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Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

It’s Not Evan Funny

Posted by Adam Graham on July 1, 2007

Dennis Mansfield takes issue with Dr. James Dobson for refusing to endorse Evan Almighty. Before getting into this discussion, I should clarify that I do respect Dennis Mansfield and his accomplishments both past and present.

Having said that, Dr. Dobson raised a great concern:

My greatest objection to the film is its use of God’s name irreverently in eight or 10 instances, as in “oh my —.” It was simply unnecessary to write the script this way, and I was bothered by it. I was also uncomfortable with the depiction of our most righteous God as an ordinary man who, though endearing and warm, danced and performed funny miracles. Some people, even individuals with similar beliefs to mine, will not be offended by this presentation. But I was taught at my mother’s knee that God is profoundly holy, and we are to approach Him with deep humility and reverence. The first four of the Ten Commandments refer to this divine nature, including a warning to those who would misuse His name or refer to it disrespectfully. How can I endorse a movie that runs past those boundaries, even though most others do far worse?

Finally, I was concerned about the rewriting of the story of Noah and his ark. “God,” played charmingly by Morgan Freeman, told the new Noah character that the first flood occurred because the people hadn’t done enough “acts of random kindness” (as in A.R.K. Get it?). God destroyed the world and its inhabitants, the contemporary god said, not to punish a wicked and perverse generation as we read in Genesis 6, but as a benign object lesson to encourage people to be nicer to each other. It was bad theology and a radical distortion of Scripture.

As is usual with Dr. Dobson, I thought the response was quite appropriate and measured in tone. Dennis responds:

So, as I read his review I had to pause. Not because I disagreed with Dr. Dobson (though I did), but because I came to realize how I just don’t think I am “there” ….My forced entrance into the drug addiction world (and recovery world) has shown me: the deepest levels of pain can only be bridged by love, respect and honor. Not by criticism. Nor by inordinate “Christian-ism”, somehow out of synch with a world that is Biblically illiterate, yet it is starving and searching for truth. Somehow, withholding support for such a film pales in comparison to the things thadt REALLY are not good in our culture. Is “Evan Almighty GREAT”? No. but it is good. Is it BIBLICAL? No, but it is good. Is it a Sunday School lesson. Again, No – and it never was supposed to be.

I have to admit, this makes little sense to me. On one hand, the film is good because people are looking for truth and are biblicallly illiterate. On the other hand, the film is good even though its unbiblical and not truthful about the character of God. So, because people are searching for truth, it makes sense for Christians to support a film that tells an untruth about God.

While, I find the occurences of taking the name of the Lord in Vain to be a concern (as well as my own tolerance of it and desensitization to it in our culture), the question of the Truth of God’s character is essential.

God is often painted as some one-dimensional lovey dovey teddy bear, or an aloof “big guy in the sky.” Yet, our God is a consuming fire; He’s both perfect love and perfect judgment, and when a movie or a book creates something other than that, they’ve presented not the True God, but a false one.

If folks remember around the time I came to Boise, there was a huge row with AOL. AOL had run an ad for a New York Premiere that included this line, “You Didn’t Think We’d Launch Something Like This in Boise, Did You?” People were offended because our city had been defamed. How much more appropriate is it to be offended when God Himself is the subject of mockery and made into a false caricature?

Yes, I do believe that for recovery to happen and people to come to know Christ, we must be real, but being real is being honest about who we are and about who God is, and I can’t see how hurting people can be healed by stories of a God who’s made in the image of man, rather than being a portrayal of the true living God.

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Playing God

Posted by Adam Graham on June 30, 2007

Andrea and I watched “The Gospel of John” this weekend. Overall, it wasn’t too bad Henry Ian Cusick does a good job most of the time as Jesus, but his performance wasn’t without problems. At some times, when delivering some of Jesus’ lines, he acted wild eyed and crazy, which wasn’t true to the character of the Gospel. I thought he brought appropriate emotion, inflection, and charisma to Christ’s role most of the time and helped bring the Gospel to life.

