One Hit From Home (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

After Jimmy Easton gets injured and gets into trouble, he is under scrutiny from his team and from the law.  Though all he wants to do is sit at home and feel sorry for himself, this not an option as a friend of his pulls some strings with the judge to force Jimmy to coach a failing college baseball team as part of his penance.  Jimmy agrees only because he wants to give no effort to coaching, but a passionate player makes him change his mind.  Will Jimmy be able to rediscover the love and faith he once had?

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

One Hit From Home is one of those stereotypical PureFlix-distributed productions that looks good on the surface.  Video quality is fine and camera work is professional.  However, the audio quality is inconsistent and the soundtrack is odd.  Yet sets, locations, and props are very realistic and professional.  Moreover, this production commits the common sin of choppy editing.  It feels like this film is just slapped together just to force it to happen—which probably isn’t that far off, knowing what PureFlix did in the 2007—2013 era of film making.  Essentially, One Hit From Home is a churned out, run-of-the-mill production that is made to be sold easily.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

The production is not the only thrown-together aspect of this film.  The storyline borrows from every other troubled drunk sports character plot ever made (and return to hometown plot) and is easily confused with Home Run.  In One Hit From Home, things happened because they need to and the story is based entirely on coincidences and moments of necessity.  Each character fits a neat little yet one-dimensional mold and employs pedestrian dialogue.  The romantic subplot(s) boxes are checked.  Sports and training montages are present, which checks another box.  Furthermore, the Christian message is forced and time speeds by at a rapid progression as problems are fixed too easily and too quickly.  Essentially, this plot was bought from a stock plot supplier and repackaged for the Christian bookstores.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

This cast is not all bad, though they are sometimes unsure of themselves.  Most the time they are flat and seemingly uninterested, but some cast members post good performances.  Overall, the acting is not terrible, but it’s certainly not very memorable.

Conclusion

Do we need plots about troubled characters?  Absolutely.  Do we need sports plots?  Sure.  Do we always need the two of these ideas mashed together in films that do nothing whatsoever to make us interested in the characters and their struggles?  Most definitely not.  Films like this one reek of not even trying to be interesting in the pursuit of making a quick buck off of unsuspecting Christian\inspirational audiences who are desperate for any wholesome entertainment.  Give us something wholesome, creative, and dynamic—something that will actually make a difference, not just another carbon copy.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

 

Before All Others (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When a woman is struck with a rare and unexplainable disease that is sure to temporarily paralyze her, she is left with no choice but to go live under the care of her elderly grandmother who barely gets out and can hardly walk around.  As the two of them hobble around and try to talk about family secrets, the grandmother finds her advice from her dead husband, whom she frequently talks to in the garden shed.  That is, until some random guy starts hanging around all the time fixing stuff and the grandmother decides to grab the first guy she found to marry her granddaughter off to.  What could go wrong?

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

Despite clear video quality, Before All Others is another poor Faith House production.  Camera work is very shaky and amateurish, even though easily 75% of the film takes place in one cabin set.  It should be easy to film in this environment, but not for Faith House.  For that matter, the audio quality shouldn’t be this bad, but it is.  The soundtrack also blares constantly and sometimes covers up dialogue.  Finally, as is commonplace in Faith House films, there is really no editing as long sequences of random footage are included.  Seriously, this is a 2016 film and they still can’t get production right.  Does anyone else see anything wrong with this?

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Once again, there is literally no purpose to this story as two pathetic characters limp and hobble around a primitive cabin and talk to dead people.  Despite having so few characters, they are so empty and lifeless due to utterly inept dialogue.  There is very little actual content as viewers are forced to watch awkward activities of daily living over and over again.  The mysterious illness’ progression is extremely convenient, depending on whether the plot needs the character to be well or unwell at the moment.  There is also a very awkwardly forced and juvenile romantic subplot that only serves to waste time.  All drama is completely manufactured and the shoehorned Christian message is completely mindless.  Basically, Before All Others is just more of the same.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Despite having different cast members than usual, this cast is still very small and very wooden.  One cast member is laughably eccentric while another is embarrassingly lifeless.  There is zero coaching present and no believable emotions.  As a side note, makeup is also terrible.  But this is apparently business as usual for Faith House.

Conclusion

As previously mentioned, this film was made in 2016, yet fundamental movie making elements are still not grasped by this team.  A film of this low caliber has no place in Christian entertainment anymore as the bar is being set higher, especially when it comes to production quality.  But yet, here it is, available for all to see.  After this long stretch of reviewing their films, we have to wonder what is really going on at Faith House.  Is it just one big scam or do they really have no idea what they’re doing?  We honestly have no clue and wonder if they do either.

