New Review Standards

Hello readers,

Given the recent uptick in standards with the Christian entertainment market as well as the influx of higher-quality movies and series, the Box Office Revolution team is altering its review standards.

To receive a full review, a film or season of a series must have a budget of at least $5 million. Alternatively, a movie can receive a full review if it receives a cumulative rating of 4 points while a season of a series can receive a review with a cumulative rating of 5.5 points.

These updates will be added to our review scale.

Diamond in the Rough [2019] (Movie Review)

Diamond in the Rough (2019) - IMDb

Plot Summary

With both her parents struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues, a young teenager is struggling in her faith. At one point, she finds herself homeless, but her spiritually strong grandmother is able to help her. In time, several lives converge together in a way that only God could orchestrate.

Production Quality (.5 point)

For a number of reasons, this production is quite low-quality. One area of concern is the camera work, which includes tight shots. While video quality is acceptable and the soundtrack interesting, audio quality is generally inconsistent, revealing obvious background sounds and overdubs. Also, lighting is terrible in the cheap sets and locations. Further, the editing is quite choppy. Thus, with only a small amount of potential, only a meager score can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Because the scenes of this plot are all over the place, it’s hard to know what timeline is being shown to the viewer. One event happens after another, contributing to a vaguely meandering storyline that lacks focus and direction. Average dialogue and conversations that are full of Christian platitudes do nothing to deepen otherwise shallow characters. Random asides waste time and generally make no sense, and several mindless sequences and montages accomplish nothing. In general, there are too many useless and dead-end subplots, and there are some narrative continuity errors that are caused by the confusing time jumps and mixed timelines. Eventually, the film ends with a very abrupt conclusion that lacks warning. Thus, with no potential, this section cannot receive any points.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Half of the cast members are acceptable in their performances while the other half is not. Some actors and actresses are overly dramatic, unnaturally forcing their lines. Certain scenes come off as overly staged. However, there is enough positive in this area of the screenplay to justify an average rating.

Conclusion

There might have been some good intentions in the creation of this movie, but the experience is too isolating for the audience. It’s unclear what the writers wanted to convey, so any otherwise interesting message was lost in translation. Perhaps, if this creative team is given another chance, they can do better.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

The Exorcism in Amarillo

Watch The Exorcism in Amarillo | Prime Video

Plot Summary

In the middle of nowhere in Texas, a family is seemingly subjected to demonic attacks due to some evil books that they have in their house. Will they be able to fight off the unclean spirits before it’s too late???

Production Quality (0 points)

This awful of a production doesn’t belong in our modern era of Christian entertainment, yet here we are. Cheap video quality and poor lighting are only compounded by bad camera work and weird angles. Audio quality is also horrible, including loud background sounds, a cheap soundtrack, and weird sound effects. Further, editing is extremely choppy due to abrupt cuts and transitions and annoying fadeouts. It goes without saying that the sets, locations, and props are very cheap and limited. With no potential to speak of, no points can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Going from one thing to the next, this narrative has an incoherent presentation that’s full of illogical happenings and things that happen simply because the writers want them to occur. As another installment in the awful Christian horror genre, this film is replete with stupid jump scares and dumb obsessions with demonic activity. The view of spirituality that is espoused is quite childish, which leads to laughably staged and unnatural scenes. Most sequences make absolutely no sense as they are full of riveting activities of daily living, expositional dialogue, wasted time, and ridiculous fake suspense. Most of the run time is spent on characters wandering around and believing in a misogynistic worldview that elevates men over women. Needless to say, there is no positive to note in this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Much like other aspects of this screenplay, the acting is a disaster. All performances are totally blank and dead. Stone-faced line delivery that lacks emotion or conviction has to be seen to be believed. Some lines are even said too soon or too late. In the end, this movie has absolutely no hope.

Conclusion

The Exorcism in Amarillo falls down to the basement of Christian entertainment, harkening back to an era that we should have already closed the chapter on. Instead, poorly funded trains wrecks like this film keep popping up. One day, Christian creators might learn their lesson.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

Found. (Movie Review)

Found | Christian Movies On Demand

Plot Summary

When several police officers find a teenage boy who was raised by elderly people in the Appalachian Mountains, hard decisions must be made, especially since the boy has no living guardians. One of the police officers decides that she needs to take the boy into her home, which changes the family’s life forever.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

In some respects, this production is professional, such as the good video quality and acceptable sets, locations, and props. However, camera work is slightly inconsistent, and the audio quality is uneven, including background sounds, echoes, and loud portions of the soundtrack. Further, there is not much editing present, but there is some slight improvement throughout the production elements that is enough to warrant an average rating.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

At times, this narrative seems interesting due to its believable and authentic characters that are developed with realistic dialogue. Additionally, the Christian message is not too obvious while it’s still present. Nonetheless, there are plenty of concerns to note, such as time-wasting montages that make the central focus of the plot hard to grasp. The storyline feels like a collection of random scenes, and it seems like that the writers naively believe that being raised in remote areas away from civilization is whimsical, causing those in this lifestyle to become more spiritual than people in civilization. As a result, some key subplots are too muted and only referenced by characters rather than being shown to the audience. Several elements are too vague and never full explored although the creators expect one to care about these factors. Also, the narrative seems to sometimes make convenient decisions for the characters even if these actions are contrary to the characters’ motivations. These missteps lead to a rushed and forced conclusion that means nothing to the viewer due to lack of proper build-up. In the end, slight potential that’s drowned out by quite a few pitfalls leads to a meager score for this section.

Acting Quality (2 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of this film as there are few errors in this section. The adult cast members demonstrate authentic emotions and line delivery. However, some of the younger actors and actresses post performances that leave something to be desire, thus bringing down this section’s overall rating.

Conclusion

It would have been better for this screenplay to focus on the pros and cons of civilized vs uncivilized living rather than glorifying one lifestyle over the other. There could have been timely lessons learned from this type of philosophical exploring. However, perhaps in their future projects, this creative team will build upon what they have begun here.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

One Last Prayer (Movie Review)

Watch One Last Prayer | Prime Video

Plot Summary

David is struggling to keep his family together, which causes him to waver between doing things God’s way and the temptation to handle things himself when he can’t afford treatment for his daughter’s rare cancer. Will David turn back to God before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

As a whole, this production is substandard due to various factors, including shaky camera work. Audio quality is also poor due to an overpowering soundtrack and loud background noises. Sets, locations, and props are also cheap although video quality is acceptable. Further, editing is fairly choppy as some scenes are cut off while other scenes drag on too long. Nonetheless, there is slight improvement with time, so this is enough to warrant a meager score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The first half of this narrative contains much incoherent meandering, thus lacking focus and purpose and not accomplishing much at first. Despite the otherwise relatable circumstances, characters are generally blank and vanilla due to underwhelming and uninspiring dialogue. Rather than developing characters, time is wasted kicking the can down the road and pushing a patriarchal message. Although Christian platitudes are used to bandage serious problems, the writers employed a surprisingly good use of flashbacks and accurately portrayed the effects of trauma. Nonetheless, better build-up to key scenes is needed to make the impact more significant. In the end, therefore, because of slight potential that is drowned out by other concerns, only a small rating can be awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in One Last Prayer is average. Some instances are overly practiced and muted while other performances have some effort behind them. It seems like certain cast members try harder than others, so the acting is not all bad. The performances tend to improve as the film progresses, leading to an average score.

Conclusion

This screenplay falls in line with a host of other forgettable projects. Nothing memorable connects the audience with the characters, and there are a number of avoidable pitfalls. Hopefully, we will continue to see fewer of these types of movies in the future.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Blessed & Cursed (Movie Review)

Watch Blessed and Cursed | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Deitrick Haddon dreamed of becoming a gospel singer, but family duties complicated his desire to do so. Some people in his home church didn’t trust Deitrick because of his checkered past. However, Deitrick insists that he has changed and is on a mission to prove what God has done in his life.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, this production is mostly good, including fine camera work and acceptable sets, locations, and props. However, there are some slight audio concerns, such as background sounds, obvious overdubs, and general inconsistency. In some situations, there are wild action shots and shaky camera work. There are also a few noticeable continuity errors. Further, editing is quite terrible as some scenes cut off prematurely while other scenes are pasted together without effective transitions. In the end, due to the mixed-bag nature of this production, an average score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Blessed & Cursed offers a realistic look at internal church problems and long-term ministry corruption. Nonetheless, the narrative presentation is a disaster, including dizzying montages that waste time and various disconnected scenes. Although good points are raised about people being in church leadership for too long, characters are generally one-dimensional. Despite somewhat interesting dialogue, the writers push legalistic worldviews that emphasize odd views of women, music, and relationships. In general, the plot doesn’t have any substantial focus or flow, thus preventing it from living up to its fullest potential. Hence, only a small rating is awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting of Blessed & Cursed is average or better. Despite some moments of drama and sensationalism, certain cast members are better than others. At times, line delivery is a bit forced. Nonetheless, there is enough positive in this section to justify an above-average score.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the writers of this film had good intentions, but the presentation is poor. Additionally, the prevailing worldview in the story is not much different than that of the characters who are portrayed as antagonistic. Thus, though there are standout portions of this screenplay, it’s overall underwhelming and forgetful.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Thy Neighbor [2018] (Movie Review)

Thy Neighbor (2018) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Pastor Zach thinks that he has the world at his fingertips. He’s a published author and has a successful church. He loves his wife and son. Zach wants to invite everyone to church, including his offbeat neighbor next door. However, the closer that Zach gets to his neighbor, the stranger things get. Before he knows it, Zach and his family are fighting for their lives.

Production Quality (2 points)

Overall, the production of Thy Neighbor fine and without many issues. Video quality and camera work are professional. Sets, locations, and props, for the most part, are acceptable. Audio quality is average due to a few concerns with background sounds. Further, editing is a bit vanilla in places. Thus, a slightly above-par score is warranted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

It’s evident that the writers of this narrative were purposely trying to be weird and edgy in their storytelling. However, this plot, despite casting a realistic contrast between plastic Christianity and the real world outside the church bubble, falls into various suspense tropes, such as convenient circumstances that just happen to set up certain conclusions. Unusual asides dominate the story, and bizarre conversations drive the narrative in the direction that the writers want it to go rather than where it could naturally go. Also, some obvious plot holes hurt an otherwise interesting idea. It’s realistic that a pastor would want to sacrifice family time for “saving the world,” and there is some candid dialogue about canned church language and practices. The characters actually have a lot of potential and come off as very realistic at times. Authentic struggles of ministry families are correctly portrayed. Nonetheless, the possibly interesting mystery is short-circuited by an absurd concluding sequence in which all the “twists” are revealed at just the right time as characters do illogical things just for the suspense goals to be fulfilled. In the end, the forced and unnatural message doesn’t really work, but the amount of potential in this concept warrants a meager rating.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting of Thy Neighbor is actually the strongest aspect of the film. There are not many errors in this section as line delivery and emotions are on-point. As a whole, few negatives can be pointed out as the cast members seem comfortable in their roles. Therefore, a perfect score is awarded here.

Conclusion

Overall, this screenplay had lots of potential, but it needed major restructuring. This could have been accomplished by starting from the end and working backward to improve character development. To borrow a statement from the movie, the fat needed to be trimmed to make for a tighter and more meaningful story. Also, side characters needed better development. Further, conclusion needed to rely on fewer suspense tropes and more realism. Hence, this creative team has a bright future if they make the necessary adjustments.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points

Mayflower II (Movie Review)

Mayflower II (2021) | Full Movie | Rick Borger | D'Arcy Browning | Tree  Browning - YouTube

Plot Summary

Miles and Kate just want to live an average life no matter what the world is doing around them. However, Miles encounters a point of no return when his Christian brother shows him a secret spaceship that Miles’ brother intends to use to evacuate Christians from earth. The goal is for Christians to recolonize Mars with Christianity. What choice will Miles make???

Production Quality (.5 point)

Between cheap special effects, annoying sound effects, and bad audio quality, this production is a real doozy. Background sounds and echoes detract from the viewing experience, and cheap sets, locations, and props don’t effectively represent what they are supposed to portray. Acceptable video quality and camera work keep this section from a score of zero, but editing is very choppy, and all production elements worsen with time. Thus, only a small rating can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In this narrative, the writers used plenty of expository dialogue as to leave nothing to chance about what occurred in the plot. The story in and of itself is very fast-paced by trying to get to certain points, creating unrealistic circumstances, and leaving huge gaps in logic. Also, the persecution premise is absurd, full of evil characters who are bent on destroying Christians for absolutely no reason. Stock conversations do nothing to build characters, and Christian characters are ridiculously perfect conduits of Bible verses. In the end, with tons of off-screen content due to the low budget and a lot of silly coincidences, no points can be awarded to this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, the acting in Mayflower II is just as bad as other aspects of the film. Whether yelling, screaming, or mechanically delivering lines, many performances feel phoned in. Emotions are not authentic, and a lot of cast members seem to lack conviction of what they are doing. Therefore, no score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of this screenplay went into production with an agenda. In the years that we’ve reviewed Christian entertainment, we’ve never seen this successfully work. Doing this should not be the purpose of Christian creativity, and audiences know this, which is why movies like this one will soon be forgotten.

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

Buying Time [2019] (Movie Review)

Buying Time (2019) | Full Movie | Jake Head | Drew Garrett | Nathan Bell -  YouTube

Plot Summary

In the future, when Christianity is outlawed in America, a father tells his son the story of how the father was saved by Jesus Christ. However, the son does not buy any of it until things become more personal. Will the son turn to the faith before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

In this unwarranted sequel to Lay It Down, made nearly two decades after the original, the production isn’t much better than the first. This includes loud and overdriven audio, annoying sound effects, disorienting special effects, dizzying camera work, and terrible lighting. Additionally, video quality is inconsistent, and there are some tight shots throughout. Though sets, locations, and props are cheap, editing is actually fine. Also, in an ironic twist, the portions that are copied over from Lay It Down have fine production quality, which is the main contributing factor to this section’s score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Oddly, this narrative is centered around a rehashing of the main plot points that were found in Lay It Down, making it the film more of an advertisement than an actual sequel. Acting as a cheap commentary for Lay It Down, this story does little else than go over the main points of the older screenplay. At some points, it seems like the writers were trying to be purposely weird and creepy, attempting to conceal a deep secret until the end by simply wasting time. As such, the conversations go in circles, and mindless dialogue kicks the proverbial can down the road, thus creating blank characters. The antagonists are the most evil bad guys ever, and the circumstances therein are generally unrealistic. The movies arrives at the main point way too late, and while the conclusion is somewhat interesting, it’s just not enough to save this narrative from itself. Therefore, zero points are awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 points)

Much like the production section, the acting portions that are copied over from Lay It Down are actually acceptance. However, these are the only positives that keep the acting of Buying Time from being dismal. In this sequel, there is much yelling and screaming. Many performances are trying too hard to be dramatic, sensational, and generally over-the-top. Therefore, this rounds out an overall mediocre element of the film.

Conclusion

Strangely enough, Buying Time is rated higher than Lay It Down mainly because the portions of the first screenplay that are inserted into the sequel showcase the better aspects of Lay It Down. Thus, in a weird twist, the predecessor falsely props up the successor. All this aside, there’s really no reason why anyone should watch either of these films. Both are a waste of time and money.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Lay It Down [2001] (Movie Review)

Amazon.com: Lay It Down - DVD : Sean McEwen, Nathan Bell, Jake Head,  Alandra T. Ortis, Lisa Cash, Rick Loya, Michael Gier, Bill Atwood, Austin  Ellingson, Nick Valenzuela, Robert Lyon Rasner, Alana

Plot Summary

Ben and Pete have always been close as brothers, and they used to have a hobby of illegal street racing together. However, when one of them comes to the Lord, a rift develops between them. Will they reconcile before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

Between very cheesy special effects, quick cuts, and disorienting transitions, this viewing experience is a chore. To add insult to injury, lighting is inconsistent, and the generic soundtrack is sometimes too loud. However, audio quality is otherwise fine, and camera work and video quality are acceptable except for wild zooms, blurry flashbacks, and randomly shaky scenes. Thus, with a small amount of potential, only a tiny score can be awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This film is full of in-your-face message-pushing via dialogue that’s full of platitudes and sloganeering. The Christian characters are very perfect while non-Christian characters are very bad. The writers seemed to contrive circumstances that were designed to scare people into being saved, and they chose to portray an instant conversation-to-persecution cycle. Following his conversion, the protagonist becomes the most perfect Christian ever, and other Christian characters are Bible-verse-bots that don’t react with normal human emotions. What’s more, lots of time is wasted on seemingly endless racing sequences. In the end, there is really no potential in this section, thus earning zero points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Some of the acting in Lay It Down is fine while other parts include acting that is trying too hard. Certain performances come off as robotic due to mechanical emotions and line delivery. There are also some annoying bouts of yelling and screaming that seem unnecessary. Overall, with some good and more bad, a sub-par score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of this screenplay had a conversion agenda. They took a moderately interesting story idea and ruined it with propaganda-level messaging. Additionally, production and acting problems dragged the movie down further. Thus, Lay It Down is a relic of an era of Christian entertainment that we hope to move past.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Godsend [2021] (Movie Review)

Godsend (2021) - IMDb

Plot Summary

One day, a man wakes up under a bridge with no recollection of how he even got there. Thus, with no identification or memory of his former life, the man becomes instantly homeless. Mistreated by the system, the man has no one to turn to but God. Will the man ever regain what he lost?