Andrea didn’t buy him as Christ, and I have to admit that unlike watching Jim Cavizel could be believed as Jesus, and you forgot it was an actor on screen, not so with Cusick. Cusick’s skin was too perfect, and he really looked too good physically in my opinion. The movie also suffered from the Bible version (the utterly forgetable Good News Version)  and there were some visual suggestions of something more with Mary Magdalene.

Overall, the movie was good and had some stories brought to screen such as the healing of the blind man in John 9 and it was just what we needed after a stressful week.

However, to me it opens my mind to a far greater topic, I’ve been giving some thought to. The role of Christ (or God) is perhaps the hardest part to play in cinema. Why? Because there is so much expectation tied up in that role. One thing is certain, you won’t please everyone.

The versions of Jesus that come to mind include: The Passion of the Christ, Greatest Story Ever Told, King of Kings, Jesus of Nazareth Mini-Series, The Miracle Worker (Claymation), The Visual Bible (Matthew), The Jesus Movie, The Revolutionary (TBN’s Version),  The Living Christ Miniseries (from the 1950s), and the Color of the Cross.

Now, one could add to the list such as the movie, Judas, Jesus Christ Superstar, and the Last Temptation of Christ. These films will never be quite popular with Christians as the Jesus portrayed isn’t the real Christ.

 However, for the others, one has to say that with the exception of Cavizel most movie Christs rarely meet most people’s expectations. Reading reviews on Amazon, it seems everyone has one (or two) Jesus movies they really don’t like and one or two they love.

For me, I personally thought the Revolutionary was an awful adaptation of the Gospel story. The others have been at least okay.

The ones that I think are the best are the Passion of the Christ. The Miracle Maker did a good job telling the gospel story. While many have ripped, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” for the dubious casting of John Wayne as the Centurion at the Cross, other casting choices were great like Telly Sevallas as Pilate, Charlton Heston as the best John the Baptist ever, and the music. The music was what made the movie so compelling. I also enjoyed the “Living Christ” mini-series. Often derided by those looking only at traditional guidelines, the series was poweful on many levels. Perhaps, its greatest triumph was the scene where the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray.

But, of course many will disagree. If you play Christ in film, you can expect your work to be summarily critiqued and evaluated, and often to have the harshest barbs fired in your direction. Perhaps, it’s because in the end, try as we might, we can’t replicate Christ as all he is on the screen, which will make even the best performances unsatisfactory.

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I Wonder How They’ll Do That…

Posted by Adam Graham on February 5, 2007

Christianity Today reports:

Ralph Winter—producer of the X-Men and Fantastic Four films—is a well-known Christian in Hollywood, and Walden Media has scored one of the biggest box office hits in recent years with their adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, by beloved Christian author C. S. Lewis.

Now these two forces are joining for another Lewis adaptation—this time, his cherished spiritual warfare novel, The Screwtape Letters. Variety reports that Winter will produce the adaptation in association with Walden Media.

The adaptation—described as a “midbudget,” mostly live-action film—is slated for release some time in 2008. The novel, first published in 1942, is written as a series of letters between two demons, the elder Screwtape and his young nephew, Wormwood, with the seasoned demon offering his young protégé advice on undermining Christian faith and spreading wickedness.

I’m curious how they’ll do it. Screwtape is a series of letters with no real character development or even characters actually seen (though some are described.) No doubt, it’ll require the addition of characters and characteristics that fans will find annoying. But, hopefully Winters can insure that it’ll be an interesting film for the rest.

Posted in Films | 4 Comments »

800 not $10 Million

Posted by Adam Graham on December 17, 2006

As the Christian film, “Facing the Giants” inches towards the $10 million mark, the producers are concerned wtih another milestone:

Sherwood Baptist’s media associate director notes that many new believers have come to Christ as a result of the message in the church’s film. “We’ve seen over 800 salvations; and that to me is just a staggering number,” he observes. “And those 800 salvations are the people that we know about.”

While critical acclaim and box office receipts are nice, those souls won for Christ “are the only things that you can lay at the feet of Jesus,” Goode asserts. “We want God to be glorified first and foremost with Facing the Giants,” he says.

The Georgia Christian believes churches can utilize advances in media and technology to reach the world for Jesus Christ. He encourages congregations with that aim to seek God before embarking on a media ministry and to “pray, every step of the way,” making discernment of God’s will a top priority.

