Monday, September 19, 2011

Faith-Based Movies: Utopia, Warriors and Courageous

Three movies this season are billed as faith-based movies and all have to do with ineffective fathers and their children. Some of the fathers have problems with alcohol in all three movies and all with at least one son.

Last month I reviewed the novelization of "Courageous", a movie to be released in less than two weeks.  According to Pastor/Producer/Actor Alex Kendrick in Time Magazine "Our goal is to use movies to change culture. How many sermons would we have to preach to reach five million people?"  "Courageous" follows other movies, including "Fireproof" produced by the Kendrick brothers, Pastors of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA. 

While waiting to see "Courageous", my husband and I saw "Seven Days in Utopia" with Johnny Crawford (acted by Robert Duvall) as the mentor for struggling golfer Luke Chishom (acted by Lucas Black). This movie is based on David L. Cook's book, Gold's Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia. Here is the movie trailer:   Seven Days in Utopia  Sweet movie and movie scenes we enjoyed so  much. There are themes of father/son, mentor/mentee, and Johnny's regret that he himself lost his game because he drank too much. The biggest theme I saw is the spiritual lessons that the redeemed Johnny imparts to Luke who blew his last event when he was angry at his own father. At the end of the movie, Luke uses his training to keep his golf-game cool. We wonder if he made his putt. Author Cook has written a sequel book and answers that question here: Did He Make the Putt?

In contrast, another movie we saw, "Warrior", is a rough movie.  It has themes of the other two movies--father/son tension, alcoholism by Paddy (played by Nick Nolte). Tommy has his father Paddy become his boxing trainer but tells him it doesn't mean anything in terms of their family relationship; unforgiving Tommy gets his sober dad to drink again. In this dysfunctional family, the brothers also have issues that somehow seem to get resolved in the last scene while Paddy has looked on proud of his sons but perhaps realizing it will be hard to get back those years he has lost with his sons.

I wouldn't take everyone to "Warrior". Christianity Today in an e-mail I get on new movies wrote:
Warrior is rated PF-13 for sequences of intense mixed martial arts fighting, some language and thematic material. The last  minutes of the film include several violent fights with blood and brutality. In a few heated moments, the main characters use profanity; Paddy once uses the Lord's name in vain. Brendan and his wife, Tess, talk sexually to one another. Tess is also shown in her underwear a few times. In one scene, Paddy gets drunk and behaves irrationally, crying and cussing.
But I would take everyone to "Courageous". Let the talk of redeeming relationships begin. We forgive, because Christ has forgiven us. We have this one life to have the generations get our relationships right.

1 comment:

  1. When the movie "Courageous" came out, we took friends to see it because we had extra tickets. Ironically, one couple who went with us have since lost their own daughter to a freak accident, just as we saw in that movie. This brave young couple did train up their daughter in the faith and can be assured she is now in the arms of Jesus.


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