Let There Be Light: Tell Us How You Really Feel, Culture Warriors

Let There Be Light: Tell Us How You Really Feel, Culture Warriors December 30, 2018

Hello and welcome to a Roll to Disbelieve movie review! Today’s botched cinema roll is Let There Be Light, a 2017 production featuring Kevin Sorbo as an atheist strawman. In this movie, apparently Kevin Sorbo’s character endures a Near-Death Experience (NDE), leading to him questioning his previous conclusions about Christianity. This movie sounds like a perfect opportunity to explore the Religious Right’s opinion of their most-hated tribal enemies.

(I had planned to review Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas, but unfortunately the streaming service that had it decided to stop having it before I could watch it. PHOOEY. I’m not paying USD$8 to watch Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. I have my limits. Another service adds it starting January 1, however, so we’ll have our day soon.)

(By the way: If you’re new to these reviews, SPOILERS GALORE AHOY.)

Going In.

I’m expecting this movie to be about on par with God’s Not Dead, another movie featuring Kevin Sorbo as a straw atheist.

As I said back then, these movies aren’t really movies. They’re more like tracts or sermons adapted to the silver screen. Their characters, plots, and endings reflect that wishful, hopeful fantasy that the Religious Right maintains about a variety of topics–but can never see in the real world because nothing they believe tethers to reality. In movies, they visit these fantasies and see them played out larger-than-life.

Actors and actresses whose careers are drying up end up in these movies. Kevin Sorbo’s one of their biggest stars. Having once played legitimate (if often cheesy) roles in cinema and television, he had at one point the street cred needed to make these terrible movies almost seem legit themselves. Having become a complete puppet of the Religious Right, Sorbo now makes his living this way. He’s even directing Let There be Light.

I see from the movie’s IMDB page that Sorbo’s wife co-stars in this movie as Sorbo’s character’s wife. Also, Travis Tritt (a country star who has done a few movies) will show up here. So will Dionne Warwick and Sean Hannity, both–briefly–as themselves.

This is going to be just terrible.

I can’t wait.

(Spoiler: It was not good-bad. It was bad-bad.)

The Hooch.

I’m saving the eggnog for Saving Christmas. Today, I’m going with a delightful limoncello I made earlier this fall. It’s so much fun to make. You soak lemon peels in vodka for a long time, and then strain it, add clear sugar syrup, and let it sit for a long time. Mine’s a simple limoncello, clear and as yellow as sunshine. Another kind is creamy limoncello, a milky pale yellow, made with scalded milk and sugar syrup. But I didn’t know about that until I’d already begun making mine the other way.

Today is the first day I’m trying this batch. And let me tell you: Yr. Loyal &Etc. Captain knows how to make a good, smooth limoncello.

I’ve got it in a little glass that looks like a downsized brandy snifter.

In The Beginning…

We begin with the production logo “LTBL Productions.” Haha, Let There Be Light. Get it? It’s a Christian movie studio that has produced exactly one movie: this one.

During the credits, we see scenes of terrorist attacks and tragedies. 9/11, the Paris attacks, bombings, Islamic State fighters, all parade past us in a grotesque celebration of evil deeds while a song plays in the background about “there’s power in the name of Jesus” or something.

Um, movie? Don’t these scenes tell us that there isn’t power in the name? “Jesus” hasn’t done a thing about any of those situations. He can’t stop them. He can’t even help with them. The song sounds like a mockery of Christianity.

And then suddenly we’re looking at New York City.

“Darwinism.” We’re Done Here.

We hear Kevin Sorbo’s voice talking about “the theories of Creationism and Darwinism.”

Aaaand here’s our first Christian strawman. If you ever hear a Christian talking about the Theory of Evolution–descent with modification–as “Darwinism,” feel free to check out of the discussion immediately. “Darwinism” is the Religious Right’s rebranding of one of the best-established, best-supported concepts in the entire field of biology.

Creationism isn’t actually a theory, by the scientific definition, and you’d think an atheist who prides himself on rationality (which is what Sorbo plays here) would know that. And nobody who accepts the Theory of Evolution calls it “Darwinism.” It’s not “Darwinism.” Darwin was one of the earliest people who talked about the idea, but we’ve moved way past him.

Literally only Creationists use that word, and they use it to belittle and dismiss a scientific idea that they can’t budge or successfully defeat in any way. Basically, they want to make it sound like an atheist version of religion.

