Another Terrible Christian Movie

The makers of God’s Not Dead are back with another movie starring a bunch of washed-up has-beens that looks absolutely terrible. It’s called Do You Believe? and it stars Mira Sorvino, an Academy Award winner who at least used to be an atheist but apparently had a conversion a few years ago. Here’s the trailer:

httpv://youtu.be/4qY21_X7sss

It “stars,” among others, Lee Majors and Cybill Shepherd and Ted McGinley. I’ll take washed-up has-beens whose agents didn’t have enough pull to get them on Dancing With the Stars for $1000, Alex. What, no Erik Estrada? He specializes in bad Christian movies these days. The guy who played Carmine on Laverne and Shirley was busy?

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  • Kevin Kehres

    Oh good grief. I just threw up in my mouth.

  • raven

    AFAICT, these are the B movies of the 21st century.

    A xian version of Bride of Frankenstein’s niece meets Dracula’s auto mechanic.

  • raven

    I’m not sure how these movies make money. Or even if they make money. Expelled, after all, end up in bankruptcy and was auctioned off to pay debts (and bought by the original financer.)

    I’m guessing they are very cheaply made and it doesn’t take much to break even. Like most B movies.

  • lou3jay

    How many “christianisms” can you count? “If you were accused of being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Ugh! Unfortunately this will play right into the hands of all those ‘persecuted’ throngs here in America, where we are one step away from burning them at the stake. Wait, did I say “steak”? Ah, freshly grilled Christian babies… mmm mmm good.

  • colnago80

    Re raven @ #2

    Hey, don’t knock B movies. The B movies of the 1940s and 1950s that use to occupy the second half of a double bill are now labeled Film Noirs and are considered classics. A considerable number of actors and directors, who later joined the A list, cut their eye teeth and learned their trade making those films.

  • raven

    Hey, don’t knock B movies. The B movies of the 1940s and 1950s that use to occupy the second half of a double bill are now labeled Film Noirs and are considered classics.

    Well OK.

    But there are B movies and then there are those other B movies, if you know what I mean.

    I suspect these xian films will end up being the Reefer Madness of the next generation. People will watch them with plenty of beer and cannabis and laugh a lot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001345954729 Gwynnyd

    Ah, Raven @6 beat me to it. Yeah. These movies have no redeeming social value that I can see.

    Poor Sean Astin. He must be desperate for cash.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    I’m not sure how these movies make money. Or even if they make money.

    They’re not supposed to make money. It’s religious propaganda, not business.

  • Sastra

    Okay, I finally watched this trailer and now I am very, very worried. Not about the pro-christianity crap and the resultant slavering of the masses but by the message that it is apparently noble, brave, and a mark of great faith for an EMT to “not apologize for sharing the gospel with a dying man.”

    WTF? This damn well better have been a case where the seriously injured was literally begging for someone to pray with him — and NOT a situation where the ambulance physician himself comes up with the hunky dory idea of saving the souls of the hellbound by choosing their dying moments of helplessness to “share the gospel” (ie proselytize.) Even the little clip in the promo gives me shudders, since it’s unclear and thus easily interpreted as blanket permission to take advantage of the dying ‘without apology.’ Because we know how sheepish they usually are.

    An EMT does that and I live then I guarantee I’d be suing the bejesus out of them. If I wasn’t an atheist I’d also be making plans to haunt them in a bad horror-movie way, not a cute-comedy way.

    The only good thing I have to say about this film is that at least it doesn’t look like a stealth attempt to sneak heavy-handed religion into a movie which looks to the uninitiated like it might mostly be about something else (like Left Behind or some of the Christmas movies.) Nope, you know exactly what you’re going to get with this one — and can accordingly avoid it.

  • hoku

    The really shocking thing is that the trailer played before The Hobbit last weekend. I’ve never seen one of these movies actually get their trailer in theaters.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    It’s sad that a talented actress like Mira Sorvino (and I’m not being sarcastic) has to take whatever rolls come her way. Even if she did convert, I’d be surprised if she wouldn’t rather take on a roll with meat to it.

