January 15, 2021

Tom Servo! Save Us!

Da-vinci-MST3K2.jpgMy DaVinci Code Review. (Thanks to Nathan Bell for the Photoshops.)

I was going to write a review that attempted to be a coherent narrative, but considering we are talking about The DaVinci Code, one of the worst movies I’ve seen in years, that would be handing the film something it definitely didn’t give to its audience. I will, instead, give you a collection of impressions, and you, the reader, can supply the connections, by breaking a mysterious code or something.

Be warned. You won’t be getting any little signals that there’s been a sudden break in logic and worldview with the previous paragraph. Again, much like this film. Just imagine you have severe ADD or that you kept dozing off and waking up in a different film.

I would love to write a novel, but I have this problem. I can create interesting characters, but all they do is talk. Yammer. Discuss. Say witty things. Talk some more. I can’t write scenes where anything interesting happens, so my stories are people talking to one another about various and increasingly boring topics, and going to different places for those conversations.

I pretty much just described DVC- the film. I think I may have a future in writing movies for Ron Howard.

Missing elements:

Car Chase: They are in France and they can’t come up with a decent car chase? What was that Flintstones car she was driving? Were they peddling?

Sexual chemistry. None. Zero. Zip. The most sexual chemistry in the film appeared to be 1) Silas flagellating himself and 2) Silas getting all flustered over Alfred Molina.

Special Effects. Other than outtakes from old historical movies, I didn’t see any special effects. Gollum or a T-Rex would have been great.

Comic relief: Where was the witty sidekick? Eddie Murphy as Donkey could have rescued this thing.

Cute kids: That Jerry McGuire kid could have eaten this show up.

Cute Animals: We could pass on puppies and kittens and go for anything. I would have taken a snake or that Geico lizard.

Cool technology: Cell phones. Wow. A big screen television. I gotta have both of those. I’m not counting that code-breaker thing that will soon be in your Happy Meal.

jarjar.jpgJar Jar Binks: Seriously. As a pimp. We need some help here.

Alas, all these elements were missing. We just got dumb cops, weird intellectuals and a 354th cousin of Jesus.

I was watching the movie in a packed theater in Corbin, Kentucky. There are two colleges nearby and I’d guess the audience was heavy with faculty and students from each. Lots of people who had read the book. (I could tell from the conversations afterward.)

Just before the film started, an employee of the theater told us all to be quiet, then yelled at us for a few moments about cell phones, talking, and bothering people. She threatened teenagers with permanent exile from the theater if they disturbed the other patrons.

I’d never heard anything quite like this. It was as if she anticipated that restlessness, giggling, moaning, talking and calls for help were just around the corner. Perhaps because the movie was so bad, the audience might lose it?

This woman wasn’t shooting in the dark. There is the potential in theaters showing this movie for audience members to break out into the groans of the damned. It’s that bad. I can imagine cell phone conversations to old friends, childhood teachers, or just listening to the dial tone for distraction. Sex in these theaters is highly likely, even between people of the same sex who don’t know each other.

When Tom Hanks was in the well, I thought to myself, “I wish I were in that well.”

When the French policeman told the Swiss Bank guy, “You think you are in pain now…,” I wanted him to say, “You think you are in pain now, being IN the movie, I know where your family lives, and if you don’t tell me what I want to know, I’ll make your children watch it.”

When the “monk” was torturing himself, I thought, “Lucky guy.”

I wanted Forrest Gump to appear and say something intelligent. I wanted to be on that island in “Castaway.” I wanted Wilson to appear as a clue. I wanted Sheriff Taylor and Barney to arrest somebody. I wanted to watch about a dozen movies that guy playing the French cop has been in. I wanted Spiderman to appear and tell Doc Oct that his evil plot was over. I wanted Robin Williams to appear and do anything. I wanted popcorn. A hot dog. I wanted medication. I wanted to go blind. Deaf. I wanted a pistol. A paper on which to write a last note. I wanted to watch Oprah. I wanted to be surrounded by my friends and loved ones and say, ‘See ya, suckas.”

I wanted to see “Ishtar.” I wanted to see “Titanic.” I wanted to see “Alexander.” I wanted to see Steve Martin in “The Pink Panther.” I wanted to see Al Gore’s new movie on global warning. I wanted to see anything with Van Damme in the lead role.

What kind of dirty pictures does Ron Howard have of Tom Hanks that he would make this movie? How could you read this script and say “Oh my. My career can’t be complete without being in this masterpiece?”

Several people around me said it was faithful to the book. Hollywood is interesting. They take a good page turner like Grisham’s “The Firm” and turn it into a horrendous mess like the film version of that book, with half the plot altered and everything sacrificed for action. Stephen King books can’t make it to the screen without a full lobotomy. Even the Lord of the Rings dropped 30% of the story along the way and changed more than a few elements.

In the case of Dan Brown’s book, however, we apparently can’t find anyone who could improve on a story whose scintillating center is a conspiracy theory that wouldn’t pass muster as a gag in freshman history class and whose characters are about as compelling as those two Jehovah’s Witnesses at your door.

Listen: if this contrivancy makes you want to abandon Christianity for the new agey Jesus, be my guest. Please leave, and take your empty Jack Daniels bottles with you. There is a bus waiting outside to take you and your friends to the DVC fan fest, where you can keep the dream alive.

Listening to Gandalf explain that Constantine ordered up the New Testament at Nicaea made me wonder if its possible to sue a filmmaker for intellectual violence. Is there a lawyer in the house? Watching Opus Dei become a death cult fighting a war with a cast of X-files characters was slightly less believable than having Joel Osteen revealed as the author of all the works attributed to Stephen Hawking. Jesus was all about the sacred feminine? How could we have missed that?

