Appalachian Trial (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

The Hart family wants to help the hurting Crandall family, so they decide to take them to their favorite camping spot in the Appalachian mountains.  However, the Crandall family, a father and his two sons, are not well suited to the outdoors at all.  Thankfully, the Hart patriarch is an expert outdoorsman and is well-versed in his ability to impersonate an Animal Planet narrator when he instructs others in his art.  But the most horrific thing happens when the Hart siblings and the Crandall brothers get lost on ‘the trail’ and take a wrong turn that sends them out into no man’s land.  But never fear, because Mr. Hart is ready to save the day with his Discovery Channel knowledge as Mrs. Hart does her women’s duty by staying at the tent and praying.  In the end, both families will learn heartwarming lessons of friendship, family, and faith.

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

Appalachian Trial is about what you can expect from a C-grade fundamentalist Christian production outfit.  The only positives are the fairly consistent sound quality and the pretty good camera work.  Otherwise, there’s nothing good to say here.  The video quality is grainy and the sets and locations are severely limited.  While the surroundings are basically realistic, no one really wants to watch a movie shot entirely inside of vehicles, at a fire pit, and in the flora and fauna of Appalachia.  The musical score is just about as annoying as it gets, like it was recorded by Bob Jones’ star music students on a flute and an old piano.  Finally, the editing is abhorrent.  This ‘film’ plays out like a bunch of outdoor and camping tutorials spliced together.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Unusual Films saw the tutorials they play in class and decided to add some ‘drama’ to them, to splice them together in the reel to reel room, and to call that a movie.  Like seriously.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

There is zero plot content in this eighty-minute camping docu-drama.  The storylines are flat; no one wants to watch a grainy depiction of people driving, trudging through the forest, stacking wood, building fires, and making hot dogs.  The characters are childish, with the exception of Mr. Hart, who is a walking encyclopedia of outdoor knowledge with a radio voice.  Mrs. Hart fulfills all stereotypes of how fundamentalist Christians think motherhood should be.  Mr. Crandall is obnoxious and petty.  The kids remind us too much of kids from homeschool groups gone by.  The dialogue throughout is absurd and wooden.  If it’s any consolation, there is a pretty good gospel presentation, but it’s so deep into this mind numbing reject video that I seriously doubt anyone will ever find it.  Simply put, there is no plot here and therefore no points are awarded.

Acting Quality (0 points)

This tiny cast was never suited to be in a movie.  Not a single cast member needed to be cast.  This is not a personal attach on the actors and actresses, but some people should never be forced into acting.  I know I would never want to act and I would likely never allow myself to be cast.  Bob Jones seems intent on constantly casting awkward white people in all of their ‘films’.  Emotions are not conveyed well by the cast members and line delivery is terrible.  I’m sorry, but this just wasn’t their calling.

Conclusion

Another Bob Jones creation, another disaster.  But hey, at least it’s better than The Treasure Map!  Of course, improving from -10 points is a feat that could have been accomplished by anyone.  Unusual Films existed so early on in Christian entertainment history that they were likely the only ones making these sorts of films of their day, which should explain why entertainment is where it is today.  All Bob Jones ever wanted to do with these ‘films’ was push their white patriarchal fundamentalist Christian propaganda.  With no real ideas and terrible delivery, there was no reason to ever make ‘films’ like this.

 

Final Rating: .5 point out of 10 points

 

The Treasure Map [1999] (Movie Review)

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Plot Summary

Edward White Eyes finds himself in a problematic position when his grandfather has a sudden heart attack while driving through rural Oklahoma, thus forcing him to have to stay in a recently renovated bed and breakfast full of white homeschooled kids.  One of the kids, Nathan, doesn’t like Edward’s Cherokee (?) heritage or the fact that the bed and breakfast is so full with unknown guests that Edward must share his room.  What’s more is that the white kids discovered a treasure map written in a language only Edward can understand, and it could tell the deep secrets of the formerly dilapidated mansion.  In the end, this Bob Jones film attacks the problem of racism against Native Americans (?) head on in a hard-hitting homeschool epic.

Production Quality (-2 points)

We are convinced that The Treasure Map was filmed on a videotape camcorder.  Of course, they likely didn’t have access to much else in 1999, but still.  This production is obviously and ridiculously cheap, with grainy video quality and horrible sound quality.  The sets and locations are passable, but everything just screams backwards homeschoolers.  As a side note, I am not discriminatory against homeschooling—I was a homeschooler through high school.  The problem with movies like this and entities like Bob Jones is that they make all homeschoolers look like white racist fundamentalist patriarchal fools.  But I digress.  Treasure Map’s musical score is perhaps the most annoying we have ever experienced, like it was ripped off of some cheesy white Christian kids music video.  There is really nothing good to say here, and we have only just begun,

Plot and Storyline Quality (-3 points)

The movie begins with every other line being narrated.  From there, the unrealistic time-lapse renovation of a ‘haunted’ mansion is displayed, complete with ridiculous homeschooling stereotypes, like kids not getting any education accomplished and matronly mothers constantly working in the kitchen and cleaning up the house.  Then comes the Native Americans, two characters who do not seem even remotely descended from tribal nations.  Edward is likely the most absurdly mumbling character ever to grace a video screen, with more than half of his lines being indiscernible.  How ridiculously obvious can a name like Edward White Eyes get?  Nathan is an immature racist until he gets ‘fixed’ and becomes a perfect character.  It seems like the entire goal of this plot is to ‘Christianize’ the ‘heathens’ and the treasure antidote is just an excuse to make a movie.  Not a single thing is really accomplished in this so-called plot except for running around looking for ‘treasure’, building teepees, doing tribal dances, dressing up in tribal stuff, going back and forth to the hospital, and attempting to deliver dialogue.  This plot is likely a window into the worldview of Bob Jones University, a very scary place indeed.

Acting Quality (-3 points)

Did we mention that the ‘Native American’ actors are actually Caucasian?  Apparently Bob Jones only employs white actors and actresses.  Besides this, this cast is the worst we have ever seen, with terrible mumbling line delivery and no believable emotions.  Those that can actually say discernable words are over the top and robotic.  Once again, another horrible section for The Treasure Map.

Conclusion

As an added bonus, Treasure Map received the first ever negative x-factor point for being especially horrible in every possible way.  It’s no coincidence that Bob Jones University named their filming arm Unusual Films, because that’s exactly what this movie is.  White backwards patriarchal Christian fundamentalism is on display for the world to see in this film, and we found it overall offensive and repulsive, besides the fact that this is just an epic-ly terrible movie, thus garnering the lowest overall score to date from Box Office Revolution.  With no potential whatsoever, The Treasure Map should have never been made and can now only serve as a textbook example of an awful Christian film.

Final Rating: -9 out of 10 points