    Still can’t explain Nicholas Cage in Left Behind.

  • ehmm

    They tend to quite well by virtue of being cheap to produce. According to Box Office Mojo, “God’s Not Dead” Grossed $60m on a $2m production budget. Even after you factor in additional promotional costs and take out the theaters cut of the gross, that’s a hell of a good business to be in. And, they still have commercial TV rights, DVD/Blu Ray & digital download revenue to look forward to.

    Even the (by all accounts) terrible Left Behind film w/ Nicolas Cage, could end up making a tiny profit given time.

  • dingojack

    I can’t believe it’s not Jesus, sorry I mean, written by adults.

    Dingo

  • cottonnero

    Cheap to produce and virtually guaranteed a second life in church basements. It’s like Christian “music”; it’s being produced for people who aren’t going to judge too harshly on quality.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001548104064 jimatkins

    There’s a huge difference between film noir and B movies. Noir is a specific genre, with a specific world view. The Third Man (definitely A-list) with Orson Welles and Joseph Cotten is noir. B movies were the training ground, the AA leagues for actors, writers, directors, and crews. They could be any genre. Some of them are still awful, but a lot of them are pretty interesting. This stuff is propaganda, financed as such, starring low-budget talent in low-budget stories meant to proselytize. So far, Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas has a gross of about $2.8MM, with an opening weekend average of about $2500 per theater. I chose the 100th highest grossing film on Boxofficemojo’s list, As Above/So Below (Universal), as an indicator, and it averaged $3200 in 2640 theaters opening weekend. I specifically used a movie well down the list of box office hits so as to eliminate gazillion-dollar ad budgets like Guardians of the Galaxy, the number one film of 2014. Most films list their production budgets, but SC didn’t . I can’t see this as being too profitable. As long as you have people that are driven to bombard the audience with religious propaganda combined with actors like Nicholas Cage that are in hock to banks and the IRS up to their eyeballs, you will have films like this.

  • blf

    Box Office Mojo reports God’s Not Dead apparently cost c.2M$ and grossed over 60M$. Moviefone pointed out several reasons for the success, including preselling it to church groups.

    That success might also explain hoku@10’s sighting of its trailer in a mainstream venue: Money. The producer’s previous(?) film was a money-making success, so…

    Left Behind cost c.16M$ and has grossed only c.14M$ (dunno if that includes DVD sales or not).

  • tbp1

    I get the snark, but honestly, there is not exactly a 100% correlation between acting talent and landing good parts. Terrific actors can go years without a decent part, and then are suddenly discovered or rediscovered. Kathryn Hepburn was “box office poison” for a long time, to cite just one pretty famous example. And how long was Michael Keaton essentially invisible before Birdman? Dennis Franz labored in obscurity for decades before NYPD Blue and seems to have returned there, but what would that show have been without him?

    Just because the actors cited haven’t exactly been prominent recently doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not good. (Of course many actors disappear for good reasons, just not all of them.)

  • ehmm

    @16

    BoxOffice Mojo only shows box office revenue.

    The general rule of thumb, excluding clever book keeping by the studio or distributors, is that the box office has to be roughly 2x the production budget for a film to break even. This might be different for cheaper films where the promotion & advertizing budget can often be many times the production cost.

  • John Pieret

    there are B movies and then there are those other B movies, if you know what I mean.

    What these Xians need to do is get Roger Corman to direct them. Then, at least, there’d be some car chases and crashes and a zombie or two chasing after the guy with the big cross.

  • http://rhapsodies.wpmorse.com/ montanto

    @10

    The really shocking thing is that the trailer played before The Hobbit last weekend.

    So… They’re marketing it as a fantasy already?

