Our workplace is offering a screening of Fireproof, that new moving staring Kirk Cameron, an actor I generally like to avoid. I’m wondering—do I go? Do I have to go to avoid everyone wondering why I didn’t go? Will they be asking questions about it later? I think I have a knee-jerk reaction to anything that looks even remotely like a vehicle for a Christian-y message. And by Christian-y, I don’t mean that it addresses the pressing issues that Christians should be concerned about, such as poverty, hunger, oppression and the like—a film like Amazing Grace, for instance. I mean the kind of film that addresses whether or not you’ve said the magic Jesus words. Remember that beyond-hideous Left Behind, also staring the underwhelming Kirk Cameron? Shudder.
Fireproof is from the same folks who did Facing the Giants, which I thought surprisingly well acted and well-produced but utterly predictable and bland. In fact, I don’t think I can remember the storyline now. Everyone gets saved and we get to go home. Anyway, both these movies were filmed in my hometown, which astounds me to no end. I detested the place and couldn’t wait to get the bleep out. It was boring, backward and bigoted. Either things have changed or the place has been digitally enhanced.
Fireproof is about a firefighter whose marriage is falling apart. His parents (newly saved, of course, and just oozing wisdom) challenge him to some sort of endurance test of making loving gestures to his wife (Yeah, that part sounds a bit like a Hallmark movie). Which of course will inevitably lead to him seeing the vasty emptiness in himself and saying the magic Jesus words. We can all wipe away a few tears and go home.
My jaundiced view makes me look like a total s**t, because here are these good people making a warmhearted film with the best of intentions. They even have some flair and talent. Dear Husband would say that I’m weak on the necessity of salvation. I wouldn’t say that, although I think subtlety has a lot going for it, unless they just want to preach to the choir. It’s the cynics like me who need God, but we are the ones who are going to run screaming from this sort of film, however good the production values.
When a film (or any form of art) has an agenda, it seems to me that the tail is wagging the dog. To me these films smack of art slapped over some Campus Crusade tracts.