Roman Catholic

Hated It!

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Bill Donohue, America's cattiest film critic, giggles like a schoolgirl as critics pan The Da Vinci Code movie:

Here's a sample of what critics who previewed "The Da Vinci Code" yesterday had to say about the movie:

• "Dud"; Unwieldy"; "Plodding." (Reuters)

• "A Bloated Puzzle"; "The movie is so drenched in dialogue musing over arcane mythological and historical lore and scenes grow so static that even camera movement can't disguise the dramatic inertia"; "No chemistry exists between the hero and the heroine." (Hollywood Reporter)

• "Almost as bad as the book." (Boston Globe)

• "High-minded lurid material sucked dry by a desperately solemn approach"; They've "drained all the fun out of the melodrama." (Variety)

• When the movie "takes a brief wrong turn, and Howard momentarily loses control of his huge, streamlined vehicle, it's hard to say where to put the blame." (FoxNews.com)

• "Critics Crucify 'Da Vinci Code.'" (Australian Associated Press)

• "Critics largely panned the cinematic version"; "The movie did receive some lukewarm praise, but the majority of the response was highly critical"; "One scene during the film, meant to be serious, elicited prolonged laughter from the audience. There was no applause when the credits rolled; instead, a few catcalls and hisses broke the silence." (CNN)

• "At one point, some of them responded in the auditorium with laughter to one of the developments in the plot—something director Ron Howard would not have anticipated." (Press Association Newsfile)

• "Shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs"; "The Cannes audience clearly grew restless as the movie dragged on to two and a half hours and spun a long sequence of anticlimactic revelations"; "Some people walked out during the movie's closing minutes…and there was none of the scattered applause even bad movies sometimes receive at Cannes." (AP)

Bill Donohue said, "If Ron Howard is being laughed at by those predisposed to believe the worst about Catholicism, he's an utter failure."

That's hard cheese, because I was thinking of using the movie to break my Da Vinci Code vow of poverty. (Tom Hanks with cool hair, Audrey Tatou with that certain I-don't-know-what… How could they have mucked this up?)

Elsewhere, Donohue puts out some interesting comparative stats about who's reading the book and who's actually believing it.

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  1. Yeah, but I heard albinos were mad at the movie, so I have to go see it.

  2. In defense of the movie, alot of these critics sound like they are incapable of enjoying a fun summer flick. Its not supposed to be Citizen Kane after all.
    Chances are if you didn’t like the book you won’t like the movie.

  3. It’ll probably do well anyway, because of all the outraged religious people trying to ban it. If I ever get a book published, I plan to write outraged anonymous letters to various religious leaders explaining why Jennifer’s book is a sacreligious monstrosity that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth. Then I’ll retire off of my fat royalty checks.

  4. In support of Ben’s thesis, look at the Boston Glob’s review.

  5. Why does Tim Cavanaugh hate the One, Holy, Catholic and Apsotolic Church of Rome?

  6. If Ron Howard is being laughed at by those predisposed to believe the worst about Catholicism, he’s an utter failure.

    I didn’t realize that movie critics were generally predisposed to believe the worst about Catholicism.

  7. Oh and “Two snaps in a half circle”

  8. Oh and “Two snaps in a half circle”

  9. If I ever get a book published, I plan to write outraged anonymous letters to various religious leaders explaining why Jennifer’s book is a sacreligious monstrosity that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    “Sacreligious Monstrosity” would be a very good name for a heavy metal band.

    (“Sacreligious Monstrance” would be even better.)

  10. Ok, but what we really want to know is how is the new X-Men movie? Any advance buzz as to if it’s going to be any good?

  11. If I ever get a book published, I plan to write outraged anonymous letters to various religious leaders explaining why Jennifer’s book is a sacreligious monstrosity that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    “Sacreligious Monstrosity” would be a very good name for a heavy metal band.

    (“Sacreligious Monstrance” would be even better.)

  12. Mo: you get the zorro tripple snap for that.

    when are finals? good luck on them!

  13. With 5 reviews in, Rotten Tomatoes gives the movie a resounding 0%.

  14. If I ever get a book published, I plan to write outraged anonymous letters to various religious leaders explaining why Jennifer’s book is a sacreligious monstrosity that needs to be wiped off the face of the earth.

    Aren’t the chances of your book actually being a sacrilegious monstrosity pretty good anyway? At least to those who like to write protest letters?

