Guided by the Word (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Right before Steven’s wife dies, her dying wish is for him to reconcile with their estranged daughter by taking her the Bible she used to use in Sunday school.  Though reluctant at first, after his wife dies, Steven honors her wishes and makes a trek across the country to find his long-lost daughter in order to give her the Bible.  Along the way, he reconnects with the faith he forgot he still had.


Production Quality (1 point)

Though this is a 2017 production, it is still relatively underwhelming.  Video quality and camera work are really the only good elements that can be highlighted here.  Audio quality is too inconsistent, including loud outside sounds and an overbearing soundtrack.  Sets, locations, and props are too limited and are obviously cheap.  There is also some randomly poor lighting.  Editing is basically non-existent as one long diatribe is presented here.  In the end, it’s hard to see a justification for this film.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Much like Almost Home, Guided by the Word us another half-baked idea that is better suited as a short film rather than a feature-length film.  The story wastes tons of time in an attempt to be longer and is full of empty dialogue and one-dimensional characters.  There’s probably a good message in here somewhere, but it feels too plastic and childish.  It also suggests a lot of quick fixes to problems.  It’s very hard to connect to these characters and their circumstances when they don’t even seem like they are real.  Unfortunately, it’s very hard to justify the existence of films like this.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Much like Almost Home, this cast is overly practiced and stilted in their line delivery.  They are also not very good at showing any emotions as they come off as monotone and lifeless.  It is unclear that John Lina should be in a lead role.  In the end, this film is just another disappointment that will be forgotten.


It’s sad that movies that have well-intentioned motives behind them like this will be washed away in the ever-increasing tide of Christian films being made.  In order to stand out, you absolutely must have professional production quality.  You need at least a marginally realistic plot that contains accessible characters.  Finally, you need a cast that can carry the film by becoming the characters.  Movies like this will only find themselves as thrift store fodder.


Final Rating: 1 out of 10 points


Matchmaker Mary (Movie Review)


Plot Summary

Join Mary and her happen-chance band of friends in a heartwarming (?) journey of taking care of puppies and forcing people to hang out with each other.  Watch as she inserts herself into the private lives of people in order to coerce them into liking each other.  With her parents unstable and fighting at home, Mary ventures out to spread her cheer elsewhere, hoping to project her insecurities on helpless loners who never asked for her help.  She collaborates with her unusual aunt, who has taught her how to meddle in other people’s business, but little do all of them know that by the time this movie is over—if you make it that far—everyone will have a match of their own!


Production Quality (-1 points)

If you can’t tell by now, we didn’t particularly like this so-called Christian movie.  It could have joined a host of other movies like it on the Hallmark or Ion channels, but the production is so bad that there’s no way it would have been picked up or aired.  Hallmark and Ion still have production standards, believe it or not.  Matchmaker Mary was likely filmed with a camcorder at the local pet store and the surrounding areas.  The video is grainy, the sound terrible, and the camera work shaky.  The musical score is childish.  There’s really no care taken to even make this film watchable on a surface level.  This begs the question—why was it even made?

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

It’s perfectly understandable and commendable to portray a movie about a grade school girl who is having to deal with her parents’ strained relationship—this happens far too often and needs to be exposed.  However, where are the mentions of Mary going to God with her problems?  Rather than bury herself in puppies and busybodying around, a Christian message needed to be introduced here, if this movie is meant to be Christian.  At this rate, we’re not sure.  We’re also not sure why PureFlix even distributed it, but at this point, we’re not really surprised at anything they do anymore.  There are too many head-scratching moments in Matchmaker Mary to count.  Characters say odd things in out of place ways, situations are trumped up, and the entire premise of the plot is completely absurd.  If this film is trying to be ridiculous, it succeeded.

Acting Quality (-1 points)

As previously alluded to, the actors and actresses behave in generally strange ways that cannot really be explained or described.  It’s almost like they were instructed to act off the wall.  If they were not, then we really don’t know what to think.  But that pretty much describes our entire experience watching this movie.


This is the state of American society—movies like Matchmaker Mary are funded and distributed while it is likely that many other well-meaning and under-funded geniuses struggle to survive in the movie world because they simply don’t know the right people.  In reality, people don’t really repair and build real relationships on the basis of puppies.  We don’t need any more movies that contribute to unrealistic fantasies that already permeate our culture.  Films like this are best forgotten and buried under the memories of better movies watched and better movies still to come.


Final Rating: -3 out of 10 points