In this episode Tyler and Josh discuss Harold Cronk’s God’s Not Dead 2 and Otto Preminger’s Anatomy of a Murder.
00:00:44- Intro, International Christian Film Festival
00:05:50- Atheists reviewing Christian films
00:13:55- God’s Not Dead 2
01:39:35- Anatomy of a Murder
01:54:03- Episode wrap-up
I don’t know of a single person in my life that has not at one time or another been failed by the Church. Either through hypocrisy, condemnation, neglect, politicizing, or even outright abuse, I think everyone has or eventually will experience disappointment with the institution which claims to be the people of God on Earth. Some of these failings are matters of personal perspective, but some, like the ones I saw handled in the two films I’m about to discuss, are issues of deep violation and betrayal.
Many Christians will not see The Witch. Of the Christians who do see it, I expect that many will not enjoy it. It is an unsettling film. It is an intense film. It is hard to find any sort of redemptive message buried deep within its murky darkness, but I’ve managed to come away with a lesson in faith.
Actor/musician Wade Williams recently survived a brain aneurism. He is recovering, but needs help with his bills (medical and otherwise). I met Wade at the International Christian Film Festival last year and he was incredibly supportive of me and my opinions about film. Please help with whatever you can. Thanks!
For several years, I’ve been making a joke about God’s will for my life. Having felt the call to become a film critic in 2008, I have often been frustrated by the lack of paid opportunities there have been for me. As a way of coping with this, I adopted a very caustic attitude and would frequently say, “God called me into film criticism just in time for it start dying.”
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.
I can still remember the most blasphemous thing I ever said as an actor. My character believed in God, but had utterly rejected Jesus Christ. He was full of fury and bitterness and at a key point in the play, I had to look at the iconic image of Jesus, beaten and bloody for the sins of the world, pretending to be this angry man and yell, “If you are the Son of God, come down off of that cross and save yourself!”