Lost Picture Show: Dogma

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Editor’s Note: This weekend Kevin Smith releases his latest film, Tusk. So, we asked our resident Smith-ite, Laura Dengrove to talk about her favorite “lost” Smith film, Dogma. To those of us who call New Jersey their home (like we do) or are loyal Smith disciples, Dogma might not be a “lost” film. But, when you start the conversation about Smith’s career, his comedy about the Catholic religion often gets pushed to the side for Clerks, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back or even his misses like Red State or Zack & Miri. It’s a film that was met with initial love, but over time has kinda been forgotten in the Smith conversation — hence why we think it’s “lost.” So, here it is, our look at Dogma.

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Released: 1999

First Saw it: At the ripe old age of five in my older sister’s bedroom on VHS.

What Drew Me to See It: The first time, it was simply because my older sister enjoyed it, which to any five-year-old is reason enough. However, the second time I saw it I was a freshman in high school. This time around, I chose to watch it because I found out the film was filmed at my school and I wanted another glimpse at a movie my family enjoyed immensely.

Starring: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Linda Fiorentino, Alan Rickman, Chris Rock, Kevin Smith, and Jason Mewes.

Before They Were Stars Appearances: Damon and Affleck, certaintly weren’t the mega-stars they are now back then. If you look carefully enough you might be able to spot Ming Chen, Walter Flanagan and Bryan Johnson, the stars of AMC’s Comic Book Men as extras.

Director: Kevin Smith

The Best Performance: Tie between Matt Damon and Kevin Smith. While Damon gives an intense, emotional, and volatile performance, mainly through the use of body language and delivering great scene-stealing dialogue, Smith does the opposite. Without speaking, except for one line, he manages to deliver the best comedic performance of the entire movie. With hands gestures, eye movement, and body language, Smith delivers a hilarious performance and helps maintain his cult status as the one and only Silent Bob.

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The Supporting Scene Stealer: Besides the men listed above, this one has to go to Mr. Alan Rickman. Before he was casting spells and chilling with magical snakes, he was the Voice of God. Through every snarky, sarcastic remark, Rickman manages to captivate as he explains to the film’s hero (Fiorentino) all the hardships she will have to go through to prevent the end of the world. Every bitter word that escapes his mouth is hilarious and it truly shows how funny, yet still serious, Rickman can be.

The Moment to Remember: The Mooby’s Massacre scene. While the scene’s intention is to be somewhat scary and tense, it comes out extremely funny thanks to side remarks and one liners delivered by Damon and Affleck. While Affleck plays the calm and collected one, explaining each sinner’s sin, Damon gives snarky side comments that remind viewers that this is a Smith film. With all the intention to be messed up, but have some true gems of comedic lines thrown in there. The scene also fully plays on the friendship and chemistry Affleck and Damon share with one another. Playing off of one another and delivering fun and funny performances.

The Memorable Quote: “No ticket.” It’s not a Silent Bob/Kevin Smith film without him getting the best line. Delivered in such a relaxed way, this line proves you don’t want to piss Silent Bob off.

The Groan Moment: Anything with those hockey/demon kids. I get that it has something to do with the plot and they are workers for Azrael, but for some reason the feeling of an old man running out on his lawn screaming, “you crazy kids,” seems like something that would happen at any moment with these three in the scene.

Why I Can’t stop Watching: To me, this is one of the most important/ funniest films I have ever scene. The writing and directing is near perfect, the casting is wonderful, the comedic timing from all actors is right on point, and all in all it just seems like the cast had a blast filming it. When actors love the movie and what they are doing in it, so do the audiences. Plus the film really dwells on the aspect of sin and what truly makes a sinner or a good person. Showing the true colors of all characters, turning the film into more of a redemption piece than a social criticism on religion and so forth. While the film isn’t without its controversy, to me it is a necessary controversy. One that reflects on what good and bad actually is, while having some fun with it. This is one of Smith’s finest works, and one of his funniest, and hopefully his new film Tusk will live up to this predecessor.

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Laura Dengrove is the one of youngest members of the Pop-Break staff and is a critic for television/movies of all types on Pop-Break. She’s beginning college at Rutgers University where she will be studying Journalism/Public Relations. She was the editor for the Arts and Entertainment section of her school newspaper (at St. James where Dogma was filmed), runs her own blog (Pop Culture Darling), and interns for Design New Jersey. She also has an in-depth knowledge about all things True Blood and an avid Eric and Sookie shipper.

Hello!
My name is Laura Dengrove. I am currently a Junior at Rutgers University, double majoring in Journalism/Media Studies and Cinema Studies. I am a film critic and interviewer by choice, professional Linda Belcher impersonator by birth.