  15. Reminds me of the “Last Temptation of Christ” hullabaloo 15 years (or so) ago. Lame movie that few people would be interested in if there weren’t these crazed crowds picketing the theater.

    What’s amazing is that all this energy gets put into countering fictional stories that question Christianity. Their efforts would be better spent countering nonfictional critiques of Christian theology.

  16. “Almost as bad as the book.”

    That’s the best review ever. Since I thought the book was subpar and not worth completing (and I read a lot of books and finish virtually all of them, even when I’m not thrilled), I don’t see any point in watching the movie.

    Tom Hanks’ hair in this film is not “cool”, incidentally. Reminds me of Harrison Ford’s odd haircut in Presumed Innocent.

    I’m working on a novel, by the way. I’m calling it Jennifer’s Fertile Ass (Just kidding, Jennifer. I just thought that was a funny comment you made yesterday).

  17. Dear Rev. Robertson and Rev. Falwell,

    My SON, who I’m raising to be a GOD-FEARING YOUNG MAN, was able to get a copy of JENNIFER’S BOOK out of our local LIBERRY (sic), which is paid for by MY TAX DOLLARS which are being USED to promote SECULAR HUMANISM and a LACK OF RESPECT FOR ARE (sic) LORD. Please start a NATIONAL BOY COT (sic) of this book so that EVERYBODY knows a GOOD CHRISTIAN will not stand within FIVE MILES of JENNIFER’S GODLISS (sic) BOOK.

    (The grammar and spelling errors are deliberate, in order to give the letter an aura of authenticity.)

  18. Mona,

    Taking your comment straight:

    There are plenty of reasons to be quite critical of the RCC.

  19. You’re right, Tim. Tom Hanks’ hair is great in this movie!

  20. My SON, who I’m raising to be a GOD-FEARING YOUNG MAN, was able to get a copy of JENNIFER’S BOOK out of our local LIBERRY (sic), which is paid for by MY TAX DOLLARS which are being USED to promote SECULAR HUMANISM and a LACK OF RESPECT FOR ARE (sic) LORD. Please start a NATIONAL BOY COT (sic) of this book so that EVERYBODY knows a GOOD CHRISTIAN will not stand within FIVE MILES of JENNIFER’S GODLISS (sic) BOOK.

    I knew it!! Jennifer is “Immigration Realist.” That stuff was so ridiculous I knew it was someone trying to yank people’s chains but now the truth comes out!

  21. Dead Elvis:

    The early reviews of Xmen 3 are good, and how can it not be with a blue, fuzzy Kelsey Grammar?

    As far as going to see movies, I’m not going to a theater until the open smoking-friendly screening rooms. Two to three hours without a cigarette during a crappy movie sound like my own personal hell.

  22. No, Brian, Jennifer is merely a derivative of Immigration Realist. In all seriousness: I did NOT make IR’s posts.

    Aren’t the chances of your book actually being a sacrilegious monstrosity pretty good anyway? At least to those who like to write protest letters?

    Hell yes, but a sacreligious monstrosity that nobody knows about is a sacreligious monstrosity that won’t make any money for its atheist author.

    I haven’t written the book yet, but I have a kick-ass title: Jesus and Mohammed 69 Each Other After Making and Smoking Crystal Meth

  23. Jennifer, your letter is too perfect to be a parody. My best friend from law school was a clerk at the intermediate state court of appeals that ruled on the Texas sodomy law. (They affirmed a lower court ruling that the law was unconstitutional. The fundie appeal was late.) Anyway, geeky lawyer stuff aside, Ken brought a bunch of letters the court received after the decision to dinner one night, where all the guests got drunk and read ’em out loud. Your parody was almost a word-for-word copy of one of ’em, just replace “Jennifer’s book” with “Your Opinion” and you’ve got it. And yes, “opinion” was misspelled each time it was used.

  24. When this movie finally gets shown on broadcast TV, will the TV Guide list it as “Drama” or assign it the much-maligned “Speculation” designation?

    “The Da Vinci Code” has a long way to go before it can top beloved Sunn Classics features like “In Search of Historic Jesus,” “The Bermuda Triangle,” “Mysterious Monsters,” “The Lincoln Conspiracy” or “In Search of Noah’s Ark.”

  25. Jesus and Mohammed 69 Each Other After Making and Smoking Crystal Meth

    People are staring at me as I choke and snortle at my desk. I love you, Jennifer.

  26. Jennifer, your letter is too perfect to be a parody.

    That’s the point. I am very serious: if I ever publish a book and it doesn’t sell very well, I’m going to write a bunch of pissed-off and misspelled letters and mail them to religious leaders.

