Reggie’s Prayer (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Reggie Knox is a successful professional football player, but he feels the call of God to leave the league and go to make a difference in the lives of struggling inner city teenagers.  He feels like he can make more difference in the world by coming down the world of real people rather than insulating himself in a professional sports bubble.  Thus, he and his wife move to Oregon to work at an inner city high school, where they find many opportunities to impact the lives of young people who desperately need the love of Christ.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

As a 1990s production, Reggie’s Prayer has a lot of raw moments.  This include some dizzying camera work and some inconsistent audio quality.  There are also some odd sound effects and weird special effects in certain parts.  However, video quality is fine throughout, and the aforementioned areas show good improvement as the film goes on.  The good thing is that sets, locations, and props are well-used and well-constructed throughout.  Yet there are some moments of disorienting editing, even though this area also shows some improvement throughout.  In the end, this production is a mixed bag, thus warranting an average score.

Plot and Storyline Quality (1 point)

While this is a good story idea based on true events and realistic and believable circumstances, there are still some issues here that hold it back from being all that it could be.  One such area is the confusing and isolating psychological elements near the beginning of the film.  Also, while characters are somewhat accessible, they could still use some better development through deeper and more meaningful dialogue, even though the dialogue is fine as it is.  There is also a lot of content that needs to be further explored as there are plenty of under-developed subplots throughout this storyline.  Also, while there is a very good message in this plot that many audiences will enjoy, the villain that somewhat dominates the plot is cheesy.  In the end, this is an enjoyable plot, but it seems like it could have gone further.

Acting Quality (2 points)

It’s likely that the casting and acting of this film is its strongest point.  Though there are some moments of over-acting, there are also plenty of great moments that make this section above average.  With the exception of the villain character, emotions are believable and line delivery is on point.  Most cast members are cast appropriately.  In the end, this film has plenty of good in it.

Conclusion

If this film had been slightly modernized and refined in some of the rough areas, it could have been way better.  Even so, many audiences will still enjoy this film, and future film makers can learn from its desire to portray real people with real struggles.  The core concepts of this plot can be used in the future to ensure sports plots do not become so formulaic.  The important thing is to capture the accessible struggles of characters audiences can relate to.

 

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points

 

Paper Dream [2012] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Christy has always had a dream, since she was a little girl, of growing up, getting married, and having beautiful children.  But her dream is shattered time and again when she cannot get pregnant and she is told that she will never have children.  Thus, her and her husband look into adoption, even though they want to have a child of their own.  But as they journey together on the path God is taking them on, they find out that God has something in store for them that they could have never anticipated.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

American Family Studios has always demonstrated a commitment to high quality productions.  In Paper Dream, nearly every production element is great, including video quality, camera work, and audio quality.  The soundtrack could be a little more creative, but it’s fine as it is.  Sets, locations, and props are also professional.  The only negative factor to bring up is the editing and the runtime of this film, as it is far too short while at the same time includes too much wasted content.  But overall, this is an example of what Christian productions should look like.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

As usual, Jeremy and Kendra White present a realistic story that is accessible and heartwarming.  However, they don’t go near as far as they could with the story and leave a lot of subplots underdeveloped.  With only 45 minutes of time, as previously mentioned, there is still time wasted on pointless montages and dead-end conversations.  Due to time constraints and these conversations, the characters are quite shallow.  There is too much reliance on narration, yet this film makes an interesting point that really hits home.  The ending is unexpected and refreshing, but there is little to no build up.  Basically, we need more from this film—more character development, more realistic dialogue, more explored subplots.  We can see the merit in making a short film to begin a career, but they were so close to something great.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

For a mostly amateur cast, their performances are good, but they are still average due to some errors that hold them back.  For example, some cast members are overly practiced in their acting and awkward in their delivery.  However, they are sometimes fine and demonstrate great potential.  With better coaching, they could be dynamic.

Conclusion

The good thing about Paper Dream is that it is a freshman effort and we can see that Jeremy and Kendra White went on to do greater things with Summer Snow.  Still, it’s frustrating to see so much potential left lying on the proverbial playing field.  But nonetheless, we know that Jeremy and Kendra know how to make a good film and will likely make another memorable project like Summer Snow in the future.  Hopefully they have been able to build off of Paper Dream to make a greater difference in the Christian entertainment world.  We anticipate what they have to offer next.

 

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points

 

Summer Snow [2014] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

When Dan Benson’s wife dies, he and his three kids are left trying to pick up the pieces and figure out how they are going to move on.  Julie is getting married soon and has big plans with her fiancé.  David is trying to find his way through teenage-hood without his father around.  Hallie is a young girl who touches everyone she meets in special ways.  Little do they know that their lives will soon be changed forever.

 

Production Quality (2.5 points)

In Summer Snow, American Family Studios and team have shown a dedication to professional production quality.  Video quality and audio quality are clear and the soundtrack is fairly good.  Camera work is effective and sets and locations are realistic and down to earth.  The only issues to raise here are some minor editing problems due to some missing plot pieces, but it’s not enough to totally derail this otherwise superb production.  We expect more greatness in the future from this team.

Plot and Storyline Quality (2 points)

Summer Snow is a raw character-driven plot about real people doing real things.  The dialogue is excellent and helps the viewer to really appreciate the struggles of the characters.  The plot is artistic and engaging and a good mix of comedy and hurt.  While we would have expected American Family Studios to awkwardly handle the social issues portrayed in this film, this was not the case.  The social issues are handled very well and framed in very interesting ways that make one think.  The biggest things holding this plot back are some minor plot holes and some parts that need to be expanded upon.  The end is also neat and tidy but still ambiguous at the same time.  In short, Jeremy and Kendra White need to be utilized more in writing inspirational plots because they have true talent that can be expanded upon.

Acting Quality (3 points)

This is a flawless casting job with no errors.  Each person is cast exquisitely.  Line delivery and emotional delivery are excellent.  Rachel Eggleston is possibly the best child actress in a Christian film to date.  This is a job to be proud of.

Conclusion

Films like Summer Snow should be the standard for Christian movies.  It takes on family values and social issues in realistic ways without creating strawmen or making Christianity offensive.  It depicts real people in real life so that all audiences can access what they are going through.  While it’s not the most complex plot in the world, it gets the job done and deserves recognition for that.  We can’t wait to see more from Jeremy and Kendra White and American Family Studios.

 

Final Rating: 7.5 out of 10 points