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“Fireproof” Shouldn’t Be “Critic-Proof”

Interesting perspective in World Magazine from Warren Cole Smith on the movie Fireproof, and how critics in the religious press have given the movie such support.  Do you agree with Smith’s opinion?

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  1. Nothing should be critic proof, but I think the critics had better have good support for their position. After recently watching a series of really awful movies on Netflix (many highly rated by critics), seeing Fireproof was a breath of fresh air. I noticed a few outdoor scenes that could have had better lighting, but does that really matter? Did that take away from the message? Or did it hurt the entertainment value? I don’t think so. Instead it seems like movies with a confusing plot and no redeeming value at all get highly rated.

  2. Critics have (and give) opinions – I don't have to agree with them (and as far as movies go, I usually don't). I think a few of them are of the opion that they are to be "critical" and only point out flaws in a movie.

    Just because "they" (or anyone else for that matter) doesn't like a movie doesn't mean I wou't like.  I can make up my own mind.

  3. $16,875,765 and counting in 3 weeks for their 3rd movie with less 900 screens in the US. We as Christians should be celebrating the notable and committed efforts of our brothers who worked hard with the small resources that was available to them but yet again we seek to divide over issues that are not relevant to the overall scope of changing the cultural climate especially in regards to marriage. Even if I don’t like their movies the fact that they are achieving that level of success for the Body of Christ right there in the public marketplace for the whole world to see deserves our applause, thanks and support. Even mainstream movies have not been able to achieve what these Kendrick Brothers have done. God is raising us up but we just want to hate another because we either jealous/envious of their success or we are not humble enough to admit that hey I wish that was me but thank God someone is doing it and is finally breaking the barriers that once held us back. Shame on us Western Christians, we think we are doing the world a favour when we castigate and humiliate ourselves in the public (there is a big difference with laughing at yourself and humiliating yourself to be accepted)just so that we can be seen in a positive light by people who do not know God, are in spiritual (and eventually intellectual) darkness,are perishing, destroying this planet in the process in a bid to have their selfish ways regardless who gets hurt or has to go without for a selected few to live their lives of indulgence and decadence. If anything, now we know that a lot of what is spent on Hollywood movies is nothing but waste and on lavish lifestyles. If the truth be known [and told] a lot of those movies they spend ridiculous amounts of money could actually be made for a lot less and still turn in good profits. It’s all in the lifestyle…

  4. I loved the message of this movie and I loved going to this movie with my wife. I will probably rent the movie to show to my 2 teen sons. The section on how porn effects a relationship is important.

    But if a movie like this isn't critically appraised, they will never get any better. This is a huge step up from what many Christian movies are. But it still has a ways to go to be head on with Hollywood in the quality department.

    I thought the script was a bit preachy at times and other scenes seemed to stall with too much dialog. And the fact that there happened to be an old abandoned Christian camp that he could jog through was a little convenient.

    But over all I loved the movie and it's positive message. Sometimes it's worth trying to fight for your marriage rather than walking away. That's a message that needs to be shouted in our current culture.

  5. I haven’t seen Fireproof yet, but I’ve seen Flywheel and Facing the Giants. I liked the films, even while being critical of their shortcomings (acting, lighting and directing issues).

    Having two brothers with a passion for producing movies that impact the Christian community; and a church behind them to help make that happen – is a great achievement. If you look over the arc of their movies, you can see the improvement. It takes a lot to use what you’ve got and make it work at that level.

    So, as I don’t enjoy bad acting, ‘preachy’ moments and situations that always turn out great (because that’s not always the case for those who follow Christ), I will support the Kendrick brothers’ efforts and press for them to continue to increase the production value of their films (acting and technical) so that they can come closer to the quality that the Hollywood industry produces.

    Honestly, if the Kendrick brothers EVER come to a point where they stop growing in their filmmaking development and begin to think that it’s ok to produce substandard work as long as the message is valid – then I’ll be critical. I believe, right now, that they are simply trying to use what they have to the best of their ability.

    Look through the Bible from beginning to end and you will see that God calls His people to not only have the message accurate, but to also live it out in excellence. Both the message and the presentation is important.

    I’m going to see Fireproof, while wearing two hats. 1. I’ll take my wife so we can see what the movie has to say about men and women fighting for their marriages. 2. As a writer and creator of stories myself, I will look at the technical aspect of the film and see what was done well, poorly and ways things can be improved. (Like getting acting classes for the volunteer actors who have no acting experience).

    Ultimately, I would like to see Followers of Christ produce high quality movies that speak to the needs of our society – both Secular and Christian. Because everyone on earth – regardless of their religious beliefs – share in the same set of needs. I believe if we can speak to THOSE needs, in an AUTHENTIC way (that includes quality production value) we can make a difference in the lives of people who make up the culture in which we live. It can be done.

    Allen Paul Weaver III
    Author, Transition: Breaking Through the Barriers

  6. “Honestly, if the Kendrick brothers EVER come to a point where they stop growing in their filmmaking development and begin to think that it’s ok to produce substandard work as long as the message is valid – then I’ll be critical. I believe, right now, that they are simply trying to use what they have to the best of their ability.” I totally agree with this comment – completely and totally. It is when they say “Hey we are OK with what we are doing” and then just resort to keeping to the same budget and standard then there is a problem especially when they are making the profits to increase the excellence of their work at every level – without neglecting their spiritual responsibilities in the process. So far the Kendricks have increased their budgets for every movie they have made while telling good stories (films are very subjective in nature so what I may like may not be what someone else likes no matter what and how they tell the story). Also with the Kendricks I have observed that one of the reasons why I think they have been able to garner such success is that they seem to up the ante in every production which has placed demand from audiences who are eager to see what next they will come up with, so much so that they have taken it as their responsibility to continue to cater the growing audiences who have come to love what they produce.

  7. But I say this caution – I think we have come to accept being overly critical amongst ourselves as something right, that we don’t even think about thinking what it is doing to us as well as those we are critical about within the Body of Christ. Whereas if we could find ways to engage with each other first by dialogue; meet on a common ground and just interact and share ideas, critque what we do like and what we may not like I think more people within the Christian film-making community will be encouraged to take on these ideas. Lets face it none of us like to be criticised and told off directly without some form of validation based on a good relationship in place. We cannot take harsh critical appraisal that is common in the mainstream world and make it our standard as believers – then what is the point of being a Christian – where is the difference? Sometimes I wonder if the mainstream Christians in Hollywood who hate/despise/reject Christian films and the film-makers behind them, have ever humbled themselves and said “Hey, I am in a good position to speak to these guys let me invite a few of them for dinner and talk about what I think can help them or just listen to what they have to say” the outcome may be completely different and who knows what can happen from there. Even Jesus Christ had dinner with the Pharisees and I believe that is why a few of them believed in Him because of His willingness to come to their level as well and not just talk from afar without taking time to know them beforehand. It is important that we grow from this constant criticism but rather find ways to begin interact in these times because we need each other more than we are willing to admit and more than we know.

  8. Breaklight, you are speaking wisdom about HOW we interact with one another as Christians. The Bible tells us to ‘provoke one another to good works’ and to ‘speak the truth in love.’ There’s a difference between a stern word and a harsh word. Typically, a stern word is spoken out of concern whereas a harsh word is spoken out of a desire to see someone fall. (At least that’s how I look at it.)

    Well said, Breaklight.

    Allen Paul Weaver III
    Author, Transition: Breaking Through the Barriers

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