And the Gospels of Phillip and Mary Magdalen! Rescued from the trash! Available at a Borders near you! Read and believe the message that will end all poverty, sexism, oppression and war. Have you received Mary Magdalen as your personal savior? Here. Read this tract.

Da-vinci-MST3K3.jpgWhen our kids were small, we made the parenting choice to allow them to watch MST3K. It was an ominous and life altering decision. Once addicted, my family went beyond the “observer” stage to the “participant” stage. No longer could we watch any presentation, anywhere, anytime without morphing into the characters and voices of Mike and the robots.

This situation has caused many a public gathering to be an exciting adventure. Not only movies and television, but sermons (including my own,) funerals, graduations and presentations have all been the subject of running, subtextual, sarcastic commentary in robot voices. I know Noel must be in terror as to what Clay may be saying while her wedding goes on.

Let me simply say to Mr. Ron Howard, Mr. Tom Hanks and all those involved in the making of what must be deemed an unredeemable mess of a film: Contact the cast of MST3K. This movie begs for the wit of Tom Servo and Crow to make us love it.

I know this will work. When Langdon cuts himself shaving and has a revelation that ends the movie back at the Louvre, Denise said “This movie has lapped itself.”

Do it. For the sake of the children. Do it.

A word to preachers: You’ve been snuckered. If you waste four sermons explaining this movie to your people, you might want to consider that the time would be better spent answering REAL questions about Jesus. The people in your church who believe the New Testament is a lie, the church suppressed the truth of Jesus’ marriage and the descendants of Jesus are having tea and crumpets in English church yards is surely small. If you are still compelled to preach on this Hollywood train wreck, then plan future series on the Loch Ness monster and NASA’s conspiracy to fake the moon landings. In fact, I’d suggest you start listening to old “Art Bell Coast to Coast” programs, and have your services at 2 a.m. when moonbats are most likely to appear.

UPDATE: Yo. My girl Amy saw the same film I did.

Michael Collender at St. Anne’s Public House has a thoughtful review/response that makes good points on what went wrong and how it could have been better.


  1. Mike was OK, but Joel was better.

    Thanks for the review. Now I’ll be in the right frame of mind if and when I rent it.

  2. Thanks for the review, good to know its not worth seeing. On wee point of accuracy though, Rosslyn Chapel’s in Scotland not England, and perhaps therefore leaves open the possibilty of a combined Da Vinci Code and Loch Ness Monster sermon.

  3. Michael, maybe fiction isn’t your thing, but you could establish a new genre of non-fiction–this review is fabulous and my sides hurt from laughing. I’m going to post a trackback right now! Too bad my pastor has spent all month preparing an antidote to the DaVinci Code for tomorrow.

  4. I’m just thankful that I procrastinated long enough to not be able to do a series on Da Vinci Code.

    There were apparently a lot more important things to get our panties in a wad about than this flick.

    Since my wife and I see about 1.5 movies a year, we won’t waste a trip to see this one.

    Thanks for the review, I will link to it.

  5. totemtotemple says

    Tanks for the review. We had people in my hometown stand outside street corners leading to the Cinemaplex with signs protesting the movie.

    God bless MST3k. Tom Servo rocks!!!!!

  6. “Listen:if this contrivancy makes you want to abandon Christianity for the new agey Jesus, be my guest. Please leave, and take your empty Jack Daniels bottles with you.”

    Best line ever. I may steal it and put it on a tee- shirt.

  7. there are some great lines in this review
    I lived it – the review not the movie

    If you haven’t read the book & just saw the movie you’d wonder what the fuss is about – the movie does a good job of portraying it as legend/myth. But that is not enough to redeem the movie. Go rent a good holy grail movie – monty python!

  8. Here’s a conspiracy theory for you…

    Dan Brown is actually Dr. Clayton Forrester in disguise.

    Good one, Nelson – er, Spencer!

  9. I loved it! It was much better than “Cats”! I’m going to see it again and again!!!


  10. And to think that I actually wrote a response to “The Da Vinci Code” on my blog before I saw your review!!!

    I’ve been snookered!!! I will admit this openly and without shame. Since I actually believed DVC and the issues raised by it to be worthy of serious consideration on my blog, I will take you up on your challenge. Look for future responses to the Loch Ness Monster, Sasquatch, the JFK conspiracy theories, etc on my blog.

  11. MarieBee says

    Michael, your review echoes my daughter’s evaluation. “What a waste after all the hype!” Sadly, we just spent four long Sunday mornings on DVC and it too was a waste, at least in my view. Our pastor, bless his heart, got so wound up and emotional about the issue that the meat of his message was lost on a friend of mine who came to our church for the first time. So much for edification and building up believers in the faith… My 18 year old daughter was frustrated at the circular reasoning (“It’s true because the BIble says so.”)and our family is just plain sick of the whole thing. Buying into Dan Brown’s “meticulous research” is intellectual suicide. Unfortunately for America, we don’t have a handle on the basics of Western history to read the book with a critical eye. ANd what’s worse, neither does the church!! I’m glad I passed on the movie; the book is enough.
    I’m waiting for the Loch Ness Monster studies…

  12. Well it took me about a month and a half, but I finally saw the movie.

    We had an MST3K moment in the theater where I saw it last night, and I thought of you and your DVC review. It happened at the part where Sophie is in the church in Scotland and she says to herself, “I think I’ve been here before.” When she heard (or imagined) an offstage voice saying “Sophie!”, one of the moviegoers next to me said out loud, “Yes you have.”

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