"Ooohh, NO!" I sobbed as I looked into the mirror.
"I look like I have been hit by a car- I can not be seen in public!"
I looked at myself in the mirror again, as if looking one more time might uncover some kind of miracle. It was hopeless. My face was very puffy and I looked horrible.
That just reflected my past week.
Sleepless nights- awake for 68 out of 72 hours.
Big layoffs and account losses at my husband's job.
Son got in a car accident, finally got the car fixed, and the brakes that failed caushing the car accident in the first place failed on him again- miraculously sparing his life and further damage.
Many stresses and obstacles were being poured on me at such a rate that at times, I thought I would collapse under the assault of it all.
Add that to having over 15 deaths in my life over the last year of people who were special to me, and I was pretty well spent.
I had promised my children that I would take them to see the movie they saw advertised on television called FACING THE GIANTS on the opening day, so I knew that I had to go, but I was feeling so stressed that I was not sure I could make the long drive to get there.
To top off my day, as I got ready to leave the house, my son came upstairs and announced that we had a mouse in the basement. We have food stored down there- the food that I had been counting on to sustain us through what might be a very hard winter.
"Oh Dear GOD! HOW MUCH CAN ONE PERSON TAKE?"
I decided to leave the house and try to forget the rodent damage that could be there when I returned.
WHAT WAS THE MOVIE LIKE?
When I got into the theater, it had about 15 people in it, so I was glad for the space. I like to enjoy my movies- not be kicked in the chair by some uncontrolled child who really does not want to be there.
The first few minutes of the movie left me wondering what I would see, but what made me determined to see this movie was the fact that I enjoy Alex Kendrick thoroughly in his previous movie called FLYWHEEL. I trusted this movie more than if I had known nothing about it.
Once the movie got going, my jaw dropped to the floor. It was like someone read my mail and made a movie about it just to make me feel that I could keep going.
At many times during the movie, I cried- almost sobbed- as I could relate to the suffering and anguish the man in the story was facing.
Clearly the rest of the theater that had filled up quite a bit after the movie started felt similarly. The clapping, hollering, laughing and reactions were enthusiatic from all ages- including teens.
WHAT IS FACING THE GIANTS ABOUT?
You know, I almost never go to the movies. I have hardly been in many years. With the debut of the movie END OF THE SPEAR, which I saw twice- the first time ever that I can remember doing that, I have found myself taking my children to the movies a lot more often to see some really good films.
FACING THE GIANTS is about a coach in a christian school(Alex Kendrick). He is trying to motivate a losing football team afflicted with apathy and loss of a *star player*.
His life is quickly spiraling down into darkness as his job is on the line, he is facing dark opposition in every direction he turns. Everything he tries to take solace in either breaks, gets ruined, or is beyond frustrating.
To top it all off, his wife (played by Shannen Fields) can not conceive and it is due to his difficulty.
It is enough to make most men crumble.
Eventually, the coach has an epiphany and things begin to turn around as he refuses to look at the failures and see the way through it to success.
The rest of the cast is unknown and is made up of the most unusual group of small town people who have given most of their time to bring encouragement to the rest of the world if they care to listen.
ANOTHER UNUSUAL CAST
When I saw FLYWHEEL on television one day, I expected a rather boring movie. I suffered through the first few minutes of the movie rolling my eyes, but something compelled me on to see it.
By the middle of the movie, I was laughing, crying, staring, and clapping. It was a really good movie. What I saw in the credits at the end confused me.
It seemed that this movie was created by a small church in Georgia- but I must have read it wrong. Because I did not have the movie, I could not find out for sure.
I did not have to wait too long because the movie FACING THE GIANTS was coming out and I learned that indeed this small church in the South of the US had combined their time and devotion to make movies to encourage and uplift people in the theaters around the country and possibly the world.
I heard in one interview that the congregation of this church and townspeople all gave up their time and money to make this movie on $100,000 budget.
Kids were often running the cameras and people would come after work to keep this project going.
