Thursday, April 23, 2009

That movie about not leaving your partner behind (or, a window into my strange soul)

So Kevin and I finally got around to watching that movie Fireproof last night. (Courtesy of the Denver Public Library System.) It was all the rage among Christians awhile back. We'd seen Facing the Giants before, so kinda knew what this one would be like. Everyone kept saying Fireproof was great, but knowing myself (and remembering Facing the Giants), I had a feeling I probably wouldn't be too into it.

And yeah, it ended up being pretty cheesy. Kirk Cameron's character drove me NUTS. (I even found myself pulling for that nerdy doctor and Catherine to get together for awhile, just out of spite.) I think one of the points of the film was to reach out to people who don't consider themselves followers of Jesus, but honestly, I felt like the dad's presentation of the Gospel message wasn't particularly grace-filled. Finally (and this is a total side-issue), the movie made a strong point/plug about Covenant Marriage...and I understand the thought behind the movement...but I also wonder about the efficacy of Christians separating themselves even more than they already have by creating another legal category that makes it harder to divorce etc.

Those are but a sampling of my convoluted thoughts. Yes I know I'm in the minority of Christians who didn't love the film. I didn't even shed a tear. It IS nice that a movie was made upholding marriage and the value of fighting hard for something--our society has really lost that I think. The end was kinda sweet too when she showed up at the firehouse and I'm sure God has used the film to minister to many people.

For whatever it's worth, I'm not intending to be critical for the sake of being critical--but when I watch a movie I like to think about it, ponder the deeper themes and evaluate the message. It's art afterall and intended to be thought-provoking. But yes I come off like a jerk when I come to a different conclusion than most about a church-made Christian movie promoting marriage. :)

I'm really wondering, did any blog readers who don't consider themselves Christians see the movie??? What did you think???


joy said...

I'll be anxiously awaiting your responses. We just watched that movie last week and could barely hang on due to the cheese factor and we love cheese and I'm a big Kirk Cameron fan, mostly due to Growing Pains. i tried to see it through the eyes of one couple i know who did like the movie. and i thought about how it might speak to them about renewing love and commitment in a marriage that has been really hard from the beginning. So, I'm agreeing with you that this movie has probably touched some people. as always, you pose some thought provoking ideas.

Brianna Heldt said...

heehee joy i love your thoughts. during the movie i just kept thinking how fun it would be if andy and jeannett were watching with us. i guess it's good we didn't have a santa maria G3 viewing of this film. :) but you're right it has touched TONS of people. to each his own! :)

Shana said...

After MUCH hype from all our Christian friends we finally saw the movie a couple months ago. It was HORRIBLE. Honestly, the acting/writing/directing was so bad that it really was hard to get anything out of the movie.

I do think the 40 day challenge concept was nice, and really, we all should be pouring into our marriage and spouse as much as possible.

A behind-the-scenes note that I did appreciate: the kiss at the end was done with a stand-in; Kirk's actual wife. He made a vow to her never to kiss another woman on-screen. So I thought that was cute.

And lastly, I'm sure none of your readers will be able to compete with sheer awkward, accidental, horrible coincidence, we watched the movie in my living room Dad, my Step-mom, AND my mom. Who all see each other maybe once a year. Yeah.

joy said...

ha ha ha, brianna. a G3 viewing would have been so fun! and that's very sweet what the woman before me said about kirk kissing his wife. that's very sweet and not very hollywood--refreshing.

Mike and Rachel said...

I still love it. Thought it was powerful and sent such a good message. Loved Facing the Giants too.

Anonymous said...

I actually have been having a very difficult time in our marriage. I am a Christian, but have felt very estranged from my husband due to various reasons. While I agree that this was not a million dollar movie that has phenomenal acting skills, the issue of covenantal marriage struck us deeply to the core. God has joined us together whether or not we are "in love." To see a couple go from where we are to a hopeful, loving situation was inspiring and encouraging.

