"Though its underlying theology is evangelical, Catholic viewers -- and Christian believers of every stripe -- will welcome the inspirational and touching drama [will we now: being preached Evangelical theology, please don't tell me the world is 6 000 years old next] "Letters to God" (Vivendi). That's because director David Nixon's family-friendly tale of courage and conversion celebrates the power of Gospel values to transform lives in a way that transcends denominational divides [Okay then? Because it doesn't have to, we can support Catholic films instead, send a message to Hollywood on that?]."USCCB Film OfficeReview
"Seriously, it looks nice and all and I like the story concept. I do fear it is a hit you over the head Christian movie of which I am not a fan. Since it comes from the same folks as Fireproof and Facing the Giants it would seem to be."Patrick Archbold, Creative Minority Report (Catholic; Independent; American; Conservative)06D / 03M | March / 2010Y
I often like to see what Patrick Archbold has to say of a matter, his blog notes the word pithy as an important word to note in writing, and he often is pithy.
You see, when I left church on Sunday morning, I was bombarded with a pamphlet to a movie, from people I had never seen before. It was a joint effort by NuMetro, and CUM books. Personally I know of CUM books for such classics as The Whore of Babylon, and besides the spelling of the book store's name, and the books they sell, it isn't pornography (although I'm going to have to disable comments on this post for using that word). Cum, despite the sms language meaning something else is pronounced coo-m according to someone I used to know who got a job there. The Whore of Babylon is the Holy Roman Catholic Church, according to the Chick Publishers' book sold there, one of many odd books the former Dutch Reformed Church store sells. Of course, the Vatican isn't built on 7 hills, Rome is, and the Bible referred to 7 hills or mountains, at a time when it was seen as Rome or Jerusalem, and the Vatican is Landlocked, and running a deficit etc, none of which is noted by CUM books customers, when they get to read why the Catholic Church is the organ of Satan. The Dutch Reformed Church p.s. created apartheid.
So anything which is banked into by CUM books, I am instantly suspicious of, even if the lemmings press is lauding this as a wonderful thing, yet another "Christian" movie, like Sedevacantist Mel Gibson's Passion of the Christ, which despite his anti-Semitism, and denial of papal authority was picked up and mass marketed in the Catholic and Christian worlds.
In any case, on the American side, they are very pleased that the American Cancer Association (aren't they funders of abortion firm Planned Parenthood?) is on board, and yes they want to convert you... to something:
"Nixon has worked hard to reach an audience he says might not enter a church but, “…maybe we can first reach their hearts and minds inside a theater and realize that God is real.”
While making the movie, Nixon said the cast and crew experienced many coincidences, “I call them ‘Divine Appointments.’ Each day we started with 10 minutes of prayer and had special prayer warriors on the set. We were bathed in prayer during the making of this movie.”
[Ok, just a little freaky, no? Prayer warriors, hmm]
For some, like Jeffrey S.S. Johnson who plays Brady McDaniels, the conflicted mailman, Nixon says this seemed very odd and out of place. “But gradually after the second week Jeffrey felt tremendously changed spiritually. He will tell you he never, ever experienced that before while making a movie.”
[Will he now? I hope no one was fired for not being prayed over!]
By the ending of the filming Nixon says the entire cast and crew were asking the prayer warriors for specific requests and everyone was onboard with the “Christian” part of their work environment. “That was a miracle in and of itself,” added Nixon.
[Pay-check... religious freedom... pay-check]
Out of the Mouths of Children
The movie is a story of hope and prayer through the eyes of eight-year old Tyler Doherty, played by Tanner Maguire. Even when the adults around him seem to lose their faith, or not practice it, their rock of faith is Tyler. In spite of the fact that Tyler is slowing dying from a rare brain cancer; his death eventually lifts their spirits and brings them closer to God.
Nixon hopes the movie will serve as a catalyst for families with young children especially going through the agony of cancer. “We’ve got the American Cancer Society on board and we will have resources both medically and spiritually that we will be able to share through the movie website” ([let's exclude said website, just in case someone wants to use those resources]).
Letters to God is a sad but wonderful story of faith [in?] and hope [gotta be hope when people are happy some kid died.]. It is by the public support of movies like this that the message seems to be getting through to Hollywood that these kinds of movies have a strong and growing audience worth paying attention to [called preaching to the choir: and they usually have really bad pathetic plots if you ask me.]."Catholic Exchange (Catholic; Independent; American)07 / 04 | April / 2010
Now, I have no objection to actors praying before they work, my favourite Disney actress (a Catholic) is often noted as praying, and getting others to before work, but I do think that this institutionalised praying is a bit odd, I personally would be insulted if made to pray by my boss.
