Monthly Archives: September 2012
Time for another exciting phone call between Murphy and Isis!
Murphy calls Isis at her sister’s, where she is hiding out. Isis’s sister is Hecate (GET IT?) and I remain astonished that Isis has a sister at all.
But Murphy isn’t so much astonished as he is “a little hurt” that Isis “had kept her sister’s existence a secret.”
Yes, Murphy, because when someone doesn’t immediately give you her entire biography within one minute of meeting you, it is because she is Keeping Secrets.
This, btw, from the same man who didn’t call Isis for SIX MONTHS after their adventure in the last novel, during which Isis SAVED HIS LIFE.
Isis talks about the night she was attacked:
“Still a bit shaken up. I feel so bad about the guards. The police said that I shouldn’t go to the funerals—it’s too dangerous—so I can’t show support for the families. They must be devastated. And I feel somehow it’s wrong I survived. It’s my fault they’re dead.”
“That’s crazy, Isis. Of course it isn’t. I got you into this. If it’s anyone’s fault, it’s mine.”
“That’s crazy.” Stay sensitive, Murph!
Murphy wants Isis to admit to the existence of evil, which he considers a step in Isis “accepting Christ into her life.”
…no one could go through what she had without asking themselves the big questions.
He just hoped she came up with the right answers.
Because it’s just silly to imagine that a grown woman, well into her thirties and educated and successful, would have asked herself “the big questions” before now!
The upshot of the conversation is that the Parchments of Freedom Foundation just received a big-ass check from some anonymous donor (spoiler alert: it’s Methuselah), to be used to fund an ark-finding expedition, with Michael Murphy as the lead. The PFF apparently saw NOTHING SUSPICIOUS ABOUT THIS WHASOEVER, so immediately gave the project a green light.
As would be expected.
Murphy also sees nothing suspicious about any of this, because he jumps at the chance and invites Isis to go along. (He tells himself it is so he can “protect” her, because being in another state with a constant police guard isn’t nearly as much protection as being by the side of Michael Murphy.)
Then the author tries to get into Isis’s head, with disastrous results:
For the first time she was beginning to think he actually cared about her.
And now he was inviting her to go on an expedition to one of the world’s most inhospitable if not downright dangerous places. All for the sake of a biblical artifact. Which, of course, made perfect sense. Because biblical artifacts were all he really cared about.
Isis didn’t need any more time to think about it. She’d show Michael Murphy that she wasn’t some softhearted female at the beck and call of her emotions. Blast him!
HAHAHAHA!!! It’s funny, see, because Isis is a silly little girl at the mercy of her own emotions!
It’s so funny when a girl tries to do something!
-Crow T. Robot, Riding with Death, MST3K
Isis snappishly responds that she’d just love to go find the ark, and that she’ll be just fine on the moutain, thank you very much, because…
“My father and I used to spend every vacation in the Highlands, I’ll have you know.”
Hmmm, no mention of her sister. Interesting. It’s almost like the sister was a last-minute addition to the story and the authors forgot about her…
Murphy is grinning when he hangs up the phone after this very awkward conversation. Yanno, having a man be out of his depth when it comes to relationships can be done quite well, but not when the man is also supposed to be The Manliest RTC Man Evah and when he’s a pompous jerk.
He’s grinning as Isis is stewing. Asshat.
I think I’ve figured out why The Secret on Ararat is so much worse than Babylon Rising.
Aside from the ridiculousness of a real Noah’s ark and apart from the abysmal dialogue, I mean.
Babylon Rising, whatever its faults (and there were plenty) was trying to tell a story. It was a story with a repellant theology and a Gary Stu hero, but it was a story nonetheless.
The Secret on Ararat is a manual. Every chapter presents a situation that Tim LaHaye imagines a Real True Christian might encounter, and Michael Murphy shows the reader how to respond to that situation. Have a friend with a rebellious teenager? Just read Murphy’s response to Agent Baines. Has some evil atheist or liberal “Christian” scoffed at the idea of a literal ark? Please refer to the list of Really Fer Real ark stories in Murphy’s lectures.
And now Murphy has a run-in with Dean Archer Fallworth, Strawman and object lesson in how to answer those annoying libruls with their librul notions of tolerance and teaching what you said you were going to teach.
