The Rite Preview

The half-cyborg robot from the past looks quizzically at the latest gadget: the mp3 player. “Beep boop beep boop kids these days,” it says as it puts on a walkman and pops in its “Tunes to Kill By” mixed tape.

Patrick massages his head. The book is inane… “I don’t get it,” says Jamie quizzically, “were they trying to make a bad book or the raddest books, cause I’m digging this dope bot (as the kids say).” As the unofficial king of YA lit and the creator of the mega swamp monster revival, Patrick is embarrassed and yet unsurprised by Jamie’s lack of literary sense. Whoever wrote this book knew what bad media was all about. It’s almost… like… “they were born there,” he mutters. “What?” asks Jamie, looking up from the Rich and Poe book, “I didn’t catch that. The half-cyborg just started playing electric guitar with his leg..” My god, four chapters in and the cyborg still hasn’t left its apartment! “No dummy,” Patrick says, shaking his head, “the authors. There is no way they could make a book like this without being immersed in bad media. I think these imposters were born in the BMTverse. Or maybe even the Z-movie universe.” This is going to be tougher than either of them thought. How can they find two people who never even existed in this world? “Keep reading,” suggests Patrick, stumped. The book may be their only chance to find any clues.

As the half-cyborg finishes describing the perfect method for whittling a whistle there is a knock at the door. The robot cracks its knuckles. Could be some dweebs. When he opens it there stands his steamy neighbor, Mary. (“this should be good”, thinks Patrick) “Time for church, Cyborg,” she says (Gah!) That’s right! We’re watching The Rite. Now you might be thinking “why would you watch The Rite, a movie that no one remembers coming out?” That’s because believe it or not it’s the 10th (!) anniversary of us starting to watch bad movies. At the time we started, this film was out in theaters and happens to be based on a book. What a coincidence and happy anniversary to us. Let’s go!

The Rite (2011) – BMeTric: 33.2; Notability: 31 

StreetCreditReport.com – BMeTric: top 35.6%; Notability: top 50.2%; Rotten Tomatoes: top 15.7% Higher BMeT: Jack and Jill, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World, Shark Night 3D, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, The Roommate, Abduction, Conan the Barbarian, I Don’t Know How She Does It, Zookeeper, Apollo 18, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, The Dilemma, Trespass, Season of the Witch, The Smurfs, The Son of No One, Green Lantern, The Resident, and 29 more; Higher Notability: Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Green Lantern, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Cars 2, Jack and Jill, Battle: Los Angeles, Hop, New Year’s Eve, Your Highness, The Smurfs, Immortals, In Time, Red Riding Hood, Johnny English Reborn, I Am Number Four, The Hangover Part II, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Larry Crowne, Priest, and 26 more; Lower RT: Jack and Jill, The Roommate, A Little Bit of Heaven, Beneath the Darkness, Hick, Abduction, Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Dream House, New Year’s Eve, The Reunion, Trespass, Red Riding Hood, Season of the Witch, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Atlas Shrugged: Part I, The Moth Diaries, Zookeeper, The Ledge, Something Borrowed, Priest and 14 more; Notes: This is a decent test here, because by both BMeTric and Notability this is kind of meh, but it was one of the worst reviewed of that year … kind of seems like it is just going to be boring though. Even the IMDb rating isn’t as bad as most of the films we’ve been doing recently.

RogerEbert.com – 3.0 stars – This is I suspect a more realistic film than “The Exorcist,” although not its equal. The real Father Gary Thomas has cited “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” (2005) as more accurate. I admire “The Rite” because while it delivers what I suppose should be called horror, it is atmospheric, its cinematography is eerie and evocative, and the actors enrich it. It has given some thought to exorcism. Grant its assumptions, and it has something to say.

(Hinteresting. Not typical you’ll see Ebert go this far from the rest of the critics. It is an interesting points about the film though. Most people thought it was dull. Ebert grants that, but being somewhat dull is forgivable since at least it has a raison d’etre. Makes sense.)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_hG3ktopqv8/

(Ha! The opening. Someone said they were going to do something ludicrous, The Vatican denied it … that must mean there is a ton of truth to it! I think as long as the film doesn’t pretend exorcisms and possessions are real I’m going to be kind of peachy keen with it. If it does though, I’ll probably end up having a problem.)

Directors – Mikael Håfström – (Known For: Escape Plan; 1408; Evil; Future BMT: Outside the Wire; Derailed; Shanghai; BMT: The Rite; Notes: Swedish, he wrote and directed mostly in Sweden until the 00s when he transitioned to Hollywood. He directs mostly television now.)

Writers – Michael Petroni (written by) – (Known For: The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Book Thief; The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys; Future BMT: Backtrack; Till Human Voices Wake Us; BMT: Queen of the Damned; The Rite; Notes: He’s written a few different possession films. He also seemed to make good money adapting books with religious themes into films.)

Matt Baglio (book) (suggestion) – (BMT: The Rite; Notes: He has basically just does a few exorcism things as far as Hollywood is concerned. It seems likely that the female journalist in the film is supposed to be him, while Colin O’Donoghue is Gary Thomas.)

Actors – Colin O’Donoghue – (Known For: Carrie Pilby; Storage 24; What Still Remains; BMT: The Rite; Notes: Played Captain Hook in Once Upon a Time. Is Irish and was the guitarist for the band The Enemies, but had to quit to pursue acting full time.)