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production has many pitfalls in it, such as terrible editing that sometimes cuts off scenes, causes obvious continuity errors, and creates poor transitions. Also, audio is overdriven, and there is a generic soundtrack that, at times, covers up over audio, possibly by design. Despite okay video quality, camera work is wild, including weird camera angles and tight shots. Special effects are cheap, and sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Due to all these concerns, only a small score is warranted in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

In Godsend, the writers actually explore an interesting tale of how someone can suddenly become homeless and therefore be on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. However, it’s very unrealistic how and why people are rude, and this fact is facilitated by over-the-top “bad” characters that hate the protagonist for no reason at all. Obvious dialogue leaves nothing to chance, and several occurrences are mostly unbelievable and implausible, thus demonstrating a poor understanding of how institutions really work, such as the legal system. Also, a fundamentalist view of Christianity taints the messaging even though there some very interesting concepts to ponder in this narrative. There was a lot of potential to portray the struggles of real people, but the slight possibilities that were inherent to this idea are placed in a poor package. Therefore, because of the unrealized potential, a meager rating is awarded here.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

Between extremely forced emotions and out-of-sync line delivery, the acting in this film leaves much to be desired. Many scenes appear to be done in one-take, and performances are generally mechanical. However, a tiny amount of potential in some of the cast members keeps this section from receiving a score of zero.

Conclusion

Once again, the JC Films team wasted an otherwise good idea. Imagine what would have happened if they had refrained from making so many screenplays and instead made one or two good ones. However, as their quantity-over-quality assembly line approach continues, we’ll probably never know what could have been.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

The Man Who Went to Heaven (Movie Review)

Watch The Man Who Went To Heaven | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When David Burrows is fatally shot in the line of duty as a security guard, he is rushed to the hospital but medically dies. However, David comes back from the other side with a wild story to tell. Will anyone believe his experiences in the afterlife?

Production Quality (1 point)

This film contains another sub-pair production due to shaky camera work and inconsistent audio quality that includes loud sound effects and background sounds as well as a stupid free soundtrack. There are also some very tight shots and terrible special effects. Nonetheless, this section is kept from being worse by fine video quality and acceptable sets, props, and locations. Thus, a meager score is awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In a generally off-the-wall storytelling style, this narrative is full of mindless sequences that don’t accomplish anything. The writers managed to squeeze content out of nothing and filled the runtime with total nonsense as the plot jumps all over the place. Thus, it’s very difficult to keep up with the timelines. Dialogue is ridiculous obvious, and the overt message-pushing produces blank characters. There are also too many characters in general. There is no focus or purpose in this story, and there is a bizarre tone that overshadows everything. In the end, with no notable potential, zero points is the appropriate rating for this aspect of the film.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Surprisingly, the acting of The Man Who Went to Heaven is not horrible. However, this doesn’t mean that the performances are any more than generic and average. Line delivery and emotions are okay but not dynamic. Therefore, an average scored is awarded here.

Conclusion

At this point, it’s painfully clear that the JC Films team will continue to pump out random screenplays however they can. It’s commendable to base movies on source material, but the JC Films model just isn’t the way. Thus, there’s nothing further to say here as constructive criticism has no effect on this team’s choices.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

One Life at a Time (Movie Review)

Watch One Life at a Time | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a troubled teen is forced to work at a homeless shelter to atone for his misgivings, he doesn’t care about the people at all at first. However, he slowly begins to change as he spends more time around the people at the shelter. Will he change before it’s too late?

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production is fairly low quality due to loud background sounds, echoes, and a generic soundtrack that drown out other audio. Light and camera work are inconsistent, and special effects are bad. Acceptable sets, locations, props, and video keep this section from receiving no points. However, editing is choppy, thus rounding out a poor effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

One Life at a Time contains one of the stupidest ever portrayals of ‘bad kids,’ which are strawmen. It feels like the writers were very tone deaf and didn’t understand how the real world works, especially when it comes to unrealistic legal proceedings, perfect Christian characters, and young people using social media. In general, all the characters are empty due to mindless and robotic dialogue, and there’s no reason why some of them hate homeless people so much. After weird psychological sequences give way to very steep character arcs as people are fixed too easily. In the end, with no potential, this section receives no points.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

As a whole, the acting in this film lacks conviction. Many cast members don’t really seem to care about what they’re doing. Line delivery and emotions are bland and vanilla. Some scenes contain acting that it a bit too extreme. However, there is a tiny amount of improvement with time, which is enough to keep this aspect of the screenplay from being zero points.

Conclusion

Once again, the JC Films team has demonstrated that they care more about dumping more and more Christian movies onto the market than actually creating quality projects. These creators don’t care about heeding advice and will continue to do what they want at the expense of the reputation of Christian media.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (Movie Review)

Coronavirus: Perfect Storm (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

When a seeming miracles happens during a tornado in West Virginia, a New York reporter is compelled to brave the COVID-19 pandemic to get the scoop. However, what he finds there isn’t what he expected. The reporter will have to come face-to-face with what he truly believes about the afterlife.

Production Quality (0 points)

Between awful special effects and terrible audio quality, this production is a drag on the viewing experience. Loud background sounds, echoes, and annoying special effects are also problematic. Shaky camera work and tight shots are disorienting, and the lighting and video quality are inconsistent. Further, choppy editing ruins things, so all of these factors contribute to a score of zero for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This nonsensical narrative is very trippy and confusing to the audience. The subplots are pointless and empty due to mindless dialogue and meandering conversations. Cardboard-cutout characters are impossible to connect with, and these characters are tossed along in a bizarre story-within-a-story twist that is very mind-bending and generally weird. Wacky afterlife theology is also laced throughout this strange tale. In general, this section contains a lot of outlandish content that contains no potential and thus yields no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

To top everything else off, the acting in Coronavirus: Perfect Storm is uninspiring. However, the performances are not all bad as they are more vanilla than terrible. There is nothing majorly positive nor negative in this section whether it relates to emotions or line delivery. Thus, with just one point, this aspect of the film is the highest rated.

Conclusion

The JC Films team has also proven that they are willing to make a screenplay about anything in an attempt to harvest quick cash with little upfront investment. This movie is no exception to this tendency. Thus, with no end in sight to this nonsense, there’s little else to say here.

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

Leading to Revelation (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

It’s almost the end of time, and two families are full of strife. They are facing some serious challenges as the world starts to spin out of control. Will they be able to remember their faith before it’s too late?

Production Quality (0 points)

There is unfortunately nothing positive to note in this section. Audio quality is terrible due to very loud background noises in both indoor and outdoor scenes, and there is basically no soundtrack. Outside scenes are too bright while inside scenes are poorly lit. Camera work and video quality are both inconsistent. The sets, locations, and props are quite cheap. Further, editing is very choppy, which rounds out a sub-par effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

In this narrative, the writers present one thing after the next, dumping disconnected subplots upon the audience. This leads to empty characters and unsubstantial dialogue. The plot includes a juvenile view of Christianity, suggesting that people’s problems can be magically fixed. There is overall no purpose to this story, and it’s basically two different films shoved together. As such, there are no unifying themes other than mindlessness and purposelessness. In the end, the conclusion is nonsensical, leaving nothing for the viewers to learn or believe in. This lack of potential produces a zero-point rating for this section.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Between unconvincing acting and bouts of yelling and screaming, the forceful performances in this movie are basically unbearable. Many cast members recite lines without conviction or realistic emotions. Further, one-take scenes have mistaken lines. Thus, this rounds out a no-potential effort.

Conclusion

It remains incredibly unclear how and why films like Leading to Revelation continue getting made. Screenplays like these accomplish nothing except to further tarnish the reputation of Christian media. There is no purpose to these types of creations, so money needs to stop being spent on them.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

A Horse for Summer (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

The Walsh family is struggling financially because of their overly expensive horse boarding farm. Matters are complicated when a troublemaking cousin is forced to live with them due to her mother’s criminal activity. Together, the must all learn to trust God no matter what and to not take matters into their own hands.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, this film has an average production. Despite fine video quality and acceptable camera work and lighting, the audio quality leaves something to be desired. This is due to loud background sounds and a generic soundtrack. Also, editing is somewhat choppy although sets, locations, and props are good. This mixed bag of elements leads to the run-of-the-mill rating.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

This narrative is unfortunately filled with expository dialogue as each scene is overly staged. Every conversation is robotically engineered to spoon-feed the audience and leave nothing to chance. A major component of this is forceful Christian messaging and convenient sermonizing about how going to church will fix all your problems as well as other cheesy platitudes. Some sequences make absolutely no sense, and tons of wasted time drowns out whatever small prospects there are in potentially realistic character backstories. The writers expect the viewers to care about the characters, who could have been good, without properly developing them. In the end, issues are fixed way too easily, and with nothing significantly positive to note here, no points can be awarded in this section.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Most of the time, the acting in A Horse for Summer is quite bad. The performances are very mechanical and lack conviction. Emotions are empty, and line delivery is procedural. Many cast members seem unsure in their acting, but not all of them are unconvincing. There are some moments of good performing, especially from some actors and actresses. Thus, a small score can be given here.

Conclusion

In the end, this screenplay was extremely formulaic in its creation. This idea has been done time and again, and although this movie had some potential to be different, it didn’t live up to this. Thus, A Horse for Summer becomes just another throwaway film that will be forgotten.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

The Committee, Season 1 [2015] (Series Review)

The Committee (TV Series 2015– ) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Park Grove Community Church is in trouble. The executive committee is meeting to determine the future of the church, and the most powerful businessman in the congregation wants to dissolve the church. However, a long-time member wants to save her home church, so she asks a random Christian entertainment star to join the committee and revitalize the church. What ensues is a lot of conflict and healthy dialogue about the purpose of the local church.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of The Committee is acceptable. Video quality and audio quality are fine. However, camera work is plagued with modern sitcom tropes, like mid-shot zooms and shaky perspective camera angles. Sets, locations, and props are a bit limited due to the genre as well, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with them. Further, editing is also fine, which further contributes to the above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers of this narrative raise good points about the local church being out of touch. The dry comedy therein is sometimes funny and other times cheesy. Dialogue and conversations are sometimes interesting, but much of it is overly engineered to cover certain topics and force the characters to talk about the issues in seemingly unnatural ways. As a result, the characters oscillate between being stereotypes and being realistic. There was plenty of potential in this plot, but it would have been better to either construct a more solid premise or avoid forcing so many topics into the course of the conversations. This would have allowed for better character development. In the end, a small rating is warranted here due to the potential within.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in this season is at least above the mark. Many of the cast members stay within their ranges and avoiding trying too hard. There are some moments where the acting leaves something to be desired, including emotions and line delivery. However, the performances generally improve with time, thus leading to an above-average score.

Continuity Quality (1 point)

It’s hard to understand why the first season of this series needed so many short episodes. Without the short episodes, this wouldn’t be much of a series. Elsewhere in this section, there are some good character arcs although they are a bit forced at times. Each episode is well-organized despite short length, but there just isn’t enough dynamic in this area to justify a higher score.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators behind this series meant well. They explore many relevant topics in their creation that can get audiences to think. However, the method of delivery was not the best. Overall, the series would have benefited from longer, more substantial episodes that included deeper character development via meaningful dialogue and conversations. As it is, this season is like an outline for an idea that needs fleshing out. Perhaps, in the future, this creative team will keep this in mind.

Final Rating: 6 out of 14 points

The Green Grass (Movie Review)

The Green Grass' - A Secret Can Be a Dangerous Thing To Keep - Full, Free  Inspirational Movie - YouTube

Plot Summary

Shawn is a successful businessman, but his family is coming apart at the seams. He doesn’t even know his wife and children anymore, and he doesn’t even know how close he is to losing it all. While Shawn is chasing after the next big thing, will he forfeit his faith and family, or will he come back to God before it’s too late?

Production Quality (1 point)

Between loud background noises, echoes, and overdriven audio, this production leaves much to be desired. There is also barely any soundtrack. Camera work, video quality, and lighting are acceptable, as are the sets, locations, and props. However, at times, there are some tight shots that cut things off, and the editing is very choppy, including awkward cuts, poor transitions, and continuity errors between scenes. As a whole, this production gets worse as it goes, which leads to a low score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From the beginning, awkward narration is forced upon the viewer. There are also too many characters to focus on such that it’s unclear who the protagonist is. The narrative consists of random scenes about unrelated events, and there are no obvious themes other than a fixation on edgy content. Although realistic, the situations that characters find themselves in could be more tastefully presented. Dialogue is very robotic, and the plot is full of loose ends and tangential ideas that have no organization or purpose. There are too many ridiculously dramatic scenes where everybody shows up to reveal secrets like a soap opera, and constant emotional turmoil wears on the audience. Despite the characters’ imperfections, they need a lot of development. Near the end, all characters suddenly become instantly good for no good reason at all, and problems are easily solved without realistic consequences. As such, the character arcs are extremely steep. Though the Christian message is restrained at first, this quickly devolves into really obvious conversations that spoon-feed lessons to the viewers. Due to all these concerns, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

The acting of The Green Grass is incredibly stilted and wooden. Most of the scenes are overly rehearsed. Emotions are cardboard, and line delivery is mechanical. There are also instances of extreme yelling and screaming. Though some cast members are okay, this isn’t enough to prevent a low score for this section.

Conclusion

There’s really no point in making a film like The Green Grass. Between poor production quality, a plot with no potential, and low-quality acting, there was really no reason for this screenplay to be made. The only hope is that movies like this are no longer made in the future.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Megan heard that a group of grumpy men regularly came into the cafe where she worked. These men always complained that the good old days were better, so Megan decided to befriend them and soon found herself believing their stories about the good old days. Together, they all talk about the good old days and wonder what might happen in the future.

Production Quality (.5 point)

Despite acceptable video quality, camera work and lighting are very inconsistent. Sets, locations, and props are okay, but the soundtrack is very loud. However, the soundtrack doesn’t cover up the annoying background noises or cheesy sound effects. There is also basically no editing in the film, which leads to long sequences of blank nothingness and unnecessary fadeouts. Thus, with only a tiny amount of positive, this section receives a small score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club is based on a very simple and short idea that’s dragged on for too long. Narration lazily strings scenes together without giving the narrative focus or purpose. Because of this, there is no connection with the audience, and the forced Christian message and worldview that the good old days were better is annoying. Further, the characters in this plot are empty due to vanilla dialogue and conversations. With no potential to speak of, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Between stilted and robotic acting, unsure line delivery, and uneven emotions, the acting of this screenplay leaves much to be desired. While some cast members are better than others, the negative outweighs the positive. Thus, a less-than-average score is warranted in this section.

Conclusion

It’s unclear what creators of movies like The Wednesday Morning Breakfast Club are going for. Perhaps worldview-pushing is the motivation. However, viewers aren’t going to be open to a philosophy when the film presentation is so bad. A creation of this low quality isn’t going to make any difference at all, besides the fact that many audiences don’t care about this type of messaging.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Power Play [1994] (Movie Review)

Powerplay | Pure Flix

Plot Summary

Robbie Steele is an overconfident attorney who believes that she can singlehandedly save the city of Vancouver by keeping their struggling hockey team from skipping town. To do this, Robbie just needs to convince Cody Harris, an estranged but previously popular hockey player, to sign with her home team. However, talking Cody into doing this proves to be a more difficult feat that Robbie expected, especially since Cody has recently become a Christian.

Production Quality (.5 point)

As a 1990s production, Power Play has plenty of holes in it. Despite acceptable camera and audio work, video quality is burry, and the soundtrack is loud and antiquated. There are also cheesy sound effects and wild camera work in the action scenes. Sets, locations, and props are okay, but there are many disorienting flashes and transitions throughout the film, making for an annoying experience. Further, editing is incredibly choppy, sometimes prematurely cutting off scenes. In general, the production gets worse as it goes, which leaves only a tiny score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Although this narrative has an interesting premise, it’s hard to get to know the characters due to the breakneck pace of the plot. Additionally, the premise is very trumped-up as writers go out of their way to make certain events happen that they want to occur. The Christian characters are too perfect, and while the flawed characters have potential, they are swept along by the rapid story progression, which short-circuits potential development. It’s a shame that some of these characters were wasted in this way, but there’s unfortunately no way to justify awarding points for this aspect of the screenplay.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Though the acting in Power Play is fairly unsure, this section is actually the strongest of the whole movie. Despite instances of cast members of trying too hard and scenes that feel like one-takes, the performances are not all bad. Some line delivery and emotions are acceptable, which is enough to warrant an average score.

Conclusion

Traditionally, the Worldwide Pictures team was committed to quality in their films. However, Power Play is an exception. Without a quality production and engaging storyline, there is little for a viewer to be interested in. However, the Christian entertainment industry is hopefully moving past this older era of screenplays.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Geronimo [1990] (Movie Review)

Geronimo (1990) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Jeremy is a bad kid who can’t stay out of trouble. However, he likes a random Christian girl, so Jeremy decides to become a Christian summer camp counselor so that he can spend more time with this girl. Nonetheless, Jeremy ends up having to spend more time watching “troubled” kids who have been forced to come to the camp. As a result, Jeremy has to learn about the Christian faith to help them.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, this older style production is acceptable. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are pretty good. Sets, locations, and props are acceptable. The biggest pitfalls relate to editing as this aspect is extremely choppy. Thus, this section receive a score just above average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

From almost the very beginning of this narrative, heavy-handed narration leaves nothing to chance, which ultimately short-circuits character development. Before they change in extreme and unrealistic ways without proper justification, the characters are either totally blank people or racial stereotypes due to uninspiring dialogue. A lot of the characters don’t have normal human reactions to events. Many of the scenes seem unfinished and abrupt, and at times, it’s hard to understand what’s happening. The plot jumps all over the place, stringing together a random collection of disconnected moments that are overly scripted. There is no continuity or focus, and there is generally no potential in this section, which is why no points are warranted.

Acting Quality (0 points)

On top off all the other issues in this film, robotic acting joins the fray. The cast members deliver stilted lines and exhibit emotions without any feeling whatsoever. Many of the performances are incredibly awkward, and there are a number of sequences of yelling and screaming that are completely unnecessary. Therefore, with no potential in this area, zero points are awarded.

