Following the Subplots of The Chosen (Season 1, Mid-Season Update)

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The Chosen has certainly been a transformative series already, and it’s barely gotten off the ground. It has grassroots appeal and will likely grow into a larger and larger movement as time goes on. As the first multi-season Bible series to be created, it has the potential 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’ve seen through episode four of the first season.

***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***

Mary Magdalene

The series started off with a bang as Mary’s demonic bondage was explored from multiple angles while at the same time providing key flashbacks to her character’s core motivations. Her father taught her Isaiah 43:1, which she clung to during her darkest hours. After neglecting suicide to follow a bird to her only friend’s (Sol) eating establishment, Mary encountered the Messiah, Who quoted her favorite Scripture to her before setting her free. She then set her mind to helping her friend at the hairdresser shop and re-adapting Jewish customs in her new life, including preparing Shabbat for local outcasts. It was there that she encountered Jesus again and first learned His Name.

Thus far, Mary’s storyline has intersected with Jesus and Nicodemus. She has primarily been in Capernaum.

Nicodemus

Nicodemus’ opening scene–the journey to Capernaum with his wife Zohara–was interrupted by Quintus, a recurring magistrate character, who wanted the rabbi to assist the Roman Empire’s effort to stop fishermen who worked on Shabbat in order to avoid Roman taxes. Nicodemus is a very staunch interpreter of the Torah, which is why another Roman official asked him to cast demons out of Mary Magdalene, who was causing havoc in the Red Quarter, where she worked as a prostitute. Nicodemus reluctantly went, but his exorcism was unsuccessful. Nonetheless, Yussif, a local Pharisee, later informed Nicodemus that he witnessed Mary in her right mind, so Nicodemus paid her visit again to see for himself. He learned her true name and discovered that his work had nothing to do with her freedom. Mary told him of Jesus’ words to her, which prompted Nicodemus to wonder if his work as a rabbi was even honoring God anymore. After receiving word from the priests and rabbis of Capernaum that the radical preacher called John the Baptizer was speaking against the Pharisees and had been imprisoned by Herod, Nicodemus determined to ask the crazy man questions about the miracles he had heard about.

Up to this point, Nicodemus’ subplot has crossed over with Mary alone. He has primarily been seen in Capernaum.

Matthew

As an outcast Jewish tax collector, Matthew’s closest human companion is his Roman bodyguard Gaius; he also has a stray dog for company. Matthew was shunned by his family for supporting the Roman enemy, but he appears to be nonplussed by this. He is a very conscientious accountant who challenged Quintus’ scheme to relieve Peter’s family’s taxes in exchange for his turning in fishermen who worked on Shabbat to avoid taxes. Gaius advised against Matthew’s resistance to Quintus, but Matthew ignored the social cues and faced the powerful official anyway. Quintus was impressed by his courage and ordered Matthew to follow Peter to see if the fisherman was going back on his word. As Matthew spied on Peter, he was able to witness Jesus’ massive fish miracle from afar.

At this point, Matthew has also encountered Peter and Andrew; he has seen Jesus work from a distance. Matthew’s work has primarily been in Galilee so far.

Peter, Andrew, and Eden

Peter made a deal with Roman magistrate Quintus to turn in any Jewish fishermen who fished or Shabbat to avoid paying Roman taxes in exchange for his family’s taxes being cancelled, but Peter’s brother Andrew disagreed with this plan. Peter hid his secret source of income and covert tax evasion from his wife, Eden, but she was suspicious of his unusual work hours, including his work on Shabbat. Andrew has been continually trying to keep his brother from getting into trouble with his in-laws and from using schemes to get ahead in life. However, when he was assisting the Romans one night with patrolling for Shabbat fishers, Peter changed his mind when he saw remnants of Zebedee’s work since he and his sons were friends. Later, Peter confessed to Zebedee, James, and John what he had done and begged for their help to pay off his tax debts, but they refused. In midst of the turmoil, Peter had to tell Eden what was going on after her ill mother had unexpectedly moved in with them. Eden and Peter both agreed they needed a miracle to settle their financial situation, so he set out to fish all night. Eden asked Zebedee and his sons to help, so they brought Andrew as well to assist the colorful Peter with his bind. However, after catching nothing all night, the fishermen encountered Jesus on the shore, whom Andrew had already told Peter about. Jesus used Peter’s boat to briefly teach before telling people to put out the nets one more time. This led to the miraculous catch of fish, which gave enough revenue to settle the debts. Jesus promptly called Peter, Andrew, James, and John to follow Him from there on out.

