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This morning I read Helen Keller's opinion piece on The da Vinci Code in today's Philadelphia Inquirer. Her use of Milne capitalization style was amusing. Her judgment that too many people are taking the movie too seriously (i.e., as non-fiction) is correct. What I find odd is her suggestion that the Overreaction Of Good Catholics Everywhere is the fault of the movie-makers. Specifically, she blames the casting of superstar actor Tom Hanks and the employment of super-director Ron Howard:

"With Hanks and Howard involved, the movie has intimations of transforming a beach book about Opus Dei into a Major Opus. The whole project smells of serious art, when what it should smell of is buttered popcorn.

We don't need self-important artistes trying to turn folderol into gravitas. When I heard about Hanks and Howard, my already-heavy heart sank. Weren't the Coen Brothers and Owen Wilson available?

We need more fun. We need to understand that some stuff is merely entertainment and not Terribly Important. Even in this day and age, it isn't necessary to get all Jack Bauer about everything."

Maybe these comments are tongue-in-cheek. Obviously the film has to appear serious in order to be a drama. It was never meant to be a spoof (although see Daniel Henniger's column in the Wall Street Journal for a different opinion). I am going to see the movie this weekend and be entertained. Much of the fun and amusement that I will be experiencing will come from the knowledge that the movie is upsetting so many people who cannot distinguish fiction from nonfiction. That is clearly their shortcoming, not the film's.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 20th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Just a bunch of Catholic angst. I've seen more posters in the various forums that I haunt warning of how the movie sucks that I imagine many of them have yet to see it -but have a vested interst in it not succeeding.

It makes me want to go out and see it all the more.
May. 20th, 2006 11:15 pm (UTC)
I think you meant to say Karen Heller. I thought it was odd that she specifically blamed Hanks and Howard, too. No doubt it is because of their big names. Regardless, Christians everywhere will blame someone and boycott the film without even seeing it. What are they so afraid of anyway?

Interestingly, my daughter told me that one of her friends didn't know much about Christianity before reading The da Vinci Code. After reading the book, she thought that was the way things were told in the Bible. So, I guess the movie is going to cause confusion along with all the controversy.

BTW, what do you call a work of fiction about fiction? Is it just plain fiction? Or, does it have some fancy name?

I look forward to being entertained by the movie, too.
May. 21st, 2006 03:39 am (UTC)
I think you meant to say Karen Heller.

Wow. That's fascinating how I morphed her name into the famous Helen Keller! Maybe it was my unconscious expressing a feeling that Heller was blind!

BTW, what do you call a work of fiction about fiction?

Metafiction? I don't know--that's a great question.

The movie turned out to be only okay. The critics were right about Hanks--he was pretty wooden in this one. The book was way more gripping, a genuine page-turner. Still, I enjoyed the film.
May. 21st, 2006 11:03 pm (UTC)
Haha! When I first read this I was thinking, "Isn't Helen Keller dead?" :)
(Deleted comment)
May. 22nd, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
Now there's a concept for a SNL comedy skit: Movie reviews by Helen Keller. Might be a little too edgy.
May. 23rd, 2006 12:29 am (UTC)
Yes, what a concept indeed. I feel so ignorant for laughing, but that is just too hilarious.
May. 23rd, 2006 02:32 am (UTC)
movie reviews by Helen Keller
That is totally hilarious. I'm all for it.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )