Above my sister's bed is a Boondock Saints poster...near a painting of Smeagol that I made for her, above a Don Bosco relic, beside a Harry Potter poster, and 90 degrees away from U2 and the Beatles. The Boondock Saints has to be one of her favorite movies. I love Connor and Murphy…but I think the movie is simply “okay.” It’s not my favorite movie…but I still appreciate some of the things in this movie.
Yeah, throwing in some Latin in the end doesn't necessarily make it a prayer...
In fact, this past Sunday when my sister (aka The Fool) and I were both kneeling before our Lady near the church entrance, I tapped her on the shoulder and whispered "We're just like Connor and Murphy from the Boondock Saints." One thing I love about this movie is the beginning when the brothers are praying together during mass. It’s just BADASS, in a wholesome Catholic manner. Speaking of wholesome, Catholic…according to her, when it came to one of the movie nights at the Newman Catholic Center a few years ago (could be months ago instead of years considering how my perception of time has been ruined by PhD studies), someone tried selling the movie to everyone else as "a wholesome Catholic movie."
I'm Murphy, the Fool is Connor...in case you were wondering.
My sister, very much in love with this movie, once tried watching this movie with my dad and applied this same approach. At one point, according to my sister, he kind of just shook his head and said something along the lines of "This is definitely not a good film for Catholics." This was after Rocco's finger got shot off and they're all cursing like sailors (as opposed to the rest of the movie when they're fighting heresy and using soap to wash out the mouths of all blasphemers in Boston).
Well, the first time I watched the movie....I LOVED it. There's something about the opening of the movie that struck a chord...the idea of brothers going to mass together, praying together, working together, drinking Guinness together, saving each other's lives, and even getting into bar fights together. I am not one for violence, but they had did have legitimate reasons for getting into that bar fight. Being a Dropkick Murphys fan kind of reinforced my appreciation. I also love the idea of fighting for all that is good and right in the world...like God, faith, goodness, social justice….noble purposes. I think the way I feel can be best summed up with some Tolkien…
“I do not love the bright sword for it's sharpness, nor the arrow for it's swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend”- J.R.R. Tolkien”
After watching the movie several more times, I began to pick it apart (especially after reading up on the guy who wrote the screenplay). Then I began to see the reason why we Catholics did not permit them to film the movie within one of our churches. My dad was right about this movie….well most of it. You see, in my opinion, once Rocco is introduced…the movie goes downhill. Mind you, the brothers are hysterical at times…but they are far from sainthood.
My top 5 Boondock Saints peeves:
They wear the rosary…like many other people these days. I don’t know if it’s a trend or something, but I see so many rosaries around people’s necks that it kind of makes me wonder how often people pray the rosary. Yeah, the brothers don’t really seem to pray the rosary all that often in this movie….or pray very much at all…minus that “Shepherd’s prayer” that is more like a killing mantra than a prayer.
2. “You don’t play with God”
This saying was repeated time and time again (in Portuguese) by my parents every time my sisters or I came close to crossing the line between funny and offensive to God. Plain and simple, you don’t mock the holy….which is what we see in this movie on a few occasions. The one scene that makes me uncomfortable is when one of the brothers dips his hand into a coffee cup and starts blessing police officers. Yeah, my inner, uber-strict, pre-Vatican II self started cringing with this scene, thinking back to my parents’ warnings. Don’t get me started on the confession booth scene…
Once this guy enters the scene, everything goes downhill. The brothers start off defending themselves from the mob and next thing you know, they go from defending themselves to becoming full-fledged vigilantes. In a sense, they become the mob. They start killing off people just because they were in the mob and because Rocco told them to. Am I the only one who noticed that Rocco initially aspired to become part of the mob? If they’re going to start killing off mob people, why don’t they kill Rocco?
4. Il Duce.
Could they have gotten a more militant atheist to play this guy? I mean, during interviews, every other word out of his mouth is an insult against the Church, God, and all that is right in the world. On top of this, he’s no better than the mob his sons are fighting. I mean, he was even part of the mob as a young man. If you’re going with consistency, the brothers should have killed him off as well….and if he’s such a good guy, why does he still kill people for the mob. I mean, yes, the mob got you out of jail. However, why do you want to kill the people the mob tells you to kill…. This fact is cemented in the Boondock Saints sequel, where we learn that he was originally a potential serial killer-turned-hit man. This guy seems to have some sort of psychological disorder that makes him want to kill people. What happened to overcoming a need for murder? What happened to “overcoming temptation” (a good Catholic quality)? What happened to “Thou Shalt Not Kill?”
If you cussed like they cuss in this movie, you would break your mother’s heart…unless she happened to be a sailor and swear like one. Some of the swearing is just unnecessary and even immature at times…which really make me question Troy Duffy’s grasp of the English language beyond the 4 letter words at times. The extra scenes are also ridiculous. I mean, how am I supposed to believe that the brothers’ mother made them learn so many languages when she’s slurring her words and swearing up a storm when talking to her sons on the phone. A drunkard would never care to ensure their kid’s language skills. I know it was Saint Patrick’s Day in this scene….but come on. There was no need to turn the mother into a stereotypical “drunk and swearing Irishwoman.” It’s just ridiculous.
This movie on a scale from 1-10 (1 being LAME and 10 being awesome)…I give this movie 4. However, in the scenes preceding Rocco banding together with the brothers, this movie gets a 10.
In summation, if the Boondock Saints is a good, wholesome, Catholic movie...then 300 is a good, wholesome Greek Orthodox movie…
The look in his eyes says "....yeah, no."
Sorry Fool for tearing up your movie.