We weren’t the only ones watching a christian film. Fellow film buff Sebastian Villegas also caught one! And…well, sorry.
I never told anyone this recently out of sheer embarrassment but I had a bet with a friend of mine on Twitter about. Basically it was over Secret Empire, Marvel’s next blockbuster event. I told him that Red Skull would still likely have Professor Xavier’s telepathy (long story) but a recent issue of Uncanny Avengers and an upcoming one proved otherwise so far. And because of that confirmation, the penalty was I have to watch a Christian movie. Not one to avoid a deal with a friend, I reluctantly agreed and managed to find it for free. It was not worth it.
And yet that story is a lot more worth discussing than talking about this. Full disclosure, I’m not saying anyone who is a Christian is automatically an asshole. I know a few but I have issues with the religion itself and its followers but I’d rather not get into them right now. This film however is everything that’s wrong with Christian movies and their so-called values.
Basically, the film is about Denise Kinkade (played by Sadie Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame because of course), an all around Christian girl who’s enjoying life without a care in the world except her parents played by Kevin Sorbo and Hilary Shepard (yes, Divatox herself and she should really know better than to be in a Christian movie) are concerned she’s not taking her Christian studies seriously. Well, mostly the father. The mother in particular just seems to be more of the nodding type, basically a Stepford Wife except for real.
But Denise goes through a series of events which ultimately result in her truly accepting God and the like. All while denouncing evils in the world such as diversity or feminism. Yes really.
Yeah, I’m not gonna lie. This was just awful in every way possible. Its politics and attempt to glorify Christianity as like the one true religion-fuck everything else. It is essentially this film saying, “you’re wrong to think differently, here’s why.” And that’s Denise’s arc. It is her entire arc throughout the film. Her parents give her this lecture that she has to follow specific lessons instructed to her or bad stuff happens. There’s learning a lesson and then there’s outright literal godfearing.
And the film goes out of its way to demonstrate this in the most mean spirited way. Her friends abandon her when her private stuff gets leaked (and the film makes it seem like it’s her fault entirely despite being hacked), slut shamed, berated by her Atheist teacher and principal and even her own aunt. Seeing her go through all this is just ridiculously depressing and mean spirited to the point it is just absolute lunacy.
And here is where it gets way more ridiculous. At one point, the vice principal (played by Karen Abercrombie) despite not her character from War Room, she played it as if she was playing the same character. Saying stuff like, “Devil got your butt kicked!” while doing a little jig. Basically, she’s a last minute character who serves as like the magical negro stereotype who gives sage advice and the like. And she goes through with this change to become a full on Christian.
And then there’s the Science teacher and principal played respectively by Kenneth Choi and Priscilla Shirer. They basically play these chucklehead antagonists who shout and scream every line they say that it’s kind of hilarious and they’re the best part of the movie. I’m serious, they are. But it also raises the problem in their dialogue in that every line they said shouldn’t seem that condescending especially the principal and yet it is. Same case with her aunt Angela played by Serinda Swan (who seemed to have gotten this role before starring in Inhumans). She is also the best part of the film due to her over the top performance.
And it gets way not funny when a character named Anita Wu (played by Katie Leung, who really looks too old to be playing a high schooler) is basically an over the top caricature of a feminist. Basically how a lot of MRAs view the feminist movement. This part of the movie just feels like AlphaOmegaSin got behind the Christian movie movement and wanted to insert his own politics because Anita Wu isn’t the most subtle to name to think of. And the best part? She’s accompanied by a gong on the sole basis of her being loud. It’s like somebody watched Step By Step and wanted to bring Dana back and continue the show making fun of the feminist movement as “those wacky feminists!”
Oh and she’s also the daughter of the Science teacher. Because of course she is.
Brian Baugh (who previously directed I’m Not Ashamed) directed this along with God’s Not Dead’s co-writer Cary Solomon wrote the script and just wow. I’m impressed with shoddy everything looked. It either looked like a three camera setup sitcom or literally made in someone’s garage. Made no better with the direction of its lead actress who just tries way too hard and poor Hilary Shepard got it the worst as she barely said anything except this constant worried look on her face whenever she stares at the window with her fingers near her mouth. And Kevin Sorbo, well admittedly as an actor, he can be fine but his performance reeked of smugness made no better with the dialogue he was given and the fact that he produced it. No really, he did. Same with Sadie Robertson, she is smug through and through that despite what I said about it being depressing, at the same time however, I kind of rooted for it.
And her smugness increased tenfold when she denounced Anita Wu or going so far as to say “racism is over and feminism is no longer needed-stop complaining!” At least that’s my summation of her speech at the end which took place in a lunchroom…with a picture of Trump on the wall. Blow me. Not helped by her denouncing Islam.
Don’t see this. Just don’t. It is not worth your time, it is not worth it for shits and giggles. It is not worth for a bet even.
Fuck you, Austin.