Thursday, May 8, 2008

Albuquerque Connection to Expelled!

I knew that I recognized the name!  

When we saw Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed last week, I saw the name Mark Mathis in the credits.  I wondered if it was the same Mark Mathis who was once a local talk radio personality, but Don said it was probably a common name.  Well, I looked it up!  

It's actually hard to draw the connection.  But, through this website I found the website of Rampant Films, one of the co-producers of Expelled.  On the Rampant website you can find the bio of Producer Mathis, under "Inside Rampant."  Mathis is best know as a PR guy, so you might be able to lay some of blame/credit for Expelled's ubiquitous media presence on his shoulders.  He's also a founding member of "Citizens for Responsible Energy," a group that has such diverse goals as increasing wind power, drilling for oil in wildlife refuges and discrediting the "myth" of global warming.  

I remember Mathis best for his radio show, which dissapointed me when it was cancelled(and the whole, ill-advised FM talk radio station went under shortly after).  Mathis hosted it with his wife, Dianne Anderson(an ABQ news celebrity), and it was quite entertaining.  Mathis & wife had a great rapport and created a entertaining talk show about local issues, even if I disagreed with them about 70% of the time.  The biggest problem with the show was that Mathis had the awful habit of eating on air, so he was constantly talking with his mouth full.  Ugh.  Also, the producers of the show made the disastrous decision in choosing what show to air as a repeat when the hosts were on vacation.  Of all the shows they could have chosen, they re-aired the live coverage of Albuquerque's deadliest shooting spree in recent history.  Listeners who tuned in that day could hear a complete recounting of the live coverage from that tragic day, complete with speculation and news reports.  When I heard it my first thought was, "oh no, not another killing."  I actually had a chance to discuss that with the show's producer when she visited a class that I was taking in college, and she could offer no explanation other than, "we messed up."  

The reason I mention this is that Christian Cinema has what looks like a press release from the producers of Expelled, which mentions Mathis prominently, announcing that the film has reached #13 on the all time highest grossing documentaries.  Another few thousand dollars and it will pass Roger and Me, Michael Moore's first film.  Expelled drop quite a few theatres this past weekend, presumably to make room for Iron Man, and with the blockbusters coming out over the next few weeks we can expect it to continue to decline.  However, even with lower total theatre numbers, it maintained a respectable per-theatre average.  I'm sure this one will be eaten up on home video, just because of its subject matter.  

If you want my recommendation, pickup either The Fog of War or Grizzly Man.  #18 & #26 on the top grossing documentaries list, but those two films are both entertaining and enlightening throughout.  They will change your life.  The key difference between those two, and other excellent documentaries, is that they raise questions and challenge you to let go of your assumptions.  Unlike some others, which shall go unnamed, that prefer to tell you what to think.  

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