Baboon Pirates

Scribbles and Scrawls from an unrepentant swashbuckling primate.

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Location: Texas, United States

Monday, November 22, 2004

"Jesus loves me, this I know..."

"'cause Jerry Falwell tells me so!"

I hate to do two movie reviews so close to each other, but I had to mention a wickedly funny film I watched last night.

"Saved" is a pretty vicious satire of the Christian Fundamentalist youth movement. Not that I'm entirely opposed to that, mind you, but this skewering of Xtian culture is just as funny as the message is pointed.

Jena Malone plays the lead character Mary, a student at American Eagle Christian High School. Hmmm, no symbolism there. Not a bit.

Mary's got a nice Christian boyfriend, Dean, who happens to be gay. So, following Jesus's wishes (following a head-bump & near drowning in the swimming pool) Mary decides to give it her all to convert Dean back to the Jesus Path. Naturally, hilarity (and pregnancy) ensues.

Mary hangs out with Hillary Faye and Veronica, the two other members of the Heaven's Jewels, a kind of "Jesus Cheerleading" band/clique. Veronica's a hanger on to HiIlary Faye, who's the real leader of the Jewels.

Take 2 parts of Reese Witherspoon's Tracy Flick character from 'Election', stir in a good bit of Essence of Falwell (smells like Holy Spirit!), sprinkle in a bit of Jan Crouch from the PTL network, and shake with a bunch of "Gospel Rock" singers, and you get Hilary Faye. She's petrifying in her zeal and commitment. You look at Hilary Faye, and you understand how Himmler was able to fill all his goon squads.

Mary gets booted from the Jewels following her opposing Hilary's "outing" of Dean, and falls in with the campus outcasts, who are clearly (and in true teen-flick clicheed manner) a better choice as friends.

Eva Amurri (Susan Sarandon's kid) plays Cassandra, a Jewish kid forced to attend American Eagle, since she's been kicked out of every other school in the region. She overplays the rebel aspect a bit, but her character's got a sweet side when she pals up with Mary and Roland (Hillary's disabled brother). Oh, and when she gets all dolled up for the prom? Damn! She's absolutely smokin' hot!

Great performances throughout, including one from a very unexpected source. Unlike other "cute" child actors like Fred Savage (Wonder Years) or Ricky Schroder (Silver Spoons) who have grown up into Neanderthal-looking freaks, or Lukas Haas (Witness) who became some sort of elongated jug-eared alien, Macauley Culkin, the "Home Alone" kid himself, looks fairly normal as an adult. He turns in a great performance as the aforementioned Roland. There's one scene that I almost choked while laughing, as he sits in his wheelchair in the mall, wearing a sign saying "Will Dance for Food". He seemed to be channeling a young Christian Slater at times. I hope this role wasn't a fluke. If he can do this good of a performance on a regular basis, he's gonna be a great adult actor.
(Note, I'm being a bit hard on Schroder, here. Check out The Lost Battalion if you get a chance. It's actually quite good, and he does a pretty fair job in it.)

Great lines abound throughout the movie. Here's a few of my favorites:

Hilary Faye: "It isn't born a gay, it's born again!!!"

Hilary Faye: "I just have to remember that everytime Jesus closes a door He opens a window."
Roland: "Yeah, for us to jump out."

Hilary Faye: "Mary, turn away from Satan. Jesus, he loves you."
Mary: "You don't know the first thing about love."
Hilary Faye: (throws a Bible at Mary) "I am *filled* with Christ's love!"
Mary: (hands Bible back) "This is not a weapon, you idiot."

Roland: "Are you alright?"
Hilary Faye: "No! I crashed my van into Jesus, okay?"

Cassandra: "What's the only reason a Christian girl comes downtown to the Planned Parenthood clinic?"
Roland: "To plant a pipe bomb?"
Cassandra: "Okay, two reasons."

Mary: "Mercy House is a place that deals with all kinds of problems, like teenage mothers to alcoholism and..."de-gayification".

Tia: "Sorry about Dean's faggotry!"

Veronica: "Roland is so blessed to have such a thoughtful sister. You know, in countries like China, Hilary Faye would probably have been killed at birth."
Hilary Faye: "And then where would you be, Roland?"
Roland: "China."

It's a pretty good movie, overall. Fundies are not gonna like it, I think it hits too close to home for that. I think it's more anti-bigot and anti-zealot than anti-Xtian, though.

The movie did raise a few questions I've been wondering about for a while.

F'rinstance, what's with the arm-waving thing? I mean, seriously! Does holding your arms up in the air while praying or singing help God tune in a little better? Shouldn't you hold them both out at a 45 degree angle for the best 'rabbit ears' antenna effect?

Similarly, does holding a revival in a tent make it any more fulfilling than in a regular church?

How about those 25 acre churches that seat 2500 at a go, complete with bowling alleys and movie theaters? Or the hundreds of TV stations beaming the '700 Club' to the heathen Chinee? Perhaps we could spend a bit more on food for the hungry, and clothing for the naked?

I'm just asking, is all.