Lost in Silver Canyon (Movie Review)

Plot Summary

While on their way to Christian camp, Joe and Vanessa find themselves accidentally left behind in a western ghost town exhibit.  Thus, they decide to explore the area around them, but they find themselves ‘trapped’ in a mine.  An old prospector with no prospects ‘rescues’ them and proceeds to mime the story of the prodigal son for them.  All the while, the obnoxious Sam Starr (brother of Johnny Starr) is searching for the old prospector so he can tell him something.  In this Bob Jones-style story from Mr. Button Family Video, everyone can learn a forceful Bible lesson.

 

Production Quality (-1 points)

As a 1990s production, it’s expected to be archaic, but not this bad.  Not even The Printing (same year) was this bad.  Video quality is blurry and outside shots are glaring.  Inside shots have poor lighting and camera work is mostly stationary.  Audio quality is very poor as a lot of it is overdubbed.  The soundtrack is annoying and the constant juvenile sound effects, especially those punctuating Sam Starr, are enough to drive a person mad.  Sets, locations, and props are extremely cheap and limited.  Furthermore, there is editing to speak of.  Essentially, this production warrants negative points due to its obnoxious nature, especially when it comes to sound effects and all things Sam Starr.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

Sam Starr is a bumbling, fumbling complete idiot of a character who is funny for all the wrong reasons and seems like he escaped from the cast of The Rev.  His movements can’t be accomplished without weird grunting, stupid sound effects, and constantly scattering of paraphernalia.  Besides his sideshow, the other characters stepped right out of a Bob Jones\Unusual Films movie like The Treasure Map, Appalachian Trial, or Project Dinosaur.  There are also some shades of Pamela’s Prayer here. The Christian message presented is cringeworthy and full of patriarchy.  Besides all of this, there is basically no story to speak of here as a majority of the runtime is filled with home video footage of a vacation to a western ghost town and a lot of forceful ‘Bible lessons’.  There is little to no purpose in this nonsense, and it’s actually very annoying, thus landing it the rare award of having negative points.

Acting Quality (-1 points)

One has to question if some of these cast members should have been around children due to their erratic and disturbing behavior, especially the idiot who played Sam Starr.  Even if this sideshow is supposed to be funny, it’s only funny because it’s so pathetically absurd.  Other cast members, as previously mentioned, are just on loan from Bob Jones and contribute nothing good except driving home Christian stereotypes.  Thus, this is another negative section.

Conclusion

Lost in Silver Canyon joins the ranks of those Christian films that are so offensive in their presentation that they warrant negative points.  The only reason to watch this film is to get a good laugh at the expense of Sam Starr, but otherwise it’s another total embarrassment to Christian film.  This is how people think Christians act, and sometimes they aren’t very far off.  Hopefully films like these will serve as motivation to make better ones so that any negative movies will be totally forgotten.

 

Final Rating: -3 out of 10 points

 

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Pamela’s Prayer (Movie Review)

What would my father say?

Plot Summary

After her mother died tragically, Pamela’s father threw himself into obsessing over how he was going to raise her.  Though they prayed together every night, Pamela’s father micromanaged nearly every aspect of her life and kept her in a fundamentalist bubble.  He determined that God’s will for her life was and wouldn’t let her date anyone until he hand-picks the first guy who comes to work for his archaic film ministry for her to hang out with.  After being brainwashed all her life, Pamela goes along with it, even though this relationship has no substance, because she too must be the guardian of the fundamentalist-patriarchal flame.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

If you’re going to make a movie about patriarchal propaganda, the least you can do is make the production good.  But no, Pamela’s Prayer sports a medieval production quality reminiscent of Bob Jones University’s Unusual Films (that’s not the only reason this movie is similar to those).  It’s very cheap overall, including grainy video and audio quality, very pedestrian camera work, and an extremely clanky soundtrack that sounds like it was recorded in some tiny Bible Belt church (no offense).  The sets and locations are severely limited (just like the minds of the writers), and there is absolutely no editing as the condensed life of an unsuspecting girl raised in a cult-like atmosphere is portrayed in just under sixty minutes.  But that’s not all that’s wrong with this disaster.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