Peter and Andrew have interacted with Matthew, Zebedee, James, John, and Jesus. Eden and the brothers have only been seen in Galilee thus far.

Abigail and friends

Abigail is a young, assertive girl who accidentally discovered Jesus’ makeshift carpentry shop in a clearing of the woods near her house. During the events of the first two episodes, Abigail took her friends to see Jesus each day, and He taught them rudimentary wood-working skills and reinforced His lessons for their lives. He shared with them some of His future teachings before letting them know it was time for His work to begin.

Abigail and her friends have only crossed paths with Jesus in the outskirts of Capernaum.

James, John, and Zebedee

Zebedee and his sons James and John are fellow fishermen with Peter and Andrew who heard of the Roman scheme to arrest fishermen who worked on Shabbat to avoid tax laws when peter confessed to his part in it. At first, they refused to help Peter, but at the pleadings of Eden, they decided to help Peter bail out his debts. In doing so, they witnessed Jesus’ miracle of the massive catch of fish, after which James and John were called to be His disciples.

Zebedee, James, and John have interconnected with Peter, Andrew, and Jesus and have only been seen in Galilee.

Other Characters and Notes

Blind man in Red Quarter: In the first two episodes, we saw other characters run into a blind man in the Red Quarter who is waiting for the Messiah to pass by, so we are likely to see this previewed storyline in a later episode.

Quintus: Quintus has been a recurring character who’s crossed paths with Nicodemus and Matthew already, so it’s possible we will see a larger role from him as the series progresses.

Gaius: Matthew’s bodyguard has the same name as the recipient of 3 John, so we may continue to see his character developed as more seasons are released.

Shmuel and Yussif: These two Capernaum priests have thus far been in the background of Nicodemus’ main storyline, but it’s possible that we will continue to see more of them as their subplots break off from Nicodemus’ to play the roles of future Pharisee characters who challenge Jesus.

What Mainstream Period Dramas Got Right

Many Christian audiences love period dramas, so why hasn’t a Christian filmmaker made one yet? In the past decade, budding and established screenwriters have proven that a a period drama doesn’t need sensationalism to be good. In other words, a tasteful storyline with superior character development is the name of the game. Instead of only creating movies for niche audiences or confining stories to certain genres, Christian filmmakers need to branch out and dare to be different. Here at BOR, it is our opinion that this is the only way Christian movies can breach the secular/inspirational divide and be just as good as the competition – while promoting an important message. To start off, let’s take a look at a few exceptional period dramas that got it right.

Little Dorrit (2008)

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Andrew Davies’ depiction of Charles Dickens’ little known story, Little Dorrit, is a nearly perfect series on all counts. Davies brought the semi-boring original storyline to life by writing character-driven story that held the audience’s attention. From the first episode to the last, the story holds the viewer’s attention and causes the audience to fall in love with – or dislike – each character as they are, for neither group is all good or bad. Arthur and Amy’s complexly interwoven story is well-established through the use of flashbacks and engaging dialogue. Finally, while the ending is somewhat predictable, it is done in the best way through a healthy serving of ironic humor. Therefore, there are two main things Christian filmmakers can learn from this series.

Make your characters the first priority!

As a screenwriter, your characters should come alive on the page or they will never be engaging on-screen. From here, the screenplay should add further depth to already well-crafted characters. Throughout the remainder of the work, casting, filming, editing, etc., the characters should be give the first priority at all time. If your characters are good, then in this case, a pre-established storyline will follow their lead.

Please, don’t waste time on ‘filler’ dialogue.

Every conversation between the characters needs to be meaningful. Audiences are smart and will become easily bored with generic dialogue between characters. Make your dialogue count – the audience will recognize the difference.

Emma (2009)

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Sandy Welch’s depiction of Jane Austen’s posthumous work, Emma, is unsurpassed. Welch brings the characters to life by crafting excellent dialogue and clear personalities. Additionally, her humorous characters drive the plot and make this adaption stand out from it’s counterparts. There are not many good British comedies, but this is one of them. While Emma has many lessons for filmmakers everywhere, there is one big statement that Welch and company make in this series:

Devote ample time to discerning/crafting the personality of each character.
Each character in a story needs a clearly defined personality, even down to the minor characters. There should be no such thing as a one-dimensional character. Emma proves that developing a character’s personality brings a new level of depth and meaning to everything that happens in a story. There is much that goes into developing multi-dimensional characters, but developing a clear personality is a good start for any filmmaker.

