Saturday, October 1, 2011

1991's THE RAPTURE: Anything but.

The Rapture
New Line Cinema
Starring: Mimi Rogers, David Duchovny
Directed by Michael Tolkin
1991, 1 hr 40 mins
Rated: R (For sexual situations, older audience appropriate (notice I did not say "mature") situations, intense horror caused by unbelievably lousy box-top special effects, psychological torture from hearing an annoying child actor persistently squealing "Say, you, love, God!" in an irritating fingernails-on-blackboard voice throughout most of the film)

Somewhere within this great land of ours, the following conversation may very well be taking place:

FRIEND #1: Hey DUDE! Check this out! You GOTTA see this!

FRIEND #2: Why, what's up?

FRIEND #1: I just got the COOLEST MOVIE EVER! I mean this is the just the coolest, I kidja not; it's thought provoking, challenging, well-acted and just WHOA, so TOTALLY put together!

FRIEND #2: What, a sequel to Dance With Wolves or something?

FRIEND #1: I'm SERIOUS, dude! You GOTTA see this! (hands movie to Friend #2)

FRIEND #2 (studying the box): "The Rapture", huh?

FRIEND #1: YEAH! You just gotta see this. I've never seen anything so MINDBLOWING! Even ROGER EBERT says so, dude!

FRIEND #2: If you say so, man... just go ahead and put it on and I'll check it out.

FRIEND #1 (grinning): THAT'S the spirit, dude! (puts movie on)

FRIEND #2: Hey, that's Mimi Rogers...

FRIEND #1 (interrupting): YEAH! Ain't she HOT?

FRIEND #2: Hot, shmot, just give me a good movie. Yeah, she's cute, but even cute chicks can't save a stinkbomb.

FRIEND #1: Oh, don't be such a wuss! This movie is awesome, you'll love it! Check out this setup, dude! See, she's working in L.A. as an information operator...

FRIEND #2 (sighing): Thrilling. Just the sort of role to catch my interest.

FRIEND #1: No no, SERIOUSLY! See, she's bored out of her skull from workin' this total lame-o job...

FRIEND #2: You mean like I am right now?

FRIEND #1: she goes out at night with her totally weird friend for quick sex kinks with other couples! Cool setup, huh?

FRIEND #2: Oh, NO. Not another one of THOSE. So her "rapture" is gonna end up meeting the ultimate...

FRIEND #1 (hastily interrupting): "NononononoNO! Nothing like THAT, dude! This ain't no skin flick!

FRIEND #2: Oh really? Good, you had me rolling my eyes for a minute there...

FRIEND #1: See, now she's even bored with that, because it ain't gettin' her any more fulfillment than her dumb job is! But then one day she hears people at work talkin' about the big rapture event, you know, like it says in The Bible in The Revelation and all that, and she's SO all goin' "far out!" and impressed that she's BORN AGAIN!

FRIEND #2: Hmm. Interesting idea for a film these days, you gotta admit.

FRIEND #1: Oh, you haven't seen ANYTHING yet, dude! Just watch! Look, check it out... now it's six years later, now she's married to this totally cool insurance man, named Randy...

FRIEND #2: Played by David Duchovny? Er, uhh... yeah, whatever...

FRIEND #1: ...and she's got this totally adorable little daughter named Mary.

FRIEND #2: Oh geez. I would hardly call her "adorable". Geez, when is Hollywood ever gonna spare us these totally preprogrammed cutesy-cutesy kid stereotypes that never exist in real life? This kid as played by Kimberley Cullum is so script-formula that she's annoying... geez, that voice sounds like fingernails on a blackboard.

FRIEND #1: Aw, don't be that way, dude! It's just a movie, who says she needs to be well-acted and written? We can't all be Shirley Temple, you know.

FRIEND #2: Oh really? And I thought you said this film was well-acted?

FRIEND #1: Oh come ON, dude, you gonna loosen up anytime soon?