Conclusion

The “fixing troubled kids at a Christian camp” concept is a bit overwrought. Also, assuming that all “street kids” are of a certain race is fairly questionable at best. Essentially, Geronimo is an example of a era gone by that hopefully Christian entertainment has fully moved on from.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Pass the Light (Movie Review)

Review: 'Pass the Light' could use a less-shiny lead actor - Los Angeles  Times

Plot Summary

Steve is tired of the divisive nature of politics, especially since a local election is heating up as a representative is trying to use the Christian faith to divide group of people from each other. Thus, Steve decides that it’s time to do something at school, in the community, in the political world, and at home. To do this, Steve launches a massive campaign to remind everybody of what the Christian faith is really about.

Production Quality (2 points)

It’s clear that the creators of this film focused on professional production quality. This fact is evident in the video quality and camera work. Sets, locations, and props are well-constructed and well-utilized. The only drawbacks include uneven audio quality and inconsistent editing. Nonetheless, this section deserves an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The writers had several good ideas and agendas in creating this screenplay. They raised excellent points about legalism in Christina culture, but the writers bit off way more than they could chew by trying to cover too many concepts at once. As such, there are many random subplots that generate too many characters for the audience to keep up with. Sometimes, it’s hard for the viewer to keep up with the stream-of-consciousness storytelling style, and time is filled with lots of empty montages that could have been replaced with real character development. As they are, the characters are a mixed bag. The protagonist is basically perfect and able to fix everything. The antagonists are a bit extreme, and a majority of the characters are difficult to connect with due to the crowding-out nature of the narrative. For the most part, the political premise is quite unrealistic although the politician characters are okay. In the end, an overwhelming amount of issues are easily fixed in magical fashions, which stunts the potential of this plot. Nonetheless, there were plenty of good discussions about the problems in modern Christianity, which warrants a small score.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

For the most part, the acting in Pass the Light is professional. Most cast members put forth commendable efforts, including good line delivery and emotions. However, there are a few small moments of some actors and actresses trying too hard and generally putting forth over-the-top performances. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to prevent a high rating in this section.

Conclusion

It’s evident to many that there are problems within established American Christianity. However, taking all of the issues on in one movie is not the right way to get your message across. Additionally, crafting an unrelatable protagonist will alienate most audiences. In the end, Pass the Light was based on a number of good ideas that crowded each other out and didn’t really help solve any of the concerns that the writers raised.

Final Rating: 5.5 out of 10 points

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 8: Beyond Mountains)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s final episode, entitled “Beyond Mountains.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Jesus and Matthew

In the days leading up the sermon event, Jesus and Matthew meet early in the morning so that Jesus can dictate parts of the sermon to Matthew. Once most of the sermon is written, Jesus asks for Matthew’s opinion, so Matthew says that it seems like that the sermon is full of ominous pronouncements, lending a few examples. As a result, Jesus and Matthew have a dialogue about how Jesus did not come to maintain the status quo or initiate a revolt but to start a revolution so that the Jewish people could participate in the healing of the world. Matthew believes that some of the rules in the sermon are impossible while others are not presented plainly. Jesus says that He’s using metaphor like Solomon did because He wants truly committed followers to peer deeply into His teachings, thus weeding out passive observers.

Throughout their talks, Jesus continues walking over to a cliff that oversees the disciples’ camp. He makes remarks about what His students are doing, and Matthew wonders if the students can get along while they are handing out notices about the upcoming sermon. Jesus says that conflict is expected during the trying times in which they lived, especially since He was building something new that was open to all people from various walks of life.

Previously, Matthew had said that he thought the the opening of the sermon needed more, and Jesus agreed with him. Thus, Jesus said that He needed some time to work out the beginning. After meeting with and praying to the Father, Jesus wakes up Matthew at night, saying that He has the beginning of the sermon, which will be a map. Matthew asks what kind of map, and Jesus says that it’s a map of where His followers can be found. Then, Jesus proceeds to give the Beatitudes to Matthew.

Simon son of Jonah, Andrew, John son of Zebedee, Big James, Philip, Thomas, and Simon son of Zebulon

As Simon son of Jonah, Andrew, John son of Zebedee, and Big James do various tasks around camp, Andrew is still worried about everything, and his brother makes veiled comments about this. Big James is annoyed that Jesus keeps giving Matthew extra attention, but Simon son of Jonah seems to defend Matthew, which frustrates everyone. Simon son of Zebulon says that Jesus and Matthew have been up early every morning. John son of Zebedee takes issue with how Simon son of Zebulon seems to value physical health over spiritual health, but the former zealot is nonplussed about this.

Philip and Thomas stay out of the conflict as they bring food that they had foraged. Thomas makes a point to tell Tamar that he specifically found apricots for Ramah instead of the apples that Philip had gotten. Thomas wants Tamar to tell Ramah this fact.

Later, as the group worries about no one showing up for the sermon, Simon son of Jonah, along with the women, tries to calm everyone down. Thomas think he’s doing everything wrong but is silenced by Ramah praising his work. At the sermon, Philip, Big James, Simon son of Zebulon, and John son of Zebedee help with crowd control. This is where John reunites with his parents.

Nathanael, Thaddeus, and Little James

Jesus’ mission for Nathanael, Thaddeus, and Little James is for these three disciples to secure a location for the sermon. Jesus gave them exact specifications to look for in the prospective land, but when they arrive at where Thaddeus believes the location to be, a goatherder tells them to go away. Thus, the three disciples schedule a meeting with the landowner at a public house.

However, landowner is not enthused about many people coming on his land, and he doesn’t think that Nathanael, Thaddeus or Little James are good at negotiation or have convincing arguments for why he should donate the use of his land. The three disciples appear to be losing their case before the businessman steps in. Later, Nathanael and Thaddeus help design and construct the stage that Jesus would later use to begin the sermon.

Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Mary Mother, Tamar, and Eden

As Mary Magdalene copies notices for the sermon that the disciples would later hand out, she helps Ramah finish reading Psalm 139. When Ramah makes mistakes, Mary corrects the errors from memory, which prompts Ramah to ask Mary how she knows the entire Psalm. Mary says that she has to have tools so that she doesn’t fall back into problems but doesn’t want to talk any further when Ramah tries to console her. As Ramah keeps practicing, Mary seems to sadly contemplate the meaning of the fact that God knew what she was going to do before she was born.

In another tent, Tamar and Mary Mother prepare for the day, and Tamar wants to know if she’s required to learn how to read. Mary Mother explains that it’s optional and that Ramah just wanted to keep up. Later, Tamar takes Thomas’ apricots to Ramah and seems to pick up on the potential romance between Thomas and Ramah.

Just before Jesus is ready to go out onto the stage for the sermon, Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Mary Mother, and Tamar magically produce four different colored sashes and try to convince Jesus to wear one of them even though the Son of Man (and some audience members) couldn’t care less. The four women are split 2-2 on what color Jesus should wear, so Jesus asks Eden to break the tie. Previously, Eden had showed up for the sermon and reunited with her husband.

Just before the sermon, Jesus and Mary Mother have a private moment in which they discuss how they wish that Joseph was there to witness Jesus’ earthly ministry.

Shmuel, Yanni, Shammai, Quintus, Atticus, and Gaius

Using the testimonies of Madai and Lamech, Shmuel and Yanni finally gain an audience with Shammai, the leader of the legalistic sect of Pharisees in the Sanhedrin. Shammai is beside himself with excitement about the opportunity to get back at his rival, Shimon. Shmuel and Yanni share various things that they learned about Jesus’ revolutionary activies, but Shammai wants more than just facts. The elder Pharisee wants to use rumors and conjecture to stir up trouble when the time is right so that Shimon can be politically damaged for not dealing with Jesus sooner. Shammai expects Jesus to become more popular and wants to wait until this happens before exposing the fact that Shimon did nothing when Jesus was still virtually unknown. However, Shammai wants everything documented beforehand and plans to stoke his followers with Shabbat sermons about Jesus.

Throughout the conversation, Shmuel seems uncomfortable with some of Shammai’s methods and comments, such as derogatory remarks about Nicodemus, but Yanni silences Shmuel because Yanni is salivating over the opportunity for political advancement. As such, Yanni fully agrees to Shammai’s terms and plans.

When Quintus receives a notice about Jesus’ sermon event, the praetor is not happy. Atticus seems to be amused at this, and Gaius feigns innocence. In the end, Atticus and Gaius join the sermon crowd to watch and wait.

Judas and the Businessman

Judas is the apprentice of an unnamed businessman, and they begin their day by running a con on an elderly landowner. The businessman discovered that there was a hidden salt mine on the older man’s property, so the businessman and Judas schemed to buy the land for cheaper than it was worth under the guise of digging graves for middle class Jews. However, the elderly man is skeptical of their offer and hesitant to give up the land that has been in his family for many generations because the land is a piece of the promised land. Nonetheless, the businessman is uninterested in sentiment and only increases his offer buy a small amount. When the elderly man continues to probe about why the two men are so desperate for the land, Judas pretends to care about the elderly man, which softens the older man enough to accept the businessman’s low offer.

Later, the businessman celebrates the success of their scam, saying that they will be set up like kings for the rest of their lives. However, Judas is frustrated about how they conned the older man out of valuable land and is disillusioned to what the purpose of money is if one cannot make a lasting difference in the world. The businessman tries to brush Judas’ concerns aside by saying that more money means that they can devote themselves more to God, but Judas is worried about growing scales on his eyes. In the end, the businessman gives Judas an advance on the sale of the land, and this causes Judas to perk up.

While Nathanael, Little James, and Thaddeus are in the public house trying to convince the owner of the land that they want to use for the sermon to let them use the land, the businessman overhears the conversation and decides to show off his negotiating skills. When the land deal is about to fall through, the businessman steps in to convince the landowner that the products that come from his land could be associated with the success of the miracle worker’s ministry, which eventually convinces the landowner to let the disciples use the land.

The businessman and Judas leave the public house before the disciples can thank them for helping, and on the way out, the businessman gloats to Judas about how they can use these negotiating skills to influence many people. The businessman also says that he’s interested in hearing from Jesus of Nazareth, and Judas is excited about the idea of going to the sermon, so the businessman agrees to go.

At the sermon, the businessman salivates over the number of people who are attending the event and immediately tries to assert himself as a helper for the disciples who are directing the crowds. After the businessman leaves, Judas runs into Barnaby, who insists that he can take Judas to see Jesus. However, Judas becomes confused after Barnaby goes a different way from the crowds but follows anyway. Eventually, Barnaby leads Judas right to where the disciples are waiting for Jesus, and Nathanael recognizes Judas. Nathanael thanks Judas for his help in getting the land and introduces Judas to Simon son of Jonah. Later, Judas watches in anticipation as Jesus goes out onto the stage.

Barnaby, Shula, Zebedee, and Salome

Barnaby and Shula attend the sermon event and end up bumping into Judas. Barnaby says that he can take Judas to Jesus and proceeds to go the opposite direction of the others, saying that he wants to meet some old friends. When Barnaby calls the event “a show,” Shula corrects Barnaby, saying that it’s not a show even though this fact is debatable. Barnaby and Shula end up sneaking behind the curtains that are hiding the disciples from the waiting crowds, and the two from Capernaum reunite with their old friends.

Zebedee and Salome also attend the sermon event, which is where they reunite with their younger son. Zebedee pretends to cause trouble while Salome playfully chastises her husband. Salome is concerned that her son John is not eating enough.

Amish Grace (Movie Review)

Watch Amish Grace | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a mentally ill man tries to exact revenge on a local Amish school for the death of his daughter, the Amish community is rocked with grief. However, as the religious leadership instructs the faithful to forgive, one mother cannot let it go. Thus, she has to come to grips with what it truly means to follow God and do what He says.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

With professional funding behind it, Amish Grace sports a great production with very few errors within it. Video quality, audio quality, and camera are all on par with industry standards. Sets, locations, and props are all well-constructed and well-utilized. There are no lighting or special effects concerns. The only small problems to note relate to editing, but these are not enough to prevent a high score from being awarded to this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

It was great that the writers used real-life source material to explore extremely difficult topics in this narrative. As such, some characters are very relatable as they struggle with hard concepts. However, some characters come off as too perfect and angelic, and there are overall too many characters to keep up with. Because of this fact, there is no clear protagonist, and many of the subplots are unfinished or disjointed. It’s unfortunate that a story based on true events lacked focus and organized purpose. Nonetheless, certain sequences of dialogue and some conversations are intriguing even if they fail to effectively move the narrative forward. Sometimes, it feels like the characters are trapped in what the story wants them to do, such as when there are pertinent points raised about the various inconsistencies of legalism in certain religious lifestyles and when these legitimate concerns are never explored again. In the end, this film was not long enough to do justice to the true accounts, and it’s possible that a miniseries format would have been more appropriate. Despite this, however, this aspect of the screenplay does deserve a modest rating for authenticity.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting is the strongest element of Amish Grace. There are virtually no errors with the emotions or line delivery. It’s clear that the cast members were professionally coached, which leads to a perfect score for this section.

Conclusion

There was so much that could have been done in this movie. The true story is extremely compelling and poignant, but the potentially powerful message is not effectively communicated in Amish Grace. Nonetheless, there are still meaningful elements in this film, so it’s likely worthy your time. We just wonder what could have been.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Gimme Shelter [2013] (Movie Review)

Gimme Shelter,' movie review - New York Daily News

Plot Summary

Agnes Bailey, who goes by Apple, was raised in a terrible environment. Thus, after Apple finds out that she’s pregnant, she decides to make a run for it away from her drug-addicted mother. Apple tries to find her long-lost father, who lives in an affluent area. However, Apple will have to wrestle with the demons of her past before she can find true rest.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, this production is a mixed bag. There is some shaky camera work and inconsistent lighting. However, video quality is fine, and the audio is mostly acceptable. The soundtrack is intriguing even if there are background sounds at times. As a while, sets, locations, and props are realistic, and editing is acceptable. All production elements do improve with time, so this section does enough to receive an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Gimme Shelter is an authentic look at real struggles that is sometimes a bit too raw. There are one too many instances of course language and edgy content, and the first half of the narrative meanders before finding a footing. It’s good that the writers refrained from an overly preachy Christian message, but more redemptive themes would have been preferred. Nonetheless, the characters and dialogue are still very believable even if some sequences are wasted and unnecessarily drawn-out. More meaningful flashbacks could have fleshed out the plot and helped it avoid so much telling. As it is, the stream-of-consciousness storytelling style sometimes works and sometimes does not. The narrative needs a more central focus and stronger themes, but the realistic look at life is refreshing. Thus, an average score is warranted for this section.

Acting Quality (3 points)

Despite previous shortcomings, the acting is the strongest point of Gimme Shelter. The performances therein are very solid with no discernable errors. Emotions and line delivery are on point. This rounds out an overall above-average film.

Conclusion

At the time, Gimme Shelter stood apart from other quasi-Christian screenplays that were being released in the 2010s. This movie was almost too authentic and shocking, and there are quite a few rough edges in Gimme Shelter. Nonetheless, perhaps the most significant element that held this film back from being all that it could have been was its lack of plot focus and organization. The writers relied too heavily on the gritty aspects and forgot the keep the audience engaged with the characters. Thus, this creation serves as a warning for future projects of this caliber.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Into His Arms (Movie Review)

Into His Arms (1999) | Full Movie | Marcia Welch-Kahler | Joel King |  Travis Opdyke | Marc Linn - YouTube

Plot Summary

When a little girl goes missing, the community is shaken. Her parents are beside themselves as they demand for the police to do something. Many authorities are dismissing the disappearance as a simple accident, but one detective isn’t convinced. He won’t stop until he finds out the truth.

Production Quality (0 points)

With very poor audio quality, inconsistent video, and bad lighting, this production is mostly a disaster. Scenes are too bright in the outdoors and too dark in the indoors. Backgrounds sounds are annoying, as is shaky camera work. Sets, locations, and props are extremely cheap, giving the film the feel of a cheap reality show. Weird flashes and special effects disorient the audience, and editing is extremely random. Needless to say, this production has no potential, which is why no points are awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Between very obvious messaging and incredibly unsubstantial dialogue, watching this screenplay is a real drag. There are tons of scenes without conversations and useless montages that waste time. Many side characters do nothing to advance the narrative, and the viewer isn’t drawn into the suspense. Despite the tragic circumstances of the plot, the audience feels nothing due to the totally blank and empty characters. Otherwise good themes are lost in the most boring possible portrayal of a crime drama that’s full of characters staring into space. Then, to top everything off, a wild climax sequence concludes the story by disrupting the overall tone of the movie with an over-the-top ending. Hence, another score of zero is warranted.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Between extremely sappy and unbelievable emotions and overly practiced line delivery, the acting of Into His Arms leaves much to be desired. Many cast members are very over-the-top in their performances, including a lot of fake happiness. Thus, due to lack of potential in this section, no points can be awarded.

Conclusion

In the end, older creations like this film had an uphill battle to fight due to low production potential. There was also a lack of adequate understanding when it came to effective acting. However, this doesn’t diminish the fact that screenplays like Into His Arms are just bad in every way. They have no impact on the audience and only serve as a relic of days that were darker for Christian entertainment. Hopefully, we can move past these times.

