Bad alpha dads: the movie.

4 Jul

The folks who made Fireproof, about an alpha firefighter who was an inadequate husband, are returning this fall with Courageous, a new film about a group of alpha policemen who are inadequate dads.  Judging by the trailer, it looks like this movie, like its predecessor, features a Sage Black Guy who points the Struggling White Guys to God.  Ten bucks says this will be another box office hit.

Suggestions for future movies:

  • White mom who is stretched too thin between work and kids gets advice from Sage Black Churchgoing Neighbor and learns to let God make her husband a better husband.
  • White teen girl who is tempted by alpha jocks gets advice from Sage Black Churchgoing Friend and learns to let God be her one true love.
  • Pregnant white teen girl is encouraged by evil public school counselor and pushy nonbeliever parents to get an abortion, but after talking to a Sage Black Churchgoing Lady, learns to value life as God values life.
  • White male business/land owner struggling to make ends meet is approached by unsavory investors to start a casino or strip club, but gets advice from Sage Black Churchgoing Employee and learns to let God provide instead.
  • Politically powerful white male racist has the opportunity to create more oppression for people of color, but after an encounter with a Sage Black Churchgoer in great financial need, learns to be colorblind as God is colorblind.
  • White male missionary is discouraged after not seeing conversion results, but after an encounter with a Sage Black Local with great faith, learns to have same faith.

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY, READERS!

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31 Responses to “Bad alpha dads: the movie.”

  1. The Man Who Was . . . July 4, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    Sadly, my experience of black churchgoing guys is that they tend to fornicate and commit adultery at significantly higher rates than white churchgoing guys. I will refrain from speculating as to why.

  2. The Man Who Was . . . July 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    Not that there aren’t a significant number of exceptions.

  3. Hermes July 4, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    How can any of those movies be made, when we have not yet exhausted the list of rugged male professions whose members are to be excoriated for being inadequate husbands and fathers? We need an athlete movie, a construction worker movie, a deep-sea fisherman movie…

  4. Lover of Wisdom July 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Another crappy Christian movie. Yah for the church!

  5. Nautilus July 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    What I want is a Christian action movie. Atheists and gnostics make a good one every now and then… paging Book Of Eli.

    Where’s the token asian? Oh, I forgot… Asians can’t act. XD

    What if someone made a movie about how Christian men can learn the rules of game to become more alpha, while still encouraging correct social and sexual, personal responsibilities? How could that even be done?

    Followup question: Was Jesus alpha?

  6. The CronoLink July 4, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    @Nautilus
    Alpha and Omega ;)

  7. Hana July 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    I feel like there’s a theme in these movie descriptions, but I just can’t pinpoint it. Hmm…

  8. terry@breathinggrace July 5, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Sage black churchgoing woman here, LOL.

    I liked the post. I rather tire of the token black characters used for the purpose of “positive portrayal of blacks” in movies.

    What good is it doing the community anyway?

    As for Fireproof, I thought the female lead was a bad wife, too. Neither of them came off as perfect to me. Of course, the idea (and I agree with it) is that the husband is supposed to lead by godly example. So I gave the film a pass.

  9. Strong Man July 5, 2011 at 7:32 am #

    Your post emphasized some racial frustration, which I feel is unhelpful and misplaced.

    I’m with terry above–it gets tiring to see typical reality twisted just for the sake of political correctness. But at the same time, the race issue is minor and one I normally ignore.

    What about the frustration with never showing a woman who is an inadequate wife married to a hard-working man who does what he can to provide and gets no respect at home? He’s trying to lead but she undercuts and ignores his leadership. She has to learn from her friends how to appreciate her husband and be a good wife?

  10. y81 July 5, 2011 at 8:03 am #

    White evangelicals love to bring up the black church and black religiosity. Even my own pastor has done it once or twice. First and foremost, it’s a jiu-jitsu move against secular liberals of the SWPL type, since an article of SWPL faith is that black people are morally superior. The high levels of churchgoing and religiosity in the black community are an unexamined contradiction in the SWPL worldview.

    Also, many Southern white evangelicals feel guilty because their ancestors and their institutions supported segregation, so acknowledging the spiritual superiority of black people assuages that guilt.