“Get on your face before God, seek godly counsel, and look at everything through the grid of scripture,” Goode advises. “And make sure,” he adds, “that your idea is a God idea and not [just] a ‘good idea,’ because good ideas are not necessarily God ideas. The plans of men will not succeed unless God is behind them.”

Prior to making its first theatrically-released film, Sherwood Baptist Church completed another feature for DVD distribution — a family film called Flywheel. Goode says the church is now exploring the possibility of making another movie next year.

A good lesson for us all.

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We’re Paying the Price

Posted by Adam Graham on December 12, 2006

Patricia Heaton of Everybody Loves Raymond fame gave an interview to Christianity Today and the point was made by the CT interviewer made the point that Christians shunned Hollywood for many years:

Now we’re paying the price. From the beginning of church history, music, writing, literature, and the greatest works of art all came from the church. To change the culture and make it a force for good, you have to be in it and be a part of it. And you have to be more excellent than anyone else. It’s not that you have to embrace everything that comes out—there’s a lot of crap out there—but you need to be able to have an intellectual discussion of why something is not portraying the truth of our human condition.

I think she’s right about being in the culture and part of it. But whether that means being part of Hollywood or competing with it is the real question. It’s a key strategic point, but I think her larger view of being involved is very timely.

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Facing the Truth

Posted by Adam Graham on November 30, 2006

Some people don’t like Facing the Giants, and that’s fine. However, being inaccurate about the details as Barbara Nicolosi did isn’t:

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.

How does one so get the story wrong. Perhaps, it’s been months since she’s seen it, but let’s review.

First, the coach’s prayer was not a “sinner’s prayer” (i.e. a prayer of conversion.) If it had been, I’d agree that the message was off. The coach goes and prays in a field (because a field is behind his house) to ask God what to do. It is triggered by the plot point of him locking up at school only to hear others plotting to fire him.

The movie is not magic or prospertity gospel. He went through 6 losing seasons before this. Revival came to the school through the work and faithfulness of a man who’d been praying longer than that. If the movie is about anything, it is about the results of sticking with it through adversity and the ultimate faithfulness of God.

I would agree the Christian life is not a bed of roses and I don’t think Facing the Giants suggests that it is. There’s pain, there’s sorrow, there’s striving, but God is still faithful. All the events in the movie (including the new truck being given) happened to real people who attended the producer’s church.

The Jolly Blogger comments on the movie:

We see this in Christian fiction and movies with their neat and tidy happy-ever-after endings, in our church websites populated with pics of bright and shiny people, in our preference for idyllic countrysides over messy over-populated cities, and in our health and wealth gospels.

On the one hand we could argue with the statement about “that embarrassingly unsuccessful crucified coach of ours.” What Barbara forgets to mention is that the crucifixion wasn’t the end of the story, the resurrection was – a very happy ending. Yet, the point she wants to make still stands – things don’t always end well in this world for christians. That’s where pollyanna Christianity goes wrong. Christ promises us a cross in this life, not a trophy.

He’s right, things don’t always go right, but Facing the Giants never said that they do. You can debate the movie. You can argue indeed that every Christian movie should end in sadness, misery, and utter hopelessness, as a proof that is God never does anything, but sits there and wants us to be miserable as he never delivers, never saves, never heals on this side of Heaven.

You can also ignore the fact that the ending advocated would be totally out of character for the genre of sports films. As Dave Burchett wrote:

I long for believable sports story lines. Like a movie about a guy hearing voices, building a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, and having dead players walk out of the corn fields to play a game. And then having a dead guy “have a catch” with his son. That makes total sense. Oh wait…that is “Field of Dreams.” And I loved that movie. Or how about a movie about a player who uses a bat carved out of a tree that was hit by lightning. This home made bat is selected by the batboy in the biggest game of the year after the star player’s bat is broken. A bat he has never used in a game situation picked by a 12 year old. Then he hits a home run so massive it causes the light standard to explode and rain sparks and debris on the field as he runs the bases. It could happen. I’m sorry. That is “The Natural”. And I liked that movie. So let’s get real. It is not about stretching your imagination that is the problem here. It is the God factor that offends many in this film.

