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Monday, July 28, 2008 

Mono Loggin'

Ben Affleck and Al Pacino both have a serious bone to pick with The Man Upstairs...

1 a: soliloquy 2 b: a dramatic sketch performed by one actor c: the routine of a stand-up comic
2: a literary composition written in the form of a soliloquy
3: a long speech monopolizing conversation

On the DOGMA DVD the chapter is entitled simply "Epiphany." It is, of course, describing Ben Affleck's Bartelby -- who, up until this major turning point, was the peacemaker of our angelic duo compared to his bloodthirsty companion-in-exile, Loki (Matt Damon) -- coming to the sudden realization that in order to get back into the Heaven from which he has been banished for all eternity that he, an angel, may have to actually kill a human. And not just any human, but the Last Scion (Linda Fiorentino), the last living descendant of Jesus Christ himself. For me, it was the realization that despite being a part of this low-budget but highly entertaining Kevin Smith-directed movie and talented ensemble, Ben Affleck is capable of shining BRIGHTLY if given the right opportunity. I'll admit to his leading man good looks but I never took Affleck seriously as an actor until I saw this scene. An odd movie to reach that conclusion, no question, but below is the scene and Affleck's star-making perf in its entirety.

DOGMA, (1999), "He gave them more than He ever gave us. He gave them a choice. They choose to acknowldege God or choose to ignore Him...They were favored best among all His endeavors and some of them don't even believe He EXISTS! And in spite of it all, He has shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us?"

In a movie that features a cardboard and blank-faced Keanu Reeves as hotshot Southern lawyer Kevin Lomax and the sublimely beautiful Charlize Theron sobbing uncontrollably when she's not flat-out weeping through the vast majority of her onscreen time as his neglected wife on the verge of a nervous breakdown, it seems as if the final fifteen minutes of DEVIL'S ADVOCATE with a scenery-chewing Al Pacino might be the only minutes even worth watching. Unfortunately, Mr. "Hoo-ha"'s classic and inspired tirade simply doesn't work without everything that precedes it. But make no mistake, all roads lead here. This scene is what it's all about, what every single event in DEVIL'S ADVOCATE has been building towards. And you'll find that the final act, this "hellish" climax, was worth every second. It's the over-the-top Pacino we've come to at least know if not love (see: SCENT OF A WOMAN, HEAT) but in this instance, his fire (heh) and his passion make perfect sense. Ingest a tiny bit of it for yourself.

DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, (1997), "Let me give you a little inside information about God. God likes to watch. He's a prankster...He's a tight-ass! He's a sadist! He's an absentee landlord! Worship that? NEVER!"