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April 22, 2009

Newsbites: The biblical and religious edition!

1. Marlon Wayans has been hired to produce and star in the film version of The Year of Living Biblically. This is worrying, for two reasons: First, his surprisingly decent performance in Requiem for a Dream (2000) aside, Wayans is best known for really dumb comedy, whether as a supporting character in movies like Dungeons & Dragons (2000) or as a collaborator with his brothers on lowbrow fare like White Chicks (2004) and the first two Scary Movies (2000-2001). Second, Sammy Davis Jr. aside, black Americans tend to be Christian, not Jewish, and the story of a Christian who tries to follow all of the Bible's rules is bound to be somewhat different from the story of a Jew who attempts the same. I haven't read A.J. Jacobs' book yet, so I can't say quite how it would be different -- but, for example, I have read that Jacobs did not approach the New Testament the same way he approached the Old because, as a Jew, he could not obey the command to follow Jesus. At any rate, it is certainly possible that the film version could clear these hurdles, but for now, I'm not counting on it. -- Hollywood Reporter

2. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has called for a ban of Angels & Demons, the upcoming sequel to The Da Vinci Code (2006). Meanwhile, director Ron Howard has written an editorial for the Huffington Post in which he says the new film's negative assertions about Catholic history cannot be "lies" because they are "fiction". (But they can still be negative, right?) And now word has come that author Dan Brown has finally finished the third book in the series, and the studio that produced the first two movies is already planning to make the third; the new book is called The Lost Symbol and it comes out in September. -- Hollywood Reporter (x2), Huffington Post, Variety

3. Last week was not a particularly good week for Mel Gibson. By now, everyone has heard about the divorce suit filed by Robyn, his wife of 28 years, and Mel's revelation that he and Robyn have been separated since August 2006 -- four weeks after he was busted for drunk driving, three weeks before their daughter got married and a few months before the release of Apocalypto. Less publicized, however, was the latest development in the ongoing lawsuit launched by Benedict Fitzgerald, Gibson's co-writer on The Passion of the Christ (2004) and a producer of the upcoming Mary, Mother of Christ (which is not related to Gibson in any way, shape or form). Fitzgerald has "amended his lawsuit" and is "now demanding to see the accounting records" for The Passion; Fitzgerald claims Gibson lied to him about the cost of that film, in order to reduce Fitzgerald's writing fee, and he claims Gibson is still lying about what that film cost to make. -- Studio Briefing

4. Kings, the TV series that modernizes the story of Saul and David, has been bumped to the summer. The show began in mid-March, with four episodes broadcast on Sunday nights; then it was "moved" to a single Saturday night a few days ago. But now it is being put on hold yet again, and it won't resume until June 13. -- Hollywood Reporter

5. The makers of Year One, the "biblical comedy" that features several characters from the Book of Genesis, have posted a new clip from the film that does not feature any characters from the Book of Genesis. -- ComingSoon.net

6. Christopher Hitchens will pitch a film version of his book God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto, in May. Hitchens has already debated Christian apologist Douglas Wilson and co-starred with him in a documentary called Collision. -- Hollywood Reporter

7. Rod Dreher has interviewed Matt Baglio, whose book on Catholic exorcists, The Rite, is being made into a film written by Michael Petroni and directed by Mikael Håfström. Meanwhile, Terry Mattingly has interviewed Father Gary Thomas, the priest who is the subject of Baglio's book. -- Rod Dreher, Terry Mattingly

Related Tags: angels & demons, collision, god is not great, kings, passion of the christ, the rite, year of living biblically, year one


Hate campaigns based on faulty and twisted information:

I read all over the place that Mel Gibson is/was having 'affairs'. Then I read the following in a comment:

You are being misled. Here are the facts: The blond woman with Mel Gibson on the beach in Costa Rica is his sister. A wider view of the photo shows Mel's youngest son standing there with his aunt. They are celebrating his 10th birthday. Other family members are also present in the rest of the photos that the tabloids are not showing. The brunette is a family friend. On this occasion the children and rest of the family are also present. You can find the rest of the pictures on the net, if you look.....or if you want to look. Go to this site to view the pictures: http://photos.extratv.warnerbros.com/galleries/mel_gibson_on_beach_with_mystery_blonde

I had some time so I copied the above and tried to paste it in the comment section below articles as soon as I came across a misleading one - and most were. Guess what: Many sites simply removed my comment. Not only are they spreading lies, when they are caught doing so they refuse acknowledge it. They will help spreading lies but will stop the truth from being circulated. And that is particularly sad as the comment sections are filled with vicious, vile comments based on these lies. There is a lot of hatred towards Mel Gibson, but even more towards Christians in general.

About the lawsuit by Fitzgerald: Some articles are wrongfully suggesting that it has now been proved that Fitzgerald was swindled. The facts presented in court by Mel Gibson's lawyers state 'after all' that the costs were not about 7 - 10 million dollars but about 30 million. So here is another interesting comment I came accross that hardly anyone will add:
When one makes a movie there are post-production costs, casting costs, production costs and a number of other fees that have to be payed out. The production costs may well have been 7 - 10 million while the rest was spent on pre-production. The actual time that one spends filming is relatively short and makes up only a small part of what the total costs are. What is relatively time consuming and expensive is what takes place afterwards; the editing, the musical scores, what actors are owed and so forth. Fitzgerald might well have received what his contract says he should receive. That would explain why he doesn't like the figures as they are now, he would only benefit from higher cost in departments he is entitled to himself.

Peter T. Chattaway said “Marlon Wayans has been hired to produce and star in the film version of The Year of Living Biblically. This is worrying “
Why be worrying about a not so faithful adaptation of what is essentially a mockery of the Bible and its author by someone (A.J. Jacobs ) who does not understand the spirit or even the letter of the law?
This is the more worrisome part in the whole endeavor
One does not need to read the whole book to realize how pointless his journey was; a simple visit to is website will do
For starters he has no understanding of genres in the Bible and takes wisdom literature as a collection of laws that must be followed literally (i.e. Let your garments be always white" Ecclesiastes 9:8); for him, the second commandment means that one should eliminate all photos, TV, movies and so on
The only thing he achieves is proving that his gross caricature of the law and literal interpretation are impossible to follow (his own conclusion)
However, his irreverent approach (from his own admission) mostly leads to laughter (according to the reviews on his website), not really the effect that Paul sees the law as having on the sinner
Ironically, he claimed to have experience the sacred, while in fact he only made a mockery of it

Is it asking too much for a Christian website that reviews movies to give a Christian analysis of movies?