There’s a line between realism and snotty elitism, which is often crossed by critics.

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Mark Your Calendar

Posted by Adam Graham on October 31, 2006

December 1st, the Nativity debuts in theaters across America. I feel good about this movie. I saw a preview when I saw Facing the Giants. Christianity Today has an interview with the film makers.

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Chuck Norris Says

Posted by Adam Graham on October 30, 2006

Go see Facing the Giants:

Few readers have probably heard of Michael Catt or Alex and Stephen Kendrick, but I believe they are great examples of how each of us can affect our world.

Catt is the senior pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church and has a vision for his congregation to ”reach the world from Albany, Georgia.” Two of his pastoral staff (Alex and Stephen Kendrick) are materializing that vision through a lifelong dream to make films that reintroduce decency and faith back into the movie industry.

The Kendrick brothers created Sherwood Pictures, the church’s filmmaking ministry, and just produced their second film, ”Facing the Giants,” on a shoe-string budget and volunteer crew. This family-friendly and faith-filled motion picture is currently winning the hearts and minds of grassroots America. My wife, Gena, and I have seen it three times and taken others!

Even more, their work inspires me to do more faith-based movies in the future. This fresh infusion of biblical morals and values is desperately needed in our culture.

Don’t argue with the man, go see it. :)

Posted in Films | 2 Comments »

Carnival of Facing the Giants III: The Final Edition

Posted by Adam Graham on October 22, 2006

Well, it’s been a fun couple of weeks, but it’s about time for this Carnival to fold its tents. While Facing the Giants continues to enjoy a great deal of box office success without actual submissions coming in and having everything down, I simply don’t have time to continue the carnival. But we’ll make this last one a good one.

Lengnie plans to prepare his fields for harvest.

Chalan Thibodeaux provides the shortest (yet accurate) summary of the film I’ve ever seen.

The Rebulution talks about the Kendrick brothers’ early film making efforts.

Dave Burchett addresses complaints about the movie’s realism:

I long for believable sports story lines. Like a movie about a guy hearing voices, building a baseball field in the middle of nowhere, and having dead players walk out of the corn fields to play a game. And then having a dead guy “have a catch” with his son. That makes total sense. Oh wait…that is “Field of Dreams.” And I loved that movie. Or how about a movie about a player who uses a bat carved out of a tree that was hit by lightning. This home made bat is selected by the batboy in the biggest game of the year after the star player’s bat is broken. A bat he has never used in a game situation picked by a 12 year old. Then he hits a home run so massive it causes the light standard to explode and rain sparks and debris on the field as he runs the bases. It could happen. I’m sorry. That is “The Natural”. And I liked that movie. So let’s get real. It is not about stretching your imagination that is the problem here. It is the God factor that offends many in this film.

Well said.

The Echota Youth Group is seeking donations to show Facing the Giants.

More from the Rebulution as they break down Steven Kendrick’s 6 biblical principles for Christian filmmakers and 8 ways to stay in tune from the Heart of God.

His Mercies are news draws a conclusion from the film.

Bebe says the movie is very popular with high school football teams in Georgia.

Finally, I had a piece on Lessons from Facing the Giants.

So I wrap up my last carnival by urging you to go and see the movie for yourself. It’ll be a true blessing for you.

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Facing Reality

Posted by Adam Graham on October 19, 2006

I made a post over at the Lost Genre Guild about Facing the Giants and how it’s principles applied to the ideas of speculative fiction. I got a comment that I’d love to expand on, but don’t feel quite like turning the Lost Genre Guild into a debating zone:

I wonder how much of Facing the Giants mirrors the reality that most Christians face. From what I’ve heard, when the coach becomes a Christian, all his troubles reverse course. (Please correct me if I’m wrong.)

Is that the reality of becoming a Christian? Or does the movie give us a glamorized view of the Faith that sets unreal expectations?

I’m always hearing about the need for us writers to write pieces that are “grittier,” so I would assume that this means that not every ending is happy.

I know a pastor who died suddenly in his thirties, and his family was left destitute.

I’ve known plenty of good Christians who didn’t get the miracle they prayed so hard for.

