Andrew reviews the latest bad Christian movie, God's Club.
|A pickled Stephen Baldwin.|
Writer-director Jared Cohn is a hack director for hire with no integrity and no vision, yet he continues to crank out straight to video crap no one asked for like no tomorrow. A director with no quality control when he isn't serving up morally adrift trash like Buddy Hutchins or generic Rosemary's Baby ripoffs like 12/12/12, Mr. Cohn now has his sights set on a new kind of exploitation picture: the fundamentalist Christian drama. Like every movie of it's ilk designed solely to convert nonbelievers, it's only true audience consisting of people already converted, it's a dull and boring exercise with zero production value to speak of with not much aiding the acting department beyond it's leading man: former bad boy turned born again Christian Stephen Baldwin. The story of these things are typically cookie cutter Hallmark Entertainment and God's Club, a film about a widower teacher (Stephen Baldwin) who finds himself poised against the local community objecting to his wishes to open a bible club at his school, is no exception. The real surprise is that fundamentalist Christians managed to rope in a director usually known for excreting anti-Christian garbage to do the job.
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If you've seen one movie pitting the battlefield of the Christians against the atheists, you've seen them all. The outsiders are evil trolls with those indoctrinated into the God's Club canonized into sainthood with no real conflicts or flaws to speak of. Every character not siding up with the God's Club is either a violent bully, a petulant manchild adult or a homicidal juvenile delinquent. If you aren't part of God's Club, you're an asshole. With God's Club, the real offense committed here is a subplot involving an opponent of God's Club and his son who stops taking his medication against his father's wishes. In other words, if you are diagnosed with depression and need to be medicated, throw your pills out and talk to God instead. Akin to parental refusal to vaccinate their kids, God's Club, like Mom's Night Out, presupposes people with emotional or mental problems don't need counseling or medication to deal with them. Meanwhile the hostility directed by nonbelievers against Stephen Baldwin's spiritual warrior is so great it becomes fantastical such as a couple of parents engaging him in a fistfight followed by their children breaking into school grounds and ransacking his classroom undetected. Don't get me started on the Molotov Cocktail tossed into Baldwin's home by vengeful teenagers. It takes fear mongering of the outside world against Christianity to new ridiculous heights which is no easy feat considering a year ago Kirk Cameron unleashed Saving Christmas over a year ago on the unsuspecting populous.
|No I'm not Frank from Donnie Darko.|
I'll admit I'm a junkie for bad Christian movies. There's no other film sub-genre out there quite like it for their technical ineptitude, less than stellar acting, underdeveloped characters and storytelling. C Me Dance, Fireproof and Saving Christmas are three of the funniest examples out there. And then there are films like Old Fashioned, War Room and now God's Club which just fill me with anger as they unfold for their xenophobic and deeply disturbed worldview. There's nothing wrong with following the word of God or practicing religion. However I must say, much like Jihadism, I do find finger pointing at the so-called 'outsiders' that aren't part of God's Club to be highly troubling. Manipulative, far-fetched and condescending, this is pure exploitation filmmaking disguised as a benevolent extension of the Christian dogma. In that sense, it makes absolute sense that a mercenary exploitation director like Jared Cohn would be perfect for this kind of dogmatic brainwashing preying on fear instead of love.
- Andrew Kotwicki