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July 10, 2006


Paul H

"I haven't seen an actual in-theater movie in I don't know how long (maybe a year or two), but I'm going to see this one."

Actually, I remember you saying that you saw "The Da Vinci Code" in the theater, right? Of course, that wasn't for pleasure, so it doesn't really count.

Stephanie Richer

Go see it - as I have already posted on my blog, it's what I expect from a summer "blockbuster." Although it's long (2-1/2 hours), the action keeps pace so there are no slow moments. The makeup for the crew of the Flying Dutchman is fantastic, and does indeed remind one of various life forms seen in "Star Wars" movies. But most of all - it's got some very funny moments. And if you like sword fighting, you're in for a treat!

Brent Robbins

Is it just me or did anyone else find Pirates of the Caribbean one of the most boring movies ever??? I got it for Xmas and I have not been able to stay awake through it yet.


It's just you. And this one is even cooler, though, frankly, I didn't recall a number of the auxiliary characters and thier subplots, so, the time spent on them was annoying.


though, frankly, I didn't recall a number of the auxiliary characters and thier subplots

It does help to have reviewed the original film recently... though if you didn't like the original that may not help. ;-)


I'm really impatient to see the movie, I've been waiting for it for ages. Unfortunately it doesn't premiere here in Mexico until July 21. A really long wait...


HUH? What the..? My wife and I had the same reaction to the big opening of this movie. I don't understand the interest. Is there some cult following of this or something?

I love the original. Especially for something that most don't realize--One of the antagonists, Commodore Norrington, is a virtuous conservative rather than the usual Snidley Whiplash. When Capt. Sparrow asks him how he could resist go after the pirate ship and winning glory, he replies, "By remembering that I serve others and not myself." and means it. My jar was on the floor.


Is there some cult following of this or something?

Nope. Pirates of the Caribbean has an appeal that is decidedly mainstream, broad-based, and lacking in the kind of devotee subculture that characterizes "cult" phenomena.

It's just a popular movie, a throwback to the Errol Flynn-style seafaring swashbuckler first of all, though with lots of other influences as well.

David B.


Making fun of LOTR?! For shame! :-(


The interesting thing about this new flick is that all the actors seem to have worked a little harder on getting into their characters this time. I liked the first movie very much, but this one's better.

Also, it's interesting to see how the movie has the clear viewpoint that both "good" and "bad" people can in fact make all sorts of moral choices, that change them and shape what happens. This is a movie that believes in free will and sin. Though it certainly acknowledges how choices are shaped by circumstance and others' actions (and how both sin and virtuous action cast long shadows), it doesn't claim anyone as truly helpless and doomed to do evil (or so shiningly good as never to sin or be tempted). I find this attitude bracing.

Mia Storm

"Is it just me or did anyone else find Pirates of the Caribbean one of the most boring movies ever??? I got it for Xmas and I have not been able to stay awake through it yet."

Take heart, Brent; it's not just you. My problem with the movie is that I couldn't understand a word anyone was saying -- especially Johnny Depp -- and that makes it hard to stay interested in a movie. Unless someone can assure me that either the characters actually speak English this time or that subtitles are provided, I won't be waiting in line for this one.

(BTW, yes, I know they really do speak English, but apparently I speak "American." I needed subtitles to be able to follow Pride and Prejudice on DVD.)


I heard that Keith Richards was supposed to make a cameo in this one as Capt. Jack Sparrow's father but it has been postponed until the third installment. I am sure he was chosen since Johnny Depp was very open about using Richards as the inspiration for his character. That probably accounts for some of the dificulty in understanding him. I don't think anyone has ever understood Keith Richards.


I haven't seen the film but my son went to see it with his Dad on Saturday and if his comments are anything to go by you're going to really enjoy it. (I enjoy watching Depp in almost anything, so I'm destroyed that I'll be having to wait for it to hit DVD before I see it).

As I type this he's (my son, not his Dad) playing with two of the 'movies' figurines, Jack Sparrow and Davy Jones. They came with such cool accessories...though I did spend more than an hour searching for Davy Jones' walking stick this afternoon...which found it's way under the edge of the lounge carpet..found lot's of other interesting things too, but we won't go into how often I clean the carpet edges...


Jimmy Akin

Pirates of the Caribbean has an appeal that is decidedly mainstream, broad-based, and lacking in the kind of devotee subculture that characterizes "cult" phenomena.

I wouldn't say it is *entirely* lacking in that subculture.

I was quite surprised when the lights went up at the end of the movie to find that the group of people sitting next to me were dressed as pirates and their women.

One was also draped in a Jolly Roger.


The music alone makes it worth seeing. Fantastic!


I wouldn't say it is *entirely* lacking in that subculture.

I was quite surprised when the lights went up at the end of the movie to find that the group of people sitting next to me were dressed as pirates and their women.

Uh.... okay. But I'm guessing that is a way fringe phemon, certainly compared to, say, the number of uniformed Starfleet officers you would get at a Trek movie, Star Trek being a genuinely cult phenom.

David B.


Did they sell their souls to Davy Jones after the lights came up? :-)


Here are some other good movie picks:

1. Best Movie of All Time: EXCALIBUR
It has some Jungian and pantheistic tendencies.
But the approach to the grail is not Davinci like even if not completely Christian. The Christian priests have nominal roles but are not portrayed badly as in ARTHUR with the bizarre glorification of Pelagianism. One of the best and most beautiful scenes is the wedding with the face of Christ (veil of Veronica?) and Chant of the Kyrie Elieson and the priest giving them the Blood of Christ and marrying them, husband/wife, man/woman (I guess in this day of age it needs to be spelled out, King/Queen, Arthur/Guienevere. It certainly also has some occultic and pagan themes (as does Le Morte de Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory and many other literature pieces) It is long. It can drage. But Boormans colors are BEAUTIFUL. The scenery etc. Merlin is incredible. It has many young at the time actors who became big including Gabriel Byrne (Uther), Captain Picard from the "new" Star Trek, Liam Neeson among others.
It is my favorite movie and the best movie of all time in my opinion. Other good Catholic scenes were when the priest said on the Day Christ raised from the dead, and Blessed Arthur (and others) to pull Excalibur from the Stone.
The part (true to the original literature) where Uther has Merlin weave a mist (from the power of the lust of Uther) to sleep with another man's wife (the result was Arthur) was crticized by some family values movie goers but this is an adult film (adult as in age/mind not as in genre or pornographic). Boorman wanted to do the Lord of the Rings at the Time and borrowed a lot from it. The premiere Arthure/Excalibur/Grail film.
EXCALIBUR, forged by a god, foretold by a wizard, drawn by a man. LET THE BOY TRY.

2. The Most Emotionally Powerful movie of all time and a great movie (albeit Neitchzian or nihilistic) is SCARFACE with Al Pacino (his best performance, and yes better performance than the Godfather, certainly more powerful. Oliver Stone did the screenplay, and Brian DePalma was the director and I think producer. Many will disagree, and a member of Opus Dei told me it was glorifying gangterism (is that a word?) and he may be right as many rappers LOVE Scarface, have albums and samples, including Luke (2Live Crew), Ghetto Boyz (phenomenal psychological dark rap one of the members even calls himself Scarface), Biggie(who went to Catholic schools), and the 2003 compilation album, Too Short/Shorty the Pimp from Oakland (very vulgar). Some may think that this is a stretch but this is a rags to riches and an American dream story (albeit a perversion of the American dream) There are virtues of hard work, family, friendship etc. Also Tony Montana (Scarface/Al Pacino) dooes not and does not want to kill women or children. Again, even if limited some values and a small light of goodness in a bad world. The only explicit Catholic iconography is an image of the Blessed Mother in the house of the mother. Tony Montana/Al Pacino also wants to have children (a natural good but one that is suppressed in modern society). Again, I know there are more swear words in any other movies in history (Blink 182 took their name from the swear words in Scarface) and a lot of violence, but it is emotionally powerful, good acting, incredible music, amazing performance by Pacino. Pacino uses THE WORLD IS YOURS from PanAm airlines as his theme, the Gospel passage of translated loosely "What would it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul" aptly applies here. SCARFACE, most emotionally powerful movie, best role of Pacino.