Kevin Sorbo’s atheist character exists only in the minds of this movie’s creators.

A Debate That Couldn’t Exist.

Sorbo’s character turns out to be speaking on a college stage in a debate with a fundagelical Christian. The Christian starts in on “the basic tenets of Christianity,” and Sorbo interrupts him. The Christian has gone off-topic. They’re not there to discuss the tenets of Christianity, he says mockingly. Instead, they’re there to discuss the existence of “God.”

I’m not sure if Sorbo’s character is supposed to be drunk in this scene, but he seems like it. The students applaud him–they absolutely adore their rockstar atheist. He dresses in hip clothing and has a mocking style of speech.

Sorbo’s character (Sol Harkness? Ugh, what is with these bad writers and their bad character names?) wrote a book called Aborting God. He launches into a tirade comparing Christianity to Islam.

This debate would never happen, ever. The moderator tries once to get them on track, then vanishes so Sorbo can straw-atheist at the audience.

Another Cancer Atheist.

Like his character in God’s Not Dead, Sorbo’s character lost a close family member to cancer. There, it was his mother. Here, it’s his young son. During this scene, Mr. Captain, who’s playing Seven Days to Die, piped up suddenly. He had no idea what movie I was watching; I hadn’t told him. This speech from Sorbo prompted a question:

Mr. Captain: Haven’t you already done God’s Not Dead?
Me: This isn’t God’s Not Dead. It’s Let There Be Light.
Mr. C: So he’s a college professor again?
Me: No, he’s doing a stupid debate to promote his book, Aborting God.
Mr. C: If only.

Sorbo attributes his ability to cope with his son’s death to “pharmaceuticals” and a lot of alcohol. Otherwise, he says, he’d shoot himself. We’re supposed to think here that gosh, atheists are SO SAD because they can’t give it all to Jesus when they mourn, so they have to drug themselves and drink themselves into a stupor to deal with their pain. It’s SO SAD that they can’t just choose to believe and get help for all that pain, RIGHT?

I’m convinced that this audience is all Christians and that Sorbo’s most impassioned straw-atheist lines, delivered with the camera up-close on him, are issued to an empty room.

PARTY ON, WAYNE.

His main argument here, in this debate-that-can’t-happen, is that people should “party on” instead of wasting their lives on religious belief. He declares that no civilizations ever committed genocide in the name of “sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll.” They shouldn’t seek the meaning of life, because “there isn’t any.” All they need is their own “humanity” to solve their problems.

He ends with his arms outstretched–a call to Jesus, no doubt, and the god that Christians would assume Sorbo seeks to supplant.

Mr. Captain: What’s astonishing is that I know they consider this an unreasonable argument.

True: it’s issued as a culture-warrior’s attempt to mock their opponents, but by and large it’s not really that bad. He suggests hedonism instead of religious zealotry, which to me isn’t the worst suggestion ever. I’d rather suggest arete, which is self-improvement, excellence in as many things as we can manage, and reaching our potential. To each their own though.

The Christian looks like he just discovered a frog in his underwear after sitting down to eat.

But Sorbo exults in the riotous applause that erupts as he finishes speaking.

The Secretly Miserable Straw Atheist.

As exultant as Sorbo was in the debate, though, the next scene reveals that he’s totally miserable. He sadly watches television and sadly drinks hard liquor while sadly sitting in his recliner alone at night. He says he’s “living the dream.” Poor, poor Kevin Sorbo.

The next morning, he drives his sportscar to a suburban home. His ex-wife answers the door. She’s already heard about the debate; she bashes what he does for a living. It deeply concerns her that he teaches their kids stuff she doesn’t like.

They both argue and bicker about it. Won’t he think about their children before atheist-ing all atheist-y? When he reminds her that he pays the bills with what she refers to as “a carnival act,” she explodes at him: Who pays the emotional bills?”

I burst out laughing.

The Drama-Factory Character.

It’s absolutely nonsensical, and if the moviemakers wanted us to think Christians are absolutely wackadoodle, they succeeded. She sounds like an out-and-out loon who’s simply inventing drama for the sake of having drama. I’ve noticed that Christian culture-warriors do that a lot.

In this case, she moves the goalposts. Now the problem isn’t that she feels slighted that he doesn’t offer her imaginary friend any deference. Now she offers, as The Big Problem Here, the idea of imaginary harm equaling real harm.

