Yesterday my wife and I finally got around to seeing the new movie “Courageous” by Sherwood Pictures. We both thoroughly enjoyed the movie, and I’d like to offer my review of the film for any who may be interested in seeing it.
Sherwood Pictures Background-Church Sponsored Movies
One thing that fascinates me is that the people producing these films are doing so through a ministry (Sherwood Pictures). I think this is a fascinating strategy by this church, and something I hope other ministries wake up and start emulating. The actors are mostly volunteers from an actual church, and if you read about their story on Wiki (or their website), it is quite inspirational. They’ve only been doing this about a decade or so, and have produced 4 excellent movies (and they keep getting bigger and better each time).
They produced their first film, “Flywheel”, which was a surprising success considering their small budget (around $20,000). The film is about a used-car dealer who decides to turn his life around to Christ. My wife and I first watched this movie, and we were really surprised at the storyline. You can certainly tell they had a small budget (I think they shot it with a digital camcorder), but the talent is definitely there. The film was really enjoyable for us.
By the way, if you are a Christian and you want some clean and interesting movies to watch that are family friendly (while promoting Christian living/values), then you need to watch every movie by this group. My wife and I have, and we plan to watch more in the future.
The next film they made was “Facing the Giants”. This is a story about a struggling football coach, and how he turns to God to help him get his life in order. This movie was even better than Flywheel, and did very respectable at the box office (and DVD release).
Next, they came out with the very popular movie “Fireproof,” starring Kirk Cameron. This was again a great movie about marriage and how God’s principles are so completely necessary if you want to truly love your spouse as much as you can.
Finally, we have the latest film–“Courageous“. This movie was perhaps even better than all others so far. It has done very well at the box office. It had a $2 million budget, and a $9 million marketing budget. It will probably go on to set a new record for them in terms of box office and DVD sales.
Courageous Movie Review
So without trying to give anything away, let me just suffice it to say that this story is about men and their relationship with their family (and how to be a Godly father). It is set in the setting of several men who work as police officers. The film goes through some of the personal struggles we will all face as families (tragedy, finances, etc.). It also has a few sub-story lines as well–so if you aren’t a dad (I’m not), then don’t worry-this movie is for you too.
I absolutely loved this film, and my wife loved it even more. Here is what I particularly liked, and the very good points about it:
The Good Points about the Movie “Courageous”
- It promotes Christ–The film doesn’t merely have Christian values, it goes out of its way to promote Christ in a very clever and admirable way. That is one thing that really makes me want to continue supporting these guys. It gives real life struggles, a few ‘apologetic answers’ here and there, and some Bible verses throughout as well. It isn’t so much that it turns you off. But it is just enough to make an impact on the lives of those who watch it, without being a cheesy and in your face “Jesus freak movie.” Make no mistake–this is a Christian film, but it can be enjoyed by all ages and perhaps even other faiths. It’s an excellent film to use for the molding of Christian character.
- Roller Coaster Ride of Emotions–This film is almost guaranteed to make you laugh, make you cry, make you smile, and warm your heart. As much as I hate to admit it, a tear did roll down my face at one point (hey, even Jesus wept, right?). There were times when the whole theater was laughing out loud (especially with the scene of “Javier”), and times when everyone was sobbing uncontrollably. This movie stirred everyone’s emotions, and it will probably do the same for you as well. I like a movie that makes me “feel” something.
- Very Entertaining–This film kept me alert and into it in each scene. These movies are great because just when you feel like things are going as you predict, they will likely throw a surprise or two your way. The time seemed to go by quickly because it was so enjoyable, interesting, and drew me into it. The script and overall plot that these guys put together never fails to impress and surprise me. They have exceptional talent, and I hope they continue developing it even more.
- Felt At Home In the Theater–This may sound cheesy, but I’m going to say it anyway. At one point I looked around the theater, and I thought to myself, “I’ll bet most everyone in here watching this movie is a Christian.” It was a comforting feeling knowing that for some reason.
- They Blow Hollywood Out of the Water–I’m sorry, but I found this film much more entertaining than most Hollywood movies. It was far better than Captain America, and other movies I’ve seen recently. In fact, it is astonishing that these people (with very little experience, tiny budgets, etc.) are able to write the scripts, act, film the movies, and more–and still top Hollywood. I am telling you the complete truth when I say that this movie to me was so much better than most of the “remakes, reboots, and sequels, and prequels” coming out of Hollywood on a monthly basis.
