With “Non-Stop,” Hollywood doesn’t just jump the shark, it embraces it (BIG TIME SPOILER ALERT)

non_stop_poster-620x356Just yesterday, I pointed you to Roger L. Simon’s post arguing that conservatives are making a terrible mistake when they bail on the movie industry. Our intensely media-driven age, means that increasingly hard-left Hollywood is a superb propagandist that often provides the only information people get on a subject. The beauty of Hollywood propaganda (if you’re a Leftist) is that it’s so subtle. Hollywood doesn’t do clunky Soviet-era posters; instead, as Ben Smith ably demonstrated, it wraps core Leftist messages in rip-roaring good humor, gauzy tear-jerkers, or uplifting homilies. Polemics put people off; entertainment sucks them in.

We’ve gotten used to the Leftist tilt in entertainment over the years. We whine about it to each other (as I have here, here, here, and here), but that’s about all that we do. We accept it as not a necessary evil but an inevitable evil. That attitude encourages a certain passivity.

Sometimes, though, it’s worth making a loud noise, and that’s the case with Hollywood’s newest action flick, Non-Stop. The film has a high-profile star (Liam Neeson), lots of interesting cameos and co-stars, a big budget, and a clever plot about a well-disguised terrorist on a plane who is killing a new victim every twenty-minutes. (Thinking about it, for all it’s flash and newness, the plot is simply a re-hash of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None.)

Superficially, it sounds like a fun movie for those who, like me, enjoy a well-produced, fast-paced thriller/whodunnit. Indeed, John Boot, writing at the conservative PJ Media, says that it’s a fun movie, and enjoys the way the ending is unexpected. (He also noticed the Agatha Christie parallel.) It’s that surprise ending, though, that has stirred outrage across the conservative blogosphere. You see, it’s not merely a surprise, it’s a “jump the shark” kind of surprise.

(For the uninitiated, the phrase “jump the shark” originated with the last season of Happy Days, when the show had gotten irrevocably stale. In an effort to jazz things up, they put the Fonz on water skies and had him jump over a blatantly mechanical shark. If a show has to stoop so low, it should already have been put out to pasture. Since then, the phrase is used not only to describe shows that should long-since have been shark chum, but also to describe plot turns that are too stupid to exist even in the magical entertainment universe.)

SPOILER ALERT. NON-STOP’S PLOT DENOUEMENT WILL BE REVEALED BELOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Judging by the movie’s review at Breitbart, John Boot is correct that Non-Stop’s creators managed to avoid having a predictable ending.  They did so, however, only by pushing a hard-Left world view that is going to be swallowed whole by every uninformed adolescent and young person who sees the movie.  That is, while one can appreciate that the ending makes for a good movie, it is so unreal — such a high jump over a such a hideous, faked shark — that it should be soundly castigated, rejected, and ruined.

As I mentioned above, the plot device is Agatha Christie on steroids:  people trapped in an enclosed space with a hidden killer bumping them off.  Today’s headlines say it ought to have been a Muslim, since they’re the ones using terrorism against the rest of the world.  If you’re a filmmaker who wants to add a good twist to reality, you make sure your terrorist is a well-disguised Muslim, along the lines of the British, Christian-born Black Widow who headed the grotesquely violent attack against a Kenyan shopping mall.

Having that kind of ending, however, would have failed to advance the movie’s real purpose:  propaganda.  Breitbart explains precisely what agenda the movie is pushing (and this is your last warning that there are spoilers ahead that will make watching the movie forever unnecessary):

Counting pilots and crew, there are around 150 souls on board. Marks has 20 minutes to figure out which one is the bad guy. Red herrings abound. Is it one of the many actors whose faces we recognize but names we can’t remember? People start to die. Marks is fingered as the hijacker. Who’s doing this? Why are they doing this? What is their motive?

Here’s the answer:

It turns out that the villain is not a hijacker but a terrorist — someone who wants to murder everyone on the plane to further a political goal.

You ready…?

The terrorist is a 9/11 family member. Yes, you read that right; the terrorist is a 9/11 family-member who lost a loved-one in the World Trade Center on that terrible September morning.

It gets worse…

After 9/11,  this 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist then joined the military but found himself disillusioned by the pointless wars.

And now…

The 9/11 family member-turned-terrorist is upset because America hasn’t done enough to ensure there will never be another 9/11. And so he figures that if he can get an air marshal blamed for a terrorist attack, America will wake up and anally probe us before we’re allowed on a plane, or something.

It gets worse…

The villain’s sidekick is a member of the American military willing to murder 150 innocent people for a payday.

It gets worse…

The one passenger on the plane who is forever helpful, kind, reasonable, noble, and never under suspicion is a Muslim doctor dressed in traditional Muslim garb including a full beard.

Screw you, Hollywood.

Non-Stop didn’t stop at just jumping the shark.  Instead, it embraced it and then made mad, passionate love to it.  The filmmakers weren’t going for an element of surprise; they were sending a message to those credulous,  uninformed Americans churned out by America’s public school system:  Americans are bad; Muslims are good.  Ignore the headlines telling you otherwise.*  Hollywood knows better.

So what can you do?  Well, I don’t recommend giving out spoilers unless people ask for them.  Otherwise, you will be deservedly hated.  However, to the extent that word-of-mouth is the most powerful advertising any Hollywood movie has, start mouthing off.  If someone you know, in real conversation or on social media, expresses an interest in it, you can honestly state something along the lines of “I heard it was stupid” or “It’s supposed to be really bad.  I’d never pay $14 to see a really bad movie.”

As a sort of tag, given that the movie stars Liam Neeson, I can’t help but remember that in January 2012, Neeson expressed a serious interesting in converting to Islam.  Maybe he’s done it already and this movie marks his coming out.

