Dogma (1999)A review by Shlomoh Sherman
September 20, 2016
Director: Kevin Smith
Writer: Kevin Smith
Stars: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino
Plot Summary: An abortion clinic worker with a special heritage is called upon to save the existence of humanity from being negated by two renegade angels trying to exploit a loop-hole and reenter Heaven.
Plot Keywords: angel - clinic - abortion clinic - abortion - church
Taglines: Faith is a funny thing.
Genres: Adventure - Comedy - Drama - Fantasy
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Rated R for strong language including sex-related dialogue, violence, crude humor and some drug content
Release Date: November 12, 1999 (USA)
Filming Locations: New Jersey, USA, St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church - Larimer Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Pittsburgh International Airport, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, 600 Grant Street, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Carnegie Mellon University - 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Grand Concourse Restaurant - 100 W. Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Highlands, New Jersey, USA, Pinnacle Studios, Trafford, Pennsylvania, USA, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA, Asbury Park, New Jersey, USA, Los Angeles, California, USA, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, Red Bank, New Jersey, USA
Budget: $10,000,000 (estimated)
Opening Weekend: $8,669,945 (USA) (November 12, 1999)
Gross: $30,651,422 (USA) (March 24, 2000)
Production Co: View Askew Productions
Runtime: 130 min
Golden Schmoes Best DVD of the Year
Independent Spirit Award Best Screenplay Kevin Smith
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Awards 2000 Sierra Award Best Screenplay Kevin Smith
Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actress Salma Hayek
Golden Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Comedy or Musical Alan Rickman
Best Original Song Song: "Still"
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America 2001 Nebula Award Best Script Kevin Smith
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards 1999 Stinker Award Musicians Who Shouldn't Be Acting Alanis Morissette
Well I watched CLERKS about a million years after it came out and I completely forgot how funny it is; I mean, bellyache funny. Kevin Smith [Silemt Bpb] knows how to create absurdly hillarious situations and dialog.
While I relate my appreciation for Clerks, my daughter aksed me if I had seen DOGMA. NO! I had never even heard of it. Well, she says, you have to see it. It's Bob and Jay at their best.
OK, So I get a copy of DOGMA and watch.
First of all, I can't believe the fantastic cast Kevin has assembled. All top notch stars. Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Ben Affleck, George Carlin, Linda Fiorentino, just to mention a few! AND Alanis Morissette as God!
Then, of course, just as in Clerks, the dialog is fast moving and utterly insanely funny. Of course, if you are sensitive to a movie which lampoons religion, you may have a problem with the humor. And by the way, the film's producers preface the film with zn apology to those whose religious sensitivities may be offended. My own take - it's better for you folks not to see the film.
Bethany, an abortion clinic worker, supposedly descended from Jesus, is called upon by Heavan to stop two angels who have been cast out of Heaven from reentering, and thereby obliterating all of reality. The thing is that once God casts you out of Heaven, He doesn't want you to ever return. If these two fallen ones can force their way back into the celestial realm, they will prove God wrong. If God is proven wrong, then all that He has created [all of reality] will become null and void [as it was before He said, "Let there be light!"
On their way to the New Jersey church [where George Carlin is cardinal], Bethany meets up with and is helped by two prophets, Jay and Silent Bob, and Rufus, Jesus' 13th [black] apostle, they encounter one after another almost disasterous adventure by the forces allied agianst the Almighty who attempt to stand in their way to prevent them from stopping the angels from entering the church and hence, reentering Heaven.
Unlike his role in CHASING AMY, in which he has a whole sililoquy, Silent Bob stays true to form here with two words spoken to a passenger, after tossing the two angels off a moving train: "No ticket!", and "Thanks" spoken to Rufus before he goes back to heaven.
Of course, all dialog that Kevin writes for Jay is over the top funny in spite of, or because of, Jay's over-use of the Eff Bomb. Of course, Silent Bob is the perfecvt straight man for Jay. These guys are dynamic although I am afraid that their humor will not appeal to everyone. I can only say, Why the heck have I been blissfully unaware of these two guys? Once again, I have to thank my daughter for raising my movie consciousness.
Now I guess that sooner or later, I'll have to check out Mallrats , Chasing Amy , Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back , Jersey Girl , Clerks II , Tusk , Holidays Segment: "Halloween" , Jay & Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie , and Yoga Hosers 
Speaking of other movies, 30 minutes into the film, Jay and Bob are discussing [mostly Jay] John Hughes' movies which take place in the town of Shermer, Il. These are also movies, many of which, my daughter has inspired me to review: Weird Science, The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty In Pink, Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
Jay remarks about Sixteen Candles: "There's tits but no bush. All the honeys are top shelf but the dudes are whiney bitches - except Judd Nelson - he's harsh."
Jay and Silent Bob get the idea that if they go to the town of Shermer, Illinois, where most of John Hughes' movies take place, they could get chicks and be the "blunt connection". However, Jay is pissed off when he discovers that Shermer is a completely fictional town.
This movie appeals to me, not only due to Kevin Smith's brilliant dialog but for it's humorously religious theme. The film appears to poke fun at the Catholic Church, especially in the scenes during which George Carlin, an admitted militant atheist, speaks his lines as the pompous Cardinal Glick. Did Kevin purpously give him a name that sounds suspiciously Jewish? And by the way, 45 minutes into the film, Cardinal Glick delivers a speech in which he appears to make a Jewish deicide remark to the effect that Christ was killed by the very people he came to deliver. However it is also possible that the remark refers to the human race. Perhaps the remark is offset by Glick's announcement that the Church is abandoning the brutal image of the Crucifix as the supreme religious icon of Catholicism, replacing it with a much friendlier image of a "Buddy Christ".
