St. Dismas Day, and a Movie to go with: Funeral Kings

St. Dismas Day, and a Movie to go with: Funeral Kings March 25, 2014

File:Bockstorfer Altar Mitte.jpg
Central image of the Bockstorfer Altar, Cathedral of Konstanz. Painted by Christoph Bockstorfer (?) in 1524.


The feast of the Annunciation is also the feast of St. Dismas, for reasons that Taylor Marshall explains here.  “Dismas” is one of the names traditionally ascribed to the penitent thief who was crucified alongside our Lord.  It’s only fitting that such a saint be commemorated under all his aliases.

On the 19th we observed the solemnity of St. Joseph, the patron of happy death because he died, it is said, with Mary and Jesus beside him.  So did Dismas.  You can’t go wrong seeking the aid of St. Joseph, but if your circumstances are more, dare I say, dismal, you might consider picking up St. Dismas as a back-up patron.  He’s not really in a position to complain if you only remember to seek his aid at the last minute.


Let my in-laws always be remembered with honor as the people who got me a Netflix account.   Movie tip of the day: Check out Funeral Kings.  It is not the feel-good movie of the year.  It probably won some award for best of use of the word Belgium most f-bomb laden film endorsed by a catechist. Watch it after the kids are in bed, and use headphones.  Why do I like it? Because it gets adolescence right.

I can’t tell you precisely what kids these days are up to, but Funeral Kings sure lines up with what kids were up to a quarter century ago, and there’s no evidence the culture has cleaned up any since then.  Even though it’s the kind of film that self-important wannabe hipsters breathlessly call “gritty”, I love, love, love the realism on this one.  Love the setting*.  Love the premise.  You get ordinary evil straight-up, no glamorizing, no winking, no whitewashing.

This is how it is, period.  This is your kid’s world.  If you can watch this film and say to yourself, “Goodness no, that’s happening at my parish,” you aren’t ready for religious ed.  See St. Dismas, above.

Good story-telling, too.  I have a long list of movies I quit watching after enough minutes of stupid and boring.  This one had me the whole time.  Gripping. And never, ever, trite.

*In a doubly-ironic moment, the kindly elderly religious sister compliments the title characters on how handsome they look in their albs. I’m pretty sure the boys were not wearing albs, but rather cassocks and surplices.  My inclination is to assume it’s a script-writer’s error, but who knows, maybe the McManus brothers are playing with parish culture more than we realize.

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