Too Saved (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Lisa loves her boyfriend Bobby, but she doesn’t like the fact that he is not a Christian.  Thus, she prays for him to get saved, not realizing the impact her prayers might have.  Unexpectedly, Bobby gets saved one day in church, but he goes from being a drug addict (???) to being the most extremely Christian man ever.  He can’t stop talking about God, and he wanted to be the best man he can be.  Lisa become annoyed with Bobby and wonders why she ever prayed for him to change.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, Too Saved is a small church film with a very limited budget, which yields a very cheap production.  Because of the low funds and misuse of those there were appropriated, there are quite a few negatives to mention here, including poor video quality, shaky camera work, close-up shots, and inconsistent lighting.  Audio quality is also poor, and the soundtrack is cheesy.  Sets, locations, and props are severely limited and uncreative.  Finally, there is no substantial editing, thus warranting zero points for this section.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

It is possible that a more juvenile storyline could be written?  Is this meant to be a children’s movie?  The entire premise is based on a man going from being a drug addict—who is not portrayed properly at all, mind you—to being an obnoxiously Christian person.  This plot could almost be a cartoon, but it’s really not all that funny.  The parts that are absurd are just plain boring.  There are no attempts to write a good story here or to craft realistic characters.  This movie is actually barely worth reviewing.  If the writers meant well, there’s no way to know.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Ahh, small church casts—you have to love them.  If a cast member is not acting over the top, then another is acting very awkward and unsure of themselves.  Emotions come off as forced, and this wardrobe really needs some help.  Unfortunately, there is basically nothing good to say about this fill except better luck next time.

Conclusion

Sure, the budget is tiny, but it doesn’t have to be this bad.  As I’ve said a hundred times, a low budget does not affect the plot.  If you have around $10,000 for a film, which is our minimum budget to garner a review, make sure to craft a very deep and complex plot with believable, accessible characters.  In doing so, you will prove yourself worthy to receive a larger amount of funding.  Instead, movies like Too Saved just squander what little they had.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

 

The Goal [2005] (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

After athletic enthusiast Steve George has a cycling accident that leaves him a quadriplegic, he feels like his life is over.  He doesn’t like the therapy he is forced to attend and he doesn’t like his family fussing over him.  He wants to be free, but is trapped in his wheelchair.  However, one day, his grandmother gives him new hope by introducing him to quad rugby, which he can play in his wheelchair.  This opens up a whole new world for him and allows him to touch the lives of others, as well as discover the faith his family always tried to share with him.

 

Production Quality (1.5 points)

This film has a relatively low budget, so it’s a fairly good production considering the circumstances.  Yet it seems like some of the issues could have been avoided, regardless of the funding amount.  The odd hazy video quality can be forgiven, as can some of the audio issues, which include some obvious overdubs.  However, the soundtrack is too generic and sometimes too loud.  There are also some odd camera angles throughout, but this area is mostly fine.  The best part of the production pertains to the high quality sets, sports and medical props, and outdoor locations, which are difficult to accomplish on this small budget.  Yet the editing is too choppy to be able to understand the story very well.  In the end, this is an average production, which is good considering what they had to work with.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Unfortunately, while this is obviously a good true story, it is presented in a very poor fashion.  Where the characters should be accessible, especially in their struggles, they are not.  This is likely due to the large amount of underdeveloped characters that exist in this plot.  Also, the dialogue is often too straightforward and unsubstantial.  There is also too much melodrama that makes the otherwise poor circumstances of the characters seem too out of reach.  Besides this, though there is an attempt to craft a predictable sports redemption plot, it doesn’t even accomplish this as the story falls flat and completely lacks any arcs or twists.  This is just face-value information presented in an unintentional documentary form without any real interest evoked.  It’s a shame, because this could be a good film.

Acting Quality (1.5 points)

With a relatively large cast, there is a lot going on here.  Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of them all.  Yet most of them are too matter-of-fact and emotionless in their delivery.  However, there are plenty of good moments here and there is some amount of coaching present here.  But overall, this caps off an underwhelming effort.

Conclusion

Low funding for production is one thing, but this crew handled this issue pretty well.  The issue comes in when you have a plot written for you and you are unable to present it in a way that makes sense.  It’s clear that this creative team meant well with this film, but some consulting was probably in order so that it could be as good as it could have been.  It’s frustrating to see films like this, but perhaps it will lead to further improvement in the future.

 

Final Rating: 3 out of 10 points

 

Unexceptional Love (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

Demetria and Shaun always wanted a family and prayed to God for a child, but when He answered, they never expected Him to answer the way that He did.  Their daughter was born with special needs, which caused Shaun to have compassion of her, but Demetria rejected her daughter and even mistreated her.  After a decade of this, it all came to a head one night when Demetria did something she would regret that would change her life forever.

 

Production Quality (1 point)

Like many small church films, Unexceptional Love struggles with a lack of funding and professionalism.  Though video quality is fine, the camera work tends to be too stationary and immovable.  Similarly, while audio quality is fine, the soundtrack is too generic.  Furthermore, sets, locations, and props are severely limited and confined.  Pertaining to the editing, some scenes lag on far too long and the transitions are punctuated by odd title cards in between the acts.  In the end, this is just another low-end production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Though this plot attempts to portray realistic circumstances, the dialogue needs work, which thus means that the characters need deepening.  The dialogue merely reports information rather than assist us in getting know the characters better.  Besides having a small amount of under-developed characters, the character development is also hampered by the large time jumps in the plot.  Accordingly, there is not enough substantial content in the story and this film really would have worked better as a short film.  It’s a very straightforward, linear plot that offers unrealistic quick fixes to problems without anything believable to back it up.  Unfortunately, this can be said for a lot independent Christian films.

Acting Quality (1 point)

While this small cast appears to be trying and appears to mean well in what they do, they are often too dramatic and forceful in their emotional delivery and line delivery.  There is too much yelling throughout.  While there are some good moments, it’s really not enough to overcome the detracting elements.

Conclusion

So many small church films have some slightly good ideas that get mired in poor production and acting quality.  Yet in order for these creative teams to achieve higher funding, the key is to demonstrate high plot quality to show that future investment is worthwhile.  Unfortunately, until this happens, small church films like this one will still be stuck where they are.

 

Final Rating: 2 out of 10 points