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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 15, 1999)
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j religious film to epic heights
By Cuff Hicks
Only a genius such as Kevin Smith
could take one handful of religious
meanderings and one handful of “dick
and-fart jokes” and make a film that is
as enlightening as it is hysterical.
With a laige ensemble cast and a
road-movie feel, Smith’s fourth film,
“Dogma,” offers uj3 a healthy round of
laughs and a solid serving of deep think
The story of “Dogma” is a little hard
to explain. Two angels who were thrown
out of Heaven are trying to get back in
because of a loophole. If they get back
into Heaven, all of existence will be
To stop this, the voice of God (who
desperately wants a drink) sends the last
descendant of Jesus Christ (who works
in an abortion clinic) on a quest Along
the way, the descendant picks up two
prophets (no, really), the 13th Apostle
(who was left out of the Bible because
he was black) and a muse (who’s work
ing in a strip club).
The whole time, she has to avoid the
two angels (who are on a spree of“right
eous fhry”) and three buzzing demons
(who appear as teen-agers in rollerhock
it your ears aren t burning, and
you’re not biting back the word “sacri
lege,” then “Dogma” is definitely a film
you should see. -
A good half of the film is filled with
low-brow, perverted i et laugh-out-loud
humor, the other half wanders into the
metaphorical a little more than Smith
All of Smith’s films have had under
lying messages (although “Mallrats”
had a lot of problems explaining them),
but Smith himself has improved at
telling them with each one.
When Smith started making movies
with the incredibly low-budget
“Clerics,” he just pointed the camera and
let the people talk. With “Dogma,” he’s
gotten a lot better, but he still has a lot to
learn. Shots that pan or change focus are
rare. But somehow, Smith*s incredibly
sharp writing has always helped his
films rise above this, and “Dogma” has
Smith in prime form.
With his first three films, Smith
established a great world of his own,
painting New Jersey as an odd little bog
where everyone vaguely knows one
another, and “Dogma” doesn't let up on
that. Careful watchers will spot the sta
pies of any Kevin Smith movie:
■ an appearance by someone with
the last name Hicks, in this case played
by Brian O’Halloran (who played Dante
Hicks, one of the two main characters in
■ at least two references to charac
ters in other Smith movies. •
■ and, of course, Jay (Jason Mewes)
and Silent Bob (Smith himself).
At the opening of the film, Jay and
Silent Bob find themselves in Illinois
after a failed quest to find Shermer, 111.,
the fictional town where all of John
Hughes’ 1980s movies took place.
Unlike the previous films, Jay and
Silent Bob have big parts, appearing in a
good half of the film and providing a
stark religious contrast to the heavy
thinking bandied about by Bethany
(Linda Fiorentino) and the Metatron
One can only hope Jay and Silent
Bob will play as much of a part in
Smith’s next films.
All around, the acting in “Dogma” is
pretty solid. Ben Affleck and Matt
Damon both provide solid perfor
mances as Bartelby and Loki, the two
fallen angels. Fiorentino makes
Bethany both human and slightly
more. Chris Rock carries the 13th
Apostle with a much more earthy
presentation than the Bible i
affords the other 12. Jason Lee is M
absolutely slimy as the demon ■
Azrael. Rickman’s dry wit as I
Metatron is funnier than he’s M
been in years. And Mewes and V
Smith are, well, the same Jay and ^
Silent Bob they’ve always been- M
hysterical to a tee. ■
The movie also offers a ton of 1
guest appearances from people such
as George Carlin, Janeane
Garofalo and Alanis Morissette,
as well as a few retuftiing
peoplfc from other Smith
films - watch closely!
In the closing credits
ot Dogma (which,
as all Kevin Smith
movies do, con
his next film
wifi be “Clerics
2: Hardly ,
If “Dogma” is any
indication of how good his next film
will be, I’m already set to go wait in
line. I haven’t laughed this hard
I The Facts
. Director: Kevin Smith
\ Stars: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda
Fiorentino, Salma Hayek, Jason
Mewes, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock,
y Kevin Smith
I Rating: R (lots and lots of dirty jokes)
Ffve Words: Religious philosophy +
lowbrow humor = great
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