Then she accuses him of being an alcoholic, because that’s a great way to keep on track with her argument.

The argument reveals that they broke up at his request because he got tired of her Christian-ing at him. I honestly have never encountered an atheist who has done that. Every single time, when religious differences rise to the level of relationship-enders, it’s the Christian who dumps the atheist. Always. Without exception. But this time, we hear that it’s the atheist who got sick of the Christian’s constant Jesus simpering.

Short-Term Missions Mockery.

His sons refuse to go to the amusement park. It’s clear that the mother’s engineered the entire argument. It was pointless for him to come to the house at all. And she knew well before today that at least one of the sons wouldn’t want to go hang out with Sorbo.

The younger son goes with the mom to a birthday party. The older boy, who looks to be about 10 or 12 (I’m no judge of kids’ ages), says Sorbo must sign a permission slip for him to go on a short-term mission trip to Haiti with his church youth group.

I never thought any movie could make me miss Hercules.

Sorbo pushes back on the idea of his son going to Haiti to dig wells. And I agree 100% with Sorbo here. The kid obviously won’t be anywhere near as good at digging wells than actual adult Haitians would be. It’s an expensive poor-ism trip. The kid freaks out and accuses Sorbo of not wanting to do good deeds.

But is it? We’ve talked many times about how useless and pointless these trips are. They exist solely to make money for the trip arrangers and to get Christian kids and young adults all totally excited for Jesus for a while. The kid isn’t “doing good deeds.” He’s going to take real jobs from real Haitians, and they’re probably going to have to redo whatever digging he does anyway.

The Alcoholic Atheist Strawman.

Next, Sorbo attends his book-signing party with a lush-lipped Russian model who is not impressed with his two-fisted drinking.

She’s the only one who isn’t impressed. Everyone else loves him and compliments him. He gets totally blitzed. He does a surprisingly good drunk. I wonder how he researched that.

He toasts himself while he toasts himself.

While still drunk, he drives home without his girlfriend, who leaves in another car to go on a trip to an exotic location for a modeling shoot. His campy agent calls him while he’s driving. Sorbo drinks from an open bottle of hard liquor and drives very erratically.

He has an accident. A bad one.

Mr. Captain: We’ve seen Kevin Sorbo get into a car accident in a Christian movie before.
Me: Holy cow, you’re right.

(Various readers didn’t think this accident was possible. Others gave it small chances.)

(ETA: Now that I’ve had a day to sober up and think about it, I now think the agent character’s actor is channeling Otho from Beetlejuice. He even duplicates the accent.)

After the crash, Sorbo enters an NDE state.

The Heavenly Tourist.

In his NDE, Sorbo walks down a pale-lit tunnel toward a bright light. The tunnel is plastered with moving images of his memories, mostly about his dead son. The son appears in the bright light, wearing a white shirt and pants. Sorbo hugs him hard.

The boy informs Sorbo that he must “go back.” He tells his father, “Let there be light, Daddy!” And Sorbo begins to dissolve. As Sorbo gets drawn back through the tunnel, begging to stay, the boy beams at him and repeats “Let there be light!”

Heavenly tourism is such a backfire for Christians. Do they really want to remind me that they really have no idea what their own afterlife looks like? Do they really want to remind me that heavenly tourism, as a genre of Christian fantasizing, generally contradicts the Bible in every single particular their creators imagine?

When Sorbo awakens in the hospital, the nurse tells him that his survival was “a miracle.” It seems he was clinically dead for four minutes.

I’ve just noticed that everyone pronounces Sorbo’s character’s name, Sol, as “Saul.” Oh, JFC.

When he tells his agent about his NDE, the agent campily demands he stop talking like that.

The Drama Factory Returns.

Sorbo’s ex-wife shows up in the hospital room to scream at Sorbo about being irresponsible. While the agent rhapsodizes about how Sorbo now knows there’s “no there, there,” the ex sighs passive-aggressively.

She screams at him about needing help for his drinking, then throws a tantrum at his agent and assistant. I despise Christian passive-aggression. Despise it. She even smiles as she screams at him and informs him that she’s totally going to pray for him whether he likes it or not.

Sorbo ends up home again, alone as usual, and he begins drinking immediately. He doesn’t even shower or change out of his clothes.

You know, for a guy who slammed a car into a wall at top speed and was dead for four minutes, he looks pretty damn good. Oh, and the Russian model dumped him overnight while he was hospitalized for the photographer she was joining on that modeling shoot.

