Brace yourselves. I am long overdue for a rant...
I am just about on my way out of town for a few months to sequester myself with nothing but polo and Jane Austen. This script is due in February and is the primary reason why I have not been blogging lately. How can I authoritatively whine to my producer that I can't get the script done, if he can just log on and see me procrastinating for free on this blog? It's a dilemma.
One of the things I look forward to escaping for a few months is the debate that has been simmering among Hollywood Christians because of the whole "FOX FAITH to Greenlight 12 Cheapie Christian Movies in 2007!" headlines, married to the controversy surrounding the weird little film made by a Church in Georgia, Facing the Giants.
A while back when I screened the film, I wrote a brief post that it should never have gotten a PG rating, and also that clearly, the folks who made the film, had every right to make it. I assumed the project was so bad as entertainment that it would just kind of disappear, and there was no reason to get involved smearing something that bad. It would be like jeering at a junior high talent show. What's the point?
That was before the FOX Faith announcement and the small success of Facing the Giants at the box office, which has all of us Able Christians (as in Cain and Able) in Hollywood scared to death that Facing the Giants will be the prototype of the movies that all the new divisions geared to "creating product for Christians" will be seeking out and producing.
I have taken to calling "Able Christians", those who are committed to giving God beautiful, first fruits kind of work. We talk about excellence alot and "the demands of beauty*"(JPII, Letter to Artists) and professionalism and the rigors of the craft. We talk about being missionaries to Planet Hollywood, and how God is much more interested in the people making movies than in the movies being made. We are always wrestling with making projects true AND commercial, beautiful and mainstream. Not because we want the money of studio success, but because we believe that the Gospel needs to be preached to those who haven't heard it, to those who might never wander into a church.
In contrast to this movement of Christian artists, are the ones who are yearning to replicate the Christian Contemporary Music model in Hollywood with a Christian Contemporary Cinema. The goal of these folks seems to be to create fantasy movies for Christians, made by Christians, and paid for by Christians.
Facing the Giants from any serious perspective is a fantasy film. Its message is very dangerous for Christians, and scandalous for pagans. Adult Evangelical Christians watching Facing the Giants is like sex addicts watching the Spice Channel. (Nope. Not going to take it back.)
We are going to leave alone the fact that the film is badly acted, terribly written, completely lacking in imagery, and directed and shot without any style or evident skill. Let's skip all that and just talkabout the content problem.
The film tells the story of a poverty-stricken, generally disdained, losing football coach who drives a broken down truck and goes home at night to a devastatedly infertile wife. Incited by no particular plot point, the coach reads the Bible one day and then kneels down in a field (Why the hell is it always a field? Is that like in Zecharaiah somewhere?) and gives his life to Jesus. In short order after he utters the Evangelical commitment formula aloud, he wins back the esteem of his fellow townspeople, he turns around his terrible team so that they win the championship, somebody gives him a brand new shiny red truck, AND his infertile wife becomes pregnant!
WOW! Give me some of THAT Jesus-stuff!
Absolute fantasy stuff. The kind of thing that makes Christians puff out their chests proud to be on the winning team! This film fumbles deep, deep in the prosperity Gospel end zone. It is icky to tell people that they should be Christian because of the career and health benefits. We have the problem on the team of that embarrassingly unsuccessful crucified coach of ours.
Anyway, everybody who has been laboring as a believer in Hollywood is talking about this film, because it is clearly what Hollywood thinks "the Audience of the Passion" wants.
At a dinner the other night, one of my fellow Able Christians looked at me sadly and said, "Is there a way we all can write a better Facing the Giants for the industry?" He was sad because he knows the answer. NO! We can't write a better version of Facing the Giants because that movie was designed to be easy. It was designed to not challenge the audience, but rather make the audience (of Evangelical Christians) feel good about being on the winning team. We can't make a better version of this film because easy is a lie. Human society is tinkering on the precipice of disaster today. "Easy" isn't going to be the fix.
Another friend told me a couple days ago that he knows the fellows who made the film, and that their philosophy (apologies to philosophers everywhere...) of filmmaking is that entertainment should be idealistic and not mirror the world as it is, but as it should be.
Entertainment should not be real. To be healing it needs to be better than real. But it needs to be AT LEAST as good as the real. The "better than realness" that makes entertainment healing is in its beauty - its, wholeness, harmony and radiance - elements which are not found stumbling along in the real world of property taxes and upset stomachs and mold on the ceiling.
The problem with too much contemporary cinema is that it seeks to imitate the real in a way that doesn't require or deliver and insight.
The problem with Facing the Giants is that is seems to ignore the real and deliver a lie. It is not idealistic but silly.
Strong words. Probably some of the bravest I have ever written. (Don't believe me? Just keep checking the comments boxes.) Yes, but I feel on firm ground here. As Flannery O'Connor said, "Sentimentality for Christians is INEXCUSABLE." And Facing the Giants is pure, easy, emotional sentimentality.
So, am I saying that the FOX Faith thing will be bad for the whole God in Hollywood thing? I don't know yet. I do know that greenlighting 12 movies for what one regular studio picture usually costs says that FOX believes that believers can be had on the cheap. And they are probably right. Pathetic and sad.
Making a movie that is beautiful is damn hard. Damn hard. Expecting to be able to produce a film with no experience or training is arrogant and as absurd as someone thinking they could just build a building with no traiing or experience in architecture.
Facing the Giants won't save anyone. It needs to be saved itself. Let's pray that it doesn't become the template.
As a Christian who had tried to write more realistic fiction and lamented what sells like hotcakes in the Christian publishing world, I share your dismay. I fear though there will be a market for this idealistic fantasy stuff just as there's been a huge market for Left Behind and its sequels.
Thank you. I hope people in the industry listen.
Good Lord why did you even bother going to see this? If there ever was an effective conversion caught on screen it was in Bob Duval's film the Apostle. THAT, was as good and realistic as any "Christian" film gets.
Just discovered this blog. Will frequent often!
I have read many of your reviews and comments and this one feels like you had a bad day. Would you have attacked a secular (if there is such a thing) movie as vehemently as you have Facing The Giants? Truthfully I have not seen the film or plan to and mostly because of several reasons you have already pointed out about "Christian" films, but your review leaves a bad taste in this readers mouth.