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

It’s a Life Worth Living (Movie Review)

It's A Life Worth Living (2020) | Full Movie | Daniel Jeffries | Angela  Roberts Johnson - YouTube

Plot Summary

John is running from his dark past, trying to conceal his demons of substance abuse while living a seemingly normal life. However, when everything falls apart, he has nowhere to turn. Thus, he is forced to look to God for strength to continue on and rebuild.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of It’s a Life Worth Living is acceptable. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are fine. Sets, locations, and props are average or better. The main concerns with this section are the wild editing and disorienting special effects in certain sequences. Sometimes, there are very abrupt transitions that cut things off mid-scene. Thus, a slightly above-par score is warranted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This narrative is certainly interesting and contains flawed characters. However, the radio-style storytelling is a crutch for actual character development, and this method of plot development encourages large time jumps that are bridged with exposition. The writers tried to cover too much ground in the narrative, and the storyline meanders without much purpose. Despite slight potential, the plot needs lots of reorganization and shoring up. The characters therein are okay but are slightly one-dimensional due to unsubstantial dialogue. Redemption moments are interesting but are unearned due to the weak characters and unclear motivations. The writers’ understanding of substance abuse is okay but incomplete as it makes it seem like that Christian rehab is a magic fix as the protagonist is quickly healed after just a few short steps. Mental health therapy is also viewed in an unrealistic way, and recovery is portrayed as too fast and easy. These shortcomings overshadow the otherwise interesting concepts that are explored in this narrative as well as the non-linear method of storytelling. Unfortunately, as the film progresses, things only get worse with a stupid climax sequence that’s based on childish coincidences, leading to a very ridiculous conclusion. In the end, slight potential is present in this section, but it’s mostly a disappointment.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Despite a few errors among the lead cast members, the main actors and actresses of this screenplay post pretty good performances. However, the supporting cast is quite week in their performances. Some emotions and lines are too over-the-top in certain moments. Although there is a strong beginning in the acting, this aspect of the movie unfortunately worsens with time. Therefore, an average score is warranted here.

Conclusion

It’s evident that the creators of It’s a Life Worth Living wanted to make an authentic film about substance abuse struggles. However, more research was needed in this area, and story consultation was needed to present the narrative in a more audience-friendly manner. Further, the acting needed shoring up. Nonetheless, with more refinement, this creative team could move on to better things in the future.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 7: Reckoning)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s seventh episode, entitled “Reckoning.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon son of Jonah, Andrew, Big James, and John son of Zebedee

After Jesus sends the sons of Jonah and the sons of Zebedee on a quest to catch enough fish to feed the group, the two sets of brothers decide to have a competition to decide who will do the work. Andrew is on edge, but the others want to have some fun. However, Andrew insists that they need to obey Jesus, or bad things will happen. The three other men brush this off and go through with the contest, which leads to the Sons of Thunder winning, leaving the sons of Jonah to fish.

John son of Zebedee and Big James rejoin some of the others who are listening to Jesus as He shares information about the upcoming sermon. As soon as the sons of Zebedee arrive, Jesus asks them if they won a competition, which the Sons of Thunder affirm. Later, when Gauis and Atticus, along with their detachment, come to detain Jesus for questioning, John and Big James try to defend Jesus, but Jesus instructs them to drop their weapons and step back. The two brothers reluctantly do this and helplessly watch as Jesus is taken away.

Previously, Simon son of Jonah and Andrew had been arguing while they were fishing. Their conflict ranged from Jesus drawing too much attention to Himself by angering the Pharisees and Romans to how Mary Magdalene hurt the group with her temporary backslide. Simon is more cool than usual and tries to encourage his brother to embrace what’s happened and to not be so hard on Mary Magdalene. However, Andrew is extremely on edge about everything that’s happened because of the recent arrest of John the Baptizer.

The two brothers put their argument on hold to fish, but their silence is interrupted by Simon noticing Gaius’ detachment of soldiers approaching Jesus on the shoreline. Simon tries to calm Andrew before his brother sees the Roman troops, but it’s too late. Andrew flips out and the sons of Jonah scramble to get back to shore. However, by the time they arrive back at camp, Jesus is already gone. Simon and Andrew accuse the group of not doing enough to stop the detainment, but some of the disciples tell them what Jesus said about coming back. This fact seems to calm Simon son of Jonah, but Andrew is inconsolable as he angrily tells the others that they’re not doing enough. Andrew also goes off on Mary Magdalene, blaming her for the problems of the day, before storming off to find Jesus.

Andrew is joined by Philip in his quest to save Jesus since Andrew could not save John the Baptizer. They make their way to Jotapata to see if Jesus is at the local jail, but Andrew becomes distracted by Tamar and Ethan, who are preaching about Jesus to a crowd of protesters. Andrew freaks out again because he thinks that they are drawing too much attention to Jesus, which is why he drags Tamar and Ethan away from the crowd to tell them this.

While Philip checks out the jail, Andrew explains what’s going on, and Tamar doesn’t want to be silent until Yussif comes to warn Tamar about Shmuel and Yanni looking for her. This prompts Ethan to decide to lay low for awhile and Tamar to ask Andrew if she can follow Jesus, which Andrew reluctantly agrees to.

Later, after Jesus returns to the camp, Simon son of Jonah asks the Rabbi to teach the group to pray like He does, which Jesus agrees to do.

Mary Magdalene, Mary Mother, Ramah, Nathanael, Philip, Simon son of Zebulon, Thomas, Thaddeus, and Little James

When Jesus is detained by the Roman detachment, Mary Mother is visibly affected by this event. Nathanael tries to protect and help her during this. Later, Mary Magdalene and Ramah also provide comfort to Mary Mother. As the group argues about what to do regarding Jesus’ detainment, Mary Magdalene, Ramah, Mary Mother, Nathanael, Thaddeus, and Little James all firmly believe that they need to trust what Jesus said about His coming back. However, Simon son of Zebulon asserts that Jesus could have been speaking in code, trying to let the group know that they needed to break Him out of jail. Nathanael takes issue with this interpretation, saying that zealots are always looking for codes and riddles in plain speech.

Mary Magdalene offers to help Andrew find Jesus. However, when Andrew accuses Mary Magdalene of being responsible, she apologizes for her mistake and insists that she will wait and hold on to what Jesus said. Mary Mother becomes afraid when there’s talk of imprisonment, and Ramah and Matthew come to the defense of Mary Magdalene. After Andrew storms away, Philip tells Mary Magdalene that he will go with Andrew because he has experience waiting for a rabbi outside of jails.

In Jotapata, Philip helps to calm Andrew and checks the jail, finding nothing. Philip returns to find Andrew talking to Tamar, Ethan, and Yussif but is confused about what’s going on.

After Jesus returns to the camp, the entire group of disciples is glad to see Him, and He tells them that He had already promised to return. The sons of Zebedee agree that they need to do better and want to know what type of prayer they can pray like John the Baptizer taught his disciples. Jesus congratulates His followers for behaving like true students by asking questions and begins to teach them the Lord’s prayer.

Later, Jesus awakes Matthew early in the morning to begin organizing Jesus’ thoughts for the upcoming sermon.

Shmuel, Yanni, Yussif, Madai, and Lamech

Shmuel returns to Capernaum with Yanni and is greeted by Yussif, who appears excited to hear about Shmuel’s work in Jerusalem. However, Shmuel is more interested in tracking down Tamar to see if he can find the leper who Jesus healed so that Shmuel can determine where this took place on the Sabbath. Yussif is quietly suspicious of this endeavor but tries to conceal this. Yanni seems wary of Yussif because of Yussif’s veiled attitude. Eventually, Yussif tells Shmuel that an informant told him that Tamar was seen preaching in Jotapata, which draws ire from Shmuel.

Before heading to Jotapata, Shmuel and Yanni visit Quintus’ office but are stonewalled by the clerk and attending soldier. Quintus’ office is not interested in outdated intel about Jesus being in Jerusalem because they are more concerned about his affiliation with the Zealot Order of the Fourth Philosophy. In the end, Shmuel and Yanni are run out of the office because Rome has no time for them.

In Jotapata, Shmuel and Yanni are unable to talk to the Pharisees who are standing around on the street praying because these Pharisees will not interrupt their rituals. Thus, Shmuel and Yanni are forced to pay a beggar for information about where Tamar is, which she gives to them. However, Yussif, in disguise, reaches Tamar first to warn her of the plans of his colleagues.

While Shmuel and Yanni are searching for Tamar, they find the group of pilgrims to whom Tamar was preaching. However, Tamar is nowhere to be found, but before they can look for her, Shmuel and Yanni are interrupted by Madai and Lamech, who overheard Shmuel and Yanni discussing Jesus. The two pairs of Pharisees compare notes about what they’ve seen Jesus do.

Atticus, Quintus, and Gaius

Once Atticus enter Capernaum, he sees one of the notices that Quintus had put up regarding reporting the whereabouts of Jesus of Nazareth to Quintus’ office. Atticus takes the notice to Quintus’ office and demands an audience. The clerk gives Atticus trouble at first but admits Atticus when he discovers that Atticus is a member of the Cohortes Urbanae. Once with Quintus, Atticus demands that Quintus do something about Jesus based on the evidence that Atticus provides.

Thus, Quintus instructs Gaius to lead a detachment of Roman soldiers to detain Jesus for questioning. Atticus tags along with a cagey motive that Gaius doesn’t buy. After prodding from Gaius, Atticus reveals that he’s both perplexed and scared by Jesus because Jesus doesn’t seem scary and has seemingly accomplished amazing things. Throughout the course of the conversation, Atticus also convinces Gaius to go around Jotapata because of the potential danger in that town.

Once Gaius, Atticus, and the detachment arrive at the area around Jesus’ camp, Gaius orders Jesus to come peacefully and to have everyone else step back. When asked if anyone was armed, Jesus said that some of His followers were, which draws aggression from the soldiers. After Jesus calms His students and tells Gaius that Matthew was back at the camp. Gaius pretends to be tough when he remarks that many of the followers seemed underfed, and quietly to Jesus, Gaius says that Matthew was used to eating well and asked Jesus what He had to offer Matthew. When Jesus says that they should talk about it later, Gaius leads Him away with his detachment.

When Gaius brings Jesus to Quintus, Quintus orders Gaius to leave, but Atticus stays in the room. Atticus looks on as Quintus and Jesus have a philosophical conversation about how Jesus has both helped and hurt Quintus’ standing with Rome with impossible feats and annoying situations. Jesus remains calm and collected while Quintus tries to get a rise out of Him. In the end, Quintus can’t find anything to punish Jesus for and lets Him go with a warning to stop causing trouble, which Jesus doesn’t agree to. Quintus also leaves a parting swipe by referencing the arrest of John the Baptizer. After Jesus leaves, Quintus smugly says that the experience was fun, but Atticus is confused as to why Quintus sees no issues with Jesus.

Tamar and Ethan

Tamar and Ethan are preaching about Jesus in Jotapata, sharing with a group of pilgrims about how Ethan was healed of paralysis. Tamar also shares what she saw Jesus do for the leper. The pilgrims want to know where Jesus is and why Tamar is sharing about Him when He told the leper not to do so. Tamar is unsure of Jesus’ whereabouts but says that she cannot remain silent because Jesus never told her to be quiet.

After being interrupted by Andrew, Tamar and Ethan retreat to the alley with Andrew. There, Tamar learns of Jesus’ detainment but is confused as to why she cannot speak of His miracles since she is not part of the Jewish religion. At this point, Yussif appears to warn Tamar of those who are looking for her. Ethan says that they need to lay low, and Tamar tells Andrew that she wants to follow Jesus.

The Chosen, Season 2 (Series Review)

Producer of Bible-Based TV Show 'The Chosen' Shares S2 On-Set Update

Plot Summary

After Jesus launched his public earthly ministry and took it to the next level by going to Samaria, the disciples thought that everything would be easy for them. However, things don’t pan out the way that they expect as they struggle with group dynamics, dark pasts, and outside opposition. In the end, as Jesus prepares for a sermon that will take His ministry to the next level, the disciples have to come to terms with what their new life means and what the Messiah has come to truly accomplish.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Many aspects of the production of Season 2 have greatly improved from Season 1, most notably the camera work, sets, and locations. However, for the most part, this talented team retained the authenticity and grittiness that was captured in Season 1 despite having more to work with. Camera work, video quality, and audio are all top-notch. Sets, locations, and props are realistic and culturally accurate. There are virtually no editing problems, so the only minor nitpick here is the fact that a few key moments are lacking the soundtrack that has come to be one of the core tenets of The Chosen. It’s unclear why this was the case, but it takes the wind out of the sails in certain circumstances. Nonetheless, this is another top-quality production that’s worthy of a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2.5 points)

It’s undeniable that the writers of The Chosen put much effort into making sure that the narrative is engaging and as accurate as possible. Season 2 is full of relatable and deep character arcs that portray the human experience and progress in realistic ways. Dialogue and conversations are excellent although slightly lacking some of the philosophy that we grew to love in Season 1. In Season 2, we get to watch a plausible interpretation of how the disciples might have interacted and how outside groups like the Pharisees and Romans may have approached Jesus in His early earthly ministry. There’s no doubt that the creators took the storytelling of the series to the next level by building intrigue and backstory for the outside events that were likely surrounding Jesus’ earthly ministry. For the most part, all characters are depicted as nuanced and motivated by various factors rather than all good or all bad. Further, the world-building in this season is superb as the writers demonstrate firm commitment to exploring and portraying the first-century Jewish culture in which Jesus lived. The main contention in this section that prevents a perfect score is the somewhat disjointed ending to the season. Some leaps in logic are taken to force a certain point, and the core philosophy of the show is temporarily abandoned just so certain moments can happen. This conclusion seems out-of-place compared to the rest of the season, which is disappointing since it’s the last thing that is seen. Nonetheless, there is still plenty to celebrate in this season as this plot is still very high quality.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

For the most part, The Chosen, Season 2 picks up right where the first season left off in the acting department. Sporting an extremely talented cast of culturally authentic members, the learned accents enhance the realistic experience. Nearly 95% of all performances are very strong, including emotions and line delivery in key moments. However, there are a few missteps that keep this section from being perfect. For instance, Noah James is expected to do a lot more than his acting range allows him to do, which is a drag. Other scenes are obviously one-takes due to extenuating circumstances, so this is an unfortunate fact. In the end, however, this section still receives a very high score due to loaded talent.

Continuity Quality (3 points)

The writers of The Chosen are clearly skilled in establishing setups and payoffs in their narratives. In Season 2, character arcs and storylines are also superb. No scene is wasted, and logical reasons are given for why things happen. As previously mentioned, the world-building of this series is unparalleled as the viewer is drawn into an authentic experience in first-century Judea. There are virtually no errors in this section.

Conclusion

The Chosen, Season 2 receives one x-factor point for attention to detail and making everything count. However, unlike the first season, this follow-up seasons does not receive the other x-factor point for rewatchability. It was evident during the lead-up to this season that Season 2 would be one that sets up many future events, and this assertion was definitely true. Set-up is necessary, but it doesn’t always produce rewatchability. Nonetheless, we respect what is being done here since it will hopefully make future seasons even better. One word of caution that we have to offer is that, much like Jesus’ ministry in the series is becoming more popular, as The Chosen increases in real-world popularity, especially among the Christian elite, the creative team will face an even more daunting task of avoiding the accidental creation of an echo chamber. We love The Chosen and everything that they are doing, and there were many enjoyable moments that make Season 2 worth your time (and land the season on the Hall of Fame). Because we care about The Chosen and the team behind it, we feel the need to offer a small warning about the future of this series: don’t let it go the way of all Christian projects. Stay committed to being different and doing what God wants you to do.

Final Rating: 11.5 out of 14 points

To the Ends of the Earth [2018] (Movie Review)

Watch To The Ends of the Earth | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When the Apostle Paul went to Philippi, this was the first time that the gospel of Jesus Christ had reached the continent of Europe. However, Paul faced much opposition and many trials in his mission to follow the Lord’s calling. Nonetheless, his obedience changed countless generations to come.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Although video quality is fine and the soundtrack is culturally sensitive, dizzying camera work and confusing special effects hold the production back from being what it could have been. Sets, locations, and props are great, but sound effects are poor. Further, editing is inconsistent, which goes with the overall theme of this production being a mixed bag. Thus, an average scored is granted here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

While it’s commendable that the writers of this narrative focused on one short aspect of Paul’s ministry, the apostle himself is too perfect of a character, which means that it’s hard to relate to him as a person. Also, demonic elements are too sensational as too much time is spent on dark spirituality. Elsewhere, the story presentation is confusing since it makes the progression of events very unclear. Most of the characters are inaccessible and hard to connect with due to procedural dialogue. Unfortunately, although this plot could have been interesting, it doesn’t offer any potential because attention is given to all the wrong things.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Though the casting is sometimes culturally authentic, this is not always the case. Nonetheless, the actors and actresses make some good attempts at accents. Sometimes, the acting is believable while other times, the performances are too theatrical and stoic. Emotions and line delivery can be a bit uneven at times. Unfortunately, the bad outweighs the good in this section, which leads to a sub-par score.

Conclusion

Period pieces about well-known Bible characters are very difficult to effectively execute. There are many moving parts and small details that are easy to get wrong. As a whole, it seems like that the creators of To the Ends of the Earth had the right motives but not always the correct philosophy. Unfortunately, there are just too many pitfalls in this screenplay that kept it in the basement of Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

The Appointment [1991] (Movie Review)

The Appointment (Spanish) (1991) | Full Movie | Karen Jo Briere | Art Oden  | Leslie Basham - YouTube

Plot Summary

Liz is a journalist who just hates God with a passion. Her entire job consists of writing anti-God articles in the paper. Liz is clearly bent on evil, so she doesn’t believe a strange message that she hears from a mysterious messenger who claims to be from the Lord. The message is that Liz will die at a specific time on a specific day, which was why she needed to get saved. Liz laughs this off, but as the day gets closer, she becomes more and more uncertain of what she believes. Will be turn to Christianity before it’s too late???