Anthony Hopkins – (Known For: Thor: Ragnarok; The Silence of the Lambs; Thor; The Father; How the Grinch Stole Christmas; A Bridge Too Far; Thor: The Dark World; Bram Stoker’s Dracula; Meet Joe Black; Legends of the Fall; Red Dragon; The Elephant Man; Mission: Impossible II; The Two Popes; Chaplin; Noah; Fracture; RED 2; Beowulf; The Mask of Zorro; Future BMT: Alexander; Misconduct; Freejack; Go with Me; The Wolfman; Slipstream; Desperate Hours; Collide; Kidnapping Freddy Heineken; All the King’s Men; 360; Solace; Instinct; The Innocent; Surviving Picasso; The Trial; Hannibal; The City of Your Final Destination; August; BMT: Transformers: The Last Knight; Bad Company; The Rite; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actor for A Change of Seasons in 1981; and Nominee for Worst Supporting Actor in 2018 for Collide, and Transformers: The Last Knight; Notes: Y’all know Anthony Hopkins. Good news for him, he just got the Covid-19 vaccine!)

Ciarán Hinds – (Known For: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Red Sparrow; There Will Be Blood; First Man; Frozen; Frozen 2; Munich; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; Silence; In Bruges; Road to Perdition; John Carter; Miami Vice; Excalibur; The Woman in Black; The Sum of All Fears; Race to Witch Mountain; The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover; The Debt; Bleed for This; Future BMT: Mary Reilly; Salvation Boulevard; The Weight of Water; Justice League; McCanick; The Statement; The Tiger’s Tail; The Nativity Story; The Phantom of the Opera; BMT: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life; Hitman: Agent 47; The Rite; Notes: From Northern Ireland. Apparently is a close friend of Liam Neeson.)

Budget/Gross – $37,000,000 / Domestic: $33,047,633 (Worldwide: $96,560,591)

(Borderline. I’m kind of surprised it made more money internationally … is there be big religious / exorcism market outside of the US? I could believe it.)

Rotten Tomatoes – 21% (37/173): Anthony Hopkins is as excellent as ever, but he’s no match for The Rite’s dawdling pace and lack of chills — or Colin O’Donoghue’s tentative performance in the leading role.

(Hmmm, too bad, because I don’t think you could really do this film with anything but an unknown in the lead role. It needs that balance with Hopkins do there isn’t a competition basically. Reviewer Highlight: The Rite commits the supreme sin of making the devil dull. – Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly)

Poster – That’s Rite!

(A yes, nothing gets the butts in the seats like a giant poster of Anthony Hopkins’ face. The Elephant Man himself. The box office draw of Hearts of Atlantis. Anyway, I do like a lot about this poster… but the size of Hopkins’ face is making me uncomfortable. B.)

Tagline(s) – You can only defeat it when you believe. (C-)

(That is more or less the plot of the book. It basically lays out the argument for why demonic possession is real this way: how could it not be real if so many people believe in it… so faith basically. And yes, you can only defeat it by believing in it because otherwise there isn’t anything to defeat in the first place. Bravo. The tagline is confusing and doesn’t sound right in my ears. But it’s just boring, not offensive.)

Keyword – based on book

Top 10: The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Ready Player One (2018), Goodfellas (1990), Catch Me If You Can (2002), Forrest Gump (1994), Le Mans ’66 (2019), A Simple Favour (2018), Fight Club (1999), Die Hard (1988), Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Future BMT: 65.2 The Turning (2020), 56.5 Snow Dogs (2002), 55.9 The Stepford Wives (2004), 53.1 Hanging Up (2000), 49.7 Abandon (2002), 44.3 Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000), 42.1 Village of the Damned (1995), 39.1 Krippendorf’s Tribe (1998), 38.0 Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer (2011), 37.0 Deal of the Century (1983);

BMT: Something Borrowed (2011), Striptease (1996), Eragon (2006), Cocktail (1988), Kiss the Girls (1997), Gangster Squad (2013), What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012), The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), Sleeping with the Enemy (1991), The Rite (2011), Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001), Deadly Friend (1986), I Dreamed of Africa (2000)

(Below average notability for a based on a book film. I think this is the lesser of the two keywords (the other being Based on a Novel). Here, obviously, we have a great future film in Krippendorf’s Tribe … yeah that film is a load of shit.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 15) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Ciarán Hinds is No. 5 billed in The Rite and No. 2 billed in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, which also stars Nicolas Cage (No. 1 billed) who is in The Wicker Man (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 5 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 5 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 5 + 1 = 15. If we were to watch Instinct, and Pearl Harbor we can get the HoE Number down to 13.

Notes – Mikael Håfström attended exorcisms to prepare for directing this movie. He was not allowed to witness them, but he could hear what was happening from outside the door. (… alright then)

The language Istvan Kovak (Rutger Hauer) speaks is Hungarian. It can be translated as: “My love, my flower, my bliss.”

Shipped to theaters under the code name “Denial”.

Alice Braga (Angeline) is the niece of Sonia Braga (Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)).

The film is based off a book, which centres around real-life priest Father Gary Thomas from California. He was tasked by his bishop to become the diocesan exorcist and so was sent to Rome to learn how to do it.

The writing on Father Lucas Trevant’s (Sir Anthony Hopkins’) wall (“Fi sydd biau fe nawr”) is Welsh (just like Hopkins), and translates to “He belongs to me now”.

The image used to describe the demon Baal is usually that of a man, a cat, a toad, or a combination of all of them. Father Lucas Trevant’s (Sir Anthony Hopkins’) house is infested with cats, as well as toads in the fountain.

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