Monday, March 8, 2004

Empty Hands, Empty Mouths

Memo to the Overly Passion-ate: YOU ARE DUMB.
Enough with the Jesus already. We get it. Enough with the controversy and the arguing. Enough with the going to see it over and over. We know. Everybody loves the Jesus. Hooray for the Jesus. $51-million dollar weekend for the Jesus. $212 million total for the Jesus. Good thing all that money isn't stacked up on tables, or he'd have spent so much time tipping 'em over that he'd be forever known as The Guy That Got Three Hernias Tipping Over Money Tables.
It's like Titanic. You know how it ends, but you keep going back. Except this time, you don't get to see Kate Winslet's boobs. It's like Lord of the Rings, except, you know. You all think it's a documentary.
I realize, by the way, that I am now the last fucking commentator on the planet to weigh in on this thing. I wanted to ignore it. Oh, how I wanted to ignore it. But you wouldn't let me, would you? You had to keep writing Op-Ed pieces and letters to the editor and talking about it in the restaurants and the cafeterias and the break rooms. It's Anti-Semitic. No, it's Jewtastic. It's too violent. It's not violent enough. It is as it was. It is as it wasn't. Have you gone yet? Are you going to go? Why aren't you going? How many times are you going? Are you bringing your kids? Are you bringing them the second time you go? The eighth?
Oh, sanity, why hast thou forsaken me?
Personally, I found "The Passion" to be a huge disappointment on two counts. First, because they pussied out and put subtitles in. Back in the day, the buzz was that it was gonna be all in Aramaic and Latin, but there wouldn't be any subtitles. And that woulda been funny, because, let's face it, the target audience for this film is not "students of dead and mostly-dead languages". All the post-movie pontificating would be infinitely more entertaining if everyone talking about the movie had to pretend they could get the gist of the dialogue. Just imagine it. You know you can.
And on the second count, I'm highly disappointed because on the first day it was released, it killed a woman. A 50-year-old woman's heart gave out mid-flick. Oh, they said it didn't have anything to do with the movie, but, and this may seem wrong to some of you, I was so hoping it'd be a trend.
I know, I know. How awful. Every death diminishes us all, yada yada. But seriously, if, say, one person out of every three showings dropped dead, at least all the Passion hype would have some meaning. It's like fugu. Nobody would give a shit about eating blowfish meat if it wasn't for the whole "improper preparation and you could DIE" thing. They'd just grind up all the blowfish, throw them in with everything else they use to make fish sticks, and we'd all go about our business.
Yet somehow, despite the lack of that potential-fatality sales draw, The Passion keeps rackin' 'em in. And luckily, since the entertainment industry hates success, there's no chance of The Passion inspring dozens or even hundreds of Jesus-related spinoffs to try to get a piece of the big Messiah pie. Yep. The entertainment industry will show restraint and... who are we kidding. It's "Millionaire" all over again. Remember when they thought we all loved game shows because we all decided to watch Millionaire? Well, now they think we all love Jesus. GREAT JOB, PEOPLE.
But hey, let's look on the bright side. Let's say they look at The Passion, and decide they'll only greenlight Jesus projects with a creative pedigree equal to or higher than Mel Gibson's. So with the bar firmly set at "radical member of a fringe sect and son of a notable Holocaust denier", you won't get to do your Jesus project if you're... um... a chronic public masturbator with a $5,000 a day coke habit. Which, admittedly, does eliminate a not insignificant fraction of the entertainment industry, but not enough to keep "nails through the palms" from being the new "dark shirt dark suit bright tie".
You laugh now. Oh, how you laugh. But a year from now, when Chuck Woolery is nailed to a big cross, and that cross is nailed to an even bigger wheel, and some Midwestern housewife is spinning the beloinclothed Woolery in the hopes of an all-expenses-paid trip to the Wailing Wall, you'll look down at your yellowed, faded ticket stub and realize that YOU WERE DUMB.