Production Quality (0 points)

As a 1990s production, The Appointment is just bad, even for the time period. Video quality is cheap, lighting is inconsistent, and camera work is random, including silly mid-shot zooms. Audio quality is disrupted by weird sound effects, noticeable background sounds, and an overpowering, in-your-face soundtrack. Further, very abrupt cuts and transitions sometimes completely cut off scenes in abrupt and shocking ways. Needless to say, no points can be awarded in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

In the most propaganda-level fashion, the Christiano team made sure to craft one of the most offensive portrayals of Christians and non-Christians known to Christian entertainment. The “bad” characters are downright evil pariahs who are bent on destroying Christianity. Many other characters are generic and vanilla due to blank dialogue, but almost every conversation is used to push agendas, preach at people, and force ideas down the viewers’ throats. Some scenes are very short and punctuated. In general, the writers seemed to have a really bizarre obsession with the main character dying, which further contributes to a portrayal of Christianity that will repulse people. In the end, due to offensive elements, this aspect of the film must receive negative points.

Acting Quality (0 points)

The performances in The Appointment are either generic or overplayed. Some cast members are trying too hard to be interesting, which sometimes comes off as overly theatrical. Forced line delivery and emotions don’t help matters. Further, cheap costuming caps off a section that lacks any substantial potential.

Conclusion

As we’ve said time and time again, trying to scare people into being saved is one of the worst things that a Christian can do. This is not the objective of our faith, yet some Christian creators seem to think that it is. Though older than other movies, The Appointment still tarnishes the reputation of Christian entertainment. The one hope is that we are now past these dark days.

Final Rating: -1 out of 10 points

Secrets in the Fall (Movie Review)

Secrets in the Fall- Official Extended Trailer - YouTube

Plot Summary

After being stuck in school for a snowbound night, a group of teenagers became friends for life. Now, they’re working together as counselors at a Christian camp. However, not everything goes smoothly as some campers don’t want to be there for various reasons. Will they all be able to wok together to make the week memorable?

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Beginning with a cheap found-footage feel, this production doesn’t live up to professional standards. Background noises and shaky camera work don’t help matters. While video quality, sets, locations, and props are okay, there’s not much soundtrack to speak of. Editing also contains concerns, including lagging scenes, awkward fadeouts, and weird sped-up portions of the film that confuse the audience. Despite some slight production improvement with time, this section can’t receive any more than an average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

From the get-go, the narrative is filled with convenient exposition that shoves information into the viewers’ faces. When this finally stops, the dialogue is somewhat acceptable yet could use some work. Although this screenplay is a sequel, characters are one-dimensional due to lots of blank scenes that accomplish nothing. Additionally, the high number of characters crowds out the runtime, causing many subplots to get lost in the shuffle and characters to get neglected. As a result of wasted time, character arcs are too steep as shortcuts are taken to force lessons upon the audience. Though there are some good attempts at making the “bad” characters neutral by giving them reasons for their actions, which is the tiny shred of potential in this story that keeps it from receiving no points, there is still not much focus or purpose in this narrative. Characters undergo very self-aware growth without experiencing circumstances that would promote these behaviors, which is unrealistic. In the end, the Every New Day creative team often tries to craft character-based plots but continue to lack key elements that are needed or success.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting of Secrets in the Fall is mostly generic due to there being nothing special or terrible. Line delivery and emotions are standard. Thus, with no positive or negative standouts, this section receives an average score.

Conclusion

Secrets in the Snow had a good amount of potential, but this follow-up seems forced and unnecessary. Sequels should build upon what was previously accomplished, but this movie takes a step backward. It seems like that the Goodwins have noble intentions with their creations, but they have taken a quantity over quality approach. Perhaps it’s time for them to take a step back and focus on producing fewer screenplays that contain more meaning.

Final Rating: 3.5 out of 10 points

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 6: Unlawful)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s sixth episode, entitled “Unlawful.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon son of Jonah, Matthew, and Mary Magdalene

Simon son of Jonah and Matthew continued their search for Mary Magdalene in Jericho, sleeping in someone’s stable overnight. In the morning, Matthew is intent on making a plan to find Mary and forgot to stay clean while lying in the hay. Simon takes note of this and also realizes that Matthew has an attraction to Mary as Matthew describes Mary to Simon. Simon appears to soften to Matthew as a result of this. The two men are interrupted by a hungover Roman soldier stumbling by the stable, making comments about having quite a night at a bar called The Nomad. Simon tries to help the solider, but the soldier is obviously prejudiced against Jews. However, Matthew infers from one of the soldier’s comments that The Nomad has stairs, implying that Mary could be there based on what Jesus told him about remembering the verse from Psalm 139.

In The Nomad, Mary Magdalene is getting drunk and gambling on knucklebones. She has turned her one shekel into a pile of shekels, but she is being heavily scrutinized by the rough men at the gambling table. When one of the men, Hohj, is angry about losing all his money, he tries to move toward Mary, but Jethro stops him. Nonetheless, after looking around and remembering what her father told her about what to do when she was scared, Mary abruptly exits the bar, leaving her gambling winnings behind.

Matthew and Simon enter The Nomad later, and Matthew awkwardly asks the crowded room if they had seen someone fitting the description of Mary. Hohj recognizes Mary as Lilith and blames her his losing all his money. After leaving The Nomad, Matthew insists that he and Simon need to split up to cover more ground, but Simon is worried about Matthew getting lost. Matthew says that they have to do what they can to find Mary because it’s important to take her back to Jesus. Simon reluctantly agrees, but just as he’s pointing out directions for Matthew to follow, Mary calls to them from an alleyway.

Mary is sitting in an alley, hungover from being drunk. She wasn’t sure as first if seeing Simon and Matthew was a dream, and the two men rush over to her. They want to help her to return to Jesus, but Mary insists that she’s not going anywhere because Jesus fixed her once and probably couldn’t fix her again. Matthew tells Mary that he’s a bad person and used to live only for himself without any faith. Matthew also reminds Mary of what she contributes to the group and encourages Simon to do the same. Simon reminisces about how Mary helped Tamar bring the paralytic to the roof of Zebedee’s house, and Matthew says that Ramah is learning more about Torah because of Mary. At this point, Mary seems convinced but is interrupted by hangover vomiting. Rather than being repulsed, Matthew takes off his handkerchief to help Mary clean up. Matthew directs Simon to go get water, and Simon does, surprised at what Matthew is doing.

Simon and Matthew lead Mary Magdalene back to the camp of disciples where they are greeted by Ramah and Mary Mother. Mary Magdalene is hesitant to see Jesus, but Mary Mother insists that she needs to see Him immediately. Mary Mother leads Mary Magdalene to Jesus’ tent, where He is sad and praying after the news of John the Baptizer’s arrest. Jesus tells Mary Magdalene that He’s not distraught over her but that there’s a lot going on, which is why it’s good for Mary Magdalene to be back. Mary Magdalene is still inconsolable because she feels like there’s no reason why she should have thrown away what Jesus had given to her. Jesus says that redemption can’t be lost in a day and that He knows how painful Mary’s trauma was for her. Jesus explains that no one can be instantly perfect and that these things take time. Mary, although she apologizes, still isn’t convinced that she can be fixed, so Jesus verbally forgives Mary, which prompts Mary to cling to Him and finally accept His forgiveness.

While Jesus talks to Mary Magdalene, Matthew listens outside the tent. When they had first come in, Simon son of Jonah had learned of the arrest of John the Baptizer and gone to find Andrew, who was freaking out about the situation. Later, after leaving the synagogue of Wadi Kelt, Simon begins to subconsciously pick heads of grain while he excitedly recaps for the group what Jesus had just done. However, when the group stares at Simon’s actions, he realizes that he was doing work on Shabbat and spits out what he had eaten. After Simon apologizes to Jesus for this perceived error, Jesus tells the group that they can eat the heads of grain, so everyone does.

After Simon son of Jonah had picked heads of grain, Matthew had asked Philip what the problem was. Matthew had also asked Philip why Madai and Lamech were so concerned about Jesus’ use of the term “Son of Man.”

Ramah and Mary Mother

As Ramah and Mary Mother forage for food by looking for edible plants, Ramah confides in Mary Mother that she is worried about Mary Magdalene and their whole situation in general. Ramah doesn’t understand why Jesus was allowing all of it to happen, especially since He had the power to make things better. Mary Mother says that she didn’t always understand how her Son worked, but she trusts that because the Father always took care of His children and knew what was best for them, Jesus would do the same. Ramah also reveals that she wants to be a teacher and that Mary Magdalene had been a great help to her.

Later, when Simon son of Jonah and Matthew bring back Mary Magdalene, Ramah and Mary Mother rush to greet Mary Magdalene. Ramah is glad to see her, and Mary Mother gives Mary Magdalene a new head covering. Though Mary Magdalene is hesitant, Mary Mother insists that she needs to go see Jesus. Thus, Mary Mother takes Mary Magdalene to Jesus and stays with her the whole time.

Thomas, Andrew, Thaddeus, Little James, Philip, Nathanael, and Simon son of Zebulon

While Simon son of Jonah and Matthew are gone, Thomas counts the group’s remaining food and confides in Andrew that they do not have enough portions left for everyone to eat for the next meal. However, Andrew is mentally distracted because he thinks that Philip has been gone for too long. Andrew absent-mindedly tells Thomas about how he used to follow John the Baptizer and not always have enough food, but sometimes, they would have too much food, depending on the people who had just been baptized. Thomas thinks that John the Baptizer needed better planning, but Andrew says that John never valued money at all.

When Philip returns, he reveals that John the Baptizer had been imprisoned by Herod for life because of what John had told the king. Andrew becomes distraught over this. Simon son of Zebulon confidently says that they could break John out of prison because Simon knew some people. Philip seems to be interested in this idea for a quick second, but he changes his mind and tells Simon that he’s no longer a zealot. Andrew says that nothing could be worse than John being imprisoned for life.

Thomas interjects in this discussion to share that the situation is worse than they know, saying that things like this never used to happen before he met the other disciples. This leads him to interrupt Jesus’ meeting with Mary Magdalene to tell his Rabbi that the group is running out of food. Jesus tells Thomas that this is the perfect time to ask the Father for what they need, especially with Shabbat coming. Jesus suggests that they go to a nearby synagogue in a small town for the Jewish holy day.

Thaddeus, Little James, and Nathanael do not have any substantial scenes in this episode.

Big James and John son of Zebedee

While they chop wood, the two Sons of Thunder talk about the current state of the group. John son of Zebedee tells his brother, in response to watching Simon son of Zebulon perform his zealot exercises, that he once considered joining the zealots. Big James says that he never knew this, and John implies that the thought was short-lived because he liked his comfortable life with Zebedee and Salome.

When discussing Mary Magdalene and feeling sorry for her, Big James discloses to his brother that he really doesn’t understand everything that’s going on because he’s just following. John says that he has a feeling that, for quite awhile, many in the group won’t understand everything that’s happening.

Shmuel and Yanni

Shmuel and Yanni are able to gain an audience with Shimon’s scribe, Dunash, but this higher-ranking Pharisee is dismissive of the claims that Shmuel and Yanni are bringing forth. Dunash loftily explains that Shimon, the current president of the Sanhedrin, is concerned with helping vulnerable populations and alleviating the burden of the Talmud rather than enforcing the rules of Shabbat. Yanni insists that blasphemy is an important matter, but Dunash berates Yanni as being stuck his lower position because he doesn’t listen. Shmuel insists that the law of God is perfect and doesn’t need to be softened, but Dunash, seemingly bored with the complaints, says that Shimon has no time for disputes over doing work on the Jewish holy day.

Later, Yanni rants about Dunash’s arrogant attitude and put-downs. Shmuel seems defeated and resigned to the matter being over. However, Yanni is ready to fight back, insisting that the situation is far from over because they now needed to go to Shimei, the leader of the opposite school of thought in the Sanhedrin. Yanni firmly believes the Shimei will not overlook the Shabbat violations because he is more stringent and will want a chance to one-up Shimon, who ignored the problems. Yanni and Shmuel agree that more testimony is needed before moving forward, and Shmuel wonders aloud why it took all this.

Madai and Lamech

In the small town of Wadi Kelt, Madai is the synagogue priest while Lamech is the teacher. When Jesus and His disciples come into the synagogue, Lamech is reading regulations from the Torah about who can and cannot enter the assembly of the Lord. Madai immediately notices the large group of people entering the building and stops Lamech from his reading. Lamech demands that Jesus tell them what He’s doing, but Jesus focuses on Elam, a man with a withered hand. Jesus highlights Elam’s infirmity for Madai and Lamech, but they insist that it’s not lawful to heal on Shabbat, which visibly frustrates Jesus. Jesus asks the general room if it was lawful for someone to take care of a lost animal on Shabbat, but Madai and Lamech order for Jesus to be silent and warn Elam that Jesus could be a shaman. Jesus ignores them and once again asks the room if it was lawful to save lives on Shabbat before telling Elam to stretch out his hand. Madai and Lamech insist that Elam’s affliction doesn’t impact his life or health, but Elam’s hand stretching out of his hand leads to its healing as the hand returns to full health. This lights Lamech’s fuse as he screams that God could have healed Elam if the healing was meant to happen. Madai angrily tells Jesus to leave before asking what was wrong with Him. Jesus says that apparently everything is wrong with Him as He and His disciples leave. However, Madai and Lamech suddenly call after them to come back.

Madai and Lamech catch up with the disciple group as they are eating heads of grain, complaining about Jesus making a mockery of their synagogue. They demand to know Jesus’ lineage before getting distracted by the disciples breaking off heads of grain on Shabbat and accusing Jesus of this transgression as well. Jesus reminds them of the time that King David ate the showbread, but Madai asserts that this event was an emergency. When Jesus says that the Levites also do work on shabbat, Lamech challenges Jesus to reveal his lineage to see if He’s from the tribe of Levi, but Jesus ignores this, instead telling the two Pharisees that something greater than the temple had come to them. Jesus chastised the two men for not showing mercy and thus condemning the innocent before telling them that Shabbat was made for man not man for Shabbat, for the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath. This statement shocks Madai and Lamech, who are speechless as they watch Jesus and His disciples leave.

Later, Madai and Lamech are beside themselves as they breathlessly pen a report for Jerusalem about the events of the day. Madai laments that Jerusalem never gives them attention since their attention was divided by other matters but that this might might be their chance to be noticed even though they are a small town. Madai says that the best thing thing to do is to file the report, but because it might get lost in the paperwork shuffle, they also should see if they can find any fellow Pharisees to talk to in Jotapata, a nearby town. Lamech agrees that this is a good plan and that they also need to pray for justice.

Ahimalech, Yafa, Abiathar, and David

During the Old Testament period, Ahimalech was a priest in Nob. As his wife Yafa helps him get ready one morning, they discuss an ill family member with Yafa being a pessimist and Ahimalech being an optimist. Later, Ahimalech trains his son Abiathar in the practice of changing out the showbread, replacing the old bread with hot bread. As they do this, Ahimlaech explains to his son that God does not eat the bread, but it is a portion for the priests. The father and son are interrupted by David bursting through the door, so Ahimalech tells Abiathar to run home and tell his eema that all was well.

After Abiathar leaves, Ahimalech asks David why he came alone, and David explained that he was on an errand for the King and needed provision for his men, who were in hiding. David wants the showbread, but Ahimalech says that it’s for the priests, so David invokes a Jewish rule regarding emergency situations. Ahimalech relents, warning David that the men could not eat unless they were pure, and David insisted that they were. Before David leaves, Ahimalech says he doesn’t mind putting himself in danger to help the young man because something great would come through David.

Teen Musical: The Movie (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Dr. Alexandra Park just wants to run the community center for the kids, but an evil businessman with unlimited political power wants to tear the building down to build something really important. Dr. Park’s only option to save the center is to host a musical and make money off of the tickets. Thus, she forces the kids she knows to work for free in this show. Will they be able to pull off their scheme in time???

Production Quality (1 point)

There is much to be desired in this production. Between inconsistent camera work and video quality, the viewing experience is difficult. Audio quality is also poor, including background noises, echoes, and a cringeworthy singing soundtrack. Also, overdubs and lip syncing are very obvious, and sets, locations, and props are very cheap. Further, editing is choppy, and despite some improvement throughout, this section doesn’t break the average line.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

As this narrative jumps all over the place, the audience is assaulted with tons of empty characters and cardboard content. Plastic expository dialogue serves as a crutch to bridge the plot jumps. The villain character is totally ridiculous, and the out-of-left-field suspense elements that come with him are unrealistic. It’s too far-fetched to assume that the level of violence that is brought in by this absurd villain would actually occur in this situation. Besides this, the story is full of other cheesy clichés and constructs, such as the formulaic narrative structure of using a musical event to save a struggling organization. With so many things happening, all leading to a predictable conclusion, there’s no potential in this aspect of the film.

Acting Quality (1 point)

When you combine awkward acting with terrible singing in a musical, you have a disaster on your hands. Emotions are very manufactured throughout the movie, and the performances are overall too scripted and stiff. Despite slight improvement with time, this section doesn’t reach the average point.

Conclusion

This screenplay is just a mess, and this is exactly what we should not longer see in Christian entertainment. Teen Musical is nothing short of a disaster, which many musicals end up being. Hopefully, one day soon, we won’t have to keep wading through these murky waters.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Future Tense [1990] (Movie Review)

Future Tense (1990) | Full Movie | Fred Carpenter | A.J. Merrill | Leigh  Lombardi | John Shannon - YouTube

Plot Summary

After a college student becomes a Christian while away from his family, he tries to encourage them to convert to his newfound faith. When they refuse, he decides to record a tape of what would happen to them if the Rapture came before they were saved. Coincidentally enough, after the student sends the tape to his family, the Rapture actually does happen! What will they do now???