Sure, point out what doesn't work, but can't it be done without the vitriolic missiles to brothers and sisters? Can we instruct without the destruction? And can we not lead others to water instead of killing them so we don't need to water them?
A more Biblically accurate film of the Christian message would have the coach start out as highly successful, and give it all up in order to maintain the integrity of his faith. It could be tied into his wife's infertility by involving the sacrifices he makes to adopt a child in a foreign country, perhaps an African child whose presence in the coach's family reveals the racial prejudice of some of his family members and neighbors. And then, after they have made that sacrifice, if she learned she was expecting her own miraculous child--that would be real life, as it has been for childliess couples I have known.
As it stands, the story seems to reflect more the temptation offered by Satan--fall down and worship me and I will give you all the wealth of the world--than the invitation by the Savior to take up our cross, and follow Him.
Well said, as always!
Barbara, I fully agree with your argument here, and have have followed up on your item on my website, Karnick on Culture.
It isn’t just “fantasy” films. It’s books as well!
I was just reading a book that falls into the same category as the movie “facing the Giants.”
The book about a guy who has this unbelievable string of bad luck. First his oxen and donkeys are stolen and the ranch hands looking over them are killed. Next (get this!) fire “falls from the sky” and burns up the sheep and the shepherds. Then three raiding parties attack and run off with all the guys camels.
And if that wasn’t enough, this guy’s sons and daughters are all killed when a wind storm collapses the building they were in while having a party.
After an excruciatingly long section of dialog with this man’s supposed friends and finally with God himself no less, the guy gets back more that he had to begin with: more sheep, camels, oxen and donkeys. And he also has seven more children that are, of course, all more beautiful than anyone else.
Who, in his right mind, could believe the story of this guy Job? Absolute fantasy stuff.
Notice that the good things in the end didn't happen because job said the sinner's prayer. All the really bad things happened just because he was a really faithful and upright man.
Porter: You miss two points.
First, Job did say a sinner's prayer before things changed: "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
Second, the original post on "Facing the Giants" was, in large part, a rant on the storyline being unbelievable. It prompted me to post a similarly "unbelievable" story.
FYI, I have followed up on the comments of some defenders of Facing the Giants here, at Karnick on Culture.
While I agree with much of your analysis of the film on the merits of its flawed message, I think Facing the Giants is a huge step forward for those looking to make films based in a Christian worldview. Unlike The Passion or The Apostle or The Mission -- films that needed the backing of powerful A-listers to get made -- this thing was created for $100,000 (without any studio backing) as a direct ministry of a local church(!) and it found an audience in the "church of the masses." Wow! The implications are staggering.
Yes, Giants disappoints on several levels, but it succeeds in breaking the trail for the independent Christian filmmakers who will follow with better art, better stories, and a more truthful biblical framework. If you don't like Giants, pitch your own idea to your church (or fellow members of THE church) and make your own $100,000 film. We don't need Fox. The door is open. I can't wait to see what profound truth and beauty will follow in the wake of this clumsy Giant.
I think I agree with most of what you said here, and maybe I missed something in the point of "Able Christians," but technically it's "Abel" (as in "Cain and Abel").
This film was written by Christians as an encouragement for Christians. It is not out there to win an Oscar or to have you review it favorably. Perhaps you should listen to the message, that FAITH can conquer all.
Have you ever said the sinners prayer? It is not evident in your writings
To unbelivers, the word of God(the Holy Bible) is idealistic fantasy, that, however, does not change the fact that it is true.
Your bloggorant shows yourself to be an elitist....get off your high horse and begin touching people where they live like this movie has.....you cant do it...your so wrapped up in yourself that you don't comprehend what this movie represents. This movie shatters the Hollywood mold. No longer does Hollywood control what people view at the theater. The Golden era of Hollywood is dead.
When you make a film that touches people like this one has and on a limited budget, then I'll listen to you. Until then, please, keep your opinions to yourself.
To all the people in the theater who along with me clapped and cheered and cried and praised....cudos to you for recognizing an anointed film that is changing peoples lives....your far better off for viewing this film.
Okay - the lady knows something about making movies, and also about the Christian message.
Would it not be better if the church which filmed Giants had found enough talent to give better filming to an 'idealistic fantasy' message (that has less to do with Job and too much to do with our materialistic culture).
Or, conversely, given the message of depending upon God as His will sees fit for each of us, even as nothing 'improves' except the coach's humility and acceptance? And, maybe, how he gets his players to 'win' in life, somehow, even as they lose at sports? And, perhaps, in consoling his wife, have found a common ground of ministry among children and families, or as another post suggests, adoption?
Absent the fantasy results, should the coach have 'cursed God and died'?
brilliant post. i am hopeful that such an endeavor will (as one anonymous said) pave a way for better projects, but the answer is not for churches to become new production companies. bob briner once called them roaring lambs, people in thier own industries who made quality products that asked questions. 'Giants' is not quality, and though it does have a positive message that christians will applaud and go see (because we have bad taste and will watch anything that has jesus in it rather than demanding excellence from ourselves?), how many people have been reached? does this movie show Jesus to people? no - unless you are talking about a 'God will solve my problems if i pray' message. Yep, Job is such a message - and if taken out of context of the rest of the Bible it has serious theological issues.
maybe we should instead support excellence in the arts and allow professionals passionate about people knowing Christ to be missionaries, creating art that does not always outwardly smell of a bible track or a p/w song, but causes people to think. in this regard, movies like ghandi or (less oscar worthy) remember the titans were much more Christian in spirit, and perhaps did more to further the message of Jesus.
I think it was a fantastic movie.
You boldly stated what you passionately believe as did the creator's of "Facing the Giants'! Jesus has a big house and the market is diverse attested to the movie's box office success.
As to whether or not, the success of this clearly flawed movie, will have an negative effect on the overall faith-based market...
The Word of God says that your "gift will make room for you"... not market trends. And nothing can change that but you.
