As planned and promised in my post “The Tale of Two Movies this Valentine’s Day Weekend”, my husband and I saw “Old Fashioned” on opening weekend. As we traveled an hour to the theatre, my thoughts bounced between hopefulness and fearfulness.
The hopeful thoughts centered on my longing for the movie to be good. No, that’s not right. I wanted the movie to be great. Definitely not preachy or cheesy. I was rooting for well-acted with good pacing and realistic, even witty banner between the actors who of course would have to “fit” the parts they portrayed.
Swirling amongst the hopefulness was a fearful anxiety that the movie might not leave audiences with a positive impression about Christians and the church and GOD. I cringed to think the body of CHRIST might be portrayed as a bunch of country bumpkins stuck in the last century, hopelessly out-of-touch with today’s world. I worried it would scream “B” movie, low budget, second class flick.
The Roger Moore movie review I’d read that afternoon fed my fears. He had little good to say about the faith-based flick, labeling it “a slow, preachy romantic comedy.” He picked at the choice of lead actor declaring him a “stiff on the screen” then mocked his attire and haircut as that of “a 40-something charismatic preacher” with “relaxed fit jeans that are a little too long.” Moore’s other disparaging comments made it clear the very premise of the movie got under his skin. He gave it 1 ½ stars out of four.
Fuming, I stuffed the newspaper in my computer bag, with a reminder to pay attention to the hair and the jeans. And to solicit my husband’s opinion before I shared Moore’s comments. I hoped he was dead wrong. Especially about the preachy part.
Please don’t let it be preachy.
Not because we were driving an hour and spending our hard-earned money to see a movie in the theatre which we rarely do. I didn’t care about that. I just didn’t want this faith-based movie, with a nationwide, big-screen premier, limited as it was, to flop. Nor did I want it to foster the notion that Christians are wimpy ninnies or whacked out weirdos or out-of-touch nut-jobs.
Please let it advance YOUR kingdom… not hinder it.
Let’s be honest. Not all faith-based movies live up to the standards most movie goers have come to expect. Sometimes the actors aren’t that great. Or maybe the scenes/settings/backgrounds are a little off. Too often at least a couple of the Christian characters are simply odd or strange or different in a negative way. Sometimes, there’s even something about the lighting that looks fake. Bottom line—seldom does a faith-based flick have the $$$ backing it that other movies do. And it usually shows.
I know what you’re thinking. “She’s being waaaayyyy tooooo picky.”
I’m by no means what you’d call a movie buff. Ninety-nine percent of the time I haven’t a clue who the producer of any given film is. I often don’t know the names of the leading actors without the help of family members or the final credits. My focus is always on the story and the relationships and the emotions/message/thoughts that linger.
No, I wasn’t merely being picky. I simply wanted the movie to be so awesome that for once, critics and everyone else would have to admit that a faith-based movie had hit it out of the park.
We splurged on popcorn and waited through endless previews for the movie to begin. My anxiety slowly subsided as the story unfolded. It was not cheesy nor did it scream “B” movie, and I didn’t notice the off lighting thing either.
The actors fit the characters—the leading man was not “a stiff”. He simply wasn’t the typical swaggering, muscled, macho man we’re used to seeing in leading roles. Who knows? Maybe he was muscled but his clothes stayed on. Crazy, I know. What he did have was a past he was striving to learn from rather than repeat. And the very pretty leading lady? She had a past too as well as a lot of personality and spunk.
Sometime after my “B” movie angst had dissipated, another kind of anxiety swelled and my hands clutched the armrest. For several minutes I had no idea how the story would end. Would he…? Or maybe she would…?
Of course I’m not going to tell you how it ended except to note that a smattering of applause broke out as the credits rolled. I was one of those clapping for what many have called “a perfect ending.” I wish I could announce the theatre was packed, forcing us to sit too close to the screen. It wasn’t but I’m thrilled this Carmike Theatre chose to play “Old Fashioned”.
On the way to the car, I asked my husband about the “preacher hair” and “too long jeans”. His brow furrowed, and he shook his head. He didn’t find either statement to be true. “If that’s all they could find to pick on…” he murmured. Exactly. NOW who’s being picky???
It wasn’t a knock ‘em down, shoot ‘em up movie nor was it an other-worldly, fantastical epic. It was a story about real people forging their own path and taking a stand to move away from a damaging past. Now if that’s not a story a ton of people can identify with, i don’t know what is. It was an authentic romantic love story—the very kind of story that should premier on Valentine’s Day weekend.
Was it a homerun? In my book, YES. And I’m not the only one who feels that way.
From a February 22 post on the “Old Fashioned” Facebook page –
“Old Fashioned made a little box office history over the weekend. Already clearing $1 mil, it’s the biggest opening ever for a faith-based film (less than 300 screens). But, to me, the greater stories are the reports we’re hearing from all over the country from folks that (in addition to entertainment) are finding a measure of healing and hope and wholeness from the film… like the troubled couple that told me through tears of the film’s impact on them… or the 30 kids that got dressed up and drove over an hour because they want to believe that love can be about more than objectification… THIS is why we fought so hard to make this film and get it in theatres. Hearts matter…”
Yes, yes, yes, they do matter!
I’ll gladly watch it again, and I’m pretty sure I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out. I own two DVDs of movies that I really, really, really liked… and both of those were given to me as gifts. This one is a keeper for so many reasons.
LIKE their page. See the movie. Tell your friends.
Let’s send a loud, clear, strong message that we want and will support faith-based movies.