Kevin Smith
nearly always adheres to the principle of "write what you know." That's why Dogma, his controversial 1999 comedy, is brimming with Catholicism, skepticism, profanity, poop jokes, movie references, and Ben Affleck. If you were to cut Kevin Smith's head open -- and I'm not suggesting you should do this -- Dogma is probably what would spill out.

Do you remember the ruckus this caused near the end of the last millennium? After a version of the script leaked on to the Internet, the Catholic League, led by William Donohue, vehemently denounced the film as blasphemous. Smith got death threats, which he cheerfully posted on his website. Protesters exerted so much pressure that Disney, which was going to distribute the film through Miramax, got skittish and sold it to Lions Gate, which had not yet adopted its policy of only distributing movies with Saw or Tyler Perry's in the title.

Protests continued once the film was actually released, on Nov. 12, 1999, with approximately the same effect that such protests usually have, i.e., drawing more attention to the movie. Dogma was Smith's fourth film, and it easily out-grossed the previous three combined. In terms of tickets sold, it's still his most successful movie (though this year's Cop Out made more money, as did Zack and Miri, barely).
categories Columns, Cinematical