(He has The Joy of Cooking on his kitchen cookbook shelf. That’s a good book! Highly recommend.)

The Comeback.

The assistant, Tracee, arranges his comeback speech to occur in the same lecture hall where he “destroyed” that Christian. I’m sure this decision had nothing to do with the movie’s budget.

His screechy ex-wife is in the audience looking totally disapproving. She has cat-butt face. That’s the expression one gets when one gets a solid whiff of a cat’s butt.

She pretty much looks like this in every single scene.

With a teleprompter’s aid, Sorbo starts talking about his NDE. But he stumbles over his words. The golden-tongued atheist rock star can’t string a sentence together. Is he drunk? Or is he struggling because he knows he’s fibbing about not seeing anything supernatural during the NDE?

Speaking directly to his ex-wife, he tells her he saw his son. He has a mental breakdown and collapses, red-faced. He might have had a heart attack. Apparently the blood clot is suspected of causing his difficulties.

The next morning, Sorbo finds himself back in the same hospital room. His doctor loves his atheist books and tells him that his clot remains unmoved. They haven’t removed it or busted it up.

(NOBODY in comments thought this sounded plausible.)

The Doctor Explains NDEs.

Apparently, Kevin Sorbo experienced the death surge, which is what the doctor calls it. (ETA: Erinys Trace found this one for us. There is indeed a “surge” during NDEs, apparently.) I’ve never heard of this. She explains that people who see visions during NDEs, which she describes as occurring when someone’s about to die, are simply seeing their own imaginations at work.

You’d think a doctor would know what an NDE is. NDEs happen to people who come close to dying, yes, but they also come to people who are nowhere near dying. I don’t even like the term NDE, because I know perfectly well that NDEs have nothing to do with death. If you die, you’re dead. By definition, if you have an NDE, then you’re alive.

Sorbo denies that he saw anything during his NDE. The wife gets cat-butt face again. The doctor wants a selfie with her atheist idol.

The Ex Does Not Approve.

Sorbo’s ex-wife comes over to Sorbo’s condo to discover Sorbo drunk as a skunk. He confesses that he’s mixed copious amounts of alcohol and painkillers. His ex seriously disapproves.

But Sorbo tells her in detail about the NDE vision. He tells her about how their son appeared to him and told him, “Let there be light.”

Like a hunbot shill just waiting for someone to talk about needing money, the ex pounces on him with a Christian sales pitch. She suggests he consult with her pastor about the NDE. Then she offers to hold him while he sleeps. At first he thinks she’s offering sex, but he’s not in the mood. Then she says she’s just offering a lap for him to lay against. He falls asleep on her lap, while she stares moodily into space.

If she plays her cards right, he might sign up for auto-ship!

But he wakes up alone. The ex left sometime during the night.

A Disastrous Interview.

Sorbo has a serious interview that very morning with a reporter who drills him hard about his NDE. When he cuts the interview short, she screams at his agent about having declined an opportunity to interview Keith Richards to talk to this guy.

Sorbo takes painkillers and drinks vodka while the agent screams at him next. His super-campy agent informs him, all campily, “Dahling. You’re blowing it.”

Mr. Captain: Wow. So every single human being he knows is just a miserable, cruel, selfish, evil f***. Because they don’t have Jeebus! I see where this is going. Only his ex is nice to him! That’s one thing you can sure say about Christians: They’re so welcoming and accepting.

Sorbo sits and watches the river and thinks really hard.

Sorbo Goes to Church.

At some point afterward, Sorbo visits an idyllic white country church. The pastor is painting the fence. Aww, he’s just a hard-workin’ MAN OF GOD. He has a strong accent, maybe New Jersey?

You can just barely make out the pastor. Look straight upward and a bit to the right of Sorbo himself. He’s in a dark t-shirt, standing just behind the fence.

JFC. The pastor says he used to be “a wise guy, mobbed up,” as well as a federal prison inmate. He provides his entire backstory, ending by saying that he’s “gotta see evidence.” Then he asks Sorbo if he can guess what convinced him at last that Christianity’s supernatural claims were true.

Sorbo says he can’t guess, though he finds this conversation to be the most interesting one he’s ever had with a pastor.

WTF?

