By: Andrew Lovgren
All Christian movies are terrible.
Plenty of quality movies are made using the Bible as the inspiration (The Ten Commandments, Ben-Hur, The Prince of Egypt), but movies that are made specifically to display Christian life end up being almost unwatchable.
Many are reading this, already filled with disgust at the thought of someone not liking Facing the Giants or Fireproof. Plenty of people liked those movies. Congregations gathered across the country to have viewing parties at each new release.
It’s not about not disliking them. Christian movies just tend to have incredibly low quality acting, writing and direction, and people seem okay with such low standards.
Take, for example, Courageous, a 2012 release that focuses on four cops that have to balance their jobs with being parents. As they struggle to be the best dads they can be, the group discovers they need to find ways to grow closer to God and their kids.
Between the fake sobbing and almost soap opera-levels of the dramatic, the characters become ridiculous and impossible to relate to.
Nobody can argue with the main themes of the movies. Becoming a better father is something that everyone can get behind.
Begging the question: why?
There’s no reason for these movies to bash its audiences over the head with their themes. Plenty of mainstream movies have the same themes, though told with tact and subtlety (and of course better acting).
The only apparent goal of these market-specific films is to uplift those who are already on board with the movie’s message. We as a church can do better.
Christian movies shouldn’t be movies for Christians. Christians in the film industry should aim to make movies that reach the masses, sharing themes and messages that are equally relatable, though far more effective.
The best-picture nominated 2010 film The Blind Side, though not a directly Christian film, echoes many principles of the faith. Such a widely successful movie reached millions, many of whom wouldn’t normally watch a faith-based film.
There’s a line between engaging pop culture and complete separation that the church needs to move closer to before these movies can be taken seriously.
Even the VeggieTales movies, made for kids and enjoyed by all, have better written scripts and stronger story lines than most of the films being discussed in small groups across the country.
People aren’t going to watch Sunday School Musical and change the direction of their life. In fact, very few movies have that kind of impact.
Still, instead of alienating Christians from the rest of the world with shoddy camera work and storylines that are disjointed from reality, it’s time for congregations to connect with the culture.
For many, it’s more comfortable to watch their beliefs on screen, reinforcing preconceived notions of how life should be lived. Movies can and should be much more than that.
We can’t change the industry, but we can change how we approach it.