    As terry notes, none of this (neither the evangelical nor the SWPL beliefs) does much to improve the material or spiritual situation of actual black people.

  11. terry@breathinggrace July 5, 2011 at 9:19 am #

    What about the frustration with never showing a woman who is an inadequate wife married to a hard-working man who does what he can to provide and gets no respect at home? He’s trying to lead but she undercuts and ignores his leadership.

    Interestingly enough, Strong Man, the black versions of religious movies emphasize this dynamic quite often. We tend to skip those movies because they also often play up the worst black stereotypes, but it’s rare to go to a family reunion or something similar when someone doesn’t pop a Tyler Perry or T.D. Jakes produced movie,LOL.

    Anyway, one thing I have noted in several of those films lately is the reality of women who have good men that they won’t respect and don’t appreciate. Some preacher or older woman has to “help the sister out” before she loses her man to someone else.

    The storyline resonates because black men are not known to pine after a woman. It’s kind of a running joke among black women brave enough to discuss the issue.

    So maybe Haley’s frustration is a bit misplaced because black men who make films are a bit more sage about these things than their white counterparts. If you can tolerate watching a couple to see what I mean, here are a couple of titles:

    Not Easily Broken

    Why Did I Get Married?

  12. jack July 5, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    On topic:

    check dialog at 2:10 in video…

  13. lifeinlonglegs July 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    As long as wives are focused on it all being the husband’s problem, and husbands focused on it being the wive’s issue – we’ll never get anywhere. We must rather examine ourselves with sobriety.

  14. lifeinlonglegs July 5, 2011 at 6:31 pm #

    p.s. Jack that was awesome!

  15. Cane Caldo July 6, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    Good grief.

    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=UtzQI520jZg

  16. jesusfreaksrulegroup July 7, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    =] http://mylifeasateenageloser.wordpress.com/

  17. Dan in Philly July 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm #

    I thought the acting in FireProof and the Giants movie (too lazy to look up title) was so poor it overwhelmed any positive or negative message the movie was trying to get through, so I would never reccomend it. An English Lit teacher I had once said in order to be art, a poem needn’t be about anything profound, and a poem about something profound isn’t necessarily art. In a similar way, a movie with a Christian or uplifting message isn’t necessarily good just because there’s a good message in it.

    I pose the challenge to name some movies which are both good and have very moral messages. I think “Bruce Almighty” really suprised me with its message at the end of turning your control over to God. Didn’t see that coming from such a movie at all.

  18. Cane Caldo July 8, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    DiP,

    You’re right, to a point. I Did not enjoy Fireproof. I don’t know if it was the acting, or the direction, or what. There are certainly many better movies with Christian messages; even more-so with merely moral messages.

    Here’s the real challenge though: Name good movies with Christian messages that show the characters actually being Christians: praying (without humor or irony), going to church, etc. Can it be done without being corny? That’s what Fireproof was attempting.

  19. Cane Caldo July 8, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    Apparently linking to YouTube from my phone doesn’t work so hot. Second effort.

  20. Hana July 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm #

    “An English Lit teacher I had once said in order to be art, a poem needn’t be about anything profound, and a poem about something profound isn’t necessarily art. In a similar way, a movie with a Christian or uplifting message isn’t necessarily good just because there’s a good message in it.”

    This is so true. If I can reword that statement slightly: Christian art (movies, music, books) by Christian artists can have a good message without being good art; but good art by Christian artists doesn’t need a good message to be Christian art (ie. art that glorifies God).

    Not that Christians shouldn’t attempt to insert “good messages” into their stories – it’s just that I think that if a person is a sincere Christian, they don’t need to insert a heavy-handed moral into a story in order for it to glorify God. Good art finds more subtle ways to portray Christian themes and basic moral truths. C.S. Lewis did it – I can’t think of too many other examples, though.

    (Admittedly, I can’t speak for Fireproof, since I’ve never watched it! But I remember a friend did tell me it made her cry…)

  21. y81 July 8, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    “Good art finds more subtle ways to portray Christian themes and basic moral truths. C.S. Lewis did it – I can’t think of too many other examples, though.”

