In honor of the upcoming review of 4D Man, we present for your viewing pleasure the SCTV classic Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses. Because, you know, 3D is a lot like 4D, just… 1D less. Whatever, it’s worth it just to see Catherine O'Hara break character and start to crack up during the terrifying clothes ripping scene.
What goes around comes around, I suppose. This skit’s about 30 years old, and yet here we are in 2011, smack dab in the middle of another era of 3-D movies desperately in need of ridicule. Even James Cameron, who made the the biggest 3-D movie of all time, thinks so. When asked about the 2010 3-D remake of Piranha in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the famous filmmaker (who briefly worked on the original Piranha II: The Spawning) lamented, “I tend almost never to throw other films under the bus, but that is exactly an example of what we should not be doing in 3-D. Because it just cheapens the medium and reminds you of the bad 3-D horror films from the 70s and 80s, like Friday the 13th 3-D. When movies got to the bottom of the barrel of their creativity and at the last gasp of their financial lifespan, they did a 3-D version to get the last few drops of blood out of the turnip.”
Well, ignoring the fact that I personally had a lot more fun at the premier of Friday the 13th 3-D back in the day than I did recently watching Avatar (which, to be fair, I did not see in 3-D), Cameron does have a point. The majority of uses of 3-D over the years really have been little more than a gimmick to get people into theater seats through the promise of a movie watching experience which can’t be duplicated at home. Unfortunately, the gimmick has rarely been backed up by quality of content. One need only to browse some of the titles of 3-D releases to realize the truth of this. For every legitimate 3-D classic like the Creature from the Black Lagoon or the 1953 version of House of Wax, there have been untold oodles of movies which no gimmick could save, flicks like A*P*E, Cat-Women of the Moon, and Robot Monster. (Hmm, can’t believe I haven’t done anything with Cat-Women of the Moon on this blog yet.)
Alas, gimmicks only get you so far. Just ask those preachers who over the past decade or so have tried to fill the pews by doing stuff like putting Starbucks inside their churches, holding Oprah-like big prize giveaways, and even sponsoring events such as Bring Your Gun To Church Day (not that we’re against pistol packin’ pastors here in the South, we just question the wisdom of encouraging a heavily armed congregation when there’s always a chance the holy spirit might decide to inspire a forty-minute homily). The problem with such “attractional” ministries is that they pander to the whole church as a commodity mentality and are forced to keep coming up with new and more exciting gimmicks to keep the crowds coming in. And that’s ultimately not going to be effective in the long haul. Brett McCracken, author of Hipster Christianity: When Church and Cool Collide, believes that “If the evangelical Christian leadership thinks that 'cool' Christianity is a sustainable path forward, they are severely mistaken… As a twenty-something, I can say with confidence that when it comes to church, we don't want cool as much as we want real. If we are interested in Christianity in any sort of serious way, it is not because it's easy or trendy or popular - it's because Jesus himself is appealing, and what he says rings true.”
Fortunately, there’s a way to have both. You can have an experience at church that is both singularly unique and utterly meaningful. Plus it’s got a 2,000 year track record, so you know it’s not just some passing fad. What is this miraculous thing, you ask? Well, according to the Catechism, “the inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is called: Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God… The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem. The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meal, when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread, above all at the Last Supper… The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the Church. The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection. The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering… The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament; in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries… Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body. We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) - the first meaning of the phrase "communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed - the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality, viaticum… Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.”
The body and blood of Jesus Christ. Now showing at a parish near you, today and forever after until Jesus himself shows up to lock the doors and turn off the lights. 3-D glasses not required; clear conscience and contrite heart highly recommended.