Saturday, February 18, 2006

Another Chance

So, the big question on everybody's mind is, is The Second Chance better than The Gospel? Hell yes!

The Second Chance - good news - is probably the best movie of its type that I've ever seen. The bad news is, the competition for overtly Christian movies is weak at best, and generally severely restrictive.

The acting is fine, the directing is fine (capable, according to the NY Times), the writing had some sharp dialogue but few surprises (although I don't want to suggest that it was cliched. It really had some poignant lines, including, "I'm not a social worker!" - delivered by the white associate pastor [Ethan, played by Michael W. Smith] as he was being sent down to work in the black urban church). The best review that I found was written by Peter T. Chattaway, whom, if memory serves me (and it sometimes does) is a fellow Steve Taylor fanatic. Chattaway notes that Taylor's film - although not as quirky or funny as Taylor-heads would love to imagine that it would be - does bring about some interesting questions, notably why the black, inner-city pastor is rarely questioned by the film for his bits of righteous indignation. A not entirely smooth transition is made in a sermon between Malcolm X's "Plymouth Rock statement" and his new faith of the Rock that doesn't shift, even as buildings and loyalties do.

Another interesting thing I thought was how some of the youth from my church reacted to the dispositions of the three pastors. Much like myself, these young'uns grew up in the church. And much like myself at their age, they see everything within the church as black & white, right or wrong. So the pastors, in their minds, because they struggled and did things that a pastor shouldn't do (throw gangbangers up against a gate, for instance. Swear. Stand idly by as others dictate the direction of the church. Wear Gucci.) were hypocrites. But as I got to reflect on that, I thought, "That's nice, the pastors are real people, with real struggles." Not deep in despair, not brooding with doubt or secret lives. Not happy-go-lucky with all of the answers. Not simple or simplistic. Real people with real issues and convictions and fears. Just like the pastors I know in real life. And everybody else.

Oh, yeah. And there's an added bonus with an LA Symphony (w/ Pigeon John guesting) song in the background during a scene (although it would've been mad cool if some dookie-fly b-boy was breakdancing to it in his Addidas and a large ghetto blaster).


  1. I've never heard of this. Sounds interesting. Is it in theaters or on DVD right now?

  2. theaters. limited release. i think they're hoping for a late oscar buzz.

  3. Of course, I wrote that first post before doing two seconds of research on Yahoo! Movies. It's playing in three theaters here, two of which I have a gift card for. I don't have work tomorrow, so I may catch a matinee. Although, King Kong has finally hit the dollar theater...

  4. does it cost a dollar for real? that's three hours of thrills and chills for one dollar! (honestly, i'm waiting for the dvd release of the great ape.)

  5. Yep. That's $.33/hour to you and me.

    So, I went to see The Second Chance today - liked it! Thanks for tipping me off as to its existence. I don't think I am the only one who didn't know this was out. The theater was - how would you say - at less than capacity.

    Some thoughts:
    1) I thought I had the ending called when (SLIGHT SPOILER) I heard the phrase "historical landmark"; that they were going to play up the MLK angle. Glad to see the ending wasn't as easily telegraphed as it could've been.
    2) Jake reminded me of Mos Def; Ethan of a young Pat Boone. I'd like to think that in an alternate universe, they got the roles.
    3) There were actually two LA Symphony songs used, one of which was just an instrumental track.
    4) Was I wrong to be thinking that both pastors' wives were really cute...throughout the whole film?

  6. Two more things...

    5) This movie wins the award for the Least Amount of Trailers Beforehand: only 2. Weird.
    6) Nice use of a cover of a Primal Scream song at the beginning.

  7. Okay, one last thing (I feel like Columbo here)...Why was this movie PG-13?

    I honestly can't think of anything that would warrant such a rating. I've seen harsher PG movies.

    The MPAA is screwey.

  8. yeah, Jake (who reminds me more of a Don Cheadle type - who the producers were originally going for, btw) would hardly account for a swearing type, except that he's a pastor. and there's more violence in an episode of matlock.

    also noticed the scarcity of trailers. our screening (which was friday evening, btw) was a bit more peopled. but yeah, very scant word of mouth, even though Sony distributed it.

    michael w. smith as a young pat boone? that's hilarious. but i thought he did a decent job.

    the sit-in was kind of funny. glad they didn't overplay it, though.

    since, in the movie, ethan isn't yet married, i'm assuming you're talking about his mother? now, that would be gross. (honestly, i thought mary magdeline was hot everytime i saw her in the Passion. now, that's bogus!)

  9. Of course Mary Magdeline was hot - she's Persephone!

    My bad. I meant Ethan's fiance. But if I was 30 years older...

    Didn't know that about Don Cheadle. Had he been cast, the movie would've gotten a ton more notice. I mean, c'mon - check out the movie's IMDB page. Only 4 actors are listed. I wanna know who the womens are!

    Now, change the story into two pastors in a gay love affair, throw some cowboy hats on 'em and you've got yourself an award winner!

  10. i've seen some movies with him in it that no one else has seen. but i suppose that's the point w/ getting stars, eh? more star-power, more money.

    i think pretty much everybody is a local nashvillager, and, therefore, not registered with the la scene.

    good news though, one of the whinos was played by Jimmy Abegg, guitarist extraordinaire who used to play for Vector and Charlie Peacock and went solo for a moment. i am of course assuming that somebody reading this knows who any of those people/groups are/were. but it made me happy.


Be kind. Rewind.