Like a lot of it is left to the assumption that you already know the story and people involved. It feels like Peter is introduced pretty late too as someone important for us to care about. I mean, I'm guessing since the crew was small, if they really designated 12 people to only be the Disciples, it might make the crowd scenes more awkward when they reuse their cast. I could understand that, but I still felt a little disappointed lol

 

Yeah, that's one of those "sticking too close to Scriptures" things that I think actually hurts the movie. At it's core, I think this the movie is really about Judas' relationship to Jesus. That's the most interesting thing going on. It's why the movie suffers whenever Judy isn't around. Everything else is kind of boring. But you could just tell that the filmmakers felt certain scenes "needed" to be there ("Oh, well we have to include Peter's denial of Christ! The kids will be waiting for it!).

 

Here's what I would have done. I would have just told the whole movie from Judas' perspective and I would have had it end with his suicide. You could do a little bit of wrapping up if you wanted. You could still have the big "Superstar" fever dream/musical number. But basically, it ends there. Not only do I feel like this would have been a more interesting approach, but then you could have had this really neat sunset shot of Judas hanging in the foreground with Christs' cross on the hill in the background--sort of highlighting the parallels between the two.

 

That actually leads me to another question...

 

Should this movie even be called Jesus Christ Superstar? I guess the title is more or less to convey the similarities between how people responded to Jesus at the time and how people have responded to rock musicians or whatever, but honestly, in the film, there's nothing terribly "Superstar" about Jesus. He's kind of boring. He's short and unimpressive. He doesn't perform miracles. His voice feels kind of cliche, kind of like an old school Music Theater guy.*

 

What would have been a better title for this?

 

 

 

 

*I kept thinking of the Music Theater Guy in South Park from the episode where they did a musical version of

.
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I'm sure everyone saw this:

 

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But you know what? They could've used more mandarins (ok, oranges).

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