There is a prophetic episode of "The Simpsons" in which the celebrity guest star Mel Gibson, directing and starring in a remake of "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," enlists the help of Homer Simpson, who represents the public taste (or lack of it). Homer persuades Mr. Gibson to change the picture's ending, replacing James Stewart's populist tirade with an action sequence, a barrage of righteous gunfire that leaves the halls of Congress strewn with corpses. The audience flees the theater in disgust. I thought of Homer more than once, with an involuntary irreverence conditioned by many years of devotion to "The Simpsons," as Mr. Gibson presented his new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," to carefully selected preview audiences across the land, making a few last-minute cuts, and then taking to the airwaves to promote and defend the film.
The review goes on to pretty much pan The Passion and praise its technical parts (acting, cinematography); the review also makes want Gothamist to say, all over again, "A.O. Scott, will you be Gothamist's friend?"
Rotten Tomatoes on The Passion of the Christ: So far, rotten. But Roger Ebert gives it 4 stars, calling it "the most violent film I have ever seen." Hey, Newmarket Films, there's your blurb to get the teenage boys in the doors!