  • dugglebogey

    I always confuse Mira Sorvino with Mena Suvari. Glad to see this isn’t Mena. What did Mira win an oscar for?

  • John Pieret

    dugglebogey:

    What did Mira win an oscar for?

    Best supporting actress in Woody Allen’s Mighty Aphrodite.

  • Sastra

    Tabby Lavalamp #11 wrote:

    Still can’t explain Nicholas Cage in Left Behind.

    Maybe this will help.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002686842900 ChristineRose

    It starts the patron saint of Shark Jumping?

  • scienceavenger

    In slightly related news, Bananaboy’s “Saving Christmas” now stands proudly, according to voters at IMDB, as THE worst movie of all time.

  • colnago80

    Re Jim Atkins @ #15

    I would agree that not all B movies are Film Noirs and not all Film Noirs are B movies. The Third Man is certainly an A list movie. I had in mind flics like The Asphalt Jungle, Born to Kill, and The Killers, which are Film Noirs and also B movies.

  • colnago80

    Re scienceavenger @ #25

    Worse then Plan 9 from Outer Space? That’s pretty bad.

  • blf

    Apparently, “Despite being panned by professional critics, Cameron […] is convinced that his film’s [Saving Christmas] painfully low rating from IMDB users is the result of ‘haters,’ ‘pagans’ and an atheist conspiracy“. As one the commentators pointed out:

    The real bad news for Cameron has got to be that atheists are a minority, a fraction of the population. Given that fact, it seems Christians must not be supporting his movie either. He should pray harder.

    Professional movie critic Penny Walker said: “How do you prove a horse is an animal? Because I like Sweden. That’s the style of absurd logic that happens in Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas”.

  • scienceavenger

    @27 Well, my vote would be for “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians”

  • D. C. Sessions

    Not about the pro-christianity crap and the resultant slavering of the masses but by the message that it is apparently noble, brave, and a mark of great faith for an EMT to “not apologize for sharing the gospel with a dying man.”

    Any ambulance patient who’s “dying” there isn’t paying attention to the Good News. Seriously. I’ve worked fatalities, and they fall into two categories:

    1) They’re circling the drain — shock, mostly — and are already unconscious. Examples from my experience being a head trauma patient and a shattered pelvis bleeding out internally. Neither one would have noticed if the EMT had ripped off a human face mask and revealed a Reptilian.

    2) They may be doomed but it’s a long way from obvious at the time. Examples being my father (massive myocardial infarction but no immediate loss of function), any of several toxic substance exposures (including acetaminophen), and an ebola patient at the “flu-like symptoms” stage.

    In both cases, the ambulance crew have too much to do to be doing much preaching. Like, for instance, CPR. Category 1 isn’t going to pay much attention and category 2 is going to have plenty of time — maybe years — to report gross violations of law and professional ethics. Which will, in the usual course of things, result in losing the opportunity to preach (and perhaps do other things) to those in their care.

  • Marie the Bookwyrm

    Sean Astin?!?!

    Noooooooo! Come back to Eru!

  • Sastra

    DC Sessions wrote:

    Category 1 isn’t going to pay much attention and category 2 is going to have plenty of time — maybe years — to report gross violations of law and professional ethics.

    Possibly, but I can imagine being in category 2 and having maybe an hour to report a gross violation of the law and professional ethics before I do a final slump into unconsciousness … and I can also imagine being in no position — emotionally, mentally, or physically — to do that.

    This “not apologizing for sharing the gospel with a dying man” message is probably also meant to encourage civilians who come first onto the scene, none of whom would be in any fear of being reported and all of whom would now have a cinematic story to relate. The film is positively encouraging what from our perspective is horror story stuff.

  • http://www.pandasthumb.org Area Man

    Still can’t explain Nicholas Cage in Left Behind.

