Dogma (1999) Film Review

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Bethany (Linda Fiorentino) works in an abortion clinic and is having issues with her Catholic faith. Then she is visited by Metatron (Alan Rickman), an angel sent from heaven to participate in a religious mission – to stop angels Loki (Matt Damon) and Bartleby (Ben Affleck) passing through a specific church door (that has been kind of opened so to speak by a local cardinal, played by the wonderful George Carlin). She’s being chased by a group of hocky playing skater kids/devils sent after them by Azrael (Jason Lee), and ends up accruing a gang of assistants; profits Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) and Jay (Jason Mewes), the thirteenth apostle, Rufus (Chris Rock) and Serendipity (Salma Hayek).

Kevin Smith ended up putting a clunky (though supposedly hilarious) disclaimer at the start, no doubt expecting a slew of criticism from a variety of different religious sections of society. As a non-religious person, but someone who grew up within a practicing family, I loved some of the concepts in this. Yes, I think Kevin Smith would have pissed off a lot of people with parts of this film, but why not? It’s a great yarn. Though I wish he’d let Silent Bob and Jay go – this film would have been much better without them, and I know it’s his thing, but still… And yes, I still think it was genius having Alanis Morissette playing God – certainly now it is a bit dated in that many folk may not recognise her, but I thought it was great.

 

Clerks (1994) Film Review

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Having recently started to listen to the Jay and Silent Bob Get Old podcast (where Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes talk to each other about their past with a specific focus on the various addictions of Mewes – and it is fascinating and hilarious), I’ve been on a bit of a Kevin Smith-a-thon. It is surprising that I have started to listen to it given it was recommended by the same friend who recommended Tusk but still…

I remember making a special trip into the heart of Melbourne to see Clerks with a mate, possibly at the Treasury Theatre, back in 1994. I don’t remember a lot about it, except laughing a lot. And on a re-watch, that hasn’t changed.

Dante (Brian O’Halloran) is a clerk in a convenience store who gets called in to replace a sick co-worker and ends up having a really terrible day. It’s not helped that he wants to get back with his ex-girlfriend Caitlin Bree (Lisa Spoonauer) even though his current girlfriend Veronica (Marilyn Ghigliotti) is pretty ace. Then there is his best mate, Randal (Jeff Anderson) who loves to hate his job at the video shop next door, showing absolute contempt for his customers. And, of course, Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), the local drug dealers.

What works? It’s funny. It’s real. I’ve only listened to two episodes of the podcast and have never read a lot of the stuff about Kevin Smith, but this film seems to show him having a love of women. What I mean by this is that neither of the two main women in the film are particularly powerful characters; one is doting on the man she loves and wanting him to better himself while he is wallowing in a mire of existential crisis, and the other is a woman who treats monogamy as a joke and ends up getting a most horrific payback in the end of this film. But it is the fact that Dante is so crap in the way he views these woman and has several other men tell him to look at himself and that he is a moron – that is what makes me feel like Kevin Smith must like women a lot.

Or else he’s just a prick?