Well, I must tell you, this is one heck of a group. They really do make good productions, unlike some that I have seen in the past.
SOME BACKGROUND ON THIS MOVIE FROM THEIR WEBSITE
Here is what I found about this movie on the home website at www.facingthegiants.com
A Unique Vision
Michael Catt, the Senior Pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church, has a vision. He believes his church can "reach the world from Albany, Georgia." For that to happen, you need to be creative. Fortunately, the church's pastoral staff includes a pair of brothers with a lifelong dream to make movies.
The result? Sherwood Pictures, the church's decidedly unique filmmaking ministry.
Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick, associate pastors at Sherwood, along with their brother Shannon, grew up in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna. Their neighbor had a Super 8 film camera. "We played with that camera for two or three years until camcorders came out," Alex said. "We created our own entertainment."
Through trial and error, the brothers learned visual angles, editing, and eventually began making their own short movies. Later, as a communications major at Kennesaw State University, Alex talked some of his professors into letting him substitute videos for term papers. After college, Alex and Stephen still were making movies as they moved into ministry roles. Alex shot short films with college students; Stephen shot camp videos with his junior high youth group. Their productions premiered at their church on makeshift screens of paper tablecloths.
In 2002, Alex read an article citing a study by George Barna that said the most effective communication to this generation is movies. As the media minister at Sherwood, Alex proposed making a family-friendly movie that could be filmed affordably in Albany. "A huge segment of people love movies but leave theaters disappointed in the profanity, immorality, and messages that trample their family's values and faith," Stephen said. Pastor Catt agreed and the church created Sherwood Pictures.
Their first movie was FLYWHEEL, which was filmed on a $20,000 budget that came from private contributions. Using an all-volunteer cast of actors, the movie utilized local homes and businesses as sets. The wardrobe department amounted to each actor's own closet.
Yet FLYWHEEL took off. By then, Alex Kendrick had narrowed the potential plots for a second movie to what he felt was a can't-miss mix of high school football and faith. He and Stephen began to write FACING THE GIANTS back to front, a la Alex's writing style of starting with the final scene. To fold in a woman's perspective on impossible hurdles, the brothers included the issue of infertility.
All-Volunteer Movie Cast
Because so few of the cast members had time to be a volunteer movie lead, Alex Kendrick plays the role of Grant Taylor, Shiloh Academy's head football coach. Art imitated life when Shannen Fields, wife of the Sherwood Academy high school football coach, took the role of Grant's wife, Brooke. Although not wheelchair-bound in real life, Steve Williams plays his everyday role as a dad encouraging a son to trust God and risk something new as Larry Childers. The Kendrick brothers drew that character from their own father, Larry Kendrick, who has battled Multiple Sclerosis for more than 20 years.
High school senior Bailey Cave played place kicker David Childers. Like his character, Bailey was new to football. Jason McLeod, plays Brock Kelley who shines in the memorable "death crawl" drill scene, is now a junior at Georgia Southern University. Tracy Goode, as assistant coach Brady Owens, picked up coaching tips from the coach of a local high school football team. The movie's football teams are the local school squad, whose uniforms, stadium, practice fields, and spring schedule were essential movie backdrops.
Bobby Lee Duke and Mark Richt
The Giants' flamboyant coach Bobby Lee Duke is the creation of Jim McBride, executive pastor of Sherwood Baptist Church. Borrowing from colorful past careers that included being a carnival barker and a professional wrestler, Pastor McBride created the wild-eyed character and his memorable adages.
University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt is also bigger than life in Georgia. Yet he humbly volunteered to fly from Athens to Albany for his cameo appearance. The coach's huge popularity in Georgia and strong faith made him an ideal cast member. Coach Richt was willing to be part of the production because FLYWHEEL is one of his favorite movies.