    Cage managed to squander his entire fortune on yachts, cars, and European castles, and wound up with a huge unpaid IRS bill. He’ll take any paying gig that comes along.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002686842900 ChristineRose

    B movies are a category that doesn’t really exist anymore. They would be the cheap half of the late night double feature picture show or the weekly rotation in of the children’s matinee. Roughly equivalent stuff plays on cable TV still–endless hours of inexpensive, formulaic Batman cartoons for every Batman blockbuster movie. People just don’t go to the big box theater for an all day outing now.

  • Kermit Sansoo

    ChristineRose – So, B movies were the second, less prestigious of the two movies shown? OK, that makes sense.

    .

    But we need two classes of movies, both of which are currently considered B movies. There are those which, like Plan 9 and Reefer Madness, are unintentionally hilarious (especially if under the influence) or even informative, and those like Saving Christmas, for which there are no known intoxicants which can make it worth watching.

  • http://www.gregory-gadow.net Gregory in Seattle

    “What does it mean to believe? It is forgiveness! It is redemption! It is unconditional love!”

    Says a group of directors, producers, distributors and promoters who force the Bible to say what they want it to say, who are judgmental and condemn everything that does not agree with their very narrow preconceptions, and who unconditionally hate gay people, feminists, people of other faiths, the poor, and anyone who engages in rational thought.

    I stopped watching after that.

  • culuriel

    I suppose one could turn the movie into a drinking game. But that would require a sober, brave soul to watch it and report back to the rest of us on the drinking rules.

  • sytec

    How are we up to nearly 40 comments, and I’m the first one to mention that The Bos, Brian Bosworth is in this flick. I’m definitely going now. This will be the best movie since Stone Cold!!

  • martinc

    Raging Bee @ 8:

    They’re not supposed to make money. It’s religious propaganda, not business.

    Is it? I don’t think that is quite correct … after all, who is going to watch this other than the already converted? This isn’t a movie intended to make people decide to become Christian, it’s a movie intended to make people who are already Christian feel better about their choice. It’s religious validation, not propaganda.

    I’m reminded of that scene in the amiable movie ‘Dave’ where the look-alike good guy who accidentally falls into the role of US President criticizes a government advertising campaign designed to make people feel good about American-made cars they’ve already bought. It’s at 2.15 in this clip.

  • lpetrich

    As to religious propaganda movies, has anyone been following The Principle? That’s a movie that advocates geocentrism by quoting some mainstream physicists about cosmological oddities, to oversimplify a bit. It was produced by Robert Sungenis, a right-wing Catholic who wrote a book called “Galileo was Wrong, The Church was Right”. He’s online at a site called “Galileo Was Wrong”.

    Some of the participants have already objected to being quoted in that movie, like Lawrence Krauss.

    It’s so far opened in Chicago, and late in January, it will be opening in Los Angeles (Burbank, Orange) and Spokane, WA. If it does well enough, its producers will get it showing in some 10 – 15 other cities.

  • lpetrich

    Galileo Was Wrong, The Church Was Right” — Robert Sungenis’s site. He states in one blog entry:

    An Earth in the center of the universe just screams significance and purpose and, most of all, a Creator that truly cares for us.

    Seems rather conceited to me.

  • lpetrich

    In other propaganda-movie news, consider the fate of the three Atlas Shrugged movies. One would expect at least some of the economic elite to lavishly support those movies as a way of showing everybody what misunderstood geniuses and heroes they are. But they haven’t. Not even those of them who like to use Godwin arguments, like comparing closing a certain tax loophole to “Hitler invading Poland”.

    The three parts of that trilogy were released in 2011, 2012, and 2014. Moviegoers shrugged at them, and none of them made enough money at theaters to cover the cost of making them. Critics panned them for poor production values, like bad acting, cheap set design, stock footage, crude special effects, etc.

  • caseloweraz

    Still can’t explain Nicholas Cage in Left Behind.

    Maybe _this_ will help.

    That lays it on a little too thick, no?

