Dogma

Dogma

Dogma 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 An Evening with Kevin Smith To know the origin of "Snoochie-Boochies," you must spend An Evening with Kevin Smith. The Jersey-bred auteur of low-budget comedy proves equally adept as an uncensored raconteur, regaling five college audiences--his most devoted demographic--in this two-disc compilation of lively Q&A. Sporting his trademark slacker garb, Smith occasionally bites the loyal, sometimes moronic hands that feed him (as a result, audience participation is drop-dead hilarious), but he's arguably the most publicly and personally honest filmmaker to survive the insanity of Hollywood. His best stories lift the veil of show-biz decorum, describing absurd meetings with studio executives over his ill-fated screenplay Superman Lives; razzing the artsy pretensions of director Tim Burton; or exposing Prince (who hired him to direct a never-completed documentary) as a self-absorbed Jesus freak. These attacks aren't baseless; Smith's too smartly good-natured to provoke without purpose, and with an onstage visit by Jason Mewes ("Jay" to Smith's "Silent Bob"), this ribald, sharply assembled Evening compares favorably to Richard Pryor with its outrageous blend of comedy and candor. --Jeff Shannon

Director(s): Kevin Smith
Production: Lions Gate
  8 nominations.
 
IMDB:
7.3
Metacritic:
62
Rotten Tomatoes:
67%
R (Restricted)
Year:
1999
130
Website
11,081 Views

Azrael:
Human, have you ever been to Hell? I think not. You know once Hell was nothing more than the absence of God. And if you had ever been in his presence, you would know that's punishment enough. But then, your kind came along, and made it SO MUCH WORSE.

Bethany:
Human beings aren't capable of 1/100 the evil a shitbag demon like you is.

Azrael:
Evil is an ABSTRACT! It's a HUMAN construct! But true to his irresponsible nature, Man won't own up to being it's engineer. So he chooses to blame his dark deeds on my ilk. But his selfishness is limitless. It wasn't enough just to shadow his own existence, he turned Hell into a SUFFERING PIT! Fire, wailing, darnkess! The kind of place ANYONE would do ANYTHING to get out of! And why? Because he lacks the ability to forgive himself! It is beyond your comprehension to do simple recompense for the sins you commit. No, you choose instead to invent a psycho-drama and dwell in foundless belief that God could never forgive your grievous offenses. So you bring your guilt and your inner decay with you to Hell where the hoards of thousands of gluttons for punishment infect the abyss since the first one of your kind arrived generations ago, begging to be punished. In doing so, he transformed Hell from cold and solitude to PAIN and MISERY! I've spent eons, privy to the flames, inhaling the decay, hearing the wail of the damned. I KNOW WHAT AFFECT such horrors have on the delicate psyche of an angelic being!

Azrael:
Would you like a glimpse at Pain Eternal? LOOK!

Azrael:
I'd rather not exist then go back to that. And if everybody has to go with me, so be it!

Nun:
So, you don't believe in God...because of Alice in Wonderland?

Loki:
No, Through the Looking Glass, that poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter," that's an indictment of organized religion. The walrus, with his girth and good nature, obviously represents either Buddha or, with his tusks, the Hindu elephant god Lord Ganesha – that takes care of your eastern religions. Now the carpenter, which is an obvious reference to Jesus Christ, who was raised a carpenter's son, he represents the western religions. Now in the poem, what do they do? What do they do? They dupe all these oysters into following them and then proceed to shuck and devour the helpless creatures en masse. Now I don't know what that says to you, but to me it says that following these faiths based on mythological figures ensures the destruction of one's inner being. Organized religion destroys who we are by inhibiting our actions, by inhibiting our decisions, out of fear of some intangible parent figure, who shakes a finger at us from thousands of years ago and says "Do it, do it and I'll fucking spank you!" The existentialists can keep their Kierkegaard and their Sartre — give me Lewis Carroll any day. That guy knows what time it is!

Nun:
The way you put it... I've never thought about it like that before. What...what have I been doing with my life?

Loki:
Yeah, I know. Look, why don't you take this money you're collecting for your parish, and go out and buy yourself a new dress. Fix yourself up. Find some man. Find some woman. Find anyone you can connect with, even for a moment. Because that's all that life really is, Sister — it's a series of moments. Why don't you go seize yours? Attagirl.