I don't see why FTG deserves this kind of abuse. There are some BAD films calling themselves "Christian" (Left Behind, for example), but FTG was not one of them. The fact that it is a formulaic, "feel-good" film doesn't merit particular vitriol; 4 of the 5 "Rocky" films, and almost every other sports film follows the same formula. Of course, the fact that the original '76 "Rocky" loses the fight is what makes it an academy award winner. But the reason Rocky III is available almost 24 hours a day on same cable channel somewhere is that viewers LIKE to see the underdog do the right thing and win. the fact that this time credit is given to God and not "the eye of the tiger" or "wax on, wax off" seems to bring out the worst in people. And as I recall, it wasn't the evangelical "sinners' prayer" that the coach uttered, (fwiw, he was already a committed evangelical at that point of the film), it was his acceptance that he would submit joyfully to God's will for him even when it was tough and beyond his understanding. Very much like the story of Job for modern times.
I appreciated Larry's comment. I went to see the movie and was really touched by it. I plan to buy the DVD and show it to friends and relatives who didn't have the chance to see it. I knew the actors weren't professionals so I didn't expect a "Hollywood" movie.
I actually loved the fact that "average" people played the parts. It made the movie more realistic for me. I was quite tickled by the comic relief in a few spots. (I know people who act just like them.) Idealistic? Maybe just a little but my God is capable of answering prayers just like the ones in the movie. How about yours?
I too wonder if you are a "Born again Christian" Many people call themselves Christians simply because they attend church, but have never prayed the sinners prayer and asked Christ into their heart.
I think "Facing the Giants" was a wonderful film. I see many films and would put it at the top of the list. The message is that we were put on this earth to glorify God. We are to give him the glory for everything. His answer to a prayer may not be the answer we want, but He sees the future and will walk with us all the way.
I'm sick of the Hollywood crowd who call themselves Christians. They put a PG rating on this film which should be G and will put a G rating on a show that has curse words in it or slams God.
Ma'am, if you're having a problem selling "beautiful, first fruits" kind of scripts to Hollywood, perhaps there's a problem you might not have noticed.
If your beautiful works have the level of vulgarity (i.e., swearing) in them that your post did, then I'm not imagining that it's going to go anywhere.
Like you, I'm dismayed with what passes for "Christian entertainment" these days, but I would have had a much easier time reading your rant without the swearing. It was simply unnecessary.
You sound so mad, just like I used to be. I know you think about what is going to happen to you when you die, because we all do. You are one of those people that get offended at the name of JESUS CHRIST. Do you wonder why? I'll tell you anyway, i'ts because of your many sins. Quit trying to justify yourself "you are bad". Your stupid pride wont let you humble yourself and ask HIM for forgiveness. As far as the movie, it was great because similar things have been happening to me, so it is very realistic. No eye has seen no ear has heard what GOD has in store for those who love HIM, it is ovious you don't."Hypocritical Christian" is a better way to describe you. Don't get offended that's what I used to be.
I am sorry that you feel that way. I suppose that analytical ramblings have a place in this world too. I have learned that sometimes it is better to think with your heart and not your head. Merry CHRISTmas
Absurd film. Could you not see the terminally ill child on the other side line whose only and last wish was to see his brother win a championship? What kind of God would deny him that precious last glimpse, so that an already overachieved team could win a ballgame? Not our God? Absolutely. This film is fantasy, not Christianity.
Just saw the film--I'm in the minority, along with my husband, that actually saw something in this film. Yes, it was a low-budget film. Yes, the acting was not the glitzy perfect acting of Hollywood. However, the storyline--minus the football--mirrors our own lives of infertility and being let down by a lukewarm Christian school that employed my husband and that thought he was sub-par. However, the message is true--we must have FAITH through the good and bad and always PRAISE GOD no matter our circumstances--that was the message I saw in this movie. It doesn't get more realistic than that. Don't most hollywood movies end with a happy ending? I see no difference.
I find it very strange that people will take the time to say such negitive and slanderous things about a film with good intentions.
Have we forgotten our tact or the old saying if you can't say anything nice don't say nothing at all! I know the movie was not the best in Hollywood, but I commend those writers and actors for their efforts to make a change. It takes a strong person to stand up for what they believe in no matter how much others will judge them. Yet so many others choose to follow what society tells them to believe and I feel THAT it the true failure and upset here!
I find it very strange that people will take the time to say such negitive and slanderous things about a film with good intentions.
Have we forgotten our tact or the old saying if you can't say anything nice don't say nothing at all! I know the movie was not the best in Hollywood, but I commend those writers and actors for their efforts to make a change. It takes a strong person to stand up for what they believe in no matter how much others will judge them. Yet so many others choose to follow what society tells them to believe and I feel THAT is the true failure and upset here!
I enjoyed the movie. It's hard to find a movie that doesn't have foul language, illicit sex, and gory violence. This movie more closely follows my lifestyle than 99% of the movies that come out of Hollywood. It's no more fantasy than problems being solved on a 30-minute TV program. I look at movies as entertainment - and I prefer a clean movie with a good ending. For more in depth information, I watch C-Span, FOX News Channel, the History Channel, or the Discovery Channel. I think the church in Albany, Georgia, should be commended for producing a family movie for all ages.
The movie is Great!!!
Barbara is what is wrong with the
present day "losing" film business.
Go see "Facing the Giants". It is
the best film that I have seen all
year. A must see.
The message of this film like so many Christian books, especially those writeen in the 70s and 80s says, "Here's the formula. Do tis and this and watch what God does." This false principle, along with the lie that God is primarily concerned about our happiness is NOT encouraging to a Christian believer because if these messages are true then either we are to blame or God is to blame for this not being the reality that we each live in.
We must not forget that God's ways are not our ways and although even He is proud of his everlasting love and kindness this does not mean that love and kindness is giving us what we think we need. We must face up to the fact that God is sovereign and can do anything he chooses and often he chooses not to do any of things we want him to do. Does this mean that he isn't love? Does this mean that we aren't important to him? I think it means that he has higher purposes in mind for us than we do. Primarily preparing for eternity with Him.
I thought it was one of the best films that I have ever seen!!
"Facing the Giants" was a great movie of triumph in Christians' lives. I have personally lived some of the miracles that were displayed in the movie and I could relate to many of the issues that were brought forward. God is still on the throne and Jesus is working miracles today in our lives.
Scott Haire; Quincy, FL
"Facing the Giants" was a great movie of triumph in Christians' lives. I have personally lived some of the miracles that were displayed in the movie and I could relate to many of the issues that were brought forward. God is still on the throne and Jesus is working miracles today in our lives.
