“Of course, the whole point of a Doomsday Machine is lost, if you KEEP it a SECRET! Why didn’t you tell the world, EH?” – Dr. Strangelove
As noted in the my last post, The B-Movie Catechism will be participating in the Year of Faith by, among other things, having another go at reading through the entire Catechism in one year. In fact, I’m going to follow the advice of regular commenter Xena and not just read the CCC, but pray it with Lectio Divina. And since part of Lectio Divina is to “pause and recall if some word or phrase stood out or something touched one’s heart” I thought, hey, maybe a few times a week I could use that as fodder for rambling blog posts share anything interesting that might come to mind while reflecting on the readings. Oh, and obsessively find a way to connect it to some movie, of course. This is The B-Movie Catechism, after all. If you want heavyweight commentary, it’s probably a good idea to find a blog that doesn’t use a Zuni Fetish Doll as its avatar.
So what stuck out during the very first day? Well, since a part of the Year of Faith is to promote The New Evangelization, I couldn’t help but be struck by how much the first ten paragraphs of the CCC concentrate on… wait for it… evangelization. Paragraph 1 appropriately starts with explaining how “God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior” but then paragraph 2 immediately jumps into “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” and then keeps on going with stuff like “Those who with God’s help have welcomed Christ’s call and freely responded to it are urged on by love of Christ to proclaim the Good News everywhere in the world.”
Look, I know a lot of Catholics are uncomfortable with the idea of verbally communicating their faith to others.…
I’m sure everyone will remember this conversation from Beetlejuice:
Barbara: I hate this. Just… can you give me the basics?
Adam: Well, this book isn’t arranged that way. What do you wanna know?
Barbara: Well, why did you disappear when you stepped off the porch? Are we halfway to heaven? Are we halfway to hell? And… how long is this gonna last?
Adam: I don’t see anything about heaven OR hell. This book reads like stereo instructions. Listen to this: “Geographical and temporal perimeters. Functional perimeters vary from manifestation to manifestation.” Oh, this is gonna take some time, honey.
You know, I can kind of sympathize with the ghosts of Adam and Barbara as they struggle with The Handbook For The Recently Deceased. Why? Because I’ve spent my fair share of time trudging through Church documents, that’s why? Apostolic Exhortations, Letters & Constitutions. Papal Enycyclicals. Moto Propios. The Code of Canon Law. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are beautiful. But some of them make stereo instructions seem like the works of Shakespeare. Despite the truths they contain, the dense writing style in some of those documents can be overwhelming, especially for the person who is just beginning to develop an interest in delving deeper into the philosophy and teachings of the Church.
That’s why it was such a big deal when the Catechism first hit the streets in 1992, offering as it did “a statement of the Church’s faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium.” Pope John Paul II went on to declare the Catechism “a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” Given all that, a person could do a lot worse than actually taking the time to read through the thing.…
In our last post, we kicked off our October long holy horrors film festival with a look at the cult classic The Wicker Man. Coming up soon we’ll have even more never before reviewed films that mash up the heebie jeebies with religious content (while skipping the obligatory exorcisms and dispirited priests). But first, just for the completests out there, we thought we’d rerelease some previously reviewed films that covered pretty much the same territory.
Sometimes the Church asks hard things of us. In The Sentinel, the task at hand just happens to involve a closetful of the best horrors hell has to offer. Who’s up for such a job? Why, supermodel Cristina Raines of course.
Sadly, not everybody can be a supermodel. But as Soulkepper shows us, God can make pretty good use out of losers as well.
In fact, God can pretty much make use of anybody, even non-believers. Which is a good thing since in Prince Of Darkness the Church has been hiding a few faith-shaking facts that would make Dan Brown’s head spin. What are they? Best to watch the movie and find out for yourself, but we’d suggest studying a bit of quantum physics first.
However, if you’d rather not brush up on your physics and would prefer a simple tale of good versus evil (or at least William Shatner versus a sweet young demon), then you might want to take in Incubus instead.…
So it’s Halloween season and you’re in the mood to settle in with some good religious themed genre movies, but you really can’t stand the thought of watching one more flick about exorcism or miserable priests on the verge of losing their faith? Well, not to worry, you’ve come to the right place, because all throughout October the B-Movie Catechism is throwing a holy horrors spookfest highlighting films with religious content, but nary an exorcism or dispirited priest in sight (well, maybe one or two, they’re kind of hard to avoid in movies). To get things started we have…
“A righteous police officer investigating the disappearance of a young girl comes into conflict with the unusual residents of a secluded Scottish isle in this unsettling, intelligent chiller. Brought to the island of Summerisle by an anonymous letter, Edward Woodward’s constable is surprised to discover that the island’s population suspiciously denies the missing girl’s very existence. Even more shocking, at least to the traditionally pious law office, the island is ruled by a libertarian society organized around pagan rituals. Repelled by the open acceptance of sexuality, nature worship, and even witchcraft, the officer takes an antagonistic attitude towards the people and their leader, an eccentric but charming English lord (Christopher Lee). The officer’s unease intensifies as he continues his investigation, slowly coming to fear that the girl’s disappearance may be linked in a particularly horrifying manner to an upcoming public festival. Anthony Shaffer’s meticulously crafted screenplay creates a thoroughly convincing alternative society, building tension through slow discovery and indirect suggestion and making the terrifying climax all the more effective.…
Except, as we all know, young Ralphie didn’t say fudge in that scene from A Christmas Story, did he? He said THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the “F-dash-dash-dash” word! And as a result, he spent the evening with a bar of soap in his mouth. Which is admittedly better than what his poor friend Flick got after Ralphie claimed to have heard THE WORD from him. But as viewers, we know where Ralphie really picked up his colorful verbiage from, don’t we?
