Love 101: Freshman Class (Movie Review)

Love 101: Freshman Class – Defender of Truth

Plot Summary

Based on complicated relationship webs from the book of Genesis, a collection of high school students is forced decide what they truly believe about love. As they navigate the complex landscape before them, the choices they make will impact them for the rest of their lives.

Production Quality (.5 point)

This production has a lot of terrible aspects to it, such as the loud soundtrack that often overpowers audio and the weird aspect ratios. Camera work is often shaky, and video quality is sometimes blurry. The sets, locations, and props are mostly cheap, and some unnecessarily tight shots cut things off. Outside scenes are too bright at times, and flashbacks have weird sepia tone quality to them. Very slight improvement as the film progresses is the only thing keeping this section from zero, but it’s not enough to bring the movie out of its nosedive.

Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)

Love 101: Freshman Class continues the worn-out trope of modernly repurposed Bible stories and makes things especially awkward by throwing them into a high school setting and mixing them all up. Besides the weak premise, however, the plot relies on unlikely and random things occurring just to suit its means, which creates unclear direction and purpose. Otherwise, characters stand around in scenes to stiffly recite lines and participate in empty conversations. Mindless dialogue leads to aimless characters, including perfect characters who constantly spout Scripture and talk down to all the “bad” people, trying to force them to act right in their own strength. Some characters are magically fixed after well-timed sermons that contain a lot of in-your-face, things-are-much-worse-these-days messaging. Events in the narrative move very quickly to rush toward a desired conclusion and even present a laughable portrayal of criminal procedure that only exists in play acting. In the end, the bizarre ending has the audacity to suggest that more of these awful movies could be made, which we hope never happens.

Acting Quality (0 points)

It’s evident that this cast was poorly coached as most performances are robotic. Line delivery is quite unsure, and emotions are awkwardly forced. There’s also a lot of squinting in outside scenes, and the makeup work is low quality. Thus, this rounds out another terrible effort in the Christian entertainment world.

Conclusion

It seems like one has to try really hard to make a film this bad. Aside from the obvious budget problems, the central message of this screenplay is that a Christian teenager just needs to try harder to act right and that those who “act bad” just don’t listen to enough sermons. This is legalism at is core and isn’t something we need to see in Christian movies. Therefore, we hope that the advent of these types of offerings has come and gone.

Final Rating: .5 out of 10 points

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Fat Chance [2016] (Movie Review)

Image result for fat chance movie

Plot Summary

Allison has always struggled with her weight, but she doesn’t know what to do to change herself. She feels ostracized by other people, and when she feels like she might be interested in a guy from her church group, she feels like she has no chance due to her image. Thus, she decides she needs to find love on the internet…by using her roommate’s picture on her online dating profile. However, things don’t go as she originally planned them to go, and everyone learns a hard lesson about self-esteem and being themselves.

Production Quality (2 points)

For the most part, Fat Chance has a fine production, including good video and audio quality. The soundtrack is intriguing, but some of the camera angles are a bit odd at times. Similarly, lighting is good throughout even if the sets, locations, and props are a bit limited. Even still, they are mostly used well, and the editing is adequate. In the end, this is essentially an above average production.

Plot and Storyline Quality (.5 point)

Fat Chance definitely isn’t afraid to explore some very relevant body image issues, but this film may not have gone about it in the best way. This is a difficult topic to tastefully portray in a movie, and some of the attempts to highlight the weight of the main character are questionable at best. There are also quite a few distasteful jokes about being overweight, but there are also some other areas of comedy that are actually somewhat funny because they poke fun of silly societal trends. Elsewhere, the writers definitely had some good intentions with character development (since the characters are intended to be based on real people), yet there are also some very poorly designed “bad” characters who are basically really obvious strawmen. However, the dialogue throughout the film is pretty good despite the somewhat strong messaging, and these worldviews are agreeable since they explore important topics of how people paint themselves on social media, how some Christians act fake, and how it’s better to be yourself. In a similar vein, while Fat Chance also includes a lot of typical dating service plot elements (two characters are virtually dating and know each other in real life but don’t know that the other one is the virtual date), it does present a realistic parody of the problems these services can cause. In the end, this storyline is a mixed bag of missed opportunities and potential for the future. With deeper characters and subtler messaging, this plot could have gone a lot further.

Acting Quality (2 points)

Despite having a partially “amateur” cast, Fat Chance has a handful of bright spots among its cast members. Many of them definitely make good attempts to become the characters, and while some are a bit awkward at times, they are mostly good at exhibiting emotions and delivering lines. Thus, this rounds out a basically average effort.

Conclusion

More Christian movies and series need to explore the unpopular opinions and topics found in Fat Chance, but there are obviously better ways to go about this particular concept. Self-worth and self image are both important and sensitive issues to look at, which is why they must be done in consultation with people who have struggled with them and in conjunction with the Holy Spirit. Moreover, the creators of this film demonstrated potential for the future by making Fat Chance, so it will be interesting to see how they build off of this movie in their potentially upcoming projects.

Final Rating: 4.5 out of 10 points