It seems that around the time of Lent a whole lot of what I like to call ‘holy crap’ comes along. I’m not sure if it’s strategically done because of the Catholic tradition of forty days of fasting from Ash Wednesday to Easter. I haven’t seen too many of these movies so if you good reader are someone who would like to correct me on anything that I may have gotten wrong, please do correct me. Don’t worry I’ll be posting a few reviews as soon as I am done with The Legend of Zelda Breath of Wild (the first video game to be reviewed here!)
I Don’t Watch “Christian” Movies
I normally don’t see these movies because it’s a personal belief of mine that most of these movies are made for the sake of making money off Christians, this belief was more or less solidified after discovering I Am Not Ashamed was made by the same people from both God’s Not Dead movies (granted I Am Not Ashamed was actually a decent movie while both God’s Not Dead movies made me wonder if God nearly croaked from how awful they were).
One of the other reasons I don’t watch these movies is because literally the whole plot from begging to end is given away with the trailer. A good example would be Miracles From Heaven where the smart thing to do would be to play up the daughter’s incurable disease and focus on the family’s faith within the trailer instead of adding the fact the daughter comes out perfectly fine from a crazy accident (bonus points for using Fight Song in the trailer since the song is a guilty pleasure for me).
Message Verses Story
A common issue among these movies is the concentration on the message of the film over the plot. The message in alot of these films is to have faith, trust, and belief in God. The story usually suffers for the sake of the message. I’ll get to God’s Not Dead in a little bit, but that film is a good example of the message over taking the story.
One example is Christian Mingle (yes the dating site Christian Mingle inspired a movie), where the message is “Jesus is the only love you need in your life,” and it’s more or less banged into your head. The movie is sort of watchable since it’s a romantic comedy…just without swearing or hot men shirtless, but plenty of awkward situations for the heroin.
God’s Not Dead (I’m surprised He isn’t after these atrocities)
god damnit I hate these movies. Granted I’ve only seen the first one (unwillingly) and turned down the opportunity to see Melissa Joan Hart in a movie (I guess she’s repenting for playing a teenage witch despite not being a teenager). I hate this movie; it’s not just because the main plot is essentially a chain letter passed around youth groups in the late nineties and through most of the new millennium (I got said chain letter when I was nineteen), it’s not because I thought it was a documentary style movie concerning the Christian pop band The Newsboys (which ironically consists of none of the original members along with one of the founders stating current members aren’t thinking about Jesus), it’s not just because they painted members of the Muslim faith to be horrible people (that does have a good deal to do with it though). It’s because the film is an awful mess where all the subplots are more interesting than the actual plot.
There are six(ish) subplots to the film that include the following;
- Muslim girl who wants to convert to Christianity but isn’t sure how to do it with her devout Muslim family (this subplot could have also been handled better without the physical abuse).
- Chinese student being told by the main protagonist of the movie about Jesus since religion and communism don’t mix too well.
- Two devout Christians having trouble with their car rental business (all their cars keep breaking down.) I feel this would have worked better as it’s own comedy movie.
- The relationship between big evil antagonist atheist college professor and his Christian girlfriend.
- The relationship between the protagonist and his full of shit girlfriend.
- snarky liberal blogger discovering she has cancer and converts to Christianity (I think the only accurate part of this movie is the fact that most liberal bloggers are snarky).
I feel removing the main plot of the protagonist constantly debating the antagonist on the existence in God and upgrading any of these plots would have made the movie atleast watchable. But no, we get the typical argument between Christian who is good and pure at everything and an asshole who happens to be an atheist. I do give the movie credit that both the Chinese student and blogger are pretty decent people despite not believing in God and the protagonist’s girlfriend is a total twat despite claiming to be ‘the best Christian ever’.
As I said before I did not see God’s Not Dead 2, from what I understand Melissa Joan Hart’s character is in deep shit for mentioning her christian faith in a highschool classroom for literally just one sentence. This sounds outrageous, but considering stuff happening right now (as of 2017) it’s more believable than a professor demanding students become an atheist or he will fail them.
There’s a thing called the dean of students kids. You go to them with your complaints and concerns because YOU (and the US tax payers) PAY for your education. There’s also a thing called Rate my Professor that could easily affect the future of any asshole professor. Also unless the school is an ivy league school, no one gives a shit about what’s going on outside of rape and sexual assault (which is actually an improvement).
Secular Movies that do a Better Job
Here are some movies that more or less do a better job at the very least being an entertaining movie and keeping those Christian messages and values.
Saved!(2004), it has Mandy Moore being a total bitch and I love this movie. Alot of people see it as a teen comedy giving the middle finger to religious christian teens, however after looking up the directors and writers and listening to the commentary everyone involved worked at a christian highschool and wanted to make a teen movie showing that despite these kids being Jesus Freaks they were still normal teenagers. I see it more of a movie to reflect to yourself and see what kind of person you are.
Cinderella (2015), I actually like this movie alot; despite being a cute rated G version of Everafter there are themes of faith, compassion, and forgiveness. Our protagonist is obviously pure of heart showing goodness and love to all her friends and her cute animal helpers. She does her best not to let her jerkass stepmother get to her and despite all the attempts of said stepmother to corrupt Cinderella to become evil, Cinderella chooses to forgive her and move onto her happily ever after using her compassion and goodness to rule the kingdom.
Dogma (1999); FUCK YEAH DOGMA! Okay this movie doesn’t belong here at all to be honest, I just really love it. I like Alanis Morissette playing God, I like the song she contributed to the movie . GO WATCH IT YOU DAMN POLITICALLY CORRECT MILLENIALS!
The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe-how can you not know this is essentially a Christian move. Shame on Disney with doing nothing with the franchise after two movies.
Mentions both honorable and dishonorable
The Passion of the Christ-I saw this with my church group when I was thirteen, I threw up. After years of watching it over and over and having to review it to help with teenagers perform the stations of the cross on Good Friday, I kind of hate the movie. I do appreciate the effort and work placed into it, but at the same time I don’t much like Mel Gibson (he called my home town a shit hole, only WE can do that). I can’t watch the film anymore with a straight face and there are serious scenes where I’m laughing my ass off.
Hillsong United; Let Hope Rise-this movie was actually pretty good; it’s a documentary on the band mixed with scenes of them traveling around the world, the origins of the band, and the home lives of the band members. Many kudos to the band members admitting they’re actually “okay at best” musicians.
Full of Grace-a story telling the final days of Jesus’ mother Mary that talks about keeping faith despite times of hopelessness. I think my only issue with this movie is my belief that Mary ascended into heaven both body and soul rather than just dying and being buried (see readers, I have my own beliefs too).
For Greater Glory- the story of the Cristo Rey movement in Mexico when the Catholic faith was outlawed. There is also the story of Jose Sanches del Rio who became a martyr and was recently canonized as a saint. It also has Eva Longoria and Oscar Isaac in it.
The Nativity Story-I kind of feel sad that people cared more about the controversy over the movie.
I can’t force you to watch or not watch the movies. If you really have the ability to like God’s Not Dead…fine. I do feel like most of these movies are just being made for money though and are rushed for the sake of getting them out for the Easter season. I also feel alot of these movies are in the wrong hands and most of these writers and directors want to make anyone that isn’t a christian out to be a horrible and evil person. Watching God’s Not Dead was not only bad because of the acting and what was going on, but pretty hurtful in many ways.
There are a few Christian movies I’m interested in seeing (particularly a comedy staring Brett Dalton), no not all of them are bad, but let’s be honest with ourselves here, some of these people need to put a little more effort into their craft.