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Rottentomatoes.com And September Dawn Reviews.


Bsix

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I am not so sure how much of a success this movie will be. As such, I'm not sure that this will have too much of a long-term effect on the LDS Church. It appears that the movie is headed for a rough ride with the reviewers.

So far, RottenTomatoes.com is giving this movie a "0" on the tomato-meter. It doesn't get any lower than that. There are only six reviews listed...and they are all negative.

Has serious problems in historical terms. But in this case they're exacerbated by the simple ineptitude of the filmmaking.

Frank Swietek

One Guy's Opinion

Forget Grindhouse. September Dawn is the year's first honest-to-goodness exploitation flick.

Nick Schager

Slant Magazine

September Dawn has the ham-fisted lyricism of political ads and pharmaceutical commercials.

J. Hoberman

Village Voice

The real problem is that September Dawn isn't a very good movie. It moves too much like a public-school history pageant and gives us mono-dimensional characters who speak dialogue that fairly reeks of printer's ink.

Richard Nilsen

Arizona Republic

This handsome indie Western damningly recounts the 1857 slayings of 120 settlers passing through Utah, but the didactic presentation, grim speechifying and tacked-on love story all signify a less-than-healthy regard for the audience's intelligence.

Variety

Doesn't even measure up to an episode of your typical, cowboy TV show from the Fifties like Roy Rogers or The Lone Ranger. Get my drift, Kimosabe?

Kam Williams

NewsBlaze

In fact, the movie doesn't even rate a mention on list of films opening this week on the home page of RottenTomatoes.com.

RottenTomatoes.com has a feature that ranks the 100 all-time worst movies of all times on its site. At this time...if September Dawn were to be included on the list, it would rank as the fourth all-time most poorly reviewed movie.

On a related note:

The movie trailer includes a several interesting aspects.

1. The trailer declares that the massacre was done "In the name of God." Is there any historical proof that the massacre was done specifically in the name of God? Or is that speculation or conjecture on the part of the film maker.

2. The film depicts Brigham Young declaring that he is the "voice of God" and that anyone who does not like it will be "hewn down." Isn't that dialog pure fiction? I know of no statement by BY saying such a thing.

3. The film depicts the moment when the band of Mormons butchers the Fancer party, with the commander shouting "MORMONS DO YOUR DUTY!" Is that fictional as well? Where is the reference for that dialog?

3. The character depicted by John Voight declares that he is "your God on earth!" Who Voight playing...and did that person in real life really say that?

Regards,

Six

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA!!!!!!

HAHA!

:P

Edited to add:

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

<_<

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Just two more days and it will be released. Has everybody had a chance to write their bad reviews yet? How many thumbs down have you all given it?

Six: There are no user reviews so far. Only professional reviewers on RottenTomatoes.com's list of official reviewers.

The "user" reviews pose an interesting dilemna. Most LDS will not view the movie and will not be able to honestly offer their reviews. Yet, I could forsee a campaign on the part of former Mormons and other critics to post negative reviews. Partisan reviewing can cut both ways.

Regards,

Six

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Brutal. Rober Ebert...one of the infamous thumb-guy reviewers gives September Dawn ZERO stars. I guess the movie is so bad that he doesn't even bother to write the reiview...he just drops a zero on it.

Six

*cough cough* *stifles laughter*

*ahem*

That's a crying shame.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!! :P

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Maybe I should see it and write a review. I'm used to enduring the horrible.......I once saw this movie:

http://www.somethingawful.com/d/movie-reviews/nukie.php

Disclaimer: the above review is not for the faint of heart, the pregnant, those with back problems, those offended by sincere swearing, and anyone who has faith in humanity. Reading this review may cause insomnia, acute paranoia, loss of one's soul, homicidal rage, coma, stroke, death, and halitosis. Consult with your doctor or Satan before viewing.

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3. The character depicted by John Voight declares that he is "your God on earth!" Who Voight playing...and did that person in real life really say that?

I think he plays Isaac Haight (at least he plays a bishop), but I could be wrong.
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More reviews:

Charleston City Paper (review by Scott Renshaw):

FILM REVIEW ‌ September Dawn

Mountain Muddle: The inept September Dawn gets a good hate on for Mormons

...