Scott Haire; Quincy, FL
After seeing the movie, I came away very encouraged and wanting to serve the Lord more fully. One particular thing that stood out to me was that after the pregnancy test comes back negative, the wife is able to say, "I will still love You," to God, and in so doing, she has faced and overcome her "giant" of infertility, and it can't laugh her in the face any longer. What a victory!
I went to see the movie, recommended it to friends and just bought the DVD (was last copy on Target shelf). Not because it is totally real, but it is good clean family entertainment with a moving message of Christian faith. Sure, it may not present a completely accurate picture of life and the Christian faith and it won't win Best Picture. But how can quoting Scripture, seeing people changed by faith, and seeing the power of prayer, mixed in with a little David v. Goliath football story be harmful? Would you prefer another Terminator or another drama of dysfunctional marriages, violence and four letter words? There is a reason this movie has grossed over $10 million on a $100K production budget.
If I understand your blog correctly, Barbara, you feel that "reality" (I imagine this means no fairy tales just pain and mixed in with some hopelessness) is better than Idealism (fantasy, as you put it). You seem to feel that the personal vision, sacrifice and learning curve of these folks who produced the film was an insult/attack to all those like you who would call themselves the true artist of film (not sarcasm). Kind of a "stay out of the water if you can't swim like us" directive. Feel free to respond if I am missing your point (email@example.com).
Do you think also that people go to films or real fiction books to affirm their "reality"? Don't people do such things to either forget or to find hope (that is, excluding the folk who only watch to study the art, finding something done "right" or done "wrong")? I think FTG can bring hope to people and people will ultimately go where they can find hope.
Your fears that people are being taught that everything is gonna work out fine, that the film only represents a sappy unreal christian life are silly at best. People already believe some of these things! This film (and films like it) is not going to change people at their basic level any more than going to watch "over the hedge" is going to change people's love or hate for animals. I'm happy its not a movie about a sexual addict (substitute drugs,divorce,etc.) that even with people praying for him, can't overcome his addiction and ends up in jail. I have seen that and don't need to meditate on the dispair much of the church feels in this area. The movie was a good message for my kids about praising God in the good and the bad times. My wife is pregnant with a high risk situation and the movie didn't teach me that God is going to make me happy if I just trust and pray. Us folks in the real world who watch these movies know that pain and trajedy are a part of God's Training school. May God bless you.
I don't know how anyone claiming to be a Christian can condemn this film. Though it may have been a fictitious incident, the things that happened in the film are not fictitious. I don't of what faith you belong, but of the Evangelical faith, these things DO happen in people's lives. I have SEEN a person with a run-down vehicle be GIVEN a brand new one, because led that person to do so, I have SEEN barren women have children as an answer to prayer, and I have both personally experienced and seen others experience a change in life itself due to accepting Jesus as their personal Savior. There are even more things God can perform in people's lives than what this movie portrayed, the key is letting Him be Lord of your life, instead of you being lord of your life. It sounds like this movie pricked a nerve with you because maybe your walk with the Lord isn't what it should be. A little conviction has taken place.
Loved this film...and I'm not an evangelical Christian! Did you watch the same film? You said: "The film tells the story of a poverty-stricken, generally disdained, losing football coach who drives a broken down truck and goes home at night to a devastatedly infertile wife." Gee, what powers of observation! In actuality, the coach and his wife don't live in poverty! The couple are home owners but just barely manage on a school coach's salary! The school staff, children, and most folks seem to generally like him and not "disdain" him. A small group of dissatisfied fathers are those who have lost faith in his coaching ability. He originally drives an old car not a truck! She wasn't infertile, don't you remember? Won't bother with the spoiler. I can trust that you didn't get the origins of the movie either nor its purpose. So glad I only have to respect you as a person and not respect your opinion.
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, bought the DVD and sent two to my children in college because I was so profoundly moved by it. Will it win any Oscars? Is it a perfect and complete picture of every aspect of Christian faith and theology? Does the team that prays the most always win? Is it completely "realistic"? No on all counts. But it is entertainment, and when the alternative is Terminator 4, another movie that tells me that the "Force" is with someone, or a Spike Lee film with so much profanity that a filter would render it a silent film, give me Facing the Giants 2. A movie that shows people of faith believing that there is a personal God who loves them and is involved in the world and that "all things are possible" can't be all bad.
You have soooo missed the point with this movie. It was not written to make Christians feel good. It WAS challenging, very challenging if you see the message. The movie very clearly is not about God giving you everything you want. It's about total and complete surrender to Him and resolving that you will always worship Him even if He NEVER gives you what you ask for. And a note, the coach and his wife were obviously already Christians at the opening of the movie so it wasn't odd for him to be reading the Bible at all. And the change came when he surrendered everything to Christ, not when he became a Christian. so As far as being marketed for Christians only, thanks to churches buying out theaters and inviting their communities there thousands who came to know Christ because of the message in the movie. One last note on the acting. I am so tired of hearing people in the movie business and critics say how horrible the acting was and how dumb the story was. Yes, the kids needed some acting lessons, but the rest of the cast was more believable than some "professional actors" I've seen, and the plot/story was more realistic than most movies out today. So, in the end, you are entitled to your opinions just like I am. The difference is that I, and several people I know, have experienced God working in our lives just like in the movie so it is FAR from fantasy.
I just watched "Facing The Giants" and then read your review.
Like the movie, you have a right to your opinion. I'd just like to comment on one statement;
"... that entertainment should be idealistic and not mirror the world as it is, but as it should be." And you countered; "WRONG!
Here we get into opinions. I was raised in a movie theater. Ushered, then ran projectors throughout my youth and into my 20s. Mr. W.P. Florence, the owner of the local theater taught me that movies were fantasy and mainly escapest fare. He replaced the glass doors on his new theater with solid wood to better separate the world outside from the world inside.
So, I was raised to believe that "the masses" were looking to be lifted out of their life by movies.
I admit I may be in the minority but as a lifelong movie viewer, I like movies that improve on life.
In my perfect movie, John Wayne doesn't die. The lovers live happily ever after, etc.
And is it any wonder that my favorite movies were made in the '30s and '40s.
Otherwise, thanks for the review and don't be afraid to believe that God not only can, but will.
Many of the attacks on this film must be intended for some other film. Facing the Giants explores what happens when Christians, not newly proselytized Christians, take the teachings of Christ to heart, when they stop playing the role and start living it.
