Christian movies. They get a pretty bad rap these days, don’t they? It’s understandable, certainly, with all the problem elements – cheesy acting, thin/idiot plots, and a heavy-handed message – that seem to plague almost every faith-based film these days. I’ve seen my share of bad Christian movies over the past few years, with only a few gems managing to shine through here and there in my quest for The Best Christian Movie of All Time. And with the DVD release of Pureflix’s I’m Not Ashamed (which I’m sure will be amazing) just around the corner, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite Christian films with you.
~Courageous – This was the first Christian movie I ever watched, so it’s always been special to me for that reason. Even though they don’t always hit their mark, the Kendrick brothers have a way of making their films warm and comforting, sort of like a bowl of chicken noodle soup. There are five different dads in this movie and each one of them has their own set of struggles, temptations, and trials. David was my favorite when I was younger, mainly because he was young and cute (wow, Eva) and while I still really like him, I find myself appreciating Nathan and Javier much more. Best part of the movie? When (spoilers) Adam and the gang find out that Shane has been pilfering drugs from the evidence room + the subsequent fall-out. That subplot went where Christian movies seldom go and it’s powerful stuff.
~The Ultimate Gift – This film was recommended to me by Ashley, I believe, and it’s remained one of my favorite movies ever, not just one of my favorite Christian movies. All the old actors (James Garner, Lee Merriweather, and Bill Cobbs) are super, and Jason melts my heart every time with his dramatic (yet believable) change in character and his sass and sweetness…I have quite the soft spot for him. (He reminds me a little of Lightning McQueen, actually. So, duh, of course I’m going to love him.) There’s humor, there’s heartbreak, and there’s triumph in this film. Seriously awesome. (Don’t bother with the sequel, though.) Best part of the movie? The Thanksgiving dinner. And Jason’s attitude at the beginning, ’cause you just know he’s Going Down.
~The Prince of Egypt & Joseph: King of Dreams – I haven’t seen either of these films terribly recently (though I’ll probably be watching Prince of Egypt tonight) but THE MUSIC, you guys. THE. MUSIC. (In case you’re wondering, I’m mashing these two together, because they both need to be on this list and they’re really similar and it just works, y’know?) The music, the songs, for both of these films is incredible. Particularly ‘Deliver Us’ and ‘Better Than I’. Both films stay true to the biblical accounts (though, of course, there’s a little bit of creative license, too) – they’re awesome for introducing children to biblical history without them having to sit through an epic like The Ten Commandments. Best part of the movie(s)? Again, the music. Also, the way God is presented in Prince of Egypt is incredibly respectful, especially for a secular film company. Gives me chills every time.
~Fireproof – Again, I haven’t seen this for a long time, so I don’t have all that much to say about it, but I do remember really enjoying the story. I know Kirk Cameron is pretty much under constant ridicule these days, but I didn’t know that when I first watched this film, and I thought he was great. The conversion scene always makes me cry. Best part of the movie? The kiss in the fire station. WIN.
~Mom’s Night Out – Okay. I know that this film is groan-worthy to most people. And I’m not going to deny that it’s full of over-acting and “this would never happen in real life” situations, but it’s just plain FUN. It really is. The characters, even if they are a little hyper-realistic, are unique and memorable. The story follows a logical point-to-point-to-point procession, which is nice – unlike most Christian movies, Mom’s Night Out isn’t filled with billions of characters and unrelated vignettes. And, like I said, it’s a lot of fun. Also, it’s the only movie I’ve seen where Sean Astin doesn’t annoy the fire out of me – I actually like him here, for a change. Best part of the movie? Izzy’s peach & denim ensemble.
Have you seen any of these movies? What are some of your favorite Christian films? Thoughts on the genre? And do you think I’m Not Ashamed is going to be the best one yet?