Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Peter T Chattaway

David and Goliath (2015)

Recommended Posts

mrmando wrote:
: I'm also pretty sure there has never been a killer bee attack in Morocco.

 

There *was* a terrorist bombing in Marrakesh a few years back, though, I believe. I read about it in a government website's travel-safety advisory before going to Morocco myself. (I did not go to Marrakesh.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If ISIS could attack a museum in Tunisia, as they did just recently, it's plausible that they or other terrorist groups could have operatives in a nearby North African country such as Morocco. I'm not saying Morocco is risk-free for Western film crews or tourists, just that Chey's claims about Ebola and bees indicate a tendency to exaggerate, so it wouldn't surprise me if he is exaggerating about other risks as well.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another interview with Chey from TBN:

https://vimeo.com/123174811

 

Still watching, but so far the most striking thing about it is Chey's self-pity: Critics who like to bash Christian films don't realize how difficult it is to raise money ... directing films is really difficult, it's not glamorous ... hot sun and logistical problems shooting in Morocco ... his wife walked out of a Noah screening as soon as the "rock monsters" appeared ... ISIS won't invade America, but they will infiltrate Hollywood and steal the hearts of our children ... After a hundred years, Christians are finally, just now, getting into "cinemas" ... Christian filmmakers shouldn't worry about quality, because criticism of their films, e.g., "bad acting, cheesy," comes from the devil ... He went to a screening of one of his earlier films and only one other person was in the audience. And so on.

 

Sounds like the "angry mobs" in Morocco were villagers upset that they hadn't been hired to work on the shoot. Oh, and "my wife was attacked by a swarm of African killer bees ... but not one sting!" Well, aside from being in the wrong part of the world for "killer" bees, there's the simple fact that a defining characteristic of such bees is their aggression in pursuing and stinging whoever or whatever disturbs their hive. So if she wasn't, in fact, stung ...  

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:
: . . . his wife walked out of a Noah screening as soon as the "rock monsters" appeared . . .

 

You mean, like, 80 seconds into the movie? Before the prologue has even finished?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You mean, like, 80 seconds into the movie? Before the prologue has even finished?

Heh. No, it sounds like she waited until they offer to help build the ark. In fact, I don't remember the Nephilim being in the prologue, so I'll have to go back and have a second look. 

 

Funding for distribution was raised via Indiegogo. The first campaign raised just under $20,000 out of a $777,000 goal: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/david-and-goliath-u-s-theater-release-april-3#home

 

The second campaign closes today; it has raised $2,333 out of a $15K goal: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/david-and-goliath-u-s-theater-release-april-3--2

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another TBN interview with Chey: 

 

Mostly retreading things he's said elsewhere, but a few interesting points emerge. 

 

First, he again brings up another film he says he produced last year: Freedom, a period film about slavery. I've seen the trailer for this film and it looks a ton better than any other Chey film ... but it turns out that he's only the screenwriter and producer, not the director. He strongly implies that he directed it, but stops just short of an outright claim, which is lucky for him because it would be a lie. Chey claims this is a $20 million film, but IMDB says its budget is estimated at $4.5 million. 

 

Interestingly, while he says D&G is a "big-budget" film, he never gives an exact figure. Articles on GodVine, Christian Post, etc., have claimed that the budget was $50 million, but I have yet to hear that figure coming directly from Chey's mouth. I am beginning to wonder why. I've seen the film and it does look like it might have been made for $50 million—in Monopoly money.

Regarding the quality of his films, Chey points out that directors often have to make bad films in order to learn how to make good ones ... except that having now seen David and Goliath, I can assert that his films aren't getting any better. He also says that he thinks there's room for Christian A-list directors and Christian "D-league" directors, but he doesn't say where he'd place himself on that spectrum.

 

He claims his wife helped Malcolm McDowell convert to Christianity on the set of Suing the Devil.

 

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks again, Peter! I can't say I didn't enjoy the film, since I got several good laughs out of it, and it served as a way to present the story to my son and discuss it with him.

 

It just occurred to me, though — what's up with the pants? The Israelite soldiers all wear red clamdiggers and the Philistines have black ones. Even David has gray trousers under his tunic. Boy howdy, when conservative Christians decided to hate Darren Aronofsky's Noah, they went after the costume design with a vengeance, ripping it up one side and down the other for putting Noah in jeans. Thus far none of them seem to have noticed that Chey did the same thing.  

