Facing the Giants


Facing the Giants

Infobox Film
name = Facing the Giants


caption = Facing the Giants
director = Alex Kendrick
writer = Alex Kendrick Stephen Kendrick
starring = Alex Kendrick Shannon Fields [Tracy Goode]
distributor = Sherwood Pictures
released = 2006-09-29
runtime = 111 min.
language = English
budget = $100,000
preceded_by = Flywheel (film)
followed_by = Fireproof (film)
imdb_id = 0805526|

"Facing the Giants" is a 2006 American drama film directed by and starring Alex Kendrick. The cast was made up of volunteers from a local church. The actors included Shannon Fields, James Blackwell, Bailey Cave, and Tracy Goode.

The plot follows a classic underdog story about American football with an evangelical Christian worldview. This movie was shot in Albany, Georgia.

The film made its television debut on September 21st, 2008 on TBN. [cite web |url=http://www.ceganmo.com/2008/09/making-of-fireproof-facing-giants-and.html |title=The Making of Fireproof, Facing the Giants, and Flywheel this week on TBN |publisher=CEGAnMo.com |accessdate=2008-09-20 ]

Plot

Coach Grant Taylor at Shiloh Christian Academy has never had a winning football season. His car breaks down frequently, his house is falling down around him, and he and his wife are unable to have children. When he overhears school parents plotting to have him fired, he reaches a crisis point and prays. The turning point for Coach Taylor is shortly after an intensive time of prayer. An older man who walks the halls of the school praying for the students shows up unexpectedly in the coach's office with a message of encouragement. The timing of that message overcomes the Coach's reluctance to change focus.

As a result, Shiloh's 0-3 season took a 180-degree turn of a sudden: they won their next 7 games, and found themselves in the playoffs. They lost a close game, and thought their season was over. But the next day, they found out that their opponent had been disqualified for playing overage players.

The Eagles win their next two games to advance to the state championship against the defending three time champion Giants. Unlike the shallow bench that Shiloh is stuck with, the Giants boasts almost 3 times as many players. With bigger, faster players, and the ability to substitute, the Giants had what seemed an insurmountable advantage.

A sub-plot involves a short weak boy, David Childers (Bailey Cave), who hopes to play soccer despite the fact his school only offers football. His paraplegic father encourages him to play football only as a kicker, and David is at first reluctant. David's best kick is barely 35 yards. When the team's regular kicker is injured by a broken collar bone during the state championship game, David is called upon to kick a field goal 51 yards, and with two seconds left in the game - into the wind, to boot. His father (Steve Williams) successfully stands and holds onto a fence through monumental physical effort, and says a small prayer. Just before the kick takes place, the wind miraculously shifts direction. With the wind at his back, David threw all of himself into the kick, falls flat on his back - and connects with the winning three points.

Another sub-plot involves a rebellious but talented transfer student, Matt Prater (James Blackwell). His father hopes for a football scholarship for his son, but the son constantly disrespects and disregards his father. After the entire school experiences a revival, and Matt gives his life to Christ, he feels the need to address his father during the school day. Coach Taylor provides the needed ride to Matt's father's office, and Matt apologizes to his father for disrespecting his authority.

Interaction between assistant coaches Brady Owens (Tracy Goode) and J.T. Hawkins, Jr. (Chris Willis) provides comic relief. Brooke Taylor (Shannen Fields) wrestles with supporting her husband while facing continual disappointment in childbearing. This supplies both poignant and comedic moments.

Cast

* Alex Kendrick as Grant Taylor
* Shannen Fields as Brooke Taylor
* James Blackwell as Matt Prater
* Bailey Cave as David Childers
* Steve Williams as Larry Childers
* Tracy Goode as Brady Owens
* Jim McBride as Bobby Lee Duke
* Tommy McBride as Jonathan Weston
* Jason McLeod as Brock Kelley
* Chris Willis as J.T. Hawkins Jr.
* Ray Wood as Mr. Bridges

Mark Richt, head football coach at the University of Georgia, makes a cameo. As presented in the film, Coach Taylor played college football under Richt. As Coach Taylor was at SCA for six years, it would have been impossible for him to play college football at the University of Georgia after 2000, when Coach Richt became head coach. From 1990 to 2000 Mark Richt was the offensive coordinator for Florida State University, so it is presumable that Coach Taylor played football under him at FSU. Also, a news report from WALB features then-sports anchor Kevin McDermond in a brief cameo.