FRIEND #2: Let it pass. Let's see... er, what the heck kind of a church is this supposed to be, anyway?

FRIEND #1: Ain't it obvious? It's Christian, dude!

FRIEND #2: Are you kidding me? This particular spiritual sect isn't named in the film, and they sure as hell don't act like any Christians I know or hear about. Overall, I'd say about 98% of this film is just pure Hollywood hooey with the remaining 2% stolen from tiny particles of Biblical scripture. That's not exactly a realistic depicition of a good church to join, if you get my drift.

FRIEND #1 (exasperated): Aw, there you go again! Geez, it doesn't HAVE to be anyone or anything specific! What's important is that they're portraying all the annoying and stupid stereotypes!

FRIEND #2: Now I AM rolling my eyes. You make it sound like that's a good thing.

FRIEND #1: Of COURSE it is! This is a movie that totally STICKS it to the church crowd, dude!

FRIEND #2: Look, it's totally unrealistic so far, how am I supposed to believe that this movie is so challenging when it doesn't even bother to get beyond going "nyaa nyaa" at annoying stereotypes? It's childish.

FRIEND #1: Childish?! Look, you don't call THIS challenging? Check it out; her husband just got murdered, and now she's miserable, and she thinks he's calling to her in her dreams.

FRIEND #2 (shrugging): So what's unusual about that? True, it's sad, but lots of people go through stuff like that after losing a loved one.

FRIEND #1: Well because her church thinks the big Rapture event is gonna happen soon, so they tell her to take her daughter and go live off in the desert and wait, because Jesus is gonna come back any time now!

FRIEND #2: Oh brother. Wait a sec. Let me see if I've got this straight: she goes off and does that because her CHURCH tells her to?

FRIEND #1: YEAH! Heavy, huh?

FRIEND #2: And she doesn't even bother to QUESTION this nonsense?

FRIEND #1: Of COURSE she does, dude! But they don't bother giving her an answer! Creepy, huh?

FRIEND #2: And I stand corrected: this is completely ridiculous. If this really is a church following anything approaching The Bible, aren't they aware of the fact that it specifically says NOT to pull such a stunt and that you're supposedly to just go about your business and not worry about it because NOBODY KNOWS exactly when it's gonna happen? I repeat: what the HELL kind of a church IS this??

FRIEND #1: Well, GEEZ, don't get so pissy, I mean, it, doesn't it sound just exactly like the sort of thing any church would say?

FRIEND #2 (annoyed): No, it doesn't. And it's also very, very stupid of her to just blindly follow it without at least checking scripture first to see if they're correct. This is both miserable and pathetic at the same time, it's... now they've got her stealing from a fast food joint's drive-thru because they don't have any money or anything to eat, and even though a sheriff's trying to talk some sense into them to stop this nonsense and go home, they're STILL stupidly doing all this? Geez, now you've even got her shooting her OWN kid to put little Mary out of her misery so she won't suffer from starving to death, now she's all blaming God and shooting at the sky because she's all mad at Him for "making" her do all these things?! Geez, the one she should REALLY be mad at her is HERSELF for being STUPID enough to follow all this crap! No, wait... actually, now that I think about it, that kid's voice is getting more and more annoying by the minute. If I was making a movie like this, and if she kept going, "Say, you, love, God!" in that annoying little voice all the time like she is here, I might be tempted to knock her off the script too.

FRIEND #1: But WAIT! You're missing the WHOLE POINT, dude! See? Now the rapture is actually happening...

FRIEND #2 (sarcastically twirling his finger): Whoopee. Cheapest apocalypse I've seen in years...

FRIEND #1: ...and she's... this is the deep part... she's questioning God's judgement, and when someone near her says, "God will forgive you!" she shoots back with, "Who forgives God?"

FRIEND #2: Oh, geez... (throws his hands up) I give up.

FRIEND #1: And see? Now she's all The Big Crossover Place, where she can enter heaven, kinda like Limbo, and she sees both her husband and daughter...

