Second Glance, Part 2

The next morning, Dan wakes up to a room that has quite a few changes.  Well, it has no Bible study guide on the nightstand, and there’s a sorta-anime poster on the wall.  He finds the kitchen filthy, with a note from his mom thanking Dan for the use of his car, and presenting him with biscuits that she made (which are hard as rocks).  As Dan is cleaning up, an angel named Muriel shows up and explains that Dan got his prayer answered, and his life is now as though he’d never been a believer.  The anti-Christians, now Dan’s best friends, show up to give him a ride to school.  There, he finds the following changes in his life:

1.  Tamara is now his girlfriend

2.  He and Vickie are no longer friends

3.  Bull has been suspended for beating Ricky up for looking at Melanie (a fight that left Ricky hospitalized)

4.  There is no Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the school

5.  There is an empty space (and a significant musical sting) where Scotty (Jesus, man!) used to sit

6.  Melanie wants Dan for her very own

7.  Mr. Millner is no longer teaching

8.  Dan apparently cheats on tests, cuts class, smokes weed, and picks up random girls “at the lake” every night

Ruby:  I do like that expression.

Angus:  Nice new poster, Danny.  WHERE IS MY BIBLE STUDY GUIDE???

Ruby:  I see he still has the same ugly wallpaper and bedding set, though.

Angus:  Because, as we all know, atheists are pigs and only know how to order take-out.

Ruby:  Pizza, Cheerios, and pop: The Atheist Diet.

Angus:  And really, the mess is not so bad.  It’ll take about five minutes to clean up.

Ruby:  Yeah, but this is a slap to Dan’s mom, not Dan.  She was waiting on everybody hand and foot when they were Christians, but now that they’re atheists, she’s shirking her wifely duties.

Angus:  So Dan’s personal wish not to be a believer made them all atheists?

Ruby:  Guess so.

Muriel: Your prayer’s been answered, Daniel.  Today, you’re a man of the world.

Dan: Who are you?

Muriel:  My name is Muriel.  I’ve been sent to tell you that your life is now as if you’ve never been saved.  As if you’ve never received the Lord into your life.

Dan:  Look, what’s going on here?  Did Ricky put you up to this?

Muriel:  You were afraid your friends were having all the fun.  Now’s the chance to see what you’ve been missing.

Ruby:  Okay, this guy’s freaking me out with his smug, smarmy smile. 

Angus:  I’m not freaked out…

Ruby:  HE LOOKS LIKE A SERIAL KILLER WITH THAT SMILE!

(Dan goes to school and finds himself the boyfriend of Tamara.  I’ve talked in the past about how Christian Youth Films never show kisses.  Usually, they just cut away right before lips touch, as in The Pretender, but here, they get arty.)

Pre-kiss…

Kiss…

(It’s happening behind that locker and that guy.)

(Dan finds out about Bull and Ricky and the lack of a FCA, then Muriel pops in to bother him again…)

Muriel:  You didn’t try to calm Bull down in class yesterday when he was jealous, because you’re not sensitive to those things anymore.

Angus:  Yeah, ’cause no atheist could ever tell a guy not to beat up people who talk to the guy’s girlfriend.  ‘Cause we atheists don’t understand friendship and love, right?  Asshat.

Ruby:  And suddenly it’s Dan’s fault that Bull is a thug?

Dan:  Look, Muriel, level with me: what’s really going on here?

Angus:  Dan is awfully dense, isn’t he?  This has already been explained to him twice.

Ruby:  And Dan already believes in angels and answered prayers.  Why is he still so surprised?

Muriel:  The Heavenly Father answered your prayer last night.

Angus:  Because what with wars and diseases, he didn’t have anything better to do.

Ruby:  Scary smirking angel is still scary.

*musical sting*

Angus: DUN-DUN-DUNNNNN

(Well, Angus and I both pumped our fists and did the “Jesus, man!” thing here, but I’m going to pose a question for the commenters…

Where do you think Scotty is?

I shall reveal all in our final installment of Second Glance!)

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Posted on March 9, 2011, in Completed Critiques, Movies, Second Glance. Bookmark the permalink. 27 Comments.

  1. Hai, this movie no can haz Earth logic.

    Seriously, WTF? How the blazes did his desire to be an atheist have any effect on who taught at the school, or what students went there? Okay, I could make up a reason for Scotty – he went to the school specifically because of the Fellowship of Christian Athettes which disbanded due to lack of interest. (I’m willing to bet the movie will have him be dead, though, because that’s the kind of no-Earth-logic drama thing these movies do.) The teacher, though? (Unless he’s the one who’s dead. Someone has to be dead. There’s always someone dead in these movies.)