[The nun smiles gratefully and leaves. Loki sits next to Bartleby.]

Bartleby:
Here's what I don't get about you. You know for a fact that there's a God. You've been in His presence, He's spoken to you personally. And yet I just heard you claim to be an atheist.

Loki:
I just love to fuck with the clergy, man, I just love it. I love keeping those guys on their toes!

[Metatron's fiery entrance in Bethany's room]

Metatron:
Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true God. Behold the Metatron, herald of the Almighty and voice of the one true...

[Bethany sprays Metatron with a fire extinguisher; Metatron coughs repeatedly and emerges from the smoke in human form as Bethany rushes to her bed and grabs a baseball bat]

Metatron:
Ah, Sweet Jesus! Did you have to use the whole can?!

Bethany:
Who the fuck are you and what the fuck are you doing in my room?!

Metatron:
I'm the one that's soaked and she's the one that's surly, that's rich. Stupid... fucking Christ...

Bethany:
Get the fuck out of here! Now!

Metatron:
Or you'll do what, exactly? Hit me with that...fffffish?

[Bethany realizes the baseball bat she's holding is now a large fish, and drops it in shock]

Metatron:
Now, just sit down on the bed and shut up. Jesus wept... Look at my suit!

Bethany:
Look, just take whatever you want, but don't kill or rape me.

Metatron:
Oh, give over, will you? I couldn't rape you if I wanted to; Angels are ill-equipped! [Drops his pants to show blank skin where his genitals should be] See? I'm as anatomically impaired as a Ken doll. Now make yourself useful and gimme that towel, will you? [Bethany tosses it to him and he starts wiping his clothes dry] Honestly, you bottom feeders and your arrogance, you think everybody's just trying to get in your knickers.

Bethany:
What are you?

Metatron:
I'm pissed off, is what I am! Do you go around drenching everybody that comes into your room with flame-retardant chemicals? No wonder you're single.

Jay:
So, what's up? You gotta friend for Silent Bob, or you wanna do us both? If so, I'm first; I hate sloppy seconds.

Bethany:
You're a man of principle. Jersey's pretty far from McHenry. May I ask what brought you here?

Jay:
Some fuck named John Hughes.

Bethany:
Sixteen Candles John Hughes?

Jay:
You know that guy too? That fucking guy. Made this flick Sixteen Candles. Not bad, there's tits in it, but no bush. But Ebert over here don't give a shit about that kinda thing. 'Cause he's all in love with this John Hughes guy. Goes out and like rents every one of his movies. Fucking Breakfast Club; all these stupid kids actually show up for detention. Fucking Weird Science where this babe wants to take her gear off and get down, but oh no she don't cause it's a PG movie. And then Pretty in Pink, which I can't watch with this tubby bitch anymore because every time we get to the part where the redhead hooks up with her dream guy, he starts sobbin' like a little bitch with a skinned knee and shit. And nothing is worse then watching a fuckin' fat man weep.

Bethany:
What exactly brought you to Illinois?

Jay:
See, all these movies take place in a small town called Shermer, Illinois where all the honeys are top shelf, but all the dudes are whiny pussies. [Silent Bob raises a finger.] Except for Judd Nelson, he was fucking harsh! [He and Silent Bob bump fists.] But best of all, there was no one dealing, man. Then it hits me, we could live like fat rats if we're the blunt connection in Shermer, Illinios, so we collected some money we were owed and caught a bus. You know what the fuck we found out when we got there? There is no Shermer, Illinois. Movies are fucking bullshit.

Bethany:
When are you going back to Jersey?

Jay:
[to Silent Bob] Jesus, this broad asks a lot of questions. [to Bethany] Tomorrow.

Bethany:
[to herself] Tomorrow...

Jay:
Yeah. So, you do anal? Is it true that chicks fart if you blast 'em in the ass?

Bethany:
I didn't ask you out for sex.

Jay:
I'll take head.

Bethany:
This is gonna sound really bad. I can't believe I'm even thinking about this, but... I think I should go with you?

Jay:
What, like steady? You wanna be my girlfriend? All right, but Silent Bob has to live with us and you pay the rent.

Bethany:
No. I wanna go with you to New Jersey.

Jay:
Really?

Bethany:
You're going to lead me somewhere.

