Cinepub


Holy Moly: Left Behind: The Movie by Jamie

It is my understanding that Kirk Cameron was once in an American TV show called ‘Growing Pains’ which, as far as I can tell, never played in the UK and for good reason. Just watching a video of the theme tune makes it seem as though it’d be a sickeningly sweet show were people have feelings and learns an important lesson. I could be wrong. It could all be about a serial killer who kills people by stretching them on a rack and his struggle to keep his family in the dark about his secret life. Still, that saccharine shit doesn’t really play over here in the UK. We prefer miserable or slightly dodgy characters in miserable or bizarre situations. Just look at some of our most popular sitcoms. Only Fools and Horses, One Foot In The Grave, Blackadder, Red Dwarf and Fawlty Towers. None of them have a sickeningly sweet character in them. The closest you’d really get is Del Boy from Only Fools and Horses but even he is pretty much a complete arsehole though his heart is often in kind of the right place.

Anyway, that got away from me a bit there. My point was I didn’t really become aware of Kirk Cameron until he started using TV and the internet to minister using his Way of the Master program or whatever the hell it is. I came to enjoy Kirk, not because he opened my heart to Jesus but because he was clearly a bit mental. Hell, he appeared in a number of my favourite YouTube videos such as ‘The Atheist’s Nightmare’.

Yes, it’s wonderful that God designed the banana so perfectly for human consumption. Except, of course, God didn’t make the banana that way. Man did through the same kind of guided evolution that we used to create domesticated animals and grains. Still good try. Also what if you don’t like bananas? What if you like pineapples? Does God hate you? Anyway, that’s all beside the point. My point is that I already had a pretty low opinion of Kirk Cameron (though his recent statement that jumping to the conclusion that all those birds falling out of the sky meant it was the end times was ridiculous raised it a little) before I decided to give this film a watch, but hey, I hadn’t seen him act so who knows? Maybe he’ll be good.

Well, he isn’t though I honestly couldn’t say if it’s because of the terrible script or just him. The movie is set at the beginning of Armageddon, the time that some Christians believe will signal the end of the world and the return of Jesus or something. It begins with all the believers being called up to heaven leaving their clothes behind and a bunch of confused people who have to clean up the mess caused by their sudden disappearance. Seriously, cars crash when their holy drivers are called away to paradise and all other manner of accidents occur. It’s a lot to clear away for us simple non-believers. Yeah, thanks for that God. Asshole.

Still, the film begins a little before that. We meet Buck (Kirk Cameron), the world’s most awesome reporter as he’s interviewing an Israeli scientist, Chaim Rosenzweig, about his miracle breakthrough in strains of wheat that will grow practically anywhere! Of course, two evil members of the evil UN want to get their hands on the wheat hoping it will lead to world peace and world unification and so it’s a bad thing in this particular film. The evil UN members basically bribe the scientist by promising that if he gives them the formula for the wheat, they’ll rebuild the Temple of Solomon in Israel, which they are apparently unaware is another sign of the end times. In doing this they’ll control the world’s food supply and therefore profit. Oh, evil UN members! Is there nothing you’ll do to unwittingly bring about the end of humanity?

Anyway during this interview a massive Arab air strike attacks Israel. Buck and Chaim escape to what seems to be an Israeli War Room which is out in this random patch of desert for some reason. Suddenly the jets start randomly exploding completely by themselves. Buck goes outside to report on these events and an old guy comes and babbles about something bibley.

There’s also this secondary plot about this pilot and his family. His wife’s a believer so she get’s raptured along with his son because children are all innocents in the eyes of God or something. So he’s left with his daughter who I think is a Christian’s idea of what a rock chick looks like. She has a nose piercing you see! Holy crap! I wouldn’t be surprised to find out she’d also done the pot! Anyway Buck meets the pilot on a plane whilst the rapture occurs and… Oh, Jesus fucking Christ. It’s so incredibly dull! Ugh, come on. Just push on.