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*The usual disclaimer:  Not all Muslims are bad.  Most Muslims aren’t bad, but to the extent that almost none of them take a stand against the terrorists in their midst, the silent majority are complicit in the Muslim-inspired terrorism taking place in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia, Eurasia, the Middle East, and Asia.

If Liam Neeson converts, I’m going to have to think long and hard about watching the Narnia movies again. Sigh.

Liam Neeson’s flirting with converting to Islam, a religious quest made possible by the fact that the religion has great calls to prayer and everyone does it (at least in Muslim countries) — and, no, I’m not exaggerating when I belittle his expressed motive when he contemplates abandoning the Catholicism of his childhood in exchange for the religion of perpetual outrage:

On filming in Istanbul, Neeson told British rag The Sun: “The call to prayer happens five times a day, and for the first week, it drives you crazy, and then it just gets into your spirit, and it’s the most beautiful, beautiful thing… There are 4,000 mosques in the city. Some are just stunning, and it really makes me think about becoming a Muslim.”

Just to be clear, Neeson makes no mention of spiritual or doctrinal failings in his childhood faith, nor does he speak in any way of the profound procedural and moral changes he’d have to make to his life if he did indeed convert.

Thinking about it, Neeson may be on to something here, with his shallow belief that he can go on as before, just singing a slightly different song along with the muezzin.  As my cousin, who spent years ministering as a prison chaplain, wrote me in connection with prison conversions to Islam:

It is not a contradiction to be a Muslim and a murderer, even a mass murderer. That is one reason why criminals “convert” to Islam in prison. They don’t convert at all; they similarly remain the angry judgmental vicious beings they always have been. They simply add “religious” diatribes to their personal invective. Islam does not inspire a crisis of conscience, just inspirations to outrage.

Prisoners use conversion to justify their rage. Neeson’s admiring little speech indicates that at least one movie star type seems to being using it to justify just how shallow he really, truly is.

The only thing I find disheartening about this piece of idiocy is that it might affect my viewing habits.  For example, I never listen to Cat Stevens’ music.  It’s not conscious censorship on my part, as in “Everyone should boycott that man because he converted to Islam.”  It’s a more informal, visceral response.  Every time I hear one of his songs lovey-dovey 1970s pop songs, I get hacked off at the fact that he is now a vocal, proselytzing enthusiast for the whole Muslim package:  death to the Jews, death to America, women wrapped in tents, dead gays, etc.  My blood pressure shoots up, and then I turn the music off.  Fortunately, Snoop Doggs’ conversion doesn’t affect me because I wouldn’t have listened to his songs before conversion, and I’m certainly not going to listen to them now.

But Neeson . . . ummm.  You see, I like the Narnia movies.  I love the first, like the second, and am looking forward to watching the third (the delay is a Netflix thing, meaning that I put it on the list and Mr. Bookworm takes it off).  It was bad enough when Neeson foolishly denied that Aslan was an allegorical Christ.  It’s high blood pressure time, though, if the actor who voices the allegorical Christ has converted to a faith antithetical to everything C.S. Lewis intended to convey through those wonderful books.

Liam Neeson — great voice, little brain

Liam Neeson, who does the voice of Aslan the Lion in the Narnia movies, has upset people by claiming that Aslan could as easily be Allah or Buddha as he could be Christ:

Ahead of the release of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader next Thursday, Neeson said: ‘Aslan symbolises a Christ-like figure but he also symbolises for me Mohammed, Buddha and all the great spiritual leaders and prophets over the centuries.

‘That’s who Aslan stands for as well as a mentor figure for kids – that’s what he means for me.’

Apparently, despite providing Aslan’s voice, Neeson never read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, nor saw the movie, both of which are pretty accurate allegories for the crucifixion and resurrection.

Still, one can see where someone raised on a steady diet of cultural relativism might try to morph all religious figures into one big loving God-like thingie.   The problem is that C.S. Lewis explicitly rejected this approach in his last Narnia book.  Instead, he made it clear that there is only one God and that’s the Christian God.

In the Narnia series, my favorite book has come to be The Last Battle — which is the Biblical end of the world, Narnia style. Within that book, my favorite scenes take place after the Apocalypse, when the saved are in the Narnia version of Heaven.

When the heroes and heroines of past books arrive in their Heaven, they find there a Calormene. Caloremenes are Narnian’s arch enemies (and, interesting, given that the book was written in the 1950s, are clearly modeled on Muslims out of the Arabian nights). They reject Aslan (the Jesus figure) and instead worship Tash, an evil figure who is clearly meant to be the equivalent of Satan.  In other words, it’s highly probable that Lewis viewed Allah as a Satanic figure or, certainly, the un-God.

The Calormene’s presence in Heaven is, therefore, unexpected. It turns out, however, that the Calormene is an exceptionally honorable character who believes in Tash because he was raised to, but whose values are clearly in line with Aslan’s. Accordingly, when he arrives in Heaven, Aslan welcomes him, assuring him that all of his good acts by-passed Tash and were accorded directly to Aslan — hence his place in Heaven.

Lewis’ point, of course, is that the Christian God — Aslan or Jesus — focuses on man’s acts and is readily able to separate the wheat from the chaff. True religions encourage good behavior, but it is up to God in the afterlife to determine whether any individual actually “got it right” in terms of moral choices. God also has sufficient self-assurance to accept that some might not appear to accord him the proper respect on earth, because God looks at deep acts and beliefs, not superficial behaviors.

So Liam Neeson is totally wrong when he tries to morph Aslan/Jesus/Christian God into some generic good deity.  In the C.S. Lewis world, God is always God.  The only question is whether we humans have met his standards, not whether he has met ours.