Still Crazy:  An Unsung Homage
to the New Testament

by Mary Ann Beavis
St. Thomas More College 


1. For Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical and Best Original Song - Motion Picture (for "The Flame Still Burns") (1999).

2. For Best Technical/Artistic Achievement and the Peter Sellers Award for Comedy for actor Bill Nighy (1999).  It was also nominated for Best Original Song ("The Flame Still Burns") and Best Supporting Actor (Bill Nighy) by the Golden Sattelite Awards (1999).

3. Roger Ebert, "Still Crazy," Chicago Sun Times.

4.  Janet Maslin, "'Still Crazy:'  Middle-Aged Rockers Milk the Past for a Life-Renewing Blast", New York Times on the Web.

5. Edward Guthmann, "Rock of Ageds in 'Crazy,'" San Francsco Chronicle's

6. Peter Travers, "Still Crazy," Rolling Stone.

7. In addition to the reviews above, see reviews at, AMCTV, Movie Reviews and Fantasy Film League.

8. See, e.g., the 49 External Reviews listed by the Internet Movie Database.

9. These generally found the (R-rated) film more or less objectionable for sexuality, language and drug content; see The Movie Reporter - Movie Reviews from A Christian Perspective; United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Movie and Family Video Reviews; Screen It! Entertainment Reviews; and Kids-in-Mind.

10. I owe this insight to my M.A. student Arlene N. Stevens (University of Saskatchewan), who highlighted the relationship between the figure of Mary and the character of Karen Knowles (and other NT elements in the film) in a term paper.  Many thanks to Arlene for reading and commenting on a draft of this article.

11. See Thomas Kerkhoven, "Shiva on the Durham Coalfield:  On the Pertinence of Hindu Myth to the Film Billy Elliot," Journal of Religion and Popular Culture 4 (Summer 2003); Steven J. Rosen, "Legend of Bagger Vance:  How the Bhagavad Gita Landed on a Golf Course," Hinduism Today (March/April 2001)).

12. I recently used the movie with good results in an undergraduate Bible and Film course taught at the University of Saskatchewan (Intersession, 2004).

13. "Strange Fruit" is the title of a disturbing blues song composed by Abel Meeropol (Lewis Allan), originally sung by Billie Holiday; the lyrics of this protest against lynching ("Southern trees bear strange fruit, Blood on the leaves, Blood at the root, Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze ... ") seem unrelated to a comedy like Still Crazy.  Since the band is referred to as "The Fruits" throughout the movie, the slightly comical rendering of a phrase in the King James translation of Matt. 7:20 (cf. 7:16) - "by their fruits ye shall know them" - seems like a more plausible allusion.

14. See the Discovery Channel's slide show "From Virgin Blue to Royal Blue."

15. For traditional portrayals of the Virgin wearing priestly vestments, see

16. Cf. the earlier scene where Karen and Clare, like the Synoptics' women at the tomb, visit Keith's grave (Mark 16:1; Matt. 28:1: Luke 24:1, 10).

17. A second-century tradition attributed to Papias of Hierapolis says that after Judas died, the stench was so horrible that it endured "to this day"; Papias, Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord as quoted in Apollinaris of Laodicaea, The Apostolic Fathers (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1989), 323-34.

18. The band members are seated behind a long table on a platform, faced by the reporters.

19. In view of the subtlety of some of the allusions in the film, it might not be too much of a stretch to speculate that the character's surname, Lovell, alludes to the theological virtue of agapē ("divine love"); "El", of course, is a Hebrew word for God.

20. Later, Beano wryly speculates that the band might get a "shepherd's pie" out of the comeback.

21. In a Bible and Film course, this reference provides a sterling opportunity to discuss the difference between the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the New Testament accounts of the virginal conception of Jesus.

22. See Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture.

23. Ray keeps his gold  records in the crypt.

24. In the confusion before they take the stage, Tony observes that the crowd is "bayin' for our blood" - like the crowds demanded the blood of early Christian martyrs.

25. E.g., Come and See Icons, Books & Art.

26. The Flame Still Burns (Mick Jones, Marti Fredericksen, Chris Difford)

I live a life that's surreal
Where all that I feel I am learning
For life has been turned on the lathe
Reshaped with a flame that's still burning

And in time, it's all a sweet mystery
When you shake the tree of temptation
Yeah, and I, I know the fear and the cost
Of a paradise lost in frustration

And the flame still burns
It's there in my soul for that unfinished goal
And the flame still burns
From a glimmer of then, it lights up again
In my life
In my life, yeah

I, I want my thoughts to be heard
The unspoken words of my wisdom
Today, as the light starts to close
Tomorrow who knows who will listen

But my life has no language of love
No word from above is appearing
Or the time, and time is a fire that's stoked
with the reason of hope and believing

And the flame still burns
Yeah, it's there in my soul for that unfinished goal
And the flame still burns
From a glimmer of then, it lights up again
In my life 

Keep a rollin', keep that flame still burnin'
Keep a rollin', while the world keeps turnin'
Yeah, keep a rollin'
Yeah, keep a rollin' . . . 


27. George Gallup and Timothy Jones, The Next American Spirituality:  Finding God in the Twenty-First Century (Chariot Victor Publishing, 2000).

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