Left Behind: Nic Cage Whores Himself Out

 

Times must still be tough for Nic Cage. He’s offered himself up to God the Left Behind movie series, and it’s really kinda gross. Well, maybe there are some gross points involved, though I wouldn’t hold my breath on the Academy Award-winning actor getting rich off those: The original Left Behind only grossed $4.2 million at the box office in 2001, making it the 18th most successful  Christian-themed/Christian-produced movie of all time, lagging far behind the The Passion of the Christ, the Narnia series, both The Omega Code movies (that  is pretty sad, those Omega Code flicks sucked massively), and a lot of movies that no one outside of a mega-church supper has ever heard of, like Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed  (no comment), End of the Spear, and One Night with the King (why do those last two titles make me think of M2M porn?).

According to the Christian Post, Paul Lalonde, CEO of Stoney Lake Entertainment and co-founder of Cloud Ten Pictures, which produced and distributed the first three Left Behinds, two of which went straight to video, said his company was rebooting Left Behind in order to give it the blockbuster treatment many fans and one of the bestselling novels’ authors, Tim LaHaye, had felt the original version deserved.  Producer Lalonde, who co-wrote the script for this version of Left Behind as well as co-writing the direct-to-video Left Behind II: Tribulation Force and having solo writing credits for the initial Left Behind, told the Christian Post:

It has always been my goal to produce a big-budget version of ‘Left Behind’ that would appeal to a wider audience. The resources to do this exist now where they didn’t back in 2000.

The “big budget” is estimated at $15million, small by today’s blockbuster standards but big enough to cover special effects and with teen-fan faves Chad Michael Murray and Ashley Tisdale (from High School Musical) and a PG-13 rating, it might draw enough to make its money back. Expect a lot of action: Director Vic Adams has worked as a stunt director on numerous films like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Rambo III, The Green Hornet, and Charlie’s Angels, and  began his career as a stuntman in You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He has directed one film, Army of One, but has an impressive résumé as a second unit director.

But Nicolas Cage? Srsly wtf are you thinking?  Nic Cage, by starring in this movie, you’re promoting a worldview that is negative, narrow, destructive, jingoistic, rigid, anti-sex, anti-comic books, anti-cool, and uptight. Left Behind upholds the pre-tribulation, absolutely nutbag, we-have-to-be-right-so-we’ll-bring-about-the-end-of-the-world thought process that’s at the foundation of the Assemblies of God, other Seven Hills Dominionists, and prophetic, evangelical Conservative Christians. Nic, don’t you understand that eschatology is scatology? Didn’t you used to be edgy, underground, bizarrely hip? This is not a risky role, this is pathetic. All I can think, aside from you needing cash, is that you wanted to give the internets some new memes. But Cage denies he takes roles for paychecks, telling the Guardian:

I’m one of those Americans who believes in working. If you’ve made mistakes in the past, you don’t just roll over on people or cave in, you find a way through it. But in film acting, for some reason you get criticised for working.

But this was the best role you felt you were offered for the time period? Wow.  In all fairness, Cage has three movies released or scheduled for release in 2013, the animated The Croods, Joe, and Frozen Ground which co-stars John Cusack and came out in June on limited release and video-on-demand. Left Behind, still in production, and Tokarev, an action film set in the Russian mob, now in post-production, will be released next year. Four other films have Nicolas Cage’s name attached, but only the Paul Schrader-directed  The Dying of the Light has a release date listed on IMDBpro.com.

At least Kirk Cameron, who starred in the original three  Left Behinds and Michael York who appeared in the execrable laugh/shite fest  The Omega Code and Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 have the excuse they are fundie Christians to fall back on. (Same could be said about John Travolta and Battlefield Earth, though Vinnie Barbarino was promoting a different, totalitarian belief system altogether.) The only thing that makes sense is that Cage needs money: At one point he owned two castles, fifteen luxury properties, a fleet of Rolls Royces, and a Gulfstream jet, and yet owed millions in back taxes to the tune of $14 million which he is paying off, And faced three multi-million dollar lawsuits. He blamed his business manager, who in turn blamed the actor’s lavish lifestyle, saying he had urged actor to cut back and to set aside $10 million as cushion:

to alleviate the financial pressure to take film roles that might be detrimental to his career.