This is pure wishful thinking on the part of the filmmakers. I 100% guarantee that no atheist has ever said that to any pastor who claims to have belief based upon evidence. This is a conversation pretty much all non-Christians have had with sales-minded Christians of all kinds. They all think they have evidence.

(ETA: Someone in comments said someone figured out elsewhere that the actor involved here really claims that backstory. That just opens up all kinds of new questions, but I just don’t care enough about the character right now.)

THE EVIDENCE THAT DEMANDS A VERDICT.

What finally convinced this pastor, he says, was the Resurrection: the so-called “empty tomb.”

Mr. Captain: Do you have headphones? I can’t take this any more. It’s just so f****** stupid, so divorced from reality.

Dangit, that’s where Mr. Captain checked out. Bye bye, Mr. Captain, bye bye. He’s on to Mount and Blade: Warband now. Have fun storming the castle, Mr. Captain.

I would too, but I’ve already had my intermission. I’ve got a fresh glass of limoncello and a sundae of Cherries Garcia.

“The empty tomb” represents the most ridiculous reason ever to believe in Christianity. Likewise, the pastor’s fantasies about the early supposed martyrs of the religion. In reality, none of those stories have ever been credibly supported anywhere except in Christian folklore.

A Rather Big Leap of Logic.

Finally, they get to talking about Sorbo’s NDE. The pastor tells Sorbo that the reason the NDE felt so good at the time was because Sorbo had been “bathed in the light and love of our lord Jesus.”

Um, movie?

Minor point of contention, if I may.

Nothing about the NDE looked religious in any way whatsoever, with the minor exception of the boy-vision’s exhortation of “Let there be light.” I was there. Movie, your creators did not include any religious imagery at all. Nothing about the vision looked like anything in the Bible’s descriptions of Heaven. You’re the one who showed us that vision. You could have included Christian mythic imagery. But you didn’t.

The pastor announces that the word “light” in the exhortation means Jesus. They both assert that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, which is a weird thing for a rockstar atheist to think. So according to “Pastor Vinny,” Jesus, through a vision of Sorbo’s son, sent an invitation for Sorbo to convert to Christianity.

Sorbo begins to sob. “Oh, my god,” he keeps saying.

Again, nothing about the vision suggested anything like the pastor’s interpretation. It’s weird that an atheist rockstar would weep at it. It’s even weirder that the movie thinks we forgot what they just showed us a few minutes ago.

Baptism Day!

Sorbo gets baptized by Pastor Vinny in a creek that I assume is near the white-painted church. The pastor pours a pitcher of water over Sorbo’s head while his ex and sons watch with joy.

Me: Honey, you missed the big baptism scene. One conversation with a fundagelical pastor later, Sorbo decides he was totally wrong about Christianity. He gets baptized and becomes a TRUE CHRISTIAN™.
Mr. Captain: Like f*****’ cancer.

While Sorbo chases his younger son around, the older son tells his mother to be “careful.” He’s been worried about his mother getting hurt again by his father. Later, he asks his father if he’s serious about his professed transformation.

Sorbo calls his family into the family room. His ex comes in with a smile and a plate of cookies. He apologizes to them for mocking their faith. His ex smiles like I TOLD YOU SO.

The older boy tells Sorbo that he thinks their dead brother saved his father’s soul. Sorbo agrees and the ex holds back tears.

We’re 2/3 through the movie.

The Agent and Assistant Don’t Approve.

Later, Sorbo explains his conversion later to his disapproving campy agent and his personal assistant, during another interview with the reporter lady. Of course, they disapprove. He shows them his adult-version Trapper Keeper thing with the letters LTBL on it. (YOU KNOW, like the production company!) He asks the reporter if she knows what those letters mean.

She says, squinting a bit, “Lesbian Trans Bi…”

Mr. Captain, later: “Let there be more lesbians?”

No no, silly, he corrects her. It means let there be light!

The reporter loves the story and leaves to file her exclusive. The agent fires him as a client. When Sorbo asks if they can remain friends, the agent tells him they were never friends. Now that he’s Christian, they can’t even be associates anymore; Sorbo is “toxic and un-sellable.”

Uh, movie? Christian authors writing about their conversion from TOTALLY ATHEISM make a mint. Atheist writers talking about their conversion from Christianity make way less. There ain’t a lot of money in being an ex-Christian. There’s a lot more in being an ex-atheist. The agent is an idiot if he doesn’t know how much money TRUE CHRISTIANS™ fling at ex-atheist testimonies.