Production

The movie was shot on high definition digital video tape (using the Panasonic Varicam) and transferred to film.cite web|title=Internet Movie Database|work=Facing the Giants| url=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0805526/|accessdate=September 7|accessyear=2007] Using real high school football teams, the football action sequences were shot by the film's director of photography, Bob Scott, who is a veteran cinematographer for NFL Films. Another NFL Films technician, Rob Whitehurst, recorded the movie's sound.

Soundtrack

The church music minister, Mark Willard, wrote the film score. The film also uses seven Christian pop songs from Third Day, Casting Crowns, Bebo Norman, Ana Laura, Josh Bates and Mark Willard. There are five tracks of original score during the soundtrack.

Third Day's distributor is Provident Label Group, which is associated with Provident Films, Sony and Samuel Goldwyn Pictures. The latter eventually distributed the film nationally. A routine request for permission led to the national release of the film.Unknown author, (2007-01-30). [http://www.facingthegiants.com/dvdsoundtrack.php Soundtrack notes,] "Facing the Giants" web site.]

Reception

Box office

In its first weekend, the film opened on 441 screens nationwide in the United States.cite web|title=BoxOfficeMojo.com |work=FACING THE GIANTS | url=http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=facingthegiants.htm | accessdate=September 7 | accessyear=2007] Despite such a small number of theaters, the film opened in twelfth place with $1,343,537. Only three films in the top ten released that weekend grossed more per theater. For such a small budget — $100,000 — the film ultimately was shown in over 1,000 theaters and grossed over $10,000,000 as of 2007-01-01.

Reviews

The film only earned a 9% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes with 3 positive reviews out of 23 reviews counted and a 38/100 score at Metacritic.cite web|title=Rotten Tomatoes|work=Facing the Giants (2006)| url= http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/facing_the_giants/|accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007] cite web|title= Metacritic|work=Facing the Giants| url=http://www.metacritic.com/film/titles/facingthegiants?q=Facing%20the%20Giants |accessdate= September 7| accessyear=2007] Some critics complained that characters confronting problems from an explicitly Christian worldview belonged in church rather than portrayed in film. Josh Rosenblatt wrote, "its feel-good storyline, shopworn message, and bottomless sermonizing would have played better in Sunday school than on the big screen, which is — let’s face it — Babylon’s turf."cite web| title=Austin Chronicle.com |work=Facing the Giants | url=http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3a417777| accessdate=September 7 | accessyear=2007] Paul Doro wrote, "Facing the Giants" is a sermon much more than it is a movie. It jumps back and forth between football and various other subplots…"cite web|title=Milwaukee Journal Sentinel|work= First down, 110 trite minutes to go| url=http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=529185|accessdate=September 7| accessyear = 2007]

Counter to the foregoing, "the script unfortunately devolves into cliché and cant, other aspects of the movie are quite good — so good, in fact, that "Facing the Giants" shames the efforts of a lot of better-financed moviemakers."cite web | title =Northwest Arkansas News' Source|work=Giants predictable but still good news| url= http://nwanews.com/story.php?paper=adg&section=MovieStyle&storyid=168158|accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007] Also in favor of the film, "Here's a badly acted movie with a terrific story line that makes it well worth seeing…. Still, its 'all-volunteer' cast does not ruin its well-written, compelling script and believable dialogue."cite web|title=Rotten Tomatoes|work= Facing the Giants (2006) Movie Review| url= http://www.rottentomatoes.com/click/movie-1166866/reviews.php?critic=columns&sortby=default&page=1&rid=1556743|accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007]

