— William M. Briggs (@mattstat) December 13, 2014
John Nolte doesn’t like Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods and Kings.
…Scott makes a fool of himself. DeMille used the ancient biblical tale to tell a universal story about human liberty. Where Charlton Heston’s Moses demanded that Ramses “Let my people go!”, Bale’s Moses — and this is no joke — demands that Ramses pay his slaves a living wage and make them — again, no joke — citizens. DeMille’s Moses was a liberator. Scott’s Moses is a community organizer agitating for executive action on the minimum wage and amnesty.
Now Darren Aronofsky’s Noah was just as tuned to our post-Christian ever-so-delicate sensibilities. In his review of that movie, Nolte writes:
The sins of idolatry, blasphemy, dishonesty, adultery, and treating your parents with disrespect have absolutely nothing to do with why God wants to flood the earth and start over. “Noah” isn’t even interested in Jesus’ commandment to love one another as you love yourself.
Aronofsky’s “God” is only disappointed, disgusted and ready to be rid of man for the single sin of hurting the environment. And hurting the environment is defined in the film as strip-mining, eating animal flesh, hunting, and even plucking a flower no bigger than a dime because “it’s pretty.”
…Every glimpse of those God will wipe out shows these “sinners” exploiting Mother Nature. They butcher meat, tear live animals to pieces, hunt, mine, and cut trees. According to Aronofsky, that is all these people are guilty of and that is enough to justify the coming biblical genocide.
If “God” can destroy the world for the mortal sin of pressing pretty flowers, what sort of hell, with your enormous carbon “footprint”, do you think awaits you, you climate denier, you?
But Noah made money, and early forecasts are that Exodus will do at least okay. The Bible is in and profitable. It is a rich source of moral stories that has barely begun to be mined for movie material. So, our job today is to help filmmakers with suggestions of which tales we’d like to see.
Sanitized tales, of course. We don’t want to offend anybody. Feelings must not be hurt. We—us blessed folks living on the right side of history—know more than our unenlightened ancestors. Obviously, we cannot present the Bible as it is written and must tweak it a bit. Here are some of my ideas (in which I exercise artistic license). What are yours?
Sodom and Gomorrah: The Pride And The Glory
Two mysterious strangers approach the desert twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. A festival—a parade, wine, food, circus acts—is in progress. The innkeeper Lot sees them approach. He curses under his breath, “This is all I need.” Flashback: Lot kicking out tenants who could not pay, kicking in the teeth of a man who will later be seen in the festival parade, and kicking around cats and small children.
The strangers ask for a room. Lot, seeing they are rich, boots other guests to make space. He offers his daughter and wife to the aggrieved as recompense, throwing all into the street. Seeing this, the incensed crowd reacts and tries to bring Lot to justice. The man with the kicked teeth shouts, “You inhospitable brute!”
Lot escapes into the night through a hidden back door. Meanwhile, the strangers, who have been at the wine, realize what has happened. Turns out they are members of the Yogic Guardians, mythic creatures from the planet Cron charged with meting out punishment throughout the seven hundred worlds! The strangers go into Down Dog Supreme in order to blast Lot to smithereens. But as they are inebriated, their aim is off and the towns are destroyed instead.
Lot sees this and his heart softens. He weeps and vows to mend his ways. We end with an elderly Lot (who now runs a bathhouse in Nineveh) sharing a lovely sunset on his porch with his beloved goat Franklin.
The Sharing (A Lifetime movie)
After a long day community organizing, a weary Jesus wants nothing but to rest and eat. But his followers bring a women to him saying, “This woman has said, ‘All lives matter‘.” Jesus knew they were testing him and said, “That’s racist.” He directed that the woman be re-educated by trained experts.
His followers were many and Jesus was worried there would not be enough food. But an apostle reminded that good man that all his followers were members of the Green Organic Cooperative and that they had plenty and were willing to share. “That’s a miracle,” said Jesus.
Later, all sit around a single organic candle and sing songs celebrating how nice it was to be nice to one another.
Confession: I claim no originality. Minus the cinematic details, these plots are directly from modern theologians.