3. PASSION OF THE CHRIST, newer, controversial, some historical questions BUT VERY POWERFUL, fairly ACCURATE, beautiful, some limitations (on the rest of the life and teachings.
I know dozens of stories from people I know personally who changed their life, one girl was going to beat another girl up in school (High School) because of some slight and she changed her mind after seeing the movie. One family member "stole" money from another family member and it was paid back and they were reconciled. Again, maybe small and ancedotal but nonetheless interesting. Conversely, I NEVER heard ANY ever stories of people leaving the Passion of the Christ and beating up Jews, or doing a pogrom. Certainly some of the Sanheidren and certainly the High Priest Caiphas are not portrayed in good lights (although Caiphas did prophecy on Jesus that could be potrayed as positive in the Gospel narratives) but the Romans are potrayed vicious too. Again, we can focus on details:
They should of spoke Greek and not Latin. The androgynous Satan is not in the Gospel accounts (but dare I say very powerful). Some of the movie is taken from extra biblical tradition (there is an Eastern Orthodox/Oriental tradition that Pontius Pilate converted to Christianity and became a Saint according to the Copts, and that his wife Claudia was a Holy women--certainly Claudia was viewed sympathetically by Gibson), there are some criticisms of the Emmerich visions and allegations of anti-Semitism. BUT, certainly it is POWERFUL, great acting, incredible colors, great mystical moody music, scenery is great, costumes are great, the Aramaic does not take away and makes it seem authentic, Cavaziel does a great job, the filming is very good, even if it should be Greek and not Latin; Pontius Pilate saying ECCE HOMO (Behold the Man) is very powerful. The crows biting the eye, the demon children, the drop of water, the conversion of Simon the Cyrene, the betrayl of Peter, the loyalty of Mary the Mother, the other women and John the Beloved.
The story of sacrifice, atonement, suffering, redemption is amazing AMAZING. Great movie even if not a believer. I also like Franco Zeffereli's JESUS OF NAZARETH. In High School (a Catholic one) they showed Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Hollywood and media types loved the Last Temptation of Christ but both were flops and from an objective cinematagrophic way are not nearly as powerful as the PASSION of the Christ produced by Mel Gibson. Besides being anti or non Christian, they do not have the same filming, colors, costumes, acting, music (some of the Peter Gabriel in Last Temptation is good and Harvey Kietel seems to fit everywhere), scenery, and the appeal to people and money. Best movie medium of the Suffering and death of Jesus Christ. PASSION OF THE CHRIST.

4. THE APOSTLE with Robert Duvall. Also criticized and applauded by some members of Opus Dei (showing diversity and disagreement). Robert Duvall is a PHENOMENAL actor; the Great Santini, The Godfather, BUT THIS IS HIS BEST ROLE. Not only is Duvall a great actor but he is also a great researcher, writer and director.
A story of sin, flaws, redemption, and faith. Not an Elmer Gantry potrayl but also not a glossy potrayl. A lot of Evangelical Christians get a bad rap and the secular media and Hollywood potray them as hypocrites, and out for money and hypocritical on sex etc. This is not accurate nor fair even if it is true at times and with some people. The Apostle EF is a good man. GREAT MOVIE.

5. The Godfather I and II. III sucks. For Catholics, the baptims scene, (Do you reject Satan and all his works? interplayed with all the people Michael is killing, Michael Corleone not me nor the Archangel) Good story, new at the time, good acting, Al Pacino is good, I don't actually like Diane Keating, great Brando, great James Caan, good Robert Duvall. Book is great. the GODFATHER.

6. BROTHER SUN, SISTER MOON by Director Franco Zefferelli, very powerful, a little old and some people think cheesy, but I think powerful (I also like Franco Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, and the Champ--he may be a tax evader living in North Africa away from Euro Italian taxes but I think he is a real believing Catholic and Jesus of Nazareth was the best until the Passion. When Jesus speaks to Francis (of Assisi) from the Crucifix it was incredible. The last scene when the Pope (Innocent III?)remembers his simpler days and faith (didn't Innocent III declare Caput Totius Orbo)and his real recollection and sympathy to Francis.

7. ON THE WATERFRONT with Marlon Brando and Karl Muldon. A great movie. Black and White. Some interesting themes of Labor unions, Catholic influence, courage, conscience. One of Brandos best (I also liked the one, I forget the name but something Like Lions of the Desert where he was a German Panzer soldier in North Africa)

8. STAR WARS, because it was so revolutionary and I will even include EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, and RETURN OF THE JEDI, and while I think Sabra Harvard grad Natalie Portman is beautiful in the Sith and all the recent ones she is a terrible actor WEAK. But the first THREE are INCREDIBLE, REVOLUTIONARY, some pantheistic or Eastern religious (as in Hindu, Buddhism not Eastern Christian unless Heychastic by extension)
There were a lot of good 70s and 80's movies, much to the disagreement of my Black and White purists, or AMC (although now Tom Cruise and Johnny Depp are on AMC) of BIRTH OF A NATION, original MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, older smaller films, and the family values crowd who likes the earlier comedies (devoid of vulgarity or even the cynical humor of nihilism) like SON OF PALEFACE with Bob Hope. Even so called Classic TV comedy shows are devoid of over sexual humor and are based on physical humor much lacking today or misunderstandings (like the sexual threes Company but tame today)like Beverly Hillbillies, Munsters, Adams Family, even the later quasi childrens Brady Bunch, or modern urban Good Times, or the Jeffersons. More wholesome humor and proof that you do not have to be sexual to be funny. STAR WARS is on the TOP LIST and Steven Spielberg and George Lucas deserve a lot of credit for some good films (until recently Spielberg was very supportive of the Boy Scouts but chanted on the Gay thing) ET, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Goonies, later on Schindlers List all of which were good movies. STAR WARS is the best scifi movie and the first even if others are now better in terms of effects.

9. Best Mob movie of all time is NOT the Godfather although Godfather is a great movie BUT GOODFELLAS the Martin Scorsesse (Mean Streets is too dark although some good acting by Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta is GREAT, NOTHING explicitly Catholic beyond Italian American culture, Sorvino is also great, DeNiro is great, the bar scene with guy from Sopranos and Joe Pesci go get my shinebox scene, gritty, not that romantic, great period music--not on the soundtrack but the Rolling Stones Monkey Man is great in this, true to life as it is an movie adaptation of WISEGUY by Nicholas Pileggi--great primer book on outfit life and not romantic.

Two themes, and not all wholesome at times are
COMEDIES: I like the 80's comedies like STRIPES, (Bill Murray), or TRADING PLACES (Eddie Murphy), although recently I do like the darker, more cynical humor of the brilliant SIMPSONS (I still think SouthPark is demonic), Dave Chappelle show (from a minority point of view), Mind of Mencia, and even the Something About Mary Movies, or the In Living Color, although again not that virtuous

You might think and women may be mad, that I do not put in some LOVE STORIES, and there are some good ones, the Franco Zeffereli Romeo and Juliet, or even the modern Romeo and Juliet of Leonardo DiCaprio, although I am not a fan of the Titanic, some of the Mickey Rourke movies are definitely dangerous but interesting from a modern sexual psychological point of view,
very little wholesome in modern Love stories/movies--some redeeming values like in the recent CLICK about spending more time with your children For Love Stories, although very flawed I will go with LIKE WATER FOR CHOCOLATE
staying with the Mexican theme (although Walk in the Clowds is also good) I will go with

10. VIVA ZAPATA I think the black and white screenplay was by John Steinbeck (or was it Ernest Hemingway) Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn (I also liked Shoes of the Fisherman with Quinn) Brando is incredible, great story even if not historically accurate (some Moses parallels), and great acting
VIVA ZAPATA about Mexican Revolutionary Emiliano Zapata (whose motto was Tierra y Libertad)

(in my humble opinion)
NO Imprimatur or Nihil Obstat attatched


While Hollywood is very secular, anti-Catholic etc.
There are some interesting CONVERTS who were actors including:
JOHN WAYNE (his favorite wives were Mexican and this was supposedly one of the reasons, he was a Christian Scientist before I think)
VINCENT PRICE the horror movie guy
and a real famous ENGLISH ACTOR (and now I forget)

JAMES CARVEZIEL is a real Catholic
some of the Italians talk about Catholicism
but Scorsesse in a negative light
and Coppola in a negative light (Francis Ford)
until Dracula
the Catholicism usually has no depth
(in Coppola Godfather or Scorssesse)(Certainly Zefferelli is the exception)
BUT interesting COLORS, PAGEANTRY, old country processions, the street festivals, WEDDINGS, BAPTISMS
some of the HISPANICS BUT not many Hispanics in the movies, Jennifer Lopez went to Catholic School(s)

Some of the Jewish directors have a respect and affinity for Catholicism like the BERNADETTE movie among others
the Luc Besson (I loved the Professional or the Euro Leon) but he makes Joan of Arc look insane and takes out the possibility of that it is a true story or faith, and the Serbian actress is too hot (the One in the Fifth Element where basically they say she is God if you really look deep with the priests, prophecy and Bruce Willis Millanovich?)