Commit to finding a cast member that is perfect for each role

For every well-written story, there are actors out there who are perfect for the corresponding roles. In Emma, it is clear that time was devoted to finding cast members who were perfect for each role. Romola Garai and Jonny Lee Miller are strong leads because their portrayals of Emma and Mr. Knightley drive the plot. Because of the strong cast, this depiction of Austen’s novel is the best to date. In Christian film, there is a need for stronger casting. If your cast is bad, your movie will not be successful and will reach no one. If Christian filmmakers ever hope to one-up their competition, they must be devoted to their characters from start to finish.

Doctor Thorne (2016)

Julian Fellowes’ depiction of Anthony Trollope’s little-known book Doctor Thorne is both brilliant and engaging. Fellowes’ combination of excellent character development and witty dialogue makes for a clean, enjoyable comedy/drama that is palatable for all ages. Additionally, his subtle parody of social politics in high society adds much to the simple storyline. While there are many lessons to be learned from Fellowes’ screenwriting, he makes two main statements in this series.

Self-awareness is the key.

Fellowes demonstrates through this series that a simple storyline does not limit a film’s potential. Today’s audiences appreciate subtle parody and self-aware humor, both of which are found here. Gone are the days of stiff and awkward theatrical acting and vanilla storylines – so please, stop using them. Recent Christian films have raised the bar higher than ever on acting skills and dialogue expectations. A perfect story has both joy and sadness, pain and peace, humor and lasting lessons – and a really good ending.:)

Respect the intelligence of your audience.

Audiences do not need obvious cues and product placements to understand the message of your story. Once again, subtlety is the name of the game. However, subtlety and loss of meaning should not go hand in hand, rather, subtlety should be used to establish meaning. For instance, in Doctor Thorne, much of the run-time is devoted to developing a real romance between Mary and Frank. Additionally, there is no Pureflix-style message-pushing. Preachy dialogue and a forced agenda disrespects your audience and isolates people that could have been reached by the heart of your message (if it had one). The Erwin brothers have proven that a real message reaches everyone instead of a select group.

In light of all this, what can we conclude? Simply this: mainstream content is more far-reaching and influential than most Christian films because, for the most part, good mainstream screenwriters adhere to these guidelines and others. If Christian movies start respecting their audiences and portraying real people in their storylines, then their love for others will prove to the world that they are Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35, New Living Translation).

How to Lose Someone in 60 Seconds: Hallmark-Style

It’s that time again…Witty Wednesday!

This edition’s scenario:Let’s say that you’re a big business guru in the inspirational card-making, trinket-selling, and all around entertainment industry. Let’s say that someone who works for you is suddenly caught in the midst of a massive scandal. Someone…..someone….like this:

Who did something like this:

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As a big public figure, you can’t very well condone their actions, even though you may agree with some or all of them. So, what is one to do? Oh, I don’t know, the first thing that comes to mind is to put them in a box, then put that box inside of another box, and mail it to yourself. And when it arrives:

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You’re right! We must consider other options…I know! You could BANISH them from the face of the earth!

A third option, just for the sake of variety, would involve you stripping away all social/personal/any remote connections you had with said person and exposing their personal life to public criticism! HAHAHAHAHAHA….

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
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Her reaction: ^

However, if none of these options are appealing, you could start them on the path through a knock-down, drag-out, long, over-complicated, and never-ending court case!

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But wait, I know! The best thing to do here is combine all of these ideas into one for the ultimate showdown/elimination of said person from the face of the earth.

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Well, that pretty much sums up how to lose someone in 60 seconds…Hallmark-style.;)

Disclaimer: Please consult your lawyer or another legal authority before trying any of the above suggestions, we are not a legal representative and the above strategies are not to be considered as legal counsel.

Classifying B-grade Christian Movies

It’s that time again – Funny Friday! Anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time searching for quality Christian entertainment knows that B-grade Christian movies exist in abundance…and continue to be released! We here at BOR are well aware that many filmmakers struggle to raise money to support their dreams, however, we have also observed that some movies never needed to be made. It is these movies that are parodied below. Most or all of the following films can be found in the bowels of streaming services, on Pureflix.com, or for free on various websites (if you know what I mean). Enjoy!