 

Neither Plugged In nor Movieguide has posted a review yet. Hm...

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"It's a beautiful and majestic film that quotes Scripture and is directed by a sold-out Believer," says Darren Jones, a pastor. "Of course it will be attacked by atheists, movie critic geniuses, you name it. It will even be attacked by carnal Christians in sheep's clothing. But God has anointed the film most definitely."

 

Well, I'm not an atheist and I'm not wearing wool, so thanks to Pastor Jones for recognizing that I'm a genius. 

 

Seriously, you gotta love how there's no room for good old-fashioned differences of opinion. If you don't like the film, then you must belong to this or that category of despicable people.

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"God has anointed the film most definitely."

 

Must. Not. Respond. With. Obvious. Comebacks.

Must. Not. Respond. With. Obvious. Comebacks.

Must. Not. Respond. With. Obvious. Comebacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"directed by a sold-out Believer"

 

Does that mean a Believer who sold-out (i.e. betrayed) what he believes?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Maxed-out.," as in credit cards, might be more appropriate. 

 

Or maybe "wigged-out." This is a guy who filed a suit against Netflix for $10 million for declining to stream one of his films. 

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

mrmando wrote:

: Well, I'm not an atheist and I'm not wearing wool, so thanks to Pastor Jones for recognizing that I'm a genius.

 

Heh. You're still the only critic who has reviewed the film on Rotten Tomatoes, so I can't imagine what other critic Pastor Jones is thinking of.

: This is a guy who filed a suit against Netflix for $10 million for declining to stream one of his films.

 

Oh wow. Wow wow wow. And that was two years ago.

 

These grandiose pronouncements of Chey's really do shed light, I think, on the constant shouting of his characters. He seems to think that that's the only way people communicate -- by being big and loud.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let's revisit my predictions and see how I did: 

Quote

It will begin and end with, and be interrupted by, tedious narration because that's the easiest way to do exposition.

Indeed it begins with narration by Miles Sloman, who plays David. It's hard to tell whether he's in character or not. If he's not, that's weird. But if he is, then it doesn't make sense for him to talk about the "Bronze Age." No one living during the Bronze Age would've used that term; it wasn't coined until 1860.

Thank goodness, the opening sequence is pretty much all the narration there is. We hear David recite some Psalms in voiceover, as I noted in the review. But not in a way I'd call expository. 

 

Quote
 It will conclude with a modern worship song whose lyrics don't have anything to do with the plot.

 

A contemporary recording of "How Great Thou Art," to be precise.


 

Quote

Someone will complain about high gas prices.

 

 

Not that I noticed wink.png. There are a couple of lines about the Israelites' supplies running low, which doesn't make sense textually or geographically. And the Philistines do execute a couple of Israelites for, essentially, fishing without a license.

 

Quote
Actors will do a lot of yelling. 

 

And how.
 

Quote

Someone will get cancer. 

 

 

I'm not sure how many nights Chey stayed up late trying to figure out a way to incorporate a cancer subplot, but ultimately it didn't make the cut. There are a couple of scenes where a Philistine threatens an Israelite with immediate death and the Israelite doesn't even try to get away, despite not being restrained ... and another scene where Philistines are supposed to be torturing an Israelite, but they're not doing anything to him other than making him listen to Chey's dialogue.
 

Quote

Someone will pose the standard theodicy question, "How could God let this happen?" and get some kind of one-sentence pat answer.

 

 

This didn't make the cut either. 

 

Quote

The film will purport to tell a story within a given narrative framework and then proceed to violate whatever rules might inhere in that framework.

 

 

Well, if the framework in question is "Biblical correctness," then definitely yes, there were violations all over the place. Actually, if the framework were "narrative structure" there would still be violations.
 

Quote
If you miss a line of dialogue, don't worry. It will be repeated if Chey thinks it is important.

 

I nailed that one! It was kind of like Rashomon without the benefit of a change of perspective for each repetition.

