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Peter T Chattaway

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed

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Becky Garrison of Sojourners critiques Expelled.

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BethR wrote:

: Becky Garrison of Sojourners critiques Expelled.

"Cow-tow"?

Interestingly, Garrison says the film juxtaposes Reagan's "Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall" line with some other stuff in the film ... but when I spoke to the post-production guy after the screening last week, he said the line itself is NOT in the film. Yes, other parts of that speech are in the film -- the parts that talk about freedom, etc. -- but the specific "Gorbachev" line is not. And quite frankly, I could have sworn that that line IS in the film, but that could very well be because my memory is filling a "gap" that isn't actually there. (Or perhaps the line was actually in the rough cut that I saw a few months ago, which was a bit longer than the version now opening in theatres.)

She also writes: "At the very least, I would expect a timeline of Darwin's discoveries, noting when a few players chose to misused his theories in the name of Social Darwinism. (In the same token, the Bible has been used far too often as a proof to justify some horrendous actions that bear no resemblance whatsoever to Jesus' teachings.)" Yes, the film shows Dawkins accusing the biblical God of genocide, and it shows Stein linking Darwin to genocide -- so obviously we can all accuse everybody of genocide. But does either side ever respond to the charge? No, we are simply supposed to be stunned by the charge over there while blithely accepting the charge over here.

She also writes: "Still, the editing left me with the clear impression that practicing scientists who are people of faith subscribe wholeheartedly to intelligent design. Where were the voices of leading evolutionary biologists who are also practicing Christians, such as Francis Collins, Joan Roughgarden, and Kenneth Miller? Furthermore, leading Christian thinkers such as Alister McGrath, John Lennox, and John Polkinghome were presented in a manner that one could think they are in full agreement with Intelligent Design, when in fact, they have written material critical of this movement." Yes, and to their credit, some ID thinkers are sensitive to that fact, and have wondered if the film might be misleading in how it uses some of those interviews.

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This afternoon I got home from work to discover my Church is promoting this movie...on the one hand? I am not surprised. I mean, if my Church had mostly liberal people, they would promote every Michael Moore movie as a must see. It's one of those things I figure I gotta overlook, much as there are things about me that I am sure people at my Church overlook in me. On the other hand, when I look at the list of people offering praise, in only a few cases can I say "that is someone I do not have a fairly low opinion of." And the reason I do not have a low opinion of them? Well, I just don't know who they are. And it is just kind of "bleh" inducing that my Church is in agreement with Pat Robertson on this.

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And at this point I'm about 99% sure that this is not the film I was hoping it was going to be. That is, it doesn't contribute positively to the debate, just widens the gap between intelligent design as a theory and intelligent design as a movement. And their goal is to dupe gullible Christians. We should probably be nearly as offended by it as PZ Meyers.

Meanwhile...

“...” - Pat Robertson, Host, The 700 Club, Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)

“...” - Dick Rolfe, Co-Founder and CEO, The Dove Foundation

“...” -Ken Ham, President of the world’s largest apologetics [or Bible-defending] ministry, Answers in Genesis, and the newly opened Creation Museum

“...” - Marc T. Newman, PhD, President, MovieMinistry www.movieministry.com

“...” - Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus

“...” -Dr. Tom Woodward, Director: C.S. Lewis Society

“...” -James Robison, Host of LIFE Today

“...” -Luis Palau, President, Luis Palau Association

“...” -James C. Dobson, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Focus on the Family

“...” -Michael Medved, Nationally Syndicated Radio Host

“...” – Ted Baehr, Editor, MovieGuide

“...” -Peter Furler, Lead Singer, The Newsboys

“...” - Denny Rydberg, President, Young Life

“...” – Lee Strobel, Renowned Author of The Case for Christ, The Case for Faith and The Case for the Creator

“...” -Wendy Wright, President, Concerned Women for America

“...” -J. Matt Barber, Director for Cultural Issues, Concerned Women for America

“...” - Ken Smitherman, President, Association of Christian Schools International

“...” - Rev. Donald E. Wildmon, Founder & Chairman of American Family Association

“...” -Jack Brown, CEO, Capitol Prayer

“...” -Ronald D. Ellis, Ph.D., President, California Baptist University

“...” -Dr J.I. Packer, Theologian

“...” -Joseph Farah, Editor & CEO, WorldNetDaily.com

“...” - Chuck Colson, Radio Commentator, Founder of Prison Fellowship

“...” -Ed Flanagan, Manitou Motion Picture Company, Ltd.

