Chris Hicks: When movies laugh at Mormons, it isn't always mean

Published: Thursday, March 31 2011 5:40 p.m. MDT

"Fletch" (1985): This comedy about the title character, an undercover newspaper reporter (Chevy Chase), is partially set in Provo. And at one point, Fletch, reading a letter, says, "Sally Ann and Alan were married eight years ago, never divorced, making Stanwyck a bigamist. Even in Utah."

"Raising Arizona" (1987): The final scene is a dream sequence where Nicolas Cage sees into the future and his voice-over narration says of the dream's location, "If not Arizona, then a land not too far away where all the parents are strong and wise and capable, and all the children are happy and beloved. I dunno. Maybe it was Utah."

"Bodies, Rest & Motion" (1993): One of the ensemble characters (Eric Stoltz) complains about having to drive through Utah. "There's no good radio in Utah. It's all religious programs."

"Celtic Pride" (1996): During a game between the Boston Celtics and the Utah Jazz, rabid Celtics fan Daniel Stern yells at the Jazz players on the floor, "Why don't you go back to Utah and get yourself a few more wives?"

"The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996): After Geena Davis reels off a string of obscenities in a bar, Samuel L. Jackson asks, "Excuse me, do you normally curse this much?" Davis replies, "What are you, a Mormon?" Jackson answers sarcastically, "Yes, I'm a Mormon. That's why I just smoked a pack of Newport and drank three vodka tonics."

"The Rage" (1998): Gary Busey is the chief bad guy in this thriller set in Utah. At one point he rants that FBI agents are after him and will soon "come swarmin' into these mountains like locusts on Mormons."

"S.W.A.T." (2003): After cop James DuMont downs a Dr. Pepper, fellow officer Colin Farrell tells him he's "a little too attached to that soda." "Love that stuff," DuMont says, adding that his wife would disapprove. "You know the deal. … When we got married I converted to Mormonism. We can't consume anything that alters our state of mind. We treat our bodies with respect." Farrell replies, "And I treat mine like an amusement park."

"Yes Man" (2008): After agreeing to say yes to each and every opportunity that presents itself, Jim Carrey experiences a string of incidents that play out like a medley, one of them being a knock on his door by a pair of Mormon missionaries (sans name tags). So, he invites them in. (That's all we see of them, but one wonders how he got out of saying yes to all those missionary challenges!)

"Burn After Reading" (2008): When unhinged CIA analyst John Malkovich is demoted, a colleague tells him it's because he has a drinking problem. "I have a drinking problem? … You're a Mormon. Next to you we ALL have a drinking problem!"

Email: hicks@desnews.com

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