Friday, March 25, 2016

Movie #351: Left Behind

Left Behind: The Movie (no, seriously, that's the title) is based on novel-that-somehow-gullible-believe by Tim LaHaye and stars Kirk Cameron, Brad Johnson, Janaya Stephens, Gordon Currie, Colin Fox, and Clarence Gilyard, Jr. It's...not good.

Ace reporter Buck Williams (Cameron) is in the Middle East talking with renowned scientist Chaim Rosenzwieg (Fox), who's about to introduce a formula to, like, grow food or something. It's called the Eden formula, because that's as subtle as this movie gets. And then Iraq attacks Israel, but all their planes explode, because God or something.

Cut to Chicago, where Chip Whiteman...sorry, his name is actually Rayford Steele (Johnson) is running out on his kid's birthday party because his wife (Christie MacFayden) is all churchy. While in flight (on the same flight as Williams, in fact), the Rapture happens. It's actually the most effective scene in the movie; people are just...gone. Their clothes are LEFT BEHIND, but they're missing, and naturally people fucking panic because their children are missing (God is apparently groovy with leaving grieving mothers and fathers, because God is a titanic prick, but we'll get to that).

The world goes chaotic. Lots of world leaders are gone/dead, including the President (we're not told how), and the UN, with its new golden boy Nicholae Carpathia (Currie, and I swear there's not a 13-year-old boy running a World of Darkness game making up these names) at the helm. Williams and Steele separately investigate what's happening, and Steele, in talking to his pastor (Gilyard Jr.), who got LEFT BEHIND because...he, like, knew about God but didn't believe hard enough, I guess?...figures out what happened and immediately develops the kind of sloppy, sticky, weepy faith that makes me smile politely and look for the exits.

Eventually, it's revealed that Carpathia and his amazingly unconvincing Russian accent are the Antichrist and the Tribulation is about to begin, and we end on a pretty unfriendly shot of a church, Williams having accepted God and therefore become immune to Carpathia's Jedi mind tricks.

Fuck me, but this movie is terrible. Like, it's not even worth getting into the mentality of the "OMG a UN conspiracy!" mindset. The line that made me retch was Steele, talking to his daughter (Stephens), saying "God tried to warn us. It's not His fault." WHAT.

I've said before that when God (the Abrahamic version) shows up in comedies, the first thing witnesses do is test Him. Check out the old Oh, God! movies with George Burns or Bruce Almighty with Morgan Freeman as God - the protagonists meet Him, and then quite reasonably say "yeah right" and He does a parlor trick that convinces them. But in dramas or horror movies, Jehovah is fucking Cthulhu. He's unknowable and horrific; check out Seventh Sign, The Reaping, or, well, this movie. God is a monster, and we're powerless in His wake, but the characters in the movies behave like abused spouses. "No, it's really our fault. He loves us."

I have no use for religion or faith, as you probably know, but this movie is at least entertaining insofar as it's fun to MST3K. And then I look at the headlines from NC and see people using EXACTLY THIS BULLSHIT as a smokescreen for their bigotry, and I'm like, y'know what? Kirk Cameron can go fuck himself with a banana.

My grade: F-
Rewatch Value: IINIAIFWT

Next up: Leon: The Professional