Persecuted, Part 4
Man, am I behind on this one, guys. Sorry.
Okay, so to recap: Priest Dad found some apparently interesting evidence on a tape that already basically proves John, if not innocent, at least not entirely guilty. And Priest Dad was then Killed for Knowing Too Much before he could actually tell John.
btw, in watching this scene again, I am struck by another level of incompetence of the conspirators. They shoot Priest Dad in the head and then steal his computer. Why not give him one of those movie drugs that makes it look like you’ve had a heart attack or otherwise died of natural causes? Again, SHOOTING SOMEONE IN THE HEAD only makes it look more and more like John is being set up.
At the Hotel Blue, Slimy Brad Stine has squealed to the FBI or whatever, and they’re fitting him with a wire. Why they’re doing this, I don’t know, since now that they (ostensibly) know where John is, they could just ARREST HIM, but whatevs.
(Slimy Brad Stine swats at a fly then, when he misses, holds his fists up at it, boxer-style. This marks the only time I have ever seen Brad Stine do anything remotely amusing.)
The FBI guys are actually a little suspicious of him. Partly, I assume, because he’s Slimy Brad Stine, and so who WOULDN’T be suspicious of him, and partly because Slimy Brad Stine is kinda a dick to people just trying to do their jobs.
Back at the
ranch church, Joh reveals the death of Priest Dad to one of the junior priests. Despite saying he was “executed,” Junior Priest seems far more interested in the fact that Priest Dad was John’s dad than in the fact that Priest Dad is a) dead and b) by “execution.”
(I mean, in a way, I can’t really blame Junior Priest: I was assuming that Priest Dad was a retired priest. But now it seems that John is the secret, shameful son of a priest. Which raises a bunch of interesting questions, including how a priest’s secret son came to be the head of a RTC megachurchcorp.)
Meanwhile, at yet another shadowy meeting, complete with Evil Music, Senator X-Men is staring in front of a SUMAC sign (what the hell does that stand for, anyway?), rejoicing in the vague bill. And just in case we weren’t sure that he is evil, he uses the word “evolution” (though in a non-science-y way) and then says …DUN DUN DUN…
“This is no longer a Christian nation. In fact, it never has been.”
Hey, I agree! And I suppose that only goes to prove how evil we are.
Then he gets a standing ovation for invoking Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and his own dream of a coming together of religions, just like people of different skin colors have come together. Doesn’t sound so bad to me, but then we see that John is in the audience (WHY ARE YOU THERE, YOU IDIOT???), reacting as though Senator X-Men had just led the call to evict all orphanages and kick all puppies.
Now wearing priest garb and clutching a rosary (yeah, I bet the RTC crowd just loved that part), John heads out to Junior Priest’s Volvo, and they speed off. Okay, tell me again WHY John needed to go to this thing in the first place.
Then John goes to confront Senator X-Men at his sauna (???), having changed out of the priest garb, but still clutching the rosary and now, a gun. He interrogates Senator X-Men, who bizarrely reveals that the bill is awesome not so much because of the all faiths coming together (though there IS that), but because now he’ll have the “oversight” to hunt down religious terrorists in mosques and temples and stuff.
This bill just gets weirder and weirder.
Senator X-Men calls the death of the girl and the ruining of John’s life “collateral damage,” and then bizarrely seems to start buying his own bullshit, calling John a “sexual predator.” And yes, though we have one of those in the White House now, that seems to be one of the sins John didn’t commit. So, WTF?
John then reveals that he has been taping the whole conversation (duh), and clocks Senator X-Men with the gun instead of shooting him.
And then he goes to the police and everything is cleared up.
HA. Yeah, right.