Pamela’s Prayer is not a fitting enough title, since this story is entirely centered around normalizing a creepy ideology of patriarchy that seeks to control every aspect of a girl’s life. Using completely empty and one-dimensional characters, including extremely perfect white Christians and very bad ‘worldly’ Christians (like Timothy Chey’s carnal Christians), the patriarchal worldview is shamelessly shoved down your throat.  If you want people to convert to your cause, at least try to depict real people, not cardboard cutouts the spew talking points.  also, try to actually write a realistic story that is accessible to most people, not some alternate universe portrayal of life.  Nevertheless, this film is very legalistic propaganda that aggressively pushes an agenda and has no place in Christian entertainment.  Hence, negative points are warranted.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Once again, the Christiano team shows us how to distribute propaganda in the worst fashion possible.  Choosing the most extremely white and awkwardly stiff cast possible, they fed the cast members lines and made sure they looked like good little white Christians, and that was about it.  Line delivery and emotional delivery are very wooden and robotic, but this was probably mission accomplished for the Christianos.  Yet people wonder why people cringe at the thought of Christian films.

Conclusion

After watching a movie like this, one can only conclude that the people who push this sort of legalism on others also believe that those who are not perfect little white Christians cannot be redeemed or restored.  The type of parenting that is portrayed in this film as good is exactly the reason why young people ‘fall away from Christianity’ or ‘lose their faith’.  God didn’t tell Christian parents to keep their children in little fundamentalist bubbles all their lives or to micromanage every aspect of them, but to create a loving environment where the children learn Who God is (based on actions more than words) and how they can follow Him.  Of course children need to be protected from harm and wrongdoing, but raising them in a cult-like atmosphere is equally detrimental.  We need Christian families that actually care about each other, not dictate lists of specific rules to follow that are geared toward patriarchy and are designed to create little ‘perfect’ robots.  If there’s one reason why a lot of people dislike Christianity, this movie embodies every aspect of it.

 

Final Rating: -1 out of 10 points

 

Project Dinosaur [2000] (Movie Review)

The information room? Correct!

Plot Summary

When Mikey crashes his unusual (haha) remote controlled airplane that probably shouldn’t have worked anyway, he sends one of his female friends to retrieve it, since that’s a woman’s job or something.  But she falls into a hole and accidentally finds a so-called dinosaur bone that was clearly planted in the dirt as it was hardly buried at all.  The only conclusion is that it’s a dinosaur bone, so Mikey swipes it for his new ‘science project’.  Now all they have to do is research some creationism versus evolution talking points, use an archaic computer program to look up types of dinosaurs, and avoid the evil bully Simon, who is bent on destroying the science project for some reason.  Just another day in the life of a Bob Jones kid.

 

Production Quality (0 points)

Another day, another poor production spewed from the minds of white patriarchal Christians.  So much for making Christian things quality.  Video quality is grainy and camera work is pedestrian.  Audio quality is quite low, including a stupid childish soundtrack.  Sets and locations are limited to that same old ‘bed and breakfast’ from Treasure Map and a few others.  Special effects are horrid, including a stupid little beeping computer program that was clearly made for children.  Finally, editing is thrown out the window as a good portion of the beginning of Project Dinosaur rehashes things nobody cares about from Treasure Map.  In short, there is little to no point in making movies like this except to push an agenda, as we will see next.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

There is zero purpose in an unwanted remake of one of the world’s most horrid films of all time except to push the agenda of creating an extremely rigid dichotomy between creationism and evolution by making a strawman out of everything the writers disagree with.  This propaganda piece is barely an hour long, including rehashing from this movie’s predecessor, as if we care where these characters came from.  These perfect little white robots are programmed with childish dialogue and talking points that expose the ridiculous patriarchal fundamentalist worldview of the creators.  Essentially, with no real conflict or substance, the only reason to waste your time on this mess if you need a good laugh.

Acting Quality (0 points)

Who ever thought it was a good idea to copy over a majority of the Treasure Map cast?  The only ones missing are Edward White Eyes and his grandfather.  But this doesn’t alleviate the fact that not a single one of these cast members should have ever been cast ever again, period.  Yet when you have such a limited pool of perfect little white people who agree with your worldview, what’s a film maker to do?

Conclusion

Sadly, the saga of these white kids ended with Project Dinosaur and we have no more chances to know what happened to them!  As if we cared about what they were doing in the first place.  In all seriousness, it should be noted that the creators of Box Office Revolution were all homeschooled yet we wholeheartedly disagree with the worldviews propagated by fundamentalist Christina groups like Bob Jones.  We have nothing against this model of education, but we do take issue with Christians who purposely isolate themselves in bubbles and refuse to listen to people on ‘the other side’.  This is the real problem with this type of movie, as it further sinks Christian film to new lows.  But hopefully we are past this sort of thing in Christian entertainment.