Let me point out that only one minor character converts to Christianity. The rest are already committed Christians for whom the blessings of success remain as illusive as the profits that Enron claimed it had. While the critics of the movie denounce it as the Gospel of Success through Jesus, Christians recognize the message of the prophets--these people honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me.
In this film, the evangelical community is calling itself to a return to the real Jesus, the one who reserves a blessing for those who follow his teachings (not just render lip service to them.) Fortune 500 companies and success coaches will tell you that the teachings of Jesus are not merely consistent with success, they map out the road of success. Thus, it should surprise no one that working with faith instead of doubt and negativism yields superior results. It should suprise no one that integrity of character proceeds success. Yet suddenly when Christians start following the teachings of Christ, instead of just lip-syncing them, suddenly the critics are outraged.
i am sorry you are very mistaken. what you dont really realize is that facing the giants is a story that could become a reality. i noticed that you kept going on about how it was somthing that was silly and fairytailish. When you focus on the Lord and glorify him in everything that you do then no matter if you "win or lose" in life it was all for the glory of God and you did the best that you could. i happen to know of a team in tennessee that actually watched facing the giants and decided to make glorifying the Lord their team philosophy and they actually won the state championship, so dont say that it is fairytale and not reality. It actually happended. God is not some fake
God up in the universe he is very real and relevant and he can work in peoples lives how ever he wants. He is not fantasy. The movie just shows some of his awesom power and if people realize that Jesus Christ can change lives then they will realize that everything about facing the giants is not fake or fantacy. It is about more than just a football team that all of a sudden wins games, it is about a loving God and his awesome power.
I am a 15 year old Christian and I just watched Facing the Giants. I thought the acting wasn't extreemly great in the movie... but i thought the message of the movie was quite clear. God tested a man in his faith and the man decided to trust God... so yes of course the outcome was positive... no lifes not always easy but if we trust God in the long run it will all work out. And I'm not just saying this because im some brain washed bible hugging person... and no i dont always trust God like i should .... but I have seen instances where people have trusted God when it got hard... no it wasnt easy but in the long run it all worked out for the good. So i'm not really sure if you think this movie is really all that "unrealistic" or if it simply convicts you. And if it is the latter.... well then that is the point of the movie.
I saw Facing the Giants, and I thought it was a great film! I'm sick of the sick people in Hollywood who are turning out garbage for people to take into their minds and hearts. I welcome a movie that shows how many Christians actually live! Yes, folks, some of us actually have the kind of faith that gives our all to glorify God! It's about time that reality is shown in a movie!! Those of you who threw rotten tomatoes at the movie don't understand it's message because you do not experience life at that level of Christian experience. So stop with the uglies.
Who are you to judge this film? What is beauty anyway, or are you against Diversity? If the makers and partakers of this film like it, who are you to say that they have bad taste? I think you are being arrogant and biggoted, because someone somewhere is different than you in what appeals to them. I suppose if you were to make a film, the entire world would just love it because you know just how to do these sorts of things, unlike those hick evangelicals who are too stupid to do anything right.
About a fourth of the way through your blog I was ready to quit reading and just pass you off as a mad at the world Christian. But the more I read the more I began to agree with you. One thing I must say is that movies, books and music that make Christianity the solution for your problems makes no sense. The only thing we are promised after our conversion is to have our sins washed away, no where does it promise that all of our problems are going to vanish. The alcoholic doesn't always receive a pardon from his addiction. Neither do our friends around us change. For anyone to suggest that these changes are automatic is in for a dissappointing day. Change comes from the strengthening of our faith through growing spriritually. Great blog, will put you in my favorites.
Ok, so it's been a long while since this post was put up, but I wasn't willing to see the film in the theaters. So I saw it for the 99 cent rental it is, b/c a friend (who I thought I knew better) said aside from the awful beginning it really is a good film. Ugh.
I won't add to the noise. I will say this though, I am glad to see an Act One-er blogging about it. I like how you make your points, and that it isn't the ramblings of some angry, bitter recovering christian. Glad that there are folks paying attention and asking the bigger questions...(none of which this film even bothers to).
Thanks for helping me remeber I am not crazy afterall. (And say hello to Amy Snow at Act One for me...)
This movie is not a fantasy. Jesus is real. God is a powerful and Mighty God and He is good. You are decieved by your own pride. When you receive Jesus in your heart, everything changes. God loves you and wants you to have your dreams come true if you believe Him. He would never force Himself on you. I pray you chose Jesus. Then watch this movie. It will be completely different. You can't talk from where you've never been, or don't even know. I pray God open your eyes, in Jesus' Name.
I guess I am a little behind the times on this one...My family and I just got finished watching this movie and we thoroughly enjoyed it. (We have 13 year old and a 10 year old). To the point of many on this blog, the movie is very much a fantasy, especially in today's secular vision of God and Christianity; So What! The real REALITY is that the movie may give hope to those who have lost theirs. It gives real truth and vision that miracles are possible.
Many of you are right, it does sound far fetched, it does seem unlikely that the movie would start with a "down and outer" who gets so many gifts. Yet he did not ask for the gifts; he gave his soul and received the Gift of Life. It still sends a simple message; faith is good and necessary.
Look at the saducees and pharisees during the days of Christ. No matter how great his miracles, no matter how great his wisdom, no matter how great his love for others, the "righteous" chose to doubt. My point: With faith in God and his truths, many things are possible.
Although the circumstances may be different than the movie, miracles (Gifts from GOD) happen every day. Unfortunately, in our earthly wisdom, we take the miracles for granted or worst we actually think we controlled the outcome of events. If you don't believe, honestly answer these scenarios:
How many people have driven drunk and made it home safely?
How many people have worked too long or too hard and have dozed off during the drive home only wake up in time to avoid a deadly accident?
How many people have friends, relatives, parents and grandparents who lived "hard lives" yet changed their wayward ways and are truly different people?
How about a real-life story called "Remember the Titans". As far as I can recall, it is highly unlikely that a coach in the Deep South of the 70's could bring together a football team and school that was forcefully integrated?
Do I sound a little defensive? You bet I am! I am a highly educated engineer who is very experienced in the business world. Empirical data is the foundation of my career. If the numbers don't jive, then there is an error or something amiss! Yet, every day, the Word overrules my logic.