Jay:
Me lead you? Lady, look at me, I don't even know where the hell I am half the time. If we're not gonna fuck, then what the fuck did you ask us out for?

Bethany:
Someone told me I'd meet you and you'd take me some place I was suppose to go.

Jay:
What the hell are you babbling about? All I know is we saved your ass from some angry, fucking dwarves and now you're telling us we're suppose to take you somewhere and you don't even know where the hell it is?

Bethany:
Do you believe in God?

Jay:
Holy fuck! [to Silent Bob] All the fine immoral bitches out in front of that place and we gotta get the one Jesus freak? Let's get the fuck outta here- [both get up to leave]

Bethany:
No, wait!

Jay:
I'll scream rape.

Bethany:
I can pay you.

Jay:
Pay? [he and Silent Bob sit back down]

Bethany:
A hundred bucks for being my guide. You're going to Jersey anyway; all I'm asking is to tag along.

Jay:
[to Silent Bob] I feel like Han Solo, you're Chewie, and she's Ben Kenobi and we're in that fucked up bar! [to Bethany] What about sex?

Bethany:
No sex.

Jay:
All right, well lets say we're caught in a situation where we have like five minutes left to live. I don't know, a bomb or something's gonna go off; would you fuck us then?

Bethany:
In that highly unlikely situation... yeah, sure.

Jay:
Yeah? [to Silent Bob] She's the slut. Booong!

Whitland:
Morning. Has anyone seen the overnights?

Board:
No

Whitland:
We creamed 'em. Last night was a re-run which says to me... Do I smell onion? [Loki and Bartleby are noticed seated, Loki peeling onions with a knife] 'Excuse me. May I ask what you're doing in my boardroom?

Loki:
[To Bartleby] You may proceed, mon ami.

Bartleby:
I'm gonna have to start by apologizing. My friend has a bit of a penchant for the dramatic.

Loki:
Oh come on!

Bartleby:
Relax, I'm doing this. [To the board room] Mooby, the Golden Calf. Created by Nancy Goldruff, a former kindergarten teacher in 1989. Bought by the Complex Corporation in 1991. Broadcast nationally as the "Mooby Fun-Time Hour." Since its inception, has spawned two theatrical films... and a library of priced-to-own videocassettes. Not to mention bicoastal theme parks... dubbed "Mooby World." Did I miss anything?

Whitland:
You forgot Mooby Magazine.

Bartleby:
Damn it!

Whitland:
Is there a point to this?

Bartleby:
You and your board are idolaters.

Loki:
[To Bartleby] I can't believe you forgot the magazine. [Places the onion, carved in the shape of a man, before Whitman] That's you. Do you know much about voodoo? That's a fascinating practice. No real doctrine of faith to speak of. More an arrangement of superstitions the most well-known of which is the voodoo doll. You see- [Sneezes. He looks around the room but no one speaks. Shrugs and continues his speech.] -a mockup of an individual is subjected to various pokes and prods.The desired result is that the individual will feel those effects.

Whitland:
Call security, now! [Loki throws a the knife into the phone]

Loki:
All lines are currently down.

Bartleby:
I'm gonna have to apologize.

Loki:
-Would you knock it off?

Bartleby:
You're doing it again. Stop. What did we talk about? [To the board room] Ahem. You are responsible for raising an icon which draws worship from the Lord. You have broken the First Commandment. More than that, I'm afraid not a one of you passes for a decent human being. Your continued existence is a mockery of morality. Like you, Mr. Burton. Last year, you cheated on your wife of 17 years 8 times. You even had sex with her best friend... while you were supposed to be home watching the kids.

Loki:
In the bed that you and your wife share, no less.

Bartleby:
Mr. Newman. You got your girlfriend drunk at last year's Christmas party and then paid a kid from the mail room to have sex with her while she was passed out just so you could break up with her guilt-free when she sobbingly confessed in the morning. She killed herself three months later. Mr. Brace disowned his gay son. Very compassionate. Mr. Ray put his mother in a third-rate nursing home and used the profits from the sale of her home to buy an Oriental rug for himself. Heavens. Mr. Barker flew to Thailand on the company account to have sex with an eleven-year-old boy. Mr. Holtzman okayed the production of Mooby Dolls from materials he knew to be toxic and unsafe because it was, survey says... less costly. You, on the other hand [addressing the only female board member] are an innocent. You lead a good life. Good for you. But you, Mr. Whitland. You have more skeletons in your closet than this assembled party. I cannot even mention them aloud. [Whispers into Whitland's ear]

Loki:
You're his father, you sick fuck! - Good.-

Bartleby:
Not bad, man.

