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Friday, June 13, 2008

OMG, Why Didn’t I Know About This Tuesday?!

posted by on June 13 at 16:39 PM

Apparently the new M. Night Shamalamayamamama movie The Happening is intelligent design propaganda. I totally skipped the Tuesday screening, because who cares about M. Night and it was going to have to be a web-only review, but I totally would not have been so derelict had I known anything whatsoever about the film’s content.

According to le Gawker:

M. Night Shyamalan’s critically-panned flick The Happening is Hollywood’s first blockbuster to promote the anti-evolutionary theory of intelligent design. Maybe you thought Ben Stein’s ill-fated documentary Expelled was the only movie to argue in favor of the neo-Christian idea that an “intelligent designer” created the universe. Think again. With its references to “unexplained acts of nature” and a science teacher main character who calls evolution “just a theory,” The Happening is basically a giant propaganda machine for intelligent design. Maybe science journalists are jizzing all over its allegedly realistic plants-attack-humans plot, but we talked to Shyamalan and we know the truth.

Avowed Christian Shyamalan told us that The Happening is really about religious faith, and explained that he chose Mark Wahlberg to play science teacher Elliot Moore because of the actor’s intense belief in Jesus. Maybe he also chose vacant-eyed Zooey Deschanel to play his wife Alma because she looks like a little girl who needs a big strong monotheist in her life? No comment on that one from Shyamalan.

We get tipped off to the fact that this allegedly science fictional movie is really an ID tent revival in the opening scenes where Elliot teaches his science students about evolution. He explains to them that honeybees are disappearing all over the country, and asks what some possible explanations might be. Students who say things like “climate change” and “evolution” are dismissed as being “partly right.” But then when a generally quiet student finally says, “It’s an act of nature that we can’t understand,” Elliot lights up and says that’s the best answer. That phrase “act of nature,” which sounds suspiciously like “act of God,” crops up in the movie again and again[….]

It goes on (avec spoilers). The horror! I will see it this weekend and get back to y’all.

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I retract my delight over your omission of this "film" from your film roundup, earlier on SLOG. Please do not buy a ticket to see The Happening, buy a ticket to something else and sneak in. I fervently want M. Knight's career to end; retroactively if possible.

Posted by Just Sayin' | June 13, 2008 5:06 PM

I'm really surprised someone was willing to put up money so M. Night Shyamalamadingdong could prove once and for all just how much he sucks.

Please do go see it so I don't have to, unless it's really so bad that it's fun to watch.

Posted by monkey | June 13, 2008 5:08 PM

As if I needed another reason to not see any movies by this guy.

Posted by Mike of Renton | June 13, 2008 5:08 PM

See also: The X-Men, Heroes, and numerous other stories about "mutants" that proceed from the premise that every so often nature spontaneously decides to advance the process of evolution by causing individuals to be born who can turn invisible or shoot laser beams out of their eyes. If not Intelligent Design, at the very a least it bespeaks a highly Lamarckian take on the mechanisms of evolution.

Posted by flamingbanjo | June 13, 2008 5:15 PM

@le gawker

Umm? "The Happening" has not been critically panned. I just read Manohla Dargis' & William Arnold's reviews in the NYT and P-I respectively. Both, gave positive reviews. I'm going to see the film.

Posted by lark | June 13, 2008 5:21 PM

@5, 20% on Rottentomatoes and dropping:

What's funny is that two of the reviews I'm read mention the premise as being "Al Gore - like mushy-headed ecoterror"

Posted by um | June 13, 2008 5:28 PM

Ach. Heard the director interviewed on NPR's Science Friday last week. Wanted to tear out my eyes. Further lost respect for Ira Flatow for letting M. Night S... spout off on all manner of bullshit without challenge. Ach.

Posted by umvue | June 13, 2008 5:32 PM

Frankly, it's worse than intelligent design. It's antiscientific nonsense. At least intelligent design attempts to use logic to explain things. This movie seems to be telling us that everything is too complicated to understand so don't worry your little head about it.

Posted by F | June 13, 2008 5:40 PM

I probably won't watch this unless it comes on my television while I happen to be sitting in front of it, but I wouldn't trust the damn Tomatometer as any greater barometer of a film's worth than I would the WalMart Top DVD sales chart.

