I’m torn. Conflicted. Honestly uncertain which way to turn on this blog post.
On the one hand, I’m thrilled when people invest themselves in telling stories that are filled with truth and which point toward the only One in whom we can find real hope, real joy, and real life. Indie film Homeless for the Holidays is just such a story.
The IMDb summary for this film says, simply: A smug executive enjoys the perfect life – until he loses his job, and finds himself working at a burger joint. Now he’s falling behind on his bills, and if something doesn’t change soon, his family could lose everything by Christmas. And — especially if you spend any time at all between Thanksgiving and Christmas watching the Hallmark Channel — from that summary you can practically guess the rest of the story. No, predictability in a holiday feel-good film is not all bad. It is, however, one of the symptoms that make me struggle with how to talk about this movie.
In the intended spirit of It’s a Wonderful Life, stories like this one remind us that we often have more than we realize and only realize it when we lose it. And this Homeless movie tells, according to the writer and director (George A. Johnson), a true story from George’s life.
So, on that same one hand, I want to recommend this film to you. I want to honor the hundreds of people who volunteered their time to make this movie on a very small budget. I want to celebrate the real life of a real person. I want to…
But then I look at the other hand.
I’m one (and I am not alone) who is exhausted by the mounds and mounds of art, music, film, fiction, poetry and other creative expressions which are sub-standard and yet, which some Christians elevate as “great” because they have a religious (and sometimes even Christian-ish) message.
This movie is pretty amateurish. The acting. The screenplay. The videography. As I watched this, I kept thinking that when I experience such acting/directing/production as part of a skit or even play at a community theater, I’m forgiving. I can be critical without criticizing if you understand “critical” in terms of analysis rather than as fault-finding. I’m not sure why I have a harder time extending that grace (is that what it is?) when the medium is film.
So, while I’m not running around telling everyone I know that they must see this movie and I’m not purchasing a dozen copies to give as gifts, I don’t want to tell you to not see it if you’re looking for a story like this to share with your family this holiday season. In fact, if you know me and want to borrow my copy of the movie, I’d be happy to share and would love to hear your thoughts.
What do you think? Not about this film — you’ve not seen it yet, probably. I’m wondering what you think are the critical ingredients in making Christ-honoring art — whether film or poem or song. Do you hold similar standards for Christ-honoring plumbing? Christ-honoring surgery? Christ-honoring preaching?
A copy of this film was provided to me as a BuzzBlogger at no cost when I agreed to view it and write a blog review. This blog was not “reviewed” before posting by anyone but me. No compensation (beyond the free dvd) came to me for this. Just want you to be clear how this worked. Check out Team BuzzPlant if your’e interested in knowing more.