Real Steel – The Faith Based Film?

I just watched Real Steel with my son, and we absolutely loved it.  As the credits started to roll, I wondered – why can’t Christians make a film like this?  Is it because there’s no preachy message that we’re unable to do this sort of thing?  After all, it’s only a movie about a washed up boxer/father who desperately needs to really learn to care about something or someone, or he’ll continue his downward spiral until he dies alone.  He’s finally saved through the sheer stubbornness, determination, and resolute love of his son – a love that refuses to die.

Essentially, it’s a fun movie with heart.

real-steel-11Oh, yeah.  And big robots punching each other to an oily pulp.

As I was watching this movie I kept thinking – why can’t Christians make fun movies with heart?  We seem to want so badly to put The Message into everything we do, but the really funny part is that we really don’t have to do this!  If we could ever learn to just relax and tell good stories well, then we would actually give the opportunity to God to do what He does best: speak through the stories we tell despite us.  Even if we never explicitly mention God or the Gospel – God can still speak.

Yes, God could actually do that if we gave him the chance.

But back to tonight’s movie:  is Real Steel the Best Movie Ever Made©?

No.

Is Real Steel formulaic?

Sure.  Even the ending, which tries to be surprising, doesn’t shock us.

But, even with all of that being true – is Real Steel an entertaining and fun movie with heart?  Absolutely.  Without a doubt.  Undeniably.

Christians, while we’re also planning to produce our Sherwood Pictures, Rich Christiano, Rick Santorum Movies Meant To Evangelize That Really Only Reach The Churched©… let’s make well-told movies with heart, too!  Let’s break down the walls of the viewers by creating characters the audience actually cares about!  Let’s tell rousing stories that make the audience cheer!  Let’s get some giant robots who are fighting for something bigger!  Or maybe even aliens, or secret agents, or dinosaurs!

Let’s tell the stories well, and have fun while we do it, and then… let’s see what God might do.

Because – at the end of the day – they’re just movies, for heaven’s sake!   As the song says – here today and gone tomorrow.   Why do we forget that?

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4 thoughts on “Real Steel – The Faith Based Film?

  1. Actually, that’s not the one word. There’s plenty of Christian cash out there – but the ones with the funds need to recognize the value of telling really good non-preachy stories – and fund those! Can you imagine if there were a dozen or so top-notch filmmakers who were also strong believers? Take Andrew Stanton for example – a (reportedly) committed Christian who is respected and admired as a fantastic filmmaker. What a witness!

    The church (as a whole) needs to recognize that Hollywood is a mission field – and we need to send well-equipped laborers into the field.

  2. I relate very well to this post. Also saw the movie with my 2 boys and enjoyed it, despite my preconceptions.

    100% in agreement with you regarding us Christians relaxing and allowing God to speak through our lives, our creativity and our ventures – without pushing the Gospel consciously. I have decided to start writing more broadly, hence me joining WordPress.

    Following and enjoying your writings.

    Blessings.

  3. I ask myself that question all the time, not only in regards to film, but music and writing as well. Mind you, there are plenty of good Christian artists out there, but the ultra-popular ones are not always the ones who come out with the best-quality stuff. It’s even harder to find good original stuff in French here: at least half the books in any Christian bookstore are translations (and the originals are sometimes of dubious quality), and don’t even get me started on music and movies. Once in a while someone will come up with something really good, but more often than not the music or story will be fairly trite and poorly executed. Part of me feels horribly snobbish for making these kinds of comments, but the fact is, we should be setting a standard of excellence in the arts, not trying (mostly unsuccessfully) to keep up with the rest of the world.

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