J-Hovah: 10 Wildly Varied Versions Of Jesus Christ In Pop Culture
Easter Weekend is upon us, with all the stores and churches looking to do brisk business between now and Sunday as people seek ways to honor the holiday. The reason behind the special, the resurrection of Jesus Christ, gets muddled each year for people who aren't especially religious. For most people it's another blasted family holiday, and a Friday off from work if you are lucky and work in an office setting.
Pop-culture is fascinated with Jesus, with countless musical references, books, fiction and non-fiction, artwork, blasphemous and otherwise. He gets you use for comedic effect, more than most anyone else, aside from politicians and dictators.
The most surefire way to piss people off and make others laugh hysterically is to either use the image or persona of Jesus Christ or Adolf Hitler. Preferably dressed like a hip-hopper or a hipster.
Then there is the debate over whether or not he should be portrayed as a man of Middle Eastern, African, or European descent.
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He almost always ends up looking like a hippie directly from central casting, with a loving beard and tilted gaze, and not the "scary" dark-skinned man who would be strip searched before even buying a candy bar at an airport gift shop.
Pop-culture has depicted Christ in so many ways, with the most recent trend towards the son of God as a sort of affable drinking buddy, just as clueless as any of us. A few years back on Family Guy he was leading an unassuming life working at a record store, only to go Hollywood and get mixed up with drugs and girls.
It's safe to say a few decades ago the mere thought of Christ hanging with the likes of Lindsay Lohan would be grounds more deportation and/or blacklisting like so many supposed Communists in the '50s.
From Kevin Smith's Dogma, who wouldn't feel comfortable trusting in this version of Jesus with a winning smile and a knowing wink. He would help you move and won't take the last slice of pizza.
Jesus Is A Jerk
A meme hit last year, JIAK shows J.C. as a careless, mischievous character, goading modern people into sex, drugs, and running down hobos in tractor trailers.
Willem Dafoe As Jesus
Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation Of Christ cast Jesus as a tortured soul, with Willem Dafoe in the title role. Wildly confrontational and controversial, it was 1988's most talked-about films.
Jesus Christ Superstar
Jesus is surrounded by groovy folks of all colors and creeds in this document of the free love era's take on Christ. Ted Neeley's Jesus is a doe-eyed hunk who would be modeling for Ralph Lauren now. The music is catchy glam-rock stuff from Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the 1973 film, directed by Norman Jewison, is set to be remade again in 2014. Thanks a lot, Glee.
Jesus Christ Action Figure
If you can't get enough of Jesus in biblical, musical, and comedic form, why not have him in action figure form? For a few years now, these action figures of Jesus have been available online and in various gag shops next to the Albert Einstein and Jeff Lebowski dolls.
Jesus On South Park
Avid ans of South Park have seen Jesus make special appearances almost each season, with the guy coming off more like a frazzled PR man for a really beleaguered corporation than the son of God. Plus, he fights quite a bit in his roles.
Steve Coogan As Jesus
"Rock Me Sexy Jesus" from Hamlet 2 shows the former Christ child as the jeans-clad hunk we all knew he could be. That robe was hiding rocking biceps the whole time!
Jesus On Family Guy
Don't pee on the Amy Grant discs. This also works for DC Talk, Newsboys, and most Switchfoot albums.
Jesus Wants A Beer...
In the 1987 Cheech Marin vehicle Born In East L.A., a misplaced answering machine and a portrait of the Lord makes an immigrant believe that Jesus is commanding him to do his bidding. Mostly for beer.
Jim Caviezel As Jesus
Easily the most violent movie of 2004, and one of the most profitable, The Passion Of The Christ starred nice-guy actor Jim Caviezel as Christ, though he was mostly covered in blood and his own skin and hair the whole film. Centering on the last days of Christ leading up to the Crucifixion, it also showed us how gruesome director Mel Gibson could get. Check out his Apocalypto for further horrors.
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