    And to make it extra-perfect, I’ll take a road trip down South and stick the letters into random mailboxes, so that they all have nice Southern postmarks. Go ‘Bama!

  27. Jesus and Mohammed 69 Each Other After Making and Smoking Crystal Meth

    Should make for some interesting cover art…

  28. We worshippers of the ONE TRUE GOD, MAMMON, found nothing offensive in the book or movie to HIM or the Church of the Coupon Reedemer. [Special this week: 3 indulgences for the price of 2.]

    His Holiness ARESEN
    FIRST APOSTLE AND COMMUNICANT
    Church of the Coupon Redeemer

  29. Pardon my self-righteous smugness… like the guy who brays that he doesn’t get cable/sattelite TV (actually, I don’t).

    But I’ve never read the book, and I have no interest in seeing the movie.

    Maybe it has the charm of a Big Mac (and I can scarf down a few), but it’s all just massive consumption. Where’s the beef?

  30. Hockey hair is not cool. Hockey hair has never been cool.

  31. Mr. Nice Guy,

    Why, there are Two All-Beef Patties? in that Big Mac.

    Right on, Sandy! Join me in the Hanks Hair Hate!

  32. Yeah, I ‘ve had no interest in it either, not the book or the movie. While I wholly support the trashing of any religion wherever possible, this book sounds no different from The Bible Code from Oprah’s reading list a few years back, or any of that Robert Anton Wilson conspiracy/sci-fi stuff from back in the day. I thought everybody already knew the Priory of Scion was a fake. Then it dawned on me.

  33. I can’t believe Ron Howard has made a bad film adaptation of book. I mean, just look how well he did with The Grinch Who Stole Christmas!

  34. yo, bob wilson has style, son. he’s obviously in on the joke.

    can’t really say the same for holy blood, holy grail.

  35. Some guy with an inpossibly long handle writes:

    Mona,
    Taking your comment straight:
    There are plenty of reasons to be quite critical of the RCC.

    How dare you assume I’m straight? But seriously, I’m not generally into making fun of religion, since it isn’t the best way to promote civil discourse. However, Mr. Wm Donohue of the Catholic League is a full-fledged member of the grievance industry, and frankly, he drives me batshit insane.

    As you note, there is plenty about which to be criticial with regard to the Catholic Church, as a girl raised American Irish-Catholic such as myself would know only too well. Indeed, the perpetually outraged Mr. Donohue — who could sniff anti-Catholicism out on Mother Angelica’s show as she interviewed Mother Teresa — condemned as anti-Catholic one of my favorite films, which tells the truth about how viciously young women in Catholic Ireland were treated by the chruch until quite recently.

    Donohue didn’t deny that this gulag of prison-convents existed; he just thought the less said about it the better.

  36. Ok, but what we really want to know is how is the new X-Men movie?

    I didn’t realize transgender films were so popular.

  37. I’d prefer if they ran a version with just the Audrey Tautou scenes.

  38. Jennifer, you left important authenticating (and marketing) information out of your protest letter. It should read:

    “My SON, who I’m raising to be a GOD-FEARING YOUNG MAN, was able to get a copy of JENNIFER’S BOOK Jesus and Mohammed 69 Each Other After Making and Smoking Crystal Meth, ISBN #1234-56789, available on Amazon.com or at booksellers everywhere, out of our local LIBERRY…”

  39. I don’t know why, but I think this type of conversation is how Scientology got started.

    * * *

    Anyone up for becoming billionaires by creating a new religion?

  40. Anyone up for becoming billionaires by creating a new religion?

    Sure, but let’s call it Pseudoscientology so people not as smart as Tom Cruise, John Travolta or Kirsty Allie won’t be put off by all that hard scientific stuff.

  41. Mona,

    Oh, I see.

  42. Liberate,

    I looked at the book as kind of cheap sex. It had absolutely no long term intellectual or spiritual value, but I nonetheless found myself enjoying parts of it and feeling guilty afterwards for liking something so lame.

  43. D.A. Ridgely,

    And they shalt worship the Mother Goddess, with her fertile ass. And, lo, there shalt be a schism over whether The Book refers to the ass of her body or to a donkey.

    Schisms and heresy pay well, too. The trick is to collude with the heretics.

  44. John, no apologies needed. I said in a past thread (specifically referring to Brown’s crowning achievement) that everyone is entitled to like a “bad” book or two. I have sinned plenty in that regard, especially in the S/F genre, so casting stones would be the height of hypocrisy.

