BSP Episode 214: Red State
Release date: 9/23/11
Lionsgate (home video release)
Directed and written by:
Michael Parks – Pastor Abin Cooper
John Goodman – ATF Special Agent Keenan
Melissa Leo – Sarah
Kyle Gallner – Jared
Michael Angarano – Travis
Nicholas Braun – Billy Ray
Stephen Root – Sheriff Wynan
The host reviews were just slightly mixed. Tony was a Kevin Smith fan up through Jersey Girl but believes that Smith’s movies have not “grown up” over the years. Darrell had to force himself to watch the movie. Jill felt that it could have been good as one or two different movies but Smith didn’t solidify what this particular movie was going to be; things were meshed together and just didn’t work out. Even the credits at the end were broken up into three groups (Sex – Religion – Politics). All of them did agree that the performances by Michael Parks and John Goodman were fantastic.
Red State was billed as a horror movie, but once you get past the three teenage boys being captured by the Five Points Trinity Church, there is no more “horror.” When the phone rings and wakes up Agent Keenan, this introduces almost a “second” movie. The violence from this point on is more akin to an action movie than a horror movie.
This same dividing line, the introduction of Agent Keenan, also divides the two political statements in the movie; that of religion and that of the government.
The hosts all agreed that there are two elements of evil in this movie (Cooper and the government) but neither is the one true monster. The hero is Agent Keenan but was he truly redeemed at the end? Yes, he was.
Darrell didn’t like the hand held camera shots, he found it very distracting and thought it didn’t add anything to the filming. Tony thought there was too much off-screen violence; he wanted to have a more visceral reaction to the film. Jill questioned if Smith’s message was that we (the audience) are being duped… the media portrays all of these right-winged groups as monsters but the real ones still exist in the shadows and we’re being distracted from what the real monsters are doing.
Darrell brought up that Samuel L. Jackson was considered for the role that eventually went to John Goodman.
Smith wrote the role of Pastor Cooper for Michael Parks after seeing his performance in From Dusk Till Dawn. Smith said that if Parks had not agreed to be in the film, he would have dropped the project entirely.
Smith did not initially know that Michael Parks was a country singer early in his career (1960s & 1970s). Many of the country-gospel songs sung in the film were suggested by Parks during filming. Three of the six songs listed in the soundtrack were performed by Parks. After the film was completed, Parks re-recorded the songs onto an album.
Smith had stated that the original ending of Red State continued through with the trumpets signaling the Rapture. After Cooper tells Keenan to shoot him, Cooper’s chest explodes, followed by the remaining family members’ chests and the government agents’ chests exploding one by one. During these deaths, the ground shakes and splits, and Keenan curls up on the ground and closes his eyes. When he opens his eyes he sees the last agent killed with a giant sword coming out of his chest, which is being wielded by an enormous armored angel. The angel looks at Keenan, puts a finger to his lips, and says “Shhhhh”. The angel then flies off into the sky, and as the angel banks out of the picture the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse descend.
It has been widely acknowledged that there are ten “easter eggs” in this film. One is known, but the remaining nine will only be discussed by Smith once they are discovered by fans. I searched online for quite some time but I couldn’t find if any one had uncovered any of the other easter eggs. The first one is that Sheriff Wynan enters and exits the film with a shot to the face. Tony wonders if another one is that Keenan was named after hockey coach Mike Keenan, as Smith is a well-known hockey fan.
Your Producers for this episode were:
This episode was recorded: 1/11/2012