So Buck goes and begins to uncover the truth behind the scriptures and the predictions of the bible whilst the pilot comes to terms with his wife and son’s disappearance, coming to terms with his own lost faith. Buck also finds out about the conspiracy regarding the special wheat and goes to the UN to try and save Chaim from making a terrible mistake. The new leader of the UN, Nicolae Carpathia, is outraged that the two evil UN members, who were apparently his mentors, where behind this evil scheme. He calls a meeting of the UN or something and Buck is brought in to watch because Carpathia wants him as his new media minister or something. Ugh… Not long now.

Anyway, Carpathia kills the shit out the two evil UN members in front of everyone else but then seems to erase everyone’s memory of it. Everyone apart from Buck’s because, you know, he’s awesome and that. Carpathia also announces that this will be the beginning of seven years of world peace which is the same amount of time that some Christians believe there’ll be troubles on Earth before Christ returns. Oh, and Carpathia is the Anti-Christ.

So there, you go. That’s Left Behind: The Movie. I haven’t read the book so I can’t compare it to that but I can say that it’s a pretty goddamn terrible film. It looks like it was made for television by someone who really, really fucking hates television. Like hated it so much that they wanted to punish it by making it appear on it’s screen. But no, apparently this thing was released in actual cinemas and watched by actual people. I mean… fuck.

There are a number of things I could say. I could go into how poorly written the thing is. Characters introduced without any earlier mention only to provide an ‘exciting’ thing to push the story forward. The terrible, terrible dialogue. For example, I’m fairly sure that if people suddenly disappeared, the people left behind wouldn’t watch their language quite as much as they do in this. For fuck’s sake people say heck instead of hell! Millions of people have just vanished and people are saying heck? It’s a world inhabited by Ned Fucking Flanders’! How the hell did anyone get Left Behind? Aside from that, the dialogue is just stilted and unnatural and often crammed uneasily with characters telling other characters that the bible is awesome or Buck is awesome.

I could mention the slightly smug attitude that characters have towards other nationalities or religions. It’s never expressly stated but you get the impression that everyone kinda looks down on the Jews or the Arabs in this film, happy in their security that, even though this is a work of fiction, they’re all good Christians who’re getting raptured right up to heaven when this shit goes down for real. I could go into the fact that the writer’s of this shit seem to have a bizarrely over-inflated notion of just how powerful the UN is. You honestly think they’re going to take over and create a one world government and end all war forever and ever? They couldn’t even stop the invasion of Iraq. The UN is a bunch of people sitting around and bickering with no real power to stop any major world power from doing what ever it wants. Seriously though, is a one world government such a terrible thing? Seemed to work out pretty well in Star Trek. Once we’d sorted out all the world’s problems and gotten together as brothers and sisters we could address the very pressing issue of finding hot alien women and fucking them. How is that not awesome?

I could even go into how terrible the acting was. Again, I’m not sure if it’s just because of the terrible script or the fact that these people have no acting chops. It was just awful. In fact, the only guy I really liked was the Anti-Christ. At least he looked like he was having some fun with his role. Everyone was just treating it so ridiculously seriously that it was laughable. As for the special effects, well, it was almost approaching “Birdemic” level during the initial air strike scene but this was made in 2000 or I assume a tiny budget so I have to cut it some slack. This movie was just painful to watch. Half a pint out of five for the Anti-Christ who, as I say, brought some entertainment to the whole horrible affair. Laterz.

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Documental: Waiting For Armageddon by Jamie

Ah, religion. Religion, religion, religion. Yep. That’s a thing that happens. I’m sorry but as I know all too well, writing anything about religion on the internet can provoke some fairly extreme reactions from people on all sides of the argument. So it’s once again that I throw myself into this quagmire with a review of ‘Waiting For Armageddon’, a documentary which focuses primarily on fundamentalist evangelical Christians and their views on the coming apocalypse which they see as being imminent.

