Mike Leigh’s NAKED, A Fun-Filled Romp For Children Of All Ages

Good, clean, family entertainment.

With summer finally here, local families looking for fun activities are likely to turn to the video store for entertainment. Unfortunately, attractions offered by Hollywood these days are often filled with little more than wanton violence, blasphemy and heaping mountains of ess-ee-ex. It can be difficult knowing what films are and are not suitable for good Christian families.

Luckily my son, Dakota, has agreed to scout and recommend a series of films he thinks will provide the best opportunities for good, clean family entertainment. As many of you already know, Dakota has nearly completed his 100% voluntary stint at the St. Yankovic Sexual Reorientation Facility. The following review comes from his heart, but also works toward an early release:

"Hello, all! My adopted, single, multi-cat-owning mother asked me to pick some family friendly films for your summer viewing pleasure. For my first go around, I have decided to go choose Naked by a filmmaker named Mike Leigh. Now, I know some red flags are likely to be raised over that title. But I assure you, its purely puritanical thematic resonance will make itself clear to you upon seeing the film.

Naked is about a man named Johnny. When we first meet Johnny, he is very sad because the girl he loves does not love him back and leaves him cold and alone in a damp alley. Unsure of what to do next, Johnny goes to visit Louise, one of his old friends in London. He lives in Manchester, so it's quite a long distance away. Luckily, a sympathetic God supplies him with a car.

Things are not great in London, either. Johnny's old pal, Louise, is mired and bogged down with the spiritual unrest common to most people who choose to live in soulless urban areas. But if Louise is lost, she's nothing compared to her flatmate, Sophie, who has every blight on her soul humanly imaginable.

Both women instantly want to be best friends with Johnny. But he sees their lack of proximity with the Lord and refuses them the comfort they so desperately seek. See, Johnny is a true life changer, and his ability to execute this gift without fail makes him something of a miracle worker. He has a two pronged approach to saving lost souls. First, he illustrates the depravity displayed before him by copying it to an exaggerated degree. If Louise wants to spend her whole life getting high off tea, Johnny makes sure to drink all the tea in the house so she can see how foolish it looks and how hyper it makes him. If poor, lost Sofia wants to say she's in love with every man she meets, Johnny is going to pretend to love her and every other woman he meets.

Meanwhile, Johnny also inflicts a harsh version of tough love by judgmentally questioning people's lifestyles to an aggressive degree, while quickly berating any answer they give as if he could really care less despite the fact that he just asked a question. By the time Johnny is done with these two ladies, they are so turned around and filled with self-hatred that there's nowhere to go but up, which is where the troubled always find Jesus.

With that work done, Johnny ventures out into the streets of London to see how many other lost souls he can save. Keep in mind, this is a poor, hungry city, filled with the hopeless and downtrodden. People not only drown their sorrows in tea, but some of them also use profanity. The very worst even smoke cigarettes. Johnny has his work cut out for him.

For instance, Johnny comes across a very angry young man who appears seems to be looking for his girlfriend. Johnny attempts to calm the man down and help him with his search, even going to far as to split up to cover more ground. Sure enough, Johnny finds the girl, who is also very angry. When he brings them both together, they do not thank him but instead shrink away into the shadows fighting, together but still lost. Johnny cannot save everyone.

But not all lost souls are evil or even desperate. At one point, Johnny is just taking a break from helping people by sitting in a doorway and reading his Bible. A doorman comes to let him in from the cold. Johnny tries his berating tactic on the man, but it does not work. His soul is already saved. "So why am I here?" Johnny wonders. Then he finds out. The man is in love with a woman he sees nightly through a window across the street. She is his temptation. But Johnny can clearly see that she is a harlot who kisses men without marrying them first.

Johnny knows just what to do. He goes across the street, talks his way into the woman's room, positions himself in front of the window so the man can see, and then just sits there while the strange lady begs him to hold her hand like they're going steady. This breaks the worker of his attachment and potential spiritual downfall. As for the lady, Johnny deduces that she is overly concerned with looking young and beautiful, so he forcibly shaves her head. Two birds. One stone.

Not everyone is open to Johnny's salvation. A man who spends his nights glueing concert posters to walls, for instance, deals with Johnny's well-meaning berating with violence. And a group of hooligans knock him around before he even has a chance to open his mouth. So it's a hard life out there for soul savers. But no one said it was going to be easy.

Eventually, Johnny saves enough people for one day and can finally go home. But who is going to save his soul? That's the question. Luckily, everyone Johnny has touched in his day of touching people find him at the same time and give him one big community hug, and they all eat animal crackers and drink punch together. It's a really good movie."

This was written for the "Cheers! A Celebration of Pub Life" issue of Birth.Movies.Death. in honor of Edgar Wright's The World's End, in Alamo Drafthouse theaters now!

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