Jeff and I had a discussion about The Passion shortly after I did my first post on it. I wish I could have recorded it and then put it up here, but whatever. We were discussing a lot of what you touched on, Brandon. We discussed the reasoning behind Mel's decision to make the movie and what he wanted the audience to take away from it. I also want to admit quickly that when I saw the film, I DID NOT think to myself, "My god, Mel hates Jewish people." I think the Anti-Semitism in the film is definitely blown out of proportion. The reason why I called him an anti-Semite earlier is mainly due to his drunken rants. But I truly believe that Mel made the movie because he wants the story to be shown on film/to be told. I believe that he truly believes in Jesus and that he died and came back to life to wipe away the sins of every man, woman, and child. So I definitely agree with John in that regard - Gibson clearly cares about this project. It's important to him...I give him that.
Jeff focused on the movie kind of acting as religious propaganda (Jeff, if I'm butchering your assessment, I apologize...this conversation seems like a long time ago now). For those who saw it and weren't Christian, there is a potential for them to feel guilty since Jesus went through this for them, too (and Patti, yes) - past, present, future people. Because he went through hell for them, they'll feel as if they need to owe him their devotion. Something to that effect. Again, Jeff, I apologize. I do agree that it can have that effect, but I really feel like Mel just wanted to preach to the choir. He wanted other passionate Catholics and Protestants to come and witness a big event that they all missed out on. But yeah, I'm not fully sure what the motivation was...like with each blow, that you talked about Brandon.
I agree that it's stupid for critics to just condemn the violence in the film and not attempt to talk about anything else about it. That's not really fair, and I wish I could remember more about it than the torture scenes...but in fairness (my definition of fairness) the violence is 95% of the movie. I'm sure that it is technically sound, but most of the time I can't get on board if the story doesn't interest me. You kinda need to know Jesus to watch this one because there really is no exposition in the film. It sounds funny to suggest that Jesus needs exposition, but whatever.
Agreed - the religious folks should have found it more objectionable. That's definitely something that disturbs me about Christians. But they're definitely not all like that. After Bin Laden was killed, my religious Uncle condemned the celebration of murder on Facebook. He probably liked this movie, though. Gah.
And I do understand your reasoning for putting it on your notable films list - I can support your decision, but I still remain true to the idea that I want nothing to do with it.
You are forgiven for the Graduate comparison. If Zach Braff was feeling ambitious at all while writing or shooting that movie, then I would gladly rip on it. I liked it for what it was, though - seemed simple and honest to me at the time. I'm sure if I watched it now I would feel indifferent - I'm not as impressionable and guys like Braff don't impress me anymore. I'm not concerned with emo shit and such. I feel that The Graduate accomplishes everything that it wants to say very well. I really love the last shot. Maybe you don't, but again, I'd like to find all of that out someday.
Nice to hear that you feel that The Sixth Sense is overrated. I believe that Jeff is on-board for that as well. Maybe it is premature to write the guy off now, but yeah, I think I want to go on record and say that he never had much in the first place. I like some of his movies, but people seem to rave about his "best" stuff a ton. You'd think that Bruce Willis being dead the whole time was the biggest twist ending in the history of film.