my review of Facing the Giants

20 03 2007

This weekend I finally watched the movie ““, and it was great.  I thought it was well done, and the story is incredible.  I highly recommend it.  Even if you don’t like football, you’ll probably still enjoy this movie.  (I don’t watch or play football, yet I think this movie is awesome.)

The story revolves around the head football coach at a small high school, who has a lot of problems (giants) to deal with. His problems aren’t just with football, either. Life was becoming very difficult for him and not working out the way he had planned.  It was really moving.  The situations were realistic, and I figure most everyone can relate in some way.  We all occasionally go through times where it seems like most everything is going wrong and you wonder why it is happening to you.  It brought a few tears to my eyes in a couple of places, because I can relate to some of those feelings.  There’s been times when it seemed like my world was crashing down on me; thankfully God was there for me and made something good out of even the worst situations.  (Yes, I’ll admit I teared up a couple of times.  I know I’m not supposed to cry because I’m a man, but I think that mindset of repression damages our freedom and hinders emotional and spiritual health.  But I digress…)

I’ve heard a few people be critical of some of the acting in the movie, but I’m not sure that’s fair or accurate.  (Although of course everyone has a right to their opinion.)  I’m not the type of person who analyzes how good the acting is while I’m watching a movie, so I’m not one to be critical of it like some people.  Although, there were a couple of spots where the presentation of the dialogue didn’t seem “normal”, but later I wondered what I was comparing it with.  Most other movies aren’t “normal” in how they portray everyday life.  Some of the people in the movie acted a little differently than I would expect, but that doesn’t mean it’s not realistic, because there are a lot of people that don’t act like me.  And sometimes in real life, a conversation gets a little awkward.  Sometimes I’ll say something that doesn’t come out as well as I had hoped.  If someone was filming my life, viewers might say I am a bad actor.  🙂  Anyway, I don’t have a problem with the acting in the movie.  Actually, I thought a few of the main actors did really good, particularly the coaches.

There are several scenarios from the movie that I’d like to write on, but I’ll do that in a separate post, because those may contain spoilers, which I don’t want to include in my review.  For now, I’ll just say there were several spots that made a good point in a unique way.  (Click here to search for the other posts related to this movie that I’ll be writing soon.)

“Facing the Giants” was made by a Baptist church in Albany, Georgia, using only five professionals and a lot of volunteers.  It’s amazing how well it was done, considering it wasn’t a typical Hollywood production with lots of experienced people.

The movie was clean, funny, dramatic, and inspirational.  It’s one I’d like to see again on a regular basis, because it inspires me to believe God for more.  Too often we settle for less than what God has planned for us, because we look at our circumstances as permanent instead of believing God to do miraculous things.

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4 responses

28 03 2007
Kri'

Definitely agree with this assessment – this movie was great! I teared up a little bit, too, Beppo…

20 04 2007
danny davis

okay, so the movie was clean; a great stress relief that i wouldn’t have to skip scenes or deal with ridiculous language. the movie had good intentions of portraying God as omnipotent but i most definitely felt otherwise. i should first make it clear that i am a believer and have been for 10 years now. i have a degree in philosophy and biblical studies from a very conservative baptist college and i own and operate a creative photography/video/design agency. having said all of that i feel that i may objectively offer my comments. the script and dialogue were both so poorly written. i am so frustrated with the lack of creativity and expression found within the Christian community when discussing the arts.

is it really that necessary to use so many third day and bebo norman songs in the movie? there is Christian music out there that doesn’t have to have that cheesy emotional sunday school feel. my company just produced a 10 minute promotional for a guy who uses sports to reach young men in the community and it was completely different from facing the giants. by different i mean a million times more creative.

i’m not boasting that we’re some sort of prodigy group that can’t be beat i’m just frustrated that i know when something if produced by a Christian because the quality is seriously lacking! if we really believe that everything we do should glorify God then whatever we do should stand out because it’s amazing. i’m not so naive to think that everyone is creative, i realize that’s not true, but what happened to all of the creative people when the script for this movie was written? who in the world casted the actors/actresses? i felt like i was staring at a bad high school drama. the acting was horrible! i almost wanted to watch paint dry.

i was also frustrated that there were only, in my opinion, three interesting shots the ENTIRE movie. stranger then fiction and little miss sunshine, though both are very secular, have some of the most recently amazing shots that i’ve seen since eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.

i also don’t like how God is portrayed as always answering prayers. my dad died when i was 10, my mother married a pastor who has left her, my youngest sister is an avid drug user and has a little boy and one of my close friends decided that he was happier to be homosexual and stop going to church. however, i’m not mad at God at all because i realize that He is control, meaning there are no surprises to Him. but i don’t think that if i read or pray enough that God will fix all of those things because God uses tragedy to assert His will and to bring glory to Himself. Christ dying on the cross is a perfect example of God using tragedy to bring Himself glory.

i’m just tired of Christianity being presented as the candy coated lifestyle that doesn’t require a whole lot when in fact it requires your very life. i felt that the film was a really bad short story that left no room for wonder or implication. everything that the characters thought was said. and the way that they said it was the result of extremely poor acting. low budget film; i understand, but i think it would have been better to have not made the film at all. hollywood makes fun of Christians enough without us producing films that feed the stereo type.

i definitely not afraid of standing up for what i believe; i just think that too many people who know too little about God are standing up too much. i’m pretty sure James warned against that and Paul wasn’t really that kind with the Corinthians when they were out of line.
i felt that the film was a bust and i honestly wanted to take it back to blockbuster and exchange it for a different movie.

i’ll add this experience to the left behind series that has barely caught up to the hollywood 80’s production style.

