There’s a somewhat unfair quality that most audience members have when they see a film produced by a proven creative team. When a studio’s filmography includes entries which thrive on originality, subverting viewer expectations, and breaking through generational boundaries, films which are merely competent are often treated poorly by comparison. The Good Dinosaur, the latest entry in the canon from Pixar Animation Studios, suffers by being merely a good movie rather than a great one.
In this episode, Tyler and Josh discuss the Erwin Brothers’ Woodlawn and Norman Jewison’s In the Heat of the Night.
00:00:44- Intro, International Christian Film Festival
01:09:30- In the Heat of the Night
01:20:30- Episode wrap-up
In this episode, Tyler and Reed discuss M. Night Shyamalan’s The Visit and George Waggner’s The Wolf Man.
00:00:44- Intro, spiders, Comedy Film Nerds
00:09:10- The Visit
01:08:50- The Wolf Man
01:37:35- Episode wrap-up
In this episode, Tyler and Josh discuss Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby.
00:00:46- The Dilemma of Christian Film, Woodlawn
00:02:45- Bridge of Spies, The Inhabitants
00:03:20- Battleship Pretension Slasher Commentary
00:13:45- Rosemary’s Baby, Roman Polanski
01:14:30- Episode wrap-up
There’s nothing inherently inferior about choosing to tell a story that everyone’s heard before as long as they love the way you tell it. The same goes with film, where style and craft will always trump a lack of originality. The Inhabitants, a new low-budget indie frightener from the writing and directing team of the Rasmussen brothers, aims for this target specifically. It doesn’t pretend to tell you a story you’ve never heard before, it simply wants to retell a classic scenario as well as it can. The film offers a great deal of promise in its early moments on which it sadly never quite delivers.
A young couple decide to purchase a remote bed and breakfast inn called “The March Carriage”. As they begin to settle in and renovate the building, they encounter a sequence of eerie spectral occurrences which seem to indicate that they are not alone in the house. As I said before, this is nothing new.
I walked into Andrew and Jon Erwin’s Woodlawn with my usual skepticism. Most Christian films leave a lot to be desired, both artistically and theologically. In an attempt to appeal to a neglected Evangelical audience, these films will oversimplify every element of their stories and themes, creating art meant to inspire its viewers, but that instead panders to them in the worst way. These films often fail at every artistic level, but are forgiven because their hearts are in the right place, as though a filmmaker’s intention is the only thing that matters.
And so when I was told that Woodlawn was the best Christian film in a while, I was understandably hesitant. A film that depicted faith amidst the trappings of a sports movie (a genre that often has pandering problems of its own) didn’t do much to inspire hope for me. But, while Woodlawn is far from perfect, it left me feeling engaged and entertained, which is more than can be said for any other faith-based film. For this reason alone, I consider Woodlawn to be the best Christian film I’ve ever seen.