Obama’s Amercia 2016

Remember those pictures that were so popular back in the 1990s called Hollusions? The first time you walked up to one, all you saw was a field of dots sprayed on a piece of paper, like snow on a TV screen. You had to learn to focus (or rather not focus) your eyes in the proper way. It took patience. The first time, it could take an hour of looking, but suddenly, you would see the dots arrange themselves into a holographic image. Some of them were beautiful, some were a little bit scary, but once you learned to see them, it was hard to imagine how you ever missed them, and hard to be patient with those who still couldn’t see the picture.

That’s what it was like for me to observe Barack Obama’s candidacy, then his presidency, asking the tough questions, and finally to see this excellent film made by Dinesh D’Souza. Obama was a phenomenon in 2008. Watching one of his rallies was like watching a Michael Jackson performance. You saw male and female, young and old, black, white and all others. A huge crowd of people from many walks of life, all united in, not the support, but the worship of one man. A man who, like Jackson, was “black” but … not really; his skin not very dark, his features resembling those of his white mother, and not one drop of slave blood in him. Rather, he reflected his international background, projecting a mix of ethnic groups. His platform was equally nondescript, one of “hope” and “change,” with no concrete positions expressed until after he was in power. He was a blank canvas, upon which the naïve projected whatever they desired.

Can you see it?

However, many have been puzzled by Obama since 2008, as there doesn’t seem to be a pattern to his actions. His actions cannot be explained by the usual differences between Republicans and Democrats. You might recall that, when the congressional vote was nearing on Obama’s universal health care plan, Democratic voters were calling their Congressmen in large numbers, begging them not to pass the bill. Obama had enough close allies to push it through, however. Around the same time, Obama was in the middle east, apologizing to America’s enemies. He had no problem using force in Libya to depose a dictator who was no threat to America, yet he does nothing to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. When his actions in Libya led to the murder of an ambassador and several other Americans, he again apologized to radical Islamists for the First Amendment. He blocks efforts to drill for America’s life blood on American soil, yet encourages such drilling in South America. Seeing all this, millions of us can’t help but ask “Does he want  America to fail?”

D’Souza covers the way in which Obama was lauded by millions, not as a good candidate for a job, but as a messiah. Millions stamped themselves with

A drawing from obamamessiah.blogspot.com. The post gives no indication of being satirical or facetious.

his “O” icon. Paintings were done of him resembling the traditional Jesus. Classrooms full of children were required to sing songs in his honor. Crowds of people were on TV, literally weeping for joy when he was elected. I want to be clear about something: D’Souza does not spend this film bashing Obama. He simply covers some truly embarrassing behavior of real Americans from the past several years.

I’m thankful for D’Souza. He grew up in India, and, just as it took a child to point out that the emperor was naked in the famous tale, it seems to take a newcomer to America to say the things that some of us just can’t, however true they may be. D’Souza points out the fact that Barak Obama is the first President in American history to be elected primarily because of the color of his skin, and is brave enough to say that no white (or Indian) man would ever have been ushered into the White House after just four unremarkable years in the Senate.

But what’s really impressive about Obama’s America 2016 is the depth of the journalism. D’Souza has put enormous effort into digging up Obama’s past, traveling around the world and interviewing everyone from his extended family in Kenya, to those he knew in Indonesia,  to people who worked with him on the campaign trail. Using Obama’s two autobiographies as a guide, D’Souza pries his way into Obama’s head to see what makes him tick.

Does Obama want America to fail? D’Souza unearths a straightforward answer to this question; one that, after the care and thoroughness of his search of Obama’s past, is very hard to argue with. Most of the way through, I suspected that this was actually a pro-Obama film. D’Souza remains objective in his explanation of the emotional journey of Obama, and you really do start to feel with Obama. And with all the adorable footage of Kenyan children in Obama shirts, you can see how people fell so madly in love with Obama. But the last 15 minutes of this film give you the mental equivalent of finally seeing those dots arrange themselves into a picture. It becomes clear why Obama does the things he does, and it is genuinely scary.

Obama’s America 2016 is available to rent at Redboxes across the nation, and you need to see it before you vote.

Can you see the picture yet?

 

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Courageous

The Kendrick Brothers of Sherwood Bible Church are at it again. No doubt hoping to match their home run of Fireproof of 2008, they’ve shifted their focus from taking on divorce to attacking fatherlessness in America. We’re still in Albany, Georgia, but this time, instead of following the heroics of the Albany Fire Dept.,  we’re on patrol with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Dept. (Interesting that, Albany being a city of 77,000, it doesn’t seem to have its own police force, but I guess they had to trim the cast somewhere.)