The Cliffs of Insanity

Two words. Love Different. No one has made a movie like this to date. Let me break it down for those of you who haven’t watched it. There’s this single ‘white’ girl see, and she has a son. She applies for a job at a ‘black’ company who only has ‘black’ employees. This leads to many new experiences for white girl. From zany grocery store trips ending in her being carried out by her new black friend, to many scenes of awkward characters dancing and singing to their bathroom mirror while balancing toiletries on various appendages, this movie has a little something for everyone. Here’s the viewing experience you can expect while watching Love Different:

Jenn Gotzon is dancing in the bathroom mirror, audience’s response:

Anthony Hackett is rapping a song about lotion while looking in the bathroom mirror, audience’s response:

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Pan to Jenn Gotzon ranting about food stamps in a very awkwardly expressive manner at the grocery store, Anthony Hackett is busy laughing and making off-color racial jokes and bumps into her at the counter (panicky breaths):

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But we can’t forget another big category of Christian movies – end times movies. Oh yes, we’re going there. Perhaps the most unusual one we’ve ever reviewed here to date is Sunday Morning Rapture. Basically you go from your average introduction to multiple characters to complete and utter mayhem…you guessed it, the RAPTURE. Pan to shaking furniture, explosions, car crashes, and people watching news on every possible channel available in the universal cable TV package especially made for this film. And then…the cliffs of insanity. Pan to people in church rolling in the isles (literally) and throwing themselves at the altar in some attempt to bring back those who were RAPTURED, viewer’s response:

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Inconceivable

These films are easily recognized and can be identified by their zany, unusual, off-color, or just plain weird qualities. Obviously the most inconceivable movie in this category is yours truly, The Rev, we have honestly seen nothing like this film to date. Basically it goes from: Yo, three old guys are sittin’ on a bench reminiscing about the good ol’ days. Oh hey! Remember that one time…awkward thirty/forty-something white man appears on screen in a Walmart Elvis suit and eventually starts driving the movie donor’s convertible around (where is that music coming from?). Then he starts picking up random people off the road, including a suicidal has-been singer and a ‘prostitute’ in a Party City costume. Somewhere in there we have singing and dancing sequences I’ve wiped from my memory. This movie is like used chewing gum in your hair – you can cut it out, but you’ll never forget it.

Another movie that really deserves to be here is Tommy Blaze’s finest work, Me Again. If you want to watch a movie where the most insecure white man ever goes on a zany psychological journey in which he becomes an old chain restaurant owner with a bad heart, this same guy’s female housekeeper, an anorexic female model addicted to drugs, (it gets better) his own wife, a female baby, a goldfish, and his daughter’s boyfriend (perhaps his most fitting role)….

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…..then this one is for you.

What in the world can that be? 

These movies usually feature a random appearance of an unexpected feature that in no way fits with the rest of the film.

You know when you’re watching a Christian movie that is either totes boring, mediocre, pushing an agenda, or average with some obvious production errors, when all of the sudden….is that a PEZ dispenser?

(radio silence)

If you don’t know which movie that generic gray-haired man was on, then I’ll leave it for you to search out on your own. Let’s just say he’s from a movie that is so bad it made it into two categories in this post.

As if the chicken man isn’t enough, there’s one more finalist here that we couldn’t resist featuring. The Adventures of Chris Fable . In some way, this film is trying to portray John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress….but we’re not sure how or why. You see, Chris is just a downtrodden boy….who suddenly is called to go on a journey that will change his life forever! “On their way to freedom,” he and his companions “encounter weird looking bugs, loud noises, shaking trees, a freaky CGI city, and a giant stomping robot.” (our founder, 2017). While watching, you will soon ask: “Will I ever make it out of this movie?”

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Yes, you’re very smart. Shut up.

Recent evidence has shown that this category extends to both movies and series. For instance, Peculiar season 1. What in the name of wet sandwich bread is going on here? This one has it all: Oh I’m just the average Christian kid who wants to protect himself from the big bad world by going to a Christian university…but can’t get in. This sticks me with going to a secular school who….has. no. sports. Oh no, now I have a sports-related injury and an evil atheist professor out to persecute me! What do I do? Why, sing, dance, and make weird jokes of course (in-between staged debates in front of the entire class with said professor). These parts of the movie will lead anyone with sanity to ask “Are you finished?” To which the professor will respond:

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And when the student finally defeats the atheist professor, a fellow college student on a campus far, far, away will suddenly turn around and say to the camera:

Its obvious which movies fit in this category. For instance, A Matter of Faith, God’s Not Dead, and End of the Harvest .

I don’t think it means what you think it means

This post wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t take a look at the very best that B-grade Christian films have to offer: human trafficking, pro-life, and time travel films. First up, what do you get when you mix a few big-name Christian actors with an agenda-pushing storyline? Answer: Caged No More! Oh my word, this one is a real doozy. If you don’t get tired fast enough of Kevin Sorbo playing twin brothers (one with a fake British/Australian accent), trumped up action scenes, or pass out from boredom, Aggie’s voice will do the trick.

