I'm going to say it out loud: I didn't like the movie. I usually keep that to myself, because saying that you didn't like "What the (bleep) do we know?" in Steamboat Springs is like saying you hate wind on a sailboat. It's just not done.
I saw the movie in the quiet of my home when the company sent me a review copy. The movie hadn't come to town yet, but an attached press release said it had been immensely popular in Boulder. Little did I know this film would become a local phenomenon.
Mark Green at Mountain Movie brought in the film that weekend as part of his Fall Fest film festival. For that entire week, the theater was packed. A month later, he brought the movie back and it continued to sell out -- for three more weeks.
Green said he has never seen so much repeat business for a movie in his entire career. People were coming back to see "What the (bleep) do we know?" three and four times.
I was shocked. Why is this movie so popular?
"What the (bleep)" (as people now snappily call it) seems to be on the crest of a wave of books and movies that are targeted at solving an epidemic spiritual confusion that seems to be surfacing among people who, for one reason or another, don't feel comfortable in a traditional church setting. And since the film's release, a dialogue has opened in this town about just that.
I walked into the coffee shop Monday to talk with Lynn Drogosz about a discussion she will be facilitating at Colorado Mountain College next week.
On Wednesday night, Lynn is going to show "What the (bleep) do we know?" followed by a panel discussion with Father David Henderson of St. Paul's Episcopal Church and Carole Milligan, a Buddhist practitioner and physician.
To Lynn, the message of the film was simple.
"There is this idea that you can take control of your life and your happiness by changing your attitude," she said.
I had never met Lynn before Monday, but "What the (bleep)" did what it always does. Mention that film in this town, and the earth opens up beneath you. Your conversation landslides into a pit of all those things that people don't usually talk about with strangers. Namely, spiritual beliefs.
Before we knew it, Lynn and I were dropping names such as Joseph Campbell, Carlos Castaneda, The Koran, Jesus and Buddha. And we were using the dangerous phrase "I believe."
For me, beliefs always have been something of a Rubik's Cube. As I try to make them all fit together, they shift.
Somehow, Lynn and I made it through an entire cup of coffee without arguing.
That afternoon, I returned to the office and mentioned "What the (bleep)" to a co-worker who had seen it. The earth opened immediately, and we were talking about God and church and why people get upset when you challenge their belief systems.
Then I walked away. The earth closed, and my conversations returned to the usual topics -- what we did this weekend, Beck's new album, gossip.
Whether I liked the movie, I have to admit that the effect on conversation in this town has been interesting.
If you believe that "What the (bleep)" was a good movie, my belief about other people's beliefs is this: This life is hard, and if it helps you live a better life, if it doesn't hurt anyone else, if it gives you a reason to wake up in the morning, it's not my place to challenge it.
"What the #$*! Do We Know?!" will be shown and discussed at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Bogue Hall, Room 300, on the CMC campus. Free.