I’ve known Christians whose churches abandoned them at the point of their greatest need.

But you don’t hear those stories. When the promise comes after life is over, does that make for the same kind of story as Facing the Giants? We don’t like to think that our reward will solely be in heaven and not this side of it. That doesn’t sell books or movies.

Yet as writers, to be true to reality, we have to write those stories. We have to reflect Habakkuk–sometimes the fig tree does not blossom, but we rejoice anyway. That’s so much harder to write. Perhaps that’s why we shy away from writing those stories.

Well, of course Coach Grant Taylor is a Christian throughout. He changes his team’s and his own focus, which is key to the changes that occur. What critics never seem to emphasize is that Taylor’s turnaround occurs after six straight losing seasons and four years of infertility. Now, please don’t tell me that situation is some glamourized picture of the Christian life!

With the two examples of the destitute pastor’s family and the person abandonned by their church, the misunderstanding comes in as to when the story actually ends.

“Pastor dies, family left destitute. The End.”

Is that really how we would end the story? This would be akin to ending the movie Braveheart with William Wallace’s death and leaving out that whole heroic battle and Robert the Bruce saying, “You bled with Wallace, now bleed with me.” Of course, some might nitpick that “Braveheart” isn’t 100% historically accurate. But you could do the same thing by making a movie about a soldier at Valley Forge and ending the movie with his death.

No, uplifting ending. No point to any of it. The End. We’ve been realistic. Or have we?

The Bible tells us, “All things work together for good.” (Rom. 8:28) So realistically, even the negative things in life have a point or are redeemed. For he is called “Our Redeemer.”

Christian Fiction is replete with characters who have experienced pain and trauma. One example that comes to mind is Frank Peretti’s protagonist in “The Visitation.” We meet him as a widower disillusioned with the church, full of pain and regret.

As a writer, I often choose to meet my character at the bottom of the hill and watch him climb back up. I certainly don’t want to leave a protagonist in a place of utter misery and pointlessness unless I’m planning on revisiting him.

I truly believe there’s no limit to where good can spring up where pain and sorrow has ravaged. Even death itself is powerless against God’s greatness. So every pain and every wound in our lives can be used to shape us into who God has created us to be.

For most readers, plodding through hundreds of pages of drudgery and misery to get to the hope is too much. So, unlike in real life, we skip the greater part of the descent, meet at the bottom and watch the climb back up.

When reading or watching stories of hope, it gives me hope that my sorrow and sadness can end in joy. And the Bible tells us that hope is one of three things that abides, and it is hope we need. Through all of our sufferings, we can carry on, if only we know that God will redeem the years that the Locusts have eaten.

As a writer, I don’t believe my business is to provide a “realistic ending” which denies the faithfulness of God, but rather no matter what sorrow may happen or woes may come, God will move. Though, death and sickness, pain, sadness, and hurt fill our lives, God is there and has a purpose in it.

As they hymnist said, “The Lord moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform. He plants his footsteps on the sea and he rides on every storm. He’s his own interpreter and he’s going to make it plain.”

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Facing the Giants Carnival II

Posted by Adam Graham on October 11, 2006

Welcome to the second installment of the Facing the Giants Carnival, a short run carnival dedicated to promoting and sharing the positive impact of Facing the Giants.

First of all, let’s start off with the numbers game. The Box Office is not so much important for the money earned, but for the reach the film has had. The movie is now up to nearly $2.9 million and will soon cross the $3.0 million mark. Box Office Mojo ranks it now as the 13th highest grossing Christian or Mormon film ever. It’s a great success for a movie with a budget of $100,000.

As I’ve written about, community leaders in Lancaster, PA. have asked for Facing the Giants to be played at their local theater because they believe it could help people deal with the great loss they’ve suffered.

Finally, Facing the Giants was featured in the Washington Post, a sign of how the influence of this movie continues to grow.

This week, I’m including the trailer right on the blog courtesy of You Tube:

With that, let’s get to the posts:

The Self Proclaimed expert has a letter from crew member Brad Weston on God moving in the production.

Knightly’s Castle wonders why it was rated PG anyway.

Spirit Walk sees hope for a revival.

Michael at the Clay Project recommitted his life to God after seeing the film.

