Monday, June 06, 2005

Review: "Blasphemy" (2003)

Dear Internet Diary,

Blasphemy the Movie (2003)
directed by John Mendoza

Blasphemy sort of reminds me of the gay movies that came out in the late eighties and early nineties. They were kind of main-stream (meaning not pornos), and very low-budget affairs. They were not very good--actually, some of them were downright horrendous, maudlin, melodramatic--because of the AIDS crisis. No really decent gay movie came out until Priscilla, But I'm A Cheerleader or Ma Vie En Rose. They most likely didn't change the minds of anti-gay drooling idiots, either, but it didn't much matter. It was still pretty satisfying to actually see movies about gay people that were open, instead of having to read the lavender into it, as it were. Like in Hitchcock's Rope, or No Business Like Show Business, or Johnny Guitar.

Blasphemy is like that. It's not that good, but it's pretty satisfying.

It's Christmas, and Martin Garcia comes out to his Roman Catholic Latino family, with predictable results. Most of the family is shocked, his dad wants to disown him, and the family is abuzz with gossip. Realistically, there's a religious nut in the family. Unexpectadly, the movie doesn't fill you with false hopes and dash them at the end, like Saved did. Religion is wacky, even dangerous in this movie, and so it remains at the end.

Some reviews mention the ending is a disappointment, so I expected a "Saved"-like ending. I won't give it away, but it could have been better. But it didn't make me shout "boo!!" angrily at the screen and shake my fists like I did with Saved. No, it's not a triumph, but more of a kids' atheist movie. You know--that atheist kid that's smarter than everyone else, but is still a kid. I say this because although it asks humorous and true questions of religion, they remain questions for the beginner. Maybe that's appropriate for a comedy. After all, this is no "Beast."
What it left me with was the hope that movies like this are just the beginning. Considering the handful of atheistic choices that are coming to us from the film world, perhaps it is.

For a great list of films of interest to freethinkers, check out my husband's list: Objectivist Movie Reviews.

Thanks for listening, diary.


Hellbound Alleee said...

I didn't talk about the actual issues in the movie, I just realized.

Martin comes out to his parents and his entire family as an atheist. It just didn't seem so necessary for his to announce it the way he did. I mean. he did answer a direct question (why aren't you praying). That's the way to do it. But for some reason, Martin felt the need to be around these people. In that case, you don't want to hide yourself. To me, it seems like you tell them if they ask, but what's the point of announcing it?

Well, on the other hand, he was outed by his mom to the rest of the family. It really wasn't his fault. He is in the same position as a lot of atheists.

Personally, I was open to my parents from the beginning. However, I do not discuss it with the rest of my family. I do not interact with them, so I don't think it's necessary. If they don't know by now, they are trying their hardest not to know. Or they are just not that interested in what's going on with my life.

That's the problem. The movie made the point that this family was really interested in what is going on in everyone's business. I guess that's true of a lot of people, but I have a hard time relating to that. I don't really think my aunts and uncles and cousins care much about what I do, and I prefer it that way. I suspect there has been some gossip about me, and it is a bit titillating to think it. But reason tells me that people, while they do gossip, don't care that much about other people besides themselves, when it comes down to it. There's an initial distraction of "he's an atheist, that's terrible," but the novelty fades as soon as someone in their household catches a cold or something.

Maybe I'm wrong--I never had to "come out" as an atheist, and talking about it was never a big deal in my home. My gay friends, however, all have really dramatic stories. Hopefully that will end soon and the gay thing will be a non-issue.

This guy Martin--he becomes an atheist post moving-out of the house. I think of "coming out" to a fundy family as being sort of a teenaged event, not a mid-twenties thing. What's up with this guy's identity that he has to do a formal announcement. Is this realistic, or am I just suffering from a narrow perspective?

Aaron Kinney said...

Yo, Hellbound Alleee!

You got a fine blog here you know. Have you heard of Carnival of the Godless?

Its a rotating expose of godlesss blog articles. I recently submitted my Kill the Afterlife blog to it. If you havent done so before, you might like to submit an article from your blog. Im sure it would be well received. And more exposure is a good thing! :)

Hellbound Alleee said...

Thanks Aaron. I wish I knew which post to submit! Argh! anyway I sent one.

Rev. Barky said...

I haven't seen the film, but...

I was an agnostic as a teen but didn't know it - I knew I just didn't like church and didn't want to go to religion class either.

I didn't find out that I was an Atheist until my 20's and as I learned more from my local AA chapter I began expressing myself to my catholic family - my mother was annoyed at this and, as parents often do, thought it was a "phase" and would not debate the matter or discuss it with me except for trying to convey to me how much I would be marginalized in society and that I shouldn't express my thoughts.

Surely it is not such a thing as coming out as gay, but the similarities are there. At some point your closest friends and family have to know and that can happen at a later age.