Stop the Shopocalypse | New Times Broward-Palm Beach

Stop the Shopocalypse

This scenario is repeated each year by families all across America: Tired from the endless onslaught of Christmas commercialism, sons and daughters and parents pledge to buy less, give more, and separate themselves from the juggernaut of holiday shopping. But we all know those pledges never take hold. The Power of Stuff is just too strong to resist. Even the most pious among us succumb to the draw of video game systems, toys, and gadgets. Well, all of us except Reverend Billy.

That’s right, Reverend Billy of the Church of Stop Shopping – an evangelical faux-preacher with a six-inch-tall pompadour and an even bigger axe to grind with consumerism. Billy started his church eight years ago under the promise of “exorcising the demons from the cash registers,” and today his congregation numbers in the thousands. So last year, when Billy embarked on a cross country tour to stop the Shopocalypse (a hellfire and brimstone sort of reckoning stemming from over-consumption), producer Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame decided to tag along and chronicle the journey. The resulting doc, What Would Jesus Buy?, tempers Billy’s exaggerated persona (see Billy extract the evil from a Wal-Mart sign while speaking in tongues!) with poignant messages. (“Something’s wrong. Everything here on Main Street U.S.A. is made in China,” he says.) It may be too late for your salvation this holiday season, but get a head start for next year when What Would Jesus Buy? screens Friday at 7:45 p.m. at Cinema Paradiso (503 SE 6th St., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $8. Call 954-525-FILM, or visit
Fri., Jan. 4, 2008