We are quickly reminded of how inferior a man the academic, liberal Fallworth is, with his “wispy blonde hair” and “whitewashed face.” Surely he is no match for Michael Murphy, Man’s Man and expert in “Karate-do.”
…Michael could feel a hand grabbing his shoulder and gripping hard.
It was a foolish and possibly dangerous thing to grab someone like Murphy from behind like that. Hundreds of hours of martial-arts practice had honed his reactions to a razor’s edge, and the whole point of the exercise was that your body would counter a threat instinctively, before your conscious mind even knew the threat was there.
I imagine it would also be a “foolish and possibly dangerous thing” to roundhouse kick the dean of your department in the head. But sadly, Murphy decides not to completely ruin his own life…
“You can be a hard man to track down, you know. And I have better things to do than chase around the campus after one of my professors because he can’t stick to a timetable.” [said Fallworth]
Murphy smiled. “Then why don’t you go do them?”
“Oh, and Fallworth, I’m rubber and you’re glue, so everything you say bounces off me and sticks on you, so NYAH!” added Murphy.
Fallworth’s pallor paled even further. “Watch what you say, Murphy. I think I’ve had just about enough of your disrespect.”
“But you just keep coming back for more, don’t you?” Murphy teased, almost beginning to enjoy himself.
Then Murphy grabbed Fallworth and gave him a wet willy and an Indian burn. ‘Cause Fallworth was being a big dumb doodyhead.
Fallworth realized he was losing control of the situation.
FALLWORTH was losing control??? Yeah, because Fallworth is being so immature and unprofessional!
Our own awesome Dean Fallworth (he of the button article, which I still want to read) points out an agreement that he and Murphy apparently have, which is that Murphy will teach actual, yanno, history in his class, and present his beliefs only as beliefs.
Murphy makes the ridiculous claim that “many reputable scientists believe Noah’s Ark is on Mount Ararat.” But even more intriguingly, he says that since Fallworth was not in class, he can have no idea of what went on.
Which just so happens to be true. Which in turn tells me that some of Murphy’s students may not be so happy with this easy-A course as Murphy might think. Remember, Murphy cancelled a lecture on how to map out a dig site so that he could wax on about the ark. Then he lectured about the ark for a second class period, presumably displacing another topic that was actually on the syllabus. Frankly, I’m not too surprised that a few students went to the dean.
Fallworth says nothing about this, presumably because he’s a professional and chooses to act like one. Instead, he inexplicably brings up the separation of church and state, which has little to do with the subject at hand, but it’s what Tim LaHaye wants to teach his readers about today.
Murphy points out (correctly) that the phrase “separation of church and state” does not actually appear in the Constitution. Fallworth points out (correctly) that Thomas Jefferson said it.
Murphy then points out (again, correctly) that Jefferson wrote it in a letter to the Danbury Baptist Association. Being a good little RTC, Murphy naturally interprets the wall of separation as only working one way: it should only keep government out of religion, not religion out of government.
“Most of our founding fathers were deeply religious men.”
Well, Murphy, some of them were. But Thomas Jefferson certainly wasn’t one of them. We are talking about a man who denied the divinity of Jesus. Jefferson took a pen to his Bible and struck out all miraculous acts supposedly performed by Jesus, leaving only his words and teachings.
I’m pretty sure that by Murphy’s religious lights, anyone who denies the divinity of Jesus is not truly saved and cannot go to Heaven. Hear that, Murph? Your beloved founding father is currently roasting in Hell!
Oh, and here’s another founding father who’s keeping Jefferson company down there.
Some books against Deism fell into my hands; they were said to be the substance of sermons preached at Boyle’s lectures. It happened that they wrought an effect on me quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a thorough Deist.
Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography
Anyway, it all comes to nothing (as might be expected). We are told that Fallworth is “Beaten back by Murphy’s command of detail,” but it’s really not Fallworth’s fault that he’s being puppeted around by Tim LaHaye, who’s much more interested in instructing his flock than in creating interesting and believable characters. And Fallworth doesn’t actually call a meeting or do anything formal to make Murphy teach the subject he is supposed to be teaching, because…Murphy’s the hero and Fallworth is just a pale ole academic who probably doesn’t know Karate-do.