Now, I’m fairly sure that ever since humans came to understand the passage of life and it’s eventual end, there have been those who have expected to see the end of days in their lifetime and from my point of view, these people are no different. It’s just that, as this movie shows, there are a shit ton of them and they aren’t entirely without political sway. No, it should be said that I think this film was made during the Bush administration when the religious right certainly did have quite a large amount of sway in Washington and I’m not sure what the climate is like now but either way, these are a loud and, to my mind, scary group of people.

That being said, the film doesn’t seem to really take a side though it’s kind of similar to Jesus Camp in that it interviews the people about their beliefs and shows them participating in various activities and largely leaves what the viewer thinks of the issue up to said viewer. Whereas I came away from this disagreeing with most people and their apocalyptic beliefs and the destruction and devastation they’re willing, almost happy, to see take place in order for those beliefs to come true, I’m sure there will be others who already agree with these views to come away seeing it as a documentary which does nothing more than espouse those views. That also being said, much like Jesus Camp, the context of the clips does seem to lean a little more towards my side of the argument. Then again, I could just be seeing it that way because that’s the side of it that I fall on. In other words, I’m confused.

So for anyone who isn’t familiar with the book of revelations, it’s sort of explained in this film. The basic gist is that Jesus is gonna come back and fight the forces of the Antichrist in one major world-ending, pay-per-view event. Jesus is going to be carrying a flaming sword or something and he shall mete out righteous justice and then hit the reset button on all creation, abolishing evil forever. Before this all the righteous Christians will be called up to Heaven so they won’t have to endure the terrible tribulations that will proceed this awesome Holy War which we sinners will have to. The final fight itself shall take place in Jerusalem because if there’s one thing that place needs it’s a massive Holy War. Some Jews will finally accept Jesus as the messiah and the rest will be obliterated and all the rest of us that don’t will suffer a similar fate. I’m not sure whether Hell get’s destroyed with the giant universal reset or not so I’m not sure if I’m due for an eternity of torture or an eternity of oblivion which is what I’m expecting anyway. I suppose that’s kind of beside the point at this juncture. So that’s basically the end of the world according to the various accounts from the people in this movie. In other words Revelations is Jesus’ gritty reboot which, according to the fundamentalists, is long overdue.

Of course, there are a few things that have to take place before this occurs, paramount of which is the destruction of the Dome Of The Rock and the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem. The destruction of the Dome is joked about quite often during a conference at the end of the film ass is, rather disturbingly, God’s “failure” to stop 9/11, the joke being that God didn’t fail to do anything because by definition God cannot fail and so all things occur according to his whim. This means that anything bad that happens, especially with regards to the Middle East or anything even slightly related to it, can be seen as a sign of the apocalyptic prophecies coming true because it’s God’s will.

I couldn’t help but laugh at one particular speaker during this conference. Something about the way he talked about post-modernism and us troublesome atheists just reminded me of the speaker at the police conference in ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’. You know, the one who talks about reefer addicts. Yeah, guy reminds me of him and it tickled me pink.

Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the documentary is when a group of evangelicals head of to Jerusalem on a visit and it’s interesting to see their interactions with the Israelis. There’s a sort of grudging politeness. I say grudging because at their heart each one of these people simply cannot respect ‘the other persons point of view. The Christians believe that the only way to get right with God is through Jesus and the Jews just don’t see things this way. The Christians have to be polite and support the Jewish people because if they don’t then they don’t get to see all the sites they consider holy plus they don’t get their Armageddon they’ve so been looking forward too. The Israelis have to be polite and put up with what I’m sure is a lot of evangelising, because these are evangelicals after all, because as one Rabbi puts it ‘We have a phrase called the golden rule. The one with all the gold makes all the rules.’ The same rabbi also claims that if Jesus did exist he was a womanizing sorcerer and has the best line in the film ‘So they believe that Jesus is coming back. We don’t think he’s going to make it a second time.’ Hilarious. Just something about the way he phrases it makes it seem like a threat.