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If you finish watching Caged No More, you are really committed to the cause and deserve to watch Alison’s Choice! Otherwise known as the worst pro-life film to date. Here’s what you’ve got: Bruce Marchiano playing himself a janitor with a Jesus impersonation complex, a pregnant teen who sees visions of her CGI unborn child at the touch of said janitor’s hand, off-color racial ‘comedy’, and the ‘black female’ character. This agenda-pushing plotline is frequently punctuated with the phrase “choose life!”

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We’ve saved the best for last: Time Changer. If ever there were a time travel movie that would go down as the absolute worst, this is it. Let’s start out with a freeze frame from the film:

My time machine is far too complex for you to understand

‘Nuff said. Here’s the skinny: a seminary professor writes a textbook that doesn’t align with the morals displayed by Christ. His punishment? Travel into the future and be horrified at every turn by how terrible the world has become! Women wearing provocative clothing! Teenagers flushing their lives down the toilet! Matriarchy! Immorality! Card playing! Dancing…in church!!!

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Somewhere in there he jumps around from past, present, and future, and somehow gets back to the present in the pursuit of finding the end of time. How did he get here, there, and everywhere?

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That pretty much sums it up!

No more rhymes, I mean it!

You know when you’re watching a Christian ‘comedy’ and it either turns out to be completely weird, funny for all the wrong reasons, or so stupid that you can’t finish it? Well, this movie takes it to a whole ‘nother level: Spent The best summation I can come up with for this film without giving too much away is this: Dad’s dying, let’s get his money (evil laugh). Oh wait, he’s not actually dying….

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Ok, so since he’s not going to die naturally, time to come up with a backup plan! Hehehehehehehe. Hey Dad, guess what’s for dinner? Your favorite! Pizza pie! (waits while he eats it) Did you like it? Yeah it was (interruption) Well good, cause it was your LAST MEAL

But we haven’t even talked about Malibu Dan the Family Man Season 1 (it has two seasons!) or Hitting the Breaks! If you don’t know what this is, all you need to know is this. In the gif below, the protagonist in these absurd series is Buzz, and the audience is Woody.

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To conclude, to anyone reading this who is offended in any way, please know that this post is meant in fun and is not intended to shame or humiliate anyone. Current Christian filmmakers, if God was in the movie you were making, and you were not just doing it to please someone else or yourself, the audience and us will know. See our Hall of Fame for movies fitting this criteria.:)

When Calls The Heart: Lip Reading Part 1

Welcome back to Funny Friday here at BoxOfficeRevolution featuring even more WCTH parodies! Never fear for we have found more clever spoofs of everyone’s favorite show! This series features yet another ingenious video creator on YouTube. Hilariously reading what the characters in WCTH appear to be saying according to their lip movements. As always we hope you enjoy these video’s and if so remember go over to the creators channel and give them a thumbs up!

When Calls The Heart Crack/Song Spoof #2

Well it’s “Funny Friday” again. You know what time it is? It’s time for more When Calls The Heart Parodies! This is the second installment in this epic series of WCTH spoofs as before feel free to check out the rest on their channel. Also don’t forget to beg them to make more of these please!. (P.S don’t forget to laugh:)!

When Calls the Heart Crack/Song Spoof #1

This is an epic parody of everybody’s favorite show When Calls the Heart, that a pure genius created on YouTube. The creator ingeniously makes a hilariously funny spoof of this show using only songs, sorry “hearties” but i believe that even you will be joining in on the laughter as well. Without further introduction see below this epic artistry and check out the rest on their channel.

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Part 5 (MTASBTNEWOT 5)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  Someday we might post more, if we’re fortunate enough to find more.

 

Strange….

For Such a Time

Why do we need so many Esther films?  This one looks like it was recorded with a handheld camera for a church play.  They obviously purchased all of their costumes and props at Walmart and decided to film a historical story in a modern house full of white people with too much makeup.  Production is terrible in all aspects and nothing these people are doing resembles acting.  This is so low quality that it doesn’t even warrant creation.

 

Just taking some pictures of flowers

The Bouquet

One of the wonders produced by Nasser Film Group, this one portrays Kristy Swanson and a whole bunch of other awkward cast members in a knockoff Hallmark movie about a group of people all hanging around the same property together trying to rehabilitate a dying flower business.  With laughable references to the internet and technology and the most juvenile forced romances ever, only watch this one if you need a good laugh.

 

Enough said

Midnight Stallion

In another face-palmer from Nasser, Kris Kristofferson attempts to portray a fifty-year-old man with a teenage daughter, although he was close to eighty years old at the time of this movie’s filming.  Hardly anything can be focused on at all in this formulaic, stereotypical, and predictable horse-saves-the-farm story except for Kristofferson’s terrible plastic surgery, constant grunting, and scenes of him pretending to ride a horse.  Whoever keeps casting old coots like Kristofferson needs to quit film making.

