Discovering good movies, one bad movie at a time

Because I am fundamentally broken, wretched person, I come to the films in the God’s Not Dead franchise with a certain expectation of laughing at the ineptitude, cringing in merry pleasure at the deep lack of understanding of human behavior, and feeling a twisted, ripped-up churning in my guts, like I’ve got a live copperhead […]

2014’s God’s Not Dead has a loopy, auto-erotic concept that makes no sense, but I can vaguely see how, if you were so deep in the culture war trenches that you needed binoculars to see daylight, it might seem like its story of hostile academics trying to humiliate the Christ out of their students speaks […]

God’s Not Dead has become the stand-in in popular consciousness for a whole genre: the hectoring message movie designed exclusively for U.S. conservative evangelical audiences. And this makes a great deal of sense: it was a huge, shocking box-office success, making $61 million in North America from a $2 million dollar budget, which makes it […]

“These films have a peculiar and at times indefinable whiff of the ersatz”, I once said about films made for conservative, fundamentalist Christian audiences on mainstream models, and while I was right, I got lucky. You don’t know from ersatz until you’ve seen The Star, which is on the one hand a studio-funded “faith audience” […]

A review requested by M.C., with thanks for contributing to the Second Quinquennial Antagony & Ecstasy ACS Fundraiser. There once was a time when political commentator Ben Stein was… not cool. He was always a bit of a droning blowhard. But he was the droning blowhard you rooted for. He was that square, smug relative […]

Brothers Alex & Stephen Kendrick, of Georgia, are white fundamentalist Evangelical Christians who have made many a film about other white fundamentalist Evangelical Christians. One of them starred no less a superstar in that community than Kirk Cameron, which tells you what kind of fundamentalist Evangelicalism they’re attached to, and I will not suggest what […]

The moment when you start to voice the old “I can’t believe they left that part of of the book out of the movie! That was the best part!” complaint, and the movie about which you are complaining is Left Behind, that’s when you discover that you need to take a nice long break from […]

I have wonderful news: Left Behind: World at War isn’t nearly such an angrifying slog as its predecessor, Tribulation Force, and we’ll have none of the bitterness that got in between me and my snark when I wrote about it. Compared to that film, and compared also to 2000’s original Left Behind, the 2005 trilogy-capper […]

So, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, the 2002 DTV sequel to the hardcore conservative Christian classic Left Behind. If the only thing you tell me about that film is its title, and the fact that it involves a small group of True Believers facing off against the Antichrist during the Tribulation (which is, in the […]

At the risk of seeming indelicate or bigoted: fundamentalist evangelical Christian genre movies are weird. As I am not remotely the first to point out, they represent a miserable kind of paradox about them: they palpably want to be exciting cinema like wot the heathens all get to watch with their guns and their scantily […]

Every week this summer, we’ll be taking an historical tour of the Hollywood blockbuster by examining an older film that is in some way a spiritual precursor to one of the weekend’s wide releases. This week: by no means is Moms’ Night Out the highest-profile film of the weekend, but I couldn’t bring myself to […]

No good reason that this should be a morning-after review, except that I didn’t end up having time to review it on actual Fake Mayan Apocalypse Day. There have been few moments that bonded me as permanently to the friends I shared that moment with as the first time I watched the trailer for Megiddo: […]