Ah, nobody delivers a minced oath like Darren McGavin. As you probably know, a minced oath is “a type of euphemism in which a profane or offensive term is replaced by a similar-sounding word or phrase that expresses a comparable sentiment in a less objectionable way, such as substituting ‘heck’ for ‘hell’.” But the minced oaths in A Christmas Story are an intentional part of the movie, and because of that they work perfectly. However, for better or worse (okay, probably worse), most films these days just go with full-on profanity and don’t bother adding in any minced oaths until later when they sell the broadcast rights to television and need to replace the dirty words with something a bit more suitable for Saturday afternoons when the kiddies may be tuning in. You know how it works. Somebody in the theatrical version drops the the “F-dash-dash-dash” word, but the television version overdubs the line with something like “Flip this!” or “Forget you!” It can be kind of entertaining in its own way, especially when they don’t even bother getting the original actors to do the overdubbing.…
Douay-Rheims Version: “For all our days are spent; and in thy wrath we have fainted away. Our years shall be considered as a spider: The days of our years in them are threescore and ten years. But if in the strong they be fourscore years: and what is more of them is labour and sorrow. For mildness is come upon us: and we shall be corrected.”
Revised Standard Version: “For all our days pass away under thy wrath, our years come to an end like a sigh. The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet their span is but toil and trouble; they are soon gone, and we fly away.”
New American Bible: “Our life ebbs away under your wrath;g our years end like a sigh. Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty, if we are strong; Most of them are toil and sorrow; they pass quickly, and we are gone.”
Blade Runner: “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain. Time to die.”
Good evening Mr. & Mrs. Catholic, and all you other Christians at sea. Welcome back to the Newsreel, sponsored as always by the fine folks at Acts of the Apostasy, home of the 3 1/2 Time-Outs Tuesday. Now off to press.
In case you haven’t yet heard about it elsewhere, acclaimed director Nick Cassavetes recently destroyed most of his credibility in an interview with The Wrap wherein he defended the incestuous relationship portrayed in his latest film Yellow. “We had heard a few stories where brothers and sisters were completely, absolutely in love with one another.” Cassavetes said, “You know what? This whole movie is about judgment, and lack of it, and doing what you want. Who gives a **** if people judge you? I’m not saying this is an absolute but in a way, if you’re not having kids – who gives a damn? Love who you want. Isn’t that what we say? Gay marriage – love who you want? If it’s your brother or sister it’s super-weird, but if you look at it, you’re not hurting anybody except every single person who freaks out because you’re in love with one another.” Well, gee whiz, Nick, perhaps you missed the extensive studies made on the subject of sibling incest (Cole, 1982; Higgs, Canavan, & Meyer, 1992; Russell, 1986) which concluded that “long-term effects on the individual include: shattered trust of brothers and men in general; never marrying or making poor choices in marriage; poor self-concept; sexual promiscuity and using sex as the only way to relate to men; a tendency toward revictimization, sexual and otherwise; substance abuse; depression and other psychiatric symptoms such as dissociative experiences or loss of memory for large periods of the past; confusion between intimacy and sexuality; and a lack of support from family and society, who tend to blame the victim.” You see, Nick, (or perhaps you’ll still refuse to) there’s actual real scientific reasons behind the Church’s disapproval of non-traditional sexual relationships besides some twisted desire to meddle in people’s private bedrooms.…
Now it may come as a surprise to some of you out there to learn that there has already been two semi-sequels to the 1983 holiday classic A Christmas Story. There was Ollie Hopnoodle’s Haven of Bliss (1988) in which a 14-year-old Ralphie looks forward to his first job and The Old Man looks forward to going fishing, and then there was My Summer Story aka It Runs In The Family (1994) which returns to Ralphie’s childhood for more hijinks with the latest neighborhood bully. However, without the original director and cast (especially the irreplaceable Darren McGavin), neither of the two follow-ups come close to achieving the charm of A Christmas Story. Still, being written by Jean Shepherd, author of the original, both still manage to be okay time killers.
So, because I was aware of the two existing semi-sequels, when I first heard that they were making a direct to DVD “official” sequel to A Christmas Story 2, I didn’t have the immediate reaction of “No! Those fudgeheads are going to crap all over my memories!” that a lot of others had. (Only they didn’t say fudge.) After all, Jean Shepherd may be 13 years gone, but he still has plenty of memoirs that have yet to be put to film, so another sequel could prove to be passable.
But now I’ve seen the trailer. And if the people who made this aren’t crapping all over my memories, they’re at least crapping all over my intelligence.…
Douay-Rheims Version: “Envies, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God.”
Revised Standard Version: “Envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
New American Bible: “Occasions of envy, drinking bouts, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Animal House: “Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”