Friday, May 19, 2006


D (DaVinci) Day

Yes, Dr. ER and I will go see The Davinci Code movie, but probably not today. We loved the book. I devoured it. Read it cover to cover in one sitting -- first time I'd consumed a book like that since college.

And if any prayer vigilists get in my face, I'll, I'll -- well, I'll love 'em, the poor deluded saps.

Jesus needs no defending.

It's fiction.

Y'allses' thoughts, please.

Why does this work of fiction seem so threatening to so many people? If the churches in this country have become so irrelevant that the central, historical, traditional mainstream stories about Jesus are lost on the greater society -- and, as feared, whole swaths of the country will be "led astray" by a movie -- whose fault is that?

I think The DaVinci Code will come closer to sparking a revival than The Passion of the Christ (no desire to see that). Why? For one, the out-freaking that will start in earnest tonight when people start lining up to see The DaVinci Code will burn off pretty quick.

What will smolder is renewed discussion of who God is, who Jesus is, and who we are in relation. And that is a wonderful thing.


Shame on you ER. You didn't go see the Passion of Christ? So you missed the portrayal of Mary Magdalene by Monica Belluci. She was on screen a whole bunch.
If she wasn't the "last temptation of christ", she should have been.

I first listened to the audio-book on a drive to Lubbock , and then bought and read a copy after the Feb. booksale. Heck I might go out and see the movie today. Can't be that many "fans" in OKC can there?
Expect prayer vigils. My owner neighborhood theater has a pissed-off couple of Catholics who plan to be there tonight, perhaps others.
The book sucked, the movie sucks worse.

I liked Angels And Demons. It was a far better thriller. DaVinci Code, I get the feeling Brown knew the book was going to sell so he hung a tale around the Sangreal like cheap drapes in a sleazy motel on the bypass.
The DaVinci Code book sucked? I loved it.

But then, I think Neil Young can sing (and is a prophet), that Larry the Cable Guy is funny, and that "The Dukes of Hazzard" was THE best movie released last year.

So what do I know? :-)
(Truth be told, The Dukes flick was the only movie I saw last year at the THEEayter, I think. Unless that second Fokker movie came out last year. And I saw "National Treasure"? Thoiae are the last three movies I saw. And before tha was "Open Range" -- GREAT oater.
I own "The Passion," dude, I would be glad to loan it to you.

I'm out on biblical fiction -- whether it's "The Da Vinci Code" or the "Left Behind" series.

That being said, your overall take is a good one. Anyone who WANTS to see it should see it!

My pastor mentioned last night that he heard a Catholic cardinal say on TV that this movie is one of the biggest threats ever against Christianity.


All this overwrought anxiety does nothing but give credibility to the suspicions the movie raises!

So please, quit freaking out.

If the "Gates of Hell" cannot prevail against the Kingdom of God, as the Bible says, what chance does Opie's movie have?

Oh, and Larry the Cable Guy? Um, not funny.
I doubt I'll be seeing the movie just because I don't tend to spend my tiny dollars on movies. Plus I'm just not that interested in it. I think it will offer a great opportunity for discussions, more than anything. I heard a priest on NPR the other day talking about the questions that have already been raised by the book. It was hilarious, intentionally. He closed with saying that he really needed a break from all of it and was thinking of going to Paris to have a glass of wine with Mr. and Mrs. Jesus Christ. I appreciated his humor about it all.

It's just a movie, just a book, just fiction. It's not worth getting exorcised about. (An exorcism... now that would be good. I hear they are remaking Damien.)

And Larry the Cable Guy? He's a little funny but in small doses, please.
And doncha know the movie's makers are just loving all the brouhaha--and all the free "advertisement".

Yes, it's just fiction. Some will find a ring of truth in it, but seems to me that's the mark of good fiction. I love SF and magical realism, and very willingly suspend disbeliefe when I read that sort of story. So to me, The DaVinci Code just fell into that category.

But y'all are right about the way it looks for all the Catholic higher-ups to be spluttering and sqwaking the way they are--makes them seem rather guilty somehow.
Yes, the book is fiction. But it's not being hailed as such by those who don't see any value in what Christ did for all mankind. The very fact that many look at this book as anything but fiction, is disturbing... that many want to look at obvious frauds, in regard to alternative gospels, is disturbing. me, at least. And yes, I intend to see it as well, but not for any entertainment value.
What I don't get is why the non-Catholic fundies are so upset. Well, I guess I DO get it, too. But don';t they realize they're giving credence to the Catholic churchy that most of them profess to be reformed from? Weird religious bedfellows in this deal.