22 04 2007
Fab

I’ll preface what I’m about to say with a little about me. I’m a Christian who has no skill or know-how when it comes to movie-making.

That said, I can agree somewhat with DD on the fact that some of the acting in FTG wasn’t the best. But hey, these were church members who aren’t professional actors and actresses. I didn’t step into this movie looking for Oscar nominees or any acting beyond mediocre. I was even pleasantly surprised by some. As far as the scenes go, I thought they flowed well with the story-line and were on-par with the cinematic norm.

The plot was somewhat predictable, but very inspiring. I found that it made me want to seek God’s best for my life. And hey, who doesn’t like a good inspirational football movie about underdogs winning it all ? Can you say, “Remember the Titans”?

Now, in response to DD above, I would just like to say that if we don’t portray God as One Who answers prayer and offers hope, then how should we portray Him? As someone who ignores pleas for help and mercy and waits to crush us like a bug at the end of the movie? Boy, that will bring in the unbelievers! If we don’t have hope to offer the world, what do we have to offer them? The movie’s purpose was to inspire hope in people–believers and non-believers alike.

I have seen God move in miraculous ways, blessing and transforming lives much like the movie portrayed. I’m not saying that God is a “genie in a bottle”, granting every whim and wish, but He is our Heavenly Father who delights in giving good gifts to His children.

I’m very sorry that you lost your father when you were young, and I grieve for the situations with your family and friends. You may say that you don’t blame God, but from the tone of your post, you have developed a hardened critical spirit that always looks for the negative. Yes, God can and does turn tragedy into victory as evidenced by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, but do YOU really believe that? Never give up hope believing for your mom, your sister and nephew, and your friend. When we lose all hope, why are we even Christians? If there’s no hope, why bother with God at all? Never discount God’s ability to speak into a situation and change everything. Doubting will bring the expected results, which is no results at all.

And what was the pot-shot at the musical groups in the movie? The songs were relevant to the scenes they accompanied. When the coach was believing God in the face of overwhelming hardship, they played “The Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns, which I thought lyrically fit the scene well. The other songs did the same. What’s cheesy about emotions or Sunday School? God gave us emotions and He commanded us to study to show ourselves approved (which is done partly in Sunday School).

Lastly, I do agree that Christianity should never be presented as “candy-coated” and easy. We are commanded to die daily. We’re commanded to take up our cross daily and follow Jesus. We’re told to die to self and surrender completely to Jesus and allow Him to live His life of righteousness and holiness through us. This is a tall order, but God’s grace enables us to fulfill our obligations to Him. What we can’t do on our own is made possible by grace enabling us to live what God’s Word demands of His people. But, from what I saw in the movie, these people lived in a Godly manner, realized their shortcomings, and cried out to God to help them. Some hardships never went away in the movie. For example, the man who had to use a wheelchair was still confined to it when the movie ended. I didn’t come away from watching this movie thinking of God as being portrayed as a “Sugar-Daddy in the Sky”. I thought it made clear that with God, all things are POSSIBLE. There was never the implication of sudden overwhelming success readily available for the asking for everyone for any reason. How spoiled and unproductive in the Kingdom we would be if this were the case! We would have no character–character that comes from suffering, persevering, and coming out with our faith intact.

I don’t want to make you angry, DD, but I think you ought to examine how YOU portray God in your review of this movie. At some point, it doesn’t even sound like you’re reviewing the movie anymore. Rather, it sounds as if a very hurt, offended person is lashing out at something as insignificant as a movie instead of dealing with some real personal issues that you may have with God. The movie is what it is and you can take it or leave it. But be careful that your criticism and negativity don’t reflect poorly on God or His people.

7 05 2008
Monique

Hi there,

My name is Monique & I’m part of the PR team for Sherwood Pictures–creators of FACING THE GIANTS.
Thank you so much for supporting the movie on your blog! We wanted to keep you informed of their latest project–FIREPROOF.
It’s due to hit theaters this September in theaters nationwide. You can go to http://www.fireproofthemovie.com to view the trailer, read the synopsis, and sign up for updates to stay up to date with all of the FIREPROOF happenings! If you’re interested in learning more or need any resource, pictures, and downloads for your blog please email me at monique@lovell-fairchild.com and I will be happy to get you what you need.

Again, thanks for blogging!
Monique
Lovell-Fairchild Communications

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