The abysmal reviews for Vic Armstrong and Paul LaLonde‘s Left Behind indicated the arrival of a classic wackazoid stinker — a movie so bad it might be hilarious. Alas, no. I saw it last night in the East Village at 10 pm, and I only chuckled four or five times. It’s fairly awful but never that outlandish — it’s simply a mediocre film made by untalented, not-smart-enough people. Among the least intelligent is Nicolas Cage, who really, really must have a screw loose to have agreed to be in this thing. Is he that desperate for a paycheck? Does he…what, hate himself on some level? In all fairness I should note that the fetching Cassi Thomson, who portrays Cage’s blonde daughter, handles herself reasonably well and somehow sidesteps much of the awfulness. She has a certain planted quality…calm, presence, conviction. Plus a nice rack. (Which director Armstrong is definitely pushing or at least allowing us to notice — don’t kid yourself.) Where Cage mostly comes off as a whore and a fool, Thomson manages to exude dignity.
The film is about a worldwide rapture, of course. This results in many catastrophes as drivers of various vehicles suddenly disappear in mid-voyage, leaving cars, buses and planes to crash here and there. I was struck by the fact that two massively obese males, passengers on a New York-to-London flight that Cage is piloting, are among the chosen. These guys are not just huge….they’re super-whales…the kind of astonishing Jabbas who would easily top 350 or even 400 pounds if they managed to haul themselves onto a weighing scale. Why do they rise into paradise when perfectly decent-seeming people are left in their seats? I’m not quite sure but I know one thing — the filmmakers are definitely telling us that destroying your body with compulsive over-eating is not sinful and that God the Father will not judge you for this. If you’re seriously devoted you get a pass so pig out, o blessed children…salvation is but a munch or two away. If I were in charge of choosing who gets to ascend and who doesn’t…Fatties Left Behind.