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The Last Temptation of Christ

The second Martin Scorsese movie on my list, though I include it here for noticeably different reasons. First of all, the musical soundtrack by Peter Gabriel is a masterpiece in itself (you can find it in music stores under the title "Passion" ) – it's a haunting, eerie, mysterious, rhythmic journey through Middle Eastern music from all ages, woven together into a musical fabric that envelops you and permeates you in a way that few other musical experiences can. But even aside from this, I remember The Last Temptation of Christ as the movie that restored my faith at a time when I was in doubt. I had half-heartedly been confirmed as a Roman Catholic in the late 1980s, though I always had trouble finding support in a church that seemed to care more about politics (especially stupid anti-abortion rants) than anything approaching spiritual comfort.

My low point came during the Gulf War of 1991, when I was worried about my brother heading to Kuwait to fight as part of the 82nd Airborne division. I went to church the week that the ground war began, hoping to find some solace…and was treated to an idiotic abortion sermon by the priest about how abortionists are Nazis who want to murder babies and senior citizens (don't ask how that came around), and how women becoming pregnant by rape should allow their babies to be born so that the children would grow up to love Christ. That was the last time I willingly set foot in a Roman Catholic church, and after that I rented and watched The Last Temptation of Christ just for the hell of it.

And to my amazement, I found a spark of hope in this movie, with its portrayal of Christ as a man with faults and doubts, so that by the time of his final victory at the climax of the film, I felt appeased and even happier…enough for me to seek a spiritual path that could make me feel good about myself. (Shortly after that, "Bob" appeared to me and my life was never the same.) So go ahead, you closed-minded self-proclaimed judges of right and wrong in the name of Jesus…flame me and condemn me for declaring The Last Temptation of Christ as one of the few truly spiritual films ever made! (And if you ask nicely, I'll tell you about the time I saw Jesus Christ Superstar when I was only four years old, and the effect that movie had on my belief as I was growing up.)