The Kendricks have ramped the action up a notch with this one. Right at the beginning, we see Fireproof’s Ken Bevel, now playing Nathan Hayes, stop for gas, only to have his truck stolen by a dew-rag clad gang-banger (T.C. Stallings, a devoted husband and father in real life). He throws himself half-way through the driver’s window, and we are treated to a fist-fight with Nathan hanging out the window at 30 miles an hour. The movie eventually leads up to a climactic scene with guns blazing. In between is more action, more than a few laugh-out-loud moments, and a heart-felt message about how crucial a father is to a child’s development, and how those without fathers often become dew-rag clad truck thieves.

The story follows Deput. Hayes, a recent transfer to the department, three other Deputies, Adam Mitchell (Alex Kendrick), Shane Fuller (Kevin Downes), and David Thompson (Ben Davies), and Javier Martinez (Robert Amaya), a rarely employed construction worker, and their families. Javier breaks his back to provide for his family and eventually finds employment working on Adam’s house. He then becomes part of the group. David is the rookie of the squad who’s holding in a shameful secret. He has a daughter around three years of age, whom he has never met, and whose support he had not contributed a dime to. (Apparently, the Georgia Division of Child Support Services was vaporized along with the Albany P.D.) Shane struggles to be a dad to his son when he only sees him every other weekend.  Adam dotes on his daughter but refuses to join his son for the father-son 5K. And Nathan and his wife, Kayla (Elenor Brown), struggle to fend off the “saggy-pants boys” interested in their teenage daughter.

A tragedy eventually forces these men to reevaluate what they are doing as fathers. The story dives into Christian kitsch for awhile. Adam comes up with a written resolution and the five families actually hold a ceremony with their pastor in which they dramatically recite it. In a similar vein, we later see Nathan take his daughter to a very expensive restaurant (below), where he, again with great ceremony, presents her with a “promise ring.” Yeah, I know. I chortled at this scene, too, but then I found out my wife had very specific plans for me to do exactly that with our daughter one day.

But for all the kitsch, the film really is trying, and trying to do far more than just entertain. The problems with Courageous mainly serve to highlight the fact that most movies just fill themselves up with explosions and car wrecks and expect you to buy a ticket. Courageous sets the bar much higher, and does come close to clearing it.

There was a time when I would have been unable to enjoy this movie. I can enjoy it now largely because I have a wonderful wife, who makes my life very sweet. That said, there are still some key points of this film I can’t help but take issue with. A lot of the film’s attitude is summed up when Nathan delivers the curmudgeonly line “If fathers just did what they were supposed to, half the junk we see on the street wouldn’t exist.” This seems to be the mantra of conservatives and liberals alike: it’s all men’s fault. But if you look at the history of America over the last 40 years or so, men have not been the only – or even the primary – culprit of the breakdown of the family. History does not tell of a movement of men throwing off their responsibilities to society. We don’t see crowds of men burning their undergarments and demanding the right to kill their children. We do, however, see women doing all these things.

In the U.S. today, more than two thirds of all divorces are initiated by the woman. And why not? The feminist political machine has tilted the legal game board of divorce ridiculously toward the woman’s pockets. (Please note: Every man in Iowa should carefully read chapters 236 and 598 of the Iowa Code before he even thinks about getting emotionally attached to a woman. As for the other states, talk to a lawyer there.) Millions of children in the U.S. grow up without fathers because their mothers want it that way.

My first year out of law school, I worked in a family law firm. I never had a man in my office who didn’t care about his children. Most of my clients were there because they were having to fight just to see their children. The slant in family court is based on more than gender stereotypes.  The judicial community includes many territorial lionesses. A child is power, and they are not about to share it. Conversely, male judges are of the old way of thinking, in which men are expected to take the lumps and bear the weight of the world on our shoulders without complaint. This combination of liberal women and conservative men, not only in court, but also in society, is a frustrating dynamic. While women are exhorted about their rights, men are flagellated with our supposed responsibilities. Lawyers aren’t supposed to get emotionally involved, but I couldn’t help feeling the pain my clients felt. Commanded to be fathers by the right, yet torn from their children by the left; commanded to “be a man,” yet emasculated.

