Posted by G. Raymond Leavold
21. Apr, 2011
So it’s Easter once again, but what does that exactly mean? Not much if you’re neither religious nor young enough to believe that there’s a giant rabbit who delivers chocolate eggs. But there is one thing that everyone can get behind during this pretty meaningless holiday weekend: sitting on your arse in front of the TV.
Because it’s a pretty meaningless holiday to me, I’ll admit there aren’t many films about Easter that I can recommend in good conscience, but here are a few of my choice picks that’ll help you get through to Easter Monday safely, provided you haven’t gorged yourself on chocolate, you disgusting pigs!
The seminal Easter film, Easter Parade is all singing, all dancing entertainment. Starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland as new dance partners, Don and Hannah, who fall in love whilst on the job and have to make a big song and dance about it like any normal people in 1948 Technicolor would have done.
Featuring musical numbers by Irving Berlin, Easter Parade may be a little dated, and is probably too sugary-sweet for most of today’s jaded viewers to handle, but it is worth it for the choreography and Astaire’s amazing ability, as well as a Judy Garland, who matured in the ten years after Wizard of Oz but was still as adorable as ever. Still not convinced? Watch this.
And all to get a rabbit for his girl… what a bastard.
It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown
The Peanuts Gang do Easter. While everyone is busily getting ready for the holiday, ever-faithful Linus assures the rest of the kids that their hard work is all for nothing: the ‘Easter Beagle’ will get it all done in time.
Within the vignette of stories: Peppermint Patty futilely tries to teach Marcie how to make Easter eggs, Lucy prepares a ton of eggs for an Easter egg hunt, and Snoopy buys a bird-house for Woodstock and inadvertently ruins it. Other obvious occurrences are Charlie Brown moping and Snoopy saving Easter as the beagle of the title. Apologies for the spoiler, but I give you as a reader enough credit to have solved that mystery all by yourself. With an incredibly funky soundtrack, It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown is one of the few nostalgic trips of its kind that holds up incredibly well today.
Last Temptation of Christ
Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Willem Defoe as Jesus – as well as an interestingly cast Harvey Keitel as Judas—the self-proclaimed ‘Greatest Story Ever Told’ (if it does say so itself) is done a great service by showing Jesus not necessarily as a god, but as a man; riddled with self-doubt, worry, and most interestingly, with the feeling that at times he is bat-shit insane. And hey, who wouldn’t think they were crazy if they heard the voice of God talking to them, telling them they are his only true offspring? This shows a humility to Jesus that I don’t believe is present in other films of its sort. Also, David Bowie makes a pretty good Pontius Pilate.
Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey
While having nothing to do with Easter at all on the surface, there is a certain scene in Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey that does feature a very different appearance of The Easter Bunny. Don’t remember? Perhaps this’ll jog your memory…and haunt your dreams.
Dead at the hands of robotic versions of themselves, Bill and Ted, in ghost form, attend a séance and are expelled to hell, where they each find their own nightmarish versions of traumatic memories from their childhoods. Ted’s: in a pink house, he finds the Easter Bunny, who berates him for stealing his little brother’s Easter eggs when he was a child. Luckily, they escape from hell and challenge the Grim Reaper to Cluedo, which is obviously much less disturbing than being told off by a little pink bunny rabbit.
OK, so if Bill & Ted’s was straying from the fold, both in subject matter and slightly sinister tone, I’m going a little off the radar with this one.
The cause of many a disturbed childhood memory, this animated ‘kids’ film probably isn’t something you should show your child until their first pet is nearing the end of its lifespan and you want to prepare them for the long, drawn out death of their best friend.
Watership Down, based on the book by Richard Adams, is about Fiver; a prescient rabbit who, foreseeing the destruction of his warren, leads a group of his friends in search of a new, safe home. Making a long and dangerous journey, they encounter predators, wolves in sheep’s clothing and, most affectingly, grief and loss along the way.
A great if sombre film, it has nothing to do with Easter, but at least there are rabbits in it. Be warned, not all of them are cute and cuddly.
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