I think that when me and Dr. ER do go, I'll make sure I've got a John Shleby SPONG book in the truck to repel the fundie prayer vigilists! Hoot.
Re, "many look at this book as anything but fiction ..."

I have seen nothing of the sort. Nada. ???

Do you mean that many look at some of the threads of the book, and movie, as plausible? That's not the same thing as seeing the book itself as "anything but fiction."
Why in the world would anyone go to this movie if not for entertainment? ??
OK, I drove my unairconditioned 83 Chevy pickemuptruck to the Mall to see this movie today. The crowds were underwhelming.

There were about a 100 or so people there. Two groups of church people. One youth group and one womens type older group. The rest were obvious fans.

The critique: Well I can see why the proffessional movie critics panned it. It was pannable using their criteria. There is a cardinal rule in writing that you don't tell your audience something that you should show them. Well the movie does a lot of telling. It also leaves out a lot of forshadowing that was in the book, so that when the Villian pops up it seems to be all of a sudden like. About half of the book's details are not there. This of course means that when the "director's cut" ($39.95)comes out and is 4 hours long they will have put back the missing piecies.
It really helps to have read the book.
The movie, will be a great disapointment to the Domagtic types. They handled the subject very well. All those priest will be diapointed i think.
They brought out and made plain the main plot conflict that was somewhat more obscured in the book. That is the conflict between the "Priory of Scion" who was Pro- Magdalene and the "Shadow Council" who are the Anti-Magdalenes.(doesn't this begin to sound like the X-men).
This relieves Opus Dei and the Church of any of the responsibility. It is rather a Shadow council of five doing the bad stuff, and would be "excomunicated" if the church found them out. And the main cop is also Opus Dei and redeems their side of the story.
But believe it or not the Shadow Council are not the plot's villians.
I like the ending.
I don't think that the guys who wrote all this anti- Da Vinci Code stuff will have very good sales from this point on. Their strident objections will seem like overkill. There is just no real contraversy in this film.
However, I would expect the film to become a hit with those who liked the book.

Oh yes as for the two church groups:
Well the women liked it from what I heard .
The youth group ( I hung arround to see what they thought too) seemed disapointed that there wasn't much of anything in it that they were led to believe would be there.

If it wasn't for the controversy, the DVC would have been remaindered about an hour after it was released. No character development, no suspense (I mean, couldn't figure out the plot before page five?) and frankly, it was overwritten and overdescribed.

You're a journalist, you ought to recognize bad writing when you see it.
There was a lot of bad writing in DVC, but it was a pageturner nonetheless. I think that is fairly safe to say, as half a gazillion people don't read a book simply out of spite or because it's popular.

I'll see the movie sometime this weekend.

My favorite comments thus far?

"If your faith can't handle a movie, t'ain't much of a faith."


"What should the Christian response be to this outrageous attack on Christianity? the other cheek?"

To be honest, THIS christian read the book through and never realized I was being attacked. As many have noted, I suspected that it was...fiction.
From a lot of us, it's a particular howler that people who believe in the events as depicted in the of Bible can ever use the phrase word "fiction" disparagely.

And of course that the Catholic Church hierarchy complains that the movie casts them in an unfavorbale light. In comparison to things like their indifference or hostility to democracy and religious freedom except when it's a situational advantage for them, and the utter institutional selfishness that allowed known child molesting priests to continue to prey on thousands of children until it became public, the idea that they would field a hit squad against historical truth just doesn't qualify as slander. It's like a unsubstantiated accusation that Jeffrey Dahmer overcooked his meat.
davinci code, schmaminci schmode! the illuminatus! is one wild ride!

I've been thinking it over very carefully and have come to the conclusion that if Mary Magdalene is actually like Monica Belluci and Sophia St.Clair her decendent of 100 generation, is like Audrey Tautou then there may have been some slight genetic drift. It is not as though Tautou is not worthy of considerable staring, but Belluci is simple of a different order.

One scene from the movie that was passed over too quickly was when Sophia realized she was decended from Jesus then she went over to a small pond and checked to see if her foot penatrated the surface of the water. It did, unlike Peter Sellers in Being There.
I'm not a big movie-goer, so I probably won't see it. I did read the book because a friend bought it for me for Christmas. It's certainly not "literature", but I don't think anyone ever contended it is. It's in the same genre as John Grisham, what I would call trashy summer beach novels. Kinda like fast food vs. gourment dining.
OK~ it is Monday who went who saw what say you?
Didn't go. We west to take pictures of windmills and such, instead. But it's on the list!