Courageous never addresses any of this, failing to live up to its name. The Kendrick brothers buckle under the pressure of political correctness. Too afraid to take women to task for their desertion, like so many before them, they turn on men.

It’s hard to stay angry at a movie that has this much heart, and is actually trying to make a difference in the world. But while it’s a valiant effort, another Fireproof it is not.  Fireproof met

Actor-director Alex Kendrick takes aim at bad fathers.

people squarely where they were at. There’s no reason 3 billion men couldn’t have connected with Caleb Holt, the fire chief who shows valor in the work place, but doesn’t know how to love his wife. The story eventually shows that, only by first receiving the unconditional love of God can Caleb show unconditional love to the flawed and sinful woman he lives with. It would actually  have been fairly simple for Courageous to do the same thing. Shane Fuller is a character that millions of men would easily connect with, including unbelievers. He is divorced. He wants to be a father to his son, but, as he explains it, he only gets him every other weekend, after his mother has filled his head with her toxic opinions of him. He wants to provide for his son, but almost a third of his paycheck is swallowed by alimony. Shane should have been the lead role of this movie! He could have been the Caleb Holt of Courageous. How can Shane, and other men, be the kind of fathers God wants them to be, despite the obstacles? How can God help them to raise their kids right despite what they have  to deal with? This was a golden opportunity for the Kendricks to win the hearts of their intended audiece. Beating up on men will do nothing to fix the family. Ministering to broken men where they are at will do a lot more.

Sadly, Shane is confined to a small role as the bad cop we’re not supposed to like, and Courageous preaches to the choir. Most of the focus is on Adam, Nathan and Javier, who all have perfect wives, straight out of a Christian fantasy.

Overall, I recommend seeing Courageous. There’s a lot of great moments I didn’t want to spoil here. The fact that I can even disagree with it shows it had more of a brain than most movies. It’s not easy to make a movie that ministers. I still laughed and I was still swept along by the story. It was good to see Christian cinema taking another (mostly) positive step.

Number four at the box office in October of 2011. High-five!

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Is Anybody There?

Here it is, venture number one into the world of Walking Taco film reviews. I will try not to disappoint.

From time to time there are smaller films, usually produced in a foreign market, that just capture my interest with a trailer. I find myself inexplicably drawn toward them, and when I find them at the local video store, I end up picking up a copy to see if all the mental hype I gave the film was worth it after all. This was one of those films.

Is Anybody There? stars the indomitably pouty-sounding Michael Caine as an aging magician who has recently been admitted to a retirement home to begin the slow descent into senility. While there, he’s befriended by a boy whose family runs the home, played by Bill Milner, only notably recognized for his role in the film Son of Rambow, but who does a fine job playing opposite of an Oscar Winner. The only other actor of notoriety is Rosemary Harris, who plays a bit part as one of the retirement residents, but is most well-known for her portrayal of Aunt May in the Spider-man movies.

I wanted to like this movie. All the reviews herald Caine’s performance as one of the best of his career. (Mind you we should all realize that reviews must be taken with a grain of salt… says the guy writing a review on a film review website.) I did think Caine did well with the role, so at least I can see why all the positive press focused around that. But the film itself seemed to lose a lot of the uplifting heart that shows up in the trailer. The fun seems to bleed away to be replaced with a much more bleak view in the pursuit of some form of an authentic realism.

Michael Caine and Bill Milner seem to ponder - wasn't this supposed to be some kind of unlikely-buddy film?

Instead of cherishing the brilliant moments of watching an elderly magician taking a socially awkward boy under his wing to bring him out of his shell, we’re focused on the depressing instability and grim ending we all face in our lives all of which gets more and more rushed by the end of the film. (No spoiler there, the film is about old people who go to a retirement home to die. That’s presented in the opening minutes of the film.)

Like I said, I wanted to like this film, and ultimately I enjoyed the performances, but thought the film focused too much on the down side of things to really leave the audience with a warm fuzzy feeling inside. If this one comes up on TV (doubt it will) or you feel like taking in a few good performances through your Netflix, give it a shot, but otherwise check out Caine in Inception when it comes out, and call yourself good.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog

Dr. HHave you ever found a movie sufficiently interesting that you watched the director’s commentary, hoping it would enhance your enjoyment of the film, only to waste two hours listening to pointless self-congratulations? Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog (Dir. Joss Whedon) has one of those few commentaries that I actually watched a second time – and just might watch a third. What makes the commentary so good is the same thing that makes the movie so good – the music. Dr. Horrible revives a dying art: musical theatre. Many genres of music are exhibited in the film, and in Commentary: the Musical.

