Set in the distant future of 1994 where most of the population slavishly devotes all of their attention to a televised talent competition while the world literally goes to hell around them (oh sure, like THAT could happen in real life), The Apple is so wincingly bad, and yet so mesmerizingly fascinating, that you absolutely can’t stop watching it once you’ve pressed play.
The songs range from the cloying (Love, The Universal Melody) to the hysterical (the beyond-innuendo I’m Coming For You), the acting is predominantly amateurish (most of the extras were culled from off duty military personnel), and the costuming looks like some failed attempt at a homoerotic homage to The Jetsons. Worst/Best of all is the ham handed biblical allegory running throughout the story. You’ve got the eeevil single horned Mr. Boogalow who is in the business of manufacturing fads to satisfy the world’s endless material desires. You’ve got the innocent young Bibi who ultimately falls to temptation during an oh-so-subtle musical dream sequence in which she is offered a beach ball sized apple to taste. And in a jaw dropping conclusion, you’ve got the all-in-white Mr. Topps descending from the sky in his golden Mercedes to whisk all of his holy hippies away to a new planet free from the machinations of Boogalow.
Oddly enough, up until the finale, The Apple actually manages to stay more or less theologically correct, i.e. Love & Faith = Good; Materialism & Hedonism = Bad. But the filmmakers just couldn’t resist letting a little cynicism creep in at the very end and have God give up on His promise to redeem this world. A good Jewish boy like director Menahem Golan should have known God doesn’t change his mind like that. Oh sure, we get verses like this week’s reading from Exodus which seem to blatantly show God doing that very thing, but that’s not really what’s going on.
Without getting too technical, God couldn’t possibly change His mind because that implies that He received some new information which caused him to alter his decisions. But for an omniscient (all-knowing) God for whom “all moments of time are present in their immediacy”, there couldn’t possibly be NEW information. So omniscience inevitably leads to immutability (never changing). The “changes” in God’s mind we see in the Biblical narrative are not meant to be taken literally, but are to be seen as a literary device which caters to the limitations of our own locked-in-linear-time perspective. God may know what’s going to happen, but we don’t. But rather than stopping in mid-story to launch into a tedious discussion of free will and pre-determination, it’s much easier to illustrate the eternal consequences of our decisions by stating that God thought to destroy us, but changed his mind after we repented. It’s always about salvation first when it comes to the Bible, the rest can be argued out in philosophy class.
Oh, and just to prove I haven’t been hyperbolizing about The Apple, here’s a little number from the movie for your viewing pleasure... or pain… or both. Probably both.
P.S. By the way, I’m well aware that The Apple technically makes the same theological error as 2009’s Legion, a movie which I’ve verbally defecated on at every opportunity over the past year. The difference is that The Apple still keeps God on our side whereas Legion turns God into a schizophrenic sociopath hell bent on wiping out humanity. So, yeah, The Apple, one of the most splendidly wretched films ever made, is still a better and more watchable movie than Legion. I poop on Legion once again.