I love Blockbuster.com. We switched from Netflix when we realized the advantage of the ability to return a movie to Blockbuster at anytime in exchange for another. As you would assume, yes, we pay it all back in late fees - one of the original reasons for going to a dot com service. Doesn't matter, though. We get our movies when we want them and we like it. It needn't (yes, needn't) make fiscal sense.
But sometimes Blockbuster.com plays a cruel joke on me. (Enter the movie, "Facing the Giants")
I'm sorry. I'm back now. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. Not a lot, but, you know, enough to need some water.
Are you familiar with this title? A group of indie Christians filmmakers in Georgia put this movie together and had some amazing support and success distributing to the mainstream industry. It's a poignant story of a local high school football coach's trials, relationships, etc., and how faith shaped not only their football team but also their community.
My wife and I put this movie in the DVD player to watch last night. It was the last unseen movie of the three we had received in the mail. After approximately five minutes...we turned it off. Yes, it was that awful.
Acting? I saw more realistic acting in a local children's musical last month. Really. I'm not kidding. You know that feeling you get when you're embarrassed for someone else - even when they're on TV and you have no relationship with them? Had it.
I was home today combing through the DVD's. I gave up and put the previously mentioned film back in the player. I know, I was out of my mind, apparently. I almost went with "Dave Matthews Band: Live in Central Park;" it would have been the wiser choice, but we all have our moments.
As a follower of Jesus Christ I wanted this movie to blow me away. I wanted solid acting and an intriguing storyline. I wanted a non-cheesy presentation of how other followers of Christ live life. I wanted a movie that stands on its own as a solid piece of filmmaking; a movie that doesn't need "church hype" to push ticket sales to acceptable levels, but, rather, generates its own solid sales through good reviews and word of mouth. I wanted a real movie.
I wrote a blog sometime back about the old adage: "It's good enough for gospel." A buzz-phrase used years back to address the considerable lack of quality seen and heard in gospel music. It didn't have to be great because if it was good enough for gospel, then it was good enough. I bet I have seen 50 articles over the past six months about this film in various faith-based publications. All of them encouraging the church to support, promote, talk about, and invite others to the movie. I can already see visions of church vans and buses that must have filled the parking lots on opening night screenings around the country. None of these articles mentioned the shotty acting or the poor script writing. None mentioned the off-the-charts cheese ball gospel presentation woven throughout the film.
I appreciate these guys giving it a shot - making a faith-based film. But when the sum of the parts still wreaks of below average filmmaking - I suppose I'd rather them save money to afford better actors and better script development. Take the time to make a movie that matters to people other than those sitting in a church on Sunday morning.
Don't rent this film. However, I challenge you to pray for an entertainment revolution. A revolution that brings the love of Christ to the hearts of talented actors, directors, producers, and visionaries.
I'll save you a seat at THAT movie.