I haven’t seen the new Batman movie yet, but unless I weep during the entire time at its brilliance, am served a bottomless bag of cotton candy and get to take home my own live bat, I am not sure it can live up to my expectations. I know I will like it, there’s just been so much hype that I think it will be difficult for it to be as good as I think it should. The same thing happened to the movie “Facing the Giants.”
That’s a tough expectation to live up to. Unless the movie is called “A preview of how Jon Acuff will die in a bear accident” and then I watch it and learn some moves against that exact bear that was going to kill me, I’m not sure most movies will radically change my life.
Don’t get me wrong, I think movies can change our lives or at least impact us in powerful ways. I wrote a piece about how I felt like I saw more of Jesus in the movie “Man on Fire” than I did “the Passion of the Christ” and that meant a lot to me. But when it came to Facing the Giants and the faith sculpting exuberance people had described it with, I felt like there was no way it could deliver.
And then people started disclaiming it. Any time I asked about the movie someone would say, “It was just a youth group movie. They made it for a nickel and shot, edited and packaged the whole thing in 17 minutes.” That made me feel like when I watched Facing the Giants there would be people playing multiple characters by wearing mustache disguises and that microphones would be hitting people in the head and that the soundtrack would just be a hobo mournfully humming.
But there wasn’t. I thought they did a great job with what they had. I thought it was a great example of Christians trying to do a lot with a little. I thought lots of people were touched and challenged by that film and that’s a really cool thing despite my desire to be a Christian culture snob. Was it the best story I ever saw or the best acting? No. There were a few scenes where they didn’t take the time to let the rhythm of life develop and instead would say things like “the roof is leaking, the car is broken, I’m infertile, you’re losing your job, the football team keeps losing and the mongoose is back.” I added that last one but you get the point. I spoke with my friend Daniel Millican, who directed “The Imposter,” about this and I don’t think I’m crazy for thinking the story needed more time to unfold.
But writing a movie is difficult. I’m working on a script right now and it’s challenging. So I thought it might be good to suggest a few Christian movies we could make that would have more serious scripts. Movies that are deep and interesting, heart wrenching yet ha ha funny too. So I took some popular movies and tried to “God them up.” Here is what I came up with:
1. Samson vs. Goliath vs. Predator
The “Alien vs. Predator” movies seemed to do pretty well so why not make a movie where the strongest people in the Bible fight to the death. What’s that you say, “The Predator wasn’t in the Bible and didn’t live in ancient times?” That we know of friend, that we know of. (In case you are wondering who will win, it will be the Predator. He has a rock shooting device on his arm and then shaves Samson bald with a laser beam. Whole thing takes like 30 seconds. It’s a short movie.)
2. Red Gideon
“Red Dawn,” a tale of the high school students fighting Russian soldiers that invade America, was probably the greatest movie ever. I watched it approximately 900 times growing up and even writing these sentences makes me want to yell, “Wolverines!” So what if we combined the story of Gideon with the movie Red Dawn? That would be beautiful. During the scene where Gideon has to eliminate his men, God would say, “Take half the men and only one member from the brat pack. You can’t have Charlie Sheen or Thomas C. Howell but I will give you Patrick Swayze.” Goosebumps, gang. Goosebumps.
3. Jonah & Jaime
What if instead of the remake they did of Starsky & Hutch we made a movie starring Jonah and the whale that swallowed him? By the way, that whale is named “Jaime.” They would have to be fighting crime in San Francisco because the whale needs water every now and then. It would be awesome. When they’re fighting bad guys Jaime would open his mouth and Jonah would send a roundhouse kick out from his belly. And can you imagine how majestic it would look to have that whale doing those big jumps that they do in car chase scenes through the streets of San Francisco? Wow.
4. The Disciplinators
In this movie, there’s been a translation problem in the Bible. Someone wrote down “Glove your enemy” instead of “Love your enemy.” So a gang of disciples, calling themselves “the Disciplinators” goes around slapping everyone they don’t like in the face with gloves. It sounds slow, but I think that a glove slap is kind of the polite equivalent of seeing someone get hit in the groin with a wiffle ball. I promise, it would not get old. We would slow the slaps down, like the Matrix, and you’d be able to buy an official glove on our website.
If you are wealthy and would like to produce any of these movies, please let me know. I’m not going to lie to you, we might lose a few whales during production but there won’t be a dry eye in the house when in the final scene of Jonah & Jaime we watch Jaime do battle to the death with the whale from that movie, “Free Willy.” As the credits roll, we’ll play “Friends are Friends Forever” by Michael W. Smith as Jonah sells Jaime’s heroic corpse to a seafood restaurant. I mean, he was a whale after all.