MEL GIBSON is the Catholic actor/director par excellence, flaws of his father and allegations of sede vacantism and anti-semitism notwithstanding

Some of the older guys, although Sinatra (one of my favorites as did Tony Bennet gave money to abortion stuff) but Gregory Peck and some of the older actors (not Mitchum but he was great) were supposedly Catholic (Bing Cosby)
(Loved the YAKUZA all the giri stuff)

SO SOME CONVERTS like Wayne, Price, the English guy,
some cradle good ones like GIBSON, and CARVEZIEL

Gene Branaman

I really liked Dead Man's Chest & can't wait to see it again. I didn't get a chance to watch Black Pearl again before I saw DMC so I'll do that first. I very much wish I had because I'd forgotten a few key plot points - it' been 2 years since I've seen BP.

I really liked how the stakes were raised for everyone. And that Bootstrap Bill was a key player & more than just a one-not character. Could easily have been mishandled.


and a real famous ENGLISH ACTOR (and now I forget)

...Alec Guinness?


The movie was Great! And the previews were good too! I'm excited for the Transformers movie. That was my favorite cartoon growing up.

Johnny Depp is a great actor. Edward Scizzorhands was an incredible movie.
He has interesting underdog and outsider themes.

The Michael list of movies is good but very male, violent, mobster oriented.


"MEL GIBSON is the Catholic actor/director par excellence"

Par excellence??? That's a bit strong for such a schismatic figure don't you think?

It is not proven that Mel Gibson is shismatic. He certainly is a Latin Mass aficinado (as are many of my friends in full union with Rome)
Cavaziel is NOT, he has visited Thomas Aquinas College--perhaps the best in the US, and met with the Pope.
Mel Gibson is more conservative than most Catholics but there is no evidence he is schismatic.


One thing I found particularly interesting was the one man who chooses to 'take his chances' with the afterlife. During the entire time you see him, he is holding a rosary. Given that he is the only one with any backbone on that little ship, I say that's a good sign.


Mel Gibson is the actor director producer figure Catholic par excellence
because of the PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which is an incredible piece of art and created many conversions
also other value centered films
BRAVEHEART (a great scene when his uncle with the scarred eye comes and asks him if he knows the priestly blessing (Hebrew blessing Numbers 6 or so) and if it was done in Latin)
even some of the more lighthearted ones


Mel Gibson is the actor director producer figure Catholic par excellence
because of the PASSION OF THE CHRIST, which is an incredible piece of art and created many conversions
also other value centered films
BRAVEHEART (a great scene when his uncle with the scarred eye comes and asks him if he knows the priestly blessing (Hebrew blessing Numbers 6 or so) and if it was done in Latin)
even some of the more lighthearted ones

The days of the Catholic Church getting veto power on movies, or the Bells of Saint Mary
or Frank, and Dino doing what they do in privacy but not on TV THEY ARE OVER
Hollywood is anti-Catholic, there are fools who want to walk between the raindrops, and I even met a fool of Opus Dei who thought they were influencing people in movies and the arts, he was well intentioned but brutally delusional

Mel Gibson is at least standing up, taking heating from the Jewish community, homosexuals,
Mel Gibson believes the Gospel story is historical narrative
Mel Gibson believes that a historical Jesus suffered and died for our sins
Mel Gibson is pro-life
Mel Gibson does not believe in birth control
Mel Gibson has 6 children himself
Mel Gibson produced a beautiful movie, a piece of art, and a cathetical tool with his own money against all sorts of opposition from the Hollywood establishment, liberal Catholics the International Jewish community, homosexuals, anti-Catholics, money people
and if the movie would not have done well---he would of been done in Hollywood

On a side note, the Romanian Orthodox religion in Bram Stokers Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola was interesting.

On the Catholic culture side, more movies denying the divinity of Christ, riduling religion, demeaning the Blessed Mother, promoting homosexuality, making priests look like pedophiles and hypocrites,

Old Zhou

We saw it yesterday.
Mrs. Zhou fell asleep.
It reminded me of the recent film "King Kong."
Much too long.
Lots of special effects.
Not enough story and plot to fill a comic book.

Also, I found the whole cannibal (African?) native thing a bit offensive, although it did work for Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in "Road to Zanzibar" (1941).
Last time I checked, there were no tribes of African cannibals in the Carribean in the 17th century (time of pirates and Tortuga and Port Royal, etc.).

While the voodoo scenes were interesting, but only vaguely connected to the thin story, it was also anachronistic. Voodoo was not developed in Haiti until the 18th century.

But, hey, I think it is just a movie full of cool special effects and comical, blood-free action sequences, and no more "hot" romance than a kiss, to keep it kid-firendly and to sell a lot of summer tickets. So it's a success.


"Vatican II corrupted the institution of the church. Look at the main fruits: dwindling numbers and pedophilia." — Mel Gibson, Time, January 27, 2003


It's still an opinion and not proof of being a schismatic.

Where is the proof that Mel Gibson is schismatic
He is critical of Vatican II but so are a lot of people

What are the top 10 movies of JIMMY


Not enough story and plot to fill a comic book.

NOT ENOUGH story and plot??!

One user over at Arts and Faith responded to a request for spoilers with TWELVE PARAGRAPHS of plot synopsis -- so much that my colleague Peter Chattaway responded: "Wow, I had forgotten the film had THAT MUCH plot. It all seems rather busy, doesn't it? Your summary almost makes me want to knock the film down a notch or two; then again, it just makes me appreciate how the action sequences of the final hour give us such a satisfying pay-off after such a long wait."

Last time I checked, there were no tribes of African cannibals in the Carribean in the 17th century (time of pirates and Tortuga and Port Royal, etc.).

While the voodoo scenes were interesting, but only vaguely connected to the thin story, it was also anachronistic. Voodoo was not developed in Haiti until the 18th century.

Plus, the kraken is native to the North Atlantic, off the coast of Norway and Sweden, and surely never ventured as far south as the Spanish Main. ;)


SDG: Re Star Wars: Personally, I think the poster meant Peter Cushing, myself ;P

POTC2 was, frankly, overhyped. Too much unconvincing angst, Jack/Elizabeth/Will and the Governor are more cartoony and less nuanced this time around; the Big Setpieces are repetitive, and the treatment of Norrington straight out of a bad fanfic. And the Kraken's the most idiotic looking effect, in terms of design and execution, that I've seen since the giant were-chihuahua in Prisoner of Azbakan.

When it's funny or scary, or focussed on Bootstrap, Davy Jones, or the more minor returning characters (I heart Gibbs), it's a darned good movie but I can't say I agree with its more diehard admirers.

Tim J.

Haven't seen Dead Man's Chest, yet, but I'm sure we will.

I believe I saw Mel Gibson say in an interview that he does not believe that today the Body of Christ is made present in the Eucharist of Vatican II RC Churches. Sounds schismatic, to me.

The Passion is still a great film.

And someone mentioned Brother Sun, Sister Moon...

Sorry, I couldn't watch the whole thing. Too saccharine, sixties-flower-child unreal... even my children found it laughable.

The Mission (Robert DeNiro) gives a powerful lesson in meaningful penance.

The Mission is a good film. Great music. Good acting. Good story. Liam Neeson in that one too.

Brother Sun Sister Moon is a kind of artsy film and acquired taste but it is good, Franco generally is good.

Please cite where Mel Gibson says that the real presence is not present in post Vatican II church.
He built his own chapel/church right? Who serves it? St. Pius X or St. Peter
Lefebverites, the Vietnamese brother of the assasinated President, Fraternite du Notre Dame
or is it just Catholics that practice the LATIN MASS

Tim J.

Sorry, I can't cite anything... just an interview I saw once. I understand it was some years ago, so he may have changed his views.


It's not just you Stephanie. My wife fell asleep twice trying to watch the DVD at home. I can't understand why. I love that movie!!

Is there any link or information on Mel Gibson Catholicism?????

also any info on Campos Brazil??????

I had a friend who said he saw Mel Gibson at a parish in Chicago called St. John Cantius.

