Nov 27, 2022
This straight-to-video oddity from the vast catalog of legendary Christian rock band Newsboys is a nostalgic favorite for fans of the group who love Newsboys’ classic mid-90s albums including “Going Public” and “Take Me to Your Leader”. DOWN UNDER THE BIG TOP is a comic fantasy film starring the band as the reluctant heirs of a dilapidated circus, faced with the difficult task of coming up with exciting acts and making “megacash” by bringing the show back to life. That’s as far as the plot really goes — most of the film is just an excuse to see your favorite Newsboys getting pies to the face or making Christian music industry in-jokes. CCM (contemporary Christian music) super-producer Steve Taylor, who directed this film, makes a cameo alongside other musical powerhouses such as prolific bassist Tommy Simms. The silly gags of DOWN UNDER THE BIG TOP aren’t without their dark undertones — lead vocalist John James was likely performing in this film while in the throes of his addiction issues that would cause him to leave the group the following year, although fortunately he has since recovered. Still, DOWN UNDER THE BIG TOP is a charmingly bizarre artifact of a time when CCM had a huge cultural impact, and Newsboys were the genre’s most beloved ambassadors. Returning as a guest to our show is our friend and resident CCM expert Josh Martin, a film curator behind Uncomfortable Brunch and Orlando Pop-Up Movie Services, who filled in our analysis of this film with his intricate knowledge of Newsboys lore.
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