I was at FOP yesterday, and they had these great deals for movies which I've wanted to watch for a while, so I bought the lot for the church library since I don't think DVDs go for anything cheaper than $20 each!
I was very thankful for a complete Saturday off from any sort of committments to anyone, and managed to watch them all in a restful blitz, so here are my reviews and thoughts on each of them, one by one:
[Flywheel] - A story about a used-car salesman who discovers what it means to have integrity... and how much it (quite literally) costs. I was quite impressed that this was the maiden outing for Sherwood Baptist Church's movie ministry. It's shot in a strange medium though - I can't decide if it was shot on film, or on HD tape; it's got a very weird texture, which is somewhere in between the flatness of VHS, and the depth that (actual) film allows. The pacing of the movie was good (one of my massive gripes about Christian shows), and the dialogue/acting wasn't (too) stilted. There was no miraculous "hallelujah" moment of transformation, and it dealt with the main issue (having integrity) in what I felt was a realistic way.
I did feel that the family life and relationships that surrounded Jay Austin (the protagonist of the movie) could have been emphasized more, but I really liked how they showed his conviction of his sin and his utter depravity before God, even as he decided to give up control of his destiny and live life the way God wants.
[Facing the Giants] This movie's about a coach and a hopeless (American) football (aka rugby) team. Although this is your usual underdog-wins-the-championships movie, it was interesting because you can clearly see the technical improvement of the SBC team as they grow in their skills. More artful camerawork, better music (they start the first scene with strains of Casting Crown's "Stained Glass Masquerade"), better pacing of the movie, much more natural dialogue.
I think this is more of an encouragement-to-Christians type of movie, since I can't see how the scenario described (coach motivating his team by basing his entire coaching and team philosophy on the bible) working except in an overtly Christian campus. Still, the ideas behind them - that one's belief in Christ is a lifelong philosophy, and not only when the going gets tough - is one which deserves more airtime than it currently gets - both on the screen, and at the pulpit.
[Fireproof] What may be the Christian movie of the year - a movie about saving one's marriage and "fireproofing" it against further damage.
This is a truly excellent movie - the videography is excellent, the sets are lovely, the dialogue is so real, the 40 Day Love Dare is real, and, in what I think is a truly commendable feat; the penultimate kiss scene between the protagonist (Caleb and Catherine Holt) was filmed NOT between the actors, but between the actor and the actor's actual wife! This was from a policy of the movie ministry, not to shoot any kissing scenes unless it was between an actual husband and wife. What was more amazing to me was the fact that I actually noticed the scene, and was thinking to myself (as I watched it) that (1) the movie did the reconciliation kiss scene very beautifully, and (2) the filmmakers really lost some credibility points by making two actors kiss on a movie about preserving marriage.
Apart from all that, I think that SBC must have some kind of agreement with Casting Crowns by now - they used another favourite of mine: Slow Fade. Their movie soundtrack includes:
Brighter Days – Leeland
This is Who I Am – Third Day
Slow Fade – Casting Crowns
While I'm Waiting – John Waller
You Belong to Me – Grey Holiday
Love Is Not a Fight (Movie Version) – Warren Barfield
Bonus Track: While I'm Waiting (Fireproof Remix) – John Waller
This is really a film that all husbands and wives should watch. And engaged couples. And people perparing for marriage. Ah heck, everyone should watch it!
[Come What May] Moving away from Sherwood Baptist Church productions, <> was shot by a bunch of 40 homeschooled kids who took on the weighty task of arguing against Roe vs. Wade, in a prolife/prochoice debate. Apart from the strange quality of the film (same complaint I have against Flywheel), I am extremely impressed with the quality of the script. The arguments for "life begins at conception" were clearly articulated, and in one of the most excellent scenes in the film, was debated fiercely between mother and son in different courtrooms.
Fiat justitia et pereat mundus - do the right thing, come what may (in Latin) was the core of the movie - will you stand up to what you believe, whatever the cost?
Lawyers and debaters should watch this to see how the arguments they make inform their philosophies in life, which is what gives us motivation for the things that we do.
Stuff I'd Like
Borobudor Pyramids, Egypt
Boro Boro Cambodia (Ankor Wat)
Bali Great Ocean Road
Maldives to DIVE!
Great Barrier Reef to DIVE!
See a penguin in the wild
Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil