So, for that 95% of you who might not have caught these films in 2014, check out my Top Ten List of Films that Deserved Better Publicity:
10. Redemption of Henry Meyers – A western flick (not usually my favorite genre because everything pales in comparison to Tombstone), this movie deserves recognition for its honesty in dialogue and action. Avoiding the typical white-washed, perfect Christian lead character, this film conveys the honest impact that love and grace can have on a hurting soul. Read the full review.
9. Nowhere Safe – A fun, made-for-TV movie that aired on UpTV this past year, the film managed to tackle the topic of bullying, a subject matter which could easily have been reduced to cheesiness in a PSA-style film. But the addition of comedian Jamie Kennedy and the thoughtful treatment of the subject matter made it a light-hearted, but insightful film for any age. Read the full review.
8. Owlegories – Okay, so it’s not a film, technically. It’s four episodes of an animated children’s series. Aaaaaand…technically, it hasn’t officially decided on distribution yet because the creators are wading through all the offers. But the series did air their first three episodes online for free in early December, and frankly, my kids are begging for more. The best thing since Veggie Tales, check out Owlegories on their official website. Maybe a bigger marketing budget is on the way!
7. The One I Wrote for You – Sneaking into 2014’s top ten with a last-minute December release is this little film about a musician who had all but given up his dreams of playing for the sake of personal integrity and family. What made this film pop was the amazing dialogue and onscreen chemistry between the two lead actors, Cheyenne Jackson and Kevin Pollack, after the lead character is entered into a reality show by his daughter. I literally could have watched these two for hours. Read the full review.
6. 23 Blast – This was a sweet, funny film with a cheesy (okay, “inspirational”) ending. But three-quarters of the film was curiously entertaining and well-played by the actors. Perhaps it was my own personal intrigue that drew me to the story of a blind football player getting back out on the field, but this film did not disappoint. Read the full review.
5. Redemption of the Commons – I can’t pinpoint why this film struck such a chord with me or why I still find myself thinking about it several months and a dozen films later. Maybe it’s the honesty. Perhaps it’s the hope. Or maybe it’s the story’s ability to NAIL the true meaning of life and capture the essence of the prophet Micah’s wise words, “He has shown you, O Man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)” But it’s probably more than that. Read the full review.
4. The Remaining – This probably shouldn’t be on my list, but it IS! Even though the film was somewhat of a scare-tactic film for non-Christians and it didn’t exactly hold true to my personal end-times theology, this was just a hands-down, fun movie to watch. It was a Christian horror-flick too, a genre-buster if I ever saw one. I give it an “A” for effort and execution, even if I didn’t agree with its doctrine and even if it slipped right into a few horror-flick clichés. Read the full review.
3. The Song – Loaded with artistic imagery, symbolism, realistic dialogue and an engaging plot, The Song was a well-crafted film that I believe raised the bar in a big way for the Christian film industry. Proving that Christians CAN make artistic films with Christian worldviews and faith messages, this film should convince any aspiring filmmaker that they don’t need to pander to contrived plotlines, cheesy dialogue, or on-the-nose sermonizing. Read the full review.
2. Believe Me – Potentially offensive and probably rejected by many Christians, this film did a ton of things right. First, three-dimensional characters. Though they start out as stock characters, these characters burst through their own stereotypes, revealing complex, conflicted and honest emotional layers. Second? A great plot line. It never failed to hold my attention. Third…an ending that doesn’t spoon feed the audience a lesson, but forces them to consider exactly what faith means in their own lives. Read the full review.
1. Acts of God –While several films in this list could probably switch places in rank based on my mood for the day, this one was hands-down my favorite of 2014. Yes, it was dialogue-heavy as it explored why God allows pain. Yes, the acting suffered in a few minor places. But this film kept me on the edge of my seat as it unpacked every horrible, ugly, and honest argument against God, without pulling any punches. Then, somehow it managed to pull off the ending in the most satisfactory way. Read the full review and check it out if you haven’t already.
2014 was full of blockbuster Christian films that garnered millions of dollars each, with the top 13 Christian and Bible-based films all breaking the 1 million gross receipts mark. Maybe you enjoyed films like Heaven is For Real, God’s Not Dead, and Son of God. But if you haven’t seen these little gems, put them in your rental or purchasing queue for some insightful (and sometimes just fun) viewing this year.