The Big Shoot
The filming of FACING THE GIANTS lasted six weeks and was done in and around Albany with a two-week break midway through. Sherwood Pictures rented video and film equipment, including camera lenses, dollies, lights, sound equipment, and work trucks. They also purchased a computer to edit the film. The movie was shot with one high-definition Panasonic Vericam Camera and edited on a PowerMac G-5 computer using Final Cut Pro HD software.
The production used local media outlets to solicit extras for the large-crowd scenes. For the final game between the Eagles and the Giants, Lee County High School's principal, a fan of FLYWHEEL, offered their field and stands, which matched the script's vision. School leaders also generously offered uniforms, equipment, football players, and cheerleaders.
Background Music Pushes the Movie to the Front
Provident Films entered the frame when Sherwood approached Provident Music Group, a Nashville-based music label, for permission to use songs by Provident artists Third Day and Casting Crowns.
What began as a routine viewing for publishing approval led to Provident's president opening discussions with Sherwood to oversee the film's distribution. Provident Films, which is a joint venture between Provident and Sony, showed the film to Sony Pictures, who loved it. Through its relationship with Sony, Samuel Goldwyn Pictures agreed to distribute the film nationally, beginning September 29.
WHAT I THOUGHT OF THIS MOVIE
You know, I really like Alex Kendrick. He has a great talent for not only writing and directing, but acting in these movies. I did not find anything in the movie to be annoyingly amateur.
The story was engrossing and the movie progressed at a good pace- although it is not the computer generated manipulation that the gaming generation has grown to expect, but I found that the teens in the theater were enjoying themselves. Something that I was quite surprised at.
This movie is another winner, folks. I found myself brought up out of my dark pit this week. Suddenly my puffy face did not matter anymore, and things did not seem so bad.
WILL YOU LIKE THIS MOVIE LIKE I DID?
Who will like this movie?
Well, I can tell you who will like it....
...anyone who is confined to a wheelchair
...anyone who knows what it is like to face failure at every turn that they make
....anyone who has endured betrayal at the hands of friends
....anyone who has known the agony of not being able to bear children
....anyone who enjoys family movies and it not offended by God
Who will NOT like this movie?
....someone who lives their life under the security blanket of cynicism and hates God
.....someone who refuses to see a movie with an open mind and put prejudice aside to look for the deeper message
.....someone who finds fault with everything they watch and listen to
All in all, I found this movie to be just what I needed. It supplied hope in a very dark time, and a small miracle happened in that theater.
I grew up with a sports nut in the family, and I HATE SPORTS. I can not stand the manipulation and commercialism of sports and usually those scenes bore me.
This movie had me cheering and laughing and clapping with the rest of the theater (which later filled up a lot more once the movie started).
I felt like I had been transported back to the time in my life when sports was just enjoyable without all of the baggage that it drags with it these days.
If this movie can make me not roll my eyes with disdain at the football scenes, then I know it has to be good!
WHERE TO FIND MORE INFORMATION?
if you want to find out which new theaters this is opening up at go to
ANOTHER THING THAT HAPPENED AT THE THEATER TO ME
One comment that I would like to make is that I am tired of the film industrys bad planning. Very often when I go to see a movie, there is a preview for an upcoming film that is very similar in background and/or plot line.
It happened with A BUG'S LIFE when they released ANTZ. It happened when there was a rash of movies coming out that all had to do with breaking in a stealing something big. It happens very often with movies where there is a thematic repetitiveness that makes them all seem boring.
It is the kind of feeling that I get from seeing the same color and style of clothing in every store that I go to nothing that gives a sense of uniqueness or individuality.
That is how I felt when I saw the trailer while seeing FACING THE GIANTS for yet another football movie coming out around Christmas time. The very fact that it was another football movie again was so annoying to me that it made me not want to go to see it.
I get very tired of the repetitive subject matter in movies over the last decade or so. Perhaps they are running out of ideas......
Perhaps no one else gets turned off by any of this kind of thing, but to me it just draws a yawn and makes me want to spend another 10 years hardly ever attending movies at the theater again.
Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 9 - 12
What did you think of this review?