Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven (2012) Poster

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9/10
Gulf of Mexico = The end of times birth canal with the head of Jesus popping out somewhere along the Louisiana coast.
adirondack_park18 October 2013
I often enjoy films that depict the seemingly over-zealous behavior and thought processes of religious extremists. "Good People Go To Hell, Saved People Go To Heaven" is no exception. The audience is immediately thrown into the post hurricane landscape of Cameron, LA, and the "born again" culture with a Jesus-like person walking down the side of the road dragging his cross on wheels with him. Although he is quick to let people know he NOT Jesus, Lance's mission is to travel along the Mississippi and spread the word of the lord to all he encounters. As the film progresses it is obvious that Lance is not the typical born again type (at least from what I've seen and encountered). He is obviously very in-tune to his surroundings, and takes himself serious. At the same time he acknowledges that he is being made fun of and ridiculed at times.

Mitsi seems quite sure that the end is nigh, and it has begun with the series of tragic hurricanes that have laid waste to the gulf region over the past few years or so. On more than one occasion Mitsi uses the pain of child birth as the metaphor to describe the beginning of and ultimately the end of times. I guess the audience is supposed to believe that when the end finally falls upon all of us (or just the hurricane prone gulf coast) it will be comparable to the pain a woman feels during that last push as her child is born.

Mitsi's oldest son, Ryan makes it clear that he is not in the same, evangelical state of mind as his wife, Julia and that his mother and siblings are in. Ryan is seen most of the time, fishing, and away from his family. The audience is quickly given the impression that he is in a much better place when he is away from the born-again circus. During the filming Ryan is preparing for a seven month tour of Iraq which Julia sees as "God is sending him to the desert to get him away from golf and other attractions" that he enjoys. Looking in from the outside, is it wrong for me to think that God was sending him away to get a break from his obsessed family? It is Interesting to note that later, after Ryan has returned, Julia has toned down her evangelistic zest, and has become more open minded and tolerant to others, hinting that she may have broken free from what seemed like an obsessive passion for God.

Of all of the people documented in the movie, it is Mitsi's son Aaron who seems to have drunk the most Kool-Aid. Don't get me wrong. Being active in the church and singing Christian rock music is one hundred times better than using drugs or being in a gang, but as we learn more about Aaron it is easy to see that he is headed down a rather extreme path. It is the relationship between him and his girlfriend Lacey where we see how radical he (and she) is. Prior to them becoming a "couple" they would "talk on the phone for hours about God". Hmmm. o.k. I get it - You both want to make sure that you are traveling the same wavelength, with similar interests so to speak. Then came the punch line where Lacey informs us that, "She, Aaron, and Jesus are in a 3 way relationship". Aaron later concurs by stating that the two of them think of "God as a lover". I suppose this will work out well for him as all he wants to do in college is sit in his room and read the bible and pray by himself. So when Lacey is not around, at least 2/3rds of the relationship is in the room. This is a win, win situation for Aaron.

Eventually the film takes us to Mardi Gras, where we see Lance (aka earthbound-Jesus look-a-like) preaching to the revelers. I do have to hand it to Lance; he has a spirit and drive and sticks to his convictions. He engages in deep and not so deep conversations with some of the rowdiest people in our nation in one given spot.

While many believe that the hurricanes were/ are Gods way of "washing out the old", one pastor (former drug dealer and alcoholic) is quick to point out that Bourbon Street (epitome of wickedness and sin) was spared. Chris, another pastor believes that the end times are upon us due to America being so liberal. His shining exhibit being that "Homo sexuality" is now "praised" and not looked down upon as it was during ye olde times. Such people "are not children of god" and will undoubtedly spend eternity in hell, etc. etc.

As as I viewed the film, and watched the characters unfold, my mind was torn between giving the born again contingent a shred of validity or to just let them sit in my mind as those "crazy extremist types". This was until the very end when the audience learns that IHOP (not the pancake house, but the International House of Prayer) believes that a "Oprah Winfrey is a head pastor of a demonic religion". When something like that is thrown on to the table, all bets are off…there's nothing left to say.

"Good People Go To Hell Saved People Go To Heaven" presented an interesting peek into a people that not many of us on planet earth have the privilege of experiencing. While the people are diverse, the common belief in the rapture concept is clear. And if the quotes on the poster at the rally prior to the Mardi Gras scene are an indicator of who gets saved and who burns forever, then I know where myself and pretty much 99.9999% of the world's population are headed…To eBay to find a great deal on a fire-proof suit.
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1/10
Propagandist drivel
imdb-819828 February 2021
The gimmick is to film hundreds of hours of interviews, then cherry pick what fits your agenda and "shows" the attitudes and ideas you've decided you want, while tossing the rest. Don't waste your time on this one, it's just another attempt by closed minded bigots to demonize people they disagree with.
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10/10
Welcome to reality filmmaking!
keith-790-62356613 September 2013
If you sustain solely on a diet of fast-food and soda-pop then please do not watch Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven. If you enjoy fresh whole foods carefully and properly prepared then by all means watch Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven. This is Filmmaker Holly Hardman's carefully and properly prepared documentary about hard right Christian Rapture culture in America!

Holly Hardman is relentless and fearless, she manages to pull off succinct and congruent storytelling akin to the master of reality filmmaking himself, D.A. Pennebaker, a pioneer of Direct Cinema, which has been proved impossible for most and successful in few. Go to Amazon Instant Video, invest 599 pennies and purchase the experience Good People Go to Hell, Saved People Go to Heaven, there you discover Filmmaker Holly Hardman who is obviously of the elite few hard-core Filmmaker's who can knock you out of your seat and pull you into... reality film!
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This documentary is completely insight-free.
jonathancanucklevine14 February 2021
A total waste of 87 minutes. The film presents a small handful of apparently-uneducated southern (mostly) white Jesus-freaks talking about themselves. There is no study, dissection, or analysis of why delusional Christian apocalyptic millennialism exists or what it means to our society. The subjects need to be seen as cult victims, as the Abrahamic religions - along with their countless derivatives, and regardless of their age or degree of accepted establishment - are no less cults than Scientology, NXIVM, or Trumpism. As a documentarian, you either declare your intentions or remain suspect. If your presentation is uncritical, you risk being seen as a soft propagandist.

Look, we know these people are out there - a lot of them - and about the damage that their loopy belief system is inflicting on the culture, even permeating the highest levels of government. So it doesn't really help to simply offer a snapshot of the lives of a few of them without any commentary.

What's particularly disturbing here is the absence of any discussion of why raising children in these environments should be seen as abusive.
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