Honk for Jesus, save your soul stars Regina Hall and Sterlin K. Brown as the first lady and pastor of a major Southern Baptist mega church trying to rebuild their congregation in the wake of a scandal. Directed by Adamma Ebo, Honk for Jesus, save your soul premiered on Peacock on September 2.
The film is the latest in a long line of dark satirical comedies and casual dramas that explore the world of religion and wealth. These films take a humorous but not necessarily light-hearted approach to faith, tackling issues such as corruption, deceit, ambition, and even sin.
Checked in! (2004)
Stream to Prime Video
The teen genre had a refreshing and biting entrance with the 2004 religious satire Checked in! Starring Mandy Moore, Jena Malone, Patrick Fugit and Macaulay Culkin, the film follows a Catholic school girl who becomes pregnant after having sex with her boyfriend in an effort to “cure” him of his homosexuality.
Checked in! Deftly blends elements of satirical comedy and the teen genre. As Honk for Jesushe uses an exaggerated approach to religion and conservatism, painting an absurd yet uncomfortably possible depiction of the dangers of extreme, blind faith.
Not currently available to stream in the US
by Kevin Smith Dogma is one of the best Matt Damon-Ben Affleck collaborations. Featuring a great cast that also includes Salma Hayek, Alan Rickman, and Smith himself, the film is a religious satire about two fallen angels trying to find a loophole in creation to return to heaven after being cast out by God.
Dogma satirizes aspects of Christian beliefs, using the sometimes seemingly contradictory information contained in Scripture to create biting comedy. It goes far beyond the satire of Honk for Jesusbut both films thrive on the absurdity of their premise, pointing out several flaws in various religious institutions.
Salvation Boulevard (2011)
Stream to Vix
Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei star in Salvation Boulevard. The plot centers around a born-again Christian who witnesses the accidental murder of an atheist at the hands of a popular evangelical pastor and must convince everyone of the truth.
Salvation Boulevard is a story of corruption within religious ranks and how powerful figures can manipulate the truth to their ultimate convenience. It pulls no punches in its depiction of deception and religious privilege through a healthy dose of dark comedy, much like Honk for Jesus.
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Stream on Netflix
sorry to disturb you is a surreal black comedy about a black telemarketer who becomes embroiled in a nefarious conspiracy within his company. Lakeith Stanfield directs an ensemble cast including Tessa Thompson, Terry Crews, Steven Yeun and Danny Glover.
The film uses the absurd to tell a scathing critique of capitalism and corporate greed. It also features one of the most unusual twists in any film, instantly becoming a cult classic. sorry to disturb you and Honk for Jesus present premises that may seem ridiculous but tell a deeper truth about modern society.
We Are No Angels (1989)
Stream on Amazon Prime
Robert De Niro and Sean Penn team up for 1989 comedy We are not angels. The premise follows two convicts who pose as priests to avoid capture during the height of the Great Depression. Demi Moore co-stars as a laundress and prostitute who gets involved in the duo’s scheme.
We are not angels is a pure comedy, almost burlesque. The movie can’t help but ridicule religion by its very premise, but that’s never its main focus, something it has in common with Honk for Jesus. We are not angels uses its setting to tell a story of longing and commitment that occurs within a monastery.
Leap of Faith (1992)
Stream on Starz
Steve Martin has a long resume full of authentic classics, but leap of fate might be one of his most underrated projects. Martin plays Jonas Nightingale, a Christian healer who scams the people of a Kansas town before realizing his success won’t last forever.
leap of faith is a sometimes clever satire on religion and hoaxes. As Honk for Jesus, leap of faith shows how far scammers can go by exploiting people’s faith. However, it also shows how dangerous it can be to mess with something so sacred and meaningful to people.
The Informant! (2009)
Available to rent on Apple TV
Steven Soderbergh is arguably one of the best directors Matt Damon has worked with, and 2009 The Informant! is one of their best collaborations. The film follows Mark Whitacre, the vice president of an agribusiness accused of price-fixing, who becomes an informant for the government.
The Informant! takes a satirical approach to its real-life story, similar to the cynical tone Honk for Jesus adopted. Both films rely heavily on dark humor to tell their stories, exploiting absurdism in their premise to deliver hilarious yet deeply compelling narratives.
The Preacher’s Wife (1996)
Stream on FuboTV
The preacher’s wife is a romantic comedy that immediately stands out. Starring Denzel Washington, Whitney Houston and Courtney B. Vance, the plot follows an angel who comes to Earth to help a preacher save his congregation and his marriage.
Although both The preacher’s wife and Honk for Jesus follow a similar premise of preachers trying to save their congregations, they take a distinctly different approach. The latter is more innocent and less cynical. However, both have a similar setting, making them perfect companions for back-to-back viewing.
Stream on Starz
Directed by Mike Judge and co-written by Judge and Ethan Cohen, Idiocracy is a sci-fi satire starring Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph. It follows a US Army librarian and a sex worker who wake up in the distant future where a mindless civilization is indoctrinated by mindless television programming.
Idiocracy is a sharp, biting satire that openly criticizes and pokes fun at the crude commercialism of pop culture. As Honk for Jesusthe film uses dark humor to offer a critique of society’s materialism and need for recognition, presenting a dark but comedic portrayal of otherwise serious issues.
Tammy Faye’s Eyes (2021)
Stream on WOW Presents Plus
The world of televangelism got its own biopic in Tammy Faye’s eyes. Starring Jessica Chastain and Andre Garfield, the film tells the story of Tammy Faye Bakker, including her marriage to fellow evangelist Jim Messner and their eventual fall from grace after her financial scandal.
Tammy Faye’s eyes has a less cynical approach to religion than Honk for Jesus, but both films explore the financial gains that can result from religious campaigns. Chastain received acclaim for her performance, winning the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 2022 ceremony.
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