Saturday, August 8, 2009
Divorces happen, get over it
Fireproof | dir. Alex Kentrick | rel. 2008 | 2.5/5
I try not to reveal details about my more personal life on this blog, but since the film that I'm about to discuss does touch upon a certain detail about my faith, the subject seems appropriate.
I'm a self-described on-again, off-again Christian. For the past few years, I've been a little more like Gandhi when it comes to Christianity; Gandhi once said, "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
I've been going back to church in the past few months in hopes of well, improving my life one way or another, and honestly, I've never felt so isolated, lonely, and frustrated in my entire life. The people there are certainly nice, but they all go to the same schools, have the same interests, and I can't seem to connect to them on a more friendly, personal level. I don't know if it's because I'm such a hard shell to crack or I just hate hiking, camping, and attending dinner parties with people I don't feel completely comfortable with.
I think what I'm trying to say is that I've associated with Christians for my entire life. The ones who aren't crazy are generally nice people who just want everyone to be friends and love each other. The ones that are crazy think Bush is a great president just because Bush claims that he loves God. My own mom is a devoted, socially conservative Christian and I love her, despite our differences.
But ultra-conservative Christians can't seem to keep up with the modern world. Things change, and sometimes I wish The Bible is as open to interpretation as the United States Constitution. Many Christians don't think so, although what they believe is what they believe. They have the right to exercise their freedoms and no one has to force them to change their minds.
Although we can all appeal to them and beg them to reconsider--and we'll have to do that again and again. They're a tough crowd...
I'm not trying to tackle any of the star controversial issue (gay marriage, abortion) but something much simpler: divorce. Yes, divorce. I don't understand why divorce is so wrong in the grand scheme of things. There is actually a small snippet in the Book of Matthews that discusses how horrible divorce is and I simply don't understand. My parents were divorced when I was very young and I've always thought it was rather fitting. I guess it would've been nice if I were raised in a nice, happy family, but shit happens--not just in my life, but in stormy marriages that were just not meant to last.
This brings me to the church-funded movie, Fireproof, a piece of Christian propaganda opposing divorce. It's about a married couple played by Kirk Cameron (yes, the kid from Growing Pains) and Erin Bethea who just fight all the time about the most stupidest of things; the wife complains that the husband's always looking at dirty images on the Internet and saving up for a boat they don't need when they could be using the money for repainting the back door and the husband complains that the wife nags too much about everything.
So it obviously seems that this couple are headed for a divorce. The wife is the PR of a local hospital and she is even being wooed by a nice doctor--so why bother staying in an awful marriage to a constantly pissed off firefighter? But the husband's father comes to the save the day by putting the husband on a "love dare"--a project that will save the marriage. The project puts the husband on a 40-day (lol why couldn't they name Kirk Cameron's character Noah?) journey of tips on how to save the marriage. Tips include not saying negative things, doing nice things, planning a nice dinner, etc. for each of the forty days. After a magical talk with his father, the husband immediately converts to Christianity. It's nice how miracles work.
Having the husband as a dedicated firefighter allows the writers of this film to include some horrible analogies of the responsibilities of a firefighter and the responsibilities of a spouse. And they are all relentlessly cheesy and lame. Halfway through this movie, My Mom The Christian actually turned to me and said, "This movie is a lot like a Hallmark movie," a genre that we've often made fun of since our viewing of Loving Leah.
But what bothers me about my mom and the bulk of Christians (even more than the fact that they think God wanted Bush to be president) is that they think a movie is immediately 200% more awesome if God is somehow positively involved in the plot as the central moral compass. There are some great movies where God plays a positive role, such as The Ten Commandments and The King of Kings, but why must they flock the theaters to witness something as meritless and lame as Fireproof?
I mean, it's not like Fireproof was directed by God, anyway.
Fireproof offers nothing refreshing about "saving" a marriage. It's an amateur, yet admirable, piece of filmmaking. The "admirable" part comes from the fact that it was made with a relatively low budget--but that's about it. The script is a Hallmark rip-off and the acting is stiff and laughable. The comedic moments are well, amusing, to say the least, but there is one scene that I can't get out of my mind...
There is this scene where the husband (I can't even bother to IMDb their names, so I'll just call him Kirk Cameron) is surfing the net and checking out boats (his fave hobby) and this random ad with this girl pops up on screen with the words "Wanna See?" underneath. Since he's a fan of pornography, he has this amazing internal struggle. He walks away from the computer, opens his "love dare" book and it says that he has to resist temptations such as pornography. So Kirk Cameron has no idea what to do.
SO HE PULLS OUT THE POWER PLUGS. HE BRINGS THE ENTIRE COMPUTER SET OUTSIDE. HE PICKS UP HIS BASEBALL BAT (HIS GENERAL WEAPON OF CHOICE) AND STARTS DESTROYING HIS COMPUTER WITH HIS BASEBALL BAT. THE NEIGHBORS WATCH BECUASE HE'S TOTALLY BATSHIT.
As you can probably tell, I LOVE this scene. I couldn't stop laughing. It's probably THE funniest scene I've ever seen. I mean, he could've saved the computers to download Christian rock songs and sermons off the Internet but NO he chose to annihilate his entire computer!!!
Watch the entire moral dilemma unfold here:
I think I actually wrote everything preceding this video just because I wanted to build up to the climatic moment that IS THIS VIDEO. The entire scene is actually more hilarious (with the neighbors watching) but this video really builds up all the intensity that makes the scene awesomely...bad and amazing at the same time. Because it's unlikely I'll find anything funnier than this.
Anyway, I think I kind of love Fireproof the same way I kind of love the "Bet On It" scene in High School Musical 2. Fireproof reminds me of the videos I had to watch in my freshmen year health class. It's an uncomfortable film to sit through, has way too many random montages set to random Christian rock songs, and it doesn't enlighten its audience with anything new. The Kendricks Bros. (who also made two other Christian-centric movies) probably had their heart in the right place, but this film is so cliched-muddled, lame, unintentionally hilarious, and to top it off, a message that is so backwards, that no scene ever feels truly genuine.
Even as the end credits roll, I still believe that well, DIVORCES HAPPEN, GET OVER IT.
But this film is so funny...I just CAN'T GIVE IT A BAD RATING. So I'm just going to do some sort of a weird breakdown:
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: 9/10
EVERYTHING ELSE: 4/10
Okay, that brings my total down to a 6.5/10...pretty impressive (a 2.5 on the 5 star scale). Anyway, I kind of want to watch this movie for my next hypothetical slumber party. I would love to do a commentary throughout this movie because that's all I did last summer on AIM with my friend with the "Bet On It" Youtube video.
So anyway...why am I so lame again?