So, if you want to watch a really boring film by a "Christian" director:
Tyler Doherty is an extraordinary eight-year-old boy armed with strong faith and courage as he faces his daily battle against cancer. Surrounded by a loving family and community, Tyler’s prayers take the form of letters he sends to his ultimate pen pal, God, on a daily basis. These letters find their way into the hands of Tyler’s postman, Brady, who is at a crossroads in his life searching for meaning. Brady at first is confused over what to do, but his decision ultimately is a testament to the power of Tyler’s shining spirit, bravery and grace. Inspired by a true story, Letters to God delivers a message of hope, faith and courage that others can apply to their own personal struggles regardless of what they may face in their everyday lives.
Featuring moving performances from Robyn Lively (“Saving Grace,” “30 Rock”), Jeffrey S.S. Johnson (“Criminal Minds,” “Burn Notice”), Tanner Maguire (“Lost,” “Brothers & Sisters”), Bailee Madison (An Invisible Sign of My Own, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark), Michael Bolten (Flipped) and Ralph Waite (“Days of Our Lives”), the film is a stirring “tribute to faith, hope, and love through the eyes of a child” (TBN) [When they quote them Evangelicals at Trinity Broadcasting Network, you know to turn and walk away].
From one of the producers of Fireproof [yawn] and Facing the Giants [double yawn], and inspired by a true story [inspired, or true?], Letters to God received the highest Dove Approval Rating and an endorsement from the Parent Television Council. [Glad we all know who they are] "Catholic.net (Catholic; Independent; American)Unspecified Date
It is likely to feature all the ups and downs of a made for television (tv) movie, with a bit of pushy shallow American "Christianity", and remember, everyone's happy when the kid dies, its uplifting? But its your money to waste. If I'm going to watch a boring movie like that, it would have to have a really hot girl, and not be preaching some Hollywood Christianity, about Some God.
But its your money to waste! Really! It is! I mean, its not like there are children starving, and if you want to torture yourself we do have Opus Dei, and that has a purpose, much better than this! But as i said! Your money, really, it is yours! But if you convert to Evangelical, bible bashing, evolution trashing whatever it is, don't blame me, blame Mel Gibson for starting the trend of commercializing Hollywood style Some God.
Instead of wasting my time with a movie without a pretty girl, where I may be in danger of not converting, I instead am watching what truly is a movie to span across denominations and cultural divides, especially after Decent Films gave it thumbs up:
"Traditional values and close-knit family relationships reign in director Elizabeth Allen's squeaky-clean adaptation of Beverly Cleary's best-selling series of children's books, the first of them published -- viewers will hardly be surprised to learn -- more than 50 years ago.
So when irrepressible 9-year-old Ramona Quimby (Joey King), on whom the slightly static story centers, warns her parents, Robert (John Corbett) and Dorothy (Bridget Moynahan), at the dinner table that she has to say a terrible swearword to vent her numerous frustrations with life, the term she eventually produces is so mild, it makes Wally and the Beaver's oft-repeated "Gee whiz!" sound blue.
While good-hearted and imaginative, Ramona is also accident-prone and her minor misadventures, which leave her feeling misunderstood, tend to antagonize her straight-teeth-and-straight-A's teen sister, Beezus (Selena Gomez). Indeed, much to her annoyance, senior sis has been burdened with that ungainly moniker as the result of Ramona's childhood inability to pronounce her real name, Beatrice.
Besides their tiffs, the only source of worry or conflict on the girls' native Klickitat Street -- a real-life address that Cleary's tales have made iconic -- arises from Dad's loss of his accounting job. (Add to that the aggravating factor that the family has just embarked on an expansion of their home, a project they might not have the funds to finish, and this aspect of Laurie Craig and Nick Pustay's script begins to feel very much of the moment.)
Unemployment leads to mild marital tensions, and Dad finds himself spending a night on the couch. But, like the prospect of the bank "taking the house" -- an expression Ramona overhears and interprets with a comic extreme of literalism -- the specter of divorce seems quite distant along this boulevard of unbroken dreams.
Lightening the mood is the swiftly rekindling romance between Ramona's favorite aunt -- and Beezus' namesake -- Bea (Ginnifer Goodwin) and her high school true love Hobart (Josh Duhamel). Ever the ramblin' man, Hobart is off to Alaska and floats the idea of Bea coming with him. But anyone who fears she might do so before exchanging marriage vows has clearly not been paying attention.
Beezus, too, has an affair of the heart under way, having fallen for childhood friend Henry Huggins (Hutch Dano, not Rex Harrison). In keeping with the delightfully innocent atmosphere of la rue Klickitat, it takes this bashful young pair the better part of 90 minutes to work their way up to a first kiss.
Though some fussy adults with short attention spans may object that nothing very momentous happens as "Ramona and Beezus" unspools, as should be obvious by now, what does take place transpires in the nicest possible way.
So just you wait, Henry Huggins, just you wait."USCCB Film OfficeRamona and Beezus
And guess what, Joey King and Selena Gomez (a Catholic actress) prayed daily, I hear... except their bosses didn't force them to!
Here's the trailer: really cute:
[Romano and Beezus trailer]
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