Al is glad he didn’t listen to Movie critics who panned the film.

Noah at Civilized Revolt takes away a devotional lesson from the film on how to deal with adversity.

Alicia encourages people to go without revealing too much of the plot.

Tracy notes what Facing the Giants is missing: “The immoral character of most movies.”

Walk the Talk analyzes what keeps us from facing our giants.

Amy at His New Mercies generally doesn’t reccomend movies but for facing the Giants she’ll make an exception.

As a Coach’s wife, Carrie identifies with Facing the Giants.

Ivory puts us on notice: Go see, “Facing the Giants!”

Facing the Giants offers something for the whole family, including a family of eight who went in shifts.

Grimm is generally skeptical about Christian films, but this one is different.

First Fruits rarely goes to movies, but she and her husband went out to see Facing the Giants to celebrate his 33rd birthday.

Cyndi at New Mercy encourages you not to wait for the video (or DVD for that matter. :)

Brian Thornton of Voice of the Sheep lets you know what you won’t see in Facing the Giants and issues another tissue advisory.

That’s for this week. If you’ve got a post you’d like to submit a post, click here.

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Facing the Giant of Death

Posted by Adam Graham on October 10, 2006

Community leaders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania think that a movie could help heal their town. It’s not out of a Hollywood studio, it’s “Facing the Giants:” a movie made by a church in Georgia. According to WALB:

Sony Pictures say community leaders in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania have asked that an Albany church’s religious movie be shown in their theatre, to help them deal with the shooting deaths of five school children last week.

The Sony spokesperson said they are working to make “Facing the Giants” available in Lancaster County. That’s were Charles Roberts stormed the school last Monday, tying up and shooting 10 girls, before taking his own life.

Community leaders say they think the Sherwood Baptist Church of Albany’s movie will help people deal with the tragedy.

Of course, too often when most people think about movies, their only thought is about making money. With Alex Kendrick and the Facing the Giants folks, it’s all about ministry and touching lives, and it looks like they’ll get a chance to do that in Pennsylvania.

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Alex Kendrick and Francis Ford Coppola

Posted by Adam Graham on October 5, 2006

Facing the Giants is the best rated movie in Theaters according to Yahoo and one of the best all-time according to Yahoo rankings.

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The Facing the Giants Carnival

Posted by Adam Graham on October 5, 2006

Movies that have are big Hollywood productions have huge advertising budgets. Some films rely on word of mouth or in this case, word of blog.

Thus, if you’re thinking about seeing Facing the Giants this weekend (check here for local theaters playing the movie), this Carnival is a round-up of amazing posts on a phenomenal movie that’s still in limited release. So many of these posts, like Facing the Giants are inspirational blessings. If you wish to submit to this Carnival in the future, go to http://www.blogcarnival.com”>Blog Carnival and submit your articles on Facing the Giants.

I’m not paid by Sony, Sherwood Pictures or any distributor of the film. This Carnival is a short term project that will last somewhere between 3-8 weeks depending on the level of posts continuing to stream in. So, the plan is for this to peak and then peeter out along with the movie

If you’d like to host a future Carnival, e-mail me. However, I’m prepared to host every Carnival here if needs be.

This week’s posts are draftees from across the Blogosphere and even MySpace, found through the wonders of Technorati. May this carnival be a blessing to you and if haven’t seen Facing the Giants, please see if it’s in a theater near you.

Welcome to the first Carnival of Facing the Giants, a round-up of blogs talking about the independent Christian football film that is playing selected theaters across the nation.

Let’s get under way.

My entry focuses on the power of the movie’s message.

Greg Simmons was inspired by the movie to write about the philosophy of winning.

Lori at In the Batter’s Box came to realize her need to put Jesus first in her life after watching the film.

Ms. Green at Thinking Out Loud hasn’t seen the movie yet, but wants to.

It Is Taylor Wood? breaks down Facing the Giants successful first weekend.

Sarah Onderdonk is not a football fan but loves Facing the Giants

Seeing the movie was just what Melissa needed.

Henry over at Thoughts from UpState South Carolina worked on a movie and he’s played football. He weighs in on Facing the Giants professionalism and the realism of the football scenes.