“...” -Neil Master, Master Asset Management

“...” -Curtis Martin, President-Fellowship of Catholic University Students

“...” -Dennis Wagner, Executive Director Access Research Network

“...” -Sister Rose Pacatte, FSP Director, Pauline Center for Media Studies

“...” —Greg Stier, Founder & President, Dare 2 Share Ministries

“...” - Rev. Paul Cedar, Chairman, Mission America Coalition

“...” -Dr. T. Peterson, Silver Spring, MD

“...” -Brock Gill, Illusionist/TV host for Discovery Channel’s documentary series “The Miracles of Jesus”

“...” -Kerby Anderson, National Director of Probe Ministries & Host of Point of View radio talk show

“...” -Joseph Bardwell, Head of “In Jesus Name Ministries”

At least now we know who the gullible ones are. :(

But like many of the above, I do hope this film encourages honest and open debate. I just don't think that a film that appears to be (not having seen the movie) based on distorted facts and appeals to Hitler is a great starting place. I probably won't see it either, though I suppose I should if I continue criticizing it. It doesn't sound like something I want to support financially.

I posted tad crass and ranty bit about the movie here, and I expect that's the last we'll hear from me about it until I eventually see it, perhaps a few years in the future.

Edited by theoddone33

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Just posted up a comparison of Expelled with Fahrenheit 9/11 based on Rotten Tomatoes rankings. The blurbs listed railing against Expelled are things that could be said equally of F9/11; but the latter racks up an 84 while Expelled earns an 8.

What's good for the goose is apparently poison for the gander.

Again, I'm not a fan of this style of documentary; but what does it say about the state of film criticism -- and our culture in general -- when critical standards can be so unevenly applied?

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Wow. I was browsing through the, uh, user reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes, and oddly enough they're 95% either 0 stars or 5 stars.

One of the 0-star reviews was credited to "badidea"... Would that be our very own Bad?

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Just posted up a comparison of Expelled with Fahrenheit 9/11 based on Rotten Tomatoes rankings. The blurbs listed railing against Expelled are things that could be said equally of F9/11; but the latter racks up an 84 while Expelled earns an 8.

What's good for the goose is apparently poison for the gander.

Again, I'm not a fan of this style of documentary; but what does it say about the state of film criticism -- and our culture in general -- when critical standards can be so unevenly applied?

On the other hand, plenty of the people praising the film were vocal credits of Michael Moore's films. I think this criticism slaps both sides.

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Again, I'm not a fan of this style of documentary; but what does it say about the state of film criticism -- and our culture in general -- when critical standards can be so unevenly applied?

Could it be that F-9/11 is simply more truthful, more entertaining, more convincingly argued, and able to make its case without recklessly and offensively blaming people for the holocaust?

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On the other hand, plenty of the people praising the film were vocal credits of Michael Moore's films. I think this criticism slaps both sides.

Oh, sure; no question. But we've always known that preachers and such don't know a dang thing about film. But critics? One stupidity doesn't justify another.

30 years ago we were asked to believe a man could fly. Today, we're not even sure a man can be trusted.

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Could it be that F-9/11 is simply more truthful, more entertaining, more convincingly argued, and able to make its case without recklessly and offensively blaming people for the holocaust?

Sure, it could be; but at a now 5 to 84 disparity? I don't think so.

Columbine was a far superior film to Expelled, and even it lied through its teeth.

F9/11, though, compares pretty favorably to Expelled in the truthfulness and entertainment department. I didn't find either convincingly argued, and both were too agenda-driven to be entertaining; and in my book, F9/11 was by far the more offensive.

Expelled doesn't blame anyone unfairly for the holocaust; it just doesn't spread the blame around evenly -- and that's a different thing. It's no less one-sided a presentation of material than F9/11.

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Could it be that F-9/11 is simply more truthful, more entertaining, more convincingly argued, and able to make its case without recklessly and offensively blaming people for the holocaust?

Without having yet seen either film, I would hazard a fairly confident guess that, at the very least, it is unlikely that the differing critical receptions of the two films is rightly ascribed to "simply" this.

(Of course, your sentence was not without ambiguity; had you said "Could it simply be...?" my demurrer would be more secure.)

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Could it be that F-9/11 is simply more truthful, more entertaining, more convincingly argued, and able to make its case without recklessly and offensively blaming people for the holocaust?

Without having yet seen either film, I would hazard a fairly confident guess that, at the very least, it is unlikely that the differing critical receptions of the two films is rightly ascribed to "simply" this.

(Of course, your sentence was not without ambiguity; had you said "Could it simply be...?" my demurrer would be more secure.)

