While the mainstream of Hollywood generally involves producing whatever it takes to make money, everyone knows that the puppet masters of religion and their enemies have utilized this medium to get a message across. Our examination today involves two movies of this nature: Suing the Devil, starring Malcom McDowell, and The Perfect Family, starring Kathleen Turner.
In Suing the Devil, Malcom McDowell reprises his role as an anti-Christian person, a role he’s played in many movies. In this case, he plays the Devil himself, though the situation is subject to a measure of sympathy. The movie itself is a B-rated version of one of those goody-two shoed, feel good yarns designed to make people wonder why they aren’t Christian. Beneath the surface, the message is a bit misconstrued.
The Devil is being sued because he presumably lies at the heart of why everything is wrong in the world. That he may actually be responsible doesn’t compute. To convey why it doesn’t compute would require spoiling the movie, but the hypothesis stands: If the Devil is at fault, then why should anyone on earth own the need to repent? The Devil is known as a tempter, according to theology that builds on the Temptation of Eve. This means that a person is responsible for their actions if they choose to act, not the Devil. Therefore, the thought of suing the Devil doesn’t make sense, since it is people who are on the hook for the mayhem they create. If a person succumbs to temptation, such as a man who acts on the urge to murder, is he not brought to court and summarily prosecuted if he is caught? In addition, the notion that liberals are the only ones who seek to blame others for their problems seems to be left out of the mix here.
At any rate, the plaintiff utilizes circumstantial rationale in his attempts to convince the jury that the Devil should pay an absurd amount of money, which is equally absurd since money is thought to be the root of all evil. The end result is the all too common suggestion that invisible entities are involved with the procession of human life, with an added touch of exclusionism that positions Christianity as the key to solving the world’s problems.
In The Perfect Family, matters are a bit more complex. For starters, the facts of the modern world require its inhabitants to understand that the Catholic Church is fighting an uphill battle. Liberalism has become so rampant that the institution cannot hope to continue as an entity without becoming symbolic of humanity’s public enemy number one, a title of which, in many ways, they already own.
This liberally charged movie involves the problems of Eileen Cleary, a staunch Catholic woman who, after years of abiding by the church and its myriad rules for living, falls apart at the seems with the seemingly heinous behavior of her grown children. Her daughter wants to marry her girlfriend and have a baby via in vitro fertilization, and her son is seeing another woman behind his wife’s back. While it seems unimaginable that any of the actors portraying the characters are Catholic, it is equally likely that any member of the Catholic hierarchy would probably cringe with vehemence through a viewing of this movie. That Kathleen Turner, who portrays the frustrated, eye-glaring Mrs. Cleary, is a chairperson for Planned Parenthood of America, this is probably not a chance factor.
Aside from a few undertones, the primary messages are clear: Mrs. Cleary’s intolerance is symbolic of true Catholicism, and what she ends up having to do, is what the movie makers want Catholicism to do, and that is to lose. The problem of intolerance is so bad that at one point, one of the characters has to leave, because he simply can’t take anymore. In another scene, what Mrs. Clearly beholds is so astonishing that she cracks, utterly unable to function cognitively.
One reason why the Catholic Church doesn’t produce a slew of movies to counter such films, is because there is no way to evoke worldly, feel-good sensations that align with their theology. One can’t imagine writing a screenplay in which Catholic believers go about the modern world, smiting down abortions doctors, abducting people who distribute condoms while perpetuating world plague, and locking up people who practice yoga, and expect a crowd to madly cheer with glee. Here, the liberal machine has the advantage. The world is okay if a Catholic wants to join in with the rest of the crowd, and that is to say, if Eileen Cleary wants to continue to live in communion with her family, then she will have to adapt; she will have to comply with how others choose to live their lives.
That this notion of compliance is intended to extend to the church as a whole, that is the gist of movie, and the intention is dreamy at best. According to the real world, with certain Catholic women leading the charge in the preservation of the Catholic ideal, the reality of The Perfect Family will be a long time in coming. As the future moves forward, one fact is certain to be: if the sign of the cross is ever planted on a planet other than earth, then the universe itself may never be free from the chains of religion.