Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

On the heels of our Easter Week celebration of our favorite religious-themed movies, we’re taking a longer look at the collective #1 pick from all of you, our listeners (not to mention Rob’s #2). by turning it into our Spoiler Alert: Dogma episode. Kevin Smith’s 1999 comedy Dogma (1999), about a pair of foul-mouthed fallen angels trying to break into Heaven, even if it means the end of the world. The film was plagued by a controversy when it was new that hides just how earnest and self-reflective it is in grappling with Smith’s own feelings of faith.

In worth mentioning this week a couple of big trailers dropped, Carrie brings in Mr. Right (2016), meanwhile Rob spills on Deepwater Horizon (2016).

13 Responses so far.

  1. WBTN says:

    Like y’all, I haven’t watched the movie in several years, though there was a brief moment in 7th and 8th grade when I sorta loved most Kevin Smith movies, especially this one. This was before he was the guy who made Cop Out, and also the worst tweet of all time*, and I thought the smart-slacker-stoner vibe his films had was charming enough to compensate for their shortcomings.

    And now I’m just immensely afraid of revisiting it, ’cause the last time I rewatched one of his movies – Chasing Amy, I think, another contender for his most ‘earnest’ movie – I had, in the meantime between first and second viewings, become much, much snobbier, and the crappy direction really put me off any significant investment with the movie (that, and I think there are weird things going on with the script that I failed to notice the first time).

    Sooo, I hope all of you enjoy the movie, but for me it’s one I’d rather leave to memory.

    *hyperbole, but it’s still bad

  2. Caleb Wimble says:

    Even as your archetypal Angry Teenage Atheist I found Dogma an obnoxious, unsophisticated screed for most of its running time. It’s been a decade since I last saw it, so I can’t recall specifically what about the satire just didn’t land for me. Mostly I just remember being bored, especially as the plot came to a grinding halt after the first act. I did laugh a couple times, at least.

  3. Charles says:

    Dammit, the link you put didn’t work for me, and I am sooooooo curious what that tweet is!

  4. Zotch says:

    Yeah, I probably haven’t seen it since early high school, when I loved it. I remember the cast being the big draw, and how fun it felt mixing that kind of humor with the semiserious religious themes. I’m going to guess that if I saw it now the performances might still be pretty solid, but all of the monologues would probably get really old really fast. I’m going to guess that it’s not nearly as smart as I thought it was when I was a teenager, and that’s kind of a bummer.

  5. sting606 says:

    *reads tweet*

    *looks up quickest suicide route*

  6. Brian says:

    Loved Kevin Smith almost too dearly back in high school, and this one probably holds up better than most. Haven’t revisited it in many years, but if memory serves, it would be ruinous to my nostalgic fondness of it if I were to do so.

    Smith introduced me to the idea of quirky and elaborate dialogue as a films main focus, and for a while I made the mistake of thinking distinctive was the same thing as intelligent. That said, Dogma is the closest thing in my mind to an intelligent movie he’s made. It’s his least phoned-in script- the subject matter clearly meant the world to him, but unlike Chasing Amy, he tried to make those strong feelings work for the audience and not just himself. Many ideas introuduced are intriguing, and the trademark foul-mouthed dialogue has extra bite among such a sincere context.

    All of Smiths usual weaknesses are present unfortunately. Flat direction. Stagnant pacing. One-note performances (with a few exceptions- Alan Rickman can’t be bad, and I still can’t shake how funny I still find Jay, in spite of myself). An idea too big for his directorial prowess.

    Since Smith was to me what John Hughes was to so many in the 80’s, I have strong sentimental feelings about all his early films. Dogma, having long since grown out of that mentality, is the only one I wouldn’t feel obligated to defend my liking for.

  7. Tim Brayton Tim Brayton says:

    Oh, THAT tweet. I had forgotten that tweet. God, it was the worst of the worst.


    “Ten years in and we bone like we’re cheating on each other WITH each other. A decade-plus and her clit/brown/taint-area still pOwns my dick.” – @ThatKevinSmith, 9 July 2009.

  8. WBTN says:

    I really wouldn’t have brought it up if someone hadn’t retweeted it yesterday morning. Such are the people I follow

  9. Alex Frith says:

    I haven’t dared re-watch this film in many years, and frankly even at the time I had lots of problems with it*. But, from a religious point of view, I will always value it for its final scenes, in which one of the main characters breaks down with genuine regret and repentance, and is forgiven by God. In one sense, the scene is not especially well-directed or well-acted (oh Ben Affleck, you still need acting school), but in another sense it is perfectly well-directed and acted, in that it exactly communicates – to me, at any rate – a very specific moment of redemption. And what is the job of a film director if not to communicate an idea, especially an emotional idea, to the audience?

    *Kevin Smith loves dick and poop jokes. For whatever reason, I mostly love dick jokes but have rarely have time for poop jokes.

  10. Benjamin says:

    It’s probably the best of Kevin Smith’s movies (the last of which I saw was, god I dunno, Clerks 2?). Matt Damon and Alan Rickman are excellent, Jason Lee is fun, and George Carlin is inspired casting. The script is a bit of a mess, with at least one side character and baddie too many, but it is sincere, which goes a long way.

  11. sting606 says:

    Rob, don’t forget to cancel HBO. Suicide Squad has arrived on that network and you don’t want to suffer that again, do you?

    • Robert Jarosinski Robert Jarosinski says:

      Phew! You’re a lifesaver. I completely spaced again, but we’re officially cancelled 🙂 The bad news is I was late and we’re out $14.99. The good news is we have HBO for another month, so I better make it worth it! I’ll be avoiding all movies in the “S” part of the alphabet so there isn’t even a remote chance of me cross paths with Suicide Squad.


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