Sunday, April 13, 2008
Sean P. Means, movie critic for The Salt Lake Tribune knows a few things about movies:
Every semi-knowledgeable moviegoer and reader of movie criticism knows what the words "not screened for critics" means: The movie is a dog.
"Not screened for critics" means a movie is so terrible that the studio will take its chances, deprive itself of free publicity, and go without release-date reviews.
[T]he 19th movie of 2008 to be released without critical appraisal is doing so under quite different circumstances.
That movie is a documentary, opening nationwide this Friday, with the title "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed." It features Ben Stein - comic actor, former game-show host, conservative commentator and former Nixon speechwriter - on "his heroic and, at times, shocking journey confronting the world's top scientists, educators and philosophers, regarding the persecution of the many by an elite few," as the film's Web site describes it.
Who's being persecuted? People who espouse the notion of "intelligent design," a k a creationism. Who's doing the persecuting? Everybody, according to Stein, who narrates and co-wrote the film - academics, the education system, the legal system and (blush) the media.
I contacted the public relations firm handling the movie, and was told there were no screenings for critics for "Expelled." Critics in other cities were told the same thing.
Now, I have no idea whether "Expelled" is a good movie or a bad one. Like a good critic, I will reserve judgment until I actually see the thing. But I can't help but be struck by the irony of Stein's own words in the movie's introduction (which is also on YouTube):
"In my experience, people who are confident in their ideas are not afraid of criticism. So that tells me the Darwinists are afraid. They're hiding something."
What, pray tell, are Stein and the "Expelled" producers hiding? And what are they afraid of?
Maybe after the Scientific American (my post on that subject here) interview with Mr Mathis was posted, they decided that it was just too risky to allow the public - never mind reviewers - in to see what they had concocted? Friendly, "invited" audiences are one thing - the film-going public will hopefully be something quite different.
I will. I refuse to put one red cent in the pockets of these people. I even stopped using Visine. ;-)
Nice blog. I added it to my feeds.