Wow, a slave to Mamon indeed. I wonder how much of the estimated $15 million budget Cage is being paid. And did the film producers do their due diligence? Cage has said he has no religion and he donated to Al Gore’s campaign. But maybe that doesn’t matter to Cloud Ten Productions. But it might matter to the audience, though clearly, from the film’s poster, Cage does get left behind, so maybe that’s fairness in advertising.

(And Chad Michael Murray, who played super dreamboat Lucas Scott on One Tree Hill, is this the best you can do? I’m embarrassed for you. Maybe you’re embarrassed too, because your website doesn’t mention Left Behind in its news section. Though you did play young David Alexander in Megiddo: The Omega Code 2, so maybe you’re acting on faith.)

Tim LaHaye, who conceived of and co-wrote the hugely successful Left Behind books with Jerry Jenkins, was a member of the original board of directors of the Moral Majority and an organizer of the Council for National Policy. And if that’s not enough conservative credentials, LaHaye was the former co-chair of Jack Kemp’s presidential campaign. But LaHaye is not happy about the script, telling the Christian Post:

It’s probably the worst script I’ve ever read. And I’ve read scores of them. The plot line is nothing like the book. The only thing they retain are the names of the people, and maybe places. There is no redemptive value to this movie.

But hell, LaHaye has never been happy about the Left Behind movies in the past, calling them

church basement movies.

He took Cloud Ten to court in a case that lasted nine years because he was disappointed that 2001′s Left Behind starring Kirk Cameron didn’t get the initial theatrical production he said the contract had called for and he had dreamed about. Um, because no one cared enough to invest in a large production?  Granted the film rights were negotiated between June 1996 and April 1997, before the Christian prophecy novels became a publishing phenomenon, but that’s a gamble everyone took. LaHaye lost the lawsuit, but had the option to remake the series, and if he did not exercise that option (which he didn’t), the rights would revert back to Cloud Ten (which they have). According to Left Behind’s website:

The LEFT BEHIND reboot will focus on the hours immediately following the rapture. It will not cover everything that the first book includes, but will be more specifically concentrated on those first few hours and the chaos of the world in the wake of millions of people vanishing with no explanation…

Without warning, millions of people around the globe simply vanish.

All that remains are their clothes and belongings … and an overwhelming sense of terror. The vanishings cause unmanned vehicles to crash and burn.

Emergency forces everywhere are devastated. Gridlock, riots and looting overrun the cities. And there is no one to help or provide answers. In an instant, the earth has been plunged into darkness.

For RAY STEELE, the pilot of a jumbo jet, it means trying to calm his hysterical passengers who saw loved ones vanish before their eyes.

It remains to been seen if Nic Cage,who stars as Ray Steele, can redeem the Left Behind  franchise and/or if Christians will  flock to the  theaters to see a movie that stars a former -Papist-turned-non-believer and who’s been so crucified by the man who immaculately conceived the original canon. I just know I’m going to hell for making these jokes.

HT: Truth-out.org

Levi Johnston Unbuttoned! Bares All While Wearing Sweater Vest on Tyra

Levi Johnston–the father of Sarah Palin’s first grandchild, former boyfriend of Bristol Palin–appeared on the Tyra Banks Show  Monday. And wow, he’s cute. And kinda–well it’s good he has hunting to fall back on. He’s seems very sweet and shy and really not capable of lying…because—um like I said, it’s good he can hunt for his food. By the way in case you were wondering, Levi says  moose tastes like

Moose.

In the first segment, he explains what happened after Tripp was born and why he and Bristol broke up:

Things got all complicated, uh we started fightin’. We just weren’t seeing to eye to each other anymore and we thought it’d better to be friends.

