What if Hollywood Wrote the Paschal Mystery?

What would happen if Hollywood got hold of salvation history? The following video is meant to be funny and it is. But consider that it unwittingly makes a very important point.

You see, Hollywood loves the “happy ending” and notions like the cross are quite foreign there. Hence, in this clip the Terminator, (Arnold!) won’t let Jesus die! According to Hollywood Jesus, our hero has to live. Further, Hollywood often solves things with violence. Almost every action movie is permeated with violence, revenge and death to enemies. So this video, (pardon the relatively poor quality) shows what would happen if Hollywood tried to “rework” the paschal mystery.

Now if Hollywood with its worldly perspective got its way we’d still be dead in our sins. An old Gospel song says, “He would not come down from that Cross just to save himself. He decided to die just to save me.

So now that you’ve permitted me to be serious for just a moment, enjoy a rather silly video, though please overlook the “cartoonish” violence that is part of the shtick.

16 Replies to “What if Hollywood Wrote the Paschal Mystery?”

  1. What would happen if Hollywood tried to “rework” the paschal mystery —

    It did try, and not merely as a parody. It was called “The Last Temptation of Christ.”

    OK, technically it was a book first, so it was not Hollywood that reworked it, but Hollywood did make the movie. Weak, wimpy Jesus comes down from the cross and lives out his life instead (lowercase “h” intended), while he is shamed by the real hero, Judas. Now, they claim that, no he didn’t really reject the cross and live out his life with Mary Magdalene, it was just the old dream-ploy, like that season of Dallas without Bobby Ewing, and they claim that, in the end, he did choose the cross. But that is a scam. In that reworked paschal mystery, that weak and wimpy Jesus chose the cross only after having given into the temptation to live out his entire life, several decades worth. So, he gets the best of both alternate lives.

    In short, this reworked paschal mystery called “The Last Temptation of Christ” is the most foul piece of offensive trash you can imagine. Worse than most of the trash that comes out of Hollywood.

    But at least in his zeal to offend Christians, Scorcese was politically correct enough to change the depiction of Satan from a black man in the book to a little British white girl in the film.

    1. “The Last Temptation of Christ” was not very successful and not a very good picture. There have been many films that do promote the themes of self-denial and self-sacrifice.

  2. Actually, in Hollywood they teach this thing called the three act structure. The end of act two is the point where all hope is lost, and the world seems in the depths of despair. Blake Snyder in his screenwriting book “Save the Cat” says that there is often the “whiff of death” at this moment in the story. The way I see it, Hollywood actually follows the story structure of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus quite well in almost every story it tells. After the all hope is lost moment, when Jesus is in the tombs, we have the third act – the Resurrection! Yes, Hollywood loves the happy ending, but by no means does it forget the suffering that must happen before we get there.

    1. Yes, I think he adapted from the Hero’s Journey (Campbell).

      Msgr, I’ve watched the Terminator movies and I thought this clip very funny. It looks like Jesus did die on the cross as he comforts Mary. He’ll be back!

  3. Ahhh, but you’ll notice, at the end somone was still carrying the cross, and “Ahhnald” says “don’t worry, he’ll be back.” So presumably He, our Lord Jesus Christ, still dies on the cross later in the clip and still rises. God’s will was still accomplished, and will be, despite the best efforts of hollywood. We can all take comfort in that.

    Have a Glorious Weekend Father.

    1. I noticed that. The clip was pretty funny, I liked it. AND… I spent most of 1 of my classes yesterday talking about examples in Hollywood films of self-sacrifice and self-denial. So… Hollywood does get the Paschal Mystery from time to time and does show films where characters lay down their life for others and sometimes even come back from the dead.

      1. Well, OK. Though please understand my comments are a bit more light-hearted that they may come across. I DO think that the typical Hollywood fare is cartoonishly predictable when it comes to Adventure movies. But there are obviously many genres that speak to other levels, good and bad.

        1. Msgr. Sorry, but you’re wrong on this one. Indeed watch TERMINATOR 2. In that movie Arnold’s terminator dies for mankind — although he’s a robot from the future, he’s the hero, and he decides that he must die — self-sacrifice — to save mankind. What Tara Stone, above, says is correct. I wrote a book about it too, knew Blake Snyder. We endorsed each other’s books, before he died to go be with our, Lord. There is a natural-law story structure to all successful Hollywood movies. It is a natural law structure because it is very similar to what we go through as humans and our search for salvation, and Life, Death, and Resurrection. Indeed the “Resurrection” is a beat in Act 3, if you study the 12 steps of the mythic hero (Joseph Campbell, Christopher Vogler.) Your comment too about The Last Temptation of Christ, suggests to me that you never watched the movie but only are reacting to what others (who have not watched it) think it’s about. If you had watched the movie you would know that in the end of it, Christ does not give into temptation, but in fact dies for mankind as is the plan. http://www.moralpremise.com

          1. Happy to be wrong about an individual movie and admit that many have good themes (As Fr. Robert Barron shows well in his reviews) , but I’m far less sanguine than you about Hollywood movies and do not speak well of them in such a widely general way.

            By the way I said nothing about the last temptation of Christ but I remain unconvinced by your glowing report of it.

            Also please understand I am not being all that serious in this post, I am posting a funny video and tweaking a certain form of Hollywood genre (Action movies).

          2. I watched it. Like I said, he does not immediately reject the temptation, but gives in and sees what it would be like, living out an entire lifetime, and only after he has enjoyed the fruits of that life, only when an elderly Jesus is on his deathbed, only then does he “not give in” to temptation and agree to go back onto the cross.

            To say that he did not give in to temptation at all is kind of like arguing that he voted for the cross after he had voted against it. There are fewer holes in a sieve than in that claim. He didn’t overcome the “last temptation,” he thoroughly lived it.

      2. Actually, there are quite a number of good films on the themes of sin and redemption, on dying to self and obtaining new life, on self-sacrifice so that others might live.

        Despite Hollywood’s preference for the profane, these themes appeal to the hearts of audiences, so we see them again and again in westerns, war movies, crime dramas, etc., often with a Christ-like figure involved.

        1. I just remembered one of those good films that reworked the Paschal Mystery in a way — it opens with a shot of a painting of Jesus at the Last Supper and has a main character who is a poor and lowly figure, who is good and decent and giving to all (Christ-like), and who willingly takes upon himself suffering upon suffering before he finally “dies” (loses) and yet, in the end, because of love, he “lives” (wins in the way that truly matters).

          A lot of people miss all that because they think that the movie is all about a boxer who gets a shot at the heavyweight title. Of course, it didn’t help that most of the sequels, except for the last, were fairly cartoonish (complete with Mr. T and Drago) and had abandoned these Christian themes.

  4. Hollywood can have its Terminator. Jesus is our Exterminator and Mary our Exterminatrix of heresy.

  5. Hollywoods influence on society over the years with it`s secularism, anti Christian, left wing socialistic promotions and even their intrusion into politics has been nothing short of remarkable. Somewhere in the 50`s
    they realized that sex, violence and all that accompanies evil actually sells and produces hugh profits. And away
    they went setting horrible examples of divorce and scandals for their young most admiring fans to follow and realized early on how much influence they could have on young minds and weaknesses in human nature. Out of all of it though, you have to admit that Mel Gibsons, “The Passion,”was certainly an inspiring movie, all though I did not see it, some in my family did. Before that I suppose, not being a movie fan, you would have to go all the back to the Ten Commandments, by Cecil B Demil starring Charleston Heston to find anything spiritualy well done. Pax

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