Dumb ole atheist loser.
The next day, shit officially begins to get real. The cop parishioner calls the businessman (?) parishioner with some interesting news: there used to be a seminary where Carlisle said there was, but it moved to another part of the state in the 1950’s. (Damn! I enjoyed snickering at the thought of Carlisle’s seminary going bye-bye for reals). Also, some dude named Russell Carlisle used to teach there (gasp!) but he died in 1936 (gasp! gasp!).
(Incidentally, Carlisle never does give in to temptation and find out his own fate. So only we know that he will live to be an old man, and will witness such godless horrors as flappers and Rudolph Valentino movies. Also a world war, though I doubt Carlisle would give a crap.)
As the guys (I have decided that they are the true heroes of the movie) decide to Scooby-Doo this bitch, Carlisle is speaking to the “science and chemistry” class for the one guy’s wife. It’s about as boring and pointless a talk as you might imagine: Carlisle lies-without-lying-really again, telling the kids that he is involved in an experiment, but it’s not done so he can’t say anything.
I know, thrilling.
Yanno, even if we’re going to call this little time travel trip an experiment, it’s not like Carlisle is the scientist in the scenario. He’s the lab rat.
“Remember, students, if any scientific record contradicts the Sciptures, it is the scientific finding that is in error. The Scriptures are never wrong–”
“Mr. Carlisle–” [The teacher tries to cut him off]
“God’s holy word is so trustworthy, it is amazing how it is recorded scientific fact hundred of years before scientists ever discovered them, and has proven accurate one hundred percent of the time” [sic]
“The Holy Scripture, students, is always your most reliable science [mumble].”
[big innocent eyes] “Yes?”
What a jerk.
The teacher hurries Carlisle out of the room, impatiently explaining that maybe he shouldn’t be discussing how much better the Bible is than science in a public school. This, more than pants-wearing women and a multi-racial society and cars and airplanes and motion pictures, completely throws Carlisle for a loop, so much so that he has to find Marian the RTC Librarian again so he can pour out his broken heart to her.
Meanwhile, Our Heroes have broken into Carlisle’s motel room…
Hey! NOT COOL, guys! WTF?
…and they find Carlisle’s Bible, which he decided to leave in the room, when every other day he has carried it around with him everywhere he goes. The Bible has a dedication: to Russell from his parents, 1865. The guys are miffed, though my assumption would have simply been that Carlisle was named for his grandfather, and carries around his Bible.
Meanwhile meanwhile, Carlisle has cornered the librarian into a conversation about modern morality. This conversation is fascinating because VERY NEARLY EVERY SENTENCE IS A LIE.
“And I just simply mentioned the Bible; I meant no harm by it.”
Lie. He did not “simply mention the Bible,” as you can see above.
“And the teacher informed me that she could lose her job over the matter.”
True, in that the teacher did say that.
“Well, our nation is no longer built on the biblical principles set forth by our forefathers.” [answers RTC Librarian]
“We haven’t been able to study the Bible in public school for years.”
Ahem. (From the Anti-Defamation League)
“We’ve lost prayer in school since the Supreme Court decision in…what?…1962.”
“Children not allowed to pray in school? How unthinkable.” [Carlisle responds]
Yanno, it’s funny how the movie forgets Carlisle’s sympathy towards people “offended by the Church or brought up in another religion.” Guess his sympathy extends exactly as far as his own happiness in his privilege.
“Well, we’re part of a society that, for the most part, lives without Christ and his word.”
Liar. Also, try living without exposure to Christianity even if you aren’t Christian, lady. Pretty well impossible.
“And what’s worse, people are beginning to rely on their own goodness to achieve salvation…”
“…as if they could earn their way to Heaven when it’s a free gift from God through Christ.”
And is sorta goes on from there: standard-fare Christians preaching at each other.
Carlisle goes on to tell RTC Librarian about the absolutely horrible, utterly soul-destroying sight and sound of an actor swearing onscreen, and RTC Librarian isn’t at all shocked that Carlisle is shocked. She seems to think it perfectly natural that a man could make it to the age of fifty without once seeing a movie or television show that contains a naughty word. Exactly how dense is this librarian supposed to be, anyway?