 

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

 

A Box of Faith (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Dior’s father is framed and arrested for something he did not do, she has no choice but to abandon the motel room they were living in so that she can hide from the social worker who wants to help her.  Because otherwise, this movie wouldn’t have a plot.  As Dior walks from one park bench to another and one street to another, her social worker does crossword puzzles and randomly drives around hoping to find her.  Dior must live in a storage unit during all of this and wait for the plot to come to an end so everything can be fixed.  The question is not will things for resolved, but will you stick around for them to be resolved?

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

The one thing we can say for this half-baked production is that it has clear video quality.  Otherwise, there are no positive aspects.  Camera work is very shaky and lighting is very inconsistent.  Audio quality is very poor, including loud outside sounds and an annoying soundtrack.  Sets and locations are very limited, as usual for Faith House.  Once again, there is no editing present as every possible amount of content is squeezed out of this non-film.  Essentially, A Box of Faith is another lame excuse for a production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

With barely any plot content to work with whatsoever and a completely aimless story, what is anyone supposed to learn from this.  Due to the silly dialogue and a shallow and trumped-up premise, it’s very hard for the audience to connect with the struggles of the characters.  They just wander around the whole time and do absolutely nothing of note.  With so few characters, we should know a lot more about them as they stand around and talk, but we don’t.  The plot overall is too trite and unserious and there is thus no real justification for its creation.  The Faith House team needs to take a serious look at the content they are spitting out.  Constantly generating half-wit ideas just for the sake of creating more movies is a blight on Christian film.

Acting Quality (.5 point)

While there is some good here, A Box of Faith provides yet another empty and robotic cast.  We’re sure these people mean well, but they have absolutely no coaching.  Just stiffly sitting there or standing there saying lines doesn’t cut it.  There is no emotion exhibited at all.  But this is just another day at Faith House.

Conclusion

Complex story ideas are hard to come by, but extremely limited yet forced plots like this one should be a thing of the past.  There is very little potential and\or purpose to movies like A Box of Faith.  Faith House movies are a total embarrassment to Christian film, and we hope the day comes that movies like it are no longer so common place.

 

Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points

 

The Encounter, Season 1 [2016] (Series Review)

With this creepy look, who doesn’t want an encounter?

Plot Summary

When someone is going about their everyday activities, they never know what is about to happen or who they are about to meet.  They all have struggles and secrets that they don’t want anyone to know, but they would be free if they just knew someone they could trust them with.  But people never know when they are about to meet Someone Who will change their life forever.  They never know until they have their own Encounter with Jesus.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

The Encounter series follows a typical production formula that PureFlix has been using for years.  They check the boxes for making the production look good on the surface, including video quality, audio quality, sets, props, and locations.  The soundtrack is sometimes engaging but mostly standard.  Sometimes there is too much shaky camera work, especially in the poorly shot actions scenes.  The biggest issue here is that large amount of wasted time throughout the series.  Most episodes are 25-28 minutes long, but the plots are usually so thin that this is too much time.  The exception to this is of episodes one and four, which will be discussed later.  But in the end, this series demonstrates an overall typical and average production effort.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

For eight episodes, The Encounter rehashes the same types of ideas, concepts, and conversations over and over again, just with different characters.  Outside of episodes one and four, there is no creativity here, as the opening sequence tells you what’s going to happen in each episode.  Besides being predictable, these stories are also very quick and punctuated, like they’ve been made in a quick plot factory.  While there are some good issues raised in the series, there are too many quick fixes and easy solutions based on creepy and plastic Jesus dialogue.  Thus, the messaging is quite shallow.  However, there is some potential here, as the first episode is very interesting and should have been the focus of the whole series so we could have gotten to know these characters better.  Also, the fourth episode would have made an interesting movie, if done properly.  But overall, this series just hops from high point to high point and discards substance and realism along the way.  It’s a good idea done very poorly.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

While there are bright spots in this large scale cast, there are also plenty of issues.  For one, it seems like Bruce Marchiano, who has done well portraying Jesus in the past, has lost his touch. Other cast members are typical PureFlix standbys and rejects who seem to be lazy and phoning in their performances.  But as it is, it just comes out as average.

Continuity Quality (0 points)

When the same ideas repeat over and over again in each episode and new characters are constantly being introduced, there is no chance or hope for continuity in this season.  There are no story arcs or character arcs.  We need to see what happens to these characters after their initial encounters, which is why it would have been great to have the characters from the first episode be the main focus of this series.  Yet the way it has been done is shallow and lazy, thus warranting no points here.

Conclusion

There’s nothing wrong with having Jesus intervene in everyday situations, but spitting out a whole bunch of episodes that are all basically the same doesn’t accomplish anything.  It’s easy to create a bunch of surface characters and then leave them; it takes true skill to craft meaningful characters that we can connect with.  It’s also a great idea to create a Christian series, but we need something better than this.  We need sustainable ideas that make people want to follow a set of characters across an arc.  PureFlix has the resources to do this, but will they?

 

Final Rating: 4 out of 14 points