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Links to the threads on Facing the Giants (2006) and Fireproof (2008).

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Sherwood Pictures Announces Courageous
Sherwood Church, home of the hit independent movies Flywheel (DVD only), Facing the Giants, and Fireproof, at its Sunday evening service tonight, announced the theme and title for Sherwood Pictures' fourth movie. Senior Pastor Michael Catt, Executive Pastor Jim McBride, and ministers Stephen and Alex Kendrick--collectively the leadership team of Sherwood Pictures--made the announcement.
"The movie is about fatherhood and the title is one word: 'Courageous,'" Alex Kendrick said, briefly outlining the plot. "Four fathers who are all in law enforcement--who protect and serve together--go through a terrible tragedy," he said. "They begin looking at their role as fathers... and they begin challenging one another to fulfill God's intention for fathers."
That single-word title, Pastor Catt said, echoes God's call for men to "rise with courage" in their homes and as leaders. This at a time when 4 of 10 marriages end in divorce and more than a third of all children live away from their biological fathers.
"The statistics on fatherless children are devastating," McBride said. "And because the family is the building block of society, one important place to rebuild families is through fathers who stay and lead and love."
"God led us," co-writer and producer Stephen Kendrick said to the audience of church members, many of them volunteer crew, cast, or catering in earlier Sherwood movies. "We believe God is calling men to rise up with strength and with leadership in their homes, with their families and with their children." . . .
ComingSoon.net, November 15

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 6 months later...
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Set visits have commenced. So far, the reports that have turned up in my news feed come from two sources, namely Angela Walker @ Christians in Cinema and the National Catholic Register, which has reports from Matthew Warner (who repeats the questionable claim that Fireproof was "the #1 independent film of 2008" -- bigger than Slumdog Millionaire? bigger than Twilight? heck, bigger than The Reader? and that's before we take into account the half-dozen or so Lionsgate movies that did better than Fireproof, which may or may not qualify as "independent", too) and Tim Drake (x2, x3, x4).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 1 year later...

Whoa. I just noticed something. Remember how there was a huge controversy -- one that even caught the attention of some legislators -- over the fact that Facing the Giants was rated PG? It turns out Courageous has been rated PG-13 -- and as far as I can tell, no one has made a peep about that.

The PG-13, incidentally, is for "some violence and drug content". I haven't seen the film yet, so I don't know how this content is contextualized, but I do recall that the Billy Graham film Caught! was rated PG-13 back in 1987 because it had some drug content, so this isn't exactly unprecedented, even for a Christian film.

Incidentally, if you search for this film at FilmRatings.com (the official MPAA site), you'll get TWO results: one for a film called Courageous that got a PG-13 rating in 2010 but then "surrendered" the rating so that its current status is "unrated", and one for a film called Courageous that got a PG-13 rating in 2011. Are these the same film? Was the film rated PG-13, then un-rated, and then rated PG-13 again? Or are these two separate films? (If the latter, the IMDb doesn't seem to have any record of a 2010 film by this name.)

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Incidentally, if you search for this film at FilmRatings.com (the official MPAA site), you'll get TWO results: one for a film called Courageous that got a PG-13 rating in 2010 but then "surrendered" the rating so that its current status is "unrated", and one for a film called Courageous that got a PG-13 rating in 2011. Are these the same film? Was the film rated PG-13, then un-rated, and then rated PG-13 again? Or are these two separate films? (If the latter, the IMDb doesn't seem to have any record of a 2010 film by this name.)

Courageous was indeed originally rated PG-13, then surrendered the rating. This is the first I heard that it was rerated PG-13 again, but the official website confirms it.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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  • 4 weeks later...

Mrs. CrimsonLine and I got to see this film tonight. Wow! It's a weepie, that's for sure. I thought the acting was fine, the characters were strong and relatable, and that the story had resonance. Genuine humor, as well as sorrow, were had in abundance - perhaps too abundantly. By the end, I was pretty wrung out. I appreciated very much the powerful portrayal of intact and functional black and Hispanic families, and the fact that the characters all had good story arcs. The movie plays out like a long sermon (just a hair too long, in my opinion) but it's a good sermon. And a decent movie.

The action was well staged, too.

Interestingly, yesterday I went back an viewed Red Letter Media's multipart review of Star Wars, Episode III, and Plinkett's criticism of the lack of ability to feel for Anakin Skywalker, as well as the boring, pedestrian two-shot editing of all the dialogue scenes. That was fresh in my mind as I watched Courageous. It struck me that Courageous has WAY more character and heart than all the Prequels put together, and the editing really helped identify with the characters.