But no, she just explains that that’s The Way Things Are, whaddaya gonna do? This boringly segues into RTC Librarian’s conversion story: you see, she had “always believed in God” but “didn’t have a clue who Christ was” (JESUS? WHO’S THAT???), and like all non-Christians, she was “miserable” and “empty.” Then she became a Christian, and now she can share lies about modern society with everyone she meets!
“I believe secular entertainment is one of the biggest tools Satan uses to mislead people.”
I’m sorry, I just don’t have anything to say to that except…
RTC Librarian brings it all back around to our theme, by decrying the lack of Jesus and his “absolute authority” in the movies.
Yeah, ’cause that’s how I want to spend my free time, watching movies about Jesus and his authori…
I can only assume that Carlisle sits around, gobsmacked, until that evening, when he goes to the visitation thingie at the church, which I’ve heard is this thing where people, like, see an infomercial for the church and Want To Learn More, so people from the church go to their houses and talk about the church or something.
Yeah. As you may be able to tell, I’ve never actually belonged to any church.
Carlisle is all upset because there are only about six people doing visitation, but that really seems to be all they need, so what’s he on about? He and Some Guy go to a house and talk up a couple, while the couple’s son watches TV.
The kid is watching a show that looks more like a soap opera than anything else, and a young man and woman slowly move in for what looks like it will be quite a chaste little kiss. (We’ll never know, because Christian movies don’t show kissing.) We’ll also never know because Carlisle reacts as though the actors spontaneously got naked and began sexing each other while simultaneously mainlining heroin and punching a baby.
“Oh, my. Oh, my, my, my…what is this couple doing?”
*he darts in front of the TV to block the kid’s view*
“Hey! What’re you doin’, mister?”
“I cannot fathom that this young married couple would kiss in front of a child! What is becoming of them? [sic]”
“They’re not married. They’re just actors in a show.” [The kid logically responds]
“C’mon, mister, get outta the way!”
“Everything alright, Carlisle?” [asks his buddy]
*cut to Carlisle’s face, gobsmacked and morally scandalized*
Back in his motel room, Carlisle uses the remote to watch TV for the first time. (And thus, I suppose, becomes the first man in history to hog the remote, gorammit.)
(I have to admit, at least they set this up properly—Carlisle has been in the 21st century for several days by now, and has seen people use remote controls several times.)
He is (and I’m sure you’ll be shocked by this) gobsmacked and morally scandalized by what he sees.
Not that the movie is going to show us what he’s watching, mind you.
Yeah, I had the same look on my face when Anya won Project Runway.
Whatever it is, it’s shocking enough that Carlisle has to hit his knees immediately and beg God to wipe the filthy images from his mind. So it was probably Jersey Shore or Teletubbies or something.
The next day, we find out that Our Heroes have arranged with the pastor to have Carlisle speak at the service that night (Um, on a Wednesday??? Okay, I guess.). They say it’s so they can understand what the guy is up to, though it seems to me that there must be easier ways.
Carlisle goes to the library and finds out that he can LOOK UP STUFF, but does the Christian (?) thing and leaves his own fate a mystery to himself. (Man, I would not be able to resist, but I guess that’s yet another reason I’m not a Christian.)
That evening, back at the church, Our Heroes corner Carlisle and ask him he knows the names of Professor Captain Stubing and Dean Barney Fife. Carlisle just brushes them off without answering, like a good Christian should, and gives his talk.
It’s really boring. Really…really…bor…
It is soooo just the standard stump speech of any Christian movie—all this sin TOTALLY means we are officially living in the End Times, just like all those other times we thought the world was coming to an end except this time, FER REALS. Our culture is horrific and movies and TV are so dirty and you’d better just submit to God and be ready so that you don’t go to Hell, which sucks.
Russell beats cheeks out of the church right after his boring little talk, because it’s almost time for Professor Captain Stubing to zap him back to the past.
