Youth Culture Window

Jesus Takes the Big Screen… Again

Billed as “dementedly hilarious” and “comedy Heaven,” Hollywood’s latest movie, Hamlet 2, employs a teen-friendly cast, a catchy (but raunchy) soundtrack, and a politically incorrect and vulgar, time-traveling Jesus. Just when you thought Dogma was offensive…. 

Shakespeare and Jesus
The movie follows the story of Dana Marschz, a failed actor who relegates himself to teaching drama to teenagers at a high school in Arizona. Unfortunately for all involved, Marschz makes as bad a teacher as he did actor. When the principal informs him of impending budget cuts that threaten the thespian department, the desperate actor/teacher does the only thing he knows to do: write, direct, and star in a “no holds barred” sequel to Shakespeare’s Hamlet, thus giving the film its name.

To overcome the “small” problem of everybody’s death in Shakespeare’s original, Marschz casts a crude and sexual Jesus (equipped with a time machine) as a “catch all” solution to cover any plot inconsistencies. But plenty of churches have big problems with the movie’s vile depiction of Jesus.

In the beginning…
This film is the brain child of writer Pam Brady (South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut and Team America: World Police) and director Andy Fleming (Dick). When movie executives looked over their original script, they shied away from the film that the New York Times said, “made sure to take shots at Christians, gays, Latinos, Jews, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Elizabeth Shue.” (At least they are equal opportunity offenders.)

Brady and Fleming’s only recourse was to assume full responsibility for the end product. “Let’s just do this on our own,” said Fleming in this interview. “It’s for us; it will make us laugh. So we didn’t censor ourselves at all.”

If the early (and mixed) reviews agree on anything, it’s that the duo indeed pulled out all the stops…and filters.

Art…or Trash?
The film carries an R rating (for language including sexual references, brief nudity, and drug content). CinemaBlend notes “There’s a fair amount of vulgarity and all-out ridiculousness with regards to the humor….” Another critic writes “Raunchier than most indie comedies tends to be, HAMLET 2 certainly doesn’t pull any punches. It gets downright vulgar and the ‘Rock Me Sexy Jesus’ is hilariously offensive.”

“Rock Me Sexy Jesus” is the show tune that’s highlighted in the climactic presentation of the play at the end of the movie. In this stage production starring Jesus, his character’s on-stage antics include him grabbing his crotch, talking on a cell phone, and giving Satan the famous “Daniel-san no-can-defend karate kick.” Here are a few of the “unorthodox” lyrics from the “Rock Me” single:

Moralistically, He taught us to be good,
How to set our souls free,
And do all the sh*t we should.

Now we do the right deeds,
We go to church and such,
And we stopped smoking weed,
Well at least not as much.

Rock me, Rock me, Rock me sexy Jesus
He died for our sins, you gotta believe us
Rock me, Rock me, Rock me sexy Jesus
All night long.

Immaculate conception really makes my day,
But the dude’s got lats that makes me feel gay.
Turn the other cheek is really showing class,
But I really think it’s sexy when he kicks Satan’s ass.

Rock me, Rock me, Rock me sexy Jesus…

You get the point. The rest of the 15 song soundtrack carries the “Parental Advisory Explicit Lyrics” warning. In addition to “Rock Me Sexy Jesus,” listeners can hear “You’re As Gay As The Day Is Long,” “Raped In The Face,” and the gay men’s choir’s rendition of Elton John’s “Someone Saved My Life Tonight.”

To See, Or Not To See. That Is The Question.
You’ve probably heard enough to make up your mind about whether or not you’ll pay the $8.50 to see the flick. But what about your kids? The movie’s ingredients reveal a recipe sure to draw crowds of teenagers to the box office on its “everywhere” release date of August 27, 2008. (Their Facebook account mentions select theater showings August 22.)

What do you say and do when your teenagers start humming the catchy “Rock Me” tune, or quoting the sure-to-be-famous movie lines?

  1. Be proactive in your counsel to teenagers regarding the movie. Anybody can gripe about something after the fact, but it usually does little good. You can still advise students about the elements this movie contains that are incompatible with our faith, BEFORE they actually go and see it.
  2. Don’t let your parents be taken by surprise. Too often, parents simply aren’t aware of the various nuances infiltrating youth culture… and their children’s minds. In all fairness, there’s a lot of junk out there trying to intrigue kids. Most parents in your church would not approve of this film’s content, so why not forward them this article to help them make an educated decision about whether or not their child should see it?
  3. Continue to teach who the real Jesus is. For centuries, Jesus’ identity and character has been maligned by those with good intentions, as well as those with bad intentions. Pointing out all the “false Jesus’” can be extremely time-consuming. Our calling is to point to the one and only Jesus, and has tons of free resources that will help you do just that. Check out Who Is Jesus? or Spotting the Imposter, for starters.

Sadly, this probably won’t be the last time Jesus’ character is slandered in a movie. Do your best to seize this moment as an opportunity to show your students and their families the genuine Christ. He’s worth it.

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David R. Smith

David R. Smith

David R. Smith is the author of several books including Christianity... It's Like This and speaks to parents and leaders across the U.S. David is a 15-year youth ministry veteran, now a senior pastor, who specializes in sharing the gospel, and equipping others do the same. David provides free resources to anyone who works with teenagers on his website, David resides with his wife and son in Tampa, Florida.

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