 

Final Rating: 0 out of 10 points

 

Time Changer [2002] (Movie Review)

We should go back to the good ole' days...when old white guys ran everything
We should go back to the good ole’ days…when old white guys ran everything
My time machine is far too complex for you to understand
My time machine is far too complex for you to understand
And over here we have an even larger selection of horrid Christian films
And over here we have an even larger selection of horrid Christian films

Plot Summary

The year is 1890.  Dr. Carlisle does the unthinkable and writes a seminary textbook advocating for the teaching of morals apart from Jesus Christ, Dr. Andersen sees fit to stall his vote for the book’s endorsement until Carlisle comes and sees his time machine invention.  When Carlisle finally stops moping around and agrees to meet with the mad scientist, he is roped into travelling through time to the future so that he can learn what supposedly happens when society teaches morals apart from Christ.  What he finds is a shocking new culture he’s not familiar with in many ways.  Will he ever make it back so he can sell his textbook?

 

Production Quality (.5 point)

Time Changer is one of those films that is very memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.  While the production team should get some slight credit for attempting to dress characters in historically appropriate attire, there are too many other negatives that outweigh the small amount of positive.  For starters, money was wasted building ridiculous time travel contraptions that look like they belong in a 1980s sci-fi film.  The camera work and video quality are okay, but the audio quality is inconsistent, including a very annoying soundtrack.  As usual, the editing is all over the board and is basically just a pasting together of heavy-handed scenes that demonstrate the Christiano brothers’ ridiculous worldview.  Unfortunately, the production isn’t the worst this film has to offer.

Plot and Storyline Quality (-1 points)

Time travel plots are always going to be a problem.  There’s rarely an instance when this concept can be justified.  But when you merge this mind-bending sci-fi premise with an extreme fundamentalist Christian worldview, disaster occurs.  There is no plot present here, since the Christianos are content to shove their unwanted opinions on the state of humanity in your face at every possible turn.  Who believes that if some crazy professor from the late 1800s discovered time travel, he would use it to ‘solve’ the world’s biggest theological nitpick?  Time Changer is entirely built on the incorrect assumption that the ‘good ole days’ were better, when old white guys made all the decisions, women were not allowed to do anything but sit at home, and religious idolatry reigned.  Thus, the dialogue is chock-full of religious jargon and fundamentalist talking points while at the same time making a mockery of anyone who opposes the assumptions of the writers.  Besides this, in an attempt to be ‘historical’, the dialogue is also overly awkward and cumbersome.  Because of this, the characters are extremely programmed and robotic, just waiting to spew their lingo when the time is right.  There are also subtle racial stereotypes and jabs at modern women’s roles throughout the film.  The ending of the film is borderline bizarre, as it quietly depicts the nutty professor trying to find the ‘end of time’ using his contraption.  Not only do the writers silently let you know that they think the end of time occurs before the year 2050, but they also show disdain for Jesus’ own words in the Scriptures, which state that no one knows the time or day when He’s returning.  In short, there is nothing good about this storyline, and it even goes far enough to be rated in the propaganda category.  It’s purely preaching to a small audience that already agrees with these narrow-minded views and accomplishes little else.

Acting Quality (-1 points)

As can expected, the acting is as outdated as the ideas in this film.  Line delivery is forced and awkward and emotions are not present.  Male cast members are overrepresented while female cast members are painted in a strange light.  As previously mentioned, there are also some subtle racial stereotypes.  But what else is new about this film?

Conclusion

This movie is a wide open window into the disturbing worldview of the Christiano brothers.  In the end, they blame all of society’s ills on Hollywood.  There may be some truth to this, as there are other nuggets of truth buried throughout the sludge of this film.  Immoral Hollywood movies have certainly contributed a great deal to the corruption of society, but the world is always going to do what it does best—recede into sinful entropy.  It is up to the Christians to stop this slide; we cannot expect the world to fix itself and pat us on the back for it.  What people like the Christiano brothers really want is a return to their idea of a comfortably religious society.  But what they don’t realize is that today’s culture is a reaction against that older worldview.  If a white patriarchal religious utopia built on ivory tower theology was the answer to the world’s problems, it would have never ended.  The problem is that those who claimed the name of Christ tainted His Name with their actions, not those who do not claim His Name.  Jesus is the answer for culture’s problems, not some Pharisaical dominion.  And when it comes to movies, if you don’t like what you see, make something better.  So far, Christiano brothers and everyone else who complains about the state of Western culture, you have not produced any movies that are better or more worthwhile than the Hollywood alternative.  So shame on you.

 

Final Rating: -1.5 out of 10 points

 

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