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Friday, August 08, 2003


Coming Attractions Dept.

I promised myself that I would turn a blind eye to the candidate list for California's recall election, and damn it, I am going to keep that promise. There is no acceptable humor to be found in Gary Coleman's candidacy since Emmanuel Lewis drained the well of "Little Black Kids with Organ Failure from 80's Sitcoms"jokes by riding Hammer's shoulders on "The Surreal Life."

None of this is important. I have fantastic news to report. Yesterday, a brick sailed through the window of my Hollywood compound. Upon closer inspection, I found that the brick was embossed with a cross, a street address, and a time. Being a naturally inquisitive type, I decided to reschedule my twilight tea with my Jennifer Connelly Real Doll and follow the crude invitation to see where it led me.

I soon found myself outside of an abandoned Quizno's. The storefront's door silently swung open. Inside, a projector was throwing a shimmering test pattern onto a makeshift screen constructed from an old bedsheet and tacked up over a giant caricature of a toasted pastrami sandwich dressed up like an Hesidic Jew. I sat down across from the screen. The silence was shattered by the blast of a celestial horn and the test pattern was quickly replaced with the words "Hello, fellow Christian. Welcome to a special screening of Mel Gibson's The Passion."

I was floored. I never dreamed that I might be selected to screen Gibson's controversial retelling of Jesus Christ's final hours, but there I was at the Quizno's, the smell of old roast beef and stale mustard hanging in the air around me.

What followed for the next three hours was miraculous. It's been a while since I've flipped through Scripture or stolen a nap in a church, but I am certain that Gibson has taken some dramatic license with the Christ story. (I'm not at liberty to divulge any spoilers from the film, but in the pivotal cruicifixion scene, Gibson's Christ breaks the fourth wall, uttering the only line in the movie not in Aramaic: "Ye shall sign the holy nondisclosure agreement on your way out of the sub shoppe. Also, file sharing is a cardinal sin.") But suffice it to say that I don't remember the New Testament explicitly indicating that Jesus referred to Mary Magdalene as a "chickenhead panty-dropper" (thank God for the rough-cut subtitles) or a chase scene with Jesus piloting a Hummer H-2 through the streets of Jerusalem while being pursued by a legion of Pharisees in Mini Coopers.

Despite these little dissonances, the movie was nothing short of a religious catharsis. I stumbled out of the screening clutching my souvenir Von Dutch crown of thorns, feeling compelled to stop in my local church and light some candles to give thanks for things that I had been taking for granted, like Zack being voted out of Paradise Hotel forever, condemned to a postlapsarian ten seconds of fame. I smiled at an elderly woman on Hollywood Boulevard despite the fact that she was trying to sell me a dime bag while rifling through my pockets.

And I told the Jennifer Connelly Real Doll that for at least one night I was going to sleep on the couch.

Praise the Lord for Mel Gibson's Passion.

Let's give the Big Guy an Associate Producer credit for all of His inspiration.

About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
If You Like Bunsen, Then You'll Love Bunsen