Production Quality (.5 point)

As a 1990s production, Future Tense leaves much to be desired. The weird grainy and shady tint to the video disrupts the viewing experience, as do weird special effects. The soundtrack is loud and annoying, and other aspects of audio are unbalanced. The camera work, sets, locations, props, and editing are the only acceptable elements that prevent his section from receiving no points. Needless to day, this is a very low-quality production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Between heavy-handed messaging and lots of off-screen content that we only hear about, this narrative barely counts as storytelling. With hardly any actual dialogue to speak of, the characters are blank cardboard cutouts. The out-of-order plot style is poorly presented, which confuses the audience. Other aspects are generally boring as many scenes waste time. Also, the entire narrative is perfectly spoon-fed to the audience and magically constructed to fit a very narrow worldview. Further, the vague ending makes no sense and leaves the viewer wondering what just happened. In the end, this section receives a score of zero due to lack of potential.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Although the acting in this film is robotic and overly practiced, it’s actually the strongest aspect of the screenplay. This fact is mainly due to the fact that the lead actor posts the best performance. Elsewhere, however, there’s too much yelling and screaming. There’s not much else good to note here, which rounds out an underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Apocalyptic movies about the Rapture were all the rage in the 1990s and early 2000s. However, the idea of trying to “scare” people into being saved is fairly morbid. I doubt creations like Future Tense made any significant impact, and such projects definitely have no influence in the more modern era. Once again, films like this one only serve as examples of how not to do it.

Final Rating: 1.5 out of 10 points

Genesis 7, Season 1 (Series Review)

Genesis 7 (TV Series 2012– ) - IMDb

Plot Summary

At some point, some creationist company got enough money to create their own space exploration program, complete with highly advanced and complex technology that allows crews to visit any part of the solar system. Captain Enoch Andrews and his crew are tasked with searching the outer reaches of the galaxy for evidence that disproves Darwinism and proves creationist propaganda to be true. What types of drama could they get up to???

Production Quality (1 point)

This production team bit off way more than they could chew. Incredibly cheap CGI dominates the viewing experience. Annoying sound effects and poor special effects are also problems to contend with. Shaky camera work and dark lighting don’t help matters. The soundtrack is generic, but video quality is fine. Also, the limited sets, locations, and props don’t represent what they are supposed to emulate. Further, the editing is full of awkward cuts and continuity errors. Nonetheless, there is slight improvement with time that is enough to prevent this section from staying in the basement.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

This series is essentially a tool of creationist propaganda. The writers had a clear agenda to push their opinions about young-earth creationism all the while relying on fake science to conveniently power their plot devices. In between constant spoon-feeding of tenets from the fundamentalist worldview, cardboard characters sit around in terrible CGI settings, reciting lines without feeling. As such, the dialogue and conversations are vanilla, full of information dumps and constant swipes at Darwinism. Every situation that the characters find themselves in is purposely contrived to push a point. When faced with stressful circumstances, the characters lack normal human emotions and reactions. Thus, there is basically no substantial conflict, and the narrative overall lacks clear purpose or focus. In the end, due to its propaganda elements, this storyline receives negative points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Although the acting is not all bad, much of it is extremely stilted and mechanical. Line delivery and emotions are robotic and unsure. Many performances are very muted and blank. Most of this section is very forgettable, leaving not much to say except that only a small score is warranted here.

Continuity Quality (0 points)

Throughout this ridiculous series, there are no actual subplots or arcs to follow between episodes. Nothing substantial happens at all as each episode basically repeats the others in slightly different ways. The writers just kept repackaging the same concepts over and over again, hoping no one would notice. Thus, no points are awarded here.

Conclusion

When a creator’s entire purpose is destroy another worldview by pushing propaganda, this endeavor will never end well. Audiences will see right through these schemes and call the efforts out for what they are. It’s un-Christian to try to convert people using the methods that are employed in Genesis 7. Fighting over scientific opinions simply is not worth it.

Final Rating: 1 out of 14 points

Don’t Give Up [2021] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Amy Samuel is drowning in depression due to everything that’s happened to her in life. She just wants to give up and leave her life behind. However, a set of circumstances prevents her from ending it all. As a result, Amy is forced to face her past in order to pick up the pieces and move on.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite this production having fine video quality and okay camera work, there are a number of concerns to contend with. For instance, the audio is quite bad, including background echoes and a loud soundtrack. Special effects are very cheap. Also, sets, locations, and props are a bit limited. Further, editing is quite choppy. Thus, these missteps all lead to another below-average production for JC Films.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Although the narrative is based on a true story, Don’t Give Up is a train-wreck of a film. Voiceover bridges time gaps and guides the viewer through the plot in a very heavy-handed manner. Sensationalism crowds out interesting psychological elements that provide the story with a small amount of potential. Some content is unnecessarily edgy, and expository dialogue short-circuits the sliver of potential that the characters had. Implied off-screen content makes for a confusing watch, and too many elements are unexplained as it seems like that the writers expected the audience to read a lot into various things. The time jumps create vacuums of information and a general atmosphere of random ideas being strung together with no clear focus or purpose. The flashbacks are slightly interesting since they make attempts to establish character motives, but the protagonist is fixed way too easily. It’s implied that getting saved will automatically fix clinical depression, and the story has a generally rushed conclusion. Therefore, though there is some potential in this section, only a small score can be awarded.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, the acting in this screenplay is average despite the fact that the performances are just average. Some cast members are way too dramatic in their acting, but they are balanced out by other cast members who are more even-keeled. Line deliver is mostly okay throughout the movie although some emotions are forced. While better coaching was definitely in order here, the performances overall improve with time. However, this section’s rating isn’t enough to save the movie from itself.

Conclusion

It’s commendable that Jason Campbell and his team continue to make films that are based on true stories. However, their flooding-the-market approach is still a detriment to Christian entertainment. Other production companies have tried this method in the past but have ultimately failed. At this rate, it’s hard to see how JC Films doesn’t end up with the same fate.

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

Real Stories with Christ, Season 1 (Series Review)

Watch Real Stories With Christ | Prime Video

Plot Summary

Pastor Joe wants to be a good pastor, but church stuff is hard. The devil is always trying to throw him off, and it seems like every day, Joe experiences a modern-day version of a well-known Bible story. Will he and his wife be able to withstand the tests and trials of life???

Production Quality (1 point)

The group at Strong Foundation Films consistently produces low-quality productions, and this miniseries is no exception. Despite okay video quality, camera work is inconsistent throughout. Audio quality is poor, including loud background sounds and a generic soundtrack. While outside lighting is acceptable, indoor lighting is not, and the sets, locations, and props are cheap and limited. Further, editing is choppy, and although there is slight improvement with time in all production aspects, only a meager score can be awarded here because of all the concerns.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Like many other narratives produced by this creative team, the plot of Real Stories with Christ is very hard to follow. Presenting one thing after the next without much actual dialogue, the writers choose to have things randomly happen without good reasons. There is also a fixation on the dramatic and sensational, especially an unnecessary obsession with dark spiritual warfare as basically every episode has a long and drawn-out exorcism sequence. With these ridiculous wastes of time, the story lacks central focus, clear purpose, and consistent themes. Long conversations accomplish nothing and produce blank characters. Events only occur because the writers want them to happen, and problems are unrealistically fixed very quickly. Full of Christian platitudes, cheesy messaging, juvenile worldviews, and patriarchal attitudes, this section cannot receive any points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

Per usual for Strong Foundation, the acting in Real Stories is predictably bad. Josiah David Warren dominates the screen time with his typically awkward and cringey performances. Many cast members are trying too hard, and some exhibit uneven lines and emotions that don’t appropriately fit the moment. Injury acting is laughably bad, and the biblical components of the acting include low-quality costuming and inaccurate cultural portrayals. However, there is at least some good acting in this series, such as the performances posted by Amber Shana Williams. Hence, a small score can be awarded here.

Continuity Quality (1 point)

It’s very confusing and unclear as to how this series relates to Who Am I? because Amber Shana Williams plays a different character in that movie than she does in Real Stories. This creates continuity problems, but there are other concerns in this section, such as a lack of character arcs. Though some subplots are followed between episodes, these narratives are formulaic and predictable. Also, some characters disappear between episodes with no good explanations. Thus, this rounds out an underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

This series is basically the culmination of all the other failed projects that have been produced by the Strong Foundation team. Real Stories includes all the predictable elements from this group and offers very little to redeem itself. As they continue to taint Christian entertainment with this offerings, there’s little advice to offer the Strong Foundation creators. They will obviously continue to do what they do without changing.

Final Rating: 3 out of 14 points

30 Day Promise (Movie Review)

30 Day Promise (2017) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Heather Winslow’s life has gone from bad to worse. In a short amount of time, she receives news that her husband wants to divorce and that she has cancer. However, she convinces her husband to wait 30 days to see what happens. During this time, Heather must have faith that God is still in control.

Production Quality (1 point)

Despite fine video quality, this film contains on overall cheap production. Audio quality is very inconsistent, including background noises and hard-to-hear lines. Camera work is mostly acceptable except for some moments of shaky cam. Sets, locations, and props are fairly limited, and the screenplay is full of disorienting montages and the use of split screens. Editing is poor, but there is a tiny bit of improvement as time goes on. Nonetheless, it’s not enough to warrant any more than a low score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Due to stock and vanilla dialogue, the characters of this narrative are simply pawns in whatever scheme that the writers want to use them in. Bland conversations do nothing to aid character growth, and the creators give no real reasons for why the characters do what they do. Expository dialogue takes the place of scenes that show the audience what’s happening, and mentions of off-screen content are annoying. Events just happen randomly throughout the plot, and the viewing experience is confused by unnecessarily large time jumps. Lacking regard for realistic divorce proceedings and medical facts, the writers elect to advocate for unusual methods of getting a married couple to love each other again, demonstrating how little they understand about real relationships. In the end, with no potential in this aspect of the movie, no points can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of 30 Day Promise. Although the performances are generic, they are neither horrible nor dynamic. In some scenes, it feels like the cast members are awkwardly standing around and reciting lines. However, some actors and actresses are better than others. The finished product is enough to justify an average score.

Conclusion

It’s possible that the creators of film meant well. However, it’s hard to tell based on their portrayal of Christian relationships. 30 Day Promise is essentially a half-finished idea that needed a lot more fleshing out before it was released to the public. In the end, there’s really nothing memorable about this creation, relegating it to the stockpile of forgotten Christian entertainment.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

A Father’s Legacy {The Old Man and the Pond} (Movie Review)

A Father's Legacy (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

After Nick Wolfe commits a crime out of desperation, he takes refuge in Billy Ford’s house, taking Billy as a hostage. Nick is injured from the fallout of the crime, but Billy isn’t really afraid of the younger man. Together, the two men forge an unlikely friendship as they wrestle their demons and face their dark pasts.

Production Quality (2 points)

Though this production is above-average, it’s still not quite up to modern standards. Most production elements are fine, such as camera work, but there are some odd camera angles. Audio quality, however, is acceptable, and the soundtrack is intriguing. Nonetheless, lighting is inconsistent, and sets, locations, and props are slightly limited. Moreover, editing is fine, and all aspects of the production improve with time. Thus, this score is warranted.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This narrative is mostly a mixed bag. Though the writers sometime push a patriarchal worldview, this concept isn’t fully committed to. Throughout the plot, there is a good use of flashbacks to establish character motive, and most of the dialogue is interesting. However, some conversations are driven by an agenda to imply that older generations were better than younger generations. Doing this wastes opportunities to explore the pros and cons of generational differences. Though there is some character complexity and imperfection, the storyline structure is basically formulaic. Despite some interesting themes, there is a need for more consistency and explanation. Perhaps one of the worst elements is the climax scene that makes no sense and tries to go too big without effective buildup. Then, the narrative meanders around before it ends on an awkward note. Therefore, due to small potential but lots of confusion, only a small rating can be awarded here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the acting in A Father’s Legacy is above-average. Line delivery is very professional, but the few performances that there are are quite dramatic and dour. With such a small cast, the main actors shoulder the whole burden, and neither of them demonstrates much range of emotion. However, the acting does get better as the film progresses, thus leading to this score.

Conclusion

This screenplay contained intriguing psychological elements that needed more fleshing out, and as a whole, the movie was a collection of wasted potential. With mainstream cast members, unsure messaging, and attempts to be authentic, A Father’s Legacy feels like a cash grab. However, this attempt to collect from Christian audiences is very underwhelming. The writers could have tried a bit harder to make this one interesting. In reality, this film is likely to go over viewers’ heads. There was something that could have been done here, but it’s basically a misfire.

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points

Coffee with God (Movie Review)

Coffee With God' Breaks the Mold, Brings an Uplifting Message to TV|  National Catholic Register

Plot Summary

Apparently, Jack has a special connection with God wherein they have coffee together and God makes sarcastic comments about stuff. God also gives Jack random missions to do things, such as going to heal people. However, one day, Jack gets a basically impossible assignment or something, and things happen.

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a whole, Coffee with God has an average production with only a few assorted errors. Video quality and camera work are acceptable, but audio quality leaves something to be desired. Some portions of the soundtrack are quite loud, and lighting is fairly inconsistent. Sets, locations, and props are mostly cheap and inadequate. Editing is okay, but the mixed-bag nature of this section can only lead to an average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

The writers of this film espouse an extremely bizarre view of God that includes irreverent sarcasm and general weirdness. The characters seem to go out of their way to be odd and use purposely crude humor. A strange theology undercuts the narrative, and the plot itself is full of wasted time and pointless scenes. Dialogue does nothing to build characters, and many conversations fill time by going in circles without accomplishing anything. With no clear purpose or themes, this story meanders around until it’s mercifully over, having no impact on the audience except an annoying one. Thus, due to the strange worldview, this aspect of the screenplay receives a negative rating.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Despite the other concerns in this movie, the acting is mostly average. Not all the performances are bad, but some are a bit over-the-top. Other cast members are bland. There’s not enough positive or negative in this section to warrant anything but an average score.

Conclusion

It’s extremely unclear why this film was even made. What’s to gain from such a strange view of God and miracles? What is the audience for this screenplay? It’s too cheaply made to be a cash grab. It’s too isolating for much of Christian entertainment. In the end, there’s literally no point to Coffee for God except to serve as yet another example of how not to do it.

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 5: Spirit)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s fifth episode, entitled “Spirit.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon son of Jonah, Matthew, and Thomas

While others have gone outside the camp to complete various tasks, Matthew and Thomas are stuck helping each other prepare the meal for the group. Thomas voices his complaints, and Matthew tries to defend himself by saying that Thomas is only frustrated because Matthew was a tax collector. Thomas is sarcastic while Matthew believes himself to be a very humble person. During their spat, the two men are watching Mary Magdalene teach Ramah how to read as the two women sit in a tent. Matthew can tell that Mary is distracted and frustrated, but Thomas is jealous, thinking that Matthew is watching Ramah, which Matthew doesn’t refute.

Matthew and Thomas both hear Caleb, the demon-possessed man, outside the camp. Thomas grabs a knife for defense, so Matthew copies him, grabbing a nearby spoon. The two men rush to Mary Magdalene and Ramah as the two women come out of the tent, having also heard Caleb’s noise. When Caleb jumps out from behind a tent, Thomas and Matthew try to make a show of force, but Mary steps forward, trying to help Caleb get free of his demon. As Mary talks with Caleb, Matthew and Thomas hang back. After Jesus frees Caleb from the demon, Thomas prepares food for the victimized man.

Simon son of Jonah seems wary at the arrival of John the Baptizer but keeps quiet about the situation. After Simon son of Zebulon talks with Jesus, Simon son of Jonah introduces the new disciple to the other disciples. During this exchange, they discover that Mary Magdalene has been missing, so Simon son of Jonah goes to Christ, Who is practicing the Sermon on the Mount. Simon son of Jonah informs his Rabbi about Mary’s disappearance, and Matthew joins them. Simon accuses Matthew of spying, but the Lord tells Simon that Matthew needs to go with Simon to find Mary. Seeing a greater need, Simon relents and agrees. Before they leave, Jesus tells Matthew to keep the verse from Psalm 139 in his thoughts.

Ramah and Mary Magdalene

While picking persimmons for the group, Mary Magdalene is trying to memorize several Jewish prayers as well as the verse that Matthew had given to her and Ramah. However, Mary is distracted by two Roman soldiers who ride up to talk to each other on a nearby path. Mary drops the fruit and accidentally crumples her parchments as she tries to hide in fear.

Later, while trying to teach Ramah how to read, Mary is distracted and frustrated, which she takes out on Ramah when Ramah makes mistakes. After taking a break, Mary apologizes and admits that Ramah was doing fine. Ramah is accepting of Mary’s apology. Mary confesses that she has been frustrated about how she ignored the prayers that she had been holding and chose to hide from the Roman soldiers. Ramah implies that she has been frustrated with the nature of the group’s travels thus far.

As Caleb approaches the camp, Mary is able to sense the presence of demonic activity. She and Ramah go outside the tent to join Thomas and Matthew, and Caleb jumps out from behind the tent. Belial, the demon that’s possessing Caleb, says that it can smell something vile on all of them. After the standstill between Caleb and Matthew, Mary steps forward, trying to help Caleb by asking his real name. Belial remains in control of Caleb, calling Mary Lilith and reminding her of her past. Belial says that the seven demons that once possessed Mary told it stories about what Lilith was like. Mary insists that Caleb needs to say the name that his mother gave him, and Caleb tries, but Belial prevents him from doing this.

After Jesus casts Belial out of Caleb, Mary quietly leaves the camp, taking her bag with her. Along the road to Jericho, Mary is still distraught about the events of the day, but as a Roman soldier passes her without doing anything to her, Mary regains some of her old confidence. With a new outlook, Mary enters Jericho and goes to a questionable establishment where she asks for a man named Jethro. The man at the front of the business is hesitant to do this at first, calling her a nice girl. However, when Mary takes off her head covering and tells the man to pass along a message about a girl from The Hammer wanting to win back her money, the front man is more eager to find Jethro.