I think the friends thing might be not an option any more, given the harsh words Gov GILF has issued in statements. Comments like these don’t really make for warm Thanksgiving get-togethers:

Levi admits that since the break up he can’t see cant see Tripp as much. One reason Bristol put her foot down:

Her and my sister don’t get along.

And part of that is because Levi’s sister Mercede (Mer-say-dee) is friends with a lot of the girls Levi used to date and Bristol doesn’t want "previous girlsfriends" to see Tripp.

While he says never felt  pressured into getting engaged to Bristol, Levi did feel a bit pressured about going to the RNC convention. Mercede told Tyra:

Levi told me [Bristol Palin] called and said that, ‘You’re going,’ and he said, ‘I want to go hunting,’ and she said, ‘You’re going.’

Maybe that should have been a clue this relationship was doomed…

So why are the Johnstons breaking their silence? And for free!? As Tyra points out, they weren’t paid for their appearance!

Well, they want to let America know that they’re good people and underneath it all comes out that the Johnstons are genuinely expressing their hurt at not being able to see baby Tripp. But also there’s "so much bad stuff" being said in the media, that they want to clear up a lot of the stories which get distorted.  Oopsie. Maybe posting personal stuff on Myspace isn’t a really good idea.

"Gram" Sherry Johnston, baby Tripp’s other granny, explains that things changed and once Palin was nominated for vice president and are now a nightmare. The Johnstons

Never expected this to happened, the media…media everywhere, never being able to say anything…

Mereced explained thatduring campaign all questions were  to be refered to the McCain campaign and then answered "no comment," which was really hard for her.

The saga just gets just gets sadder: Sherry, Mercede and Levi have been denied access to baby Tripp by Sarah and Bristol.  Sherry naively/tactfully/like a good conservative blames the media because she doesn’t know who else to blame–and because frankly if she blames Sarah Palin’s stuck up self-righteous attitude, things will just get worse. And really, so what if Sherry was arrested for distribution of oxycontin? Gov GILF’s semi-sister-in-law was busted for breaking into a house. Twice. In one week. With her 4 year old in tow.

The real heart breaker for Gram Sherry, and for any grandmother?

I don’t get no pictures. I’m not wanting pictures to go sell.

Levi and his family now get to see Tripp about once a month, and while they haven’t gone to court, he’s

Looking like it, I don’t want to go that way…

Heck, surely there’s a father’s rights group that will help him out wiht the legal fees, because this could get ugly. And expensive.

Levi’s biggest piece of advice (and not it’s not using condoms!): When it comes to getting a name tattooed on your finger:

I don’t recommend it.

Bristol Palin: Abstinence Not Realistic

Last night Bristol Palin gave an interview to Greta van Susteren, and without her parents’ permission since she’s now 18. She did give her parents a day’s notice (and Gov GILF shows up in part 2, holding Tripp, to give her insight into the matter). 

Bristol wishes things had gone differently and admits that abstinence is not realistic:

I wished it would have happened in, like, 10 years so I could have a job and an education and be, like, prepared and have my own house and stuff. But he brings so much joy, I don’t regret it at all. I just wish it would have happened in 10 years, rather than right now.

She discusses her future with Levi:

Eventually, we’d like to get married. We’re focusing on, like, getting through school and just getting an education and stuff, getting a career going. 

Despite an extended family that looks after Tripp while she’s at school, Bristol’s been faced with the difficulties of having a baby:

And just you’re up all night. And it’s not glamorous at all. Like, your whole priorities change after having a baby.

Bristol has some words of experience:

It’s not something to strive for, I guess. It’s just — I don’t know. I’m not the first person that it’s happened to and I’m not going to be the last. But I don’t know. I’d love for — to be an advocate to prevent teen pregnancy because it’s not, like, a situation that you want to strive for, I guess.