 

Well that’s all for now!  Maybe we’ll post another one someday…maybe not…

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Part 4 (MTASBTNEWOT 4)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  Someday we might post more, if we’re fortunate enough to find more.

 

Living Water [2006]

From the obnoxious blaring harpsicord soundtrack to the generally terrible production quality, Living Water is possibly one of the worst films on record.  Based entirely off of borderline offensive racial stereotypes, there is really no pot here to speak of except for a save the church concept and a bunch of heavy-handed radio preaching that drives the so-called story.  As the movie goes from one juvenile drama to the next, the viewer (if they last through it) finds themselves either laughing or crying from embarrassment.  A word of advice: steer clear of this one unless you’re really bored.

 

Running [2015]

Made by a ministry of some sort, it’s unclear whether or not the creation of this film was justified.  The production money was spent on the wrong things, such as fancy vehicles, instead of spending it on practical things, such as better audio and video equipment.  The story is very thin and empty—it seems like nothing is really happening except characters pretending like they’re doing stuff.  Finally, the acting is deplorable, rounding out a very uninspiring movie you probably won’t ever get around to watching.

 

Only Once [1998]

Only watch this barely-one-hour Mormon movie if you like to laugh at extremely awkward and wooden teenage cast members trying to convey an otherwise important message.  There is an unbelievable amount of silence in this film as mindless and empty characters just stare at each other and as useless montages go by.  This story is overall childish and overly simplistic.  There is no way to understand the end, much less what we’re really supposed to get out of this.  But if you want a laugh, have a go at it.

 

Well that’s all for now!  Maybe we’ll post another one someday…maybe not…

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Christmas Edition (MTASBTNEWOT Christmas)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  For now, here’s a collection of Christmas films that fall into this category.

 

It’s very hard to explain

Beverly Hills Christmas

This is barely a Christmas movie at all except that it’s based on the typically bizarre magic premise you find in many knockoff holiday films.  Dean Cain and a Meryl Streep lookalike star in this movie that’s filled with wacko works-based theology and abstract vague fantasy lingo and concepts.  Apparently some dead woman has to get into heaven by making her spoiled brat daughter act good, so she decides to bring a nice kid back to life by shooting lightning into his skull even though Dean Cain told her not to touch people.  It’s a shame this off-the-wall movie wasted a decent character arc and a remotely interesting idea.

 

Look, a rose!

Natalie’s Rose

Also barely a Christmas film (or a Christian one), this time about a horse named—guess what—Rose.  Basically, this movie wastes an hour of your time on farm footage and sitting around talking before coming to the shocking conclusion: the horse is a “special” horse that turns into a rose.  [ENTER GIANT FACEPALM HERE].  No joke.  The production is terrible and most people won’t even make through the entire slogfest to see the main character having hallucinations about glowing horseback riders at night.  How this garbage gets made is beyond us.

 

DAX!

The Heart of Christmas

When you use kids with cancer as props and parade vain Christian actors and actresses in front of the camera in some kind of lame attempt to raise money for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in a shameless commercial soliciting you for money, we don’t have much respect for you.  Sure, St’ Jude’s does some great things and helps families in need, but can’t we just have a normal movie without all the advertising, drama, and pageantry?  They didn’t even try to make this true story a realistic plot.  It’s really shameful when you have characters telling you to make donations.

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Part 3 (MTASBTNEWOT 3)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  Someday we might post more, if we’re fortunate enough to find more.

 

We're drowning in a sea of Mormonism
We’re drowning in a sea of Mormonism

Rescued [2008]

In this special edition of MTASBTNWOT, we examine the three WisenQuest movies that were reproduced by Candlelight Media Group to put a Mormon spin on them.  That’s right: Island of Grace has a twin!  All they had to do was change some of the evangelical themes to Mormon themes.  But also for some bizarre reason, they changed all the names of the cast members, even though they are the same people.  Apparently they thought that by changing the names, you would never know this was the same movie.  How stupid do they think people are?

 

I'm totes converting to Mormonism now
I’m totes converting to Mormonism now

Turn Around [2007]

It’s just like Overcome, but with ‘different’ cast members and Mormon bishops!  Instead of Jaycee Lynn, it’s Jaci Twiss!  Instead of Aaron Brown, it’s Jordon Sorensen!  It’s also based on some kind of Mormon story about Alma the Younger (whoever that is) instead of loosely based on the Apostle Paul.  But does anybody really care?