Mel Gibson is a good actor, some great stories, and the Passion was great, also loved Braveheart,
the movie where he could read women's minds wasn't bad, I even liked the Mad Max stuff and the Lethal Weapon stuff

Excalibur is a good movie.

Scarface is too violent with too many f--k words going around unnecessarily.

The Godfather was Pacino's best role not Scarface. Patriot and Dog Day Afternoon both were bad, as was Cruising, BUT Serpico was very very good.


Mel Gibson's Malibu chapel/ church?
Loquacious Member

511 Posts
Posted - 26 Jun 2006 : 12:14:10

Anyone know the status of Mel Gibson's church today? Anyone been there?

Thanks in advance



But Is Mel Gibson Catholic?

Posted on 01/11/2004 5:56:57 AM PST by NYer

Everybody likes Mel Gibson. He’s an award-winning actor, he’s box-office gold and he seems like a nice guy. But because of his fame and The Passion, his forthcoming movie about Christ, a lot of his fans would like to be clear on where he stands with respect to the Catholic Church, a Dallas-based author says.

Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D., is an associate of the Canon Law Society of America and a best-selling writer whose book Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations, and the Telling of the Beads includes one of the most graphic accounts of the Crucifixion ever published. He’ll definitely see Gibson’s film about the sufferings of Christ on the Cross. But Gibson’s campaign to build a church in Malibu, California, raises some serious issues about the actor’s relationship with the Catholic Church.

“You can’t just build your own church,” Johnson says. Parishes are geographical entities, set up by bishops in conformance with the Church’s laws and subject to their authority. “There are no free-lance churches in the Catholic Church. You live in a parish, and you go to its church.” Every place in California is already part of a parish, which has its own church.

Gibson’s parish, then, would be the aptly named Our Lady of Malibu on Winter Canyon Road, Johnson says, looking through a Los Angeles Catholic directory. But, according to The New York Times Magazine, the actor’s privately funded Church of the Holy Family in Malibu is not affiliated with any diocese. So, according to Church law, it’s schismatic, not a Catholic church at all.

The Church’s Code of Canon Law defines schism--separation from the Church--as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” Gibson’s father, Houston, Texas resident Hutton Gibson, is an outspoken critic of the Catholic Church and a vocal adherent of the “sedevacantist” movement, so called from the Latin phrase meaning “empty seat”--their claim being that every pope since 1960 has been spurious.

While Gibson himself is said to disagree with his father on many counts, the actor has been quoted often as waxing nostalgic for the Mass said in Latin and the doctrines as they were for almost 2000 years. But, as Johnson explains in his booklet What About the Latin Mass?, the Latin Mass that traditionalists long for is nothing like 2000 years old--the early Mass was often in Greek, and Gibson probably remembers only the Latin Mass that wasn’t finalized until 1962. “So if he was born in 1956,” Johnson says, “his Latin Mass is really younger than he is himself.” That Latin version is still used in the Church by special permission, and it’s actively encouraged by authentic Catholic organizations like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, headquartered in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania.

The difference is that these groups nurture the Latin Mass in full unity with the Catholic Church. “Fringe groups who reject Vatican II stand away from the Church and go off on their own,” he says. “They’re largely reacting to the sloppy or even destructive way in which Vatican II’s decrees were put into effect here in the United States.”

Vatican II--officially the Second Vatican Council--was convened by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and strove to clarify the Church’s activities to better serve the modern world, mandating simplification of the liturgy and the use of the local vernacular languages instead of Latin everywhere.

“Of course, you have to use the liturgy as a way to look to the substance of the Faith,” Johnson says. “You can’t just stop at appearances.” Vatican II mandated no changes in Church doctrine whatever--“the Church’s teachings are the teachings of Christ,” he says, “and therefore no human agency can add to them or take any away, and the Church never has,” although many Catholics still seem to be confused about that point.

Johnson believes that the confusion started when American bishops took Vatican II as an excuse to sweep away any part of the Church that they didn’t like personally--“not just the Latin of the liturgy but, as we’ve seen, even the most basic doctrines of human decency.” Since 1993, more than 80 percent of the Catholic bishops in the United States have been directly implicated in court cases of priestly pedophilia or in using their positions to shield such activity over the past 40 years or more, according to a study compiled by reporters Brooks Egerton and Reese Dunklin of the Dallas Morning News last year.

That corruption of the clergy makes it hard to find authentic teaching or authentic liturgy in the United States today, Johnson says, but it doesn’t mean that people can just run out and start up their own church instead. The new English Mass is perfectly legitimate and a lot closer to the simplicity of early-Christian practice--when Latin itself was the vernacular, the everyday language of the people. And with a little effort, he says, “you can get a Latin Mass celebrated regularly at your proper parish, and know that you’re doing so in full communion with the Church that really is almost 2000 years old.”

So where does that leave Gibson? “Well, I hope he’s Catholic," Johnson says. "We’d love to have him.” END


Is the Pope Catholic...Enough?
New York Times/March 9, 2003
By Christopher Noxon
The first sign that something unusual was going on up the hill was the appearance of a fleet of brand-new Volkswagen bugs, lined up on a muddy bluff like a row of oversize Easter eggs. It was a local handyman who spotted them while he was out on a walk through this little valley in the mountains northwest of Los Angeles, near Malibu. Neighbors had already been talking about the 16-acre property on the valley's south slope, and soon word spread that a church group called Holy Family had purchased the site with plans to break ground for a 9,300-square-foot Mission-style church complex.

Among the neighbors who wondered about the new arrival was my father, a recently retired documentary filmmaker who joined the local homeowners association when he moved to the area two years ago. This latest project, however, wasn't the usual commercial complex or instant enclave of luxury homes that tended to attract the association's attention. It was a church, that much was clear, but it didn't sound at all like your garden-variety community parish. A representative for the property owner explained that the church was Catholic, but it wasn't affiliated with the Roman Catholic archdiocese. While the church building was relatively large, the congregation was quite small, with about 70 members. And though religious practices and rituals would be familiar to Catholics, there was one big difference: Sunday Mass, it was reported, would be conducted entirely in Latin.

Lest anyone get the impression that this band of spiritual seekers might disperse if the collection baskets were to run dry, a church representative assured the neighbors that the church was supported by an unnamed individual congregant with ''tremendous financial viability.''

Would that explain the VW bugs? The handyman recalls posing the question at an early community meeting. He was told that the congregant financing the church ''had given them as gifts to his nieces and nephews,'' he says. ''I remember thinking, 'That's some generous uncle.'''

The person behind the unusually well-endowed chapel turned out to be the actor Mel Gibson, star of ''Mad Max,'' ''Lethal Weapon'' and ''Braveheart.'' The church is operated by a nonprofit corporation; according to public financial records, Gibson is its director, chief executive officer and sole benefactor, making more than $2.8 million in contributions over the past three years.

The fact that Gibson is building a church in the hills near Los Angeles should come as no huge surprise. Gibson's Catholicism has never been a secret, and in fact gives him a sort of reverse-exoticism in a town where other stars dabble in Buddhism, kabala and Scientology. An avowed family man still on his first marriage, with seven children to show for it, Gibson smokes, raises cattle, publicly shuns plastic surgery and seems wholly unmoved by most of the liberal-left causes favored by industry peers. Recently, however, something beyond the impulse to entertain has been showing up in Gibson's work. Last year he played a former minister who rediscovers religion amid an alien invasion in ''Signs'' and a reverent Catholic lieutenant colonel in the war drama ''We Were Soldiers.'' In these films, but especially in a new movie, a monumentally risky project called ''The Passion,'' which he co-wrote and is currently directing in and around Rome, Gibson appears increasingly driven to express a theology only hinted at in his previous work. That theology is a strain of Catholicism rooted in the dictates of a 16th-century papal council and nurtured by a splinter group of conspiracy-minded Catholics, mystics, monarchists and disaffected conservatives -- including a seminary dropout and rabble-rousing theologist who also happens to be Mel Gibson's father.

Gibson is the star practitioner of this movement, which is known as Catholic traditionalism. Seeking to maintain the faith as it was understood before the landmark Second Vatican Council of 1962-1965, traditionalists view modern reforms as the work of either foolish liberals or hellbent heretics. They generally operate outside the authority or oversight of the official church, often maintaining their own chapels, schools, seminaries and clerical orders. Central to the movement is the Tridentine Mass, the Latin rite that was codified by the Council of Trent in the 16th century and remained in place until the Second Vatican Council deemed that Mass should be held in the popular language of each country. Latin, however, is just the beginning -- traditionalists refrain from eating meat on Fridays, and traditionalist women wear headdresses in church. The movement seeks to revive an orthodoxy uncorrupted by the theological and social changes of the last 300 years or so.

