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A couple of weeks ago, we discussed Knowing, in which Nicholas Cage plays an alcoholic scientist who discovers the mathematical formula for predicting the end of the world. It was hokey nonsense, but it was at least competently hokey nonsense – in the sense that it looked and felt for all intents and purposes like a real studio movie. The subject of this week’s episode, Christian-themed end times thriller Left Behind, feels like the moment Cage’s quality control truly went out the window.
Or perhaps, as per this movie, it was unceremoniously summoned to the great beyond, leaving only Cage’s worst impulses to scratch out an existence down on earth. The one-time Oscar winner virtually sleepwalks his way through this film, often outperformed by his own increasingly alarming-looking hairpiece. We don’t even get the crazy but engaged Cage of movies like The Wicker Man and Drive Angry. This is the worst version of Nicholas Cage imaginable – a genuinely boring one.
So, why are we discussing this little-remembered dud? Thank this week’s guest and Patreon subscriber Chris Scott, co-host of the hilarious Ask Karen podcast. More specifically, thank the strange SEO algorithm that pushed Left Behind to the top of the pile when Chris searched Netflix for ‘Disaster Movies’.
Fortunately, despite a less-than-engaged Cage – who took a cool $3 million for just ten days of work on this movie – there’s still plenty to marvel at in Left Behind, if not necessarily for the right reasons. Based on a series of religiously-themed novels written by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, the film is essentially thinly veiled end-times propaganda, warning us all to repent our sinful ways, lest we be given the cold shoulder when God summons the faithful back up to heaven.
To illustrate this, the film is packed with hilarious stock characters each broadly defined by a single sin – the drug addled socialite, the unscrupulous gambler, the mother who’s leaving her husband, the… erm… perfectly nice Muslim. It’s pretty offensive, but so ineptly written and performed that it’s virtually impossible to take seriously. Add in some very shonky special effects and a laugh-out-loud hilarious choice of how to portray the moment of the rapture, and you’ve got a bad movie classic for the ages.
Chris joins us this week to discuss important ecumenical matters such as slutty air hostesses, baffling music cues, our concerns about Nicholas Cage’s financial situation and much more. We also put together some much-needed drinking games and of course attempt to resurrect this movie one more time with some creative sequel pitches…
You can listen to this week’s episode on virtually all good podcasting platforms, simply click the relevant link at the top of this blog post, or search ‘Beyond The Box Set’ on your preferred podcatcher. If you like the show, please hit subscribe to receive a new episode every Friday morning, and consider leaving us a rating or a review if you really want to do the Lord’s work for us.
Next week, we’ll be wrapping up our disaster movie summer mini-season with a modern popcorn classic that might today read as more of a cautionary tale than anyone would have expected. Until then, happy listening and remember – if you’re wondering whether the whole world has gone crazy or you’re just insane… the answer might well be both.