Norman Jewison’s 1973 film Jesus Christ Superstar was controversial from the very start. To begin with, Jesus was played by Texas-born rocker Ted Neeley, who didn’t have anything close to the angelic voice that might be expected of JC. Neeley screeched, rasped and squealed his way through his performance. It was effective, but not in any way saintly. Judas was played by African American actor Carl Anderson, and both blacks and whites cried racism (for different reasons, of course).
Remember Jesus’s “My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves” accusation? In the film the temple market that sparks his outrage sells grenades and bongs. The songs were decidedly rock and the lyrics bordered on outrageous. (As Mary Magdalena, Yvonne Elliman sang: “He’s a man / He’s just a man / And I’ve had so many men before / In very many ways / He’s just one more.”)
We’re sure it’s in this irreverent spirit that Alamo Drafthouse Cinema titled the screening IFC Slightly Off Cinema Salute to Best Buds — Jesus Christ Superstar. Really, Alamo? Best buds? We think that whole 30 pieces of silver thing would have ended any friendly feelings between Jesus and Judas, but, hey, it’s your call.
6 p.m. Sunday, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Alamo Drafthouse — Vintage Park, 114 Vintage Park. For information, call 713-715-4707 or visit drafthouse.com/houston. $9.
Sun., April 20, 6 p.m.; Wed., April 23, 7:30 p.m., 2014