“Blasphemy isn’t what it used to be.”

Phil Nugent at The Screengrab makes my favorite comment about the controversy over Angels & Demons to date:

Now, we don’t really have a dog in this race. And make no mistake about it, we here at the Screengrab are just crazy about blasphemy and try to encourage it whenever we can. What’s discouraging, though, is [Ron] Howard’s good-natured, reasonable tone: yeah, we kind of dis your church’s history and make your guys look like nut jobs and gangsters, but we don’t mean anything by it! It’s just necessary to the plot of a good thriller. What are you saying, that you don’t like good thrillers? Go dig Hitchcock up and blow shit at him! Some real moviemakers like Bunuel risked their careers, their standing in the community, and maybe even their lives to make blasphemous movies, and somebody like Howard flirts with it, out of commercial necessity–somebody is going to make movies out of Dan Brown’s bullshit–and expects everybody to understand that it doesn’t really mean anything to him, so it shouldn’t give offense to anyone. I myself am no fan of Oliver Stone’s JFK, either as a movie or as an historical argument, but I’ll give it this much: I’m willing to believe that the murder of John Kennedy is something that Stone is, or was, genuinely freaked out about. it’s understandable that Howard would be baffled and even offended by William Donahue’s assertion that he’s actually a hater and propagandist against the Catholic church instead of a guy trying to make a buck with a pre-sold property, but if he would open his mind up a little, he might be able to see that, in his way, Donahue is paying him a compliment by suggesting that he’s a serious enough man to believe in his own crap. As Al Pacino put it in Dog Day Afternoon, if somebody’s going to blow my brains out, I hope it’s somebody who does it because he hates my guts, not because it’s his job.

Meanwhile, some new clips from the film have been posted here.

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  • It’s kind of like how in North America Christians will complain about facing persecution…like movies making Christians out to be hypocrites or more. Movies like the Da Vinci Code. Yeah, that’s really rough. It seems the bar for persecution got real low.