MORE ROTTEN MOVIES
Catalyst June Issue 2001
Some anti-Catholic movies that have recently been released have one thing in common: they’re rotten to the core. Indeed, they are so bad, artistically that is, that even those critics not bothered by the Catholic-bashing elements are complaining.
Take, for example, “The Assumption of the Virgin.” It is a BBC movie about the 15th century artist and priest Fra Filippo Lippi and his affair with his nun model. William Donohue was quoted in the New York Daily News saying, “The fact that they have to go back six centuries to find some illicit affair between a priest and a nun…tells me something.” He also offered some advice to the BBC: “They should explore the sexual abuse by Anglican priests and how they’ve been predators on a number of women.”
Then there’s “The Body.” This dud is about the supposed finding of the bones of Jesus. Receiving universally poor reviews, the Los Angeles Times commented that the film “makes an array of Catholics, Jews and Arabs look bad.”
“A Question of Faith” was called by the Chicago Sun-Times, “a pointless debacle.” It is about a monk who has a vision of the archangel Gabriel. Oh, yes, he manages to have sex with him. The monk then turns into a pregnant woman. This is somehow supposed to be a commentary on homosexuality, women, and abortion. Most reviewers just found it silly.
In our estimation, “One Night at McCool’s” gets the prize for the most rotten of them all.
Catholic League researcher Louis Giovino suffered through a showing of the film. Utilizing every clichéd film device seen countless times before, the film is loaded with gratuitous sex and violence. Amidst the plot holes and vapid script there is a fidgeting, drooling priest. After the wafer contents are thrown out of a ciborium, the priest is shown pouring whiskey in it and taking a swill. The audience is also treated to another tired caricature of a sexually repressed priest who loves to hear graphic conversations about sex.
Most reviewers panned the movie, but only one, Jonathan Foreman of the New York Post, nailed it for its anti-Catholicism. He commented that the portrayal of the priest is “yet another cheap Hollywood jibe at the expense of the Catholic Church.” That other reviewers didn’t remark on this aspect of the movie tells us more about them than we care to know.
The position of the Catholic League is to criticize Catholic-bashing movies even when they lack artistic merit. Sure, it tempers our outrage to know that the film in question is a flop, but we’re not here to make artistic judgments. Our job is to make judgments about those who seek to ridicule or insult Catholicism.
We await the day when movie critics in general will be so put off by a film’s anti-Catholicism that it will prove determinative in their review. So far we can’t think of one that has garnered this response.