Michael W. Cuneo, a sociology professor at Fordham University who reported on right-wing Catholic dissent in his 1997 book, ''The Smoke of Satan,'' wrote that traditionalists ''would like nothing more than to be transported back to Louis XIV's France or Franco's Spain, where Catholicism enjoyed an unrivaled presidency over cultural life and other religions existed entirely at its beneficence.''

While traditionalists agree on the broad outlines of correct religious practice, the movement is hardly united. Its brief history is the story of a movement branching off into ever-smaller submovements. Today there are approximately 600 traditionalist chapels, representing a number of theological streams, including the more Vatican-friendly Society of Saint Pius X, the more strident Society of Saint Pius V, the militantly traditional Mount St. Michael's community and the Apostles of Infinite Love, a monastic community in Quebec led by a onetime Catholic brother who claims to be the incarnation of the one true pope. All told, there are an estimated 100,000 traditionalists in the United States.

Gibson's church may be the most comfortably endowed traditionalist house of worship in the country, but in other respects it is quite typical. Most of the congregation met while attending services held by a traditionalist priest, whose church in the San Gabriel Valley was eventually taken over by the Society of Saint Pius X. A group of congregants, including the Gibson family, left in protest. They gained approval from Los Angeles County to build their own church early last year after agreeing to a set of operating guidelines -- covering such issues as parking, lighting, signage and hours of services -- with the regional planning commission and neighbors (including my father).

When I called the church elder who was Holy Family's representative at the county meetings, he agreed to an interview and accepted my request to attend a service, on the conditions that I not identify him or any member of the congregation beyond Mel Gibson, and that I withhold details that might invite the interest of fans or paparazzi. He also asked that I refrain from speaking to the priest, the congregants or anyone else during my visit. He told me that anyone seen speaking to me ''will not be welcome back at our church again.''

After all the warnings, I was a little surprised to find Sunday Mass at Holy Family an almost entirely ordinary experience. The service itself was remarkably similar to what I remember from parochial school -- that is, until a homily delivered near the end of the two-hour Mass. The priest read a parable from St. Matthew about a farmer whose fields are raided in the night by an enemy who spreads a noxious weed in his wheat. The evil in the story, the priest said, is ''the modern church,'' whose wickedness will be dealt with on Judgment Day.

''The wiping out of our opposition must wait until harvest time,'' he concluded. It suddenly became clear why Gibson isn't worshiping with his fellow Catholic Martin Sheen down at Our Lady of Malibu.

Gibson is widely known in traditionalist circles, and he has made no secret of his religious affiliation. ''I go to an all-pre-Vatican II Latin Mass,'' he told USA Today in an interview two years ago. ''There was a lot of talk, particularly in the 60's, of 'Wow, we've got to change with the times.' But the Creator instituted something very specific, and we can't just go change it.'' More recently, the Italian newspaper Il Giornale reported that Gibson made a ''scathing attack against the Vatican,'' calling it a ''wolf in sheep's clothing.''

While many traditionalists can't abide some of Gibson's career choices -- the onscreen baring of his bottom is a particular source of concern -- most are content to overlook his occasional wild streak. ''Gibson should get the tsk-tsk award for lowering his impressive acting talent on occasion,'' wrote a priest known as Father Moderator on the Internet posting board Traditio. Nonetheless, the priest continued, Gibson ''never ceases to project his traditional Catholic faith to the public. Who else in such a prominent position ever does?''

Mel Gibson is also known in traditionalist circles as the most famous son of Hutton Gibson, a well-known author and activist who has railed against the Vatican for more than 30 years. His books on the topic include ''Is the Pope Catholic?'' and ''The Enemy Is Here.'' (Precisely where is indicated by a map on the dust jacket -- it's a cartoon of Italy, drawn by one of his 49 grandchildren). Gibson père also publishes a quarterly newsletter called ''The War Is Now!,'' which includes all manner of verbal volleys against a pope he calls ''Garrulous Karolus, the Koran Kisser.''

Now living in suburban Houston, Hutton Gibson invited me for a weekend visit after an initial phone conversation. When I arrived, he was wrapping up an interview with a syndicated radio program. Hutton Gibson is 84 but seemed a good deal younger (which he credited to his abstinence from drinking, daily doses of vitamins and ''never going near a doctor''). He is energized by an abiding love of corny jokes and lively debate, and he peppered a commentary on the scandals facing the Catholic Church with jokes about Texans, the Irish and, inevitably, the pope.

He said he speaks to his son frequently and knows all about Mel's chapel in the hills. ''Mel wasn't raised in the new church, and he wouldn't go for it anymore than I would,'' he said. ''I've got to say that my whole family is with me -- all 10 of them.''

While his rhetoric showed no signs of mellowing, the elder Gibson had plenty of reasons to be satisfied. For one, he is a newlywed. His doting bride, Joye, is a statuesque Oregonian who playfully addressed him as ''Mr. G.'' Surrounded by ceramic knickknacks and photos of his grandchildren, he seemed entirely at ease with himself and the world.

Which made it all the odder when he launched into one of his complex conspiracy theories. On our first night together, he nursed a mug of sassafras tea while leading a four-hour tutorial on so-called sedevacantism, which holds that all the popes going back to John XXIII in the 1950's have been illegitimate -- ''anti-popes,'' he called them. As Hutton explained it, the conservative cardinal Giuseppe Siri was probably passed over for pope in 1958 in favor of a more reform-minded candidate. Hutton said Cardinal Siri was duly elected, but was forced to step aside by conspirators inside and outside the church. These shadowy enemies might have threatened ''to atom-bomb the Vatican City,'' he said. In another conversation, he told me that the Second Vatican Council was ''a Masonic plot backed by the Jews.''

The intrigue got only murkier and more menacing from there. The next day after church, over a plate of roast beef at a buffet joint off the highway, conversation turned to the events of Sept. 11. Hutton flatly rejected that Al Qaeda hijackers had anything to do with the attacks. ''Anybody can put out a passenger list,'' he said.

So what happened? ''They were crashed by remote control,'' he replied.

He moved on to the Holocaust, dismissing historical accounts that six million Jews were exterminated. ''Go and ask an undertaker or the guy who operates the crematorium what it takes to get rid of a dead body,'' he said. ''It takes one liter of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million?''

Across the table, Joye suddenly looked up from her plate. She was dressed in a stylish outfit for church, wearing a leather patchwork blazer and a felt beret in place of the traditional headdress. She had kept quiet most of the day, so it was a surprise when she cheerfully piped in. ''There weren't even that many Jews in all of Europe,'' she said.

''Anyway, there were more after the war than before,'' Hutton added.

The entire catastrophe was manufactured, said Hutton, as part of an arrangement between Hitler and ''financiers'' to move Jews out of Germany. Hitler ''had this deal where he was supposed to make it rough on them so they would all get out and migrate to Israel because they needed people there to fight the Arabs,'' he said.

Whether any of this has rubbed off on Hutton's son Mel is an open question. A church elder at Holy Family says that while the two share the same foundation of faith, Mel Gibson parts company with his father on many points. ''He doesn't go along with a lot of what his dad says,'' he says. And beyond claiming to have seen the plans for Holy Family and attended services with the congregation, Hutton Gibson has no apparent connection to his son's church in California.

Still, Mel Gibson has shown some of his father's flair for conspiracy scenarios. In a 1995 Playboy interview, he related a sketchy theory that various presidential assassinations and assassination attempts have been acts of retribution for economic reforms that challenged the powers-that-be. ''There's something to do with the Federal Reserve that Lincoln did, Kennedy did and Reagan tried,'' he said. ''I can't remember what it was. My dad told me about it. Everyone who did this particular thing that would have fixed the economy got undone. Anyway, I'll end up dead if I keep talking.''

Perhaps nothing Gibson has done will serve as a more public announcement of his faith and worldview than the project he's now completing in Rome. ''The Passion'' is a graphic depiction of the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ, based on biblical accounts and the writings of two mystic nuns. Gibson is returning to the director's chair for the first time since ''Braveheart'' in 1995, but he will not appear on-screen. There will not, in fact, be any big stars. Nor will there be subtitles, which might prove a challenge for many moviegoers, since the actors will speak only Aramaic and Latin. Gibson has said that he hopes to depict Christ's ordeal using ''filmic storytelling'' techniques that will make the understanding of dialogue unnecessary.

