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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 9: Fall From Grace


Nov 9: Fall From Grace

"The shocking story of Rev. Fred Phelps, the Westboro Baptist Church, those who oppose it, and those who chose to leave it all behind."
Directed by: K. Ryan Jones, Rated: NR, 71 minutes

Just like my previous review of Jesus Camp, this review of Fall From Grace, another controversial documentary that treads into territories, that will certainly inspire conflicting conversation. However, this time around I don't think you need to be a full believer in God, or a fan of religion to know that the topic of this film, Fred Phelps and his family, are terrible, terrible people. Fall From Grace is a documentary that sets out to understand the lives of Phelps, his family, and his church, The Westboro Baptist Church, and try to come to a conclusion as to where their hate comes from and what their message is all about. It's an unflinching portrait of a man that was simply overlooked by God in the creation process and his motive and mission to remind the world, especially the United States, of its impending doom at the hands of homosexuals.

"Ye with black souls shall be turned away at the pearly gates" Nick 5:14

As some of you may know, Fred Phelps is behind the picketing of soldier's funerals, the protesting at any event related to homosexuality, and the continued sign-holding of posters littered with offensive words and derogatory terms. He's a man driven by, what he says, the mission of God and he utilizes the Bible and his own family to spread his word of hate. Quoting scripture to fit around his own beliefs and pulling chunks out from here and there (none in relation to what the book actually states), Phelps has created a cult, made up of entirely his own family (60+ members) that all believe the hate he has planted in each and every one of them. Director K. Ryan Jones attempts to understand where such evil and wicked behavior stems from, and in Fall From Grace's moments of peeking into the secret life of Phelps and his family, we witness a terrifying world. Phelps has 13 children himself (four have defected from the Church and have "excommunicated" themselves from the family) and even more grandchildren. Each of these people, including the kids, have been brainwashed by Fred's hate and take up the church's flag with pride. Even the kids, who know very little about the subject matter of which the protesting is about, fully believe that homosexuals are the filth of the earth and that they will burn in hell for destroying America. It's incredibly depressing to see such young kids carrying the banner of hate and it makes you feel sorry for them and their upbringing.

I mean, f**k. This is just too much...

Fall From Grace's mission is not to have you sympathize with Phelps, but give you a first-hand look at the man and his family. The man is a terrible piece of shit and deserves no attention, and luckily this film interweaves interviews him with other Christian pastors, leaders, and regular people who have encountered the Phelps family. Its in these little interviews that we are painted a picture of the devastation Phelps and his family have wrecked on the U.S and how their protesting has given Christians, as a whole, a bad image. It's a documentary that's hard to watch, and really doesn't teach you anything new, as much as it reaffirms your own disgust for the Westboro Baptist Church. It's baffling that these individuals think that they are not only the savior of the people, but that they will get first class tickets to Heaven. They are worse than criminals and the loop holes they burrow through only adds to the level of filth. Only watch Fall From Grace if you're curious, as it will only lead to more frustration. 

The Bad, The Ugly, The Worst:
Fred Phelps, his family, and his church

Overall: 6.5/10

Discussion Question:
Free Speech is one of the biggest rights this country is founded on, but should there be limitations to that and an accepted courtesy that should be enforced as well?


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At November 9, 2012 at 10:12 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm ... I don't know whether I'd want to watch this or not. Just knowing these people exist is infuriating enough. But I am a bit curious about what makes someone like that tick. How does a so-called "Christian" (or any person) become that delusional and bat crap crazy?

At November 9, 2012 at 10:13 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I have no idea either... It's infuriating. "God works in mysterious ways"? lol

At November 10, 2012 at 6:49 AM , Blogger Ben Hayward said...

Why the low (ish) score? I haven't seen the film so I'm just curious, but was it the film that frustrates because it doesn't show enough or was it Fred Phelps and the church that frustrated you?

Also, I'd recommend watching Louis Theroux's BBC documentaries on the Westboro Baptist Church. He did two, spaced 5+ years apart. It's really interesting because they let him get really close and when he revisits 5 years later, some of the children he interviewed in the original have actually left the church and their parents have never spoken to them again. It's horrible.

At November 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM , Blogger Nick said...

I didn't think it deserved much more because the documentary was more just a peek at the lives of the Phelps' and "enemies" and didn't really have a point to it all. It was just a series of interviews strung together without a real central message.

I may check that doc out but I feel I'd be punching holes in the wall (and TV) in frustration at the people involved with the church.


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