January 10, 2007

Bible Battle

Big time Bible publisher Thomas Nelson has just announced the principal cast for its new audio Bible, The Word of Promise, which will compete with rival Zondervan's star-studded, bestselling The Bible Experience. Here's the tale of the tape.

TBE: Blair Underwood
WoP: Jim Caviezel
Analysis: Underwood is best known for LA Law. Caviezel is best known for The Passion of the Christ. This is not an even match. Plus: Blair is girl's name. The era of the effeminite Jesus is over. By the way, I finally buckled down and watched The Passion and while I was prepared for the gore and the Jew-bashing, the most horrifying aspect was something I hadn't seen mentioned anywhere: the ending strongly suggests that Jesus rises from the dead to get payback for everything that was done to him. No fooling. The last five minutes are a classic Gibsony revenge fantasy, complete with martial drumbeats and a (gotta be intentional) visual quote from The Terminator.
Edge: WoP

TBE: Samuel L. Jackson
WoP: Terence Stamp
Analysis: To be sure, General Zod is no slouch in the commanding department, even if he did gay it up for Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. And we loved him in The Limey. But come on. Samuel L. Jackson, motherfucker. And you will know my name is the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon thee. Not to mention, I've had it with these motherfuckin' snakes in this motherfuckin' garden.
Edge: TBE

Narrator (aka Holy Spirit)
TBE: T.D. Jakes
WoP: Michael York
Analysis: Jakes is one of America's most famous non-gay/meth-fiend megachurch pastors. But York brings his Basil Exposition experience to the role.
Edge: WoP

TBE: Nia Long
WoP: Kimberly Williams-Paisley
Analysis. Their major roles are a wash. According to Jim vs. Fresh Prince of Bel Air; Father of the Bride 1&2 vs. Big Momma's House 1&2; How to Eat Fried Worms vs. How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass (later renamed, but I couldn't resist). So let's examine their credits more closely for Biblical appropriateness. Long: Pro: Soul Food, Stigmata; Con: If These Walls Could Talk 2. Williams-Paisely: Pro: The Christmas Shoes, Eden Court; Con: Relativity, Just a Little Harmless Sex.
Edge: none

TBE: Forest Whitaker
WoP: Richard Dreyfuss
Analysis: Dreyfuss honed his "I'm not insane, I really am getting messages from beyond" skills thirty years ago in Close Encounters, but what has he done for us lately? Mr. Holland's Opus? Whitaker has been bringing it -- IT -- to The Last King of Scotland, The Shield, and Ghost Dog. Not to mention that he was a bad guy in Battlefield Earth, and everyone KNOWS that man-animal will never get leverage on a psychlo. OK, he gayed it up in The Crying Game, but that dude totally looked like a chick.
Edge: TBE

Mary Magdelene
TBE: Tisha Campbell Martin
WoP: Marisa Tomei
Analysis: Oh yeah, you blend. Tomei is an Academy Award winning actress, even if it was a mistake. Martin, a TV fixture, gets credit for suing Martin Lawrence for sexual harassment, but not quite enough.
Edge: WoP

TBE: Phil Morris
WoP: Stacy Keach
Analysis: Keach is a familiar name and face, but do we really remember any of his roles? Did anyone actually watch Mike Hammer? Still, he's got Prison Break, which I hear the kids like, and relevant experience, having played both Barabbas and Martin Luther. Morris isn't a familiar name, but you'd know him as Jackie Chiles, the only black person every to appear on Seinfeld. He's also done a ton of voice over work, most recently as "Bay City African-American Hippie" in the videogame Kill all Monsters 2. Oh, wait. Keach did a Cheech and Chong movie.
Edge: WoP

TBE: Victor Love
WoP: Lou Diamond Philips.
Analysis: Character actor Love works hard to earn his place here, with thematically appropriate credits such as 7th Heaven, Heaven is a Playground, Our Father, Guilty of Innocence, Celestial Navigation and Passion Plays. And yet... Para bailar la bamba!
Edge: WoP

TBE: Wren T. Brown
WoP: John Heard
Analysis. Brown's relevant pro credits: Bless This House, Touched by an Angel, Do Unto Others, Prophecy, Ressurection Blvd, No Sex in the City, Warlock: The Armageddon. Con: Hell Bent. But I still love Heard as the dirty cop on The Sopranos.
Edge: WoP

TBE: LeVar Burton
WoP: Lou Gossett Jr.
Analysis: How did WoP manage to snatch one of Hollywood's top B-list blacktors away from TBE? Especially one who made a movie called The Lazarus Syndrome? Removing Roots from the equation, since both actors made their names in it, this match comes down to Star Trek vs. An Officer and a Gentleman.
Edge: TBE

TBE: Kirk Franklin
WoP: Ernie Hudson
Analysis: Another coup for WoP! How did TBE let the black Ghostbuster slip through their fingers. Franklin has sold more albums than him (and Jesus for that matter), but still — Who ya gonna call?!
Edge: WoP

TBE: Donnie McClurkin
WoP: John Schneider
Anaylsis: McClurkin, another big-time gospel singer, is anti-gay activist — and an "ex gay" himself. Schneider is Bo Duke — and Jonthan Kent.
Edge: WoP

TBE: Terry Crews
WoP: Chris McDonald
Analysis: You know Crews, barely, as Chris Rock's dad on Everybody Hates Chris. McDonald you'd recognize in a second, without being able to name a single thing youv'e seen him in.
Edge: none

TBE: Cuba Gooding Jr.
WoP: Luke Perry
Analysis. Yes, WoP should have gotten Perry to play Luke. I mean, duh. But TBE — you just couldn't resist the 'show me the money' joke, could you?
Edge: WoP

Mitigating factors
For TBE: supporting cast includes Angela Bassett, CCH Pounder, Common, Charles S. Dutton, Idris Elba, Heavy D, Sanaa Lathan, MC Lyte, Garrett Morris, Alfre Woodard, Jeffery Wright and Tim "Venus Flytrap" Reid

Against WoP: music is by Michael W. Smith is involved.

And the winner is: Johnny Cash Reads the Complete New Testament.

More info and audio clips for: The Bible Experience and Word of Promise.

Related: The Good Book Business

Posted by Daniel Radosh


"Para bailar"? I always processed that line as "Lalalala La Bamba."

The music on the Word of Promise is actually going to be an original composition by a famous Italian composer, Stefano Mainetti... Michael W. Smith might just lend some talent here or there. He might get a speaking part.

I actually heard that the musical score is being done by prolific Italian composer Stefano Mainetti.

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