The idea came to him a decade ago, he announced at a news conference last September, and he is soldiering on now without the backing of a studio or a U.S. distributor. ''Obviously, nobody wants to touch something filmed in two dead languages,'' he said. ''They think I'm crazy, and maybe I am. But maybe I'm a genius.''

In Hollywood, the astonishment many felt upon hearing about the project has been heightened by reports that his production company is paying the film's estimated $25 million cost itself. Making a movie that has anything at all to do with religion is risky enough -- remember ''The Last Temptation of Christ''? But spending your own money to help pay for it?

''It's a very gutsy thing to do -- I certainly wouldn't do it,'' says the veteran producer Alan Ladd Jr., who chose Gibson to star in and direct ''Braveheart.'' ''But he wouldn't do it if he couldn't it pull off, at least in his own mind. He's obviously satisfying some deep personal need in himself.''

Only Gibson knows the precise nature of that personal need, and he declined numerous requests for an interview, limiting his public comments to a January appearance on the Fox news program ''The O'Reilly Factor,'' in which he complained about inquiries regarding his faith and suggested that any reporter asking such questions might be part of a plot to undermine his message of salvation. ''I think he's been sent,'' he told Bill O'Reilly. ''When you touch this subject, it does have a lot of enemies.''

Many traditionalists, meanwhile, hope the graphic approach Gibson is taking -- production stills show the star, James Caviezel, beaten to a pulp and drenched in blood, fresh from a flagellation -- will serve as a big-budget dramatization of key points of traditionalist theology. After waging a quiet war against what they see as the Vatican's overly accommodating theology, traditionalists suddenly find themselves equipped with a most unfamiliar weapon: star power. ''I'm delighted he's getting more involved,'' says Bishop Daniel Dolan, founder of more than 30 Latin Mass churches and one of the most influential traditionalists in the country. ''To put the weight of his Hollywood celebrity behind the truth that the whole modern church structure is rotten to the core is excellent. I welcome it.''

A friend of the Gibson family has his own ideas about how traditionalist thought is informing ''The Passion.'' Gary Giuffre, a founder of the traditionalist St. Jude Chapel in Texas, says Gibson told him about his plans for ''The Passion'' on a recent visit. ''It will graphically portray the intense suffering of Christ, perhaps as no film has done before.'' Most important, he says, the film will lay the blame for the death of Christ where it belongs -- which some traditionalists believe means the Jewish authorities who presided over his trial and delivered him to the Romans to be crucified.

In his conversation with Bill O'Reilly (who prefaced the interview by disclosing that Gibson's production company has optioned the rights to O'Reilly's mystery novel), Gibson was asked whether his account might particularly upset Jews. ''It may,'' he said. ''It's not meant to. I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible. But when you look at the reasons why Christ came, why he was crucified -- he died for all mankind and he suffered for all mankind. So that, really, anyone who transgresses has to look at their own part or look at their own culpability.''

Old Zhou

I didn't notice Mel Gibson in "Pirates of the Caribbean."
Why are so many comments here about Gibson?

Tim M

back to "Pirates: Dead Man's Chest"

the best quote I have heard was last year during filming... someone asked Johnny Depp how things were going (filming and living in the Caribbean).

Johnny's classis reply: "Well, everyone needs to buckle their swash every now and again."

:) love it.


"Last time I checked, there were no tribes of African cannibals in the Carribean in the 17th century (time of pirates and Tortuga and Port Royal, etc.)."

You seem to be taking it WAY too seriously... C'mon, where does imagination play in all this? Isn't Pirates supposed to be a fun, fictional adventure, not an historical movie?

I've yet to read a positive comment from you towards any fantasy or adventure movie, (even Narnia). Is there any you have actually liked (putting aside the fantasy element)?

Just curious... it beats me why you go see those kind of movies in the first place. Or perhaps I'm missing something? *scratches head*

Johnny Depp is a follower of Marcel Lefebvre

Excalibur was a great fantasy movie, yes with some pantheistic leanings

Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was a great movie

All the Rings movies were great, the 2nd one the best and yes a little long

JRR Tolkien was a cradle English Catholic, Catholicism played a key role in his life and writings, also Tolkien influenced Led Zeppelin

Sir Alec Guiness was Catholic (Obi Won Kenobe)

CS Lewis was not Catholic, but certainly Christian and close with many Catholics, some say too influenced by Plato and anti-Catholic leanings
Christopher Derrick who has a great little book called "Escape from Skepticism" was a friend of Lewis and a Catholic

SO: Excalibur, Narnia, and Rings were ALL good fantasy movies

Johnny Depp is a follower of Marcel Lefebvre

Doubt it!

PB: We've talked about your past exposure to fire-and-brimstone religion. Do you have a faith now?
DEPP: Nothing with a name. I haven't found that, but I hope there's something else out there. I hope that when we leave this world we go on a little trip. Why not? Countless people have had neardeath experiences and have come back to say they saw interesting things. Nobody returns from the dead and says, "Hey, there's nothing else." And while there's no organized religion I agree with, I think the Bible is a very good book. Probably a novel.
PB: Do you ever pray?
DEPP: I pray on airplanes. I get instant religion during takeoff, then when we're safely in the air I sit there thinking about the fact that any little thing that goes wrong could send us crashing to the ground.


JRR Tolkien was a cradle English Catholic

Don't quote me on this, but I believe his mother converted to Catholicism when Tolkien was about 10 or so, which I believe makes Tollers a convert, not a cradle.

Tolkien was raised Catholic but he may not be a convert nor cradle
his mother was very devout
his wife converted

Martin Riggs

Gibson was good in Franco Zefferelli's HAMLET.

Gibson, despite his dad oppossing Vietnam did soldiers a service in when We were Soldiers

His conspiracy theory movie may be more in line with his dad's and his thinking

Gibson is a good actor and a good director/producer. The Passion was great.
BUT Gibson is not in union with Rome by his actions.

He has been very open about his suicidal tendencies and alcoholism and how the wounds of Christ healed him. His father while being a devotee of the Latin Mass, and raising 11 children--is also mean spirited in his attacks on the Pope, (the Quran kissing is actually a thread on this board), perhaps understandibly with pedophile priests (although one of the sede vacante cults with a false Bishop has sex abuses allegations as have had traditionalist seminaries and in the in union with Rome now defunct Society of St. John) and seeming anti-semitism, linking everything to Masonic or Jewish plots and diminishing the Holocaust
Father and son are close and close in thinking

I like Mel, I don't know him personally but am inclined to him, he has done a lot of good, I like most of his movies, but his theology and union with the Church (which he declares there is no salvation outside of) is not good

Old Zhou

Veronica...I thought "Nacho Libre" was an excellent fantasy film.
Very realistic Mexican settings (Mrs. Zhou grew up in Mexico, and kept saying, "I knew someone just like that....")
I was refreshing to see religous who took their vows seriously.
That was a fantasy I enjoyed.

F Capra

Catholic Movies

Below is a selection of movies with Catholic themes. To the right, I list a liturgical season or Feast Day that would be particularly appropriate for watching. Older movies are getting hard to find to rent in some places, so I link to them at Amazon.com -- but another option is to try your library system! If your library system is like mine, all of these movies are available (and you can even possibly search the library catalogue online, place holds on the movies you want, and have them delivered to your local library branch).

The Ten Commandments (1956)

Directed by Cecil B. DeMille Run Time: 220 minutes
Starring: Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, Anne Baxter, and Edward G. Robinson.

Moses leads the Israelite slaves from the tyranny of the Egyptian pharaoh and into the desert where he is given the Ten Words by God. Once the pharaoh's chief architect, Moses receives the attentions of the Queen until he rebels and is cast into exile. It looks very "1950s" and "epic," but it's good to watch (listen for how Anne Baxter says "Mooooses" -- great stuff.) Lent

Jesus of Nazareth (1977)

Directed by Franco Zeffirelli
Run Time: 371 minutes

Starring: Robert Powell (as Jesus Christ), Anne Bancroft, Ernest Borgnine, Claudia Cardinale, James Farentino, James Earl Jones, Stacy Keach, Tony Lo Bianco, James Mason, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Christopher Plummer, Anthony Quinn, and more.