In the years since the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre â?? where 120 men, women, and children were slaughtered in cold blood in Utah after a four-day siege â?? opposing versions of the event have collided. On the one side, historical evidence suggests that leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ordered the execution of the members of a wagon train traveling through Utah from Arkansas. On the other side, there's the church's official stand that John D. Lee conducted an unsanctioned renegade operation. No movie could possibly reconcile the tangled politics, emotions, and beliefs.

But this one, from director/co-writer Christopher Cain (Young Guns) doesn't even try. Instead, it cobbles together a weak Romeo-and-Juliet romance and pastes it onto something that manages somehow to be both unintentionally hilarious and borderline offensive. It does everything but gasp and insist there are horns under the Mormons' hats.

...

At least, however, the romantic subplot distracts from a version of the story that doesn't merely insist that the LDS Church hierarchy, including Brigham Young (Terence Stamp), was in on the massacre. Apparently, they were also cackling in cartoonish villainy and twirling moustaches â?? er, beards â?? while plotting it.

...

Cain doesn't even pretend to try to make the Mormons human; here, they're homesteading Nazis. His operatic nonsense accomplishes something I don't think he intended: By treating the Mormons with such laughable contempt, he actually made me feel sorry for them.

CityPaperOnline (review by Wendy Ward):

The story of the Fancher party's massacre at the hands of the Utah Mormon militia, with help from manipulated local Indians, needs nothing more than a deft telling of fear and discrimination in an innocent field. Unfortunately, here it receives unnecessary melodrama.

StyleWeekly.com (review by Wayne Melton):

Competently staged, with a good cast, it still feels out of place on the big screen, like it was born to debut on television. Though sympathetic, the movie is so firmly fixated on its terrible central event that what human interest is included feels contrived.

That the Mormons were already riled up when the settlers arrived is well-documented, but surprisingly, most of the reasons behind their decision to kill are pushed to the background. Church leader Brigham Young (Terence Stamp, almost breathing fire and brimstone) is convinced a hostile U.S. government sent the settlers there to help in his ouster as governor of the Utah Territory. The movie plays down these wider politics in order to beat us over the head with a refrain: Young and his minions, save a lone scapegoat, never answered for their crimes. â??September Dawnâ? strenuously wants you to loathe them for it, but itâ??s hard when all they did was kill a bunch of extras. Unless it has some weird Asian ghosts in it, a movie canâ??t get by solely on a grudge.

2/5 Stars

-Smac

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A review by a blogger:

Watch it when a movie says the following "Inspired by real events"

As far as I can tell, it means the movie is most likely fake. It was INSPIRED, as in "You inspired me to make up this story".

September Dawn says it is "inspired by".

It is "one interpretation" of what happened. It overreaches, because it attempts to say that Brigham Young and the leadership of the Mormon church was behind the massacre of 120 or so innocent people. . Now, the story itself is a horrendously interesting one. Why would they feel it was necessary to claim that famous Mormon leaders were behind it all?

Professor Kathleen Flake of Vanderbilt says "you cannot support the argument that either Brigham Young ordered this massacre, or condoned it once it was done."

Yet it appears that is exactly what the movie makers decided to do. Why?

The answer is obvious.

Hollywood is trying to shove their religion down our throat.

-Smac

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A countervailing view (from an apparently Protestant blogger):

So...what are you doing Friday? Have you heard of the new movie September Dawn? This is a film that deserves our support.

Christian author, Kathi Macias (http://www.kathimacias.com/), had the awesome opportunity to be involved with the writing of this movie. The film is controversial, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) has been trying to stop its release.

Utter bilge. The Church has done no such thing.

According to Kathi, the movie is the true story of "the massacre of almost an entire wagon train of settlers (mostly Christians) by Mormons on September 11 (9-11!) 1857."

In a recent e-mail from Kathi, she said, "Ladies and gentlemen, barring a successful last-ditch attempt by the LDS Church, 'September Dawn,' starring Jon Voigt, will finally release nationwide..." on Friday, August 24th.

So one of the movie's writers is suggesting that the LDS Church is trying to stop the release of this movie.

Sounds kinda desperate.