Brianna Heldt said...

Oh Shana! That is too, too awkward!!!! I'll bet you were just praying it would be over SOON! (And I cannot imagine how it came to be that you all watched it together!)

Brianna Heldt said...

anonymous that is great that you were positively impacted by the movie! that is truly wonderful. what a blessing when God uses something to speak to us and change our hearts.

one movie i DID love about a marriage being redeemed was "the story of us"--though not an explicitly Christian film, it was a rockin' love story about a seemingly broken marriage coming back together. Gotta love Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer! :)

Jeannett Gibson said...

Haven't seen the movie, kinda wanted to, but was also pretty skeptical. I don't do well with cheese, as you know. But, like many of the Women's Conferences where I leave feeling like I just sat through the most over the top ridiculously cheesy weekend, there are women who leave feeling refreshed and regenerated and so pumped up. At the same time, I'm sure there are things that I like that others would gag at, so it all works out. (But to be honest, anything with Kirk Cameron...Growing Pains included...would keep me at bay anyway).

Speaking of themes in movies, Andy made an interesting comment about the decidedly non-christian movie Knocked Up..."I'm so impressed...most other movies where a one-night stand ended in pregnancy, the couple would way to go Hollywood!" (Disclaimer: I will admit laughing HYSTERICALLY at the movie, but there is cussing and lots of other inappropriateness in it...) I think it's great that Christians are making movies...I just kinda wish they could get some better script writers and actors for it...because how much more awesome would Fireproof have been if the same themes were dealt with but with a bit more "talent"?

joy said...

amen, jeannett! i totally agree and i felt the same way about knocked up. it was rough around the edges, but overall, i liked the message. and i, of course, laughed hysterically as well.

you didn't like growing pains?!! come on.

The Fearnsides said...

Keith and I saw the movie in the theater and winced together at all the cheesy parts. I thought "Facing the Giants" was better (is that sad?).

After doing a bit of background research on the brothers who wrote the movie, I tried to have a bit more grace toward them. They are working on a shoestring budget in an industry that will pour millions into crap (i.e. Knocked Up. Which I (guiltily) enjoyed too). They didn't have the ability to use as many cameras, do as many takes, etc. Which, in the end, leads to a lower quality movie.

So, while I wish they could have made a more polished movie, without so many painfully awkaward moments, I still think it was important (as a Christian) to try and support it. The more people who see it, the more money they are likely to get from a production company to make another one.

Truthfully, it is really hard to find movies that aren't totally trashy. Ones that I could sit down and watch with family without being embarassed because of the level of unnecessary swearing, sex, etc. in it. Whether a movie is strictly Christian, or not, well done or not, if it's something I could sit with my in-laws and watch with out being totally horrified, then I will try and support it.

Sorry for the rambling. Just some thoughts.

Next time I'll nap before typing so I'll make more sense! :)


I am Katy, said...

Haven't seen it. It sounded too cheesy to me and like it was strictly a marketing tool for the book. Not that God can't use the book or the film for His glory, as I'm sure many have been encouraged by it, but I highly doubt any non-Christians went to this movie knowing what it was about ahead of time.

I tend to stay away from the latest fads until the dust has settled. I'll wait a few years and see if anyone is still talking about it. If so, then maybe I'll see it.

Brianna Heldt said...

jeannett yes, great analogy about the conferences! i haven't seen knocked up yet. i saw juno tho, and loved it.

monica i love your comments, no need to nap first! :) i agree that it is remarkable that movies are made on such a small budget. at the same time sometimes i feel like if it's a Christian thing, you HAVE to like it, even if you don't.

katy i too like to wait till the dust settles, which i suppose is why we just now watched it. still haven't seen "twilight" either...still waiting on it from the library. :)

curlyjo said...

Saw it...didn't love it. I was a nice try...and I'm sure God used it...but it was just a tad too churchified for my liking.

