When will the protesters ever learn? While controversy may never guarantee box office success (which was proved by the dismal performance of last week’s The Golden Compass), it almost never squelches a movie’s popularity single-handedly.
Generally, when it comes to religion, Hollywood has it figured out. They downplay religion in most mainstream films so they don’t polarize their audience. However, sometimes it just can’t be done, and controversy erupts.
The Fat Guys want to pay homage to all those movies throughout the years that get everyone’s panties in a bunch. We are only including theatrical releases on this list. We know that there are plenty of fiercely independent films out there to offend the mainstream believers, but those are too many to mention. And until “2 Girls 1 Cup: The Gospel Musical” makes it to the cineplex, we’ll stick to this list.
10. The Exorcist (1973)
This movie managed to both offend and exalt. Fat Guy Kevin Carr recalls that his frail, pious grandmother went to see this because her diocese recommended it. But he also remembers a terribly uncomfortable experience watching the crucifix masturbation scene with a prayer-warrior friend in high school.
9. Battlefield Earth (2000)
While neither Fat Guy Kevin or Neil would remotely call this film good, we just couldn’t bear to let the Christians get all the glory on this list. Take that, Scientology!
8. Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Only the British could make this kind of movie and get away with it. While it’s not the best Monty Python movie, or the most offensive for that matter (both titles reserved for The Meaning of Life), it showed conservative American that anything is fair game for ridicule.
7. The Golden Compass (2007)
It’s too bad that this film just didn’t do well, ‘cause it wasn’t half-bad. Sadly, the Catholic League will think they got their message out when we all know the movie’s poor box office was more due to a difficult plot and the fact that Nicole Kidman has now been deemed box office poison.
6. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
This film was one of the classics… if by classics, you mean a film that really never lived up to the hype. A raging box office hit, The Da Vinci Code drew fire for insinuating that Jesus got it on at some point. The Fat Guys say, go get ‘em, tiger!
5. Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie (2002)
Seriously? A whale eating a cucumber? Scandalous!
4. Priest (1994)
Before Miramax dumped Kevin Smith’s Dogma or Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, they took a chance with Priest, a film about homosexuality in the cloth. The movie drew fire from conservative Christians in America and the Catholic church in Ireland, but pretty much fizzled in its release. Now it’s just a foot-note because after that South Park episode, it just doesn’t seem that bad.
3. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Torture porn for Jesus. And the Jews did it. Who wasn’t expecting a controversy with this one?
2. Dogma (1999)
This film started the exodus of edgy cinema from Miramax to Lion’s Gate, and it was so bad that director Kevin Smith himself protested the film, decrying, “Dogma is Dog Shit!” But when all was said and done, the only people upset about this thing were those who didn’t see it.
1. The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)
Again, a film that drew fire for Jesus getting it on. And for the fact that he was tempted by the Devil. But isn’t that in the Bible?
Birth of a Nation (1915) – Yeah, it wasn’t a religious movie per se, and it is only controversial now in retrospective, but it did show the good Christians of America in full lynching mode. It is still groundbreaking for technical proficiency, but almost silly to watch considering how backwards it was politically. Bottom line, this should be on any list of controversial films – religious or not.