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Below are the two final essays to be posted on Allegiance and Duty Betrayed. The first one is written by a friend -- screen name 'Euro-American Scum' -- who, over the past four years, has been the most faithful essayist here. He has written about everything from his pilgrimage to Normandy in 2004 to take part in the 60th–year commemoration of the invasion, to his memories of his tour in Vietnam. His dedication to America’s founding principles ... and those who have sacrificed to preserve them over the past 200+ years ... is unequaled. Thank you, E-A-S. It has been a privilege to include your writing here, and it is a privilege to call you my friend.

The second essay is my own farewell. And with it I thank all of the many regular visitors, and those who may have only dropped in occasionally, for coming here. I hope you learned something. I hope a seed or two was planted. But, even if not, I thank you for stopping by ... 25 March, 2010


Hollywood, With All Its Self-Importance, Glitz and Pretension, Can't Come Close

I saw Facing the Giants on Sunday, October 22nd. I am not a movie-goer, and I detest lining the pockets of the Hollywood left, but I had read an intriguing review of this movie on Patriot Post and decided it was worth my time checking out. I had also read some negative reviews written by your typical Hollywood movie reviewers, but suspected that this movie might just be an example of the kind of spiritually meaningful movie whose value depends upon what the viewer brings to it, in terms of ability to actually comprehend the depth of the message. I suspect that most readers of this blog have the right stuff in that regard, whereas most professional movie critics may not. :)

I left the theater on Sunday evening knowing that I had seen one of the most powerful movies of my life. There was no phony ‘emoting’ of Hollywood actors – just average people playing average people. The story had the potential to become a formulaic, predictable, hokey attempt at a meaningful message, as have so many Hollywood ‘overcome-the-odds-success-stories’, but it side-stepped that trap and became, instead, a beautifully touching genuine artistic success.

The audience at the showing I attended (which was large, considering that the movie was released a month ago, and which represented virtually every segment of modern America) was, to a person, enrapt from beginning to end. There were an abundance of tears, laughter, compassion, profound sorrow, and unrestrained joy ... and perhaps a spiritual epiphany or two.

The humor is wonderful, and artfully inserted in just the right places. The acting is real. The passion is genuine. The faith is beautiful. And the viewer leaves the theater with a feeling of uplift, optimism and inspiration that is rare in these troubling times.

When fear and faith collide, only one will be left standing.

See it if you can. You will agree with me. Hollywood can’t come close.

Below is a fascinating story of the movie’s evolution excerpted from the trailer description. Is there any doubt that the Lord’s hand played an essential role in the making of this memorable movie?:

Facing the Giants’ is the new feature from Sherwood Pictures, a production company birthed out of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia. Michael C. Catt, senior pastor at Sherwood, and Jim McBride, executive pastor, supported the vision for the movie believing that this ‘out of the box’ approach to ministry could produce positive results around the world. With no fund-raising, the huge undertaking was supported by private donations from Sherwood members. The church rallied together in prayer and volunteered their time and talents for the new venture. None of the actors were paid as the majority of the cast and crew were volunteers with no prior experience.

Because of their unique availability, retired senior adult men, stay-at-home moms, and home schooled teenagers primarily compiled the working crew to operate the set during the six weeks of shooting. Locations for the movie were donated by local residents, businesses, and schools. All ages were involved as Sunday school classes cooked meals and became the ‘caterers’ to the crew each day. Training the volunteers and facilitating the production was a hired team of only five professionals.

Facing the Giants’ was written and produced by Alex and Stephen Kendrick, brothers and associate pastors at Sherwood Baptist Church. Their goals were to produce a family friendly movie that could be affordably shot in Albany, would be fun to watch, impactful to viewers, and glorifying to God. ‘I believe there is a huge culture of people who love movies, but leave theaters disappointed by films with profanity, immorality, and messages that trample their family’s values and faith,’ said Kendrick.

~ joanie


Arlene Albrecht said...

I just checked last night's paper and it's not showing anywhere around here. Figures.

