Today, two interesting things happened.
The Passion of the Christ, to the surprise of no one who follows these things, was not nominated Best Picture of the Year.
And Ted Turner compared the popularity of Fox News Channel to the early popularity of Hitler.
So we see the country’s dividing lines pretty clearly.
On the right we have: Jesus and Hitler.
And on the left we have: Ted Turner and film critics.
Who knew things would fall out that way?
While I am not among those that believe The Passion of the Christ should be considered Best Picture of the Year just because it’s about Jesus, I have to admit a few things. First, it made more money than almost any other movie this year (ok, the third-most, according to CNN). Second, film critics and others among the Academy’s voting elite tend to be liberal, erudite and not religious. So I can’t deny that possibly some bias kept the Passion off the best-picture lists. Finally, I didn’t see the film (see comments below re: The Pianist) because I couldn’t rally myself to watch a two-plus-hour movie in Aramaic about someone getting beaten, tortured and ultimately killed. That is the way the story goes, and I’ve heard it plenty of times, but I didn’t feel like I needed to experience it in the movie theatre when I’ve experienced it in church all these years.
As for Ted Turner’s comments at the National Association of Television Program Executives in Las Vegas today: are we surprised? Ted Turner is always saying such things. What surprises me is that the outrageous comments of a washed-up media mogul continue to make news. But I’m writing about them, so I guess I have to take some responsibility too.
Here’s the thing. Just because a movie is about Jesus doesn’t mean it’s the Best Picture. Just because George Bush calls himself a Christian doesn’t mean we all need to vote for him. Just because Fox News is popular among the country’s redneck Republicans doesn’t mean its Hitleresque in stature. And just because film critics think that Closer is a good movie doesn’t mean that it is.
A little perspective, people.