To close, its kind of like the movie fantasy, "The Stand". What a fantastic piece of artistry, it even had star performers and a huge budget! Either you are a believer or you are not...no fence sitting on this one. After all, who are we to question when and where His miracles will occur?
I'm a Marine currently in Iraq. My brother's wife just send me Facing the Giants in a care package. This movies' message stirs my heart more than any other film in history. This film is the most realistic film, besides Passion, that involves the Christian religon...I pray for everyone to just watch it, with an open mind and heart.
Cpl Greg Widmar
Bravo, mixing entertainment with the Gospel always leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And somehow, I did not see or hear the gospel of Christ in Facing the Giants, just some feel-good-do good after school special prosperity gospel. Christ doe's not need hollywood on his side. Nor do Christians need to create a substitute "Christian Version" of every art style the world creates.
I am reading some of these comments, and I must say I didn't see the coach say the sinners prayer. What I saw was a rundown Christian coach at a Christian high school, one that seems realistic to me because most of the kids weren't walking the walk. This coach wanted revival in the school, but it wasn't until he was completely at the bottom when he was able to give fully over to God and listen to what God was saying. It seems to me that we, as Christiams, often wait until we are at the end of our ropes to listen to God. That was a VERY realistic part of the movie.
I admit, the acting was awful, but we don't have actors like Jennifer Aniston in the Christian community, so I thank those that were willing to step out in faith and do what they felt God laid on their hearts to do.
The story had a great deal of fantasy in it. Things don't always turn around so completely in a Believer's life--sometimes we have to face those challenges and recognize that God knows what He is doing, but the story reminded us of the importance of putting God first and not letting anything else get in the way. It reminded me of the importance of shutting up and listening to what God has to say to me.
Was this movie academy award winning--no. But, it had a message we need to look at--one of completely abandoning ourselves for God and His work. I thank the makers of this movie for stepping otu in faith. There doing more than we are doing if we simply sit here and complain about the movie.
Just saw the movie and found this blog. You made many telling points however I was thinking about some of the ideas you reveal. First, on the whole "first fruits" thing you seem to be requiring the very best for God and not the best we each can do, I am confident that this film was the best that those people could do. Second, as a parent I would rather watch my kid play AYSO than the pros play the World Cup, I think that God thinks less of your artistic prowess than the act of someone bragging up his kid. If you want to see true artistry look at nature and ponder that it is an example of what God can create and not the limits. Relevant to both of those I call attention to the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Jesus himself told his disciples that one of them did it right and one of them got it right.
I fear our high artistic standards may reveal our own personal idolatry.
If you believe that God should not do good things for those who honor him then to whom do you give credit for your accomplishments and how willing will you be to lay them all down before him?
You obviously did not watch the movie. The man drove a car and was given a pick-up, and it was not his wife that was infertile. Before you criticize the work of others look at what you have done for Christ. The actors in the movie may not have been the best; but the comments and the scripters are true, look it up for your self.
God can and does do things just like those that happened in FTG. And, He can do even more. There's no doubt.
But, He doesn't always choose too. That's the message that the film falls short on telling. What about the faithful coach who serves God yet never has a winning season, who never gets a new truck, or has children. Is his faith any less? Is he any less worthy of serving God?
It is a slap in the face of many Christians who are facing hard times to be told they don't get answers from God because their faith wasn't good enough. God doesn't always choose to heal even though one believes with every ounce of her being that He can. God doesn't always provide materially even though His servant believes with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Anyway, I plan to show this movie at my church. But, I it will come with a disclaimer and admonishment not to buy into the health and welfare that this movie could easily be mistaken to promote. (I don't think this was the intent of the producers but it could easily be misinterpreted as being so.)
All I can say is that I will be praying for you and for all the people who agreed with you. Anyone who is a Christian knows that this film is not fantasy, but reality of the lives we lead every day.
Why does it have to fit into what you may call reality? Reality is that God can do ANYTHING! Think of scripture and look at the reality that is in it. Incredible things can happen when God is in it. He parts the Red sea, turns water to wine, raises the dead, heals the lame, blind, and deaf and sick. Scripture is full of things that defy reality. That is the kind of God we have..a God who can not be explained away! He wants to "show Himself strong to us" (II Chronicles 16:9) Don't put Him in a box. Yes, life is hard sometimes and doesn't always go the way we want...but God can turn it around anyway He chooses. This movie was not professional actors so get over it. They were all heart and had a refreshing message to give. I question wether you or anyone who agrees with you have ever experienced the God of the Bible. Reality is not found in just what you see..it is found in what you don't see too.
If Hollywood would produce the pictures Christians want to see, than amateur "church-people" wouldn't have to. You're being so picky over the production, did you miss the point of the movie?
And if you're the professional, check your spelling - "traiing"?
And if your a christian, check your venacular - "Damn hard"?
Correction: If Hollywood would produce the pictures Christians want to see, than amateur "church-people" wouldn't have to. You're being so picky over the production, (acting, etc.), did you miss the point of the movie?
And if you're the professional, check your spelling - "traiing"?
And if you're a christian, check your venacular - "Damn hard"?
I just saw this movie today and I thought it was wonderful, inspirational and thought provoking. I wanted to share that and remind the original poster that it was the coach who was infertile, not the wife.
Yes, this film was not well acted, directed, and I could just go on picking the scenes apart. But it was inspiring and had a good message for people backed by scripture. It applied scripture to every day life. God bless these people for making this film, because at least they tried and they had a good message. I liked the movie it was up lifting and encouraging. I think Facing the Giants demonstrates what an Awesome God we have. "out the bad will come good for those who love the Lord".
I think we should be more encouraging and give more constructive criticism. Your blog reads as though you are very well educated in the film industry so next time maybe you could give more helpful advice. I look forward to you producing something that is really professional with a holy spirit led message! You have a thought provoking blog, I congratulate you, because I do not usually take the time to write in a blog.
Regarless of how the message was delivered, the message of the Gospel was shared. The movie wasn't meant to be a box office hit or meant to win an emmy. It's purpose was to get the mesage of the Gospel of Christ out there. All you're doing is criticizing it.
I don't know about your god, but my God is a good God who desires to bless his children. Why does the portrayal of God's goodness get you so defensive? You must be missing out, because I know the favor of God goes before me, and I am blessed!