    J.R.R. Tolkien–Once there was a man who defied the servant of Morgoth, to save his friends. The Balrog slew him and dragged him into the pit. But he was reborn as Gandalf the White.

    Hans Christian Anderson–Once there was a bird who was scorned and despised by the other birds. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him. The other birds drove him away, but he was transformed into a swan and returned in beauty.

    Charles Dickens–A man who was not condemned took the place of the condemned man and died in his place, because of his great love.

  22. Aunt Haley July 11, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    Nautilus–
    What I want is a Christian action movie.

    Wait…are you saying Left Behind didn’t suit your needs?!?

    terry–
    I rather tire of the token black characters used for the purpose of “positive portrayal of blacks” in movies.

    What good is it doing the community anyway?

    The average white evangelical (contrary to what you might read in the MSM) has been steeped in racial harmony messages and feels very strongly that whites need to be inclusive and uplifting. That’s why you get these token black “got it all together spiritually” characters. Or church choirs with the whitest of white people trying to get their gospel sway on.

    Cane Caldo–
    Name good movies with Christian messages that show the characters actually being Christians: praying (without humor or irony), going to church, etc. Can it be done without being corny?

    I think it would be very tough to do without being corny, for a couple of reasons. One, you would have to show the character praying aloud, which would turn the prayer into a monologue, and film is not a medium that is friendly to monologues. Two, overt spirituality in a film runs a very high risk of being pedantic.

  23. The Man Who Was . . . July 11, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Two, overt spirituality in a film runs a very high risk of being pedantic.

    Film is actually pretty good at religious iconography. Mel Gibson made a great if overly gory film with minimal dialogue in dead languages. Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ was pretty good whenever people weren’t talking. Pasolini’s minimalist Gospel According to Matthew was excellent as well.

    Andrei Tarkovsky’s life of Andrei Rublev was excellent.

    For more modern religious type films Robert Bresson and Ingmar Bergman are good.

    Alas, only Mad Mel and Tarkovsky are actual believers. Not to mention Mel having illegitimate babies with crazy Russian chicks and dating 25 year old fetish models.

  24. A Lady July 11, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    Book of Eli was pretty good on doctrine for a sci-fi film. Unexpectedly so, really.

  25. terri July 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Yes, the Book of Eli was quite good on doctrine. And yes, unexpectedly so. Lots of action and violence for those who like that sort of thing, too.

  26. Aunt Haley July 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm #

    Man Who Was–
    I was referring to showing characters praying, going to church, and generally being churchly. Usually when it’s a plot point that characters are doing these things, there is a high risk of cheesiness, pedantry, or both.

  27. y81 July 12, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    “characters praying”–The night before the battle scene in “Glory” isn’t cheesy, but of course the characters are black, which is sort of where we came in.

    “characters going to church”–Scenes that show churchgoing as part of normal contemporary life are not so common in mainstream movies. I do recall some years ago my daughter had a “D.W.” video (D.W. and her brother Arthur are aardvarks who appear in children’s videos) in which D.W.’s sister got married. The church where the wedding occurred was obviously a Protestant, relatively Reformed, church–no stained glass, no crucifixes–which for some silly reason pleased me greatly at the time.

  28. Cane Caldo July 13, 2011 at 6:48 pm #

    That’s what I’ve found, too, Haley.

    The one movie I did think of: A River Runs Through It. Not a message movie, but a decent portrayal of Christians, I thought.

  29. Aunt Haley July 13, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

    I should clarify further that portrayals of Christians in period pieces are usually much more sympathetic than in a contemporary setting. You would expect to find a devout mother praying for her kids…in 1900. But in 2011? Usually only if the mother is that nosy hypocrite of a neighbor, or someone who hates gay people or blacks or something.

  30. Will S. October 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    This movie apparently is out now. But I sure as hell won’t be seeing it.

    BTW, the world didn’t end yesterday, as Harold Camping said it would. Oh well.

    Remember to laugh at his and his followers’ expense!

  31. Gwen October 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm #

    Actually Terri, the point of Fireproof is that either spouse/both spouses need to show love inspite of resistance. The husband’s mom did the Love Dare on his dad, remember?

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