Loki:
That's great work.

Bartleby:
Very good. [Walks out]

Loki:
Well, alone at last. With the exception of Miss Pryce here there isn't a decent human being amongst you. Not one. Do you know what makes a human being decent? Fear. And therein lies the problem. None of you has anything left to fear anymore. You rest comfortably in seats of inscrutable power hiding behind your false idol,far from judgment lives shrouded in secrecy, even from one another. But not from God. (Walks off) Oh, forgot my little voodoo doll. Man, it really looks just like you, doesn't it? Look, if I believed enough in this... I wonder.[smashes doll into table. The board scream in terror before realizing nothing's happened. Loki snickers] Come on. I don't believe in voodoo. Voodoo. [Loki exits the boardroom. The board members collect themselves, but then Loki re-enters with gun drawn] But I do believe in this!. [Opens fire] DON'T RUN! DON'T RUN! FAKES! FAKES, ALL OF YOU FAKES! AND YOU! IN THE BED THAT YOU AND YOUR WIFE SHARE NO LESS!

Bartleby:
[Reading Mooby magazine] "But I do believe in this"... What does that mean?

Loki:
[all but the innocent woman are dead] Gum? Go on it's OK you've done nothing wrong, those guys were finks and you're a pure soul. [Points gun at her] But you didn't say God bless you when I sneezed.

Bartleby:
LOKI!

Loki:
You're getting off light.

Bartleby:
Loki!

Loki:
I know, I'm coming. [walks off] You're so lucky.

Bartleby:
My eyes are open. For the first time, I get it. When that little innocent girl let her mission slip, I had an epiphany. See in the beginning, it was just us and Him, angels and God...and then he created humans. Ours was designed to be a life of servitude and worship, and bowing and scraping and adoration. He gave them more than He ever gave us — He gave them a choice. They choose to acknowledge God, or choose to ignore Him. All this time we've been down here, I've felt the absence of the divine presence, and it's pained me, as I'm sure it must have pained you. And why? Because of the way He made us! Had we been given free will, we could choose to ignore the pain, like they do. But no — We're servants!

Loki:
[alarmed] Okay... You know, all I'm saying is that maybe one of us needs a little nap...

Bartleby:
Wake up! These Humans have besmirched everything He's bestowed upon them. They were given paradise — they threw it away. They were given this planet — they destroyed it. They were favored best among all His endeavors, and some of them don't even believe He exists! And in spite of it all, He has shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you once to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. What was the result? Our expulsion from paradise! Where was His infinite fucking patience then? It's not right! It's not fair! We've paid our debt. Don't you think it's time, don't you think it's time we went home? And to do that, I think we may have to dispatch our would-be dispatchers.

Loki:
Wait, wait, wait...kill them? You're talking about the Last Scion, for Chrissakes! And what about Jay and Bob? I mean, those guys were alright.

Bartleby:
Don't, don't my friend. See, don't let your sympathies get the best of you. They did me, once. Scion or not... she's just a human. And by passing through that arch, our sins are forgiven. No harm, no foul.

Loki:
[horrified] My God... I've heard a rant like this before.

Bartleby:
What did you say?

Loki:
I've heard a rant like this before.

Bartleby:
Don't you fucking do that to me.

Loki:
You sound like the Morning Star!

Bartleby:
You shut your fucking mouth!

Loki:
You do, you sound like Lucifer, man! You've fucking lost it! You're not talking about going home, Bartleby — you're talking about fucking war on God! Well, fuck that! I have seen what happens to the proud when they take on the throne. I'm going back to Wisconsin.

[Bartleby slams Loki against a wall]

Bartleby:
We're going home, Loki! And no one — not you, not even the Almighty Himself — is going to make that otherwise.

Bethany:
Why me? Out of all the people on the goddamn planet, why was I tapped?

