‘Non-Stop’ and ‘Son of God': We’ve Seen These Movies Before, Right?
Two big new movies will be battling it out for your cash this weekend: the Liam Neeson in-flight thriller ‘Non-Stop’ and the controversial religious story ‘The Son of God.’ But why head out for those maybe-risky choices when you can stay home and rent these proven classics instead?
To supplement the flight thriller, we suggest going a different route with ‘Airplane!,’ which was the must-see comedy hit of 1980. ‘Airplane!’ created a whole new style of comedy, with tons of jokes crammed into practically every scene, and you had to see it more than once to catch them all. The movie also perfected the style of having serious actors enhancing the comedy with their stilted performances, and it launched a whole new comedic career for Leslie Nielsen, who played serious roles for nearly 30 years previous.
‘Airplane!’ was a parody of the disaster films of the ‘70s, primarily ‘Airport 1975,’ and it also took liberally from an obscure ‘50s action film ‘Zero Hour!’ (‘Airplane!’ even stole the exclamation point for its title.) ‘Airplane!’ launched the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink style of comedy we’ve seen many other movies copy, but it’s never been equaled.
‘The Ten Commandments’
With Darren Aronofsky’s Noah coming in March, Hollywood proves it’s still trying to make huge biblical epics, even though Christian films have a niche market and select filmmakers creating them. If you’re in a religious mood, we recommend Cecil B. DeMille’s 1956 masterpiece ‘The Ten Commandments,’ which was actually a reboot of a 1926 version which DeMille also directed. (We hope this won’t give other filmmakers any funny ideas: “Hey! I can remake my own movie again!”) ‘The Ten Commandments’ was the peak of the biblical epic, and it’s still a hell of a movie to try and top. The scene where Moses parts the Red Sea is still a remarkable special-effects shot long before we ever had CGI, and the film has an all-star cast featuring Charlton Heston, Yul Brenner, Edward G. Robisnon and Ted Cassidy, Lurch from ‘The Addams Family,’ as the voice of God.
‘The Last Temptation of Christ’
You should also check out Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Last Temptation of Christ,’ which came out to enormous controversy in 1988. Scorsese had wanted to adapt Nikos Kazantzakis’s novel ever since actress Barbara Hershey gave him a copy back in 1971, and the controversy, like many uproars, was launched by zealots who hadn’t seen the movie. Being the good Catholic boy that he is, there was no way Scorsese was going to make a truly blasphemous movie, and this one gives you way more food for thought about religion than any other religious epic before it.