Bad Movies

Yesterday I gave my impressions of the movie Fireproof. On a couple of forums I post on, the response was pretty much a universal "ho-hum." I was kind of surprised, actually. Then one comment hit home. "I gave (Facing the) Giants a shot and got burned."

Which begs the question, "Why is it so many Christian movies are so bad?"

I'm discounting The Passion of the Christ right off. This was not a typical Christian movie. And not that it didn't have it share of critics who said it was terrible, historically inaccurate, poorly acted, and simply made to feed Mel Gibson's prodigious ego.

No, I'm talking about movies like Left Behind, Joshua, The Omega Code and others. These are movies, that had the story been told by first-rate actors and writers and produced with big budgets, would have been truly amazing films. And I don't mean to belittle Kirk Cameron, Tony Goldwyn or Casper Van Dien and Michael York. Ok, maybe I do.

Behind Passion, the top "Christian" movies by box office are the two Chronicles of Narnia flicks. Now, while I like them both, they are not really "Christian" movies, are they? The Nativity Story is number four (OK, I'll give you that one) and number five is Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie.

Veggie Tales? Come on! Is that the best we can do?

The Left Behind books were a true phenomenon. Without getting into the "pre-trib", "mid-trib", "post-trib" debate, they are certainly entertaining. I had high hopes for the films. What did I get? Two actors I knew, a couple I'd seen vaguely. Cheesey dialog. The Left Behind series of books sold over 65 million copies, not counting Left Behind Kids, the comic books, etc... By comparison, Bridges of Madison County sold about 12 million copies (most of them after the movie came out) and they got Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep! Left Behind got Gordon Currie as the bad guy! Who?

Part of the problem is that we'll go and see Eagle Eye this weekend, and wait for Fireproof to hit the Redbox. And so Hollywood has little incentive to make better movies for Christians. And I have no doubt that Fireproof will do better than it has - it made over 6 million it's first weekend, 12 times it's production costs.

But if we all went to see Fireproof, and waited for Eagle Eye to hit the Redbox... that would be something.


  1. I'd say for me, the Left Behind series were like the Da Vinci code but written by Christians. I have strong negative views of them because they appear to have hit a formula and milked it for all the cash it was worth - my perception.

    But why are Christian movies frequently poor? Probably for similar reasons Bollywood movies are often sucky. They tend to try to fit the 'nice cultural' sensibility with people often over-acting, poor storylines and direction that is at odds with a good audience experience. They also seldom seem to just tell as story, and are so desperate to put over a message that they just grate.

    And from a non-American POV, they are almost always desperately American, in a way that can alienate.

  2. That second point is very valid, Toni, thanks. It's like the start with "What message are we giving, then craft the story around it, instead of just starting with a good story.


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