In somewhat the same class as “Napoleon Dynamite” (with an entirely different style) some will find this movie stupid and offensive, and even not all that funny, if indeed it was even meant to be a comedy. But I liked it. Enough to root for it as Best Movie of 2006, though I haven’t seen the other four nominees, so my endorsement may not mean much.
The movie portrays the human experience of aspiration, failure, conflict, love, hate and redemption in such a freshly odd mix that I found myself wondering why I so quickly liked each and every character, in spite of themselves. I need to see the movie a second time to perhaps find out. In that respect (for me) the movie is actually a mystery. What was it about each of these characters that made them so lovable? It certainly wasn’t their humanity. Or was it? There are clues throughout the movie, but even the ending does not clearly offer up the answer. The answer is somewhere else. It is somewhere in me.
The writers went out of their way to try to offend most Christian moral sensibilities, capping off the attempt with the teen-age son who wears the T-Shirt proclaiming “Jesus Was Wrong.” I’m sure we will start to see more of those in the mall, alongside “Vote for Pedro.” In spite of that, I found Christian websites that recommend the movie, with, of course, all the obligatory warnings.
What does this have to do with Luther or theology? Maybe nothing. Maybe everything. When in doubt, I can justify discussing almost anything under the category of Luther's simul, which is the starting point for discovering all the paradoxes of human behavior. Recognition of the simul may also be one key to accepting others as God accepts us. And this (I suspect) has much to do with solving the mystery of this movie.