John spies on his daughter at school for a few minutes, then we cut to YET ANOTHER shadowy meeting, this time with the Truth squad, led by Slimy Brad Stine, at least until John crashes the meeting. Now, this is supposed to be a badass moment for him, as he calls to account the festering corruption in his own organization, but instead he just comes across as a homeless-looking crazy guy, threatening his former coworkers with a gun and blathering on about “tax money, blood money,” getting angrier and more hysterical by the second instead of calmer and more rational. Al does his best to talk down the raping, murdering, gun-wielding lunatic in front of them all. But it is all for naught, as John rants on about how he (yep, all alone), built up the organization, only to find them all now “in bed with the government.” Slimy Brad Stine is apparently no fool, and texts for help. John lectures them about Jesus for a minute, then tosses some bills in the air to symbolize their collective greed, then ditches his gun and fucks off, mere paces ahead of the FBI guys and gas who are now storming his little compound.
Junior Priest once again serves as chauffeur, until their are t-boned by an FBI agent. And it is now that the movie decides to use a special effect, slowing to bullet-time as the agent shoots and (I think) wings John. But a Volvo can take anything, and Junior Priest speeds off, though not before the agent wings John yet again.
(Hilariously, the Volvo speeds off, but almost immediately slows two seconds before the scene ends. I think the driver wasn’t told to speed, yanno, farther away, or the editor didn’t end the shot soon enough. Either way, it looks really clumsy.)
Junior Priest heads back into the church to upload the video of Senator X-Men sorta-confessing, and John drives off in the Volvo.
Then some guy, I think on the President’s orders, goes to Senator X-Men’s house and shoots him dead.
Then John’s Volvo breaks down (?????) and he runs into the woods with some bad guys hot on his trail. Why John doesn’t just TURN HIMSELF IN at this point, I have no idea, since the video of Senator X-Men’s “confession” is now on all the TV stations. But it turns out the bad guys are actually bad Secret Service guys, and they get into a shoot-out with the good guy FB agents. It all ends with John shot yet again, thinking about his daughter and flashing back yet again to that morning with MonicaMelissa in the rocking chair, which I guess is indeed a flashback to him coming off a bender. Not that I care.
He calls home for a dying conversation, and his daughter seems remarkably incurious as to why Daddy hasn’t been home in like, four days. And then John apologizes to MonicaMelissa for “shutting you out,” which might have more emotional resonance if we had ever seen these two characters interact with each other for more than thirty seconds, total.
All is interrupted when the bad Secret Service guy takes hostage a female FBI agent. Serves her right for serving in the FBI while simultaneously having ladyparts. Naturally, John, shot three times and suffering from blood loss, finds a gun and shoots the bad Secret Service agent, freeing the little lady. That’ll teach her to be a girl!
Anyway, John is totes fine and soon heads back to work. But he is there only to say “fuck all y’all” and get his Bible from his office and peace out. Which actually seems kinda rude. I mean, it wasn’t these guys who conspired to frame him for rape and murder. Al, especially, tried to stand by him and help him. Yeah, they supported the Evil Bill, but they certainly didn’t know how evil it was. But hey, ideological purity, right?
President Why Are We Acting Like He’s Innocent introduces John at a press conference, acting like they’re old buddies, so are we just supposed to forget that the Prez was all for framing John before he wasn’t? Guess it’s good to be the king.
I’m so confused right now.
President Just Fine with Framing Someone for Murder advises John to be “nice now, real nice.”
So John steps to the podium and…
Yep, it just ends there. John’s speech was too exciting for words, I guess.
Not exactly an American President moment.
And now I’m sad. Damn, but this movie was prescient. “He’s only interested in two things: making you afraid of it, and telling you who’s to blame for it.”
On a lighter note, hell, this isn’t even a Team America moment.
Now, this whole movie raises endless questions about who knew what, when, and exactly how stupid the filmmakers think we are, but really, my main question is: Where is John’s growth? Remember, this is the guy who gave an innocent gas station attendant the “don’t you know who I am” treatment, and who, even after getting clean and sober, continued to neglect his wife and daughter, and whose besetting sin appears to be pride, and after his whole ordeal, which saw his life wrecked before his eyes and his father murdered, all he learns is…he was right all along? The whole world was indeed against him and he truly is the only Real, True Christian?
Yanno, I expected the usual silliness of an overblown RTC movie that takes itself way, way too seriously. But I did not expect this to be so friggin’ STUPID.
The Penniless Princess was a more cohesive story.