We are also informed that God is really a female, played subtlely by Alanis Morissette
I will not reveal the denoument of the film but only to say that the ending fits the plot.
I quote from Movie_Muse' February, 2008 Review: [at IMDB website]: ""Dogma" isn't the kind of comedy that most people will find themselves holding onto their guts during ... Kevin Smith's writing is clever enough to the point where you will be pleasantly shocked by some of the conversations and events of the film ... It's not hilarious, it's just clever and a bit funny ... The physical events that take place are ultimately boring and unexciting. It's the moments along the way, the conversations and the philosophy that come about, that make it successful. Affleck's character raises a lot of interesting religious questions about humanity and his conversation with the protagonist on the train is rather insightful. In general, Smith has used Bethany as a way to keep the viewers skepticism of the plot active in the film. She keeps it from getting preposterous. In general, the whole cast is very talented and their characters well written, which keeps the film interesting ... DOGMA is a smart concept that ultimately results in a sharp satire and some great thoughts that scrutinize religion in a way that never seems too out of line."
KUDOS to the late, great George Carlin as Cardinal Glick. Carlin's outrageous, politically incorrect brand of comedy has always made me laugh. Carlin was a true iconoclast in every sense of the word, lampooning the political and religious hypocrisies of our age. RIP.
KUDOS to Matt Damon and Ben Affleck as the two destructive angels. I sometimes think these two are rather puffed up about themselves, and Affleck has shown himself to be a self-righteous blowhard on Bill Maher's show. Nevertheless, they are very talented actors in a variety of genres.
KUDOS to Linda Fiorentino as Bethany. I have not seen much of Ms Fiorentino but the few of her films that I have seen have had me appreciate her talent and beauty.
KUDOS to Salma Hayek as the Muse. Ms Hayek is so pretty that I can overlook any problem with her acting. Perhaps her best remembered role is that of Frida Kahlo in the 2002 production of FRIDA
KUDOS to Alan Rickman, everyone's favorite British badguy, as Metatron, voice of the Lord. Some people report that Rickman was anti-Israel but an article in the Times of Israel denied this allegation. Jewish communities reacted negatively to Rickman's work as director of the 2005 play “MY NAME IS RACHEL CORRIE,” which is about an American student killed by an Israeli army bulldozer while she was acting as a human shield, protesting the Israeli military presence in the Gaza Strip.
KUDOS to Chris Rock as Jesus' 13th Apostle. Rock is superbly cast as the one apostle who remained unknown simply because he was black. This apostle informs us that not only was Jesus black but that God is actually a woman.
KUDOS to Alanis Morissette as God. Ms Morissette has a sweet voice but as mentioned above, she was nominated in the category of Musicians Who Shouldn't Be Acting by The Stinkers 1999 Bad Movie Awards. She has no speaking role and many other actresses could have been cast in the role. Her performance is adequate.
Did You Know?
Bethany: What's he like?
Jay: Yo man, tell me something about me.
Metatron: Metatron acts as the voice of God. Any documented occasion when some yahoo claims God has spoken to them, they're speaking to me. Or they're talking to themselves.
Bethany: Wait a minute. Christ. You know Christ?
Metatron: You people. If there isn't a movie about it, it's not worth knowing, is it?
Gun Salesman: We call this piece the Fecalator. One look at it and the target shits him or herself. Try it on.
Bethany: I don't mean to sound ungrateful... but what are you doing hanging around?
Metatron: I am to charge you with a holy crusade.
Jay: Guys like us just don't fall out of the fucking sky, you know.
Cardinal Glick: The Catholic Church does not make mistakes.
Serendipity: Read the Bible again sometime. Women are painted as bigger antagonists than the Egyptians and Romans combined.
[about the protesters outside the Abortion Clinic]
Discuss Dogma (1999) on the IMDb message boards at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120655/board/?ref_=tt_bd_sm
Read Germain Lussier's 1/28/16 review of Dogma, KEVIN SMITH'S DOGMA HASN'T AGED WELL, BUT IT'S STILL A MINOR MIRACLE, at https://io9.gizmodo.com/kevin-smiths-dogma-hasnt-aged-well-but-its-still-a-min-1755458612 in which he declares:
Dogma will forever stand as a monument to a filmmaker finding his voice, and a bygone studio system willing to champion off-the-wall, original ideas. If you think about it, this movie probably shouldn’t even exist. Can you even imagine Dogma being made now, with all its controversy and vulgarity, wrapped in religiously-charged story that’s not based on a prior property? No way. Never. But it does exist and the world is better for it, even if it doesn’t totally work.
Read about DOGMA on the Internet Movie Data Base at http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120655/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
Cast overview, first billed only:
Bud Cort ... John Doe Jersey
Barret Hackney ... Stygian Triplet
Jared Pfennigwerth ... Stygian Triplet
Kitao Sakurai ... Stygian Triplet
George Carlin ... Cardinal Glick
Brian O'Halloran ... Grant Hicks
Betty Aberlin ... Nun
Matt Damon ... Loki
Ben Affleck ... Bartleby
Chris Rock ... Jesus' 13th Apostle
Dan Etheridge ... Priest at St. Stephen's
Linda Fiorentino ... Bethany
Derek Milosavljevic ... Kissing Couple
Lesley Braden ... Kissing Couple
Janeane Garofalo ... Liz
Salma Hayek ... Muse
Alan Rickman ... Metatron
Alanis Morissette ... God
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