But he makes a quick stop at Eddie’s laundromat. (I had almost forgotten that Eddie was part of this film!) He gives Eddie the gift of a Bible in Spanish (forgive me for thinking that Carlisle wouldn’t have become that sensitive and culturally astute over the course of four days), and also the gift of the You Must Say The Magic Words speech. Eddie, who has been to church many times, actually has the gall to pull the “Wow, no one’s ever explained being saved so clearly to me!” bit.
Sigh. Are we quite done yet?
Nope! Because Our Heroes are tailing Carlisle, and it’s a pretty tense game of cat-and-mouse, as you can see.
The farmers’ market is the most exciting thing in this movie. I want to go!
In the alley, Our Heroes confront Carlisle. He begs them to leave, but they want the truth, even though it’s doubtful that they can handle it.
Before things can progress to actual arresting and/or punching and/or running away like a wuss, Carlisle is zapped away in a swirl of light.
AND NEVER SAY I DON’T GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
Our Heroes look at each other, appropriately terrified and shocked. And the cop utters a priceless line:
“I think we just missed the Rapture.”
10/10 on the Awesome Scale
Stubing is not surprised by Carlisle’s gasping reaction to all he has seen and heard. A worldwide communications network! Cures and treatments for countless diseases! Clean(er) air and water and food! Women voting! People walking on the moon and under the ocean!
“Sin abounds! The Lord is not feared! Morals have replaced Christ, and with liberal teachings! Families are in disarray, no authority, no respect! The world lives without Jesus while the church seems to be filled with professing Christians who do not follow the Lord they claim to believe!”
Oh. Never mind.
Carlisle apologizes to Stubing for ever doubting him about being able to teach morals without Jesus, who made them all up. So sorry is Carlisle that he REWRITES HIS ENTIRE BOOK OVERNIGHT.
I’m not impressed by what he does next—he finds Roger, the marble-stealer from the beginning of the film, gives him a gift of a bag of marbles, and uses the gift-giving to hold Roger captive for a Jesus hardsell. (Roger, of course, JESUS WHO’S THAT???)
But the movie ends on a note of foreboding and stuff. You see, Stubing has another problem on his hands. He’s been thinking about the End Times, just like Carlisle, just like all Good Christians should. And he wonders how much longer the world has. His solution to this is to place a honking huge Bible on his anal-probing time machine, and try to send it waaaaay into the future.
Why he wouldn’t just try to send himself (yanno, LIKE HE DID BEFORE) is anyone’s guess. I didn’t even realize that the time machine could send inanimate objects to the future.
So, he sets the machine for the year 2100. It zaps a bit, but fizzles out, and the huge-ass Bible stays put. Stubing tries again: 2090. Nada.
Okay, Stubing, I think you’re doing it wrong.
LET ME DO IT, GEEZ! IT’LL WORK IF I DO IT
Not to be confused with actual science.
2070. Bible ain’t movin’.
And so we fade out, as Captain Stubing keeps getting closer and closer to OUR TIME…
Wait a sec…
I GET IT
Carlisle’s revised book changed the future, and now WE DON’T EXIST.
No. That can’t be right.
ROGER WAS THE ANTICHRIST ALL ALONG. CARLISLE TELLING HIM ABOUT JESUS CHANGED HISTORY.
CARLISLE IS NOW HIS OWN GRANDFATHER.
Or maybe not.
Hell, I dunno.
Whatever the answer, that’s Time Changer, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for being patient with me on this review—life has been busy lately.
Next time, on to more of The Secret on Ararat. Our next movie: The Penniless Princess!
More bitchin’ previews of fairy tale shows and movies—Season 2 of Once Upon a Time begins on September 30!
Okay, okay, I admit it: this is not exactly like my usual posting topics.
But seriously, you guys, has there ever been a more awesome idea for a movie EVER?
It’s like a glorious mixture of fairy tales and steampunk and ass-kickery and Jeremy Renner.
Oh, wonderous movie, how shall I ever stand the wait until January?
Just as in Babylon Rising, The Secret on Ararat contains multiple chapters written all in italics, as we venture back to the time of whatever archeological treasure Michael Murphy is pursuing. These chapters assure us that Murphy is completely right in every hypothesis, lest we doubt his all-knowingness.