Lastly, I thought it was a realistic portrayal of the role of the church and spiritual growth in an Evangelical context. I've seen it hundreds of times, people suffer tragedy, reexamine their lives with the help of Scripture and Godly counsel, ask hard questions, come to certain convictions, share them with a close group of brothers and sisters, and make plans for how to carry them out. Things don't always go smoothly, and accountability is hard, but good things come out of it.

Favorite scenes: Adam hiring Javier to work on his shed, then discovering that he's not the Javier he was expecting; and Javier pretending to be a loco gangster in the back of the squad car.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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So, normally this is Peter's beat, but I hadn't seen him do anything on it, so I took a look at Box Office Mojo, myself.

Courageous closed the weekend in FOURTH place overall, pulling in just over $9 million. But if you look at the per-screen averages, Courageous looks astounding. Courageous played on roughly 50%-33% of the number of screens of the films that finished ahead of it, but pulled in an impressive $7,806 per screen. The Lion King (3D), the #3 movie of the weekend, came in second for per-screen average at $4,537. Moneyball, the #2 movie of the weekend, came in third in per-screen average, with $4,020 per screen. Dolphin Tale, the #1 movie of the weekend, came in fourth with $3,958 per screen. The top four moneymakers this weekend, but in per-screen average, they were exactly reversed!

  1. Dolphin Tale - $3958 per screen, $13.9 Million total
  2. Moneyball, $4020 per screen, $12 Million total
  3. Lion King (3D), $4537 per screen, $10.6 Million total
  4. Courageous, $7806 per screen, $9 Million total
  5. 50/50, $2458 per screen, $8.6 Million total

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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CrimsonLine wrote:

: Courageous closed the weekend in FOURTH place overall, pulling in just over $9 million.

This is also the best opening ever for an evangelical film -- and based on that one weekend alone, this film is already #8 on the all-time evangelical-movie chart. (No, I don't count The Passion of the Christ, The Nativity Story or any of the Narnia films as "evangelical" movies.)

Incidentally, Courageous was released to 1,161 theatres (does that include the Canadian ones?), and only three evangelical movies have had wider releases: End of the Spear (1,163), The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything (1,340) and Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie (1,625).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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(No, I don't count The Passion of the Christ, The Nativity Story or any of the Narnia films as "evangelical" movies.)

Narnia, sure, I get that. But The Passion of the Christ?! If it hadn't been wildly successful, I bet you'd count it. :) What am I missing?

That's just how eye roll.

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If Mel Gibson had been a nobody with the same film, I would not have been surprised if Evangelicals had, at best, ignored it for being to Catholic. :) I think it's famous star, overall subject matter and the percieved persecution of Gibson for making it overroad the tendancy for Evangelicals to nit pick something to death. :)

Plus, it was not made with Evangel money or by Evangelicals.

Edited by Nezpop

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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Nezpop wrote:

: Plus, it was not made with Evangel money or by Evangelicals.

Bingo. It was, if anything, a Catholic movie that was embraced by many evangelicals. But that doesn't make it an "evangelical movie".

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Although the term "evangelical" is associated with Protestantism, many Catholics, especially those of a strict bent (like Gibson) would consider themselves "evangelical", and The Passion was certainly a work of evangelism. One might even say it's been one of the most successful attempts at The New Evangelization! :)

That's just how eye roll.

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Although the term "evangelical" is associated with Protestantism, many Catholics, especially those of a strict bent (like Gibson) would consider themselves "evangelical", and The Passion was certainly a work of evangelism. One might even say it's been one of the most successful attempts at The New Evangelization! :)

Lexicographal note: "Evangelism" is a characteristically Protestant word. "Evangelization" is a characteristically Catholic word. :)

And yes, both Catholics and Protestants can lay claim to "evangelical" as an adjective.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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SDG wrote:

: And yes, both Catholics and Protestants can lay claim to "evangelical" as an adjective.

No doubt, though I think a useful distinction CAN be made between the adjectives "evangelical" and "evangelistic", and while The Passion of the Christ might be the latter (as per one of Mel Gibson's statements to that effect), it would not be the former, for the purposes of this discussion.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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I watch Courageous this morning. The church I'm going to bought out the local theater and sold discounted tickets.

All the way through the first act, I was surprised by how much it felt like a "real" movie. There were a few obvious "message" moments, but they weren't overbearing in the way I was expecting. Quite a few of the humorous moments worked, and the grief over Emily's death was handled well, I thought.