Anyway, this film was pretty good despite it’s rather scary subject matter, it didn’t make me as angry as ‘Jesus Camp’ and there is some fairly interesting stuff in there besides the whacky prophecy stuff. The main thing it highlighted for me was that I just don’t understand religious belief. Maybe it is something genetic or something to do with brain chemistry that makes someone more susceptible to religious thinking (I’m not saying it’s the only reason just something that could make something like that more likely in certain people) but I’ve never believed, even when I was a child being taught all this stuff in primary school. I just don’t have the capacity for it and so it’s one of those aspects of human nature that will always remain a mystery to me. I don’t begrudge anyone their beliefs, they’re just not for me. So yeah, the film gets four pints out of five.



The Depress-A-Thon: Jesus Camp Repost by Jamie

Well it’s time for a look back to an old post that I wrote some time last year as The Depress-A-Thon steam rolls ever forwards. It’s a film that I found both terrifying and depressing when I watched it. That film was Jesus camp. Enjoy.

I’ve previously written about Threads as being the single most depressing thing mankind has ever put to film. There is one film, however, that always threatens it’s position. Hell, it’s the film that was in my mind when I came up with the title for my documentary reviews, Documental. It doesn’t manage to take that title away from Threads though, simply because depression isn’t the overriding emotion that I feel whilst watching this film. In fact it’s a sickening cocktail of anger, hatred, fear and depression. Good times are ahead.

The film follows Becky Fisher and her “army” of god made up of children who seem to range between ages 5 and 13 as they spend the summer at a camp in Missouri and the various japes and shenanigans that they get up to like having seminars where they teach children that a child is fully formed in the womb after seven weeks or having them all pray to a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush. It’s very much a case of ‘Hello Mother, Hello Father, Here I Am At Camp Retarded!’

What’s probably the most disturbing accept of this film is the fact that Fisher seems to want to teach the children to die for Jesus much in the same way that people are taught to die for Allah in Islamic fundamentalist training camps. In fact, there seems to be even a hint of admiration for these terrorist groups and even a kind of remorse that America doesn’t have a Christian alternative. Worst of all is that the children seem amenable to this philosophy. There’s even a point where one child emphatically states “I feel like we’re kinda being trained to be warriors, only in a much funner way. Like I don’t feel the sense of afraid to die in battle or anything like you would if you were actually going off to a war in the physical. There’s a peace with it all too. There’s an excitement at the same time too, it’s really cool.” Keep in mind that child saying this is a 9 year old little girl.

She’s one of two real main children that you really follow through the film and certainly the one I feel most sorry for. There’s a scene where she talks about how the other kids tease her at school but she doesn’t care. After all it’s God who’ll be judging her, not her schoolmates or as she puts it “Man’s decision–whatever! God’s decision–Something.” There’s a sense of sadness and loneliness about her, however, that seems to suggest that under all the indoctrination and religious fervour she’d maybe like to be a normal girl with friends.

The other main child in the film is Levi. He doesn’t have the sense of sadness that Rachael does which is probably due to the fact that he’s home schooled so he’s probably the spared the torment of being bullied because of his extreme faith. In fact you see a bit of what this home schooling entails. His mother is telling him, essentially, why global warming is a lie, that real teaches would call him stupid for believing in creationism, that creationism is the only possible answer to all the questions and the real gem that comes near the end of the scene in which she asks “Did you get to the part on here where it says that science doesn’t prove anything? And it’s really interesting when you look at it that way.” Excuse me for one moment.