Greta tries to pry about  whether or not Levi and Bristol were using birth control, but Bristol deflects the question and says that abstinence isn’t the answer:

I don’t want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all….o see stories like this and to see other stories of teen moms and just — it’s something that’s — I don’t know, just — you should just wait 10 years and it’d just be so much easier.

And  while in the past her mom Gov GILF  has spoken in favor of contraception and would

like to see fewer and fewer abortions,

when dropping in on her daughter’s interview, Palin waffles a bit and tries to stress abstinence, while still kinda supporting birth control:

So you get behind that, that ideal of, yes, abstinence, you know? Hey, don’t get pregnant. Well, get beyond that when it happens, and then you deal with it. Life happens. Life happens and you deal with it, and Bristol’s dealing with it wonderfully.

Palin, Fleetwood Mac, Justin Timberlake, Bono: Now Starring in Charitable Causes

victangelcherub_lg.thumbnail.jpg* Sarah Palin unwittingly helped Planned Parenthood raise over $1 million during the presidential campaign when the e-mails asking for donations in her name spread virally in September and October. The e-mail directed people to Planned Parenthood’s Web site to donate in Palin’s name, and money went to the Planned Parenthood branch located in the same ZIP code as the giver.  Donors could then have that branch of Planned Parenthood send Palin a card announcing the gift.

When asked about the fund-raising campaign yesterday, Alaska’s Frost Lady responded:

I have boxes of thank-you notes from people associated with Planned Parenthood thanking me for the donations. Same with some anti-hunting groups, they’re doing the same thing right now. It’s political theater–it’s great theater I guess for some.

Planned Parenthood Alaska–which received $5000 in donations during the email push– said they would earmark the money to help women access birth control, and that the funds would not be used to fund abortions. Palin is vehemently opposed to abortion as well as Plan B (the morning-after pill), but told Katie Couric she was:

all for contraception..all for preventative measures that are legal and safe.

Planned Parenthood provides sex and STD education,  STD care, women’s gynecological health care, and birth control along with abortion counseling and services. In response to yesterday’s query about Planned Parenthood  Palin said:

But on the issue of Planned Parenthood and abortion, at least Planned Parenthood, officials there and, I, we agree on a mission here that we’d like to see fewer and fewer abortions. And I, embracing the culture of life, have perhaps a different approach in how I would like to see that goal reached.

Here’s a pro tip for Gov GILF: Abstinence doesn’t work.

*  To help parents meet their children’s educational needs, the supergroup Fleetwood Mac is auctioning off VIP tickets and meet-and-greets with Mick Fleetwood as a fundraiser. The auction benefits Hilltop Nursery School in Silver Lake, California, a parent-participation, cooperative pre-school founded over 50 years ago. Pairs of tickets for each show on the band’s Unleashed tour–plus face time with Fleetwood–are up for auction on eBay now and the charity auctions will continue throughout the tour.

*  Justin Timberlake joined Bill Murray, Ray Romano, Kevin James, and Michael Bolton on the golf course at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, helping to raise over $6 million dollars for a number of charities including schools, arts programs, services for the blind and senior and food banks.

*  In an essay in Elle magazine, Bono discusses a trip to Africa he took six years ago and the changes he has seen since there has been an increase in awareness and funding in HIV/AIDS care on the continent:

Our science and technology, it turned out, were more advanced than our conscience. We in the West had the means to save lives, but we lacked the resolve.

What can we do? Well, the short answer is: a lot. At the time of that trip, only 50,000 Africans had access to ARVs [anti-retrovial drugs]. That figure today is 2.1 million. That’s because a lot of people have been doing a lot of things, in Africa and all over the world. In the face of the AIDS emergency, we’ve got to gang up on the problem.

