Dogma.

smithmovies1

The other night I was able to catch it playing at a local rep cinema, the Bloor, as part of what they billed Kevin Smith-fest. The tubby bitch of a director (that’s a compliment) was in town doing a speaking gig at Roy Thomson Hall and in a deft programming move, the Bloor cinema scooped him up for a handful of appearances.

Over the course of three days, the theatre screened six of his films (that’s two each day, for those of you who can’t count). After each screening, Kevin Smith came out and handled a Q & A with the audience. In no particular order, the screenings consisted of: Clerks, Clerks II, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Having never seen Jersey Girl or Zack and Miri Make A Porno, I think I can safely say they were left off the list because they are considered to be shitty movies. Sorry Kevin, but that seems to be the general consensus.

Characters

While I would have loved to have gone and seen all the films on the big screen, time permitted me only one and I chose Dogma. It was a toss-up between that and Clerks but I figured the Q & A would be more interesting after a film like Dogma. So I went to see Dogma at the Bloor cinema on a Tuesday night.

I’m not going to get into a long diatribe about the film itself, suffice to say it greatly influenced the way I feel toward organized religion when I first saw it. If you want to know more about the movie, there’s a nifty little thing called the Internet. If you don’t know, now you know.

The theatre was packed when we arrived a half-hour before showtime and we ended up sitting in the balcony. Not the greatest seats in the house. At first I thought it would be great to see the movie surrounded by manic fans of Kevin Smith who understood the man’s humour and ideologies. It quickly became apparent that wasn’t exactly so.

The crowd was fucking annoying. Fucking annoying. I repeat myself for effect because I’d really like to drive home the point that the crowd was fucking annoying. Two girls sitting behind us must have been wasted or else genuinely retarded. They talked throughout the entire film as if they were in their living room and ignored people asking them to first be quiet and then shut the hell up.

It made me realize I don’t enjoy seeing “cult” movies with the rabid fans of those films. People would cheer and whoop at the screen every few minutes when a certain character appeared or a specific phrase was uttered and by doing so would drown out the dialogue. While it seems warranted at times, more often than not it detracts from the movie-watching experience and makes me hate people so much more than I already do. Yes, it’s a Kevin Smith movie festival; yes, these are considered to be “cult” classics; and yes, there are moments that really elicit some sort of reaction because they are memorable and help define the film. But seriously, shut the fuck up. If I wanted to hear you talk, I’d remove my fist from your mouth and then give you permission to speak. You’re still in a movie theatre with hundreds of strangers who paid money to watch a film outside of an atmosphere that lends itself to someone’s rented living room.

Of course, it didn’t stop there.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing Kevin Smith speak, I strongly urge you to do so. There is a plethora of clips floating around on Youtube featuring Kevin Smith speaking gigs and he is as natural a public speaker as he is a filmmaker. In fact, even if you despise Kevin Smith (which also begs the question why you’ve continued reading this) you should check out his speaking gigs. He is an enthralling and hilarious storyteller.

Carlin Smith

Considering an audience of approximately 900 people had just watched his commentary on modern organized religion and given the state of the world in which we live today, I was expecting some pretty interesting questions and answers to be part of the Kevin Smith’s Q & A. After the film, the lights came on and revealed a line-up of about two dozen people standing in the aisle near the front of the theatre, waiting to ask questions. Out came Kevin Smith and out came the ridiculously inane questions:

  • “Hey Kevin, when you smoke weed at home, what is your weapon of choice? I mean do you use a vaporizer or a bong or do you just roll one up?”

  • “Hi Kevin, I’m a weed virgin and wanted to know if I could have a threesome tonight with you and Mary Jane?” (that one is word for word)

  • “Hey Kevin, my friends and I were driving around and getting high and we wondered… would Lois Lane ever have sex with Bruce Wayne and if so, would Superman kick his ass?”

  • “Kevin! What’s the craziest story you have about… you know… like, anything, man!”

  • “Hi Kevin. In Clerks there’s a scene where Dante is painting his girlfriend’s toenails and I was just wondering if you had ever done that with any of your girlfriends?”

To his credit, Smith answered every question in his inimitable style and with a great sense of humour. He made fun of the kids asking dumb questions but still gave them genuine answers. He was a good sport about comments regarding his wife’s sexual prowess and even contributed $60 to some indie filmmakers looking to sell frames of their as-of-yet unfinished film in order to secure its financing. It really made me wish I had gone to see even one more screening, if just to hear him speak some more.

Finally, as idiotic as those questions were, I wondered if I were 17 or 18 years old again, would I be asking that type of question thinking it was super clever? I probably would. Except my question actually would be super clever. That’s right. Just because. Snootchie bootchies!

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2 responses to “Dogma.

  1. once you get by my point in questi0n, it’s a pretty good, fair write-up. i only have on bone to pick with you. do you think it fair to criticize films you have not seen based on what ‘seems to be the general consensus’? i have not seen jersey girl either and have also heard that it is not in the his top 3, but i have also heard others say they really like it…critically acclaimed, no, but i think that is Smiths lot in life. as for zack and miri, spend 5 bucks and rent it, if you don’t laugh your butt off, i’ll send you a written apology as i feel that it is in his top 3. but then what do i know.

  2. Hi Hawkeye,

    While it may not be fair for me to criticize films I have not seen based on the general consensus, it does make for lively debate, no?

    To be honest, I have a slight interest in seeing Jersey Girl only because of George Carlin’s involvement (and of course Kevin Smith’s) but the fact it is an endearing family comedy seemingly far removed from Smith’s earlier works has been a deterrent.

    Similarly, Zack and Miri seems at first glance to be a poor man’s Judd Apatow film, but again… Seth Rogen and Smith’s involvement likely counteract that. It is on my B-list of movies to see and I’m sure it will happen one day.

    When it does, I will let you know if I laughed my ass off or sat there asking: “That’s it? When does it get funny?”

    Thanks for the comment though and thanks for reading! Also, thanks for starting off with the compliment… reminded me of the Family Guy episode where Stewie gives Brian a “compliment sandwich”. Good stuff.

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