GOD’S NOT DEAD (2014)

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Christopher

Wowowowowowowowow, this movie! It’s funny how all of these religious movies have been popping up these past few years. After we saw Heaven Is For Real, I really wanted to make sure we saw this too, since they came out around the same time and Hercules (Kevin Sorbo) is in it. This movie did not disappoint.

It’s so funny in these films because they already have the difficult task of trying to prove something that is impossible to prove definitively, does god and the afterlife exist. But these movies make it so hard on themselves because they create situations that would never actually happen in the first place. For example, God’s Not Dead is about a college student who takes a philosophy class and before the class starts the teacher asks them to write God Is Dead with their signature. Of course, our main character does not want to do that. But absolutely everyone else in the class does? Well okay, let’s pretend that in this giant college class only one person believes in God. So after that the teacher doesn’t like him and for whatever reason they decide to have a debate. Each week the teacher will discuss why God’s dead and the following week the student will talk about why God’s not dead. WHAT? If I had gone to college and it ended up being half taught by a student, my own age? I would of been so pissed and would of tried my best to get that teacher removed. Why the hell would anyone allow that?

This movie has so many situations like this where it’s constantly reminding you that you are watching a movie. This is one of the worst movies I have ever seen ad I loved every minute of it. WATCH THIS!!!! I think it was better to see than Heaven Is For Real.

Elizabeth

God’s Not Dead, like so many of the Christian movies we’ve watched, takes place in a world in which Christians are persecuted in America. Christians, especially white, male, heterosexual Christians, have such a tough time in movies like God’s Not Dead. Whether you believe in God or not, or have any feelings about it at all, it’s just a straight up fact that the majority of Americans identify as Christians. So does God’s Not Dead take place in an alternate, unnamed universe? It’s really the only way any of it makes sense.

Shane Harper plays Josh Wheaton. I want you to think about that character’s name for a second. Maybe say it aloud to yourself. Do you think maybe they could have found a name for the character that didn’t sound nearly identical to Joss Whedon? It was so distracting, especially at first when Chris and I both thought that his name was literally Joss Whedon.

Anyway. Josh is a freshman at an unnamed college, though it’s so obviously LSU in real life considering everything around them is purple and yellow. Josh takes a philosophy class taught by Jeffrey Radisson, played by Hercules (Kevin Sorbo), a very vocal atheist. So vocal in fact, that on the first day of class he makes every student write GOD IS DEAD on a piece of paper, sign it, and turn it in as the only way to pass the class. Even though this is not a religion class? Somehow, the vast majority of the students immediately do this with no hesitation. A few hesitate and then do it anyway. Um, what? Did Hercules magically get the right combination of students in his class to somehow make it majority atheist? Or are we actually supposed to believe that none of the people in this huge class have any real opinion on God and therefore have no problem writing it?

When I was in 10th grade English, we read Dante’s Inferno. A question that plagued me from way back in Sunday school, which was never answered, came up again. I couldn’t understand why Judas was so hated. So, he turned on Jesus, I get that. But his turning on Jesus started the chain of events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, which we all (including Jesus!) know had to happen. It was written in the cards! And yet everyone hates Judas for doing something that, to me, seems like God had total control over the entire time in the first place. I raised this question in my English class, which I think my teacher was happy about, but he very quickly had to send another girl to the office because she totally lost her fucking shit over me asking that question. Before she left she said “You really don’t understand that Judas murdered Jesus?” Anyway, my point is: if me, a 15 year old student, asking that question in a class got that kind of reaction out of one person, how can I truly believe an auditorium full of 18 or 19 year olds would have 0 problem with and be totally on board with this guy A.) Declaring that God is dead (rather than not real, which I kind of don’t get) and B.) Forcing his students to also declare that God is dead in order to pass the class??? FUCK THIS MOVIE.

Well, of course, Josh/Joss Wheaton/Whedon doesn’t sign it, much to the dismay of Hercules, his classmates, and his girlfriend. Then, for some reason, Hercules challenges this child to a series of debates over God, which the entire class will have to sit through. He dedicates every final 20 minutes of class to these debates. If I was a student in this class I would be like, “So I don’t have to stay for this debate shit right? Because I’m paying for a philosophy class? Not whatever this is?” At every debate, Hercules has a counter-argument for Josh/Joss. Until . . . Josh/Joss asks Hercules why he hates God. This question causes Hercules to totally break down and totally blow his cover. What cover? Oh, I mean the fact that he’s an atheist, but has failed to mention he was once a strong Christian who gave up on religion when his mother died. Hercules, this hard-ass professor, was brought down by one child’s stupid question. This movie also implies that all atheists are just former Christians that need to be brought back to the good side. Naturally, Josh/Joss calls Hercules out by asking how he could hate something that’s not real. BAM! SOMEHOW HERCULES DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING AT ALL!