This first Noah chapter takes place pre-ark, as we learn that Noah was quite the bad-ass soldier in his day. Sure, he’s several centuries old, but that doesn’t mean he can’t command a bitchin’ army against some dude named Zattu. Zattu and his army are trying to invade…wherever Noah and his family are living now. And because it just wouldn’t do for Noah to be Just Some Soldier, he is in charge of everyone, especially his sons (Ham, Shem, and Japheth), who are basically his lieutenants. They pour scalding water onto the invaders from atop the walls of The City, and Zattu and his men retreat.
(Now, damned if I can find anything about Noah being some tough-as-nails warrior in the Bible. Not seeing anything on his Wiki page, either. So, is LaHaye just blowing smoke here, or is there something I’m not seeing?)
Turns out this is no joke, because as supplies are running low and they’re getting ready to arm the children against Zattu’s next attack, Tubal-cain and his army arrive Just in the Nick of Time, kicking ass and taking names with “singing swords” which apparently cannot break.
PAY ATTENTION BECAUSE THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER
This all takes waaaaay too long and I’m getting bored, so the upshot is that Zattu’s ass is kicked again, and Tubal-cain convinces Noah to Bravely Run Away to the forest of Azer.
Now, Noah and Tubal-cain don’t know this, but all those trees will certainly come in handy when Noah needs to build a Big Giant Boat.
Blah blah blah God talks to Noah and tells him to build his big boat WE ALREADY KNOW THIS PART
God also tells Noah that everyone but his family will be killed in a flood, and despite this, Noah seems quite blasé about Tubal-cain just wishing him well and then riding off into the sunset. I guess it’s okay that Tubal-cain will horribly drown, because he gives Noah a Singing Sword and a box of stuff that will help him build the ark.
So long, Tubal-cain. You were enjoyed. Sorry about the whole drowning thing.
After the unfortunate hot dog episode, Carlisle heads to the place we all go when we’ve just had an existential crisis.
Now knowing that 1890 is way better than 20?? in every way, Carlisle accosts an employee and informs him—
HEY BRAD HELLER’S IN THIS!!!
Brad Heller is that rarest of things: an actor in Christian films who can ACT. He was the lead (or rather, “the antagonist, an atheist” in Late One Night, which is AWESOME and COMING SOON.
He is totally gonna class up this joint.
“I am sure this manner of dress arouses sinful passions in the customers as they walk by.” [says Carlisle, referring to a dress that is off-the-shoulder (I’d tell you more, but the one sleeve is all we see)]
“Sinful passions?” [answers Heller, with a nice “WTF, dude?” look]
“Yes, sinful passions of promiscuity, especially in the younger males.”
And perhaps the younger females, Carlisle. Let’s not be excluding people.
“We must be careful of the example we portray to our young people for the goodness of all society.”
“Sir, I appreciate you voicing your opinion, and I’ll be sure to let my father [the store owner] know, and I want to thank you. But to be honest, this is the first complaint we’ve had like this. Our customers, most of them don’t seem to mind this sort of thing. Okay?” [he wanders off, leaving Carlisle looking gobsmacked and morally offended as usual]
WAIT, THAT’S IT???
SHAMEFUL UNDERUSE OF BRAD HELLER, MOVIE! SHAAAAAAAAME
Oh, also: wouldn’t an even funnier response from the salesman be, “Sinful passions of promiscuity? Great, that’s what we’re aiming for!”
Bah. Anyway, back to the laundromat and Eddie. Carlisle has decided that it’s important to interrupt Eddie in the middle of the workday to impress upon him the importance of attending church. Turns out Eddie is a Christmas-and-Easter attendee, but that is NOT ENOUGH, as we all know. He also gives Carlisle the standard sinner response of “I’m a good person because I don’t lie or cheat or hurt people.”
Ha! Dumb sinner! He shall soon learn the error of his good ways!
Carlisle then spontaneously remembers the librarian who was recommended to him as a source of help by Captain Stubing. He’s able to chat with her only for a minute BECAUSE IT’S THE MIDDLE OF THE WORKDAY FOR HER, TOO, but it’s long enough to find out that she’s a good Christian and understands Carlisle’s “concerns” about the state of the world today.
After a long day of pointless proselytizing, Carlisle is feeling a mite peckish, and asks for a recommendation from a random doorman. As they chat, it comes out that the doorman is…divorced.
