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Facing the Giants
Drama, Sport
IMDB rating:
Alex Kendrick
Erin Bethea as Alicia Houston
James Blackwell as Matt Prater
Bailey Cave as David Childers
Shannen Fields as Brooke Taylor
Tracy Goode as Brady Owens
Alex Kendrick as Grant Taylor
Jim McBride as Bobby Lee Duke
Tommy McBride as Jonathan Weston
Jason McLeod as Brock Kelley
Steve Williams as Larry Childers
Chris Willis as J.T. Hawkins Jr.
Ray Wood as Mr. Bridges
Kyle Scott as Shiloh Football Player
Dan W. Howell Sr. as Announcer #2
Mary Smit as Field Nurse
Storyline: An action-packed drama about a Christian high school football coach who uses his undying faith to battle the giants of fear and failure. In six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never led his Shiloh Eagles to a winning season. After learning that he and his wife Brooke face infertility, Grant discovers that a group of fathers are secretly organizing to have him dismissed as head coach. Devastated by his circumstances, he cries out to God in desperation. When Grant receives a message from an unexpected visitor, he searches for a stronger purpose for his football team. He dares to challenge his players to believe God for the impossible on and off the field. When faced with unbelievable odds, the Eagles must step up to their greatest test of strength and courage. What transpires is a dynamic story of the fight between faith and fear.
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a very poor attempt
I am a Christian and I say this movie had terrible acting, unreal situations and a completely facade front for Christianity. You might as well watch "Remember the Titans" and at least not mix Christ in a football film like a formulaic steroid for losers. Let me make some really pressing comments of what bothered me in this film.

1. The school was in Georgia and was a white academy school. I did not notice a single black student or player in the school. I deal with the White "Christian" Academies in the south and they were built for no other reason than to reestablish segregation. This is troubling when the movie is about Christianity and Christ changing about changing the hearts of segregation? (note: I loved the token black coach; like it made up for the entirely white team and all the black 'Giants' players.)

2. The uncritical acclaim by everyone Christian about this movie. Can I get a couple people to say that it was bad acting, bad filming, bad writing and in short poor compared to other movies. If we were to compare this to another football movie, would it have the same charisma and energy?

3. The half-baked Christianity which was shown made even less sense to me than the unrealistic ending. If Christianity is about simply reading a little scripture and praying to begin a complete life change, then don't wonder when no one will listen to what Christians have to say. We want to sell Christ as a cure-all. He doesn't need sold and He doesn't need to be attached to such whimsical lifestyles. No wonder everyone considers Christianity to be anti-intellectual with this unreal presentation.

I recognize this film may be inspirational to a few people. To most, it will not be. It will not give a real picture of struggle and heartfelt tension. Most importantly to me, it is not Christian by any means or stretch. It has values but it falls short as a 'pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps' message as shallow as positive thinking. If you live alongside people who struggle and/or those in third world living conditions, this movie will be hollow as most churches are today in their religion.
It has good intentions, but all it does is a lot of harm!
I watched this film in youth group, where my otherwise intuitive youth leader and his wife squeed over it. Then some adult couple at a church-related Christmas party misled themselves into giving a copy of this movie to every single family in attendance, and now my household is stuck with the film (though it thankfully still remains in its shrinkwrap). I cried bitter tears over these sad events, and here's why: First off: this film has good intentions, especially if you're a Christian like me. This movie is trying to show that you should put your faith in God and that it'll make your life better. Not so bad, right? Eh. It turns out a be a problem--a big one. This movie was made by a church, so of course every single issue has to be dealt with as tastefully for Christians as possible. It is all black-and-white, no gray areas. God's grace and will in this movie is a predictable thing, and it comes instantly to all those who do His bidding.

This is not the God I know. This is not the Christian life I am familiar with. The God I believe in is a powerful and trustworthy God, but He is not one that grants my every wish. I follow Him as best I can, though the going is often hard; yet the football team in this movie finds their humility and self-control a lot easier than anyone should EVER find it. I cannot relate to cardboard cutouts who flip from bad-side to good-side in the course of a few structured movie scenes. And when I DO follow His commandments as laid out in the Bible, I certainly don't find myself showered in blessing as these characters do. The largest of my immediate rewards is knowing that I have done the right thing; everything else comes with long, messy, arduous work.

But take the example this movie sets: Grant Taylor coaches the football team at Shiloh Christian school, which has had 6 losing seasons in a row. He may lose his job over it, and he and his wife are low on money as it is. They want a baby, but the doctor tells him he is sterile. Oh, and his car doesn't work. And the boys on his football team are disrespectful to their parents, whiny after their million losses, and bad at kicking field goals. This is sure one rundown community here.