  2. “You fool! Harley Waren Scotty is dead!”

  3. Drat. It was supposed to put a line through “Harley Warren” – which was supposed to have two Rs in it.

    Lovecraft reference fail.

    Also, wildly predictable plot fail.

  4. Also, this is hilarious.

  5. Oh God, the fail. Ahaha. I can understand his friend “Jesus, man!” not being saved if he converted because of Dan, and I can even understand Bull (real subtle name there) beating someone up because Dan didn’t talk him down (though the athiest = do not care about sexism & assault is pretty FAIL itself). But why’d his family suddenly become slobs? What does this have to do with his teacher?

  6. So, here’s my secret theory: Muriel isn’t an angel, he’s a Q, and he just likes fucking with religious people. Of course none of this makes sense, he just altered the town with his Q powers.

  7. Muriel? Muriel?
    *looks it up*
    Hey, it is an angel’s name, after all. Who knew?

    *googles further*
    I don’t know, all this “angel of emotions, sign of Cancer” stuff looks awfully new-age-y to me. Do you think they (the filmmakers) meant to do that?

    But why’d his family suddenly become slobs?
    What Ruby said. It’s because his mother is an evil feminazi career woman now, no longer a Proverbs 31 good housewife.

    Dan apparently cheats on tests, cuts class, smokes weed, and picks up random girls “at the lake” every night

    Ooh, Springsteen earworm!

    Crazy Janey and her mission man were back in the alley tradin’ hands
    ‘long came Wild Billy with his friend G-man all duded up for Saturday night
    Well Billy slammed on his coaster brakes and said anybody wanna go on up to Greasy Lake
    It’s about a mile down on the dark side of route eighty-eight
    I got a bottle of rose so let’s try it…

    Anyway, thanks for the laugh after a day when I needed one badly.

    • Heh… I hear “Greasy Lake” and all I think about is that T. Coraghassen Boyle story…

      we wore torn-up leather jackets, slouched around with toothpicks in our mouths, sniffed glue and ether…

      Of course that story was about TRYING to be a jackass and the realization that being a dangerous character was just plain stupid.

      And so, if I get this right, god heard this kid’s prayer and decided to give him the ironic Serling treatment… Did god actually ever work like that?… no… no….flip flip… nope… No, that’s kinda a middle eastern/arabian nights kinda thing.

      Sorry, but some psycho looking “angel” tells me that the “heavenly Father’ is into ironic wish granting, and the first thought in my head is “Oooohkay, so God’s a dick?”And really, is there a downside to what this guy has been granted? I mean, sure, it’ll probably end up like EVERY wish fulfillment story, where the hero realizes that he “Had everything all along” But dang man, god’s ripping him off of all the good memories of the times he’s probably had with his girlfriend and all the drugs, parties, etc?

      The god in this story is a dick. He hasn’t given the guy what he wanted. He wished not to have been a believer. If hadn’t been a believer, he would be able to ENJOY the good stuff this god has given him. Fifty bucks says he starts getting holier than thou because he’s STILL got those uber-right christian values that were what he explicitly wished to get RID of…

    • My main association with the name “Muriel” is Muriel Spark, which is making these reviews just that little bit more hilarious for me.

  8. Yeah, even if it is too painfully obvious, let’s not omit the massively overarching FAIL of making Dan an unbeliever by presenting him with direct undeniable evidence of God’s existence (if not of His goodness).
    Did I mention FAIL?

  9. I guess Dan’s family all became Christians because he did. Because that always happens.

    “Dan, there’s no easy way to say this. You’re a dumb asshole. The only thing that made you a vaguely tolerable person was that you were a Zombie For Jesus.”

  10. I’m going to guess that Scotty is…suspended. Because he picked up a note from the floor during a test yesterday. In a prank which Dan played on him.

  11. Oh, and there are so many questions this poses that will never get asked because the movie-makers don’t have answers.

    “I never said I wanted my parents to change! Just me!”
    “Oh, so you really wanted to spend the last sixteen years dealing with the way your parents-as-they-were would have treated a son who was a determined atheist?”

    –Oh, sorry, I think that was meta-Muriel. And absolutely not something the movie-makers would want to point out to anyone in their target audience.

    “Okay, so Bull is completely psychotic without me holding his leash. And I’m sure it’s somehow my fault that Scotty’s not here. But Mr. Millner? How much of this is the school revolving around me and how much of it is the Heavenly Father making arbitrary changes to other people to make his point? And which is supposed to be easier to swallow, that the school revolves around me or that ‘I wish I was never a believer’ legitimately translates to ‘I wish you’d mess with everyone I’ve ever been in contact with as you see fit’?”

    –Guess that was meta-Dan.