Robmaroni said...

It's playing 30 mi. from us. We'll be taking the 3 crumb crushers this weekend. Thanks. ;)

3timesalady said...

Would a 5 year-old understand the story?

daveburkett said...

Nice review, but it's not playing anywhere near me. Harrumph!

Anonymous said...

Sounds an inspiring and uplifting film. I went on their website too. Sadly I do not think it will be showing this side of the pond....

stonemason said...

I haven't been to the movies in probably 10 years. I'll make an exception for this one, driving 35 miles this weekend to see it with wife and kids.

D_o'connor said...

This’ll make you sick (the bold part especially):

The Christian moviemakers behind a low-budget film called "Facing the Giants" were stunned when the MPAA pinned a PG rating on their gentle movie about a burned-out, depressed football coach whose life _ on and off the field _ takes a miraculous turn for the better.

"What the MPAA said is that the movie contained strong 'thematic elements' that might disturb some parents," said Kris Fuhr, vice president for marketing at Provident Films, which is owned by Sony Pictures. Provident plans to open the film next fall in 380 theaters nationwide with the help of Samuel Goldwyn Films, which has worked with indie movies like "The Squid and the Whale."

Which "thematic elements" earned this squeaky-clean movie its PG?
"Facing the Giants" is too evangelistic.

The MPAA, noted Fuhr, tends to offer cryptic explanations for its ratings. In this case, she was told that it "decided that the movie was heavily laden with messages from one religion and that this might offend people from other religions. It's important that they used the word 'proselytizing' when they talked about giving this movie a PG. ...

"It is kind of interesting that faith has joined that list of deadly sins that the MPAA board wants to warn parents to worry about."

Overt Christian messages are woven throughout "Facing the Giants," which isn't surprising since the film was co-written and co-produced by brothers Alex and Stephen Kendrick, who are the "associate pastors of media" at Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga. In addition to working with the megachurch's cable-television channel, they created its Sherwood Pictures ministry _ collecting private donations to fund a $25,000 movie called "Flywheel," about a wayward Christian used-car salesman.

"Facing the Giants" cost $100,000 and resembles a fusion of the Book of Job and a homemade "Hoosiers," or perhaps a small- school "Friday Night Lights" blended with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association movies that used to appear in some mainstream theaters. Sherwood Pictures used local volunteers as actors and extras, backed by a small crew of tech professionals.

The movie includes waves of answered prayers, a medical miracle, a mysterious silver-haired mystic who delivers a message from God and a bench-warmer who kicks a 51-yard field goal to win the big game when his handicapped father pulls himself out of a wheelchair and stands under the goal post to inspire his son's faith. There's a prayer-driven gust of wind in there, too.
But the scene that caught the MPAA's attention may have been the chat between football coach Grant Taylor _ played by Alex Kendrick _ and a rich brat named Matt Prader. The coach says that he needs to stop bad-mouthing his bossy father and get right with God.

The boy replies: "You really believe in all that honoring God and following Jesus stuff? ... Well, I ain't trying to be disrespectful, but not everybody believes in that."

The coach replies: "Matt, nobody's forcing anything on you. Following Jesus Christ is the decision that you're going to have to make for yourself. You may not want to accept it, because it'll change your life. You'll never be the same."

That kind of talk may be too blunt for some moviegoers, said Kendrick, but that's the way real people actually talk in Christian high schools in Georgia. Sherwood Baptist isn't going to apologize for making the kinds of movies that it wants to make.

"Look, I have those kinds of conversations about faith all the time and I've seen young people make decisions that change their lives," he said. "The reason we're making movies in the first place is that we hope they inspire people to think twice about their relationships with God.

"So we're going to tell the stories that we believe God wants us to tell. We have nothing to hide."


jim said...


It's rated PG because it's "too evangelistic"!

The thought police have reached a new low!

It's not playing anywhere near me, Joanie. Then again, who would expect this "metropolis" to come within a million miles of wholesome entertainment? (Not I)

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Will look for it.