FRIEND #2: What? Are you gonna tell me that she's now getting to be with both her dead husband and daughter again, and she's not even HAPPY about it? Me, I'd be OVERJOYED! And yet all she's got on her mind is how pissed off she is? What kind of woman IS this???

FRIEND #1: ...and her daughter keeps going, "Say you love God!" trying to get her to still say it, but instead she says no, she's gonna stay in Limbo forever because she hates God.

FRIEND #2: Wrong move, little Mary. You picked the wrooong phrase to try talking Mommy into it. I'd say the real reason she stayed behind because she couldn't bear hearing Mary squeal that annoying phrase in that awful little voice of hers over and over again through all eternity.

FRIEND #1 (looking exasperatedly at #2): Oh, COME ON, dude, don't you get ANY of it??! It's DEEP, dude! It's TOTALLY spitting convention in the eye! It's THOUGHT PROVOKING, dude, GET WITH IT!

FRIEND #2: Thought provoking? You call this nonsense THOUGHT PROVOKING? In what sense, exactly? Was it thought provoking for you to sit there and wonder how this thing ever got greenlighted with such a weak script? Was it thought provoking for you to wonder how such an obviously cheap production that can barely even come up to television movie quality ever managed to get played in theaters? THOUGHT PROVOKING? You've GOT to be KIDDING me! This is... hey, WAIT A MINUTE... (looking suspiciously at box) ...was this a Direct-To-Video release?

FRIEND #1 (upset): Of COURSE not, dude! It was in theaters like TOTALLY! Only it left its run before anyone got a chance to see it.

FRIEND #2 (rolling eyes again as he puts box back down and sits down at his computer): I can see why.

FRIEND #1: Oh come ON, dude, don't you get ANY of it? Like I said, even ROGER EBERT raved over it, dude!

FRIEND #2 (web surfing): Yeah, well, that doesn't necessary mean anything, either. From what I see here, he's probably about the only one. Rolling Stone Magazine called it "misery", for instance. And they've got a point when they point out that the movie is best when it's challenging such a seemingly fanatical belief and mocking those who choose to laugh at it. Now that should tell you something. (looks hard at #1) Look, If you're going to make a movie talking about the existance of God, whether this is a real "planned event" and all that, you've got to have good characters you can really feel for, beliefs which are at least grounded in something really believed in instead of just a bunch of shallow Hollywood-style stereotypes, and an intelligent script which actually attempts to make some sort of mature point as opposed to some childish kiddie temper tantrum. This movie doesn't impress me at all on any of those levels.

FRIEND #1: What are you talking about? It's PERFECT just the way it IS, dude! It's SHARP, dude! THAT'S what it is; SHARP!

FRIEND #2: It's a dumb, shallow script filled with dumb, shallow characters. And a very, very dumb, shallow, stupid movie.

FRIEND #1 (annoyingly picking up movie): Oh YEAH? Well, just you WAIT, dude! ALL true classics stand the test of time! Just you WAIT, and HEY, you KNOW I'm right about all this stuff, I'm mean, I'M the one of the two of us whose "with it", I'M the one who's all knowledgeable about the latest technology, all the latest trends, all the latest movies destined to be cool and classic! So just you wait, there's gonna release a Director's Cut ANY DAY NOW! (heads toward door to leave) And when they DO, I'll bring it RIGHT BACK HERE and show you, THEN we'll see if you DO get it or not once you FINALLY see the TRUE vision of this ULTRAcool movie!

FRIEND #2 (dryly; with sarcastic wave of his hand): Yeah sure, whatever. Drop on by and pop it in as soon as The Director's Cut is out on Blu-Ray and I promise I'll watch it again. See ya then.

FRIEND #1 (taking #2 seriously): Okay, COOL! Oh, uhhh-- (pauses in doorway) --uh by the way dude, what's a Blu-Ray?

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