The Red Flags of Terrible Christian Movies

I know some of you love watching Christian content type movies. I decided to be of service to you so you can recognize the bad ones. In order for it to be a bad Christian movie, 3 of the following things must be true:

[] A drug addiction, where said drug is never named, but it causes random itching and homelessness.
Is it cocaine? Heroine? PCP? Wait…it can’t be PCP because that random after-school-special in the 80s told us that that particular drug would send us diving through a plate glass window. Nope. It’s just “a drug.” A drug that makes the person want more but also makes them lose their house, but not necessarily their well-kept hair, which is just a little messy. Sprinkle a random bottle of alcohol in a paper bag, and you’ve got yourself the perfect side character that is about to be influenced by the protagonist.

[] A person who has been cast comically older or younger than their actual age.
Hey, you know that actor/actress! They were in that 90s Christian movie that was…watchable? Didn’t they play a 15-year-old in that movie too? Or maybe that 20-year-old from that stage play you saw is playing a 65-year-old grandmother with a wig that was clearly purchased from the “Hall-o-ween” store that operates out of that abandoned supermarket once a year. Is gray hair achieved with baby powder on their natural hair? *chef’s kiss*

[] Scenes that are clearly improv’d
If you’re staring at the screen and start thinking, “There’s no way somebody wrote this,” you’re well on your way to witnessing a train wreck. Do they keep referring to each other by their names even though they’re the only ones in the scene? Do they keep repeating each other’s questions? Are there dramatic pauses, and then suddenly, someone scoffs, turns away, and then turns back and asks a vague question? You’re watching a bad high school improv, my friend. The director most certainly yelled out, “Do what you feel! Let’s try it without the script. Action!”

[] Near infidelity (not actual)
Oh, there can’t be real cheating. Oh, no, no, no, no, no, no! Because if there’s actual intercourse with other spouses, you can’t tie that up in a neat little bow in 80 minutes. It’s simpler if the affair is “emotional.” And even then, it can only be nearly emotional. Like, maybe there were flowers, or a cupcake for a birthday that the receiver’s real spouse forgot because of…. um…sports or something? But ultimately, there’s a “Are we drifting apart” conversation, followed by the “choosing us” or “working on us,” and then the “Six Months Later” screen text. (Note: If you throw an end-of-movie pregnancy for the actual couple in there because the near infidelity came from losing a child or being unable to conceive, you’ve got a winner.)

[] A pastor losing faith but over something overly tragic or marginally inconvenient.
It’s drastically one or the other. Either his wife died in a fiery car crash, a child died by drowning, or the wife (again) died from some strange, rare, cancer; OR some thieves ransacked the church, or the mortgage is due. It’s one of those. It’s either soul-crushing or you’re like, “Dude, just…call the police.” There is no middle ground.

[] A woman in an abusive marriage but solely because he isn’t Christian.
Oh, he’s the kind of abuser who deserves extensive prison time, but only because he doesn’t believe in God. Because only a person that doesn’t believe in God can be this much of a hateful, abusive, garbage person. What’s that, you say? You say that some of the most abusive people you know have been Christian? Pish posh! That doesn’t work for this kind of movie. But it is directly related to…

[] A comically aggressive atheist
But like…super aggressive. They’re starting fights, or busting windows out of restaurants, or stumbling out of bars with that bottle of alcohol from the first entry, smashing it on the concrete, and then jabbing it at the protagonist. Bonus points if there’s a carjacking, mugging, or vandalism of a church. This, of course, brings us to the pinnacle scene where they’re screaming (preferably in the rain/abandoned church they just burned down) “Where is He? Huh?!! Was He there when my [insert significant person in their lives] died?!?!?! TELL ME!!!”

[] Is it an angel? Is it an enlightened homeless person? We don’t know (wink wink)
Is this somewhat marginally famous actor, who has been slightly dirtied up with brown smudges, have the most important lines? Did they just drop some knowledge on the protagonist, which made said protagonist go on a long walk that can only be revealed through a montage? Do they keep refusing help and ask for simple things like “a place to wash my face,” or “a simple cot,” or “just seeing you smile is enough for me”? That’s def an angel. Are they trying to get in touch with their daughter, who doesn’t live in the state and they haven’t talked to in 20 years? Ding, ding, ding! They’re just homeless…but super enlightened.

[] A gospel song or scene, at a random Black church, that was clearly directed by a person who claps on the 1 and 3
Let me…um…let’s just agree that there are different types of gospel music. And there are…uh…certain types of gospel music that…um…you know…require a kind of rhythm…that…uh…oh, how can I put this…..comes more naturally for people with more…melanin. We’re uh….we’re just gonna leave it there.

[] A random Clark Sister playing a mom or themselves that are only there during the church scenes because clearly that’s what was specified in their contract.
Dorinda and Karen and them ain’t about foolishness! Is their scene about Jesus? Do they get to call on the name of the Lord? Can they lay hands on the actor/character while executing a vocal run that can ONLY be done by a person with Moss DNA? Nine times out of ten, you’ll be looking at the screen later going, “How did they get Twinkie to do this?”

[] A text on screen that denotes the passing of time that does not make mathematical sense.
Woman finds out she’s pregnant, feels the baby kicking while holding the test, and then 8 months later, the baby is obviously 13 months old and walking. Or maybe the drug addict from the first entry, who has been strung out on the unnamed drug for 7 years, is clean in 6 weeks. Time means nothing in these movies.

[] An R&B song that was written for the movie and sung slightly off-key to denote the “secular” scenes.
Just know that the budget never allows for a recognizable song by a recognizable artist. But that bar the alcoholic is about to get kicked out of, or that party that the drug addict is attending–they have to show the audience it’s not Christian. Did they just wait for extras to show up that day and ask who could sing, and the person that volunteered truly can’t because everyone knows that anybody who volunteers to sing isn’t a real singer? Sounds like! Can the song be Googled? Prooooobbbably not.

[] A church, or business, needs an exorbitant amount of money to keep from losing the building because all the factory jobs left town.
That doggone factory that lost everyone’s jobs to an unnamed metropolitan city that is “nearby”! Looks like the Christmas/Easter/July 4th Festival is canceled, and the only way to save it is one million dollars. Oh, yes! Even though the town’s population is 1,300, those festivals or mortgage is an even million dollars. But there’s no money…unleeeeesssss….

A sudden bake sale or singing competition is put on. It is? They raised all that money with that population? They’re saved! Bonus points if it was….

[] A philanthropist whose heart is magically changed due to a person’s faith
This sudden change of heart causes them to rip up the overdue mortgage papers or construction contracts, thereby canceling all debt or building plans. Because nothing says, “All debt is canceled!” like a ripped-up sheet of paper. Because, of course, the deal was made with a local, non-branched, privately owned bank or construction company. And of course the head of such business/corporation still lives in the town where all the jobs are gone because the factory left town.

[] Is free on YouTube


[] Was clearly a stage play first.

You’re. Welcome.

You know I’m right.

-Danita LaShelle

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