Neil Patrick Harris of Doogie Howser fame stars as Dr. Horrible, an aspiring megalomaniac who is striving to be admitted into the Evil League or Evil (ruled by a horse – go figure), but is hampered by his aversion to murder. Meanwhile, he gazes longingly at Penny (Felicia Day), a girl he sees at the laundry mat (“I’m just a few weeks away from a real audible contact!”). As the script would have it, Dr. Horrible’s crucial heist of “wonderflonium” to fuel his freeze ray is the same occasion that Penny first talks to him. He succeeds in stealing the wonderflonium, but is nearly foiled, and badly beaten, by his nemesis, Captain Hammer (enthusiastically played with ample cheese by Nath3an Fillion). Captain Hammer is an unsympathetic super hero who fights crime mainly for the pleasure of beating up on mad scientists and taking advantage of groupies (“this is so nice, I just might sleep with the same girl twice!”). To add insult to injury, the chaos gives Hammer the chance to save Penny, and Dr. H. watches them fall for each other (right). Hammer’s bullying eventually pushes Dr. H. over the edge and leaves him willing to do what he must to get into the E.L.E. (Penny may cry, but her tears will dry when I hand her the keys to a shiny, new Australia.)

This film debuted in the summer of 2008, being broadcast over the internet. Whedon funded the project himself, at just over $200,000, and used his home as a studio. The production is a bit rough. One thing you’ll notice is that the actors wear little-to-no makeup, showing their blemishes to the world. Gutsy. Hammer’s “costume” is a T-shirt with an iron-on. The movie was blogged while in production, and the marketing was immediately taken over by Whedon’s internet-savvy fans. When the film was finally broadcast, the network almost crashed from the number of viewers.

I rented this one on Netflix and wound up watching it over and over, not so much for the movie as for the songs. At 43 minutes, the film doesn’t develop its story very well. Then again, that doesn’t stop people from loving The Phantom of the Opera. Much like Phantom, Dr. Horrible is more of a concept album with a moving picture in the background than a real movie. That said, also like Phantom, Dr. Horrible is worth watching just for the music. Harris in particular demonstrates some real voice talent. The lyrics have a depth to them that you don’t see in contemporary pop music, and keep coming up with different rhyming patterns. Almost every scene involves a well written and well performed musical number, my two favorites being the anguished “My Eyes” and the ominous “Brand New Day.”

As if that wasn’t enough, they added Commentary, in which they brought back virtually everyone who was involved in the movie to sing at least one song. Just about every type of music you can think of is covered, including a rag, jazz, and lounge singing. To top it all off, Marissa Tancharoen, co-writer and “groupie #1” sings a rant about how “no one’s Asian in the movies” (not sure where she gets that).

The DVD also includes videos of applications for E.L.E. membership that fans sent in. Each one has an original song. Be warned, some of them are what you’d expect from geeks filming in their living rooms. Some, however, are quite good, most notably an evil rabbi who pitches a plan to blow the tip off the Washington Monument, and a Catholic priest who has a disturbing take on Catholic theology in the form of a rap.

I have to say the writers really dropped the ball on Act III of the film, because the ending sucks. It’s the kind of ending that gives the impression that they meant to do more, but just ran out of time/money/steam. The idea seems to be that Dr. H. get everything he ever wanted, except that he inadvertently destroy the thing he wanted most. But it’s implausible to the point of not making sense. It tries to do in 5 minutes what would have taken about 50, and leaves the audience feeling like they’ve been plunged into nihilistic darkness for no reason.

The decision of what rating to give this film was a difficult one. It’s a bit too simplistic and unintentionally comical to be considered a true contribution to the world of cinema, which would justify a four-star rating. In fact, with an ending that falls flat on its face, I can’t even consider it a solidly good movie, which would merit three stars. On the other hand, it’s too well done and innovative to be passed off as just another piece of mindless entertainment (two stars). Hence, I have decided to give it

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Second Chance

2nd Chance posterIt seems before Fireproof, members of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany Georgia were honing their film-making skills on smaller projects. One example is The Second Chance, in which they used their own church building as a set. Second Chance tells the tale of two churches, sister churches in fact, one of them a wealthy mega-church in the suburbs, the other a financially strapped church in the inner city, surrounded by prostitutes and drug dealers.