  12. I never considered it before this movie, but I bet it would feel real good to punch an angel. Give him a nice pop right in that smarmy kisser of his. Just hard enough to lower that belt an inch or two.

    Catholic angels look like Alan Rickman. Protestants get THIS guy. The choice is yours!

    Where do you think Scotty is?

    Scotty is Dan’s secret half-brother. He doesn’t exist in the Wishverse because Dan’s mom had an abortion.

    It’s because his mother is an evil feminazi career woman now, no longer a Proverbs 31 good housewife.

    Well, if that were the case, you’d think she could afford a housekeeper. And her own ride. And groceries from Whole Foods. Still, I like the implication that being a non-believer makes you a bad cook — that wave of heat you feel right now is MadGastronomer going supernova.

    No, that’s kinda a middle eastern/arabian nights kinda thing.

    Although sometimes mischievous sprites get in on the act, too.

    “Noooooo Jesus! Hee hee hee hee! [whistles]”

    • MadG is surely a different believer. In RTC terms, her food is probably sinfully good and seductive (once they’ve tasted the Night Kitchen, how’re you gonna get ’em back on the scrubbed boiled vegetables?).

  13. That is certainly true. I was inaccurate, and should’ve specified non-Christian.

  14. Never mind the conceit in “It’s a Wonderful Life” is that the protagonist wasn’t regarding his beliefs as counter-productive, but rather HIS VERY EXISTENCE as of no worth. The point was that his life really had been of worth, just in a more subtle fashion than he could notice at first.

    A point could have been made in here that Dan’s Christian ideals–that is, the philosophy proper, not merely being saved–had still made him an exemplar to others, whether or not they themselves had any interest in any form of Christianity. Given the precepts in these editions of Protestantism, maybe let Dan notice that a fair number of people he knew (Tamara included!) are more somber, more dour, more fatalistic…generally not as optimistic, because the beacon that showed worth in optimism WASN’T a beacon. But instead, corruption? I suppose the idea here is that Dan was carrying a measure of the Holy Spirit with him, and that was quasi-brainwashing those around him into being more noble than they otherwise would have been? ({fumes} I have to wonder if, to dispensationsalists and their ilk, God ever intended for humanity to be capable of being good on their own. Too often, it seems like they think “good” is merely a synonym for “pious”…)

    • Never mind the conceit in “It’s a Wonderful Life” is that the protagonist wasn’t regarding his beliefs as counter-productive, but rather HIS VERY EXISTENCE as of no worth.

      I’m getting the disturbing impression that to these people, “not being a Christian” is literally worse than not existing. Dan’s gone all the way from net positive to net negative (and, somehow, dragged his family with him).

  15. Oh yes, there’s a video of more than just the “JESUS, man!” component here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LazldtMlxk

  16. >>>Where do *you* think Scotty is?

    Scotty was Muriel in human’s disguise all along.

    Scotty is dead, and it’s NewlyAtheist!Dan who killed him. No one knows it, because his body isn’t found yet, and Dan doesn’t remember he did it, because *he was on drugs*!!!

    Dan retroactively made Scotty’s mother an Evil Atheist too… *before* she became his mother. So in this version of reality he was never born, because all Evil Atheists are pro-choice, and, as everyone knows, the choice in question is *never* “to have kids”.

    *Dan* is Scotty. Somehow.

  17. I’m thinking Muriel looks a bit like Kevin Nealon on Weeds.

    Puts a bit of a different spin on things.

  18. The pictures of angeldude made me snicker. It doesn’t help that the movie makes Dan-boy look like a bit of an idiot for apparently failing to grasp the magnitude of the demonstration God set up ~just for him~.

  19. Loved especially the way the bullies went in the alternate timeline. RICKY THE PRICKY, IN HOSPITAL, NOT ABLE TO MOVE OUT OF BED!!! PRAISE R’HLLOR!! NOW DAN AND THE OTHER UNPOPULAR KIDS WILL BE FREE FROM OPPRESSION!!! AW… BULL IS DOUBTLESSLY AZOR AHAI

  20. Loved especially the way the bullies went in the alternate timeline. RICKY THE PRICKY, IN HOSPITAL, NOT ABLE TO MOVE OUT OF BED!!! PRAISE R’HLLOR!! NOW DAN AND THE OTHER UNPOPULAR KIDS WILL BE FREE FROM OPPRESSION!!! AW… BULL IS DOUBTLESSLY AZOR AHAI, SO IS THIS…

  21. 3. Bull has been suspended for beating Ricky up for looking at Melanie (a fight that left Ricky hospitalized)

    OK, SHALL WE POP THE CHAMPAGNE WE LEFT UNTOUCHED SINCE JOFFREY DIED?

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