Christian Films: Can They Be Good?

Unfortunately, I can’t name you one movie labeled as “Christian” that I’ve seen that is good. Actually, there are many Christian movies I’ve never seen after seeing the trailer. Now, my desire to see them doesn’t diminish because of the fact that it is a Christian film, but simply because the trailer is terrible. I mean who is their target audience with these movies, old white people? That has to be it, because I can’t tell you someone my age who actually enjoys these travesties. Especially not someone who, in any way, considers themselves some sort of movie lover. These are the type of movies you see a trailer to and figure that the actors just really wanted the money, and that’s why they accepted the role. At first watch usually these trailers seem like parodies of the genre they fall in. I know I’ve had to have someone tell me it’s an actual movie that is being distributed and had an actual budget, while I question them if they’re messing with me. It amazes me that something filled with every cliche, including stereotypes and caricatures of races and genders, are put out there and consumed by the church in masses. You think I’m joking? Watch this trailer and try not to do any of the following:

1)Shake your head

2)Facepalm

3)Laugh

4)Sigh heavily

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Did you make it? Don’t lie, you weren’t able to make it through without doing any of those. Do you know why? Because you have a sense of reality, and this film clearly doesn’t. Of course, we as filmgoers accept reality defying things all the time, but it all depends on the world that has been set by the filmmaker. In this trailer we already know that the film is supposed to be grounded in reality, but clearly doesn’t understand that concept at all. As a person who’s life is heavily involved in films and filmmaking, it’s almost offensive that people eat these types of movies up. The question, however, is not ARE they good because we all know the answer to that one. No, the question this time is CAN they be good. I think the answer to that is a yes. They just need to change a few things first.

Clearly they need to stop being so cliche. We have seen movies that aren’t directly made for the church but show symbolism or even take place in biblical times do well in the box office. Lord of the Rings, a series noted for its symbolism and having a Christian author, holds the most Academy Awards for any series of films. Obviously they can be great, as long as they aren’t reciting trope after trope with a completely predictable outcome. That leads to another problem, we need to be able to think. The majority of people don’t want to watch a movie where they know what is going to happen, it gets boring. I’ve sat in a movie before and figured out the ending to it about 15min in and not enjoyed myself much the rest of the film. This has happened to a lot of people, and these Christian films are as predictable as they come. Without ever seeing Fireproof I can tell you that in the end, just by viewing the trailer, he ends up saving his marriage after finding help from God. How many of these “Christian” films end that way? I would bet a good amount of money that most of them do. Just look at this one:

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Let me guess, he keeps his job, the football team wins, and his wife gets pregnant? Was I right? Without facing the giants that the Christian film industry faces, they will never appeal to a broader audience. They don’t need to think that they have to make “secular” movies in order for more people to see them. They simply need to make thought provoking movies. Maybe make a film where after seeking help from God, God doesn’t give it to them? That’s pretty a pretty real ending. Not everything should be perfect and end so happy because that’s not the way life is. Not everything should be so predictable to the point of it lacking almost any artistic integrity or depth. Tackle these problems, and movies that are labeled as “Christian” will be accepted by a larger demographic, and isn’t that what the point of making them is?

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