Jonathan without an Accent makes a good reccomendation, Bring Tissues along with other thoughts on the film.

Not only are Christians enjoying the movie, but as Antonio reports they’re letting theater staff know.

Jen says it strengthened her faith.

Shawn writes how Facing the Giants not only changed his life, but his My Space Blog as well.

Sonya at Liquid Salt says simply she was blessed and amazed by her son’s reaction to the movie.

JD at Proverbs 19:20 gives his take

Missa is another non-football fan who loved Facing the Giants.

Freeman Hunt wasn’t expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised by Facing the Giants

Jasper examines the per-screen gross of Facing the Giants.

Daffodil writes there are some areas where showing up at the ticket window will mean not getting a ticket.

Casey is inspired to do the impossible.

Joe was expecting a completely serious movie but was surprised by Facing the Giants use of humor.

Heather was emotionally exhausted after the film.

That’s all for this week. Click here to find a theater playing the movie in your area. See you next week.

Linked to Blue Star Chronicles, Jo’s Cafe

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Life, Man, and God on the Silver Screen

Posted by Adam Graham on October 3, 2006

One of the most profound movies to hit the silver screen in recent years wrestles with profound issues of God, faithfulness, and success. The film comes not from Hollywood but Albany, Georgia.

Facing the Giants opened in 441 theaters across America and in that limited release was the 12th highest grossing film in America. What caused hundreds of thousands of America to watch a film featuring actors no one has heard of from a town few outside the South have heard of?

A Different Type of Christian Film

With the notable exceptions of the Passion of the Christ and Jonah: A Veggie Tales movies, Evangelical films have focused to a great extent on the end of days with movies featuring B-actors who work to turn the Lord’s return into a mega-hit. Smaller budget films have had an entirely evangelistic focus.

Writer and star Alex Kendrick has gone another route and produced a far more profound film that is about ordinary people and an extraordinary God.

Kendrick plays Grant Taylor, a football coach at a Christian High School with six losing seasons under his belt and a school whose boosters are rapidly losing confidence in him. At the same time, his car is constantly dying, his house is in a bad state of repair, and he and his wife are struggling with infertility. In the midst of these real problems, Coach Taylor reaches a crisis point and with the encouragement of a faith man of prayer, Taylor takes his life and his team’s in a different direction.

The Power of Attitude

Taylor realizes that his team’s play is purposeless and sloppy because they have no purpose in what they do. Taylor offered a new purpose that he placed as the team’s top priority: bringing glory to God. “We need to give God our best in every area…If we win, we praise him, if we lose, we praise him.”

The team also struggled with an attitude that pre-supposed defeat. In one of the most powerful scenes ever in a sports movie, Taylor takes on the lackadaisical attitude of his team’s Captain. The Coach focuses his efforts on changing the minds, hearts, and attitudes of his team, and the results come forth on the field.

This has led to some to allege that the movie preaches a prosperity doctrine. But it does nothing of the sort. It’s a movie about faith as a living substance, and God working through the life of the faithful. One character spends years upon years praying for a revival in the school before seeing it come to pass. It’s not a movie that promises you a fortune if you serve God, it’s a movie that says God is worthy of our praise in our best and our worst moments, but also that God is faithful.

It’s a movie that leads to reflection on your own life. As I sat in the theater, I realized in many areas of my life, I go out defeated before I’ve even started and fail to do my best. The movie made me ask, “What if I went out and held nothing back?”

While Taylor’s team has to tangle with the three-time state Champion Giants, the movie is really made for those who face “the giants of fear and failure:” all of us. Facing the Giants offers the hope that, in whatever area we face them, we can slay our own giants.

It’d be easy for a movie like this to become saccharine, sappy, preachy, and corny. But Facing the Giants avoids this for the most part with a cast of real people playing real people that turns in heartfelt, endearing, and in some cases, humorous performances. Kendrick turns in a versatile performance through the highs and lows of Coach Taylor.

Whatever happens to the movie from here, Kendrick has faced the Giant of Hollywood and our popular culture with a powerful message of faith, love, and dedication. In the process, he has produced a film that everyone should see.

For theater information go to http://www.facingthegiants.com

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