The inner city church, Second Chance Community Church, was once pastored by Jeremiah Jenkins (J. Don Ferguson) before he went on to bigger and better things in the suburbs. He left behind one of his early converts, Jake Sanders (Jeff Carr), a drug dealer turned pastor, to carry on. Jenkins is now grooming his son, Ethan (singer Michael W. Smith in his first acting job) to take his place at the mega church, The Rock, when he’s gone.

Jake addresses the congregation of The Rock one Sunday and, in disgust

Ethan (Smith) and Jake (Carr) kickin' it in da hood, yo.

Ethan and Jake kickin' it in the hood, yo.

over its lack of physical participation in inner city outreach, spurns its financial participation, saying “Keep your damn money!” (Yeah, that’s right, he said damn in church.) The Church Board blames Ethan for giving Jake the pulpit, and sends him to Second Chance to “observe and learn” from Jake. Thus worlds collide.

One reason Second Chance is such an interesting piece of film making is that, like Fireproof, you can tell they had a limited budget. What they do with it is quite impressive, though. From repeated confrontations on the same footbridge, each more intense than the last,  to a shot of a condemned church building with a wrecking ball dangling in the foreground, director Steve Taylor communicates volumes without a single line of dialogue. Instead of the seamless camera cuts that we’re used to, there will often be a single shot for a whole scene, with the camera panning back and forth to different speakers or facing the back of one side of a conversation. It’s kind of fun to watch for a change. In one scene, Smith accompanies a ghetto choir on the piano. Taylor tried to get fancier for this scene, and so we see a lot of rapid panning and zooming. It doesn’t look terrible, but still serves to highlight the budget limitations more than conceal them.

The credits start rolling at about 90 minutes, which is really too bad. The movie has a lot of subplots and a number of them could have stood more development. There are a lot of scenes that one would have to already be familiar with church life to appreciate. That’s okay, though, because this film doesn’t really have a message for the unchurched (which isn’t to say that they wouldn’t find it interesting). It’s a story about Christians, by Christians for Christians. It’s greatest contribution is its exhortation to those in safe and comfortable neighborhoods to leave them and be among the broken and the poor. Anyone who lives in the suburbs could learn a great deal by watching this film. It is a film riddled with clichés, but clichés exist for a reason, and these bear repeating. In other words, this is what The Preacher’s Wife would have been like if it had been made by smarter people.

The film’s greatest downfall is probably its two-dimensional portrayal of Jake as not needing to learn anything or repent of anything. Jake should have been forced at some point to reexamine his ideas the same way Ethan

"You see that cross? Anywhere you see that cross is MY hood!"

"You see that cross? Anywhere you see that cross is MY hood!"

is. Instead Carr plays the same two rolls the whole way through, waffeling between pastor and big, scary black man, and delivering lines like “The Bible says I have to love you, when right now, I just want to beat the hell out of you.” (Yeah, he says hell, too.) This is a problem for two reasons: it burdens the story with yet another cliché, and, frankly, Carr just isn’t very convincing in the roll. Still, I can’t deny that there’s something very grin-worthy about seeing him grab a gang banger’s fist, twist his arm behind his back, and say “ … I’m gonna open up a can o’ the wrath a’ God, all over your sorry ass.” (Yeah, he says ass, too.) If you’ve got two hours and a few dollars, get this one from your local rental (or Christian book store) and check it out. You won’t be sorry.

(I should note that, while this film was made by Christians, it is not for little kids. It deals with some very intense subjects, and it deserves its PG-13 rating.)

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Fireproof

Firep posterLet’s face it, movies are a waste of time and money, especially considering that the average film has a budget of over $200 million. Every once in a while, however, a true gem comes along that almost vindicates the flood of resources that fuels Hollywood debauchery. The other day I purchased a humble project titled Fireproof. My wife and I watched it together and had one of the best discussions we have had in our marriage.

The production is a bit rough; the acting seems rehearsed at times and the camera work is simple. Not all the actors have the sculpted bodies we’re used to, either. But it’s good enough that I never would have guessed what I learned in one of the extras on the DVD: this film was made entirely by volunteers. Members of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, GA pooled their resources and their talents, according to their trade, in construction, cinematography, theatre or computer graphics, and on one occasion, a stranger whose house they filmed an action scene next to volunteered his services with a forklift. The result is a film that looks almost as slick as, and is more engaging than, many big-budget Hollywood pictures.

