Man has it been a while! With me finishing my Master’s and working on Crit or Miss, I haven’t had a lot of time to see any movies of 2017. Luckily for me, this one dropped into my fucking lap from the internet. As you all will know, Brad Jones was something of an inspiration for me, as far as movie reviews are concerned, so I try to see as many of his movies as possible. I reviewed The Cinema Snob Movie a while back and now I get to watch the Christian exploitation spoof movie, Jesus, Bro! While this movie certainly isn’t one of the Ryan Mitchelle and by extension Brad Jones’ best, it is certainly still an excellent movie well worth the money spent.
Jesus, Bro! is the story of an angry YouTube celebrity and atheist Rick Whitehead (Dave Gobble). After a traumatic event in his childhood, Rick has evolved into the Rickhead who is a satire of the way contemporary christian movies portray atheists. After a drunken experience with some “holy beer” and his girlfriend Elizabeth Howard Grace (Allison Pregler) leaving him, Rick meets “Santa Christ” (Rob Walker) who convinces him to convert his followers to Christianity in order to get Elizabeth back. The movie focuses on Rick as he attempts to convert his stalwart atheist followers into Christians.
The Blazing Saddles of Christian Satire
Yes, this is hyperbole. But only slightly. Blazing Saddles is a timeless classic that dresses down racist overtones in the 1970’s cinema through a bombastic 1970’s western comedy. While this is far away from being called a timeless classic akin to Blazing Saddles, it does take the concept of Christian exploitation movies created by companies like Pure Flix and dresses them down, revealing some of the deep-rooted problems inherent in each of them on both a cinematic and moral stand point.
The movie targets some of the more egregious sore thumbs of the christian exploitation genre. Examples of which would be the clunky dialogue exposited by the main character, making fun of the not-so-subtle names of their characters such as “Elizabeth Howard Grace,” recreating the horribly dubbed mug scene from Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. But the pokes at poor cinematography and screenplays are just the start of this movies aims. It also takes to task some of the major moral shortcomings of Christian exploitation films. Such areas include the overly excited best friend who speaks in “hip” christian lingo that is typically played by a racially stereotyped black man. The second being the portrayal of atheists as vehement hate mongers who secretly just hate what god has done in this world to them.
Jesus, Bro, similar to Blazing Saddles both take situations and problems endemic of culture and spoofs them as a way that is both hilarious as well as showcasing the flaws inherent in the non-ironic films they are spoofing.
Honestly, a Christian Movie Done Right
One of my biggest complaints about Pure Flix is the fact that Pure Flix does not create Christian movies. They create propaganda that only serves to create persecution complexes, reinforce world views of those who believe them, and make Christians look like propaganda using lunatics. Which most certainly is not the case. Movies like God’s Not Dead 2, Old Fashioned, and Voiceless (not released by Pure Flix) are films that are just as damaging to the Christian community as anything else.
Jesus, Bro may be cheeky. But in all truth and honesty… It is a christian movie done right. While the plot can stray all over the place, the message near the end from God is one of acceptance, inclusion, and informing that as long as you are a good person, your good deeds are what is important to a loving god, not blinded obedience and hate mongering. Intentional or otherwise, Walkaway Entertainment made one of the best “Christian” movies, by telling the propaganda movies to go screw themselves.
Story is a Little All Over the Place
This are a few minor cons to be sure, but cons nonetheless. For instance, some of the acting can be a little wooden at times. But honestly that can be forgiven as there are no outlandishly bad performances. There is also the fact that Rob Walker’s “Santa Christ” character is a primary character in the film, a joke you wouldn’t necessarily get unless you were a recurring follower of Channel Awesome and Brad Jones’ work.
However, the one area that kind of drove me a little crazy was the fact that the plot itself is kind of all over the place. The trailer for the movie shows us a Christian exploitation spoof movie of the character the Rickhead, an atheist YouTube celebrity, having a religious experience and then trying to convert his followers to Christianity. What we end up getting is that… Plus the fact that Rick causes the fucking apocalypse due to a bet between Santa Christ and the Devil. Rick randomly gains the ability to make those who disagree with him spontaneously combust, a power that neither God, Santa Christ, or the Devil can explain. Finally, all of this centers around a “getting her back” plot of Rick trying to reconnect with his estranged girlfriend of three years, eleven months, and seven days, Elizabeth Howard Grace. While I can forgive a lot from indie movies, in particular those on a micro-budget, this was an area that was just a little to wild to not address.
This movie is definitely worth checking out! It is hilarious, the direction is great, and it has the sense of independent enjoyment from the cast that is present in the majority of movies created by Ryan Mitchelle, Brad Jones, and company.
It isn’t a perfect movie. Some of the acting can be a little wooden, the story itself is a little all over the place, and it can certainly be an acquired taste for those who typically follow Brad Jones. However, that should not stop you from renting or buying Jesus, Bro. The link is provided below and I implore you to give a watch. You will not be disappointed.
Final Score 4/5
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