Dear Billy and/or Franklin and/or Anne and/or Other Lesser Known But Equally Valued Graham Sibling(s):
I have a righteous bone to pick with you! No, it’s not the Pre-Trib/Post-Trib thing, though I’m 97% sure Dr. Billy knows when Jesus is returning but he’s not sharing with the rest of us. No, I’ve got bigger fish to fry. What have you done with World Wide Pictures? Did you off-load it at a Garage sale? Did you cut it up into tiny pieces and turn it into “Dare to be a Daniel” bracelets? Did you take it with you on a South African Crusade where it “met with a little accident”? Is it tied up in the basement of the Log Cabin at the Cove?
According to IMDb.com the last film was released in 2004. Was it ironic foreshadowing that the title was “Last Flight Out”?!? Sounds a wee bit suspicious to me. And why is no one asking any questions? Everybody is all, “That’s cool, man…24 different films and then…ffffffft. Gone. Right on! Prolly Raptured!”
24 Films! And then it vanishes into nothingness like Keyser Soze? I. Think. Not.
Come to think of it, it vanished the same year that “The Passion of the Christ” hit the theaters. Oh man, oh man, oh man! I’m about to go all CSI all over you Billy G! And not the second-rate spinoffs like CSI:Miami or CSI:Asheboro….I’m talking pre-Caruso expert gumshoe ballistics.
Is that a thing? Gumshoe Ballistics? I don’t actually watch CSI…but it seems like it could be a thing.
Anywho, if Team Billy has a minute from saving the planet, I’d like to go over a few of the incriminating facts.
FACT: Recently “MovieGuide’s” Ted Baehr said that 132 of the top movies released by Hollywood contained positive Christian content
FACT: “Road to Redemption”, “The Climb” and “Last Flight Out” were headed in the right direction cinematically even though,
FACT: In 1986 I lost major cool points among my friends as “The Official Movie Buff friend” when I recommended “Caught”
FACT: Filmmaking’s not THAT hard. I mean, Tyler Perry spits out a new one every time he brushes his teeth
FACT: The Salary of an average Pro Wrestler is $47,500/yr
FACT: Sherwood Baptist, Cloud Ten Pics and Gener8xion could reeeeeeeally use some competition at the Box Office.
FACT: World Wide Pics has been on the film scene since 1953 and helped launch an industry which it abandoned practically in Utero circa 2004. But maybe most importantly,
FACT: The Average life expectancy ( in seconds ) of an enemy soldier in a Chuck Norris film = 4
FACT: Reboots are all the rage. Batman, James Bond, Tron, Rocky and Karate Kid have all received dramatic franchise makeovers.
FACT: BGEA’s production facilities are first-rate, completely HiDef and easily outfitted for a feature film revolution
FACT: You’ve got multi-generations of Rock the River-ers and Dare to Be Daniel-ers begging you to do for film what you do in Music and Pop Culture
Here’s what I’m hoping. I’m hoping you’re just taking a little breather. Re-purposing World Wide Pics. Upgrading parts, like the Bionic Man and you’re just waiting to unleash heaven on us any day now.
What, do you need script ideas? A Modern Day Daniel in the Lions Den High School story. Or how about Disaster Relief: the Movie. We could hook you up with Richard Brunson over at the NC Baptist Men on that Disaster Relief film…he said he’d do it if we could get George Clooney to play him! I’m pretty sure if that happened we could get Brad Pitt to play Franklin. Either that or Denzel Washington. It’s kind of a toss up, there.
But it’s time, Grahams. It’s time to get back in the arena and it’s time to show these Christian film whipper-snappers how to use High Production Value and Craftsmanship as well as compelling stories to lead the pack in global impact. Unless your first step is to form a committee on Film Making. In that case….uhhhhh, forget I said anything.
But that’s not been your style. I’ve seen some amazing examples from BGEA recently of a Christian Ministry leading in Cultural Relevance. It’s time. And if all this begging and pleading and factual gumshoe ballisticery isn’t enough for you, then I have to resort to this: I double dog dare you…no….I triple dog dare you to make another film! (And if you know anything about Triple Dog Dares, there is NO backing down, my friend!)
Let’s make a movie!
S. David Acuff
(APR 05, 2007) Kevin Jackson of the Christian Post Reporter covers a Variety Magazine story:
(EXCERPT) Six of the film industry’s “most dynamic” independent Christian movie firms were featured in the faith-based section of Variety, a popular daily newspaper for the entertainment industry.
Among other things, the featured piece explained how these movie companies have remained independent from the studio system in the past to keep true to religious themes, but also how many are beginning to partner with Hollywood to gain more exposure for their productions.
We’re on a journey. A journey, first, to understand the Art and Craft of Filmmaking and, second, to employ a higher standard on our own projects. A higher standard that is not dictated by the size of your budget. Of course more money can always help, but as Hollywood has proven time and again…(*cough* godzilla *cough* daredevil) big budgets don’t guarantee squat.
What film would you make for $150K? Or $1M? Or think reeeeeally big…how about $20M? Well according to Box Office Mojo, that was the budget for 8X Entertainment’s One Night with the King. Right on! I’d say we could all agree that $20M is a pretty decent production budget. And on top of that it’s got Peter O’Toole for crying out loud…you can’t go wrong with Lawrence of Arabia.
I’ll let the following review from Josh Bell take it from here. It was published the week of October 12, 2006 by Las Vegas Weekly. It used to be here but has since disappeared. That’s unfortunate because I feel like this humorous “prayer” sums up what the world thinks of Christian Film in general and certainly this latest film specificially. I can’t find it online anymore, so I’m re-posting it here at Wired4Film.com because we need to chew loooooooong and hard on these words.
Dear Lord, why must Your most ardent followers unleash such bad movies in Your name? Surely, as our Creator, You wish for us to have better entertainment than the cut-rate fare that passes for faith-based film? Is Your glory really best served by the Left Behind movies, starring Kirk Cameron, or toothless Mormon comedies, or conspiracy-theory obsessed series The Omega Code?
Perhaps You have been paying attention to the prayers of religious film producers, who no doubt are beseeching You for better scripts, larger budgets and bigger audiences. In particular, those who made The Omega Code and its sequel have been blessed in the creation of their new film, One Night With the King, as it boasts not only lavish production values but also actors with far greater range than their previous big star, Casper Van Dien.
In Your wisdom, Lord, You have delivered unto the producers John Rhys-Davies, Omar Sharif and James Callis, actors who elevate One Night With the King above its stiff storytelling and bland, declaratory dialogue. You have used Your powers to guide the filmmakers to the Old Testament story of Esther (Tiffany Dupont), a Jew who became queen of the Persians and saved her people from the genocidal Haman (Callis).
This story, the origin of the Jewish holiday Purim, is likely to appeal to more of Your followers than the reactionary Christian tales of religious films past, although You might want to send director Michael O. Sajbel a vision imparting to him that a really loud score and lots of sweeping camera movements do not a classical epic make. But his heart is in the right place, Lord, and One Night With the King sometimes succeeds as passable, third-rate entertainment.
But I despair, Lord, that such third-rate passability is all that exists to exalt Your name, and I bet You do, too. Although Dupont is a fine specimen of the beauty of Your creation, she plays Esther like a petulant teen. Surely, Lord, moviegoers would be thankful if next time You inspired more talented people to take on one of Your most beloved stories. Amen.
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