If you wish to help this movie succeed, the best thing you can do is see it this weekend. My husband has checked online and, while it is not showing in our town, it will be at Tinsel Town in Colorado Springs and my husband and I are planning to drive up for a Friday night date.

Invite your friends to join you! Take a crowd. Or let your friends and church know about it. Send them an e-mail and, if you wish, point them to this blog for more information.

Hope to see you at the movies this Friday! Enjoy the popcorn.

-Smac

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Wow. Here's a review that gives September Dawn 4/5 stars:

It is shocking to see what human beings are capable of doing in the name of their beliefs and convictions. September Dawn is a good example of such savagery. Christopher Cain (Young Guns, The Principal, and The Next Karate Kid) directs, co-writes, and co-produces a controversial film covering the journey of a wagon train heading for California that stops in the wrong place at the wrong time. The last time I felt this hurt and angry at an injustice was while watching Passion of the Christ. Any movie that brings out feelings in such a manner has got to be good.

It does?

The team of actors was well equipped with performances by Jon Voight as Mormon Bishop Jacob Samuelson and Terence Stamp as Territorial Governor Brigham Young. Jon and Terence easily turn themselves into characters that you love to hate.

So true. That is, after all, one of the main points of the movie: Fomenting animosity against the LDS Church and its members (IMHO).

Trent Ford also brings a strong performance as one of Jacob's sons, Jonathan, who realizes the absurdity of his religious leaders, especially his own father.

This is another main point of the movie: Portraying the LDS Church as "absurd." And evil.

A particular scene was reminiscent of the holocaust victims being lead to a brutal death in the gas chambers. These people were considered a threat and thus brought to "religious justice". "Go do Jehovah's duty" is what you hear amongst the Mormon brethren as they carry out this justice.

One of the previous reviews said that the Mormons are characterized as "homesteading Nazis." That sounds about right.

I must admit that I was in disbelief to see that early Mormons would be capable of such a monstrosity. I warn all Mormons and those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints . . . you will be offended by this movie. As far as everyone else is concerned, this is for those who would like to see a well presented slice of early American history. Whether or not the film is accurate in regards to who is to blame, as the Oracle told Neo, "you're gonna have to make up your own damn mind".

-Smac

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Is anyone from FARMS planning on dissecting the film, or am I going to have to rent it?

There will be a FARMS review.

Even as we speak, the reviewer is gathering his invectives, creating acrostics, collecting slanders and libels against the participants in the making of the film, thinking up new and more vicious ad hominems, and shedding his ethical inhibitions. Our typical reviewing process, in other words.

Incidentally, today at BYU Education Week, I give three lectures. One of them is entitled "The Best of the FARMS Review: 'No More Uncontested Slam Dunks.'"

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It is shocking to see what human beings are capable of doing in the name of their beliefs and convictions. September Dawn is a good example of such savagery.

When I first read this part of the review, I thought the author was suggesting that September Dung was a shocking act of savagery perpetrated in the name of beliefs and convictions.

Despite the rest of the review clearly cheerleading the film, I cannot help but think the reviewers words were actually a Fruedian slip.

If so, I happen to agree with him.

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Six: There are no user reviews so far. Only professional reviewers on RottenTomatoes.com's list of official reviewers.

The "user" reviews pose an interesting dilemna. Most LDS will not view the movie and will not be able to honestly offer their reviews. Yet, I could forsee a campaign on the part of former Mormons and other critics to post negative reviews. Partisan reviewing can cut both ways.

Regards,

Six

I reviewed "September Dawn" on my blog here at MADB on June 13th. I was able to attend a special screening and I wrote about my impressions of the movie. I'm hoping others here at MADB will see the movie so I can read their opinions also.

What's a "user review"? Could I post my review on Rottentomatoes? I agree most LDS will not see it, since apparently it got an R rating. I'm surprised--seemed like PG-13 to me. It certainly was no more violent than the "Lord of the Rings" movies.

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Hugh Hewitt spent two hours talking about it with Jon Voight and director Chris Cain yesterday (8/21).

The first part of the transcript is here and the audio for hour one here and hour two here. The balance of the transcript will be posted here when it becomes available.

