A couple of months ago some friends invited me to a movie night. We ended up watching “Fireproof”, a movie which I hadn’t even remembered hearing about. Essentially all of the “Christian” movies I’s seen before—even the good ones—had been deficient or sub-par in some way. Personally, I’m not normally a big fan of “inspirational” type art (you know—the kind with flowers and pastel colors and where everything works out perfectly in the end). So a movie has to really be done well on its own in order for me to accept it. I won’t overlook the flaws and love it for the positive and/or Christian message.
But after watching “Fireproof” I had to admit that there wasn’t much to criticize. They actually did a really good job with the movie. I’m not saying it was the best movie I’ve ever seen, but it was on par. It was on the level to complete with the mainstream films and television that people are used to seeing. And this is certainly a step in a positive direction.
My friends also let me know that the same group of people who had produced “Fireproof” had a movie coming out called “Courageous”. I finally went to see it last night. I’m pleased to say that they’ve taken another step up in quality. The script was well written, and they had some interesting twists in the story, even if they didn’t come across as terribly surprising. The scene where one character is trying to figure out who the other character (Javier) is, is one of the funniest scenes I’ve seen in any movie. The scene in which Javier pretends to be a violent gang member scaring the guy they arrested is also quite funny. “Courageous” manages to mix in comedy, action, and inspirational elements, and does them all well.
If there were a failure, it was that the movie didn’t really grab me emotionally, though I know it did for a lot of people. Maybe it was because the theater was roasting hot, combined with the fact that I had a headache and the unsteady camera shots make me feel sick. Or it could just be that I didn’t personally identify well with any of the characters. (I do remember being more moved by the movie “Click”, which also addresses a man’s relationship with his family.)
This is perhaps ironic for me to say, but I think one of the things I appreciate most about both “Fireproof” and “Courageous” is that they’re inspirational. I can easily imagine having a challenging decision to make, and thinking back to these movies and being inspired to do the right thing. In fact I believe they’ve had this affect on me already. We’ve all heard about how influential media is, and this is a good example. I think it also highlights the fact that high quality media makes a much bigger impact. Unfortunately, these movies also highlight how few positive influences there are by the fact of how much they stick out as different. Yet who can complain about movies which encourage men to be good fathers and for people to love their spouse?