Facing the Giants (Widescreen)
Facing the Giants created a mild brouhaha in 2006 from its unusual backstory: Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia, shelled out $100,000 to create a Christian-themed high school football movie that wound up becoming a minor hit among Bible Belt audiences. While kudos are in order to the church for its unusual project and successful return on investment, the film itself is not exactly a source for singing hallelujahs.
The film focuses on a sad sack football coach for a Christian academy. The coach hasn’t had a winning season in six years. If that’s not bad enough, his star running back (who was responsible for one-third of the previous season’s touchdowns) transfers to a school with a successful football team. And then there are the problems at home: a car that constantly breaks down, home repairs that are too expensive to perform, and the question that ol’ Coach may be the reason that he and his cute blonde missus can’t become parents.
However, a mysterious visitor shows up to guide the coach in the right direction. Faster than you can whistle "Drop Kick Me, Jesus, Through the Goalpost of Life," a mixture of Gospels and gridiron results in a new and exciting future for our beleaguered hero.
To its credit, Facing the Giants looks far more professional than one might expect from a $100,000 feature made by a Baptist church in Georgia. The cinematography, editing and music are all top-notch.
However, the performances (by the non-professional members of the church) are strictly at a community theater level. And the screenplay is so painfully by-the-numbers that one can see the ending from as early as the first reel. It’s all earnest but amateurish, and the mature moviegoer can only view Facing the Giants much the way a proud parent views a child’s piano recital: by smiling at the fact that some effort went into the endeavor while quietly cringing at the obvious lack of polish and style.
Director’s commentary, featurette on the making of the film, blooper reel.