But wait, Grant Taylor decides he's going to trust in God for everything! And he passes on his faith to his team. So far, so good. Not for long. As they begin to obey, blessing literally POUR in on them. Suddenly the students stop disrespecting their parents; the school has a big "revival"; the team starts winning EVERY game; they even win the grand championship against the hardest team in the league! Coach Taylor's job is reassured; the school gets him a shiny new truck as a present (which, by the way, is the epitome of shallow, fair-weather employers); he gets a raise; his wife (get this) even gets pregnant from his sterile sperm! And that skinny kid manages to kick his first darn field goal right when it really matters!! Wowzers, woot, yay, praise the Lord, etcetera, etcetera!!! ...

Yipe. Just YIPE. Nobody in my church has ever experienced Christ in a such a cut-and-dry manner. Yes, there have been miracles aplenty in my family, as well as gifts and creature comforts, and I attribute them to God's grace and lovingkindness. But God isn't some faucet tap that you turn on and off by being good or bad! He is by and large a mystery; His gifts come unexpectedly, often when you think you don't need them but you really do. It's a long, hard slog to the road of fulfillment, and things NEVER turn out the way you thought they would.

This movie has good intentions. But because of its supreme shallowness and total escapism, it tanks tremendously to a 1/10. The bad acting and sports movie clichés seem to be mere pimples next to the leprous falsehoods that this movie inadvertently pushes.

To all you future churches planning to make a movie: don't be afraid to show REAL life, even you have to add some inconvenient truths into the mix. However much the baser populace is wowed by this cotton candy treat, nobody has learned anything substantial from it. Give us the meat, the bones, the REAL stuff! True life applies to everyone, not just Christians, and that's one aspect "Facing the Giants" didn't manage to grasp.
Such a moving story; a must watch
I have never written a review for any movie, but this movie really did compel me to write one. It is a tale of confidence, belief and strength. Anyone who is having a bad day, really should watch this movie. Personally, I'm not the kind of person who ever cries for a movie, but this film really did bring a tear to my eye. This classic story is suitable for people of all ages, young and old. The movie is of appropriate length, with just the right amount of action. As one might think, this is not the kind of football film where it is blood and violence. In fact, it shows the power of belief, and anyone who watches this film would have a lovely time. The acting by Alex Kendrick is truly amazing. With the perfect candour of a coach, his acting is really impressive. This is truly a must watch.
Compare to Varsity Blues
My wife and I usually keep canned corn in the pantry just so we can toast movies like Facing Giants. Yes... it was corny/cheesy. Yes... the acting was not award winning. But, I somehow liked it. I've come to dislike fundamentalism in general. But if a movie like Borat can be made, I'm glad that there is still at least a niche for a good ol conservative Christian movie. If you're not a Christian, think of it as a Voodoo or Mojo movie and maybe you'll enjoy it too. Belief is powerful. And "Fear Not" isn't a bad message in this age of fear-mongering. That's probably not the message the writers/producers were hoping for me to get... but such is art. Voodoo bashing aside... I found myself watching Varsity Blues this evening and found it an interesting comparison to Facing Giants in that they both likely use the sports underdog template for movie screenplay. Varsity Blues was definitely made to appeal to a broader, less conservative audience (perhaps to justify it's obviously larger budget). Facing Giants didn't have the stripping teachers, profanity and whip cream bikinis. But both had a funny fat guy and overzealous coaches and parents. And both made me smile as I went to the pantry and reached for the can opener.
Facing the exposition ...
I want to state first that I am a Christian (and that I do work in the film and TV industry) so I understand what it is like to work on a feature length film so props to the filmmakers in that regard. I'm all for positive, uplifting messages if they are true to the nature of life (that this is a fallen world and that things don't always work out ... even for followers of Christ). I'm glad that others are having such overwhelmingly positive reactions to the overt Christian message; for me it was just that the execution is where the film fell on its face. A movie lives and dies on its story and here you have one dimensional stereotypes, exposition aplenty, and spontaneous changes in character behavior that are inexplicably to say the least. I believe that a film does not have to club you over the head with its message to get the point across. I'm sure the Kendrick bros. will improve with time and that their storytelling methods will as well. Maybe they could direct someone else's screenplay as their next project.