This is a well-done film of the life of Christ, aside from some seriously non-Catholic moments (e.g., Mary screaming in pain to deliver Baby Jesus, St. Joseph dying without Jesus present, a relatively Bloodless Passion, the friends of Barrabas crying for his release rather than the priests, etc. Zeffirelli wrote in his book that he was "inspired" by Nostra Aetate, so be warned about these nasty lapses). Though it was actually a mini-series, it is exquisite to watch. Easter

DVD Wide Screen
DVD Full Screen
The Passion of The Christ (2004)

Directed by Mel Gibson
Run Time: Unknown

Starring: James Caviezel (as Jesus Christ), Maia Morgenstern (as Mary), Monica Bellucci (as Mary Magdalene), Claudia Gerini

Filmed in Matera, Basilicata, Italy and released on Ash Wednesday of 2004, it is the story of the last 12 hours of Christ's Passion. Both Mel Gibson and James Caviezel, the man who plays Jesus, are devout Catholics (Mr. Gibson being a very traditional Catholic) who were devoted to making the film as accurate as possible, going so far as to film the movie in Aramaic, Latin, and Hebrew. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough! It is less "a movie" than a religious experience. Brilliant! Lent, especially Passiontide and, more specifically, Good Friday

Spartacus (1960)

Directed by Stanely Kubrick
Run Time: 184 minutes

Starring: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier , Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Peter Ustinov

Though not particularly a "Catholic movie," I put this film here because it gives one an idea of the situation in Rome around the time of Christ. Plot: The rebellious Thracian Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. After weeks of being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus turns on his owners and leads the other slaves in rebellion.

Quo Vadis? (1951)

Directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Run Time: 171 minutes

Starring: Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov

Returning to Rome after 3 years in the field, General Marcus Vinicius meets Lygia and falls in love with her. She is a Christian and doesn't want to have anything to do with a warrior. Though she grew up Roman, the adopted daughter of a retired general, Lygia is technically a hostage of Rome. Marcus gets Emperor Nero to give her to him for services rendered. Lygia resents this, but somehow falls in love with Marcus anyway. Meanwhile Nero's atrocities get more outrageous. When he burns Rome and blames the Christians, Marcus goes off to save Lygia and her family. Nero captures them, and captures other Christians to kill them, but Marcus, Lygia, and Christianity prevail in the end. Time After Pentecost

Becket (1964)

Directed by Peter Glenville
Run Time: 148 minutes

Starring: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud

The story of St. Thomas a Becket, made Archbishop of Canterbury by King Henry II who made him so for political purposes -- but who came to regret it after St. Thomas had a true conversion and came to take his new "job" very seriously, to the point of martyrdom. (Historical innacuracy: Thomas a Becket was Norman, not Saxon) Time After Pentecost & the Feast of St. Thomas (December 29)

Joan of Arc (1948)

Directed by Victor Fleming
Run Time: 145 minutes

Starring: Ingrid Bergman, José Ferrer, Francis L. Sullivan

What can I say? It's the beautiful Ingrid Bergman playing St. Joan of Arc in a way that modern portrayals of the Saint don't: without the "Joan was a lesbian feminist who wasn't as Catholic as Catholics make her out to be" overtones.
Time After Pentecost & the Feast of St. Joan (May 30)

The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer
Run Time: 114 minutes

Starring: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

All reviews I've ever read about this silent film describe it as a veritable masterpiece of film-making -- a film that is shown repeatedly in film schools and is said to be the apotheosis of visual excellence in film-making. The actress's performance has been described by Pauline Kael as the best performance ever captured on film. But it is a silent movie, so may not appeal to most people who aren't "film buffs." (Note for parents: a site visitor wrote to tell me that just before St. Joan is burned at the stake, a crowd scene includes a woman nursing a baby, but fully exposing her breast for an extended period in the process.) Time After Pentecost & the Feast of St. Joan (May 30)

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

Directed by Fred Zinnemann
Run Time: 120 minutes

Starring: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, Nigel Davenport, John Hurt

The story of St. Thomas More, an attorney during the time of Protestant "Reformation" in England, who suffered martyrdom by beheading rather than capitulate to Henry VIII's idea of religion. Winner of 6 Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Scofield), Cinematography, Screenplay, and Costume. Time After Pentecost & the Feast of St. Thomas (June 22)

The Song of Bernadette (1943)

Directed by Henry King
Run Time: 156 minutes

Starring: Jennifer Jones, William Eythe, Charles Bickford, Vincent Price

The story of St. Bernadette Soubirous, who had the vision of Our Lady at Lourdes and whose body still lies incorrupt at her convent at Nevers, France. This movie won Academy Awards for Best Actress (Jennifer Jones), Cinematography, Art Direction, and Music, and won nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, Editing, Screenplay, and Sound Recording. Time After Pentecost & the Feast of the Apparition at Lourdes (February 11) and the Feast of St. Bernadette (April 16)

Thérèse (1986)

Directed by Alain Cavalier
Run Time: 94 minutes

Starring: Catherine Mouchet

This French movie (English subtitles) is a very strange and haunting one. It will not please the "I need action and explosions" types (they will loathe it), but for those who are able to be calm, meditative, and appreciative of visual beauty, this one is most definitely for you. It is a visual poem in shades of blue and white, and the way the camera treats faces in this movie is something to behold. What I appreciate about this film is its capturing of the stillness of a convent's interior and how that makes one appreciate the little things -- the rustling of freshly washed white linen, sound of bare feet on cold stone floors... If you "get" what I am saying, buy or rent this movie. (Warning: after Thérèse becomes quite ill and confined to bed, don't eat anything while watching if you have a queasy stomach. One little quickie scene that involves a bizarre form of mortification/relic veneration might bother you.) Time After Pentecost & the Feast of St. Thérèse (October 1)

The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima (1952)

Directed by: John Brahm
Run Time: 102 min.

Starring: Gilbert Roland, Angela Clarke, Frank Silvera Richard Hale. Score by Max Steiner.

The story, beautifully filmed in Technicolor, of the greatest miracle of the Church Age, witnessed by thousands: the miracle of Our Lady appearing to Lucia dos Santos and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta. Time after Pentecost & the Feast of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary (October 7)

The Exorcist (1973)

Directed by William Friedkin
Run Time: 122 minutes

Starring Linda Blair, Ellen Burstyn, Max von Sydow, Jason Miller

This is the most terrifying movie ever made. It's about demonic possession (based on a true case of the possession of a young boy) and has been described by real exorcists as completely realistic (except for the head-spinning). This movie is shocking and horrifying and, because of its subject matter, contains extreme vulgarity and blasphemy (some quite explicit and sickening). Therefore, discretion should be used! This movie's not for children! But if you want to see what possession looks like, this movie might be for you... Winner of 2 Oscars (Best Screenplay and Best Sound), nominated for 8 others, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Lead Actor and Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction). All Hallow's Eve

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Directed by Scott Derrickson
Run Time: 119 minutes

Starring: Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Campbell Scott, Jennifer Carpenter

The suspenseful story of a real-life exorcism and, mostly, the court room drama that ensued after the possessed girl died while under a priest's care. Much less of a "shocker" than "The Exorcist," this movie pits the secular world against the religious world in a thought-provoking and respectful way. Highly recommended, even by exorcists and priests such as Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., who wrote at Seattle Catholic
"The Exorcism of Emily Rose" gets it right. Scarily, yes, but at the same time beautifully, powerfully — inspiringly. This one is the real thing, folks. (I speak as a priest who has had direct experience with real-life exorcisms: in Rome, with Fr. Gabriel Amorth, the Pope's leading exorcist and author of several books on the subject.)
Read Father's full review here (offsite, will open in new browser window). By the way, the real life girl about whom this movie centers was named Anneliese Michel (sometimes her first name is spelled Annelise), and she died in 1976. May she rest in peace.
All Hallow's Eve

Films with a Catholic Sense of the World


Meet John Doe (1941)

Directed by Frank Capra
Run Time: 135 minutes

Starring: Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward Arnold, Walter Brennan

Capra directed this, and the great Barbara Stanwyck plays in it. That's enough there for me to like this movie, but what really gets me is the ending. The plot: Stanwyck is a reporter who prints a fake letter from a "John Doe" who threatens suicide over the social ills of the day. That sells newspapers, so the scheme is continued with the newspaper's hiring Gary Cooper to play this suicidal "John Doe." What happens? You'll see and will love it. And if the last few lines don't make you cry, fuhgetaboutit! This is a film more for adults than children. Christmas

It's a Wonderful Life (1946)

Directed by Frank Capra
Run Time: 130 minutes

Starring: James Stewart, Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore

If you don't know this movie by the wonderful (and Catholic! and Italian!) Frank Capra, you've been living on Mars. This is the American Christmas movie, and for good reason! I don't care what the cynical, intellectual elites say, I love "Capracorn"! Just forget about the bad angelology (angels are not those who've died, of course) and go with the story. Christmas

I Confess (1953)

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Run Time: 95 minutes

Starring: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden

Not one of the great (and Catholic!) Hitchcock's best, but a fine film that plays with the ideas of murder, falsely accused innocent men, and the sacred seal of the confessional. This will bring a tear to your eye as you see how Hollywood used to treat the Catholic Church compared with the way things are now, when every priest is depicted as a radical or a troubled, drug-using, foul-mouthed, money-grubbing, fornicator. So sad.