Rufus:
Imagine you're a twelve-year old boy, and one day you're told you're God's only son- more than that, you're God. How long do you think it would take you to come to grips with something that huge? Maybe, say, eighteen years? In the Bible, Jesus suddenly goes from twelve to thirty. Twelve to thirty! Now that's some pretty bad story-telling! Where are the texts dealing with the missing eighteen years?! I'll tell you where; they were offered up as a sacrifice to the God of ecumenical politics!

Bethany:
[sarcastically joking] You make it sound like there was some Church conspiracy to cover up the "truth about Christ"! [Rufus gives her a look; Bethany instantly becomes more serious] Bullshit! Any important material about Christ would give people a better understanding of the nature of God. Why leave any of it out?

Rufus:
Because it's all closely tied in with His family.

Bethany:
His mother and father?

Rufus:
His brothers and sisters.

Bethany:
Jesus didn't have any brothers or sisters; Mary was a virgin.

Rufus:
Mary gave birth to Christ without knowing a man's touch, this is true, but she did have a husband. And do you really think he would have stayed married to her for all those years if he wasn't getting laid? The nature of God and the Virgin birth are all leaps of faith, but to believe a married couple never got down...well that's just plain gullibility!

Bethany:
Meaning?

Rufus:
The blood that flows through your veins shares a chromosome or two at the genetic level with the one you call Jesus. Bethany, you are the great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grand-niece of Jesus Christ.

Jay:
So that would make Bethany... part black?

[Bethany has just found out that she is the last descendant of Jesus]

Bethany:
[looking skyward] WHY?! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU WANT FROM ME?! I FUCKING HATE YOU! [now crying] I hate you.

Metatron:
He can't hear you, you know.

Bethany:
Why didn't you tell me?

Metatron:
Would you - could you - have believed me? You had to come to it gradually. Only now, after all you've seen, could you accept the truth.

Bethany:
I don't want this. It's too big.

Metatron:
That's what Jesus said. Yeah... I had to tell him. And you can imagine how that hurt the Father, that one word from his lips would destroy the Son's frail human body. So, I had to tell a scared child who wanted nothing more than to play with other children that he was God's only son, and that it meant a life of persecution and eventual crucifixion at the hands of the very people he had come to enlighten and redeem. He begged me to take it all back, as if I could. He begged me to 'make it all not true'. And I'll let you in on something, Bethany. It's something I've never told anyone before: if I had the power, I would have. It's unfair! It's unfair to ask a child to shoulder that responsibility, and it's unfair to ask you to do the same. I sympathize, I do. I wish I could take it all back. But I can't. This is who you are.

Bethany:
Everything I am has been a lie.

Metatron:
No, no, no! Knowing what you now know doesn't mean you're not who you were. You are Bethany Sloane - no one can take that away from you, not even God. All this means is a new definition of that identity. The incorporation of this new data into who you are. Be who you've always been. Just be this as well... from time to time.

Bethany:
[chuckles mirthlessly] I guess this mean no more cheating on my taxes.

Metatron:
[smiles] To say the least.

Bethany:
Look asshole, I don't know if anyone's explained it, but if those two enter that church, everything gets blinked out of existence, even you!

Azrael:
Human, have you ever been to Hell? I think not. Did you know that once, Hell was nothing more than the absence of God? And if you'd ever been in His presence, you'd realize that's punishment enough. But then your kind came along, and made it so much worse.

Bethany:
Humans aren't capable of one hundredth of the evil a shitbag demon like you is!

Azrael:
[furious] Evil...is AN ABSTRACT! It's a human construct! But true to his irresponsible nature, man won't own up to being its engineer, so he blames his dark deeds on my ilk! But it's not enough to shadow his own existence: no, he turned Hell into a suffering pit! And why?! Because it is beyond your abilities to simply make personal recompense for the sins you commit. No, you chose rather to create a psychodrama and dwell in a false belief that God could never forgive your grievous offences! So you bring your guilt and your inner decay with you to Hell, where the horde imaginations of so many gluttons-for-punishment gave birth to the sickness that has infected the abyss since the first one of your kind arrived there, begging to be punished! And in doing so, they've transformed the cold and the solitude to pain and misery! I've spent eons privy to the flames, inhaling the decay, hearing the wail of the damned! I know what effect such horrors have on the delicate psyche of an ANGELIC BEING! [calms himself] I'd rather not exist than go back to that... and if everyone has to go down with me, so be it.

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