Bono points out the effect of conscious consumerism, specifically the (RED) brands–everyday consumer goods from coffee and wine to clothing and electronics–that benefit the Global Fund to Fight AIDS. Since its inception (RED) has raised $120 million for prevention and counseling programs as well as treatment, and is now the thirteenth biggest contributor to the Global Fund, giving more than some countries. Explains Bono:

The companies involved don’t mark up their products to get you to pay a premium. They take a piece of the profits from every (RED) thing you buy, and they use it to buy lifesaving medication for those who can’t afford it. 

Charities and non-profits are feeling the economic chill, and sadly–between the markets, Madoff and budget cuts–it looks like it’s going to get colder. Celebrities help draw attention and money (maybe giving some of their own cash in the process) to causes, hopefully helping to maintain or increase donations as the need for services is on the rise. 

Levi’s Plugged-In Apprenticeship Raises Questions

surge-protector-type-26al.thumbnail.jpgIn a series of frantic media calls earlier this week, Gov Sarah Palin stated that her daughter Bristol is enrolled in high school and that Levi Johnston, Bristol’s boyfriend and the father of Palin’s grandson Tripp, is not a high school drop-out and is taking correspondent courses to complete his degree.

The Frost Lady of Alaska told People Magazine that she:

wanted to be clear about their continuing work toward high school degrees because any suggestion otherwise "harms Bristol’s reputation and Levi’s reputation and their chances for good work opportunities." 

 Oh you betcha it does. According to an editorial by Dan Fagan in today’s Achorage Daily News:

federal regulations require all members of apprentice programs, union or otherwise, to first obtain a high school diploma, something the governor’s soon-to-be son-in- law does not have. Some apprentice programs even require the completion of high school level algebra or the post-secondary equivalent.

 The head of the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation’s apprentice program, Bo Underwood, confirmed that Levi Johnston is employed by the corporation as an apprentice elctrician. But he claimed not to know whether a high school diploma is needed to be an ASRC apprentice, but said he would check on it.

A quick search online shows that in Alaska a high school diploma or GED is required to apprentice in most trades. A electrical worker’s apprentice job advertised on BristolBayNative.com requires a high school diploma or GED and copies of transcrips, plus

Applicants must have at least one year of high school Algebra with passing grades

 Well at least Levi has a job. For now.

Bristol’s Word of Wisdom as Palin Spins

ai1314.thumbnail.jpgAs part of statement issued by the Frost Lady of Alaska’s office in an transparent attempt to make Mommy Dearest look good, Bristol Palin said that she "obviously" discourages teen pregnancy. But whoa, check out the pro-contraception message:

Teenagers need to prevent pregnancy to begin with — this isn’t ideal. But I’m fortunate to have a supportive family which is dealing with this together. Tripp is so perfectly precious; we love him with all our hearts. I can’t imagine life without him now.

The Anchorage Daily News has more from Gov GILF who spent the last day of the year, emailing the Associated Press and Anchorage Daily News and calling People Magazine to counter the impression that Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, Tripp’s 18 year old father are a high school drop-outs. In October, Johnston told the AP he had "left" high school to work as an apprentice oil field electrician. Previously Palin had said Bristol had taken high school correspondence courses as well as attending high school.

Then just to make sure her frantic spin was received, Palin issued a statement :

Bristol begins her final semester of high school next week where she’ll get her last credit needed to graduate. Levi is continuing his online high school work in addition to working as an electrical apprentice on the North Slope.

The gubernatorial grandma went on to say:

When Bristol and Levi first told us the shocking news that she was pregnant, to be honest, we all at first looked at the situation with some fear and a bit of despair. Isn’t it just like God to turn those circumstances into such an amazing, joyful blessing when you ask Him to help you through?

I wonder what Bristol is going to do with all those baby gifts from around the world? Will she sell the baby pics of Tripp?

The statement ended with Palin stating she preferred to keep the baby a private, family matter. However she admitted about Tripp:

We are over the moon.

Palin’s spokesperson Bill McAllister said:

Palin chose to break her silence on the birth because of the volume of questions coming from the press, and because of "erroneous information that was published."

