I Have An Idea For The Next Catholic Movie

Matt Archbold at Creative Minority Report wrote earlier in the week that the movie The Perfect Family had a disastrous opening take:

This has been a rough week for anti-Christian Hollywood.

First, a virulently anti-Catholic movie called “The Perfect Family” netted a whopping $14,301. That’s right. $14,301. Kirk Cameron movies make more than that. I think Mel Gibson’s “The Beaver” made more than that.

Hollywood must be stunned. Who’d a thunk that a movie that mocks Catholics and has all the star power that made VI Warshawski such a big hit, would become a failure.

Now, according to Rotten Tomatoes, The Perfect Family has grossed $53,200 to date.  No, I didn’t mistype that number.  It really has grossed that pitiful amount.  To which I say – hah!

Matt closes his piece with the following salient paragraphs -

Here’s the thing – if you’re going to make fun of us, at least do it in an intelligent manner. At least make it funny because it’s true, not funny because it’s mocking a caricature that the elites conjure up in order to make it easy to dismiss them.

Note to the elites: If you read Jen Fulwiler, Simcha, Sherry Antonetti or LarryD you know that Catholicism can be funny. If you want to make fun of us, make fun of US, not a straw man. ‘Cause I’ll be honest. We make fun of you guys all the time.

First of all, I didn’t include those paragraphs because he happened to mention me.

Second of all, yes I did.

Third of all – he makes an excellent point.  Humor works best when it isn’t faked, contrived or forced.  Truth has to be at its foundation – no one laughs at lies.  Exaggerations, yes.  Lies, no.  We laugh at Dumb and Dumber, for instance, not because it’s impossible for there to be two guys that incredibly stupid, but because a) we know of people who are that stupid (ie: The Darwin Awards), and b) we’ve been stupid at times ourselves.

Read this bit from The Catholic Sentinel, which Matt cites:

Eileen Cleary (Kathleen Turner), supermom and “ultimate Catholic,” is the altar server at Mass, assisting Msgr. Murphy (Richard Chamberlain, channeling his Father de Bricassart role from “The Thorn Birds”). It’s time for Communion, and Eileen holds a platter of consecrated hosts. The monsignor turns to her, takes a host, then turns to the communicant and offers the Eucharist.

That detail — entirely alien, of course, to the reality of Catholic liturgy — is a pretty good hint that no one involved in this bilious project has any familiarity whatever with the life of the church they’re attacking.

Distracted, Eileen brushes lint from her server’s robe, jostles the platter, and several hosts fall to the ground. She proceeds to kick the body of Christ under the altar so the monsignor will not notice what’s happened.

That’s supposed to be funny?  Nothing like that would ever happen during a Mass, and even if it did, it wouldn’t be funny.  I’m not saying that because the scene is scandalously sacrilegious.  It.just.isn’t.funny.

Now, I’m not a movie critic, and I’ve never written a screenplay (I’ve tried, and it is difficult) – and I’ll stand happily corrected by professionals such as Steven Greydanus and Barbara Nicolosi – but in my opinion, for a Catholic comedy film to work and be actually watchable, it needs believable characters and a good story – possible only if written by faithful Catholic screenwriters.  People who understand and love the faith and Church so much, that they recognize their own shortcomings and foibles reflected in the truths of the faith, and don’t resort to mocking the faith, but poke fun at themselves.  People who aren’t afraid to stand up and say “Hey world!  I screw up!”, because we all screw up.  Faithful Catholics are the first in line to laugh at themselves – well, most of us, anyway – and a lot of the funny things that happen in life, as evidenced in the blogs Matt mentioned, don’t need embellishment or exaggeration (for example, read today’s post at Sherry’s Chocolate for Your Brain.  Very funny.)

Which leads me to my idea.  The next Catholic movie should be about Catholic bloggers – about stuff that happens to us, about our observations of life around us, about our plans and how God likes to mess with them.  It can go direct to DVD, it doesn’t matter.  If you’re reading, Barbara, here’s my pitch:

“It’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Mad Blog!” – a group of Catholic bloggers, all nominated for “Catholic Humor Blogger Of The Year”, experience misadventures and mishaps as they race each other to the national Catholic blogging convention where the winner will be announced.

Starring (starting with the bloggers Matt noted, included amidst a cast of thousands!):

Debra Messing, as Jen Fulwiler

Jenna Fischer, as Simcha

Frances McDormand, as Sherry Antonetti

This is a total guess, as Sherry doesn’t have a pic at her blog.

Paul Giamatti, as Matt Archbold

Julian McMahon as Pat Archbold

Samuel L Jackson as LarryD

I am your brutha in Christ.

With special guest appearances:

Jimmy Akin, as Mark Shea

Mark Shea, as Jimmy Akin

Kevin Spacey, as Father Z

The Call-to-Action Liturgical Movement Ninjas

Obviously, I can’t include all the bloggers here, so if you’ve been omitted, don’t take it as a slight.  So go ahead and cast yourself – who would play you in the movie?

Once the script is done, it’s off to the agents. And I bet it would gross more than $53,200.

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23 responses

  1. This is so cool…except I had to go google who Francis McDormand is because I’m a nerd of a nerd..but I likey. And yes, we’re secretly twins even though I didn’t know she was in Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen. Will put up a picture.

  2. the jimmy akin/mark shea thingy just slayed me. i laughed out loud. thanks, LarryD. That sounds like “Thanks, SunnyD!”

  3. You’re saying it’d be better to be portrayed by a dead guy than by a black guy? I’m trying to be diverse and inclusive – but not that diverse and inclusive…

  4. My jaw dropped when I read about shoving the Eucharist under the altar. Wow. Just wow.

    Jen Fulwiler would have to play herself. She’s much prettier than the actress person. Plus, I don’t know that you can act out the scorpion-filled life without having first lived it. There are limits to the imagination.

  5. I think this is the hardest I’ve ever laughed at any of your posts (especially the Samuel L. Jackson and the Mark Shea/Jimmy Akin parts), and my younger siblings are wondering why on earth I’m laughing until tears are pouring out of my eyes. I would SO go see that movie in theaters, and I’m a broke college student.:-)

  6. Barb: I think Jimmy and I could sacrifice our lives for one another *and* accidently be committing homicide of one another at the same time, while engaged in a debate about who is being heroically self-sacrificial and who is actually killing the other. Heavy.

  7. Pingback: LarryD has some brilliant casting ideas

  8. Kevin Smith as me, though I’m not well known enough to be in the movie. But at least he’s a filmmaker (if apostate Catholic) if not a blogger- and despite the horrid language and worse acting, his New Jersey “trilogy” of Jay and Silent Bob films are representative of the growing Ex-Catholic denomination to come to terms with that part of Catholicism they can’t ignore.

  9. I don’t know if anyone needs to die, but if Mark Shea’s in it, there better be torture. But this is a comedy. Hmmm.

    How about this? The Bad Guy decides to torture Mark using the infamous waterboarding technique. Except the Bad Guy is kinda ‘Dumb and Dumber’, so he confuses waterboarding with boogie boarding. Pale beachy hilarity ensues.

  10. Larry D. EVERYTHING YOUR CHARACTER SAYS SHOULD BE SHOUTED, otherwise you will not be utilizing the full talents of your actor.

    I am just wondering who you would cast as Sister Patricia…

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