Oh, and Sorbo doesn’t drink at all anymore. “Jesus” cured his alcoholism. The agent mentions this new sobriety as an aside.

A Flashlight App Saves the Day.

The ex visits as the agent leaves. She suggests, as he opens a bottle of iced tea, that they make an app to coordinate Christians as they turn their cell phone lights and shine the light upwards into the night sky on the darkest night of the year. If all Christians do this, then the light will be visible from space! It’ll be like digital evangelism! That’ll convert EVERYBODY!

I don’t think reality works like this.

But that’s not the worst part of her suggestion.

Um, movie? How will this mass coordination effort, even if successful and even if possible in reality, convince people to join Christianity? How does this plan offer any support for Christians’ claims? Most of all, how does this effort demonstrate that Christians have safe, fun, worthwhile groups to join? How does this plan demonstrate that Christians actually have what Sorbo calls “an ideology of good?”

He ends by inviting her to dinner. She mentions that the boys will love Chik-Fil-A. HAHA DON’T FUNDIES LOVE CHIK-FIL-A’s HATE SANDWICHES! But no, he wants to go out with just her. She accepts.

I always look like this right after accepting a dinner date. Oh wait. No I don’t.

Burning Bridges.

As Christians on TV declare that they don’t quite believe Sorbo, and that “a phone app” won’t smooth out their ruffled feathers, Sorbo’s assistant–who still works for him–thanks him for reigniting her own faith. Awww, all it took was one big conversion.

In reality, I don’t think Christians would even hesitate to embrace fully any big-name atheist who converted back to their religion. They sure didn’t hesitate with Donald Trump, even after it became clear that he was one of those dreaded “Christians In Name Only” (CINOs).

When Sorbo goes to pick up his ex for the date, his older son acts like her father. He informs Sorbo that he needs the mom home by 10 and he expects Sorbo not to toy with her affections.

The “restaurant” turns out to be a catered dinner for two in what appears to be a public park. I must say though, it does look suitably romantic. I wouldn’t mind it. She’s impressed. Movie, okay, you get a point for this scene. But I’ve still got my eye on you.

He proposes marriage to her at the dinner with a huge rock of a ring. She accepts. They shuffle around together as they dance like teens at a school event.

Breaking the News.

The older son gets snotty about them being late. Sorbo cites the Bible verse about beating children, because the funniest thing ever is child abuse.

The younger son is thrilled to hear about the remarriage, while the older pretends to be dubious. “Psyche,” he declares.

Then the wife has a stroke.

WTF WHAT IS THIS

As he leaves with the ambulance, Sorbo asks the boys to pray. The older boy reminds him that their dead brother’s spiral into death began with an exactly-similar stroke. “God won’t let that happen again, will he?” the boy asks.

Sorbo doesn’t know what to say.

Post-Stroke.

The next day, the ex looks fine. The doctor, Travis Tritt, visits to tell them they’ve already gotten all her tests and all her bloodwork back. She has Liefer-Mini Li-Fraumeni Syndrome. Also she has brain cancer, stage 4.

Travis Tritt is a horrible actor. He tells her “the prospects aren’t good.” The tumor, he says, “has interwoven with other brain cells,” so he can’t operate. Chemotherapy would extend her time remaining–perhaps. There’s a 5% chance of that happening.

HELLO, I’m Travis Tritt’s Mullet. I’m a doctor.

She says she feels perfectly fine with her Stage 4 inoperable brain cancer. The doctor says he can’t really give her any promises. He offers painkillers, but she refuses.

She says instead that she has some things to do: loving her new husband, making sure the app launches well, loving her sons, and–BIG TOOTHY SMILE HERE–“preparing for eternity!”

Next shot: the wedding. It’s at the same place they had the dinner. Dionne Warwick sings. Pastor Vinny officiates.

The personal assistant has booked Sean Hannity for the app! She interrupts the wedding right after the kiss to announce it.

Sean Hannity Acts Wise.

So the couple meets with Sean Hannity in a pre-interview get-together. I call foul. I don’t think most of these media personalities meet with their interviewees like this. He pretends to speak for critics of Sorbo’s conversion and the app: What right do they, as religious nutters, have to force their religion on others?

Sorbo declares that unlike ISIS, “this isn’t a convert-or-die proposition.”