Palin had a few weeks between the end of the election and Tripp’s birth to frame how she’d handle Tripp’s birth.  Her lack of both foresight and insight into how the media and the public work is further proof she doesn’t have the chops for 2012.

Drop-Outs? Palin’s Corresponding Spins

alaska-palin15_08-15-2008_dre1fm8.thumbnail.jpgFour days have passed since the birth of her first grandchild, and Gov GILF has yet to issue a formal statement about the blessed event or casually comment on the arrival of Tripp Easton Mitchell Johnston. Yet she jumps up and calls People Magazine, leaving a phone message about Bristol and Levi’s educational standing:

You need to know that both Levi and Bristol are working their butts off to parent and going to school and working at the same time.They are certainly not high school dropouts.

People further reports that the Frost Lady of Alaska:

wanted to be clear about their continuing work toward high school degrees because any suggestion otherwise "harms Bristol’s reputation and Levi’s reputation and their chances for good work opportunities." 

Kinda veiled threaty, dotcha think? And so weirdly illogical, jobwise, since either a job requires a a certain degree or it doesn’t. Maybe Palin is concerned about her own reputation and "chances for good work opportunities."

Levi–who told the AP in October he had left high school (that would be "dropped out" in the vernacular) to apprentice as an oil field electrician–is now attending high school via correspondence courses,  according to what his potential future mother-in-law told the Associated Press today.  She also explained that Bristol is enrolled in regular high school and has taken correspondence courses in the past.

And no mention of  her feelings about the birth of her grandchild. Which sorta explains how she’s feeling.

Christian Extremism: Witchcraft, Murder and Child Abuse

 (WARNING:  EXTREMELY DISTURBING IMAGES)

Christian religious extremism hits the American psyche when a fundamentalist church– Assemblies of God, which thinks Harry Potter is the gateway to Satanism, while facing charges of child abuse requests a $500,000 earmark from the federal government.  Or when Sarah Palin is cleansed of witchcraft by a Kenyan Assemblies of God minister

This form of religious extremism when exported to Africa is killing people and causing rampant child abuse.

For decades, fundamentalist evangelical churches have sprung up throughout Africa. Some are affiliated with American congregations, while others are a bit more free form; all claim belief in Jesus. Many of them of share a common hysterical belief in "witchcraft."

"Witch" gets misinterpreted as anyone who is different, weaker, who can be scapegoated for one’s troubles. Heck Sarah Palin and her pals "prayed a witch" out of Alaska. And the prayer group gleefully recounted the results.

In Akwa Ibom State, the center of the Nigerian child witch hysteria, the State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, lamented:

The church will torture children and some of the churches will pretend to use oil to try and remove witchcraft from a child. So far we have we have 165 children some of them are not up to 9 months old who have been thrown away by their parents because the church said those children will bring them misfortune.

The Governor  has taken a firm stance, declaring

The churches are busy deceiving people in many aspects including avoiding deaths. We have to do something to re-strengthen the Child Right Law. We must fight against the abuse of children and ensure proper education for them.

AllAfrica news service reports:

Analysts trace the phenomenon to poverty which drags parents to Churches and other spiritual centres to seek prosperity…Further investigations show that such parents are usually ready to pay anything to the spiritualists to "deliver" their children from the "grip of the devil."…In some cases, all that is needed for parents to begin to suspect their children of witchcraft, is a manifestation of certain "strange" behaviour. Others are "identified" any the presence of an "inexplicable" illness afflicting them.

Strange behaviors for the Assemblies of God?

Smoking
Drinking
Drugs
Homosexual behavior
Staying in room alone
Dressing in black (fingernails, lipstick)
Body piercings
Demonic symbols on jewelry & clothes
Music (Marilyn Manson, Godsmack, Korn)
Books (Majick, Harry Potter)
Unusual scars and burns on right hand

 Time to send Trey or Tiffie to Teen Boot Camp.

Or time to crack down on religious abuse of children at home and abroad.


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