    Enjoy!

  45. Excerpts from my book:

    Chapter 1

    Jesus stared morosely into the nearly-empty church collection plate. “Nobody’s giving me money any more,” he sighed. “I wonder why?”

    “Because you’re in Oklahoma,” said his friend Mohammed, “and nobody has any money to give to the church because they spent it all buying meth. I know this because a government anti-drug pamphlet told me so.”

    “You shouldn’t expect people to give you money for purely altruistic reasons anyway,” said the ghost of Ayn Rand, who is a character in the book because the author thought that would help it sell among Hit and Run posters. “Instead, why don’t you make money by starting a business and selling things people want?”

    Chapter 5

    “Man, this meth is really ruining my teeth,” said Mohammed. “Who knew that meth mouth was a real problem?”

    “Your teeth were too damned sharp anyway,” said Jesus. “Believe me, I know.”

    Chapter 9

    “I’m feeling very meta right now,” said Jesus, “so I’d like to say that any book Jennifer writes is so good you shouldn’t wait for it to come out in paperback. Buy it in hardcover! Buy multiple copies! They make excellent gifts and can also be used as household insulation.”

    “Mmmmph,” replied Mohammed, who couldn’t speak clearly because his mouth was occupied doing something else that you can probably figure out from the title of the book.

  46. Jennifer, nice of you to offer yourself up for martyrdom. Please be sure it happens in a dramatic and symbolic way, so that our church will have a good mythology to work with. I’m just wondering if it’ll be a ?? assassin or a Muslim one. Or some combination thereof.

    Good luck with the book. I’ll preorder a copy.

  47. WHo said anything about martyrdom, PL? If anybody asks, I’ll explain that my book should not be considered offensive because it is an allegory: the “Jesus” character symbolizes the false prophets that the Bible warns people about, and the “Mohammed” character symbolizes the false profits authors make when a shitty book hits the best-seller list because some religious guy opposed it, which in turn make being seen with a copy of the book the “in” thing to do among rebellious college students.

  48. Jennifer, that won’t save you, but I do have an idea that might. Make Mohammed and Jesus into some sort of animals named, say, Mike and Josh. Use metaphor and gross subtlety to make it clear to whom you are referring. Proceed with offensive language and ideas. Rake in the dough per your original plan, especially from the movie rights.

    It would be more convenient for our new religion if you (or someone else hereabouts) went out in a blaze of glory. I’m just sayin’.

  49. One other thing about this new religion. Its holy book must contain the following:

    [1]And I sat upon the seat of my desk, and saw a beast rise up out of the blog, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of Server.
    [2] And the beast which I saw was like unto a sloth, slow and ineffectual. And his feet were as the feet of a slug, and his mouth as the mouth of a poorly educated rock: and the magazine gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority, to the wonder and consternation of its readers.

  50. Jennifer and Pro L, you’ll need to form a corporation that will buy up boxes and boxes of Jennifer’s book to distribute among members of the new religion. As I understand it, that’s how all those Coulter and Hannity books end up on the best seller lists.

    You both have one problem, though. In order to make it a convincing and moneymaking new faith, you need to invent a lot of words like “engram.” Judging from your posts, neither of you is particularly good at assaulting the language that way. I have a collection of books like “Seven Habits of Stupid People Who Buy Business Books” from an ex-coworker that I will donate to the cause. You read the awful books and change a few letters around in their needless neologisms, et voila! A complete set of meaningless babble for your believing pleasure.

  51. Actually, Karen, Jennifer and I are working at cross-purposes. She’s working to make lots of money off of something that offends religious folks (and thus gets the dough), I’m forming a new religion. For some reason, she’s resisting my suggestion that she martyr herself for the cause.

    Say, you don’t think this is how things went down between Judas and Jesus, do you? Uh, oh. . . .

    Since I’m suggesting we go with the Mother Goddess revival, instead of engrams, we’ll use. . .mammograms.

  52. Jesus Tom, could you please give me a harder challange than finding dumbass hatefilled inane comments on KOS? As for KOS himself, he is such billious bastard you really have to look to even figure out his point. Here are a few “highlights” from the current batch of KOS comments.

    and a conviction. Then you’re damn right, hang them up and let them kick.

    But I’m against the death penalty, even though these sorry fascist traitorous sons of bitches deserve it far more than any serial killer you care to name. So permanent incarceration serves our purposes well enough and keeps us on the side of the angels.