In the second act, though, the story really slows down and the movie basically becomes an extended sermon/devotional. It's not bad as sermons go, but that's not what I want to go to a movie to see. And the third act felt strange, since it shifts back into story mode kind of abruptly. It does bring together the hanging threads of the plot pretty well, though.

One thing I was surprised by has how little the church actually appears in the movie. The men mention it several times, but by my count, only two scenes were set there (when Adam talks to the pastor, and the end scene).

[edit] I'm planning on writing an essay comparing Courageous to Of Gods and Men in the next week or two.

Edited by Tyler

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
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One thing I was surprised by has how little the church actually appears in the movie. The men mention it several times, but by my count, only two scenes were set there (when Adam talks to the pastor, and the end scene).

Riffing off something SDG said earlier,I wished that we knew just a bit more about these men and their church(es). Do they all regularly go to the same church, for instance? They had not met the Hispanic guy before he gets mistakenly roped into constructing the lead cop's shed. Perhaps he doesn't regularly go to the same church? Maybe he's Catholic, for instance, but is in the service at the end as a special thing?

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
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So, I was watching the film and finding some aspects of it a little strange: the ritualistic covenant, the pre-wedding ring that the one dad makes his teenaged daughter wear.

And then, quite by coincidence (as far as I know), Facebook friends of mine began linking to critical articles on Bill Gothard and his legacy here ("Dad gave me a promise ring that night, and the next day the two of us signed a Courtship Covenant with our pastor") and here.

Make of that whatever you will.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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So, I was watching the film and finding some aspects of it a little strange: the ritualistic covenant, the pre-wedding ring that the one dad makes his teenaged daughter wear.

And then, quite by coincidence (as far as I know), Facebook friends of mine began linking to critical articles on Bill Gothard and his legacy here ("Dad gave me a promise ring that night, and the next day the two of us signed a Courtship Covenant with our pastor") and here.

Make of that whatever you will.

You haven't heard of promise rings? Canada is weird.

It's the side effects that save us.
--The National, "Graceless"
Twitter Blog

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So, I was watching the film and finding some aspects of it a little strange: the ritualistic covenant, the pre-wedding ring that the one dad makes his teenaged daughter wear.

And then, quite by coincidence (as far as I know), Facebook friends of mine began linking to critical articles on Bill Gothard and his legacy here ("Dad gave me a promise ring that night, and the next day the two of us signed a Courtship Covenant with our pastor") and here.

Make of that whatever you will.

My understanding is that this type of thing is growing more prominent in some Evangelical circles, along with such things as the child making a "promise" with their parents to keep their virginity

until marriage. ect. It's a response to what is happening in the culture at large. So this might very well be part of the filmmaker's subculture.

If a Christian from another tradition finds this strange then I can only wonder what someone, who isn't from at least some aspect of Christianity, would make of it.

Edited by Attica
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If a Christian from another tradition finds this strange then I can only wonder what someone, who isn't from at least some aspect of Christianity, would make of it.

I can answer this. Every single non-Christian I have met who has heard of it thinks it is immensely creepy.

Edited by Nezpop

"You know...not EVERY story has to be interesting." -Gibby

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If a Christian from another tradition finds this strange then I can only wonder what someone, who isn't from at least some aspect of Christianity, would make of it.

I can answer this. Every single non-Christian I have met who has heard of it thinks it is immensely creepy.

Thought as much. ;)

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Tyler wrote:

: You haven't heard of promise rings? Canada is weird.

Word had reached my ears of the "purity balls" that some of you have south of the border (and that's even MORE creepy), but I don't think I had heard of "promise rings", no (at least not of the father-daughter variety).

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Tyler wrote:

: You haven't heard of promise rings? Canada is weird.

Word had reached my ears of the "purity balls" that some of you have south of the border (and that's even MORE creepy), but I don't think I had heard of "promise rings", no (at least not of the father-daughter variety).

I come from kinda-sideways-inside the subculture that does that sort of thing (yup, did the Gothard thing--and I have the ring to prove it, though to be fair it was a bit more than a "don't have sex" thing--and we weren't in it nearly to the extent seen at the links above) and I still find it creepy. Which, of course, kills what little interest I had in seeing this movie (the sub-Die Hard jumping-out-of-a-car thing in the trailer had already turned me off to the whole thing).

Edited by NBooth
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Word had reached my ears of the "purity balls" that some of you have south of the border (and that's even MORE creepy)

If "purity balls" means what I'm thinking it means then that is incredibly creepy.

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