Pssst... If you want to know where Hitchcock's cameo is before seeing it, highlight the area between the brackets with your mouse [during the opening credits, he is crossing a staircase. According to a site visitor, Hitchcock is also the first man seen leaving the Church as the Mass ends.]

Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

Directed by Michael Curtiz
Run Time: 97 minutes

Starring James Cagney, Pat O'Brien, Humphrey Bogart, the Dead End Kids

Rocky Sullivan and Jerry Connolly were tough kids who grew up together in the toughest part of New York --- Hell's Kitchen. Early on, Rocky (the great -- and Catholic! -- James Cagney) gets sent to reform school, where he learns how to be a first class criminal. Jerry, who had escaped from the law, goes straight and becomes a priest. As adults, they reunite in the old neighborhood: Jerry works with the kids who could end up on either side of the law. Rocky has returned looking for a safe place to stay 'til he can get back into his old racketeering organization -- something that his old partner isn't anxious to have happen. This great oldie is filled with that "I'm gonna get you, see" dialogue delivered in that over the top Brooklyn accent that make old gangster movies so memorable. The final scene is a film classic, a must-see, and, as in all the old movies, evil gets its reward.

The Dead (1987)

Directed by John Huston
Run Time: 83 minutes

Starring Anjelica Huston, Donal McCann, Dan O'Herlihy, Donal Donnelly

This film (John Huston's last) is a very slow-paced character study based on James Joyce's "The Dead." To watch this movie is to be a fly on the wall at a very mellow, pleasant and charming Twelfthnight dinner party in turn of the century Ireland -- then to leave it and experience a haunting and powerful meditation on death. This one's for poets... Lent

On the Waterfront (1954)

Directed by Elia Kazan
Run Time: 108 minutes

Starring Marlon Brando, Eva Marie Saint, Karl Malden, and Rod Steiger

The young and beautiful Marlon Brando takes on corrupt union bosses -- including his own brother. Karl Malden plays the brave, heroic priest who nudges at his conscience, encouraging him to do the right thing, even at the cost of great suffering. This classic won 8 Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actor (Brando), and Best Actress (Eva Marie Saint) -- and has the immortal lines, "I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am."

Babette's Feast (1987)

Directed by Gabriel Axel
Run Time 102 minutes

Starring Stéphane Audran, Birgitte Federspiel, Bodil Kjer, Jarl Kulle, Jean-Philippe Lafont

A sumptuous, visually rich movie that is, on the surface, about a French Catholic woman who flees to Denmark after her husband and son were killed. There, she works as a domestic for two aging Protestant sisters and ends up winning the lottery. Then, after fourteen years of cooking Danish foods in a Puritan style as the sisters instructed, she uses her winnings and skills to prepares a French feast for twelve (undoubtedly not a coincidental number) -- a meal that changes their lives.

On a deeper level, the movie is about everything from sacrifice, the roads not taken, the mind-body connection, unrequited and uncosummated love, the contrast between the Protestant and Catholic views of the temporal world, and, most of all, grace, faith and hope. It is beautiful to watch, with lots of blues, cold seas, white walls, interesting faces, and extravagant foods. I highly recommend this movie!


Excalibur was a great fantasy movie, yes with some pantheistic leanings

In retrospect it was a silly movie. The land and the King are one? Huh?

And with quite a lot of nudity and one rather graphic rape scene, it does not seem that it ought to be a movie that a Catholic would endorse.

Gene Branaman

"Don't quote me on this, but I believe his mother converted to Catholicism when Tolkien was about 10 or so, which I believe makes Tollers a convert, not a cradle."

In Joseph Pearce's book Tolkien: Man & Myth, he writes that Tolkien's mother was disowned by her family for converting after having a child out of wedlock - I don't recall his exact age at that time - & she struggled to support the 2 of them. Tollers was about 10 when she died & (I'll bet you know this, SGD) was taken in & raised by the local priest. As I recall, he served Mass every day in that parish until he went to university. This is all from recollection & I'm not near my copy of the book.

BTW, SGD - you've really been hitting the reviews outta the park recently! Not just because I agree with them entirely, but these last few are the best you've done yet & some of the best writing on film I've ever had the pleasure to read. (You totally nailed Superman Returns for me. Every other reviewer I've read totally missed that one, IMO. Especially the Christian ones.) Thanks so much for your work!

The Land and the King are one sounds pantheistic.

There is one graphic rape scene (at least partially in keeping with the literature) it is not that graphic in terms of nudity not by modern cinema standards.

I think a Catholic can endorse Excalibur, but explain philosophical differences.
Excellent uses of Wagner (albeit not Christian) especially the Funeral March Pyre, as well as Carl Orff Carmina Burana (before it was popular)and I think some Mozart--very Germanic.
But also excellent Gregorian Chant and some Catholic iconography


Was rule 3 suspended for this blog entry?

I enjoyed _Dead Man's Chest_, and one of the best things is we only have to wait a year for the finale, instead of the 3 years for the _Star Wars_ movies.


!!Stop it with the horrendously long posts!!

I much enjoyed both Pirates of the Caribbean "1" and "2" (shorter to type than the titles :)). I look forward to the final installment. I think Johnny Depp has really made the character his own and makes him very entertaining to watch. I had a great time!

Michael Sullivan

Where can I find this Superman Returns review by "SGD"? I'd like to read it.


Where can I find this Superman Returns review by "SGD"? I'd like to read it.

Why, just click on my initials below! :-)

P.S. Part of the reason I use "SDG" as my screen name is that it's so darn easy to type. The letters S, D and G are all on the same default left-hand row of the keyboard, in order from left to right, so that your pinky hits the "Shift" key and then your other three fingers cascade to the S, D and G (you just have to skip the F). It just kind of flows... SDGSDGSDGSDG. Try it! It's fun! :-)

(P.P.S. SDG also stands for "Soli Deo Gloria.")


POTC II was a head on collision between "The Seahawk" and a "Road Runner" cartoon. I thought it was fun.


I dreamed of Mel once.. a very nice man who wouldn't allow me to leave him his privacy in that hotel chair, and talked my head off while his children all in polka dot pj's ate breakfast in the next room. (Maybe it's because I'm Catholic that I have a built-in non-near-occasion-of-sin mechanism even in dreams..*sigh..) I hope to dream of Johnny Depp soon. Pending that strange dream to come, if you've never seen "Two Bits" (Pacino is nearly a mere supporting actor here!), do rent it. It'll remind you of old neighborhoods..

Johnny Depp is a Sede vacante schismatic
but he is fluent in Greek and Latin
sings a wonderful Gregorian chant


I saw POTC2 this past weekend. I watched the first one prior to that, so the carry-over parts made sense. I liked it. Just as the first one included gags from swashbucklers like "The Crimson Pirate", "Scaramouche" and "Captain Blood", this one had a lot of twisted adventure homages. I also noticed the rosary-praying sailor who chose death over serving Davy Jones.

Incidentally, I thought the cannibals were pretty funny, especially when I realized that they were portrayed by different races. It reminded me of several "crazy descendants of marooned sailors" stories I heard as a kid. I also appreciated the nod to Robert Louis Stephens (both "Treasure Island" and "Kidnapped").

Michael Sullivan

SDG: Thanks!

Matt C. Abbott

I have to say, I saw the film and just couldn't get "into" most of it. Sure, the special effects are great, but, otherwise, it really didn't interest me. In fact, I even dozed off a few times!


It was an awesome movie!
Something that wasn't mentioned in the review you quoted: the one sailor that doesn't accept Davy Jones's bargain ("I'll take my chances") has a rosary in his hands... It was cool.

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