Win Ben Stein's Movie

NCSE's Glenn Branch is known for his nigh-omniscience, and today he got a great scoop: the production company behind schlockumentary Expelled is going bankrupt. You'll recall Expelled: No Intelligence... as a movie so full of crap that even frontman Ben Stein acknowledges it's best watched while high. It's so bad that the New York Times called it "One of the sleaziest documentaries to arrive in a very long time," Roger Ebert said "This film is cheerfully ignorant, manipulative, slanted, cherry-picks quotations, draws unwarranted conclusions, makes outrageous juxtapositions, segues between quotes that are not about the same thing, tells bald-faced lies, etc." and the Anti-Defamation League said it "misappropriates the Holocaust and its imagery as a part of its political effort to discredit the scientific community which rejects so-called intelligent design theory."

For all that, they hired a top social marketing firm, the same one that promoted Mel Gibson's torturefest Passion of the Christ, and opened on a remarkable 1000 screens. It didn't stay on those screens for long, but it still managed to sell enough tickets to become the 6th highest grossing political documentary in history.

As I wrote at the time:

I don't see how Expelled can earn back what they've spent on making and promoting their crappy movie. Maybe that's OK with the producers, since the movie exists mainly to push ideology, and only secondarily to make money. Still, the money they hoped to earn from this could have been plowed into more ideological nonsense, had they not made such a crappy movie the first time around.

And I was right. The production company is bankrupt, and is selling off the movie, including all original prints, as well as the copyright and distribution rights, as well as all the original footage, including the bits of context which the editors slyly omitted in order to twist the true history. An interested party could probably have fun using that raw footage to make an honest version of the movie.

The auction is scheduled from June 23-28, through Rosen Systems, Inc., 2323 Langford, Dallas, TX 75208.

Bonus factoid: Paleontologist Don Prothero once won Ben Stein's money on his gameshow, apparently because Stein got all the science wrong.

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I haven't written a lot here about Expelled: No Intelligence. It'll be a crappy movie, and all the PR in the world won't change that. All the whining about PZ Myers, and criticism of his desire to see the movie he's featured in won't make the movie any better. Plus, I'm helping develop NCSE's…
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This is the bottom line I've been waiting for. I've been sort of picking up this vibe with the advance word, but here it officially is--the film critic for the Orlando Sentinel reviewed Ben Stein's anti-evolution movie, "Expelled," and, bottom line, said: "It just isn't particularly funny." That's…

I so wish I could afford to win that.

By Drivebyposter (not verified) on 06 Jun 2011 #permalink

Finally, some good news. I don't suppose a sleazy, right-wing huckster like Ben Stein could ever disappear from the cabloids because he's box-office poison, Dennis Miller hasn't, but it's a nice fantasy.

By Anthony McCarthy (not verified) on 06 Jun 2011 #permalink

I would so enjoy viewing the footage (cut from the movie, of course) in which I point out that Will Provine and I always invite creationists (including ID supporters) to make presentations in our evolution courses at Cornell. This was cut, of course, because it conflicted with the central premise of the movie: that mainstream biologists routinely "expel" people with whom they don't agree. I guess lying for Jesus doesn't pay in the long run...

http://lippard.blogspot.com/2008/03/other-scientists-expelled-from-expe…

I don't think Ben Stein was "lying for Jesus", he was lying for pay.

By Anthony McCarthy (not verified) on 06 Jun 2011 #permalink

@ Anthony -

As a conservative, I stopped paying attention to Ben Stein after he opted to sign up with Premise Media and its pathetic band of cinematic mendacious intellectual pornographers. I suppose one could say that GOD works in mysterious ways, and I think this is indeed a most apt judgement for a firm that almost succeeded - with the ever delusional Bill Dembski's help - in stealing cell animation video footage from the Connecticut-based scientific animation firm XVIVO for use in this drek, until they were confronted elsewhere online.

By John Kwok (not verified) on 06 Jun 2011 #permalink