    -9.88, -7.18
    This Far and No Further

    by Black Max on Tue May 16, 2006 at 06:56:02 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]
    Let me be his fucking jailer. I’ll teach him what “stateless detainee” means.

    … similar to young Rethugs today who do essentially the same crap, which is why they can’t possibly go fight in Iraq. (I don’t know if Rove & the Chimp worked together as larval scum.)
    .
    During his AWOL year deserting from the Champagne Corps, a duty for 1st Lt. Unfit to Serve on the campaign trail was to deliver (for radio broadcast) a ginsu’d tape just before the election that “proved” his candidate’s opponent liked nigrahs too much and wanted to ruin white schools by bring a bunch of the young ones into classes.
    .
    You know … just politics, like the First Douchebag explained to McCain about that black baby push-poll.

    don’t think this corrupt regime has even thought a wit about us losing our freedoms because of the terrorists. They don’t give a rats ass. They want power and money, more power, more money, and on and on. That’s what this is about. Kill government’s help for ordinary people, privatize everything, make the corporations rich and make them rich along with it. This supposed war on terror is a sham. They don’t even hide it anymore.

    I have better things to do than read this crap, but it took me all of 20 seconds to find those. The level of dialog and thought that goes on there is so low. Has there ever been a disagrement over there? People are at each other’s throats over there. I guess what strikes me the most about it is how emotional and irrational the posters seem to be. It is like this huge primal scream therapy for the parnoid and dellusional, all reinforcing and bringing out the worst in each other.

  53. Sorry wrong thread.

  54. Sucked.

  55. I’m thinking of writing a screen play. In keeping with Jennifer’s idea, I think I’ll work in some gratuitous religious slurs. The story I have in mind doesn’t really have any obvious way to work in religious slurs, but it seems like it would boost ticket sales.

    So at some point I’ll have a character who rails against the “Christards.”

  56. “The DaVinci what“? I’m allergic to most any pop culture that’s so… omnipresent. Except Lost. And Desperate Housewives.

  57. So at some point I’ll have a character who rails against the “Christards.”

    Oooh! Oooh! Can you cast Sean Astin as me… I mean, that character?

    Uber-Catholic Dad was crowing about this little tidbit last night after he heard it on Hannity. “How dare they try tell me everything I was raised to believe is wrong,” he exclaimed. I have a feeling that he and Donahue would get along quite well.

  58. Akira-

    I was going to offer you a bit part with a few lines, actually.

    I’m just trying to figure out how to work you into the story. See, I could think of a number of ways to incorporate your comment into the story, but religion wouldn’t really be the focus. A “Christard” comment would fit in as more of a one-liner aside rather than a central plot element. People might protest after seeing it, but the challenge is getting enough of them to show up and see it in the first place so that you get critical mass for the protests.

    OTOH, a movie that’s explicitly about religion (e.g. Da Vinci Code) is guaranteed to attract protestors.

    Maybe the studio could include your one-liner in the trailer.

  59. In 2006, a crack team of libertarian atheistic commandoes were sentenced to eternal commentary in the blogosphere for a comment they didn’t make. They promptly escaped from the giant hamster wheel that power’s Reason’s servers to the New Hampshire underground. Today, still wanted by Mona and the Catholic League, they survive as ferret farmers and heretics for hire. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, maybe you can hire… the A-TEAM.

  60. In 2006, a crack team of libertarian atheistic commandoes were sentenced to eternal commentary in the blogosphere for a comment they didn’t make. They promptly escaped from the giant hamster wheel that powers Reason’s servers to the New Hampshire underground. Today, still wanted by Mona and the Catholic League, they survive as ferret farmers and heretics for hire. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, maybe you can hire… the A-TEAM.

  61. Thoreau and Akira —

    I think this is what thoreau is after: At one point, the character of, um … “Tadeo MacLeod” … catches a ride in a taxi to the next Important Plot Element. Tadeo engages in some plot-crucial but not-religious-related dialogue with the cab driver, although we happen to notice there is a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror.

    After the taxi drops Tadeo off, the cabbie accepts Tadeo’s tip and says, “God bless you sir!” before zipping away through a puddle — which splashes muddy water all over Tadeo’s pants. So Tadeo yells, “Thanks a lot, Christard!” before continuing to the Next Scene. I think that’s the kind of thing thoreau has in mind.

    PS: Is it pronounced “KRYS-tard” or “KRIS-tard”?

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