Truth is truth... regarless of how much money it took to put it on the big screen.
I don't understand the criticism of this movie as fantasy. Name a movie in recent years, autobiographical or "based on a true story" that hasn't been "tweaked" with Hollywood fantasy for the viewers. We've become a society that craves fantasy in our shows, movies, and books. I enjoyed this movie. Yes, the I could see where the plot was leading yet I was still interested. Having been told that my wife and I could not have children after trying for years and then having God answer our prayers and giving us 2 beautiful boys within 3 years, I could find something to relate to. Also, what's wrong with just seeing a good guy win sometime. Maybe we should just learn from the message in the movie and "prepare our fields for rain". I'll take this entertainment anyday.
I wasn't really interested in seeing the movie. I had seen clips of it and was convinced that it was just as you described, a poorly made attempt of evanglizing people by promising them blessings if they would just have enough faith in Jesus...a prosperity gospel and of the worst kind. I preach and teach against this often.
Then I actually watched the movie. I realized that on the surface it would be easy to see a "prosperity gospel" at work, but that is not the main point of this movie and only a surface read. It is a fantasy movie to be sure, but the main "message" of this movie is to "love God" regardless of outcomes.
The fact that good things happened as a result does not presuppose a prosperity gospel...nor is the assertion that anything is possible outside of God. Most thoughtful theologians or pastors would affirm such doctrines as sound. Otherwise, anyone who prays for..well, anything, and then received what they asked for in prayer...could then be charged as one who follows a "prosperity gospel." The characters in the movie didn't pray for money, cars, new home, or winning football games...they didn't give money or of themselves in order to RECEIVE anything...THIS is the essence of the prosperity gospel, and the movie carefully steers clear of it.
Actuallly it is quite a human story of overcoming obstacles within and with out and seeing how God can and often does work through everyday people. The main characters emphasized that they would "love and praise God" regardless of winning games, having kids, or house condition. That is not properly understood as a "prosperity gospel."
If we give it a fair read we might see that the story actually sends the message that praising God, regardless of outcomes, is intrinsic to the gospel. Is our understanding of the health and wealth prosperity gospel become so broad that it includes any answers to prayer, or that Christians only suffer hardship and that God only wants what is difficult for us?
Yes, the prosperity gospel can be very dangerous and has done great harm. But before we make charges like that..let's be clear on our understandings and give the movie a fair read.
As a romanist, I can see the danger for you to accept a Christian film. However, your memory fails you- the coach has a broken down car, is the one with the "infertility" problem and is already a Christian, but surrenders areas of his life and finds it rewarding to follow God's will.
The film had a very small budget and was from a church. The good thing is that they did not have to hold back and compromise the Gospel message. Sorry, not the RC Catechism, the Gospel. And it's simplicity reminds of films in the 50s. That is not a bad thing. No sex, no violence and no profanity.
I disagree with the original blog's point of view. I think that this dramatization is right on in that God can do anything and often does do miracles.
I don't believe this was ever meant to be interpreted as anything other than a fictionalized account of an underdog team overcoming seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The main difference here between this film and other underdog football films is that they give God the glory in the wins and thank Him in the defeats. So why is that bad when believing in chance seems to be okay? Overall, its not a bad message for any Christian to walk away with.
The Bible does say thank Him in all things…
If you haven't read any of the real Francis and Edith Schaeffer stuff, maybe you should read some to get a "realer" idea. Some very real miracles happened to them because they believed God and "foolishly" took him at His word and there are still these kinds of miracles happening today in ordinary lives around the globe. Maybe everything doesn't turn out as neatly as Facing the Giants but again I'd suggest reading any books by Edith Schaeffer about all the miracles they have experienced.The reviewer just proves that cynicism is alive and well even among Christians today and I for one do not believe him that this is fantasy and unreal.
>>>AND his infertile wife becomes pregnant! \
His WIFE was never infertile...as you mentioned so may times. HE was infertile. :o) It was one of the most moving and inspiring movies that I have EVER had the pleasure of viewing. :o) Have a nice day.
The blue vehicle was a car , the red gift was a truck. How arrogant can an opinion from the crappy film making capital of the world be. For beginners on 100k with an uplifting message of hope in light of difficult real life challenges. It sure got somebody stirred up to ask some very serious questions about thier on life. When's the last time Hollywood did that. Go face some Giant's you wimp!
you totally missed the whole point they where not trying to get the message across that christiany is some fairy tale but that it is a stuggle and even if life isnt always great give it to God and he will fix it not in our time but in his the man had waited 6 YEARS doing it on his own and when he gave it to God and let it go things started to go right. Even if our life isnt wonderful if we are saved and we believe that God died for our sins then our life has got a happy ending bc we get to spend the rest of our lives in heaven with our savior
We just watched FACING THE GIANTS two weeks ago. This last weekend we faced a serious tradgedy. The seeds that this movie planted in my spirit allowed me to be able to praise God when things aren't what we want and don't understand. I am thankful for the movie and the friend that urged me to take the time to see it.
In my mind this film is written better than most weekly TV programs. For you to knock it, maybe you should really watch it and see where it may apply to your own life. I believe the movie was made to draw people into The Church, not save them on the spot.
Some of the info you did get wrong:
The first vehicle the coach had was a car, not a truck. The wife was examined by the doctor she was fine it was he who infertile.
In the early part of the movie, the coach led the audiance to believe he was already a beliver but we were not shown his fauth until later. Coach didnt, walk into a field and speak to God fo the first time.
These things may be little to some and to you, but if you missed these point, what else did you miss?
Thank you Barbara for your blog. I have just watched the DVD with another believer, and we were both encouraged in our faith. I was too focused on the movie and moved by the message to notice the quality of the acting. I wondered if I was being brainwashed by the movie so looked it up on the internet. Interesting how I look there instead of studying the Bible, even after spending all that time watching the movie. I pray that we get more inspiration and encouragement in our faith, regardless of if it is in another movie, a discussion forum, or studying the bible.
Your Jesus has no power apparently. You must be fun at parties.
I loved the movie I recommend it to people who are on the cusp. They seem to understand a God who will perform a miracle in there sad life. I know the apostle Paul would at the very least have said if it draws them to Christ then it works,oh well I guess there are always people in the world who will condescend if they don't understand something. Gee I wonder why evangelical churches are growing and old catholic and mainline churches are empty.