Oh, sure, he’s happy to be divorced and all, but hey, who cares about silly things like happiness when—
“The Lord hates divorce.”
“Hey, don’t be dumping no guilt trip on me. One out of two marriages get divorced these days—it’s not like I’m the only one. Besides, it was her fault—she was driving me crazy.”
“One out of two marriages ends in divorce…this is fifty percent.”
Wow, he is a professor!
(Carlisle’s horror at the divorce rate is a callback to his argument with Captain Stubing at the beginning of the movie, when Stubing expresses horror that the divorce rate in 1890 is five percent. But hey, 1890 was still a much better time—the good old days when husbands could beat their wives, and divorce was almost impossible to get unless you happened to be a rich white male.)
But, you can’t argue with the math, and the doorman doesn’t try. In fact, the scene cuts right here, and Carlisle heads to the diner down the street, even though it was recommended to him by a filthy, sinful divorced man. There, he overhears a conversation between a couple of teenage girls who are planning to go to a party where there will be ALCOHOL.
Newly-appointed judge of moral manners Carlisle calls them on their sinful plans…
“I am shocked at what you are saying. I cannot believe you would want to deceive your parents in this manner. … You are also speaking of consuming strong alcoholic drink which should be forbidden, especially for your age.”
…and the girls react quite how you would expect two young women to react upon finding out that a creepy middle-aged guy has been eavesdropping on them. They tell him to mind his own business, and they leave. (The movie doesn’t show them dialing 9-1 on their phones and holding their fingers over the last -1- until they’re sure he’s not following them, but I’m gonna assume they did.)
After dinner, it’s time for the church field trip to the movies. Carlisle rides shotgun, looking absolutely astounded as the van pulls out, even though he has been in 20?? for two full days now, and has seen thousands of cars and trucks. Still, he has not yet ridden in one, and arrives at the theater looking a realistic combination of terrified and carsick.
He has his Gobsmacked Face on still as he wanders through the theater lobby, even though you would think that this would be something he could easily understand. Sure, he may never have attended any sinful stage plays or operas in 1890, but he must have known what they were and what theaters looked like.
Then comes the bit from the trailer, where Carlisle shriekingly demands that the poor teenagers working concession STOP THE MOVIE BECAUSE THE MAN ON THE SCREEN BLASPHEMED THE NAME OF THE LORD OMG OMG OMG.
But I guess nothing comes of Carlisle’s massive hissy fit, because next thing we know, the whole church group is having an afterparty at someone’s home. Carlisle whines and whines about the movie, incurring the eye-rolling bemusement of two male parishioners. Their wives try to diffuse things by asking Carlisle about himself, and like an idiot, he tells them almost the whole truth: he is from “another time zone” but teaches at Generic Bible Seminary. He even gives them the address BECAUSE HE IS STUPID.
One of the wives, Ann, teaches “science and chemistry,” and invites Carlisle to come in and speak to her class, because that’s what anyone would do, right? The guy was a perfect stranger to her until three hours ago, all she knows about him is that movies approved by their church freak him out, and he is vague and cryptic about his background. A perfect candidate to come talk to a bunch of high-schoolers!
As the two ladies beg and beg and BEG Carlisle to come to the school, their husbands are starting to get suspicious. (The movie treats them like villains, so it is worth pointing out the little fact that their suspicions are COMPLETELY RATIONAL AND JUSTIFIED.) One of the guys knows that there’s no seminary at the address Carlisle gave—it’s now an industrial park.
LOL CARLISLE YOUR SCHOOL IS GONE
The other guy, a cop, agrees to look into things the next day.
Later, back at his hotel, Carlisle looks out the window and witnesses something that morally horrifies him yet again—a bunch of kids are hanging out and TALKING WITH EACH OTHER.
I KNOW, RIGHT? Almost enough to make one give up on humanity entirely.
Check out the guy on the left, rocking the spiky mohawk.
I think I’ll make this into a three-part critique, because things start getting SUPER EXCITING from here, as the two villains investigate Carlisle’s claims, and Marian the RTC Librarian tells Carlisle all about how much the 21st century sucks.