Rating controversy

In May 2006, the producers of "Facing the Giants" received notice from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) that the film would be receiving a "Parental Guidance Suggested" rating, or "PG" rating.cite web|title=ABC News|work=Film Rating Upsets Christian Groups| url=http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2105871&page=1| accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007] One of the film's consultants, Mark Joseph, who had also conducted media strategy for films such as "The Chronicles of Narnia" and "The Passion of The Christ" and had unsuccessfully lobbied Walden Media to release "Giants", alerted "The Drudge Report" which picked up the story on June 8, 2006. Within hours the story was a hot topic in religious and conservative media, outraging many who believed the MPAA was entering uncharted territory by allowing the religious content of a film to influence ratings decisions. In the ensuing days the story garnered media attention in countless media outlets like the "New York Times, Good Morning America, Fox News" and countless talk radio programs.cite web|title=Carmel Entertainment Group|work=FACING THE GIANTS MPAA Ratings Controversy| url=http://www.carmelentertainmentgroup.com/News/C15A8EF0-CC2F-4447-BD1B-E33F041A198C.html|accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007]

According to the film's producers, they were originally told the motion picture received a "PG" rating because of its strong religious themes and because it elevated one religion over another. The MPAA later countered that "Facing the Giants" contains football violence and also deals with the mature topics of infertility and depression, thus warranting the higher rating and initially denied that religious themes were an issue. The Kendrick brothers expected the "PG" rating because of the movie's mature themes and did not appeal the board's rating.Unknown author (2006-06-23). [http://www.carmelentertainmentgroup.com/News/C15A8EF0-CC2F-4447-BD1B-E33F041A198C.html "Facing the Giants" MPAA Ratings Controversy] , Carmel Entertainment Group. ] The producers claim the MPAA changed their story after the controversy began.cite web|title=The Christian Post|work=Christian Movie's Rating Worries Lawmakers| url=http://ny.christianpost.com/article/culture/43/section/christian.movie%5Cs.rating.worries.lawmakers/1.htm| accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007]

The MPAA, which oversees the rating board, received more than 15,000 email messages within a week because of their decision and the media attention it drew, ten times more than they had ever received for any previous film.cite web|title= FilmChat|work=Everyone agrees it should be a PG movie, but they can't agree on why… | url= http://filmchatblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/everyone-agrees-it-should-be-pg-movie.html|accessdate=September 7| accessyear=2007] Conversely, some Christian groups thought a "PG" rating might sway more teenagers into seeing "Facing the Giants". "I think that a 'G' for a lot of teenagers is the kiss of death," Focus on the Family media specialist Bob Waliszewski told the "Los Angeles Times". "(The PG rating is) a case where unfairness will probably be a blessing in disguise."cite web | title=Huffington Post|work=Christian Groups Attack Hollywood Over PG Rating For "Evangelistic" Movie… | url= http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2006/06/21/christian-groups-attack-h_n_23496.html|accessdate=September 7 | accessyear=2007] One report claimed the publicity garnered from the controversy was worth "about $8 million".cite web |title=Citizen News|work=Facing the Giants in final week at Albany theater| url= http://www.thecitizen.biz/index.php?id=2243| accessdate =September 7| accessyear=2007]

References

External links

* [http://www.facingthegiants.com "Facing the Giants"] official web site.
*mojo title|id=facingthegiants|title=Facing the Giants
*imdb title|id=0805526|title=Facing the Giants
*rotten-tomatoes|id=facing_the_giants|title=Facing the Giants
* [http://sherwoodpictures.com "Sherwood Pictures"] web site, the movie's production company.
* [http://www.ceganmo.com/2008/07/facing-giants.html "Facing the Giants"] at [http://www.ceganmo.com CEGAnMo.com]
* [http://www.shns.com/shns/g_index2.cfm?action=detail&pk=RELIGION-FAITH-06-07-06 Explanation] of the PG rating from Scripps Howard News Service.
*Mark Moring (2006-09-26 ). [http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/interviews/alexkendrick.html Facing the Critics] at "Christianity Today", an interview with Alex Kendrick.


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