Posted by Dougsf | June 13, 2008 5:53 PM

M. Night is massively overrated. Dude made one great movie, then spends the next 10 years making turds. It's disappointing to hear that he's a Discovery Institute guy, though. Hopefully Zooey Dewhatever just did this for the paycheck, because I don't want to hate her too.

Posted by kebabs | June 13, 2008 6:04 PM

I'm waiting for the synopsis to show up on

Over at the IMdb Mark Walberg says that making the movie has ruined his life.

Posted by elswinger | June 13, 2008 6:43 PM

10: How can he be overrated when 90 percent of people hate his films? I mean, the only people overrating him are the studios, the advertisers and the man himself. Everyone I knows thinks he's a piece of shit director and has been since at least "Unbreakable."

Posted by Jay | June 13, 2008 8:00 PM

No one should be surprised. "Signs" was also inarticulate pseudo-religious nonsense.

"Unbreakable" fucking rocked, though.

Posted by Big Sven | June 13, 2008 8:27 PM

That's interesting, whateveryournameis Amy Warner or something vanilla like that, but why did Josh Feit get fired?

Posted by Ahmet Vomit | June 13, 2008 8:54 PM

Josh was fired????????????

Posted by Jethro | June 13, 2008 8:59 PM

WHy do you hate Chelsea so much????

Posted by Micah | June 13, 2008 9:22 PM

God, Wahlberg, Deschanel and Leguizamo? I really don't want to hate them. I hope they got paid well.

Posted by wench | June 13, 2008 10:17 PM

I thought MNS was Hindu. I can't find anywhere he's avowed that he's a Christian.

Still, Hindu ID would be just as useless as Christian ID.

Posted by pox | June 14, 2008 1:57 AM

I just read an interview with him at Scientific American. He didn't strike me as particularly pro-intelligent design. Is your source really credible?

Posted by Jay | June 14, 2008 2:26 AM

Silly Mark Wahlberg character! Doesn't he know that honeybees are disappearing because of God-fearing giant hornets?

Posted by Bont | June 14, 2008 5:03 AM

Movies are just that, movies. Entertainment.
I don't take most movies as truth even if they claim to be facts. When I was a kid a friend of mine saw "The Exorcist" and claimed he now believed in Jesus. I laughed like crazy and he changed his mind. Maybe it was just a movie after all.

Posted by Vince | June 14, 2008 6:17 AM

Better to say, it's an act of nature we don't understand... yet.

Posted by Greg | June 14, 2008 10:24 AM

Soooooooooo, are you trying to say that anything deemed paranormal is evidence of intelligent design?

Or that the paranormal doesn't exist?????

P.S. The source of the X-Men's mutations were originally in-vitro exposures to nuclear radiation. They were billed as "The Children of the Atom."

Slog is a-getting to be just like a Comic Book blog. Thanx Mr. Constant!

Posted by KeeKee | June 14, 2008 8:28 PM

Err... I meant in utero... Instant karma for trying to use big words.

Posted by KeeKee | June 14, 2008 8:38 PM

The paranormal doesn't exist.

Posted by Big Sven | June 14, 2008 9:54 PM

Mark Wahlberg was much interesting when he was young and cute and barely clad, and no one cared what, or if, he thought about anything - including his thoughts on Jesus.

Maybe James Dean was smart to die when he did.....

Posted by Marky Mark | June 14, 2008 10:26 PM

@ 11. Link to IMDB comment please? Just trying to independently verify ...

Posted by idaho | June 15, 2008 12:05 PM

@27: I searched for a good while before I finally found what @11 was referring to here:

Says the director made him a nervous wreck.

Posted by drewvsea | June 15, 2008 12:54 PM

Oh, @ 28. That's not nearly as relevant as I'd hoped.

Posted by idaho | June 15, 2008 9:43 PM

You'd think that if they wanted to get the ID propaganda to the masses they wouldn't pick a director that sucked so bad. Didn't they see Lady in the Water?

Posted by Colin | June 16, 2008 12:11 PM

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