Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter at the Movies

"... if it’s not the Jesus movie you’d have made, then go make your own."
~ Mark Steyn

I honored an annual Good Friday tradition in my house last night by watching 1959's award winning film, "Ben-Hur," starring the inimitable Charlton Heston. Some movies just don't wear thin, and this is one of them. I'd like to see a modern computer-generated chariot race try to hold a candle to the thrilling live action sequence in this classic film. At the risk of sounding geriatric, I'll go ahead and say it--they don't make movies like this anymore. If you're in the market for a movie to watch tonight, "Ben-Hur" is my first recommendation.

Another favorite is 1953's "The Robe" with Richard Burton and Jean Simmons. Honestly, I can sit through that film just to enjoy two pivotal scenes: Victor "Demetrius" Mature's ferocious "a curse on your Empire!" speech, and the wild-eyed Emperor Caligula (scene-stealing Jay Robinson) ranting "They're going to meet their God!" Burton's tortured Marcellus, one of the Roman soldiers who crucified Christ ("Were you out there?"), provides great theater throughout.

More recently, The Passion of The Christ dominated the movie-goer's Easter season. Soon after its release, Mark Steyn wrote a hilariously wry and pithy review that I've linked here. I watch "The Passion of The Christ" at some point during Lent, so I watched it for a third time a couple of weeks ago. As is usually the case when Mark tackles a topic, I can't find much to disagree with in his entertaining analysis.