Movie Review: 'The Gospel Of Eureka' And 'The Lego Movie 2' | Nashville Public Radio

Movie Review: 'The Gospel Of Eureka' And 'The Lego Movie 2'

Feb 9, 2019
Originally published on February 9, 2019 9:07 pm
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

In this week of rival State of the Union messages, two movies about communities in conflict have opened. Critic Bob Mondello says for films that come to, essentially, the same conclusion, they could hardly be more different.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: The documentary "The Gospel Of Eureka" takes us to Eureka Springs, Ark., a small town that's celebrated for two things, both of which involve costumes, lip-syncing and exaltation, a passion play performed in an outdoor amphitheater for crowds of the faithful...

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: You are about to see a dramatic reenactment the last days of life of Jesus Christ on Earth.

MONDELLO: ...And a nightclub, where the performances are, let's say, less reverent.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: (Singing) You're making her feel good, but you can make her feel better.

MONDELLO: Male performers in sequined dresses wow the largely gay crowds at the Eureka Live nightclub. And you might expect that these folks and the audience at the amphitheater would be like oil and water, never really mixing. But this documentary concentrates on the spots where their worlds intersect - the trans woman and her husband who faithfully attend the passion play, the preacher who emphasizes inclusion for gay parishioners, the devout Christian owners of the drag club who worry about and contribute to the upkeep of the town's 65-foot Christ of the Ozarks statue.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: It's looking really good.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: Last Wednesday morning, that whole wall of stucco...

MONDELLO: The film is ever conscious of ironies, that this statue, for instance, was commissioned by an anti-Semitic clergyman or that the town's gay pride parade is halted by a sudden deluge from the heavens, ironies mentioned, not dwelt upon as the camera visits performers applying eyeliner to play Roman centurions on one stage, women on another. At one point, we watch from the amphitheater's control booth...

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #5: Here we go.

MONDELLO: ...As the actor playing Jesus rises, majestically...

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

MONDELLO: ...A majestic gospel voice soars at the nightclub.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOCUMENTARY, "THE GOSPEL OF EUREKA")

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #6: (Singing) Who will be thy Savior?

MONDELLO: And you think, well, if the makers of "The Gospel Of Eureka" can find pride and piety on both sides of the cultural divide in this rhinestone-buckle-on-the-Bible belt, maybe there's hope for the rest of us.

You could've knocked me over with a feather boa when it hit me that this precise message - folks who think they're enemies finding common ground - is what animates "Lego Movie 2."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE")

TEGAN AND SARA: (Singing) Everything is awesome.

MONDELLO: You may recall that 8-year-old Finn, who'd been playing with his dad's Lego set, ended the first Lego Movie in a bit of a panic.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE")

WILL FERRELL: (As The Man Upstairs) Now that I'm letting you come down here and play, guess who else gets to come down here and play?

JADON SAND: (As Finn) Who?

FERRELL: (As The Man Upstairs) Your sister.

MONDELLO: And that's where this movie picks up several gazillion pieces later.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

BROOKLYNN PRINCE: (As Bianca) We are from the Planet Duplo. We are here to destroy you.

MONDELLO: Finn sends his good-guy avatar, Emmet, out as an ambassador.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

CHRIS PRATT: (As Emmet) There's no need to fight anymore. See? Friends.

BROOKLYNN: (As Bianca) Oh.

MONDELLO: Little sister Bianca smashes the whole Lego city of Bricksburg with her Duplo blocks, reducing it to Apocalypseburg. And, several years later, that's where we still are. Finn's a little older. And from the looks of Apocalypseburg...

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

ELIZABETH BANKS: (As Lucy) Run.

MONDELLO: ...He has seen some "Mad Max" movies.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

PRATT: (As Emmet) Hurry, the door is slowly closing.

MONDELLO: His sister sends in exploding pink hearts and big-eyed baby stars, who play Emmet for a sucker.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

BROOKLYNN: (As Bianca) Oh, the pain. It's getting so cold.

BANKS: (As Lucy) Emmet, what are you doing?

BROOKLYNN: (As Bianca) Hooray.

PRATT: (As Emmet) See? That wasn't so bad. Nothing got in.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Something got in.

MONDELLO: In short, it's sibling rivalry writ with building blocks, a battle of preteen boy and pre-adolescent girl with boy nervous about growing up and utterly clueless about feminine wiles, especially when his sister kidnaps his Bricksburgians (ph) and starts treating them to spa days and glitter makeovers. Can this sibling gulf be bridged? Well, suffice it to say that while "Lego 2" has a new song called "Everything's Not Awesome," it will not dampen anyone's mood.

I'm Bob Mondello.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE LEGO MOVIE 2: THE SECOND PART")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS: (As characters, singing) Everything's not awesome. Things can be awesome all of the time. It's not realistic expectation, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.