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been dropping in on other discussions of the film. Threads at GodVine, Christian Post et al., and the film's own Facebook page are stacked decks, where negative comments apparently aren't tolerated. One GodVine commenter was suspicious of the film because a couple of the assistant directors have "Muslim names" (news flash: in this interview Chey says his entire crew were Muslims); even that remark was deleted. Comments at IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes are more of a level playing field, although it would appear that loyal fans are trying to use them to skew the ratings. 

 

Curiously, though, even most people who disparage the film still seem to have imbibed the "Biblically correct" Kool-Aid, except for one IMDB commenter who gave an even longer list of deviations than I did. No one else seems to be bothered by the "land for peace" scene, which IMHO is the film's most significant departure from the 1 Samuel text. I didn't mention it in my review, but Simon Davies, who portrays the Israelite commander, plays the entire scene with a cheesy grin on his face ... perhaps he couldn't quite get over the preposterousness of the thing. Not to mention that Abner (that's the Israelite commander's name, although Chey doesn't appear to know it) is still alive at the end of 1 Sam. 17.

 

I'm guessing people will swallow almost any number of small-to-medium deviations from the text as long as the filmmaker doesn't mess with their concept of the central character. I.e., nobody would object to Noah wearing trousers if he didn't [a] require the assistance of "rock-monsters"; {b}  get his wires crossed and begin to wonder whether God intended the destruction of all mankind, including himself and his family; [c] call God "the Creator" instead of, y'know, "God." D&G gives us an unambiguously heroic David who is miles away from "Aragorn syndrome." His faith in God doesn't waver for a second, and for most viewers that seems to expiate all the ways the film departs from its source material, whether those viewers ultimately decide they like the film or not. 

 

The great irony here is that if you look beyond the Goliath episode and take David as a whole, he probably expresses more doubt than any other character in the Bible. All those psalms of lament: "Why aren't you listening, God? How long will you leave me hanging?" 

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The great irony here is that if you look beyond the Goliath episode and take David as a whole, he probably expresses more doubt than any other character in the Bible. All those psalms of lament: "Why aren't you listening, God? How long will you leave me hanging?" 

 

So if David had quoted Psalm 22, which he wrote, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish.." would that have made the movie Biblically inaccurate? (And we probably shouldn't mention Psalm 51 either, although to be fair, that was written at a later time than the story of Goliath.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't bothered to track down all the Psalms he quotes and try to judge whether they're anachronisms. In some scenes David is carrying a scroll, upon which he seems to be composing the 23rd Psalm. One IMDB commenter pointed out that in one of his harangues Eliab refers to this scroll as if it were already canonized as scripture! 

 

The unwavering David we get in this film may be "Biblically correct" as far as 1 Sam. 17 is concerned, but the film does not take into account the additional dimensions of David that we find elsewhere in the Bible ... so in that sense its Biblical correctness is badly distorted. Best scene in the film, however, is a meditation by David on the nature of faith, the night before the fight: "Faith is knowing ... and not knowing," and a few other epigrams on that pattern, which gives him a touch of humanity. Not enough to save the film, but I'm glad it's there. 

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Box office results from Week 2 are finally in. Three screens added, but overall take is down by more than half from Week 1: 

http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?page=weekend&id=davidandgoliath.htm

 

General consensus from supporters of the film is that "Judge not, that ye not be judged" somehow applies to film criticism (but it's OK to call critics "lukewarm" and "carnal" in the interest of promoting nonjudgmentalism), and that David and Goliath somehow shouldn't be compared to "Hollywood" films, even though Chey himself compares it to Noah and Lawrence of Arabia.

Edited by mrmando

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Overstreet said:

Now streaming on Netflix Instant in the U.S.!

I spotted that earlier tonight. I was able to make it through about 5 minutes. I consider that an achievement. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Finally watched it. Wrote up a few quick thoughts. But I simply couldn't do the "thorough" thing on this film. Not when I'm still mourning the cancellation of Of Kings & Prophets, which did many things right that this film does wrong. (And I say this as one who has a review copy of the third episode of OK&P, which was never aired in North America because the network cancelled the series after just two episodes.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/22/2014 at 7:12 AM, Anders said:

I couldn't finish the trailer. The constant attempts at Peter Jackson-style swooping camera movement just draws attention to how lame this movie looks.

Heh. My sister just told me she tried to watch this on Netflix, and she couldn't get past the first two minutes. I had forgotten that you had the same reaction *to the trailer*.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...