 

I'm Mormon now!
I’m Mormon now!

Beauty and the Beast: A Latter Day Tale

Once again, Matthew Reese replaces Matthew Davis (not really, they’re the same guy).  This fairytale now has a latter day spin on it!  Seriously people, why would you pretend that it’s a different movie by changing the title and the cast member names but not the character names (oh look at that: they didn’t change Caitlyn E. J. Meyer’s name)?  What’s the point of copying on top of another film just so you can have a version that suits your section of beliefs?  Might as well copy all other Christian films and Mormon-ize them while you’re at it.

 

Well that’s all for now!  Maybe we’ll post another one someday…maybe not…

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Part 2 (MTASBTNEWOT 2)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  Someday we might post more, if we’re fortunate enough to find more.

 

Our reaction to this film
Our reaction to this film

Heaven’s Door

Travel to a magical fantasy land where Dean Cain, that odd girl from Your Love Never Fails, and some other C-grade cast members discover the truth about the afterlife.  When the kid from the previously mentioned Hallmark movie accidentally kicks a soccer ball into a tree, she discovers that the tree actually holds a portal into the heavenly dimension.  If you don’t believe her, then shame on you.  Anyways, one thing leads to another and the girl’s psychic grandmother reveals to her that she talks to the girl’s unborn sibling (who died in a miscarriage) about how the portal will save her family from splitting apart or something.  It’s sort of like the teenage David A. R. White from Second Glance trying to save his family, but not really.  In the end, they all have to learn that talking to the dead will tell you the future and that this is somehow a Christian movie[/sarcasm].  If you don’t agree with this movie’s message, then you’re the Grinch who stole Hallmark cards.

 

Who knows what this cover is trying to convey
Who knows what this cover is trying to convey

This is the Day

With films like these, we can see why garbage like Princess Cut wins awards at film festivals.  If you can watch this film for five minutes without going batty from the incessant banging background ‘soundtrack’ and the constant fidgeting of several cast members, you can learn that the poor dying man lying in the bed with the trophy has cancer and he needs some seaweed to cure him.  Also, he needs his friend to find his daughter for him.  Any other dialogue was totally lost on us as we could not understand it due to the ‘soundtrack’.  God only knows what this nonsense is trying to convey.

 

Crosspoint

Most readers will probably never even find this ‘lost’ film as it was exclusively sold at a local church (we reserve the right to not disclose how we came upon a copy).  Basically, some lawyer guy likes to ride motorcycles with the ‘guys’ and his wife wants him to go to church and spend time with their son.  But he decides to ride one last time and his son goes out on a dangerous bike and crashes (offscreen) and ends up in the church hallway hospital under the care of a local mafia leader rich guy pretending to be a doctor[/insidejoke].  There’s not really much to be learned here since it’s so short and shallow; the acting is so bad that this can barely be classified as a movie.  We just had to include here for reasons.

 

Well that’s all for now!  Maybe we’ll post another one someday…maybe not…

Unexpected Places [2012] (Movie Review)

Is that another Christian film group calling?

Plot Summary

Pam likes to control her life.  She likes to persuade her boss to give her more power in the workplace and she likes to control the lives of her sons, even though she doesn’t agree with all their choices.  One son, a delinquent druggie, is sent to live with her and her husband so that he can begin to turn his life around.  The other son is living with his girlfriend and their child, with another on the way.  Pam wants her life to look nice and neat on the outside, so she takes steps in her own strength to make this a reality.  However, she quickly discovers that she cannot do everything and that she needs to look to God for her strength.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, there is nothing positive to point out in this film.  From low quality video to terrible audio quality to shaky camera work, this one is a doozy.  Lighting is bad in a majority of the scenes, and the sets are very cheap-looking.  An annoying Hallmark soundtrack clanks the entire time, sometimes louder than the dialogue.  Transitions between scenes are very abrupt and some scenes appear to be missing.  This horrid editing job is basically just cut and paste—even if it means key information is cut off or left out.  It really seems like this crew had no idea what they were doing.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

We’re at a loss as to what this movie is even about.  With confusing dialogue filled with abstract figures and workplace lingo, it’s like the characters are malfunctioning robots.  The protagonist herself comes off a very dense and not connected to reality, even though she’s very serious about what she does.  The subplots are disjointed and appear pasted together from multiple different movie ideas.  The conflict therein is mindless and isolating; audiences are not able to connect with the struggles of the characters.  With no focus or main point, the storyline comes down to an empty ending that teaches a dangerous half-truth, which will be discussed at the end of this review.  Essentially, there was little reason for this idea to be approved for filming, let alone release.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Crystal Creek Media has a penchant for casting very wooden actors and actresses.  There is nothing wrong with using amateurs and they can certainly be coached, but coaching does not exist in Crystal Creek Media’s budget.  Cast members are emotionless throughout the film, delivering uninspiring monotone lines, like they’re reading from cue cards.  I’m sure they meant well, but it doesn’t show.

