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The question of evil in dogma an american film

By Film Crit Hulk May. I think about 1999 a lot. For one, I can't believe it was almost twenty fucking years ago. And they seemed like everything; the entire twentieth century coasting to its zenith, with the notion of any date beginning with a "2000" seeming like the inconceivable future.

  1. Evils of this magnitude are simply not necessary in order to provide a counterpart to goodness.
  2. He can argue that evil exists as a necessary counterpart to good. I see it as a first rate resource for use in the class room, in churches and schools and recommend it highly in such settings.
  3. But at this point, the theist argument, at least to me, smacks of deceit. Let's reconsider what the theist wants us to believe.
  4. This is a deity who takes time away from the rigors of running the universe to play skee-ball on a New Jersey boardwalk. Sponsored Link Sponsored Link Dogma.

But by the end of the decade the culture that defined the '90's started changing in a way that I, nor many others, were really prepared for. Keep in mind, the arrival of the '90s itself didn't feel like an interruption in quite the same way that it did for some. I wasn't a hair metal kid. I inherited classic rock from my parents and mostly I liked The Replacements and The Pixies older brothers are important.

Say Something Nice: DOGMA (1999)

So when Grunge and Nirvana showed up it just felt like a natural extension of all that. Heck, it even felt a bit of a cultural course correction. And it absolutely defined the late '90s. Having a six to seven year grip on pop culture seems like a lifetime.

I know this is true of every generation, but you have no idea how ingrained this feeling was in the overall pop sensibility. And then it shifted. This sudden shift made '90's culture act judgmental as fuck. Perhaps the whole dynamic is best personified in the much ballyhooed Y2K bug: It didn't actually matter. But it was also the year where highbrow fare was defined by a similar kind of adolescent streak that typified the ennui and naive cynicism.

Don't forget that people were also crowning M.

Keep in mind that my attitude at the time, along with many others, was one of jubilant embrace. Talk about a film that wholly embodies the inability to recognize when things are damn good along with how much worse they can be. Only someone naive like that could fantasize about living in the Paper Street house without ever thinking about how many non-white americans have to live in Paper Street houses.

It's so nakedly about the glorification of something they would never have to do, all out of guilt for having it so damn good. To the that, the film feels like adolescence unto itself. And it exemplified everything that seemed true about movies and life in 1999. Heck, they even originally wanted Radiohead to do the soundtrack. But this overall classification of movies in 1999 is, of course, a lie.

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Because the year was also littered with small movies that would go on to be more socially relevant by the day.

I think about the haunting darkness of Minghella's The Talented Mr. All because these movies were earnest, weird and honest to themselves. So when you look at the whole of it, it's hard to use any movie that sums up the whole spectrum that the year had to offer. And it's not just cause Alanis Morisette played God. Smith represented the modern movie fan in so many ways. As a person, he was charming, funny, and self-effacing. And thus he was instantly beloved. But it is everything that comes after that really defined his career.

So unsurprisingly, it was the middle of all this in 1999 that he made his most interesting film. From the outside looking in, there was something completely fascinating about all of this. You also have to understand that there was an incendiary climate around the film's release. And, to be honest I get it. The film is downright blasphemous and intensely, directly critical of the church in a way that few films ever are.

It is also a passionately religious film in a way that few films are, which in part makes it seem a glaring contradiction. For its chutzpah is evident in all aspects of its inception, right down to the fact that Smith and his producers apparently clashed a great deal over the film's most controversial aspects. One that that film's genuinely funny opening disclaimers addressed head on. I can't explain how much this worked as relief when the film was released.

And then as the film unspooled, it actually prepared you for one of the weirder religious movies ever made. But whatever merits you could gain from the film. It's best viewed through the prism of 1999 and today.

It's safe to say the question of evil in dogma an american film was fascinating. The first and most obvious thing about watching films in this way is you're struck with how much you don't find funny that you did 17 years ago.

Surprise surprise, maturity affects your sense of humor. But it's even amazing to remember how many bad ogling lines got huge laughs in the theater. So it really felt like a time machine in so many ways. Nothing screams bygone era quite like it. It's feeling exacerbated when you see baby faced Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, fresh off their declaration of being Hollywood It-Boys, now playing renegade angels from the Old Testament days, talking about shooting up civilians for commandment breaking.

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The thing you immediately realize is the goofy audaciousness of all this. And with their utter trust, those actors sure as hell give it their all. But the actual effectiveness of the film is seemingly measured second by second. One line lands, another screeches to a halt. All par for the course of an endless series of contradictions about the film.

There's a big speech the question of evil in dogma an american film the racism and sexism of the bible with black people and women being left out, which is pretty much the 1999 equivalent of being woke.

But like most work of the '90s it's juxtaposed by a comedic modus operandi that just doesn't fly any more. And of course the eeeeeeendless stream of base sex jokes. Keep in mind, it doesn't actually bother me. Time and place and all that. But that's the thing about crudity: Still, in all this contradiction I'm fascinated by what works and doesn't. For every awkward diatribe there's a prescient line about Catholicism like "you don't celebrate your religion, you mourn it.

The truth is I'm not even sure what the fuck the scene is trying to say, here. The scene itself is that 1999 brand cultural vehemence and cynical attitude where evil is just an assumed placeholder. Once the rules are all set up and they get on the train, everything can start playing out with actual conflict, meditation, doubt and dramatic irony. Meaning the movie can make good on its essential promise and act like a movie where characters talk to each other instead of the audience.

There's something honest to the way it connects God, certainty and safety. The way the standoff goes on to create actual character arcs for Bartleby and Loki and switching their viewpoints.

When Loki tells him, "you sound like the morning star" this is surprisingly prescient stuff on the the radicalization of religion. It's not righteousness, it's spite.

From here we shift into surprisingly touching scenes where Alan Rickman comforts our lead by telling the parables of comforting a young, despairing Jesus. And only someone like Rickman could imbue this abstract parable with the power of a loving father, declaring that if it were up to him, he would have taken it all away.

It's a surprisingly beautiful moment.

Here are some other films that were released: Man on the Moon. Blast from the Past. Way of the Samurai.

There's a magic crab. Changing a belief is a trickier. It makes the film feel like an outstretched octopus, thematically-speaking, eight arms desperately coiling around its divergent aims. It's no accident I'm still trying to figure out what the heck he's actually trying to say about God and the universe. For it's a film whose core notion rests on the entire notion that God is infallible, yet constantly chronicles the fallibleness. It's a movie that is demonized for blasphemy, but too indebted to faith to be lovingly embraced by atheists but not really.

It all doesn't add up. In all of it, I keep using that word: For we never really understand what God can do and can't undo. We see both the vengeful and the un-vengeful.

We refer to God as a man. We see God as a woman. Yet we still refer to him as a man again. The definitions and personifications co-exist at the same time.

Faith is literally about being okay with contradiction. Its merits lie in its fearlessness to be itself.