Here's Director Christopher Cain's comments about the involvement of Brigham Young:

HH: The Mormons donâ??t deny that. In fact, I believe Gordon Hinckleyâ??s going down there on September 11th this year to help commemorate the massacre that occurred. So they donâ??t deny that. Whatâ??s the controversy about that? Is it the treatment of Brigham Young in the film?

CC: I think so. I think the controversy is the involvement of Brigham Young.

HH: And whatâ??s your understanding of that involvement?

CC: Well, we did a lot of research on this, and tried to dig up everything we could find. And in our opinion, and in the opinion of a lot of historians, and even quite a few Mormon historians, that he certainly knew about it, certainly was created a spirit for that specific time in history to allow this to happen, if not giving direct orders.

HH: And Jon Voight, your understanding of what Brigham Young did?

JV: Yeah, well, first, let me say that the LDS Church just came out very recently, and perhaps because of the film, with a rather comprehensive statement that was by their managing director of family and Church history, the department there, and his name is Richard E. Turley.

HH: Oh, Iâ??ve got that, the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

JV: Yeah.

HH: Itâ??s a good statement.

JV: Very, very strong statement that really parallels everything that we have in the film, right up to the door of Brigham Young.

It does?

He must have a different version than the one I read.

JV: It doesnâ??t pass that threshold, but it really does a very, I think, a very scholarly job of describing the events. So anyway, what is my opinion? And I have to say, when I read the script, it was very shocking to me, but it was, I read it very quickly in one sitting, and then I went right to the computer, and I looked up all the stuff that I could, and printed out all the pages that I could possibly absorb, and then went to a couple of books. And in all of the research that Iâ??ve come up with, and the most telling, I believe, was by Mormons themselves, a fellow by the name of Josiah F. Gibbs, who wrote some twenty years or so after the massacre, was a child at the time of the massacre, and the confession of John D. Lee himself, who maintained his loyalty to the Mormon Church to the end, but felt he was a scapegoat, and was the adopted son of Brigham Young, and you know, some people in our contemporary world have written books recently, and one was the Blood of the Prophets by Will Bagley, a whole array of stuff.

So his resources were recollections of Josiah F. Gibbs (a child at the time of the massacre), the "confession of John D. Lee" (which was heavily doctored by Lee's defense attorney) and Bagley's Blood of the Prophets (which relies on the theory that nothing happened in the entire Utah Territory without Brigham Young knowing about it, so BY must have known about it - oh, and Bagley also misrepresents Dimick Huntington's journal to corroborate this theory).

Impressive.

JV: What I have come to understand from all my reading, and I can go, I can give you, you know, line and verse and all of that, I would say he definitely knew.

Yes. That's why he sent Haslam back to Cedar City with urgent instructions to leave the immigrants alone. That was all about plausible deniability, that's all.

JV: And I would say that because it was an autocracy at that time, and I donâ??t think any Mormon would describe it any differently, knowing the history of their own Church, that he would have to have known.

Except the historical record shows that he didn't know, and that when he found out the situation, he took immediate steps to prevent any harm to the immigrants.

But putting aside the historical record, hostile and unsubstantiated (and, in Bagley's case, fabricated evidence) shows that "he would have to have known."

HH: And Chris Cain, do you think itâ??s an open and shut case? Or is there a legitimate debate about Brigham Youngâ??s participation in this?

CC: Well, I think thereâ??s a legitimate debate. As to whether he knew about it, I think itâ??s an open and shut case.

It is?

Boy, it sure must be nice to be a Hollywood director. He must have access to all sorts of historical records that professional historians have never seen.

CC: As to whether he specifically ordered the demise of this specific wagon train, I think thereâ??s a debate there, and the debate in my mind would be if I were to say to you remove those people, that can mean send them on their way, or it can mean remove them physically. So whether somebody misinterpreted what was said, whether someone misinterpreted what was done, or whether he actually meant remove them totally is probably the only place I think thereâ??s room for debate.

"Remove those people?" What is he talking about here?

