Friday, September 02, 2011

Your Best Life Now: A Review of Milltown Pride

I'd like to affirm that David Oestreich [seems at this time to be misspelled on SI] "hit the ball out of the park" with his review, but I have to be honest that I haven't seen the movie. Nevertheless, he's a thoughtful guy, skilled in aesthetic issues. I suspect his critique is spot-on. But what I'm most interested is his conclusion, which exposes the film's pseudo-gospel. Here's a portion of his argument:
Unlike the prodigal son, Will moves from one comfortable situation to a different comfortable situation, the latter complete with a cushy job, a girlfriend and the unfettered pursuit of baseball!

Which brings us to Milltown Pride’s worst weakness—an incomplete portrayal of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to use characters as a means to a narrative end. It is quite another to so use the gospel. But when the outcome of Will’s conversion is not only the erasure of nearly all his personal problems but a clear path to realizing his goal of playing professional sports, there is but one thing for a viewer to think: trust Jesus, and all your wildest dreams will come true.
Perhaps easy-believism and a partial message might be forgiven in the film genre. Perhaps. (As someone used to say, "I speak as a fool.") But when the producer/actor/BJU Dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication argues that Unusual Films' "primary mission is to produce high-quality films that clearly present the Christian message" because "older forms of Christian expression aren't as effective any more," you better make extra special sure you get the gospel right.

According to Oestreich, they didn't. Not even close.

1 comment:

Don Johnson said...

Hi Ben

Well, I've seen the film. Dave is 'spot-on' in his review.

Having said that, making films isn't easy, and it took Katherine Stenholme awhile to get the hang of it. Compare Wine of Morning to Flame in the Wind to Sheffey to The Printing.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3