* Sports films are not exactly my first love but a good one (Hoosiers, Field of Dreams, etc) can inspire in a multitude of ways. If you would be interested in a PG-rated film that inspires, give Steven Soderbergh's 'King of the Hill' a look. All truth is God's truth ...
This should definitely be in the bottom 100
This is by far the worst movie I have ever seen. Point. Blank. And no. I'm no atheist. I believe in God. But this is a horrific movie. And quite honestly one of the most dangerous movies I have ever seen. Seriously, this film should be banned. I'd rather my kid watch Pulp Fitcion over this. And by the way Pulp fiction is an extremely religious movie about redemption. Yes I know it has violence and language but that's the best way for a redemption story to be. That God can make miracles. The characters in Pulp Fiction are bad. But it's better to show truly evil people can be redeemed. The reason this movie is dangerous is this: Say an 8 year old child has a sister who has terminal cancer. And he prays as Coach Taylor prays in this film. And yes he truly believes. But God doesn't save the cancer-ridden child. What do you tell your child about this? That's why I think this movie is more dangerous than the aforementioned Pulp Fiction.
Movie doesn't deserve all the bad buzz
As i was reading through the reviews for this movie, I noticed a lot of negative ones. No, this movie is definitely not about praying to get what you want. The giants never prayed to win. They learned to have faith in God, and themselves. For those who didn't realize, this movie was based on David and Goaliath. David did not think he had the ability to take on Goliath, but put his faith in God. That is essentially what this movie was about. Though it appeared that the Eagles could win just by believing in God, it did not mean they didn't have skill. They obviously had skill, just no confidence in themselves, and without confidence, you can't win. Its really sad how many "strong Christians'' claim to have seen this movie, and not be touched by it. They obviously can't read between the lines. This movie may not be ''hollywood'' material, or up to most standards, but as far as Christian movies go, it was good. It's almost unfair to compare this movie to all the pointless movies out there today. A feel good, family movie, and not your meaningless flick.
Amateur, but inspiring
Make no mistake, this is not a polished Hollywood product. All of the actors are novices. The story is neatly packaged, but so what.

The thing that comes out of this film is the people playing the characters are real. I don't mean their performances are necessarily the greatest, but they are real in how they present the material.

There are too few films out there like this that are specifically intended to be for the Christian community. Nothing wrong with that. Films are allowed to imbue the filmmaker's belief's all the time. Funny that is an issue when it comes to Christianity.

Everyone here puts everything they have into this film and it shows. The leads are the better actors, rightfully so, and they bring an air of authenticity to their roles.

For the most part, the games are shot very well. There are instances when the action looks staged, but for the most part it is nicely done. The locations are all authentic south, as well they should be. Everyone has a real southern accent, not overly done Hollywood take on it. The story is not complex and it doesn't take a great sleuth to know all will be right in the end. But then again, that is the intended message; through God all things are possible.

I highly recommend this film to any youth director looking to show a film to their youth.
Nothing's Impossible
There are enough things wrong with this movie that I should rate it a 2 but I love this movie so much I can overlook the flaws very easily. I've seen it so many times I've now lost count. First, what's wrong with this movie.

1.) With the exception of the main character, there are very few women in the picture. Grant Taylor has a wife, there is a teacher and there also is a clinic featuring 2 women but other than that, none of the boys seem to have a mother. Matt has a father as does David but neither boy has a "mom," although David's father does wear a wedding ring. A small point but a mighty one.

2.) The African-American coach is one step above "Steppin Fetchit" or "Amos & Andy." He talks in a rather lazy fashion and seems a little bit slow although he isn't. When he gives David a "unique" way of remembering how to get the ball in between the goal posts or when he keeps up with Larry, his coaching partner, in a game of one-upsmanship of famous names, you see how intelligent he is but for much of the movie, he seems to be a bit of a doofus. In this day and age of political correctness, it's NOT a good idea to portray an African-American character as slow or dim-witted.

3.) Coach Taylor's hair. C'mon, guys, you could have done better with the front of his hair than what we see. It makes the coach look stupid, dorky - kind of like a Jim Carrey character.

Now, what's Right about this movie:

1.) God. There is lots of "God Talk" in this movie and I don't mind. This is a fundamentalist Christian view of God and may seem somewhat simplistic but it works, at least in this movie. Too bad real life isn't that easy (trust God and you'll get what you want). I'm Roman Catholic but I found the "God parts" very inspirational, although somewhat hokey at times. 2.) The acting. While it's not Laurence Olivier in "Hamlet," you really believe Alex Kendrick as Coach Taylor and Shannen Field as Brooke. Some scenes are heartbreaking and others are very funny. But all in all, it's a delightful pairing of 2 obvious believers. 3.) Let's face it, some of those young football players are CUTE, especially David and Zach. Clean-cut, with short hair and decent clothes (David even wears a tie to the final game!) without looking like nerds or geeks. That's refreshing.

All in all, I love this movie. Ii'm not a football fanatic and so I fast-forward some of those scenes. Other readers have pointed out football mistakes; I wouldn't know and I really don't care. To me, this movie isn't so much about football as it is about faith. It would be far worse if the mistakes were in faith instead of football. When I find myself feeling down and this movie is on, I watch it and I'm immediately uplifted. There aren't too many movies that can say that. And I doubt this movie will ever air on network television --- too much religion - GOD FORBID. That's a shame, though, because it's an uplifting, inspiring movie and many young people would benefit from watching it.
Watch this movie!!!

Forget the likes of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck or Morgan Spurlock . . . Sherwood Pictures has dramatically raised the bar for low-budget films!!

Absorb the spiritual message . . . even if you don't, this is great film-making on a shoestring budget (although, the final product of this film looks FAR from low-budget).

This film has everything: drama, emotion, humor, action and real message. The football scenes are very well done. The cinematography is also outstanding!!!

Good for you Sherwood Baptist Church!!!

Posted by a Midwest "Eagle" who must face his own giants!!!
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