I will say, in my experience, conservative propaganda films usually suck more than liberal ones. I've rented more than a few of both...Flock of Dodo's and Sicko were far more entertaining in spite of failings than the conservative ones I have seen which tend to fall flat. They usually are lower quality, less well written, emotions more forced (I've seen more than a few that felt like A CURRENT AFFAIR outtakes) and generally schmaltzy. One of the few I can think of that were entertaining and I felt well made was Michael Moore Hates America (and that was more of a moderate filmmaker). Liberals make better propaganda. Sad but true. ;)

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Just posted up a comparison of Expelled with Fahrenheit 9/11 based on Rotten Tomatoes rankings. The blurbs listed railing against Expelled are things that could be said equally of F9/11; but the latter racks up an 84 while Expelled earns an 8.

What's good for the goose is apparently poison for the gander.

Again, I'm not a fan of this style of documentary; but what does it say about the state of film criticism -- and our culture in general -- when critical standards can be so unevenly applied?

Well, I'm a fan of Moore, but I don't think Expelled fails merely because of the way and the extent to which the facts are redacted and massaged, which is fair game and any viewer should watch any doc with a discerning mind. But Expelled doesn't get anywhere near as creative or entertaining as one of Moore's pieces. No doubt some of the pathetic score for Expelled is its socio-political perspective, but there are plenty of other reasons to give it a failing grade.

But we've always known that preachers and such don't know a dang thing about film.
I take offense at that. :cuss:

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Holy Moly!, that is HILARIOUS. If only the new dialogue clips blended into the archival soundbites better. (And the Richard Dawkins "sex maniac" montage is a hoot.)

Greg Wright wrote:

: Columbine was a far superior film to Expelled, and even it lied through its teeth.

Yes, in fact I think this film has direct parallels to Columbine, much more so than Moore's subsequent films. The alleged "gotcha!" moment with Dawkins at the end of Expelled is just as dishonest and overhyped as the "gotcha!" moment with Charlton Heston at the end of Columbine, for example.

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Expelled doesn't get anywhere near as creative or entertaining as one of Moore's pieces.

Yes indeed; but just imagine the reception had it actually gone the whole-hog F9/11 route!

But we've always known that preachers and such don't know a dang thing about film.
I take offense at that. :cuss:

Ah, Darrel, you're not the average bear!

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I will say, in my experience, conservative propaganda films usually suck more than liberal ones.

Right, but strictly speaking that wasn't the exact question before us. The exact question was whether the chasm between the two films' critical receptions was accounted for "simply" by the relative merits of the films.

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The RT consensus: "Full of patronizing, poorly structured arguments, Expelled is a cynical political stunt in the guise of a documentary."

At my Church they showed this dramatic promo tonight where Ben Stein said some people will probably lose their jobs JUST FOR SEEING THE MOVIE. Then my pastor spent 10 minutes ranting about how there is a war on God in our culture and all the great books we can read to see proff that there is a designer. Then he spent another 10 minutes ripping on celebrities...and then managed to turn it around from being achingly, cringingly bad to this powerful sermon on being a servant in a celebrity based culture. It was a disappointing first half hour that suddenly turned awesome. But I am still trying to get the bitter taste of the whole Huckster feeling of the first half hour.

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Steve Mason @ Fantasy Moguls:

One surprise success this weekend is
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
, a new doc from Nathan Frankowski featuring conservative commentator Ben Stein. Clearly Rocky Mountain Pictures has engineered a successful faith-based marketing campaign for this anti-evolution treatise. On 1,052 screens, the film finished #8 on Friday with $1.12M, and it'll wrap the weekend with at least $3.1M.
Expelled
has dramatically out-performed a documentary from the other end of the political spectrum.

The tongue-in-cheek
Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden
(Weinstein) from Morgan Spurlock, the Oscar nominated filmmaker behind the hit doc
Super Size Me
. The poorly-reviewed pseudo-doc generated a dismal $363 Per Theatre Average on Friday in its 102 engagements, and it will likely deliver only $140,000 over the 3-day.
Expelled
will deliver a weekend Per Theatre Average of $3,000 or so compared to Spurlock's $1,300 despite the fact that
Where in the World
is in very limited release.

FWIW, a $3.1 million opening weekend would automatically rank the film #13 on BoxOfficeMojo.com's evangelical chart (once we discount the mainstream and Mormon films, and assuming we accept The Ultimate Gift as an "evangelical" movie), and it would be the 5th-biggest opening for an evangelical film, behind End of the Spear, One Night with the King and the two VeggieTales movies, all of which opened between $4.1 million and $6.2 million.

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