Back in 1999, indie filmmaker Kevin Smith was at the height of his powers. Having survived the lackluster box office haul of Mallrats, he rebounded with the critical darling Chasing Amy. So, naturally he made a film that inspired death threats: the star-studded Dogma.
Smith and longtime collaborator Jason Mewes are out on the road promoting Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. And it's given the duo the chance to revisit some old stomping grounds. Unfortunately, one of the most iconic locations in the Viewaskewniverse catalogue seemed a bit run-down when the pair visited a Pittsburgh church that hosted the grand finale of Dogma. Smith and Mews found the location not only abandoned and condemned but also on fire, according to the firemen on the scene.
Smith posted a 12-minute video to his Facebook feed this morning reflecting on the location and the film. In addition to nods to the climatic finale featuring God (as portrayed by Alanis Morissette), Smith also paid tribute to one of his heroes, the late George Carlin, as well as the much missed Alan Rickman, who famously unveiled Buddy Christ on the steps of the Sts. Peter and Paul Church at 130 Larimer in Pittsburgh.
Jay & Silent Bob at the church from DOGMA!Posted by Kevin Smith on Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Upon its release in 1999, Dogma opened third behind The Bone Collector and Pokemon: The First Movie back in the day, eventually grossing about $30 million domestic on a $10 million budget. Two decades later, though, it's hard to criticize Smith's eclectic casting in a movie that features Chris Rock, the eponymous Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Salma Hayek, Linda Fiorentino and even a cameo by cult hero Bud Cort, still recognizable from his star turn in Harold and Maude.
Smith is no stranger to controversy - a decade later, he would return to Pennsylvania to shoot the movie Zack and Miri Make a Porno (later retitled Zack and Miri for consumer sales) starring Seth Rogen and rising director Elizabeth Banks, filming at many of the same locations. Dogma hit a nerve with religious groups that hosted protests outside screenings. "We are actually free in this country to disagree about religion, and blasphemy is not a crime," said late film critic Roger Ebert, who gave the film three and a half stars.