A bunch of other shit happens, including the Duck Dynasty assholes showing up. But none of that stuff really matters. What matters is that, in the end, Hercules is killed by a car running over him at the end. Instead of anyone helping him, Josh/Joss and his reverend kneel over him and the reverend makes Hercules admit that he believes in God, and then he dies. THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This movie makes Christians seem like terrible people who live in a totally alternate reality. This isn’t the case, so why would anyone support this awful, piece of shit movie? I’d rather watch Hercules and forget this ever happened.

 

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HOT COFFEE (2011)

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Elizabeth

I was around 7 years old when the McDonald’s “hot coffee” case became famous. The way I remembered it, an old woman spilled super hot coffee on her lap, sued McDonald’s, and won millions of dollars. I never really thought that much about it and I definitely never thought it was stupid. I guess I imagined that if someone burned themselves badly enough to sue, then it must have been worth it. I think at that age, too, I also thought that if a group of adults (like the court) agreed with the woman, then it was probably correct either way.

Hot Coffee focuses on four different stories on different areas of tort reform, focusing first on Stella Liebeck’s lawsuit against McDonald’s for the coffee. I loved the way the documentary went about telling this story: first they ask a bunch of people what they know about the case, then explain what really happened. Every person they talked to was wrong on some level, usually in major ways. There was a lot of talk of “this old woman spilled coffee in her lap while she was driving and sued McDonalds for millions and millions” kind of stuff. But the documentary quickly points out that all of these ideas about the case have come directly from how the case has been portrayed in the media, not the case itself. Because, to me, the facts make a lot more sense. Stella Liebeck was 79 when she spilled the coffee and was not driving. In fact, she wasn’t even in a moving car; her grandson (who was driving) pulled into a parking space so they could get their orders all organized. Liebeck was taking the lid off the coffee to put cream and sugar in when the cup essentially collapsed and spilled the coffee on her. She had third degree burns that required multiple skin grafts and surgeries and never fully recovered. But then there’s the coffee itself. Per McDonald’s requirements, the coffee was kept at a holding temperature of between 180-190 degrees, hot enough to immediately cause third degree burns on your throat if you drank it. And then on top of that, there’s the suit itself. This is where I was majorly wrong: Liebeck didn’t get millions and millions of dollars from McDonald’s. She won $640,000.

The second story is about a couple and their twin sons. One son was born severely brain damaged from lack of oxygen to his brain, which his mother suspected when she could feel the babies moving less in the days before they were born. Her doctor told her everthing was fine and as a result, one of the twins will need 24/7 care for the rest of his life. They successfully sued the doctor (who had been sued before) for a pretty large amount of money, which was figured out to cover the son’s cost of living for the rest of his life. Instead of that amount, though, they got just barely over $1 million because of a law in their state that puts caps on settlements.

The third story focuses on a former Supreme Court Justice from Mississippi, Oliver Diaz, who was the one political holdout that was against tort reform. He was falsely charged with bribery and all of the procedures involving that kept him out of the office for three years, effectively making him useless as a judge, which is exactly what the big companies that are pro-tort reform wanted.

The third story is on Jamie Leigh Jones, a former Halliburton employee who accused her co-workers of drugging and brutally gang-raping her, before she was locked in a shipping container guarded by an armed guard by her employers after she reported the rape. She could not bring any charges to court because of this arbitrition thing she signed when she was first hired. The arbitrition takes away the possibility of your case being seen or heard by a judge or jury, which seems like it just shouldn’t be legal.

The world of tort reform is huge and one that I knew nothing about before this documentary. That happens so often with good documentaries; they bring you into this world that you probably didn’t even know existed before and shows you just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Parts of Hot Coffee are overwhelming, like how crazy and scary Jones’ situation was. Other parts are sort of boring as there’s a lot of courtroom talk. But overall, the movie did a really great job of making something that seems vague and hard to understand seem very real.

Christopher

I wasn’t into the idea of watching this movie because I thought most of it would go over my head and that I wouldn’t really care. However, watching it, the film gave me a clear understanding of many famous court cases where individuals sued corporations. The biggest example was the lady who sued McDonald’s for serving coffee that was too hot. I still don’t think I know enough on the subject to talk much about it but I think if you are interested in the subject this movie is completely worth watching.