FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Expelled is a non-starter

Posted by neuralgourmet on April 14, 2008

It seems the producers of the fraudulent documentary about a manufactured controversy starring wannabe smart guy Ben Stein are going out of their way to insure that the film will be a flop. They are actually withholding screenings of Expelled from critics. This seems like a reasonable thing to do if your film is full of spurious facts and misrepresentations. After all, critics have this nasty habit of, you know, criticizing and who wants that? Especially when you’re banking on people not knowing what your flick is about lest they decide to hang onto their hard won money.

And it’s a tactic that works when your audience doesn’t read movie reviews anyway instead relying on commercials and trailers. As Sean Means, film critic for the Salt Lake Tribune puts it:

This makes sense, from the studio’s perspective, since the people who go to see horror flicks and dumb comedies – teenagers and morons, respectively – don’t read reviews, and will be lured by those shiny objects called TV commercials. The same logic applied to the “Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus” concert movie, which was pre-sold to its pre-teen audience, who would have attended no matter what wooly-headed critics likeme had to say about it.”

However, documentaries are different. Documentaries aren’t usually marketable via trailers or commercials and people are reluctant to spend their money to be “educated”, especially by an unknown film. So documentaries are almost always dependent on critics for initial praise and to help build a word-of-mouth following.

Not the producers of Expelled though. But why? Probably because they know the film is terrible. Not just bad, but mind-blowing, gut-wrenching, claw-your-eyes-out-with-your-fingers awful. They don’t want critics to see it because they don’t want people to know, before they plunk their silver down, how abysmal the flick really is.

So I think we have to ask, why all the fuss? The film is getting next to no publicity outside of creationist circles, the widely reported disingenuous tactics and the general ineptitude of the producers of Expelled have already garnered the film so much negative publicity that perhaps the only reason anybody would pay to see the movie is to laugh at it, much in the way that people laugh at Ed Wood films. I think, inside of a month, Expelled will have come and gone and no one but creationists will care.

Well, to be fair, there are some reasons for rationalists to care. After all, viewing flicks like Expelled gives good exercise in deconstructing propaganda and studying denialist tactics (and believe me, denialists all use the same tactics). It’s also useful for pointing out to others the deceitful hypocrisy of creationist and ID proponents. Beyond that though, I truly think Expelled is a complete non-starter.

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4 Responses to “Expelled is a non-starter”

  1. patrick said

    just saw Expelled; Ben Stein’s goal in making this flick (i gather) was not to win any popularity contests (this by itself helps to validate his message)… his goal was to promote free thought, especially more thinking about motivations that drive American academia and a lot of other behind-the-scenes worldview that we tend to take for granted.

  2. mightymjolnir said

    Hi Patrick – welcome to our blog.

    Having read your comment and a few recent posts on your blog, I can tell that you are an intelligent, well-meaning person. I’m afraid, however, that you’ve gotten this one wrong.

    “…his goat was to promote free thought…” No, actually, it wasn’t. It was to promote the intellectual surrender you yourself describe on your site. “I don’t know – we can never know – we don’t have the intellectual capacity – therefore God did it.” That is not free thought – it’s the end of thought.

    Patrick, I’m guessing there have been events, phenomena, etc. in your life that you didn’t believe at first…then someone showed you evidence, it made sense, and you were convinced. Every scientist bases his or her entire life around the notion that there is specific evidence that would overturn ANY assumption – and I do mean any. I respectfully ask you – what would it take to prove to you that evolution is real? Is it possible?

    Thanks for visiting,

    m

  3. Patrick, I respectfully submit that you don’t understand what the word ‘freethought’ means. Freethought is the philosophy that we should form our beliefs on the basis of science and reason without recourse to authority or the supernatural. Ben Stein’s film in no way promotes freethought.

    But that aside, I think you have to ask yourself, as a Christian, whether or not you approve of Ben Stein and the producers of the film lying and resorting to deceitful tactics in the making of this film. Because that’s what many of us object to. We don’t care if you believe in God or think the Earth is only 6,000 years old. We really don’t. We do object to to counterfactual claims and deception in the name of promoting intelligent design though. It seems to me you should too.

  4. alexy said

    with the kind of intelligence that they displayed on that film, then it ought to be expelled!

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