Facing the Giants CoverBUY IT AT AMAZON: CLICK HERE!
STUDIO: Sony Pictures
MSRP: $26.96
RUNNING TIME: 112 minutes
Behind the scenes featurette
Blooper reel
Commentary by the director
Deleted scenes
Interview with Mark Richt
Music video
Theatrical trailer

The Pitch

It doesn’t matter how awful your football team is, if you praise God then he will smite all the other teams and give you the victory by default.

The Humans

Alex Kendrick, James Blackwell, Bailey Cave, Shannen Fields and Jim McBride

"All I’m saying is that for a man with such exceptional man bosoms as yourself, I’d recommend the Charlie Weis Brand Control Top brasserie"

The Nutshell

The Shiloh Eagles are the embarrassment of their high school football conference and a mortal lock to lose every game on their schedule. Their frustrated head coach is in danger of losing his job, has a car that won’t start, has sperm that are too weak to reach his wife’s ovaries and his house constantly smells like garbage. It would appear that God hates this particular fellow.

Not so fast! It turns out the coach is basically the modern day equivalent of Job, and once he decides to stop feeling sorry for himself and thank God for his life no matter how crummy it may be, things start turning around for him. The team starts winning games, a revival sweeps through the entire school and Biblical inspiration pours through the town like ectoplasm underneath New York City.

"Hey coach. I’m here to serve as an inspirational beacon and just generally
make everyone feel awkward and uncomfortable."
"Good to have you on the team, Wheels."

The Lowdown

Christian cinema doesn’t exactly have the highest pedigree. Sure, The Omega Code and Left Behind were laugh riots, but they probably weren’t intended to be. So many Christian films deal with events on a grand scope and don’t have the budget to fully realize any of those things, leading to cheesy special effects and piss poor acting that’s outclassed by your average nativity play.

Facing The Giants doesn’t focus on anything as grand as Armageddon and the return of Christ, allowing it to actually concentrate on providing a message and not look like a Charles Band movie. It’s a step in the right direction, but it still doesn’t come close to appealing to any viewers outside of its target demographic.

Subtlety is not the name of the game here. Everything goes to shit for the Shiloh Eagles until the coach decides to bring the Bible into the locker room and spread a religious revival throughout the entire Christian academy. Only then does God grant the football players with the ability to stop sucking. If it’s that easy, then why aren’t Matt Millen and the rest of the Detroit Lions organization sacrificing goats to Yahweh on altars all day?

There’s a tendency for football movies to overlook the most important aspect of a football film: the scenes where the players actually go out onto the field and play the damn game. Movies like Varsity Blues use rapid cuts and zoomed in angles so that you see players flipping all over the place and nothing else. Sure, it looks cool, but you have absolutely no idea where anyone is in relation to the field or what the hell is going on.

XXL Magazine’s latest Biggie/2 Pac retrospective hits a little too close to home.

Facing The Giants suffers a bit from this syndrome but it’s not that big a deal since the actual football scenes are brief. You’ll see about one or two plays from each game tops. After all, God’s picking these kids to cover the spread on every game anyways so the outcome is never in doubt.

The film’s low budget hampers it the most in the area of acting. No one involved in this feature is a professional thespian and most were probably recruited from various churches. In no circumstance is this more apparent than anytime the coach’s wife appears on screen and delivers her dialogue with such an exaggerated southern twang and lack of emotion that she’d be laughed off of Hee Haw for chewing the scenery.

Facing The Giants isn’t a spectacular football film by any stretch of the imagination, but when stacked up against its Christian film contemporaries it’s above par. It might not be the next Buttercream Gang, but then again, what is?

"Jack Chick, thou hast shown me the light."

The Package

Not only is Facing The Giants an underdog story about a football team, the entire production process was an underdog story. That’s the main focus of the special features which center on the shoestring nature of the budget and how the entire movie came together.

Alex Kendrick wrote, directed, produced and starred in the movie, meaning you can’t view a single extra feature without running into him. At least he’s a pretty personable guy and lets his love of the project come through. It’s such a small affair that he can practically rattle off the names of every single extra and key grip involved with the production and the experiences he has shared with them.

You could hang out with Kendrick on the back porch listening to his stories and sipping on some Country Time Lemonade all day, it’s just a shame he doesn’t have a more interesting movie to wax nostalgic about.

5.5 out of 10