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Please join us for Spiritual Cinema on Friday, October 26 at 7:00 PM. We will watch the motion picture, “Dogma” (1999). The movie is 130 minutes and will be followed by a short discussion of some of the topics raised by the movie. This month we will be screening the movie in Fessendon Hall. Please RSVP to Dan Flippo at [email protected].
Comments by Dan:
This movie is perhaps the most sacrilegious movie ever created and is a hilarious spoof on Catholic Dogma. After the movie we will discuss some of the dogma’s involved and how they compare to the views of those attending.
“Rufus: He still digs humanity, but it bothers Him to see the shit that gets carried out in His name – wars, bigotry, televangelism. But especially the factioning of all the religions. He said humanity took a good idea and, like always, built a belief structure on it.
Bethany: Having beliefs isn’t good?
Rufus: I think it’s better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier…”
Kevin Smith is a conundrum of a filmmaker: he’s a writer with brilliant, clever ideas who can’t set up a simple shot to save his life. It was fine back when Smith was making low-budget films like Clerks and Chasing Amy, both of which had an amiable, grungy feel to them, but now that he’s a rising director who’s attracting top talent and tackling bigger themes, it might behoove him to polish his filmmaking. That’s the main problem with Dogma–it’s an ambitious, funny, aggressively intelligent film about modern-day religion, but while Smith’s writing has matured significantly (anyone who thinks he’s not topnotch should take a look at Chasing Amy), his direction hasn’t. It’s too bad, because Dogma is ripe for near-classic status in its theological satire, which is hardly as blasphemous as the protests that greeted the movie would lead you to believe.
Two banished angels (Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) have discovered a loophole that would allow them back into heaven; problem is, they’d destroy civilization in the process by proving God fallible. It’s up to Bethany (Linda Fiorentino), a lapsed Catholic who works in an abortion clinic, to save the day, with some help from two so-called prophets (Smith and Jason Mewes, as their perennial characters Jay and Silent Bob), the heretofore unknown 13th apostle (Chris Rock), and a sexy, heavenly muse (the sublime Salma Hayek, who almost single-handedly steals the film). In some ways Dogma is a shaggy dog of a road movie–which hits a comic peak when Affleck and Fiorentino banter drunkenly on a train to New Jersey, not realizing they’re mortal enemies–and segues into a comedy-action flick as the vengeful angels (who have a taste for blood) try to make their way into heaven. Smith’s cast is exceptional–with Fiorentino lending a sardonic gravity to the proceedings, and Jason Lee smirking evilly as the horned devil Azrael–and the film shuffles good-naturedly to its climax (featuring Alanis Morissette as a beatifically silent God), but it just looks so unrelentingly… subpar. Credit Smith with being a daring writer but a less-than-stellar director. –Mark Englehart
Posted in: Spiritual Cinema