A Bulleted List of Everything Wrong With ‘Left Behind,’ Aside From ‘The Entire Movie’
Steven already wrote a review of the evangelical Christian flick Left Behind, in which he addressed some of the (many) plot holes before jumping into the religious implications of the film, on the grounds that you already know it’s shit, 0/5 stars, two thumbs far, far down a well and straight to the center of the Universe.
And he’s right.
But I also saw Left Behind over the weekend.
And, Jesus help me, I cannot suffer in silence. Here’s what you missed when you weren’t a fucking idiot who went to see Left Behind of her own free will last weekend because she thought it’d be funny. I can never trust myself again.
—There’s no plot. At all. “The Rapture happens”—people disappearing—is literally the entire thing. It’s two hours of the sort of evangelical Christian who believes in this particular interpretation of the Rapture thumbing their noses at you and saying “You were wrong, you were wrong, nanny nanny boo boo!”
—Over an hour in, and the characters are only just starting to put it together that the Rapture happened. Hey, geniuses—your audience knows. Can we move on, please? I’m a little sick of watching Blonde Daughter run around crying about her Raptured brother.
—Speaking of the Raptured brother: He utters the line “The brand new baseball glove that I’ve been asking for! No way!” when Older Sis gives him the brand new baseball glove that he’s been asking for! No way!
—“THE BRAND NEW BASEBALL GLOVE THAT I’VE BEEN ASKING FOR! NO WAY”
—Who talks like that?
—Nic Cage, phoning it in to pay them mortgages.
—I get why Cage took the movie—it rhymes with “done-y,” as in “I am done-y with this movie.” The producers probably sunk most of their budget on him, because it sure as shit didn’t go into the CGI in the final scene with the plane landing.
—And I’m guessing a good chunk of the more minor characters were played by the Best Boy’s “Aunt Jane, she’s such a sweet old lady, always wanted to be in a movie, she’ll be tickled pink if you give her a line or two!”
—But why did all the other professional actors in this movie sign on? Like I said: No story. No characters, either. It’s impossible to care about anyone. CHAD MICHAEL MURRAY, YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS.
—All the characters are cardboard. There’s Sweet Daughter, Ruggedly Handsome Dude, Lying HusbandDad, “Slut” Flight Attendant.
—And I don’t like the word “slut,” OK? But that’s what this movie is getting at. The first we see of her is a close-up of her putting on pink lipstick before strutting off in 6-inch heels (you’re a flight attendant. Would clogs not be more comfortable?!) and going to make googly eyes at Pilot Nicolas Cage. She doesn’t know Pilot Nicolas Cage is married (to Lea Thompson, who’s tearing apart her family by being “too religious,” and boy, she showed them!). But we do. Left Behind still very definitely has a Madonna/whore complex going on (shocking, right?), and “Slut” Flight Attendant is placed very firmly on the latter side of that line.
—Nic Cage seduces the flight attendant by buying her U2 tickets. Someone tell the writer what year this is.
—Yeah, that’s right, I said motherfucking dwarf jokes.
—Basically the first time you see this character he’s being a total asshole and blaming nice, innocent people of being prejudiced against him because he’s a dwarf. He’s a jerk to a sweet little girl who then tells him her football player dad has some sort of injury that nobody knows about. He immediately uses his ill-gotten insider knowledge to get his gamble on. Because pointing out societal prejudices is something only chodestar dickweasels who take advantage of little girls and have gambling problems do. It’s all the same, you see.
—And then near the end of the movie there’s a hi-larious moment where he’s pushed onto the airplane rescue slide, because this movie thinks its Austin fucking Powers all of a sudden.
—Guess what? There’s a stock “socially awkward Asian nerd” character.
—There’s also a kindly Muslim who’s the most devout of all the people on Pilot Nicolas Cage’s plane—almost immediately after the Rapture happens, he suggests that his fellow passengers pray together. He’s considerate. He’s sweet to an old lady whose husband gets raptured. He probably saves puppies who’ve fallen down wells.
—But he still doesn’t get raptured because HAHAHAHAHAHA FUCK YOU, Left Behind.
—But what’s this? Angry Dwarf accuses Kindly Muslim of being a terrorist?
—At this point I said “Please don’t do this” to the movie screen.
—Kindly Muslim isn’t a terrorist—but the movie makes the conscious choice to have him get angry about getting called a terrorist, after which he pulls something from his bag and points it at Angry Dwarf. Is it a gun?, we’re meant to ask ourselves as the scene cuts away. It’s not. It’s an electric toothbrush.
—”Nonononono,” say the Left Behind writers, “we’re not Islamophobic! Look, we have a Muslim character who isn’t even a terrorist! You’re just supposed to think he is at first… because who wouldn’t, right? Right? Back me up here.”
—Again: FUCK YOU, LEFT BEHIND.
—I don’t even want to get into the theology of it, like the fact that the nice old preacher didn’t get raptured because he didn’t “truly believe” in his heart of hearts or whatever. As if that’s somehow his fault. As if you can force a switch in your brain and make yourself believe just a little bit more.
—And if you don’t believe enough, or if you believe enough but in the wrong thing (see: Kindly Muslim), then you’re screwed. Because God’s an asshole. I want to see a Rapture movie that’s played as horror. “Wow, millions of people have been Godnapped, and everybody else has been left to suffer through years of unthinkable torment. Dick move, God. I think it’s time to take this fucker down.” Starring Paul Bettany.
—OK, I said no theology.
—Did I mention the fact that nothing happens during this movie?
—It’s not even a movie at all. It’s a 2-hour-long PSA.
—There’s no drama. No suspense. No real stakes, even, because most of the movie takes place after the Rapture already happened. I don’t really care if any of the characters get reunited with their families, or even live. There is zero emotional investment.
—Basically, I expected something bad, but amusingly bad. And Left Behind has moments. (See: the aforementioned “The brand new baseball glove that I’ve been asking for! No way!”)
—But, more than anything else, this movie made me violently angry.
—Like, I’m sure I’m going to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things I left off this list for years to come.
—It makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles look like the progeny of a gnarly open relationship between Citizen Kane, Casablanca, and The Shawshank Redemption. It is literally the worst movie I have seen in my entire life.
There is, however, one bright spot of me having seen it:
—Nothing will be this bad again. Ever. The actual Rapture could happen, and it would not be as awful. I’m a survivor now.
Rebecca’s on The Twit.