Did you all have a wonderful December? Well, we’re about a week into January, so we hope you did, and hopefully, your prospects for 2020 are looking good, because boy, do we have an episode for you!
In this episode of Monthly Movie News, Daniel and Melvin take you on the journey of recording-so-late-they-missed-all-the-actual-news and actually-just-covering-controversial-stuff-because-it’s-both-interesting-and-buzzworthy.
Yup, you read that right (hyphens and all)! Things got a little busy at the end of December, and perhaps the best idea would have been to push this off until the end of January, but we love you guys, and we love what we’re doing, so here we are! We’re ready to talk to you about some rumored behind-the-scenes info on the latest Star Wars release, and a particularly inflammatory Netflix special.
Below are a few highlights from December 2019:
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
With the release of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, the finale to the Skywalker saga (or so Disney will have you believe), one could easily surmise everyone behind the film is ecstatic over its success. With a domestic opening weekend of $177 million dollars and a worldwide gross of $936 million (as of writing), you’d be hard-pressed to call The Rise of Skywalker a disappointment, and yet, middling critic reviews leave a different impression.
A patchwork, a mess, plays out like a video game, many critics have laid their perspective across the internet for all to see, and while Daniel and Melvin have no qualms in sharing their candid thoughts on the film in the episode above, they also stumble upon an interesting post on Reddit by user egoshoppe. A supposed leak of information surrounding the production of The Rise of Skywalker, this post includes details about meddling producers stealing the reigns from director/writer J.J. Abrams despite promising him increased creative control over his previous Star Wars outing, The Force Awakens. Of course, such rumors should always be taken with a grain of salt, but where’s the fun in that?
Apart from that, the Reddit post sparks an interesting discussion about the child-like nature of Star Wars, when and why people love Star Wars so much, how Star Wars and recent Disney films are pursuing the Chinese Market, and the general impact of Hollywood and American culture across the globe.
And, of course, being a Christian podcast, Daniel and Melvin approach the touchy subject of representation in films, as The Rise of Skywalker does include a single-second scene of a same-sex kiss, and in doing so, has lit the internet aflame. Approaching the topic with patience and wisdom can be daunting, but Lord willing, their discussion is one most will find bearable.
Why The First Temptation of Christ is Offensive
Perhaps far less bearable than the aforementioned Star Wars same-sex kiss is a Netflix special released early in December. Called The First Temptation of Christ, Brazilian comedy group Porta dos Fundos has put together something that’s lit the hearts of Christians afire with only the sort of rage you see every few years when some other comedian or group engages in blasphemous acts under the guise of satire. And while many will argue the position of free-speech, one can’t help but wonder at which point does satire cross the line.
Porta dos Fundos’ The Last Temptation of Christ, in it’s 46 minute runtime, depicts their version of a Jesus who is coy at introducing his friends to a male romantic partner, and it doesn’t stop there with an assortment of other problematic portrayals of Jesus, let alone embracing problematic content of all kinds, and if I haven’t said problematic enough for you to get the picture, then that’s problematic in its own right!
Let’s get this out of the way: Neither Daniel or Melvin have watched The First Temptation of Christ, and neither plan to. The mere existence of such a property is enough to warrant its own discussion without having to subject themselves to such irate content. A synopsis was enough, and perhaps more cordially, the Christian response itself is as well, but we couldn’t help but see a correlation between the 1-second same-sex kiss in Star Wars and this Netflix special, as both were garnering their own kind of backlash across Christian circles.
And so, your hosts, Daniel and Melvin, take on the (possibly arrogant) opportunity to share our thoughts on why The Last Temptation of Christ is offensive, why we hold Jesus Christ so dear to our hearts, and what healthy and good satire looks like.
Monthly Movie News is a podcast/article released at the end of every month and contains a discussion of the month’s most interesting, funniest, or ground-breaking movie-related news.
Daniel Braindead is a producer, and cohost of Cinematic Doctrine. Combining his BA of Biblical Studies, brief study in Journalism, and an overdose of film trivia and film history, Daniel brings clarity and comedy to Trailer Talk and Monthly Movie News. His prowess for cultural understanding and biblical application always brings something new to the table.