Sorry about that, I feel much better now. Well, I don’t really but I have to get through this. Now, I’m an atheist but the average Christian is fairly inoffensive, rarely forcing their views on anyone else and I’m always happy to enter into spirited debate with these people after which we can agree to disagree and have a pint together. There are occasions when I have made the unfortunate decision to debate with fundamentalists. This no longer happens as I’ve developed a kind of fundamendar, like gaydar except the fundamendar would like to have gaydar banned. I can quite easily spot them now because there is one major sign. The average fundamentalist will have an odd sense about them, you get the feeling straight away that something isn’t right. Then you look in there eyes and you hit on what it is. There’s a vacancy there, a sort of glossed over look like they’ve switched off part of their brain and are using a lot of their processing power to keep it switched off. The cause of this is that they are. They’ve become so steeped in this worldview that it takes over their life completely and all other things are completely meaningless apart from the will of their magic sky daddy. They are, however, still human so the urge for rationality and reason is always there and it takes a lot to keep this basic human need for inquiry completely suppressed. This vacant look is present throughout this film.

There is some humour within this film, albeit unintentional. The film features one Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (at the time), giving a sermon about what the bible teaches about homosexuality and actually making jokes about one of the documentary team being unfaithful to his wife. If you don’t understand why this is funny, please refer yourself to this old video which I made years ago. Please excuse the typos:

So there you go, Mr We Have The Bible To Tell Us About Gays was having gay sex with a male prostitute whilst doing crystal meth. Bravo sir, bravo.

Other highlights throughout this film include Becky telling the chilren Harry Potter would be killed in Old Testament times, yelling at them for being all hypocrites in the eyes of God until they break down in tears, begging for forgiveness, several scenes where the adults lead the children in screams of “This Means War!” and “Righteous Judges!” plus much, much more.

I really have a love hate relationship with this film. I enjoy watching it even though it really, really pisses me off. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember. Maybe I just like getting angry. Perhaps the weakest point of the film is the moderate Christian radio host who’s kind of used as a framing device. I suppose he’s there to provide context and a counterweight to the extreme fundamentalists just so the film makers can say ‘See, we’re not saying all Christian’s are bad, just these ones.” Still, I suppose he’s not too intrusive and so overall I’ll give this film three and a half pints.

Laterz.



Documental: Jesus Camp by Jamie

I’ve previously written about Threads as being the single most depressing thing mankind has ever put to film. There is one film, however, that always threatens it’s position. Hell, it’s the film that was in my mind when I came up with the title for my documentary reviews, Documental. It doesn’t manage to take that title away from Threads though, simply because depression isn’t the overriding emotion that I feel whilst watching this film. In fact it’s a sickening cocktail of anger, hatred, fear and depression. Good times are ahead.

The film follows Becky Fisher and her “army” of god made up of children who seem to range between ages 5 and 13 as they spend the summer at a camp in Missouri and the various japes and shenanigans that they get up to like having seminars where they teach children that a child is fully formed in the womb after seven weeks or having them all pray to a cardboard cut-out of George W. Bush. It’s very much a case of ‘Hello Mother, Hello Father, Here I Am At Camp Retarded!’

What’s probably the most disturbing accept of this film is the fact that Fisher seems to want to teach the children to die for Jesus much in the same way that people are taught to die for Allah in Islamic fundamentalist training camps. In fact, there seems to be even a hint of admiration for these terrorist groups and even a kind of remorse that America doesn’t have a Christian alternative. Worst of all is that the children seem amenable to this philosophy. There’s even a point where one child emphatically states “I feel like we’re kinda being trained to be warriors, only in a much funner way. Like I don’t feel the sense of afraid to die in battle or anything like you would if you were actually going off to a war in the physical. There’s a peace with it all too. There’s an excitement at the same time too, it’s really cool.” Keep in mind that child saying this is a 9 year old little girl.

She’s one of two real main children that you really follow through the film and certainly the one I feel most sorry for. There’s a scene where she talks about how the other kids tease her at school but she doesn’t care. After all it’s God who’ll be judging her, not her schoolmates or as she puts it “Man’s decision–whatever! God’s decision–Something.” There’s a sense of sadness and loneliness about her, however, that seems to suggest that under all the indoctrination and religious fervour she’d maybe like to be a normal girl with friends.