  • jaybee

    not apologizing for sharing the gospel with a dying man

    Really, think about that. Whatever that dying guy’s life was like, God is going to give him unlimited joy or eternal torment based on a decision he makes during the last three minutes of his life while under extreme duress? How can otherwise intelligent people accept that and think God is merciful. The correct conclusion would be that God is a prick.

  • blf

    According to Box Office Mojo, The Principle has grossed only 17K$ — yes, you read that correctly, $17 thousand — with c.50% of that total on the opening weekend in Oct-2014. I have no idea if either figure is a “good”, “bad”, “terrible”, or “awful” result for a movie showing on just one screen / cinema. Production costs, et al., are not known.

  • sumdum

    Didn’t the bible say something about praying indoors without making a big spectacle of it? And about being kind for your fellowman? I think they are right, there wouldn’t be enough evidence to determine they are Christian, but not in the way they meant it.

  • dingojack

    The latest LoR franchise made $56.2M on the opening weekend on 3,875 screens in the US alone ($14,503.23 per screen). At that rate of exposure The Principle would have made around $32,937,500 on the first weekend (interest would drop away rapidly after that). Thus LoR would earn about as much in the first weekend as this ‘movie’ would overall…

    Not a good look for studios and distributors.

    Dingo

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    They’re circling the drain — shock, mostly — and are already unconscious. … Neither one would have noticed if the EMT had ripped off a human face mask and revealed a Reptilian.

    Those are their best customers: they don’t ask questions, they don’t say no, and a clueless evangelist can pretend he’s done them the bestest favor in the whole Universe. Why do you think that lot have such fetishistic reverence for fetuses and comatose or brain-dead people?

    It’s religious validation, not propaganda.

    Well, yeah, that’s one purpose propaganda can serve — deter people from listening to any dissenting voices by any manipulative means necessary.

    That’s a movie that advocates geocentrism by quoting some mainstream physicists about cosmological oddities, to oversimplify a bit. It was produced by Robert Sungenis, a right-wing Catholic who wrote a book called “Galileo was Wrong, The Church was Right”.

    IIRC Pope Palpadict paid some serious lip-service to that idea — a little bit of “pure reason,” a good bit of flat-out misuse of the concept of relativity, ergo the Earth is at rest relative to itself so the Church was right to punish Galileo. There’s some serious backsliding going on in the Catholic Church these days.

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    Didn’t the bible say something about praying indoors without making a big spectacle of it?

    Yeah, it’s in the less significant parts of the Bible along with the teachings of Jesus, the don’t-kill-don’t-steal-don’t-lie stuff, and other commie dreck that most True Christians know to ignore.

  • muzakbox

    Ugh Ed. I agree this sounds horrible but as a professional actress who deals with the ebb and flow of work the term washed up has been just gets my skin all in a bunch. It’s what casting directors say when you haven’t been seen in a bit and then it gets harder and harder to get work. And that actors should stop working if they’ve commercially peaked? That is some crap right there. So hate on the movie but attacking the actors just is off putting. To a fellow performer anyway.

  • GuineaPigDan .

    I actually watched God’s Not Dead out of curiosity in the theater, and yeah it was hilariously bad. Based on this trailer it looks like Do You Believe? is trying to be more serious, aiming for a PG13 rating with emergency room drama and such. And since GND had around 5 plots going on at the same time, this movie seems like it’s trying to raise the stakes by having 12 plots! I’m not really expecting this to be much of an improvement. The attempt to make this movie darker and denser than GND makes it look like it’s just going to be even more melodramatic and unfocused. I’ll probably be skipping this one and won’t even bother to write a snarky review like I did with GND. And Since GND had bigots like Willie Robertson cameo, I wonder which unscrupulous actors are going to guest star in this one?

  • sheikh mahandi

    For this poor sods out there who watched God’s not dead, and will watch this on my behalf – as I sure as hell don’t plan to waste my time – If you need relief may I recommend the movie Pride.