- My Money Is Going to A Worthy Cause–It makes me so much happier knowing that my price of admission for the ticket is going to help support a group of Christians doing something I believe in. I know this money is going to people who are trying to lift up Christ for the world to see. That is a nice thought, considering most Hollywood movies contain Liberal actors such as Matt Damon, George “Don’t Believe in God” Clooney, and a whole slew of others who most certainly are not going to use their riches to promote Godly initiatives. They often use their wealth to spread liberalism, but not Sherwood Pictures.
- Minimize the Corny Factor–One thing that really frustrates me about most modern Christian films is that Christians are portrayed in an ultra-corny way. I mean, the characters in most of these films are so out of touch with reality it isn’t even enjoyable for me to watch it. My wife and I are sometimes embarrassed by the quality of some Christian films that have been made. Christians are sometimes portrayed as these saints who never get angry, never struggle, etc. Sherwood Pictures does a phenomenal job at minimizing this “corniness.” The characters and situations seem much more realistic than other films I’ve seen. It feels like I am watching just a regular movie, that just so happens to have Christians in it. I like that.
The Bad Points About the Movie Courageous
It is really hard to complain about this film, because I really enjoyed it. But–since there is no such thing as a “perfect movie,” and because it is only fair to talk about some of the minor points, I’ll discuss a few things. Overall, these didn’t bother me at all. I’d rate the film 10/10, and my wife said she’d almost like to see it again (which is rare for her). Also, these are really nit-picky things–so don’t let them prevent you from seeing it.
- The acting is great, but not always spot on–In 99% of the movie, the actors do an awesome job. It blows me away that these people have almost no experience and are simply volunteers from a church (with the exception of a handful of professional actors they hired). Alex Kendrick always does an excellent job, as do the others. There are maybe a couple of scenes where you can see a hint of the inexperience coming out in some of the actors–but not enough to distract from the movie. Again this is only about 1% of the film in which I could notice the inexperience.
- They Minimize The Corny Factor, but Not 100%–Again, they have done an amazing job at making the film realistic and comparable to a big blockbuster. This film stands miles above most other Christian films in terms of being able to relate to it and not coming off as totally corny. However, there is maybe a scene here and there where it feels slightly corny. Again, this is maybe 1% of the entire movie, and certainly did not take away from its awesomeness.
- They Aren’t Making These Movies Fast Enough–This isn’t really a negative point, but it is taking these guys about 2-3 years to put out a movie. We need them faster, and we need more of them! Also, I hope they can rack up even bigger budgets in the future, and really expand their effects and so forth. The only way I can see that they can do this is either expand and hire others (without sacrificing their current quality and style), or if other ministries out in the world emulate their style and start producing movies as well. I’d like a Christian-based movie in the theaters all the time.
Conclusion: This Movie is Excellent, and I Highly Recommend It
In a world where, today, I read an article on AOL (now merged with the very liberal Huffington Post), that “Cheating may actually help your marriage,” we desperately need a movie that actually shows people how you are SUPPOSED to live your life (according to God), and not how you should practice immorality. This movie is entertaining, has a great message, is influential, and promotes Christ. It blows the garbage that Hollywood is making right out of the water.
This is entertaining for the entire family (all ages), and will make you laugh out loud, make you cry, and maybe even put you on the edge of your seat during a scene or two. It was 100% worth my money, and I am glad to know that the film is doing well in the box office. Success breeds success, and I hope that these guys taste success and want to pursue more and more great movie ideas through the years to come.
My wife and I are definitely fans of this ministry, and if you haven’t seen this movie (or Flywheel, Facing the Giants, and Fireproof), then what are you waiting for? Call your local theater and find out the times and get going! And jump on Netflix or Blockbuster and rent their older movies as well. You won’t be disappointed. And the best part is that they keep getting better and better each time.
Lastly, if there are any other pastors, ministers, entrepreneurs that happen to read this article over the years, please do me one favor: Consider starting a movie ministry. In a world that is experiencing more and more moral decay by the second, we desperately need movies to be the “light” to help guide our society. We need movies to promote Christ. We need movies to help us Christians find some form of entertainment (aside from the tired old junk Hollywood keeps making with their drug addict/God hating/Liberal loving actors they hire).
I mean, think about it? How many really GREAT Christian movies can you name? Passion of the Christ, 10 Commandments, The Greatest Story Ever Told, the Sherwood Picture films, and maybe a few more. Most of those are very outdated in terms of picture quality. We NEED more Christian movies. We need clever and engaging scripts, realistic actors, and more.
And I think that Christians are showing that they are hungry for this. They are getting out and buying these DVDs, and seeing these movies in theaters. We need more movies!!
Hope you enjoyed the review!