Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

What,we're not controversal enough for you?!

Entertainment Weekly's newest main feature lists the 25 Most Controversal Films (click the title link to check it out),according to their standards. It's a pretty decent line-up and while I agree with most of it,there's a couple of films that should have been added on to it. Here are my nominees for the Notorious Film Festival:

Dogma(1999)-Kevin Smith's take on religion mixed with the vulgarly funny antics of Jay and Silent Bob sparked protests(Kevin Smith tells a great story on his college tour DVD about how he and a buddy slipped into a group that was picketing the local theater and filmed by the local news)but to change distributors as well.

The plot is smarter than you think-it's about two banished angels who discover a way to get around God's sentence of exile on Earth which would send them back to Heaven. However,to do so would undermine the infallibility of God and thus destory the known universe. Well,why is that a probelm,someone might ask. Well,in addition to that,there's also certain other elements such as God being a woman(played by Alanis Morrisette),Jesus being black(according to Apostle Rufus,played by Chris Rock) and discussions on the nature of faith with several shots taken at the Catholic Church.

It's one of my favorite Kevin Smith films,not only for the ideas presented but for Jason Mewes' hilarious antics(his John Hughes rant is one of the highlights of the movie). The cast is full of great esemble players such as Jason Lee,Ben Affleck ,Matt Damon and creative choices such as Alan Rickman,George Carlin and Salma Hayek. The Special Edition DVD is one to watch-the extras rock,plus the menus put you in just the right mood.

Cruising(1980)-Al Pacino plays a cop who must go undercover to catch a serial killer in the underground S&M gay night club scene. The film was protested by not only those who found the subject matter offensive but by the gay community who didn't appreciate any of the depictions of gays in this setting(sort of a warm-up for the Basic Instinct debate). I was too young to see this movie and it's hard to find. The VHS tape went out of print and there are no plans to have it out on DVD that I know of.

It would be interesting to see it now,especially to point out the pitiful sterotyping and ultra bleakness of the story(it is a William Friedkin movie and he's not known for making cuddly Care Bear stories). If anyone has seen it or remembers some of the scenes,please let me know if it's worth a look.

Fight Club(1999)-Chuck Palahnuik's novel was given the balls to the wall treatment in this David Fincher adaptation starring Ed Norton and pre-Branglina Brad Pitt as the leaders of an underground anarchy group that gets totally out of control. When I saw Fight Club onscreen,I was blown away by the sheer boldness,from the brutal beatings handed out to the insane dialogue("My God. I haven't been fucked like that since grade school." is still a favorite line of mine)and the handy hints on bomb making that I didn't expect to see in a big studio commericial film.

Even today,there are folks who hold their own private fight clubs loosely based on the film. Hopefully,they won't be setting up any Project Mayhem activities as well. This is another film that you really should get the Special Edition of-it has mock PSA videos made by the characters,plus a booklet that goes over the media outcry for and against the film.

United 93 made the EW list and if they do another,most likely Oliver Stone's World Trade Center will be on that one,it's obvious. The best controversal films are not just about showing shocking images,they have thought provoking ideas to mull over after the movie ends. That's the best legacy any artform can leave behind.


PJS said...

I've always loved (most of) Dogma. For some reason, it always makes me cry in two parts (don't tell anyone though).

I saw "84 Charing Cross Road" in your profile... one of my favorites; I didn't realize anyone else had seen it.

lady t said...

Your secret is safe with me:) A good friend of mine turned me on to 84 Charing Cross Road and I've read some of Helene Hanff's books as well-always hearing Anne Bancroft's voice every time I read them.

You gotta tell me which two parts of Dogma bring on the waterworks!

PJS said...

WELL... as long as you don't tell anybody...

1) The parking garage scene, where Ben Affleck is flipping out, explaining to Matt Damon the excruciating pain of his separation from god. For some reason, even though it's Ben Affleck, and even though he's playing an angel, the scene strikes me as very real and raw.

2) When Ben's defiant rebel angel takes one look at God's (Alanis Morrisette's) face, and instantly all his rage is gone... JUST... KILLS... ME

lady t said...

My lips are sealed! Those are good scenes..Affleck really does good work when he's with Kevin Smith. Jersey Girl had some pretty intense moments,too.