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Miracle season

Movies | Giants presents a gospel message on the big screen

Issue: "Can't run or hide," Oct. 14, 2006

Facing the Giants might not be a good movie in the traditional sense, but considering its tiny $100,000 budget, it could be an important one. The church-produced film, created by and starring Sherwood Baptist Church associate pastor Alex Kendrick, depicts a hard-luck high-school football team in Georgia coached by a man squeezed by pressures at home and at work.

After his depression points him to Jesus Christ, the coach decides to use honoring God as the central organizing factor both of his football team and his relationship with his wife. The new spirit transforms his squad from a bunch of underachievers into world-beaters.

The MPAA slapped a PG rating on the film for ostensibly being too preachy-something it later ambiguously defined as "thematic elements." The controversy may have helped the movie's bottom line. Despite opening in only 441 theaters on Sept. 29, Facing the Giants made an impressive $1.3 million in its first weekend, once again proving lots of Christians are salivating for films that rebel against the normal Hollywood decadence.

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As a device to present a gospel message on the big screen, Facing the Giants succeeds. Nothing gets in the way of the message-certainly not professional acting, driving narrative, or stunning visuals. Near the end of the film, viewers are asked to swallow a series of highly improbable scenes.

The team needs several miracles even to make it to the championship game. Once in the championship, miracles (including a sudden wind change and a player's wheelchair-bound father miraculously standing to cheer him on) help the team face its fierce opponents, the Giants.

If it seems unlikely, that's just the point. This football fairy tale makes no sense apart from God. And that's a point even cynical Christians must concede: With God, all things are possible.

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