I’m sorry to say that Fundagelicals who serve the God who can create the universe just can’t seem to create a watchable film. You can cringe through A Thief in the Night, or sit stupefied by the weirdness of The Omega Code. Watch any Christian film and experience the disappointment that is total mediocrity fused with a lack of reality.
Why are Christian films so bad? It’s not just the low budgets. Many brilliant independent films have been produced on a shoestring budget. Yes, the acting is bad, but the scripts are even worse. The reason the scripts are so bad is that they are written by people who don’t live in the same reality as the rest of us.
Christian films are full of awkward dialogue. Every Christian in the film somehow manages to squeeze in Jesus or a “praise the Lord” in every other sentence. The dialogue between Christian characters sounds like a game of Christian Lingo Bingo.
Bobby Baptist: I’m sure blessed today!
Susie Saved: Well praise Jesus, tell me why.
Bobby Baptist: I’m walking in His way with the power of the blood and the encouragement of the Holy Spirit.
Susie Saved: Well as you know the Holy Spirit can really lift your spirit. It can make you feel mighty spirited indeed!
BINGO! I got a Holy Spirit blackout.
Here’s the deal, Christians don’t talk like that. We have the same boring conversation as everyone else. We talk about the new Winchell’s that replaced Dunkin Donuts and how much we are going to miss our Dunkin Donut iced coffee. The sanctified caricatures that appear in Christian films are as real as the eyelashes on a televangelist’s third mistress. In the movie The Cross and the Switchblade, the Nicky Cruz character looks at the David Wilkerson character and says what we are all thinking “Man you just ain’t real!”
If the Christian characters are unreal, the non-Christian characters are even more unreal. They are imported from a cartoon version of Dante’s Inferno. The atheist professor takes special glee in destroying the faith of young Christians and plots how to do it. The non-Christian boyfriend that Susie Saved is unequally yoked with spends all his time trying to convince her to have unprotected sex at the local bondage dungeon. It’s as though the writers have never actually met a non-Christian in their life.
Alan Atheist: Dude, let’s go over and play some Dungeons and Dragons with the gang. Teddy’s parents are gone, and he’s got some beer.
Steve Stoner: Alright dude, as soon as I finish sacrificing this goat to Satan. I’ve been listening to heavy metal music backwards all day, and I’m so ready to go on a killing spree.
Alan Atheist: Dude we weren’t going to murder and rape until after the dance party. You got to slow down. Besides, I was going to go over to that Church on the 1st street. I hear they have a special guest speaker that was a former biker gang member and I sort of promised Susie Saved I’d go with her.
At some point, some adult authority figure needs to do a long preachy monologue that is, in reality, a long preachy sermon. People make sudden and dramatic changes in character after hearing a single sermon and saying the sinner’s prayer. Psychopaths become assistant pastors in a week after they give their lives to Jesus. None of this bears any resemblance to reality.
That is what makes these movies bad. It’s not low budgets, bad acting, bad dialogue; it’s that none of it is real. No one except those who live in Fundagelical bubbles can relate to them. The message is lost because the message seems unreal too. By the time the sales pitch is made at the end, the consumer has already dismissed the salesman as “Man, you just ain’t real.”
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