Um, movie? It used to be. Christianity wouldn’t exist right now as a major world religion without making conversion a convert-or-die proposition. And plenty of Christians want the right to steamroll other people’s rights to make rejecting Christianity extremely uncomfortable–if not outright unsafe. Does Sorbo really want us to think about the remarkable number of similarities between the zealots of Islam and the zealots of Christianity?

Apparently so.

Hannity just lurrrves the idea of the app. He wants to help them coordinate the lighting-up effort.

Sick Wife is Sick.

Sorbo goes home and prays over dinner with his family. The boys play card games with Mom while she does chemo. Sorbo holds her hair back while she throws up. She gets progressively sicker, eventually losing her hair, but remains upbeat and cheerful.

The boys tell her they’ve been praying. She insists that it’s totally helped. The younger boy asks if their god will answer those prayers. She says that he always answers; they just don’t always understand the answer. That’s a weaseling out, and I hope those boys realize that. That’s not how prayer works in the New Testament.

On the big day of the app launch, Sean Hannity later announces that “a band of light visible from space” has been going around the world, starting at Christmas Island. The mom looks very wan and drawn-out. Hannity interviews the app’s coder (an actress, not the real coder of any apps), who declares that she escaped Islam and an honor killing. She thinks that the Christian god sent Sorbo to her. Hannity makes special mention of the app being used in ISIS-dominated areas.

Bye Bye, Mom.

The wife swoons very cinematically against Sorbo while Hannity’s audience lights up their cell phone apps. The boys rush out to join the group.

Even in the movie, the flashlight apps don’t look very strong. But the movie shows us a map of the Eastern Seaboard, then America, then the earth from space, showing lights lighting up.

The wife dies cinematically against Sorbo, after murmuring “it’s so beautiful” a few times.

OH thank heavens. The movie is now over. The movie tells viewers to “text someone you love” the phrase “Let There Be Light.” Then with one last shot of the boys singing and holding up their phones, we get credits.

At the end of the credits, we learn that this movie was “Made in Alabama.”

YOU DON’T SAY.

Scoring a Botched Roll of a Movie.

Kevin Sorbo’s Acting: Actually really good. He sold alcoholic pretty well, as well as over-it ex-husband and bereaved father. Let’s go 8/10. I docked two points for him deciding that Cat-Butt-Faced Ex-Wife was someone he needed to remarry. If this was a real couple, they’d have broken up too–but not because she was just TOO SUPER-CHRISTIAN OMG.

Everyone Else: NEGATIVE INFINITY. OMG.

Extremely Plot-Convenient Cancer: -200/10–100 off for each person in the plot stricken with the extremely rare genetic disorder that leads to cancer, which Astreja helpfully spelled and described as “Li-Fraumeni Syndrome.”

Travis Tritt’s Mullet, Pretending to Be an Actor and a Doctor: -10/10

Wiseguy Pastor Vinny: I can see why he’s never had any other roles.

Resurrection Argument as Evidence: Haha, no.

Medical WTFery: -50/100. It shouldn’t have taken long for the movie’s writers to figure out how to depict a car-crash victim, what NDEs really signify, and how doctors handle a patient with a blood clot–not to mention that selfie one doctor wanted to take with Sorbo.

Science WTFery: Um, you can’t. Phone flashlights don’t work that way. XKCD covered something like this already. If an array of the same beams used by the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas can’t do much to illuminate the dark side of the moon, I’m guessing that no number of people holding up phone flashlights can be visible from space.

Surprisingly Weird References to Islam and ISIL: Constant.

Total Score: -Forever/10.

Only watch if you need a Kevin Sorbo fix and nothing else will do. But if that were the case, you’d just watch Hercules or Andromeda or something. This movie exists solely to let Christians gloat over their straw version of atheism.

Best Fan Theory.

Wannabe asked: “Is it possible that everything after the crash is an hallucination?”

Seen that way, this movie makes absolute, perfect sense.

NEXT UP: Let’s talk about NDEs and straw atheism.


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About Captain Cassidy
Captain Cassidy grew up fervently Catholic, converted to the SBC in her teens, and became a Pentecostal shortly afterward. She even married an aspiring preacher! But then--record scratch!--she brought everything to a screeching halt when she deconverted in her mid-20s. That was 25 years ago. Now a comfortable None, she blogs on Roll to Disbelieve about psychology, pop culture, politics, relationships, cats, gaming, and more--and where they all intersect with religion. You can read more about the author here.
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