Jeff and Ruth Elliot are living their ideal life on a Midwestern farm with two great teenagers before everything starts to change for them. Their lives are forever altered when their son Eric “Hoovey” collapses during basketball practice, thus leading to a medical examination revealing a brain tumor. Hoovey is not given long to live at first, but he is given a second chance by having the tumor removed, leaving him a fraction of what he used to be. Unable to play basketball anymore due to danger and having to relearn motor skills, Hoovey and his family are also suddenly faced with possibly losing their dream farm to the bank. As a family, they will have to pull together in order to face the challenges ahead.
Production Quality (2.5 points)
Echolight Studios has a commitment to producing quality Christian films, and Hoovey is no exception. The camera work is clearly professional, along with the video and sound quality. Disability plots are difficult to pull off because they require unique props, but Hoovey does it with ease. The only negative points to raise here are slightly isolating editing and some generally inauthentic surroundings. For the most part, the editing is good, but there are some parts that are confusing. The same goes for the surroundings—sometimes it seems like this film is taking place in a realistic Midwestern setting, while other times it does not. But in the end, there are only minor issues and Hoovey passes the production bar.
Plot and Storyline Quality (1.5 points)
Stories based on true events are almost always more complex than an average inspirational plot. Hoovey proves this. Believable events happen to the characters and unexpected twists occur. Not everything turns out neat and tidy. However, since this is a character-based plot, the deepening of the characters throughout the film is important. Unfortunately, this does not occur to the extent it needed to. Dialogue is pretty good, but it rarely delves below surface conventions into deeper character development. The plot uses narration as a crutch far too often. Also, the Christian message is not very clear—in the end, the audience is just left with a feel good story rather than a life-changing message. In summary, the plot of Hoovey is average—it started out with a lot of potential on its side, but it only found part of all it could have been.
Acting Quality (2 points)
This is clearly a professional cast and they are coached fairly well. Emotions, for the most part, are believable. However, sometimes line delivery is slightly lackadaisical. Some of the casting choices don’t seem to fit very well. But these are just small issues—the important thing is that Echolight followed through on their commitment to produce quality Christian films.
Every Christian studio should be committed to rolling out quality movies on a very regular basis. Some are willing but not able, while others are able but not seemingly not willing. Hoovey broke into mainstream markets, which makes it even more of a shame that it did not carry with it a stronger Christian message. Had it delivered a meaningfully obvious but not preachy Christian message, Hoovey likely would have made it in the Hall of Fame. But regardless, it is still an enjoyable film and is worth a watch.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 points