Ugh… yet another Christian movie. I should expect a few of these a year, shouldn’t I?
Well, let’s get this out of the way before too many people get the wrong idea about me. For those of you that don’t know, I’m not a religious guy. I was raised in a Catholic home, but neither me, nor my immediate family ever really kept up with it. We went to church and everything, but it wasn’t ever anything I was interested in. Throughout my life, I’ve been a believer of God, a hater of God, but more for the past decade or so, I’ve simply been… I don’t believe in God, but a paralyzing fear of death makes me hope I’m wrong and my soul will live on after death.
*shudder* Ech, if I think about it too much, I’m gonna get depressive.
But in any case, religion isn’t my thing. I have no problem with religion, or its followers. It doesn’t matter to me if you’re a Christian, Catholic, Jewish, etcetera, so long as you’re a good person, that’s all that matters to me. I have religious family and friends and they’re all grounded in reality. Supportive and loving, all with the biggest hearts you can imagine. So I have an undying love and respect for each of them. However, there is one exception to my disdain toward the religious community: when the religious nuts take center stage. You know exactly who I’m talking about. The groups of people that will stand outside a building where a gay couple is getting married, picketing against their right to experience happiness in a country that says they indeed have a right to their happiness. The groups that stand outside another building telling these other people that they can’t have a sex change to be their best selves, all citing that it’s because of their religious beliefs. I would love to go into the politics and how I think these sub-religious pieces of elephant dookie are the ultimate cancer of our American society, but we’re here to talk about movies! Specifically, this one.
To be perfectly honest, as cautious as I was about seeing this, and I really wasn’t looking forward to it at all, I had to admit that there were a few elements that you’d think would be up my alley. It’s about an atheist journalist in the 80’s who sets out to prove that Jesus Christ’s resurrection is impossible and that God in itself if a big ole hoax. Hey hey, a movie about showing how Christians are stupid, right? Eh… no, not really. If I think it’s wrong for religious movies to say non-religious people are lost, pathetic souls, then I say it’s wrong for the non-religious to say how the religious are lost, pathetic souls too. In any case, I’ve been waiting for a religious movie that would challenge preconceptions about the faithful and faithless and this looked like it would be that kind of movie, so… I probably went in with a little more optimism than I should have.
Let’s take a look at the on-screen talent. Starring, we have Mike Vogel (THE HELP , CLOVERFIELD , and TV show UNDER THE DOME) and Erika Christensen (FLIGHTPLAN , THE BANGER SISTERS , and TV show PARENTHOOD). In support, we have L. Scott Caldwell (CONCUSSION , and TV shows THE SECRET LIFE OF THE AMERICAN TEENAGER and LOST), Faye Dunaway (THE BYE BYE MAN , CHINATOWN , and BONNIE AND CLYDE ), and Robert Forster (LONDON HAS FALLEN , AUTOMATA , and TV show HEROES).
Now for behind the scenes. Directing is Jon Gunn, known for… unknown stuff, but no stranger to the religious genre. Writing the script is Brian Bird, known for CAPTIVE (2015) and TV show TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL. Finally, both composer Will Musser and cinematographer Brian Shanley are known for both God’s Not Dead films.
Overall, I know I won’t like this, but maybe there will be something there that sets it apart from the rest of the high-and-mighty crap that we’re usually saddled with.
This is my honest opinion of: THE CASE FOR CHRIST
Based on a true story. Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) is an award winning investigative journalist. Wise-cracking, smart, but respected among his peers. One day, after a promotion, he and his wife Leslie (Erika Christensen) and his young daughter Alison (Haley Rosenwasser) go out to dinner to celebrate. But then Alison starts joking on a piece of candy when she’s saved by a kindly woman named Alfie (L. Scott Caldwell), a faithful Christian, whose faith wins over Leslie, who decides to become a Christian. This quickly gets under Lee’s skin, who is an atheist, and sets out to prove that God is made-up and Jesus Christ being the son of God is all a hoax.
OH MY GOD, IT’S WORSE THAN I IMAGINED!!! AAAAARRRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!!!! This movie is rated PG and I like to keep my cursing to R-rated films, but this… propaganda piece is getting the full extent of my hate. Yeah, it’s that horrible.