Re, the quality of DVC, the book: I have one standard for great writing, and if it's met then said writing is "great," whether or not it's great literature:

Do people read it, all the way through? And by that standard DVS is great.

My idea comes directly from my experience as not only a newsman but a newspaperman.

If you made it past the headline, and my byline -- and the baby crying and the TV or whatever else is distracting you -- and actually got to the first paragtraph of what I've written, then it is incumbent on me to cajole, sweet-talk, persuade, hoodwink, drag you kicking and screaming, and do whatever else it takes to get you to the end of that paragraph and started on the other one.

DVC picked up my imagnation and SWEPT me through each and every paragraph, page and chapter to the very end. I was compelled all the way through it. Felt ravished by the thing, actually..
Er said:
" Felt ravished by the thing, actually.. "
Well now that (ravished)may be a might too far for me. I'll go with intrigued. Some of the subjects explored in the book were not new too me. Such as Jesus being married to M. Magdalene, the supression of the sacred femine by the holy roman church, and a lot of the occult symbology. Dan Brown twisted some of it and got some out right wrong but that didn't cause me to even stumble on the story line. He wove a good tale, but Shakesphere he is not, nor even an Ellery Queen. But boy did he ever hit a nerve. The French, who would recognize even more of his errors, still bought a gadzillion copies of the thing.
But ravished... well that's a bit strong.
Well, I "don't read fiction." I mean, as a rule. I grudgingly have let myself be sucked into the Harry Potter phenom. I love those books, and the ongoing story -- but I begrudge the time it takes to read them.

I am stand-offish regarding fiction, to the point of being rude. I'm not hard-to-get. I don't get got, not unless I say so. I started the DVC one night in bed, thinking I'd read some and go to sleep. Not. I finished it in the same place the next morning, against my wishes, and against my usual code of behavior. The book seduced me. But I didn't regret it. Which is why I say I felt ravished -- with the hint of feeling violated. (Hard to express this, since males normally don't get ravished ... but I can't think of any better word ... "seduced" alone doesn't cut it, since while it does suggested acquiesence in the deed, it does not suggest lack of regret, or joy ...)
TDC as it is now known cost $125,000 to make. This weekend it took in $240,000. Already close to a 100% profit. So I guess the story is out there ravishing a lot of people.
I listened to the Dian Reem (Rheem?) show this morning on NPR and they had some very not so happy Catholic and journalist type commentators. The call ins weren't too kind to them. Opus Dei is really taking a hit on this as well. Apparently as soon as they started denieing things ex-members started coming out of the woodwork to contradict them. Any secretive organization generally can't stand too much light, no matter why it exist. Wierd thing is that two of the two bad guys just happened to be Opus Dei and were being used at that. It wasn't like Opus Dei its-self was doing anything in the book or the movie.
Well got an e-mail just now advertising the Official Da Vinci Code "store". Guess I'll go see what kind of "cool" stuff is being fanchised.
I take it you mean $125 million" and"$240 million" -- not 125,000 and 240,000!

Unless Roger Corman lives ...
I went, I saw, I read the Book. I enjoyed it! Good fun for the anagram bunch.

Sure it wasn't brilliant, but neither was the book. I thought the book was bit Harliquin. But even Harliquin can be fun.
"Felt ravished by the thing"

for another ten bucks, you get the happy ending....

"anonymous"?! blogger be buggin'....

Hey, another adult Harry Potter fan! Me too, ER. I started reading them aloud with my kids when they were in elementary school and we all got hooked. Now they're both in high school and every time a new one comes out I have to buy three copies! Then a gentle silence descends on the house as we retreat to our respective corners until we have devoured the latest book wholesale.

Are the HP books great literature? I suspect the answer is no, but my oldest daughter was never a "read for fun" kinda girl until these books came along. So, literature or not, I can get totally behind them.
For sure millions, thanks for the extra 000's ER. Say just got my Newsweek and Smithsoian today. Newsweek has two articles on the TDC. One is a two page pan of the movie. Bet his editor feeds that to the writer one spit wad at a time.
Also some "box" stuff that is way off the mark. Lots of letters coming their way I think.
Smithsonian is a scholarly thing,
probably will piss off the C.Church and the Evangelicalites.
Say, did I just coined a new term (I think): Evangelicalites?
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