The front man takes Mary to a back room to meet Jethro, who immediately recognizes Mary as Lilith, thinking that she was dead. Mary says that she was sort-of dead and says that she brought her own money to pay for the gambling game.

Andrew, Thaddeus, Little James, Phillip, and Nathanael

When John the Baptizer comes to see the disciple group, Andrew is confused as to why his former rabbi is going back to Jerusalem until John the Baptizer explains his rationale.

Thaddeus and Little James, after witnessing Jesus cast Belial out of Caleb, assist Caleb with his recovery.

Phillip and Nathanael have no substantial scenes in this episode.

Simon son of Zebulon, Jesse, and Atticus

After Jesus had met with Jesse a second time to tell Jesse to go and sin no more, Jesse was questioned by Shmuel and Yanni. Jesse told the two Pharisees that he hadn’t heard much of what Jesus and His disciples had said because Jesse was more focused on his healed legs. Jesse is still excited about his ability to walk, and he ends up disclosing to Shmuel and Yanni that one of Jesus’ disciples had mentioned going to see Jesus’ cousin. When Jesse hears that Jesus is from Nazareth, Jesse is surprised.

After leaving the interrogation, Jesse encounters Atticus, who was spying on the healed man. Atticus pretends to be a friend who just heard about the miracle and wanted to know more because he allegedly believed in the miracle. Jesse is hesitant to share much but reveals that he had encountered his brother soon after the healing. Jesse also reluctantly disclosed to Atticus that Jesse’s brother believed the healer to be the Messiah. Atticus pretends to be excited about this fact.

Simon son of Zebulun is searching for Jesus in the wilderness, which is where Simon encounters Caleb. Trying to remain hidden from the demon-possessed man doesn’t work because Belial can smell Simon following Caleb. Caleb begs for Simon to kill him, but Simon decides against this since Caleb was neither a Roman nor a tax collector and because the demons would go somewhere else. Simon reasoned that Caleb was strong enough to have lucid moments and would be fine. When Belial takes control again, the demon says that Simon has a vile smell on him, and Simon thinks that it’s because he hugged Jesse, who had not taken care of personal hygiene in a while. However, Belial insists that the smell is of a holy person, but Simon says that Jesse had not been holy for quite a long time.

Simon leaves Caleb and finds the camp of the disciples, watching them from a tree. However, Caleb follows Simon to the camp and startles Thomas, Matthew, Ramah, and Mary Magdalene. After the exchange between Belial and Mary, the demon forces Caleb forward to attack her, but Simon jumps out to stop the demon-possessed man. Nonetheless, Belial has allowed Caleb to be very strong, and after knocking Simon’s sica dagger away while Simon wasn’t looking, Caleb forces Simon to the ground and begins to strangle Simon to death.

Simon is only rescued by Jesus ordering Belial to get out of Caleb. Afterward, Simon tries to recover, and John the Baptizer recognizes that Simon was a zealot. Jesus tells the group that the newcomer is also Simon before directing the disciples to help Caleb. Then, the Lord takes Simon aside to discuss Simon’s future with the group. As Simon and Christ walk alone along the river, Simon conveys that he wants to do whatever he can to use his skills for Jesus. However, the Lord isn’t interested in Simon’s training, and after holding Simon’s sica dagger, Christ throws it into the river. Jesus tells Simon that He needs no one but wants Simon for specific reasons. Christ says that no one buys their way into the disciple group because of special skills, and Simon says that he’s concerned about people coming after Jesus due to the healing of Jesse. The Lord asks what Simon will do about this, and Simon says that he would be more likely to protect Christ if he still had his dagger. In response, Jesus says that Simon will have to wait and simply accept walking with the Lord for now.

Later, Simon son of Zebulun watches Christ say goodbye to John the Baptizer. Atticus had been following Simon through the wilderness, finding the remains of Simon’s campfire. As the Lord bids farewell to John the Baptizer with Simon looking on, Atticus watches the three men from a tree. Atticus had retrieved Simon’s sica dagger from the river, and Atticus begins making a connection between Jesus and John the Baptizer.

Shmuel and Yanni

After finding Jesse talking with Christ, Shmuel and Yanni bring in the healed man for questioning. It’s implied that the two Pharisees bribe Jesse with a pair of sandals. Shmuel attempts to extract information from Jesse, wanting the healed man to stop pacing and paying more attention to his legs than to the two Pharisees. From the interrogation, Shmuel and Yanni are able to derive that the mysterious Healer told Jesse to go and sin no more, which Shmuel thought matched what he had seen Jesus do in Capernaum. Yanni says that there were too many people named Jesus in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles.

After the questioning, Yanni and Shmuel go to a records clerk, demanding that the formal inquiry about the paralytic being healed in Capernaum be updated with new information about a second healing. The clerk is perturbed at this disturbance, taking his time to examine the archives. He eventually reveals that the formal inquiry was opened and then closed before it even advanced to the Sanhedrin. Yanni wants to know why, but the clerk is cagey, citing confidentiality. The clerk only discloses that a powerful member of the Sanhedrin used his influence to close the case, saying that it was a one-off incident by a rogue. Thus, the clerk insists that the inquiry would never be questioned or reopened.

After leaving the clerk’s office, Shmuel and Yanni fume about what they infer were Nicodemus’ actions to shut down the formal inquiry into Jesus before the investigation could even begin. Shmuel is ready to give up, believing that Nicodemus has too much power, but Yanni isn’t ready to relent. He tells Shmuel that he may have a contact who can help.

Later, Yanni is writing a letter to his friend, who is a personal scribe of a powerful member of the Sanhedrin. While writing, Yanni explains his plan to Shmuel: use the situation of healing on the Sabbath as a divisive political issue to split the Sanhedrin in half since either side held different beliefs about the interpretation of the Torah. Shmuel dislikes politics but agrees that this is the best way to either circumvent Nicodemus or convert him. Additionally, Yanni shares that he wants to recreate the events of the healings, possibly returning to Capernaum for investigation. Yanni says that they might be able to find the Ethiopian woman who took the first paralytic to Jesus, and Shmuel says that they can search the census records for Jesus’ cousin.

John the Baptizer

After meeting the Lord and His disciples in Jericho, John the Baptizer wants to meet them outside the city. John the Baptizer startles Jesus, Andrew, Simon son of Jonah, and Phillip, and Christ wants to meet with his cousin alone. The two men sit beside a lake in privacy as John insists that Jesus needs to be moving faster with His earthly ministry and doing more than He currently is. John the Baptizer intends to call out Herod for marrying his brother’s ex-wife. The Lord insists that it’s not His job to deal with the romantic lives of royalty. John wants to know why his Cousin is always going to desolate places, and Jesus says that He’s working on a big sermon and that He’s always ready to do the will of His Father.

Eventually, John the Baptizer becomes more serious as he realizes that everything that was prophesied about him and his Cousin was becoming real, which was heavy. Jesus agrees with this, and John apologizes for being pushy, reiterating his commitment to the Lord and John’s purpose in life.

Later, after witnessing Christ cast the demon out of Caleb, John the Baptizer thanks his Cousin for allowing him to see the miracle. As John leaves, a saddened Jesus tells His cousin that John is doing what he was supposed to be doing and that he only needed to listen to God. As he leaves, John says that he always does this, and the Lord fights back tears as he watches His cousin leave.

Good Friday [2020] (Movie Review)

Good Friday (2020) - Movie | Moviefone

Plot Summary

Lucas Cole is a high-power prosecutor who’s currently under political pressure to make a local scandal go away. Lucas wants to do his job but can’t shake the feeling of betraying an innocent victim. Lucas is also struggling with being a single dad to his son. Before he knows it, Lucas finds himself caught up in a complex scheme of local politics with little room for error. Will Lucas be able to get out in time?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Though this creative team is largely unknown in the Christian entertainment world, the production of Good Friday is very professional. There are very few errors to note. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all good. Sets, locations, and props are on par with industry standards. The soundtrack is intriguing, so the only minor concerns to note relate to confusing editing. Nonetheless, this isn’t enough to prevent this section from receiving a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

It’s very surprising how complex the characters of this film are. Via superb dialogue, the characters’ motivations and personalities are well-constructed. The writers refrain from painting any one character as all good or all bad, which is a difficult feat. The narrative contains a very realistic and interesting exploration of the complications relating to local politics and legal concerns. However, this section is not without its flaws. Some scenes seem unrealistic, such as over-the-top negotiations, deals, and threats that appear out-of-place for the situations. Also, the plot jumps all over the place, trying to cover too many things at once. The many storylines and asides become confusing as the characters are shuffled from one things to the next. At times, the characters only do what the writers want them to do without having good reasons for acting in those ways. Despite the excellently subtle Christian messaging and flawed characters, this narrative has a really abrupt conclusion that makes no sense at all. Thus, with obvious potential that is left untapped, this aspect of the screenplay can only receive a below-average rating.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The acting is actually the strongest aspect of this movie. The performances are very strong with little to no problems. Emotions are believable, and line delivery is on point. Thus, a perfect score is awarded here.

Conclusion

Good Friday joins a group of Christian entertainment that almost made it to the next level. However, a collection of small issues held this film back from being all that it could have been. Nonetheless, this creative team certainly has potential for the future, so it will be interesting to see what they offer next.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Promises to Keep [2020] (Movie Review)

Promises to Keep (2020) - IMDb

Plot Summary

Jonathan and Evelyn were engaged when they were young, but mistakes drove them apart. Now that they are both older and widowed, they have come back into each other’s lives because their children have fallen in love. Will they be able to heal the old wounds while looking to the future???

Production Quality (1.5 points)

Despite a mostly acceptable production, including fine video quality and camera work, the beginning of this film is quite rough. Audio quality leaves something to be desired, such as an in-your-face soundtrack. Flashbacks have an unnecessarily weird quality to them. Also, sets, locations, and props are slightly limited. Further, editing is incredibly choppy and disorienting. However, there is some improvement as the production goes on, which is enough to warrant an average score for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Throughout this narrative, there is a generally odd tone as the writers try very hard to force their specific doctrines onto the viewers, which include some very unusual beliefs about Christian behaviors. As such, the dialogue is very obvious, creating perfect characters that are inaccessible as they spout Christian platitudes at the other characters. Besides this, some of the characters make really weird decisions for no reasons at all, and in general, events occur simply because the creators wanted them to happen. The “bad” characters are ridiculous stereotypes while the “good” characters push the lie that becoming more religious fixes all one’s problems. Nearly every scene is either about imposing the writers’ worldview or an exploration of edgy content. Basically a long monologue of propaganda, this plot has no potential and is thus awarded no points.

Acting Quality (1 point)

The acting in Promises to Keep is very sub-par. The performances are quite matter-of-fact, including overly practiced and forced emotions. Some scenes have over-the-top drama, such as yelling and screaming. Though line delivery is mostly acceptable, this isn’t enough to keep this section from receiving a low score.

Conclusion

As has been said many times before, when the creator of a screenplay intends to push propaganda in their movie, there’s no way that the film can ever be good. Two main goals of Christian entertainment should be to invite the audience to think and to responsibly present the writers’ worldview without shoving in down viewers’ throats. It’s unbiblical and un-educational to force agendas on audiences, which is why the reputation of Christian media is so poor today. The only way to fix this problem is to focus on quality over quantity as we move forward.

Final Rating: 2.5 out of 10 points

Power of the Air (Movie Review)

Power of the Air (2018) | Full Movie | Nicholas X. Parsons | Patty Duke | A  Dave Christiano Film - YouTube

Plot Summary

David Williams just wants to live a regular life, but one day, after being convicted by the message of an African missionary, David and his wife decide to stop watching secular movies due to their objectionable content. David is ostracized at work for this decision, but he feels strongly that he needs to do more to reach others for the Gospel. He wants to air a radio ad, but the city’s largest radio station is standing in his way. Will they be able to air the ad on every radio station???

Production Quality (2.5 points)

The Christiano team has come a long way since the old days of their films. Power of the Air has a very professional production with only a few errors. Video quality, audio quality, and camera work are all compliant with industry standards. Sets, locations, and props are also good. The only concerns in this section relate to editing, which leaves something to be desired. Nonetheless, this isn’t enough to prevent a very high score from being awarded here.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Full of information-dump dialogue and expository conversations that are designed to push messages, this narrative is lacking in depth. Empty characters are simply pawns of the plot, which is full of generic Christian propaganda. The philosophy of the writers is very closed-minded and tone-deaf when it comes to real life. Administering heavy doses of legalism, the creators exchange actually story for an outdated view of society, implying that basically all media is evil. The only thing that keeps the screenplay running on fumes is a ridiculous ongoing conflict about when to air a radio commercial, and this experience is full of absurdly forced drama, trying to make the viewers actually care about this stupid first-world problem. In the end, with no potential to be had, this aspect of the movie can’t receive any points.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Throughout Power of the Air, the acting is acceptable without much good or bad to point out. Most performances are fairly pedestrian. Emotional and line delivery are passable. However, there’s simply not enough dynamic to warrant a higher than average score for this section.

Conclusion

Via this film, the Christiano team raises valid points about how American Christians unnecessarily consume too much objectionable entertainment. However, the very existence of Power of the Air only furthers the problem because it demonstrates why many Christians seek entertainment outside Christian circles: Christian entertainment, as a whole, is just bad. Power of the Air is no exception to this general rule. Why should Christians want to watch a screenplay like this? What’s the point? Until Christian creators learn why people watch what they watch, we’ll just keep having the same problems.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 2, Episode 4: The Perfect Opportunity)

The Chosen has been a transformational series, and it’s now in its second season. Its audience has exploded in the past year and only has more potential to grow. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential to reach beyond traditional Christian audiences and transform the culture both inside and outside the church. The series’ connections with real people in a Jewish cultural context as they encounter the Messiah are its biggest assets, so here’s a helpful guide to help keep up with the core subplots we saw in the second season’s fourth episode, entitled “The Perfect Opportunity.”

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Simon son of Jonah, John son of Zebedee, and Matthew

On the outskirts of Jerusalem, Simon son of Jonah, John son of Zebedee, and Matthew all assist Jesus and the disciple group with preparing their tabernacle for the upcoming Feast of Tabernacles. Simon continually wants everything to be organized while Matthew is striving to fit in by lightening up and not focusing so much on semantics. Simon and John seem less hostile toward Matthew after the conflict outside Syria. When asked about why women don’t always go to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, Simon explains that the journey was difficult for the vulnerable but that he had always gone to the holy city with Eden for this feast.

While Nathanael and Thomas are gathering supplies for the Shabbat meal, they see Shmuel preaching in a square, not knowing who he is. Matthew warns the two disciples about the Pharisee and what he had done in Capernaum.

After the Shabbat meal, Simon and John warn Jesus that Shmuel was spotted in Jerusalem preaching about false prophecy. The Lord says that this is a good thing because He’s going to see someone in the city on the following day. Christ invites Simon and John along and tell them to also invite Matthew. Simon and John aren’t thrilled about asking Matthew but do so anyway.

On the way into the city, Jesus reveals that they’ll be going to the Bethesda Pool, which draws skepticism from Simon and John. The group explains to Matthew that this pool is the site of a pagan cult who believes that an angel stirs up the waters such that the first person to touch the bubbling water will be healed of their ailments. After going through the checkpoint, the Lord leads the three disciples to the forum that surrounds the Bethesda Pool. Christ heads straight to where Jesse is lying on the ground, saying that Jesse has been there the longest.

Simon, John, and Matthew watch as Jesus asks Jesse if he wants to be healed. The Lord and the crippled man have a conversation about false hopes and about how the pool is not what Jesse needs. In the end, Jesse agrees that he wants to be healed, and the three disciples witness Christ take away Jesse’s paralysis and tell the man to pick up his mat and walk. John writes down the event, and after Jesus leaves, Simon reminds Jesse to pick up his mat and walk because he won’t be coming back to the pool and because everything is different now. Then, Simon leaves just as Yanni approaches Jesse, accusing the former paralytic of doing work on the Sabbath by picking up his mat. John explains to Matthew that the oral tradition of the Torah adds rules like this to the actual Torah. John berates Yanni for not paying any attention to the miracle before Matthew silently encourages John to leave with him.

As they leave Jerusalem, Simon thanks the Lord for letting him see the healing, and John seems excited about getting under the Pharisees’ skin. Matthew asks Christ why He didn’t wait thirty more minutes for Shabbat to be over to heal Jesse, and Jesus informs the three disciples that sometimes, you have to stir up the water.

Andrew, Mary Magdalene, Big James, Thaddeus, Little James, Thomas, Ramah, Phillip, Nathanael, and Mary Mother

At the Shabbat meal, Andrew remembers one of the Torah passages that was typically read during the Feast of Tabernacles although Simon does not.

While preparing for the Feast of Tabernacles, Mary Magdalene shares that she had never been to the Feast of Tabernacles but that her father had always gone. Mary also wants to know why women weren’t typically invited, and Simon explains that the journey was usually considered to be too difficult. During the Shabbat meal, Mary Magdalene remarks about how the thatched roof of the booth reminds her of her days on the streets and makes her feel protected.

During the Shabbat meal, Big James asks Jesus why the prophet Zechariah prophesied about Gentiles eating at the Feast of Tabernacles. Big James complains that it was the people of God who wandered in the wilderness, so other nations wouldn’t fully appreciate the meaning of the feast. However, the Lord says that everyone wandered in the wilderness from time to time.

Thaddeus assists the group with the construction of the tabernacle and explains a few aspects of the Jewish feast to Matthew.

Little James has no substantial scenes in this episode.

Thomas accompanies Nathanael into Jerusalem to gather supplies for the Shabbat meal. However, Thomas clashes with Nathanael as Thomas doesn’t like Nathanael’s direct nature. Thomas is also annoyed by Matthew’s behavior and Nathanael’s assessment that Thomas and Matthew are almost the same person. Further, Thomas resents Nathanael for exposing Thomas’ desire to impress Ramah.

