CAPSULE: C ME DANCE (2009)

DIRECTED BY: Greg Robbins

FEATURING: Christina DeMarco, Greg Robbins

PLOT: A teenage girl who dreams of dancing the ballet is stricken with leukemia, and with that diagnosis discovers she also has gained telepathy and the power to convert the secular to evangelical Christianity.

Still from C Me Dance (2009)
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST:  “You’re right… this is very weird,” writer/director/star Greg Robbins tells his cancer-ridden daughter when a gang of juvenile delinquents spontaneously profess their instantaneous love of Christ after she telepathically shows them a clip of Jesus being nailed to the cross.  But what little weirdness C Me Dance shows comes from Robbins ignoring the demands of narrative craft and instead cramming his film full of simplistic dogma and sermons.  The horrid acting, risible dialogue, laughably ineffectual Prince of Darkness and absurdly obvious theological ploys may make C Me Dance worth a few snickers, but don’t be fooled. This is a dangerous movie—a film that’s capable of destroying one’s faith.

COMMENTS: “What was the Devil’s first act of deception? Convincing humanity that he didn’t exist,” says a pastor in C Me Dance, a quote that sounds hauntingly familiar.  (Later, the movie will plagiarize The Exorcist, too: doesn’t the Bible say anything about not coveting thy neighbor’s screenplay?)  According to C Me Dance, the Devil’s second and third acts of deception were wearing various shades of colored contact lenses and hiring an extra to stand behind him with a leaf blower so his trenchcoat billows menacingly.  The movie’s shameless sermonizing and simplistic worldview results in an awkwardly didactic plot, which is only made more ridiculous by the insane decision to make a low budget, G-rated Satan the film’s literal antagonist.  The result is something like what a born again cameraman for the old “ABC Afternoon Special” might have made, if the show’s producer had allowed him to direct a single episode with half the usual budget on condition that he stop bugging him about accepting Christ as his personal savior.  The acting wouldn’t cut the mustard on a tween sitcom on the Nickelodeon channel, but the mess is still watchable because it’s unpredictable: you never know exactly what wholesome inanity Robbins is about to spring on the unsuspecting viewer.  The whole project is oddly conceived and embarrassingly executed, but particularly clumsy points include an inexplicable prologue where a demon-possessed trucker runs down future teen dancer Sheri’s mom, a montage of happy girls shopping for cosmetics at the mall scored to mind-numbing Christian rock, God’s appearance in a burning chandelier, and a chaste “rape” scene where the attacker is so overcome with viscous lust that he gently rubs his victim’s head into the grass.  Along the way we’re treated to such memorable dialogue as “this is really going to tick off the Devil,” “every single day, God’s creation is going to Hell, and it’s really starting to piss me off!,” and “Hell?  What would you know of Hell, creature?”  As bad as the movie is in every respect—acting, special effects, dialogue—what’s really striking is the absence of any conflict.  The movie’s bound by its fundamentalist dogma, so the Adversary is totally impotent against the Saved; he can’t do more than stand around and yell “boo!”  Victory is foreordained, so there’s nothing at stake in this less-than-cataclysmic battle between good and evil.  The script can’t bring itself to acknowledge the existence of legitimate religious doubt, so the conversions are weak and meaningless.  None of the characters undergo any soul-searching or spiritual torment; Sheri simply touches someone and boom! a new Christian solider is enlisted.  The idea of a cancer-ridden, fresh-faced teen messiah who flips the world’s switch from the “unsaved” to the “saved” position is so simple, you have to wonder why Robbins thought of the strategy before God did.  No one in the movie is at all bothered by metaphysical concerns or the problem of Evil, but you may be; after all, how could an omnipotent, loving God allow C Me Dance to actually play in theaters?  This screed is more likely to lend ammunition and comfort to scoffers than to the faithful, but despite its incompetence, the sincerity on display makes it kind of charming.  This is the kind of movie Ed Wood might have made if he’d worn religion on his sleeve, instead of angora.

Writer/director/producer/star Greg Robbins and his company Uplifting Entertainment also produce the Christian sitcom “Pastor Greg” and other unseen television programs.  The Rev. Donald Wildmon called C Me Dance “a wonderful and intense movie that needs to be seen,” while warning that the movie is only suitable for those over 13 due to “intense content” (!)

WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:

“They say God works in mysterious ways … none have been more bizarre, more baffling in their sacrosanct ridiculousness than C Me Dance (yes, that’s the actual title).”–Bill Gibron, Pop Matters (contemporaneous)

3 thoughts on “CAPSULE: C ME DANCE (2009)”

  1. This movie sounds incredible – like the world of Jack Chick, come to life! Especially with a title like “C Me Dance”… for someone who loves ridiculous Christian fundamentalist propaganda, this is (forgive me) a godsend.

    1. If you like this stuff I recommend you check out Satan Hates You when it gets released on DVD (soon, I expect). Although it’s a straight-faced parody and not made by fundamentalists, it’s a worthwhile example of the style and much more like a Chick tract come to life than this one. It’s also a more entertaining movie.

  2. The sincerity of something like C Me Dance (or, say, Fireproof) counts for a lot, and I think it helps that the filmmakers actually BELIEVE in these skewed, bizarre fictional worlds where people can be converted in an instant and the devil’s hanging over your shoulder. But I’ve been seriously excited for a while to see Satan Hates You, which sounds just wonderful (in a twisted, hilarious way).

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