HH: Let me read to you what they say about communication too late. President Brigham Youngâ??s express message of reply to hate, whoâ??s the guy in charge on the scenes, dated September 10th. Arrived in Cedar City two days after the massacre, his letter reported recent news that no U.S. troops would be able to reach the territory before winter. So you see that the Lord has answered our prayers, and again averted the blow designed for our heads, he wrote. In regard to emigration trains passing through your settlements, Young continued, we must not interfere with them until they are first notified to keep away. You must not meddle with them. The Indians, we expect, will do as they please, but you should try and preserve good feelings with them. There are no other trains going south that I know of. If those who are there will leave, let them go in peace. While we should be on the alert on hand and always ready, we should also possess ourselves in patience, preserving ourselves in property, ever remembering that God rules. Chris Cain, what do you make of that letter? Was it an intentional manipulation of the record?

CC: Nobodyâ??s really ever found that letter. In Brigham Youngâ??s deposition, they asked him about the letter, and asked him if he had it, and he said he searched for it, but was unable to find it, unable to locate it.

Wow. Christopher Cain really did his homework.

A copy of the letter exists.

Brigham Young to Isaac C. Haight, Sept. 10, 1857, Letterpress Copybook 3:827â??28, Brigham Young Office Files, Church Archives.

It's even cited by Turley in his Ensign article, the one Voigt read and thought was fair, and the one that Hewitt just quoted verbatim.

CC: So itâ??s one of those things where nobodyâ??s ever seen the letter. Itâ??s never surfaced. Or the guy that supposedly took it.

HH: Oh, thatâ??s interesting. I didnâ??t know that.

I can't blame HH for not knowing this detail on the fly. But I think CC should have known better. After all, he's the guy who has spent 2 years making a movie about the subject.

HH: And so the defense offered up of Brigham Young by Brigham Young defenders is based upon what? Heresay? Is that where that came from?

CC: I donâ??t know where it came from. Nobody really knows where it came from.

Nobody except, well, everybody who knows about the Letterpress Copybook.

HH: HH: Jon Voight, and so you donâ??t consider that as dispositive either?

JV: Well, there is controversy about the letter, so that is one thing. And then in his testimony from the government, he said something about the first time he heard about it was from floating rumor, something like that, didnâ??t he?

CC: Yeah, they asked him when he had first heard about it, and he said they asked him if heâ??d heard about it, and he says only through floating rumor, so the idea being if heâ??d only heard about it through floating rumor after the fact, why would he have sent a letter before the fact?

The letter Brigham Young received supposedly said: "The Indians have gotten the emigrants coralled at Mountain Meadows and Lee wants to know what to do."

Perhaps Haslam told him more details verbally. In any event, it seems rather clear that BY knew that the immigrants needed to be left alone, and that the local Mormons needed to be told to leave them alone.

But all of this happened before the massacre. His deposition testimony was about when he learned about the massacre after it happened. There's no contradiction.

Here's the deposition testimony of Brigham Young that Chris Cain is referencing:

Eighth -- When did you first hear of the attack and destruction of this Arkansas company at Mountain Meadows, in September 1857?

Answer -- I did not learn anything of the attack or destruction of the Arkansas company until some time after it occurred -- then only by floating rumor.

Chris Cain is playing fast and loose with the facts.

-Smac

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There will be a FARMS review.

Even as we speak, the reviewer is gathering his invectives, creating acrostics, collecting slanders and libels against the participants in the making of the film, thinking up new and more vicious ad hominems, and shedding his ethical inhibitions. Our typical reviewing process, in other words.

Incidentally, today at BYU Education Week, I give three lectures. One of them is entitled "The Best of the FARMS Review: 'No More Uncontested Slam Dunks.'"

Same old FARMS review.

In memory of Elder Maxwell, I presume?

Where can any trascripts be acquired? Does Education Week provide those who cannot attend a way to read the material?

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CC: Nobodyâ??s really ever found that letter. In Brigham Youngâ??s deposition, they asked him about the letter, and asked him if he had it, and he said he searched for it, but was unable to find it, unable to locate it.

Either this is an outright lie, or shows contemptable and unforgiveable neglect on the part of Cain in his "research." What a load. I honestly wish someone could take him to task on his bull crap.

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There will be a FARMS review.

Even as we speak, the reviewer is gathering his invectives, creating acrostics, collecting slanders and libels against the participants in the making of the film, thinking up new and more vicious ad hominems, and shedding his ethical inhibitions. Our typical reviewing process, in other words.

Will Dr. Midgley be assigned this task?
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