Brianna Heldt said...

okay how much do i LOVE the word "churchified"??!!!! i'll be using that in the future for sure!

Thankfulmom said...

The movie was far from perfect, and some moments were a bit painful to watch. However, I suspect that there are many couples who are struggling that have never had solid teaching on marriage. The principles presented were good, really good. We have been married almost 25 years and know that it is hard work and lots of grace that keeps our devotion and love so strong.

On another note, I appreciated the way that pornography was shown to be so destructive. Our teenage sons happened to watch the movie with us, and we felt that it was a good reminder of why pornography is such a tremendous trap that can ruin lives.

While I may not be cool for thinking so, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit it, I'm glad the film was made.

And I don't think you are a jerk!


Angela said...

haven't seen it, or facing the giants...but i'm for sure putting juno and knocked up in my netflix que after these comments. :)

Luke said...

I've seen Facing the Giants and so have not yet felt a real need to see Fireproof. I think we're going to watch it in our young marrieds group, but I'm probably going to have a rather negative reaction.

Just guessing.

Oh, and non-Christians seeing this film? Nope. Can't imagine it.


Amanda and Jacob said...

Well, I'm Christian but my hubby is Jewish and we saw this film together. Reactions? I thought it was nutty, but my husband actually had a more level-headed (and appreciative) response than I did. He concurred that it was cheesy, yes, but he thought the teachings on marriage and marriage as a lifelong commitment were solid.

We both thought, though, that most, if not all, of non-Christians who saw this movie would likely be turned off by the movie's portrayal (sometimes inaccurate) of Christianity and Christians. It kind of ticked me off and I AM one!

It kind of bugged my husband that it was being marketed SO heavily as The. Christian. Film. No other faith/religion does this (and with good reason too, if theirs turn out as dumb as this one).

Anyways, sorry for the negativity. We didn't really like it.

Brianna Heldt said...

Loving hearing your thoughts! (Lisa I don't think you're uncool for being glad it was made, I think you're probably in the majority of Christians who think so! I'm not sorry it was made, I just thought it had some "issues." :) )

Amanda I never even thought about how Christians were portrayed in the film. Interesting point!

The Fearnsides said...

So, I realized after I wrote this comment that I am a total hypocrite.

While I'll give Christian movies a chance, I generally roll my eyes at popular Christian lit (especially fiction). I do read the books from time to time, but am often shocked at how poorly written and slightly un-Biblical they can be. I usually just end up irritated and sarcastic.

So, I recant my last comment in order to say, I agree with you. If it's going to be pushed as something Christian, a big effort should be made to make sure it is well done.

This time I had a nap first.. LOL

Brianna Heldt said...

haha monica i love it!!! i don't read much Christian fiction...or really very much fiction at all, tho i'd like to read more. i think my issue is, i feel like Christian art automatically gets a pass, like people will buy/read/watch ANYthing if it's Christian, whether it's any good or not. therefore i think a lot of the stuff on the market is lame, b/c there's no real competition or accountability...

T & T Livesay said...

Have never seen a Christian movie that was NOT cheesy. Never. I agree with you.

Steve and Jenn said...

I haven't seen the movie yet, but have heard mostly good things about it. I too, try not to jump onto the newest craze. As for movies with redemptive value, Marley and Me was a great recent hit (only I just watched it last night for the first time :)!)

The Scholl Family said...

Brianna, I'm so glad you started this topic! Marty and I haven't seen the movie but were supposed to last weekend and had to cancel at the last minute. I had heard it had way cheesy acting (and I don't handle cheese well, at all!) but a good message. I admit I'm embarrassed that so much "cheesy" stigma is attached to Christian movies, books, etc. I still plan to see it, forewarned and forearmed about the bad acting. I too am one to let the dust settle before I jump in and read/watch. I just now read the Left Behind series, for crying out loud! I loved reading everyone's commentary about Fireproof- thanks!


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