But the most important thing about Fireproof is that it is one of very – very few films in history that have the potential to profoundly impact the lives of those who see them. The beginning gets our attention instantly because it realistically portrays something most people care about and are fearful for – their marriages. A couple of heated exchanges between the primal couple, firefighter Caleb (Kirk Cameron, the only professional actor in the cast) and Catherine (Erin Bethea) Holt, are almost painful to sit through, not because they’re bad but because they’re such a frank portrayal of a marriage falling apart. Catherine eventually tells Caleb she wants out.

In the next several scenes, we see both of them talking to their friends

Caleb Holt at work.

Caleb Holt at work.

about it. I couldn’t help but laugh as Caleb tells Michael, his lieutenant, (Ken Bevel) “I bet she’s whining to all her friends about me right now … and they’re having this big old group hug …” while we see Catherine doing just that. It’s interesting that Michael pushes Caleb to reexamine himself and take responsibility for his part of the problem, while Catherine’s friends instantly agree with her and join her in disparaging Caleb. On the other hand, my wife says I side too much with Caleb.

Caleb’s parents urge him not to get divorced. His father asks him to wait forty days, and sends him a notebook with a hand-written forty-day program called “The Love Dare.” Each entry directs Caleb to do something to show love to his wife, beginning with not saying anything negative to her and increasing from there. Grudgingly, he forces himself through the motions of the first few days. We alternate between chuckling and wincing as Catherine scoffs at and spurns his half-hearted attempts. At one point he tells his father “I feel nothing.” His father reminds him that “you can’t listen to the way you feel at the moment.” This is a welcome change from the brainless follow-your-feelings messages movies spit out.

Calling this program a “dare” is no idle boast. In fact, it’s an understatement. In the United States, it takes two to get married, but only one to get divorced. The only way to stop it is to change your spouse’s mind. This makes it extremely risky for one partner to resist a divorce, because it’s almost impossible, and resisting the divorce when you could be fighting for your rights in the divorce leaves you much more likely to get burned. Fireproof is a story of extreme courage, and going out on a limb for somebody in a way that doesn’t require any special effects, but is no less nail-biting for it.

Caleb Holt at home.

Caleb Holt at home.

Bethea gives a tour-de-force portrayal of a wife’s pain in a marriage going nowhere. One scene where she pours out her heart about how humiliated she feels when Caleb looks at pornography is impossible to forget, and her sadness is infectious as she eats meals and does chores alone.

Cameron plays his role well as a real, relatable American guy, and screen writers Alex and Stephen Kendrick were careful to include a few intense fire rescue scenes to give the movie an ample dose of testosterone. Male audience members will connect easily with Caleb and his longing for respect, need to blow off steam, and yearning for the next big thing.

All of which is the perfect preparation for the pivotal moment in Fireproof, about half-way through. Upon the instructions of day 18, Caleb prepares a candlelit dinner for Catherine, sparing no expense. When she comes home and sees it, she simply looks at him and declares “I do not love you,” and walks out. The next day, Caleb is walking through a wood with his dad, and the rejection is beyond what he can bare. In a cathartic moment, he blurts out

“She’s ungrateful. You’d think after I’ve washed the car, done the dishes, cleaned the house, that she would try to show me a little gratitude. But when I come home, she makes me feel like I’m an enemy. … For the last three weeks I have bent over backwards for her. I have tried to demonstrate that I still care about this relationship. I bought her flowers – which she threw away! I have taken her insults and her sarcasm, but last night was it. I made dinner for her, I did everything I could think of to show her that I care about her, to show value for her. And she spat in my face! She does not deserve this, Dad. How am I supposed to show love to somebody who constantly rejects me?”

I grimaced as Caleb got on his knees, but my wife loved it.

I grimaced as Caleb got on his knees, but my wife loved it.

All of what he’s saying is true, and what turns things around is not that Caleb and Catherine realize how wonderful the other really is. In the following minutes, Caleb realizes that he has never truly loved his wife, and in fact he cannot do so, because, as his dad points out, “you can’t give her what you don’t have.” Everything that Caleb has just accused Catherine of, he has been doing to someone else throughout his life. The movie expresses a profound truth about love: it has to start somewhere. And it can’t start with flawed human beings, but only with the Love for that which is unlovable.

There aren’t many movies everyone should see, but this is one. Fireproof will challenge and inspire audiences to do the hardest, most frightening thing they’ve ever done – to truly love someone, as well as point them to the only way it can happen.

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