The other main child in the film is Levi. He doesn’t have the sense of sadness that Rachael does which is probably due to the fact that he’s home schooled so he’s probably the spared the torment of being bullied because of his extreme faith. In fact you see a bit of what this home schooling entails. His mother is telling him, essentially, why global warming is a lie, that real teaches would call him stupid for believing in creationism, that creationism is the only possible answer to all the questions and the real gem that comes near the end of the scene in which she asks “Did you get to the part on here where it says that science doesn’t prove anything? And it’s really interesting when you look at it that way.” Excuse me for one moment.

Sorry about that, I feel much better now. Well, I don’t really but I have to get through this. Now, I’m an atheist but the average Christian is fairly inoffensive, rarely forcing their views on anyone else and I’m always happy to enter into spirited debate with these people after which we can agree to disagree and have a pint together. There are occasions when I have made the unfortunate decision to debate with fundamentalists. This no longer happens as I’ve developed a kind of fundamendar, like gaydar except the fundamendar would like to have gaydar banned. I can quite easily spot them now because there is one major sign. The average fundamentalist will have an odd sense about them, you get the feeling straight away that something isn’t right. Then you look in there eyes and you hit on what it is. There’s a vacancy there, a sort of glossed over look like they’ve switched off part of their brain and are using a lot of their processing power to keep it switched off. The cause of this is that they are. They’ve become so steeped in this worldview that it takes over their life completely and all other things are completely meaningless apart from the will of their magic sky daddy. They are, however, still human so the urge for rationality and reason is always there and it takes a lot to keep this basic human need for inquiry completely suppressed. This vacant look is present throughout this film.

There is some humour within this film, albeit unintentional. The film features one Ted Haggard, the president of the National Association of Evangelicals (at the time), giving a sermon about what the bible teaches about homosexuality and actually making jokes about one of the documentary team being unfaithful to his wife. If you don’t understand why this is funny, please refer yourself to this old video which I made years ago. Please excuse the typos:

So there you go, Mr We Have The Bible To Tell Us About Gays was having gay sex with a male prostitute whilst doing crystal meth. Bravo sir, bravo.

Other highlights throughout this film include Becky telling the chilren Harry Potter would be killed in Old Testament times, yelling at them for being all hypocrites in the eyes of God until they break down in tears, begging for forgiveness, several scenes where the adults lead the children in screams of “This Means War!” and “Righteous Judges!” plus much, much more.

I really have a love hate relationship with this film. I enjoy watching it even though it really, really pisses me off. I’ve watched it more times than I can remember. Maybe I just like getting angry. Perhaps the weakest point of the film is the moderate Christian radio host who’s kind of used as a framing device. I suppose he’s there to provide context and a counterweight to the extreme fundamentalists just so the film makers can say ‘See, we’re not saying all Christian’s are bad, just these ones.” Still, I suppose he’s not too intrusive and so overall I’ll give this film three and a half pints.

Laterz.



The Passion Of The Christ Review by Jamie
16/04/2009, 12:27 pm
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Ok, so my special late Easter review, The Passion Of The Christ! Um, if you’re a Christian, you might be a bit offended. Sorry.




The True Meaning of Christmas by Jamie
24/12/2008, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Fake Trailers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

With the rampant comercialisation of this festive time of year, it’s often easy to forget just what Christmas is really all about. Why is Christmas is a question you will often hear gramatically challenged people in the street cry out in desperation as they waste money of the latet ‘Jerk Me Off Elmo’ or the ‘Curse Like A Fucking Dockworker Furby’. Here then is the answer to that question… Well I guess technically it’s more about the meaning of Eastr perhaps but still, it’s a video I made some time ago and I’d like to share it once more a this jolly time of year.




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