March 13 is L. Ron Hubbard Day. What is a very unofficial holiday to you and me and everyone you know (if you are not a rich celebrity, that is) is the Christmas Day of Scientology. Because, you see, March 13 is the date on which L. Ron Hubbard came into this world. Or maybe not…I am not all that up on the mythology of Scientology, so it is entirely possible that Mr. Hubbard existed in some alien form well before March 13. At any rate, whether you subscribe to the peculiarities of Dianetics or not, L. Ron Hubbard Day affords the opportunity to try to get the day off from work on March 13. And if you are successful, why not celebrate by watching these movies that are more than apt.
I dare you to try to get through “Battlefield Earth” without making a “Mystery Science Theater 3000” type of riff directed toward what is taking place on the screen. “Battlefield Earth” is based on a science fiction novel by L. Ron Hubbard—founder of Scientology just in case you weren’t aware—and if the movie based on the novel is any proof, maybe there is something to all this religion business. One thing is certain: Hubbard was no great storyteller, so we jettison that talent. Maybe his talent did lie in the sphere of religion. Check out what is routinely considered one of the worst movies ever made by John Travolta which, curiously enough, automatically makes it a contender for one of the worst movies ever made, period.
Just in case you were not aware, “The Master” is loosely based on the real life story of L. Ron Hubbard. When “The Master” first hit theaters, it received much higher praise from critics than many of the movies that wound up being nominated for Best Picture. In fact, it seemed to be on a sure path toward becoming one of the favorites to end up among the movies with the most nominations and even possibly walk off with a fewtrophies. By the time tens of millions of movie fans around the world realized that Seth MacFarlane is one of the least funny human beings on the planet, “The Master” had just three acting nominations with none of them being among those favored to win. As you may or may not know, many members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are members of Mr. Hubbard’s religion, Scientology. Is the fall of “The Master” from surefire Best Picture nominee to less than also-ran and the fact that some the most influential members of the Academy are Scientologists mere coincidence? You be the judge.
More than a decade before “The Master” retold the story of L. Ron Hubbard’s founding of Scientology through a fictional lens, there was “The Profit.” This one was never going to be a front-runner for Oscar, that’s for sure. Whether that is because, as some viewers maintain, it is just plain bad filmmaking or because the Church of Scientology actually managed to use the court system in America to get the film effectively banned, is up for grabs. Celebrate L. Ron Hubbard by watching it for yourself and determining whether the movie is really bad or just so amazingly close to the truth that it never stood a chance. It is worth nothing, of course, that world premiere of “The Profit” took place at the Cannes Film Festival, so we’re not exactly talking Ed Wood here.
Like “The Profit,” “Bowfinger” takes aim at Scientology through parody. Unlike that other movie, “Bowfinger” may actually have made a profit. Eddie Murphy and Steve Martin team up for what may well be the best movie either of them have made since. “Bowfinger” is another of Martin’s sharp satires of life California and the main focus is not on Scientology, but Hubbard and his followers definitely do come out of the fray looking almost as bad John Travolta in “Battlefield: Earth.”