Conclusion

When it comes down to it, Unexpected Places simply does not properly deliver whatever message it is trying to convey.  What’s worse, the ending preaches a very dangerous idea: that when someone becomes a Christian, their life is automatically turned around in every aspect.  There is no question that when someone is saved by surrendering to Jesus, their life is totally transformed.  Yet this film appears to suggest that salvation takes away all of a person’s sin struggles; this is something that may confuse and frustrate those new to the faith.  In the end, few will find this film even fully watchable, which is just another testament to the sad state of Christian film.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

 

Movies That Are So Bad They’re Not Even Worth Our Time, Part 1 (MTASBTNEWOT 1)

In our vast Christian entertainment viewing experience, we sometimes come upon films that we can hardly justify writing a full review for.  Therefore, for your convenience, so you don’t have to go watch those free films that invade your suggested watch list in on-demand video services, we’ve provided a quick overview here.  Someday we might post more, if we’re fortunate enough to find more.

 

The Young Believers

If you want to see the cheapest church skit ever, view this gem.  Starring less than fifteen cast members, a majority of the scenes consist of the four main characters awkwardly standing in front of a wall or a fence.  They spit out preprogrammed lines that demonstrate an isolationist Christian view of the world, as well as the world record for the usage of the word ‘dude’.  There are more production errors that can be counted and the acting is just horrific.  With no real plot to speak of, we decided that it didn’t warrant a full review.

 

Our thoughts exactly
Our thoughts exactly

Raising Izzie

Borderline Christian films are the worst.  Are they trying to be Christian or are they trying to make fun of it?  Who knows.  Regardless, this film depicts one of the most bizarre versions of Christianity we have ever seen, complete with magic blankets.  Characters scream at each other in the most annoying ways and you really never know what’s coming next.  The plot is based on such weird pretzel logic regarding child custody that we don’t even know who to believe on this one.  Anyways, just steer clear.

 

What you see is what you get
What you see is what you get

On Angel’s Wings

This one escaped from the Disney channel for sure.  Featuring a teenage girl with first world problems conversing with the reincarnation of Peter Pan (yes, there is an actual flying scene in this film), this one is a real drug trip doozy sprinkled with Christian themes.  Replete with music videos to the tune of free background music, this film is obviously disingenuous and one big joke, boasting one of the most half-hearted casts ever.  Only watch this one if you feel like a laugh.

What Audiences Want

Per the Calgary Herald, When Calls the Heart fans, also known as #Hearties, are very much in love with the Hallmark series because it’s family friendly and wholesome.  At the beginning of the show, there was an attempt to craft meaningful characters, and fans still hold on to this, even though character quality has significantly decreased since the inaugural season.  Michael Landon Jr. right hand man Brian Bird has said before that their show fills a deep desire in fans for wholesome entertainment.

So what does this mean?  It means that however cheesy and disappointing WCTH may become, they still have a devoted fan base because there’s nothing else. WCTH exists in a vacuum.  They were obviously trying harder at first because they had to, but now they don’t have to try because there’s no competition in their genre.  This is a sad reality, because there is so much potential in WCTH alone, but we firmly believe that this genre of TV series is largely untapped.  What if there were even better family-friendly weekly series on television and on-demand services?

Christian and inspirational viewers may like certain aspects of non-family-friendly entertainment (this definition is very broad and subjective), they still desperately want wholesome entertainment.  So where are the Christian creative geniuses?  Entertainment still remains to be another area where western Christians have allowed other ideas to fill the vacuum.  The inspirational genre is starved for quality creations.  Hallmark, despite their flaws, would likely approve any series that marketed well and was crafted for their target audience.  The vast world of on-demand entertainment remains untapped by Christians.

What we need is a generation of creative Christians to rise up and redeem entertainment by making better entertainment.  Due to financial constraints, they would obviously have to start out small, but it’s better to start somewhere than nowhere.  If God wants you to create redemptive entertainment, then He will provide.  We must be open to what God wants us to create, because as we have seen, entertainment has a profound effect on western culture and even the entire world.  Christian entertainment has too long been dominated by low-quality and propaganda-ridden sediment, and it’s time for that to change.