Ramah has no substantial scenes in this episode.

Phillip works alongside Matthew as they assist with building the tabernacle. Phillip silently encourages Matthew when he sees that Matthew is trying to avoid being overly analytical about everything.

Nathanael takes the lead with the construction of the tabernacle since he drew up the plans for it. While in the city, Nathanael informs Thomas that Thomas shouldn’t eat a pomegranate without washing his hands, especially if Thomas wants to impress Ramah. Nathanael also points out that Thomas and Matthew are both very analytical. Nathanael does not seem bothered by Matthew like others are. During the Shabbat meal, Christ congratulates Nathanael for his craftsmanship in designing the tabernacle.

During the Shabbat meal, Mary Mother shares with the disciples group that the thatched roofs of the tabernacles were to remind the Hebrews of their dependence on God. Mary also asserts, in response to the collective belief that prophecies about Jews and Gentiles coexisting were impossible, that she knew a thing or two about impossible prophecies.

Simon son of Zebulon, Jesse, and the Order of Zealots

Simon and Jesse, sons of Zebulun, grew up as very close brothers. After Jesse was injured from falling out of a tree, his parents were unsuccessful in helping Jesse to walk again. Jesse’s biological mother died giving birth to Simon, and Jesse took care of his younger brother when Simon was an infant. However, their father, Zebulon, eventually remarried. When Simon was older, he switched roles with his paralyzed brother, taking care of Jesse. One day, Simon, angered by the cruelty of Rome, joined a group of zealots who were bent on bringing down the Roman rule and instituting pure Judaism. After leaving a note, Simon began training with the zealots at a remote location.

Later, Jesse began living by the Pool of Bethesda, which was the property of a pagan cult made up of adherents who believed that whoever touched the fountain first when the water bubbled would be healed of their ailment. However, Jesse was never able to get to the water when it stirred because others always pushed ahead of him. For twenty-five years, during which Zebulon died, Simon lived and worked with the zealots while Jesse languished by the poolside, eventually giving up on a chance to be healed.

In the present timeline, Simon son of Zebulon prepares to join zealots in Jerusalem, collaborating with them in an assassination attempt of Rufus, a Roman magistrate in the Jerusalem area. By this time, Simon has received great honor from the zealot leaders and established a strong reputation among the group. However, if Simon was to either succeed with the assassination attempt or die.

The leader of the zealot order had told the zealot rabbi that someone had to assassinate Rufus because of the magistrate’s connection to Caiaphas, the high priest, who the zealots believed to be corrupted by Rome. The rabbi had recommended Simon for the job.

On the way out of the zealot catacombs, Simon son of Zebulon is reminded of a prophecy from Zephaniah about the day when Israel would be purified and when the lame would walk. Along the path leading to the entrance of Jerusalem, Simon sees men being crucified by Roman soldiers and becomes uneasy when he’s searched at the city gate. Simon tells Linus, the soldier who’s questioning him, that he’s early for the Feast of Tabernacles because he’s visiting family. After Simon inquires, Linus informs Simon that the men were being crucified for murder.

Later, after going over the plans for the assassination attempt with the Jerusalem zealots, on the temple steps Simon son of Zebulon hears someone reading the prophecy of Zephaniah about Israel being purified and the lame walking. Looking out at the dead bodies on the crosses outside the city walls, Simon ponders his pending crime. This seems to prompt Simon to visit his brother at the Pool of Bethesda.

Jesse had previously indicated to one of his fellow invalids that he wasn’t sure why he still was by the pool, and when Simon visits his brother, Jesse can’t believe it’s actually Simon. The two brothers discuss their justifications for their chosen paths in life with each brother criticizing the other’s choices. Simon thinks that Jesse has given up and is following a cult while Jesse believes that Simon is breaking the law by working with the zealots. Simon is discouraged the Jesse seems so hopeless now and informs his older brother that he’ll be in the upper city on a mission for the zealots. Jesse, visibly frustrated and distraught, produces the notes that Simon had left him when Simon joined the zealots. This note includes the prophecy from Zephaniah that Simon previously heard at the zealot headquarters and on the temple steps. Simon’s note concluded with a statement that he would know that the Messiah had come when he saw Jesse walking, and as Simon leaves, he tells his brother that he stands by this statement.

Jesse falls into a depression after Simon’s visit, so when Jesus arrives at the pool, Jesse doesn’t really want to talk. However, Jesse agrees to answer the Lord’s questions, thinking that He will help Jesse to get into the pool. When Christ says that Jesse needs Him rather than the pool, Jesse is ambivalent but silently agrees that he wants to be healed. Thus, Jesse stands up when Jesus tells him to do so and picks up his mat when Simon son of Jonah reminds Jesse to do so. When Yanni challenges Jesse for doing work on the Sabbath, Jesse is too excited to care and simply says that he’s standing on two feet. After the Lord and His disciples leave, Jesse tells Yanni that he needs to leave to find his brother. On the way to the upper city, Jesse runs into someone as he seems unsure of walking.

In the upper city, Simon son of Zebulon is preparing to execute the assassination attempt along with several other zealots. The distractions are put in place, but as Simon is about to pull out his knife, he sees Jesse pass by out of the corner of his eye. Distracted by this, Simon abandons the plan and follows his brother, prompting the other zealots to scatter. Simon finds Jesse around another alleyway, and Jesse dances as Simon looks in wonder at his brother’s healing. The two brothers embrace, and Jesse points Simon in the direction of where he thought Jesus had gone.

Shmuel and Yanni

In Jerusalem, Shmuel is being trained by Yanni to speak about Pharisaic teachings in a poor district. Yanni, however, doesn’t want to be around the poor and quickly leaves once Shmuel has found something to stand on during his speech. Shmuel eventually teaches a crowd of people about how many false prophets would be coming to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles, which was why they needed to be on alert.

At the Pool of Bethesda with other Pharisees, Yanni witnesses the Lord heal Jesse. After Christ leaves, Yanni accuses Jesse of picking up his mat on Shabbat, which constituted as doing work on the holy day. Yanni then interrogates Jesse about Jesus, and when Jesse says that he doesn’t know the Lord’s name, Yanni says that this was very typical of a false prophet who performed magic tricks on Shabbat, thus causing people to sin.

Later, Yanni rushes to tell Shmuel what he witnessed, and Shmuel appears to understand what’s happening.

Atticus, Pretorius, and the Romans

Atticus, a member of the Cohortes Urbanae, the Roman secret police, begins watching Simon son of Zebulun while Simon practices an assassination attempt. Atticus goes ahead of Simon to Jerusalem and sees Simon check in at the city gate. Recognizing Simon’s ruse, Atticus reprimands Linus for not being more suspicious of Simon before beginning to follow Simon through the city. Atticus watches Simon as Simon uses secret passageways to meet with zealots in Jerusalem, but Atticus frequently loses track of Simon due to the confusing alleyways.

Later, Atticus meets with Pretorius, an associate of Rufus, a Roman magistrate of Jerusalem. Pretorius seems unwilling to meet in public, and Atticus chastises the official for being dressed so conspicuously. Then, Atticus reveals that he suspects that a trained zealot assassin was planning to attempt to assassinate Rufus on Shabbat due to the predictable nature of Rufus’ schedule. Pretorius insists that the scheduling is out of his hands, so Atticus decides to present a plan to Rufus: Atticus should pose as Rufus on Shabbat so that Simon would attempt to kill Atticus, who could use his skills to turn the tables and kill Simon instead. Pretorius doesn’t think that Rufus or Rufus’ wife will agree with the plan, but Atticus is confident that the government official will.

Atticus proves to be right, so he disguises himself as Rufus on Shabbat, keeping his eyes pealed for Simon. However, when Simon is distracted by Jesse, Atticus takes notice and watches the two brothers embrace. Atticus is ready to kill Simon, but the zealot leaves before anything can happen.

Mary 4 Mayor (Movie Review)

Mary 4 Mayor — Home Theater Films

Plot Summary

Mary Parsons is tired of the way her family has been torn apart by her father’s obsession with his mayoral work. To make matters worse, her father begins making governmental decisions that negatively impact Mary’s life. She’s fed up with this and decides to run against her father in the upcoming mayoral race. What she discovers is that everything is not as it seems, and she has a lot to learn about life.

Production Quality (2 points)

In this film, Corbin Bernsen and his team mostly upheld their tradition of professional productions. There are very few errors in this section as there is good video quality, camera work, and audio quality. Though the soundtrack is dumb and generic, which detracts more than it should, the sets, locations, and props are well-constructed. There are also a few slight editing concerns, but these could relate to narrative issues. In the end, this production is at least above-average.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)

Consistent with Bernsen’s past tendencies, Mary 4 Mayor is an out-of-the-box plot idea that has good themes and relatable messaging without being too in-your-face with the Christian elements. Portraying a true-to-life family experience with authentic characters and dialogue, Bernsen finds some success with his trademark quirkiness that’s actually truly funny at times. However, other times, the comedy feels overly engineered or half-hearted. Unfortunately, the characters feel like that they could be a bit deeper, but their full development is short-circuited by extraneous content that crowds out the runtime. Sometimes, coincidences randomly happen simply to suit the needs of the story, and in other instances, the narrative aimlessly meanders to hit certain points without properly building up to these events. The first half of the screenplay contains too much wasted time, but there is a really good twist in the middle of the plot that is very thought-provoking. Nonetheless, some occurrences move too fast due to lost time, thus taking away from the chance for natural development. As a result, the climax is quite rushed and silly even though it does contain some effective payoffs. Therefore, due to all these factors, this section is a mixed bag that receives an average score.

Acting Quality (3 points)

The strongest aspect of Mary 4 Mayor is the acting, which is very professional with few, if any, errors. Each cast member seems comfortable in their respective roles. Line delivery and emotions are believable and realistic. Thus, a rare perfect score is awarded here.

Conclusion

In this movie, Corbin Bernsen successfully offered an authentic relevant message about the political problems of today. However, Bernsen continues to hover next to greatness without taking that next step into the truly meaningful. He still can’t seem to decide where he’s committed to satire and comedy in his films. He has also failed to consistently focus on central themes. Mary 4 Mayor would have benefitted from deeper characters, which would have required elimination of extraneous story elements. Character arcs needed to be more effectively developed to prevent the arcs from being too steep. These small changes would have likely given Bernsen his fist Hall of Fame screenplay. Nonetheless, we’re only left wondering what could have been.

Final Rating: 6.5 out of 10 points

Forgiven [2016] (Movie Review)

Watch Forgiven | Prime Video

Plot Summary

When a desperate criminal takes a pastor and his two daughter hostage within the church after a Wednesday night service, the police are forced to take drastic measures to keep the victims safe. However, the criminal is mostly confused and unsure of what he wants to do. Thus, the pastor and his daughters do what they can to help him. Will the situation be resolved before it’s too late?

Production Quality (2.5 points)

Besides a few exceptions, Kevan Otto’s more recent productions have contained higher levels of quality than his previous efforts. There’s a continuation of this trend in Forgiven. Video quality, camera work, and audio quality are all professional. Sets, locations, and props are standard. There are only a few minor editing issues, but this fact doesn’t prevent this section from receiving a high score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

This film is based on an interesting suspense idea although the hostage situation is half-hearted at best. Additionally, the characters are one-dimensional, including a criminal who doesn’t really seem to be committed to anything and generally lacks deeper motivations for his behaviors. Stock and unsubstantial dialogue do nothing to improve the blank characters even though this character-based plot desperately needed real conversations to keep it going. Too many empty scenes fill time rather than create meaningful arcs. It felt like that the writers just wanted to skip to the end instead of make the audience want to watch the build-up. Many sequences are very boring and preachy, espousing a cheap Christian message about going to church to act right. Though the conclusion is slightly interesting, it’s difficult for the view to make it there, and it’s hard to understand why the basically perfect and unrelatable protagonist even wanted to help the criminal character. Very narrative-heavy and character-light, this story needed a lot more fleshing out to truly enhance the potential within. Thus, only a meager rating is warranted here.

Acting Quality (2 points)

As a whole, the acting in Forgiven is pretty good. For the most part, emotions are realistic, and line delivery is acceptable. Some performances are better than others, and some cast members are more believable than others. Due to the small cast, errors are more noticeable, which is why this section only receives an above-average score.

Conclusion

At this point, it seems like that Kevan Otto and his team know how to craft a pedestrian, acceptable-on-paper screenplay. However, to truly succeed, they will need to go further than this. Otto has proven that he can improve production quality over time, so it’s time for him to employ better writing talent to create more engaging narratives with more accessible characters. Otherwise, average ratings will be the norm.

Final Rating: 5 out of 10 points

The Furance [2019] (Movie Review)

Coming Soon: Darrell Roodt's Award Nominated Film, 'The Furnace' (2019) -  PopHorror

Plot Summary

Mary and Matt are recently married, and for their honeymoon, they want to complete The Furnace together, which is the most treacherous race in Africa. However, Matt’s untimely death delays these plans and sends Mary into a tailspin. Injured from the car accident that took her husband’s life, Mary feels like giving up until she meets a man who inspires her to fight. Then, Mary finds her second wind and decides to compete in The Furnace to prove that she can move on.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, the production of The Furnace is acceptable, including good video quality and an intriguing soundtrack. Other audio elements are also fine, but the visual special effects are quite poor. There are also some instances of shaky camera work for dramatic effect that become disorienting. However, sets, locations, and props are very professional. To round things out, the editing is fairly choppy, but some of this could be due to narrative presentation problems. Therefore, taking all this into account, this production section receives an above-average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

The plot of The Furnace is all over the map and is mostly disorienting to the audience. The writers were clearly trying very hard to be mysterious and artistic in their story presentation, but this approach causes many scenes to go way over the viewers’ heads. Very abstract and ethereal at times, the narrative is difficult to follow as it jumps all over the place, full of coincidences and convenient turns that suit the creators’ means. Certain portions are rushed through with montages and time jumps, thus short-circuiting character development. It’s impossible to relate to the people in this plot due to the breakneck speed of the film. Expository dialogue fills in that gaps that are left by the time jumps, and many conversations are unsubstantial. Some parts feels like a dream sequence and carry a very odd tone that’s impossible to quantify. Despite some very interesting concepts that are not fully explored, there are realism errors in this screenplay, such as medical problems that are solved too easily and other lapses in logic. There’s actually a very good theme at the end of the movie, but not many audience members will make it that car. The writers tried to create big, pivotal moments, but these fall flat due to empty characters and lack of proper setup. Thus, only a meager rating can be offered here.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

Unfortunately, all throughout The Furnace, there are many instances of over-acting. Emotions are often too dramatic and overdriven to the point of being offensive. However, line delivery is mostly acceptable, and all performances improve as the film goes on. Some cast members are better than others. Hence, an average score is awarded for this section.

Conclusion

Many screenwriters mean well but lack proper execution in their offerings. However, in the case of The Furnace, it’s very unclear what the creators actually wanted to convey. The production, story, and acting are all over the map, making for a confusing viewing experience. In the end, this screenplay is an example of why proper planning is vital to the success of a movie.

Final Rating: 4 out of 10 points

Discarded Things (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Grace Wyatt felt like she had finally buried her past by becoming a successful professor of music. However, her husband’s untimely death sends her back into a spiral of addiction and bitterness. Once Grace is able to recover, she’s assigned to live as a volunteer at a house program for troubled teens. Though Grace initially clashes with the leadership decisions of the program, she eventually finds her niche helping the teens find their voices. Nonetheless, Grace has no idea that she still has to make peace with her past to move forward in life.

Production Quality (2.5 points)

As a whole, the production quality of Discarded Things is professional…at least it gets there eventually. In the beginning, there’s a driving soundtrack that doesn’t always fit the mood although the score is still intriguing. There are also some background sounds and sepia tone flashbacks. The editing is sometimes choppy, cutting off scenes for no good reason. However, all productions elements improved in the latter two-thirds of the film, offering good video quality and camera work. Also, sets, locations, and props are professional. The improvement is good enough to warrant a high score in this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

The creative team behind this screenplay really had a lot going for them as they demonstrated a strong understanding of how hidden church problems and childhood trauma can affect people for their entire lives. This narrative contains an excellent portrayal of fundamentalist legalism and its consequences, and this is done via a good application of flashbacks that provides believable reasoning for character motive. However, Discarded Things has a rare problem: it’s too short. The fact that so much content is squeezed into this movie creates various issues, such as too-obvious dialogue. The writers rushed through important sequences, using montages as a crutch and implying that substance abuse rehab is a really easy fix for people. Platitudes are also used to quickly solve problems. It’s very evident that too much is being covered in this linear plot with the limited amount of time that’s been allotted. There are many complex and interlocking storylines that we barely get time to explore, and this lack of development causes some otherwise meaningful events to occur without proper buildup, thus making them empty and meaningless. Though most of the conversations are good, the characters are under-developed, but their major potential can still be seen. There are obvious themes throughout the narrative that slightly tie everything together, but the conclusion of the film is quite cheesy. In the end, this section is a mixed bag that could have been so much more than this.

Acting Quality (2.5 points)

Despite a few moments of cast members over-acting and being a bit too dramatic, the acting is still very strong in Discarded Things. Karen Abercrombie appeared comfortable in her role, and Cameron Arnett is always a standout. This particular role for Cameron was perhaps his best to date. In the end, the acting is quite good, earning a great score.

Conclusion

This screenplay likely would have worked better as a series that blended what the protagonist learned from rehab with what she taught the teenagers. In this current form, this was too much content to cram into one movie, and this was a rare instance where we actually need to see more of these characters rather than less. We need to observe their journeys so that the payoffs don’t feel cheap due to lack of proper buildup. However, on the whole, some viewers will enjoy Discarded Things in its current state, and this film overall demonstrates huge potential for the future.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points