This is a blatant attack on atheists and paints Christians as victims. I wasn’t fuckin’ kidding when I said that this was a propaganda film. The very core of this story is making atheists look like assholes. Evidence, Lee is an asshole. He’s an asshole to wife when she says she’s going to stick to being a Christian. He flies off the handle and sets out on this entire story to disprove the existence of God. Okay, I won’t pretend that there aren’t a few atheists out there that raise their middle finger at the sky, but honestly, this isn’t how atheists act. At worse, they roll their eyes at the concept of religion. They leave the subject alone and go on with their day to day business. But here, there’s two atheists. Lee’s mentor who took his daughter to get… I don’t know, brainwashed, or whatever the fuck, so she would stop believing in God. Lee throws a fucking tantrum like a child and gets drunk, and borderline verbally assaults his wife. Even if I was blowing that out of proportion, HE SETS OUT TO PROVE HER FAITH TO BE WRONG!!! I’m not religious, so I can’t claim to understand a religious person’s connection to their faith, but anyone with half a fucking brain wouldn’t make it their personal mission in life to take away the very thing that makes them feel a part of something. It’s just too douchie.
And to top it all off, it thinks atheists are assholes that should be saved by God! I don’t know what’s worse, simply thinking that atheists are bad, or that they’re bad and need to be saved. On the one hand, simply thinking they’re bad could be just as simply responded to by saying that it’s the equivalent of a child pointing and laughing at someone that’s different. On the other, thinking they’re bad and need to be saved is putting themselves on such a high pedestal that they would break Earth’s atmosphere, making it by far the most arrogant and pretentious thing that anyone could think. Really take a look at Lee. Not once does the audience get any real sense that he’s unhappy without religion in his life. He’s got a beautiful wife, a cute daughter, a great job, where in any of this does it show that he’d need religion to feel complete?! In fact, the only time that his unhappiness surfaces is when Leslie won’t shut the fuck up about her newfound faith. I get that she’s only doing that because she wants to share this new experience in her life with the man she loves. Sweet, awesome, but there’s a couple things that she never considers. One, he’s an atheist, he wants no part of her religious discovery. She asked him once, the other ten bajillion times would ride up on anybody. Two, this is a personal journey she’s taking. Accept that it’s going to be a personal thing. I’m sure there’s plenty of things they like as individuals rather than a couple. Chock it up to just one of those things that she likes and he doesn’t and experience her religion in her own personal way and respect his wishes by leaving him out of it. Not that hard! Also, we later see Leslie, a couple times, actually, praying to God for Lee to have a “kind heart.” She’s literally praying to God for her husband to change who he is! How fucking selfish can this woman be?! When she was dating him, she had to have known that he was an atheist, and certainly would have known that when she both married and carried his child. Sure, she claims that she felt empty without religion, but that doesn’t excuse her sporadic realization that she’s officially in a loveless marriage if her husband doesn’t believe in God either. Half the problems in this marriage could be resolved by sitting down and talking to each other like adults. “I’m a Christian and I want to commit to this. If you want to join me, awesome. If you want to be kept separate, also awesome. But drink and treat me like shit again, straight-up divorce, bro.” And don’t give me some religious bullshit about “marriage is a sacred vow.” Yeah, well those sacred vows were sort of shit on when your husband got drunk and made you feel like crap. Some things you can’t change by talking to an invisible man in the sky. Oh wait, according to this movie, YES YOU FUCKING CAN!!! I wish this was completely made up, but as soon as Lee realizes he can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, somehow that automatically means he believes and then suddenly becomes the most selfless and wonderful husband in the world. Fuckin’ blow me!
Oh and by the way, Lee’s sudden belief doesn’t make a lick of sense! The whole plot revolves around him trying to disprove the existence of God. But in the end, he finally comes to the realization that he can’t prove it. Someone explain how that suddenly means he’s a believer. All he proved was that he can’t prove it. He didn’t somehow prove that He did exist. Oh, what, the lack of proof was all the proof he needed? How does that make sense for an investigative journalist who has built a career out of finding and following evidence?! The one case he tries to crack, a case that any human being with a quarter of a brain can probably surmise that it’s going to be an impossible task, is simply going to accept that God exists because he can’t prove that he doesn’t exist?! What combination of drugs and alcohol was this guy on?! Oh, wait, the 80’s. Probably all kinds.
The characters are unlikable, the story is full of shit, it paints one side of the argument like they’re the scum of the earth, and depicts the other side like abuse victims. There is nothing of value here. There is no redeeming quality anywhere in this picture. I couldn’t come up with a single positive thing to say to save my life, or nothing that would elevate the movie even the slightest notch. Even THE SHACK (2017) had the kindness of keeping itself somewhat self-contained; Christian characters dealing with their own problems, keeping relatively in it’s own twisted world. Here, it might as well declare war considering how sorry you’re supposed to feel toward Christians and how much you’re supposed to hate atheists. This movie isn’t just one of the worst faith-based movies I’ve ever seen, it’s one of the worst, period. If you’re a religious person, I bet you’ll get something out of it, but if you’re anyone else… avoid at all cost. Don’t waste your money, don’t waste your time.
My honest rating for THE CASE FOR CHRIST: 1/5