You're right, Facing the Giant's 1000% profit at the box office and the new youth center it is building in Albany, GA, is hardly a step in the right direction. Do us a favor and put some feet on that big talk of yours and go make a movie that meets your standards. I dare you.
wow, the flaming that happens on this blog is just mesmerizing. i showed this film to my youth ministry and while the message is positive and i have experienced HUGE miracles in my life, portraying these miracles is a feel-good for Christians ONLY. the non-believing world is still not believing. i am going to teach on FTG, and speak on the miracles that i have experienced and witnessed. that being said, this world needs to see Christ as a blessing whether or not our football team wins, we can or can't have children, etc. we love God regardless of the 'fringe' benifits. our greatest gift is salvation and our job is to spread the good news.
Barbara, As I came accross your website and began reading your opinions on "Facing the Giants", I just assumed you were an Athiest! I can NOT believe that you consider yourself to be a Christian. Your comments are laughable and lack any depth what so ever. As a self-proclaimed intellect in the world of cinema, you have greatly failed to SEE what has been obvious to the REAL believer and viewer of this movie....the ANOINTING!!! Barbara, you can not see this with your eyes nor can you see it by having a wonderful sence of asthetic style or by having a great resume and years of experience in the film industry. You can only experience this by opening your heart! I will pray that God does that in your life. Remember, God will use "what" to confound the wise? I'll let you go ahead and look that one up for yourself. It sounds like you need to spend a little more time reading the Bible.
Dave - Christian Filmmaker
It's easy to say that something is bad and dangerous. It's difficult to put your money where your mouth is and try to do something that is good, professional, and worthy of world wide appeal. Let's just come right out and say it, you can't make a better movie so you don't and you feel better about yourself by criticizing someone else's attempt to bring others closer to God. I believe that God will honor whatever attempt we make to bring others closer to Him. But, as usual, some "Able Christians" kick other "not-so-able Christians" in the gut when they try to make an uplifting attempt on entertainment. I wonder if God feels honored by this? Hmmmmm!
God is THE UNIVERSAL ONE that operates in Absolute Sovereigness; our ability to experience Him is on the personal level and the age old dilema is simply 'His way or my way'. I appreciate your stand for your integrity, don't give up on it for you to do any other would be compromising your faith. But son't assume your personal convictions are anyone elses. You don't know the personal heart convictions or compromises brought about this movie or the impact it will have on viewers. All we can pray is that God be glorified.
I'm a Christian. Saw the film. Thought it was a fantastic story--very inspiring. Thought it was a true story or at least based on one. Saw the DVD later. Watched the bonus features looking forward to learning more details about the "true story." Wow, was I let down to find it was fiction. Granted, the Billy Graham movie "The Climb" was also made up, but it played out the actions of two men--one of them motivated by his belief in God. This, to me, is acceptable. "Facing the Giants", however, portrays the actions and miraculous interventions of God Almighty. Such divine portrayals should be reserved for sharing true life incidents if the goal is to lead a person to the truth contained in the Bible. The intentions were great and admirable, and the team-work in making the film was inspiring, but I'm glad I didn't encourage a particular atheist friend of mine to see it. Talk about ammo to back up his misunderstandings. Why not invest such resources and enthusiasm on a REAL story line--a modern day Joseph story that took place right here in the USA. I've heard of, AND experienced first hand, many true stories that are amazing, miraculous, and energizing. I'm more resolved now, if given the opportunity, to produce a true story of the life of a Christian family if ever God gives me the thumbs up. True stories are powerful. There are so many out there; why make one up and be subject to criticism? Truth can stand on its own.
Matthew 6:33 says to seek God first and all these things will be added unto you. God's word always contains something relevant to add to the discussion. Many people take this bible verse as a bible verse about prosperity. It is not, it is a verse about priority. This is a movie about priority. I for one applaud this movie as a Christian should "in everything give thanks". And Barbara I applaud you for making so many people think about what God is saying to them through this movie. I would love to see more biblically sound movies coming out of Hollywood so please do so. Again, loved the movie and love Barbara as well. One note my fellow brothers & sisters -- do not judge Barbara, her walk with Christ, her salvation, etc. For the bible is very clear when you sit in judgment you will be judged likewise. Act in faith, hope, and love but the most important is love.
I saw the movie and was moved and strengthened. One thing I would like to share is that while I come from a Christian apologetics background, I have learned that the one thing God wants all of us to remember is that "with God all things are possible" and our pride often gets in the way of that. The Kendrick brothers are very well aware of the entirety of the holy scriptures and have a solid understanding (please watch the commentary on the DVD). My brothers and sisters, God is a God of tender mercies, and He knows when encouragement is needed during our own "way of the cross". The wonderful thing about the Bible is that it is both miraculous and rigorous. The training we receive is not an end in itself. It is for a purpose. And as He says, "after you have suffered for awhile then they God of all tender mercies will...? Do you remember what it says? Read it again and be comforted about this film. Hannah prayed for a child and got Samuel,a Prophet God needed. But did you also know that the Shunamite was given a son in her old age as well and God did nothing with the child that was special? He did it out of love and tender regard for her situation. Daily I read of the completeness of the Father who loves us in ways too deep for our understanding...and does it not say so in regard to the peace He gives us that "suppasses all understanding." Rather than be critical here, I would suggest that we remember what our Lord said when the disciples were similarly outraged that there were others preaching the Good news apart from them. Jesus said to let them alone because whoever preached about him was for him. None of us has the complete understanding. It takes all sorts and all members of the body to reach those whom the Father has called. Unless it's absolute heresy (and that is another subject for another day) then let us remember that the "hand cannot say to the foot: 'I have no use for you.'" Let's be thankful in all things and that means being thankful that God allowed the evident love that went into making that film to be used for his glory in places where you and I may not have been able to reach those hearts. Now, when it comes time for those hearts to be further educated into the "deeper things of God", I can assure you from faith that has seen it happen, that God will see to it that they are. You and I may be among those that God uses in that regard. So let us not spoil the witnesses that God has set up. No one the Father draws to him through the Son will be incomplete. God will finish their training and we may be priveleged to be used to finish that work. So lets support our brothers and be ready to add supportive witness to the fire they get started. God bless you all.
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