Review by Michael Jacobson
Jena Malone, Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, Ava Amurri,
Martin Donovan, Mary Louise Parker
Director: Brian Dannelly
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1
Features: See Review
Length: 92 Minutes
Release Date: October 5, 2004
only one reason Christian girls come down to the Planned Parenthood."
planting a pipe bomb?"
upon a time, Hollywood made comedies that stereotyped African Americans. Depictions
of toothy grinned, watermelon chomping, chicken stealing, jig dancing black
folks like Mantan or Steppin' Fetchit flickered across the screen, and
was good clean fun? Well, maybe not
if you happened to be of the same kind of people that were being ridiculed and
made out to be less than human for the sake of mass entertainment.
But some people just can't take a joke, right?
what was said back in those ugly, embarrassing days of racially insensitive
humor. Thankfully, our culture has
grown somewhat beyond finding the belittling of an entire race of people for
jollies as a viable pastime. Heck,
the only groups left that are politically okay to belittle for the bemusement of
the great masses are fat people and Christians. Nothing terribly wrong with that, huh?
you happen to be a fat person or a Christian.
I happen to be both. And
I'm not so self-conscious that I can't laugh at myself, or even roll with a
few jokes at my expense. But
sometimes, you look at a film like Saved, and you think about it, and you
think about the way Christians are constantly portrayed in cinema today and the
way our black citizens were once portrayed, and you begin to realize that things
like these only pretend to be born out of humor.
The sad truth is, they're born out of hatred, crafted by careless hands
who would much rather belittle than understand, and who would much rather tear
others down than build themselves up.
are the last group of people expected to sit still and take it while everything
we hold sacred is desecrated in the name of art, freedom of expression, and so
on and so forth. If someone with no
talent wants to earn a little fame and notoriety by floating a crucifix in urine
or covering an image of the Virgin Mary in feces, we'd best not offer a
protest, or we run the risk of being called narrow minded, intolerant, and
persecutors of others. Show Song
of the South on a big screen, and cries of bigotry and discrimination erupt
from coast to coast. Show Saved,
and what's the matter with us...don't we have a sense of humor?
sad fact is, if a movie exactly like Saved had been made about Muslims
instead of Christians, the film would have never seen mass distribution.
Any movie companies associated with it would be blackballed in every
media outlet throughout the land, and any actor who appeared in it would be
forever besmirched and lucky to find work in a dog food commercial.
But make it about people who follow Jesus instead of Muhammad, and it
gets critical raves and great press and hailed as the comedy sensation of the
year. If more people could simply appreciate what a double standard
is at play here, it might be the beginning of the end for the last great
protected prejudice in this country.
senior class at a Christian high school from before the beginning of the school
year until prom. The main character
is Mary (Malone), a girl raised in the church but who is about to experience a
debilitating crisis of faith. When
her boyfriend admits he might be gay, she figures Jesus would want her to help
cure him, so she sleeps with him, figuring her Savior will restore her virginity
as a reward for such a selfless act. But
instead, she ends up pregnant.
one time friend, Hilary Faye (Moore), is the epitome of every stereotype
venomously hurled at Christians...think Amos n' Andy for the Bible belt and
you've just about got it. She has
no compassion for Mary's predicament, or Mary's boyfriend either, who is
always referred to as 'pervert' or 'heathen'.
She doesn't even have a lot of heart for her own crippled brother
Roland (Culkin), or the school's lone Jewish girl and all out rebel Cassandra
(Amurri). She talks God's
forgiveness while holding those who might need it most in contempt.
school year plays out with Mary trying to hide her blossoming condition while
coming to realize that Christians like Hilary Faye are the true bad guys of the
world. The kids in the movie who
reject faith are the heroic figures. They're
the ones who really love their neighbors. If
you're a Christian, you're just a self-absorbed hypocrite.
Wow...isn't this hysterical stuff?
No wonder critics were wetting themselves with laughter and climbing over
each other to write the blurbs of praise that would end up on the movie poster.
prom is, of course, where it all comes together, or falls apart, depending on
your point of view. There's the
obligatory soap box moment when the 'outcast' kids actually lecture the
wicked Christians on the truth about God's love.
Funny, I somehow knew that truth all the time. Only the Christians in movies don't ever seem to get it;
they somehow miss the whole "God so loved the world" part and only know
about hell and damnation. I guess
all the Bibles in Hollywood must have been expurgated by the MPAA for
sad part is, there are some genuinely good moments in the film.
When it forgets its vendetta against all who believe in God and just lets
the kids be kids and talk about real life and real problems and real situations,
it kind of gets it right. The cast
of young stars is extremely talented...and frankly, I enjoyed seeing a grown up
Macaulay Culkin leaving his cute-kid years comfortably behind and emerging as an
actor of substance. Jena Malone,
Mandy Moore, Patrick Fugit...all of them did terrific work; no fault there.
guess the moral is that the world would be a much better place if Christians
weren't getting in the way of the non-Christians who are TRULY practicing what
Jesus preached. If that tickles
your funny bone, then go forth and have a grand time with Saved.
For some, it's a punchline that will cause heartache, but don't
let that concern you...maybe we just don't have a sense of humor.
is a nice anamorphic offering from MGM, although you can tell in the margins
that you're looking at a fairly low budget film. Colors are generally vibrant and realistic, but some darker
images lose a bit of detail in the translation. Lighter ones, of which there are plenty, render with a lot
more clarity and cleanness.
5.1 soundtrack works well...though it's mostly a dialogue oriented film, there
are some bigger scenes that bring both front and rear stages into play, plus a
good song score that keeps the dynamic range up and the subwoofer engaged.
is one of the more generous studios when it comes to packaging their discs with
extras, and Saved is no exception. The
disc starts with two commentary tracks: the one with director Brian Dannelly, co-writer Michael Urban
and producer Sandy Stern is the more informative and attentive to detail; the
one with stars Jena Malone and Mandy Moore is more along the lines of wasn't
he/she great and oh what fun we had.
is a REALLY short production featurette which delves into nothing, followed by
11 deleted scenes, 5 bloopers, and 5 "revelations", which are essentially
planned bloopers. There is also a
trailer for this and other MGM releases.