I was privileged to see a preview of the soon to be public movie, Home Run. For those of you who are considering seeing it, I offer my review. I promise, NO SPOILERS.
I will proceed with the same three measuring sticks I have used in the past to try to judge the merit of this movie. Ultimately, the question is, should you spend the resources God has provided you with to see this flick? Or would your money be better spent elsewhere…there is certainly need all around us.
I offer the three criteria I will use to discern the worth of Home Run in order of importance.
- Is God glorified?
- Will the movie tempt someone to sin?
- Is there a practical application to the lessons learned within?
I will consider them in reverse order:
Is there a practical application to the lessons learned within?
Home Run is the story of a professional baseball player whose life is obviously in a downward spiral thanks to his alcohol addiction. This story really hit home with me as I abused alcohol for several years. I found myself relating to the main character on many occasions in his struggle.
The main character, Cory, played by Scott Elrod is a stereo-typical irresponsible early 20-something, with a smile that you don’t think you could ever be mad at. Regardless of his alcohol use, he seems to be one of those guys who functions well at his job. A public incident early in the movie forces him to his small hometown where he must take over the coaching duties for his the little league team his brother had coached. Credit Vivica A. Fox for being a good agent.
Throughout the story, relationships develop, decades old secrets are revealed, and Cory finds out that even little people in little small towns have big problems to deal with as well. As is typical in a “recovery/addiction” movie (or real life), Cory has ups and downs to varying degrees.
Enter J.T., played by Robert Peters. J.T. is a friendly Christian man who heads up the local Christian recovery group. Cory is sentenced to attend these meetings and his apprehension is abundantly clear. The ultimate theme of the movie is a story of redemption and freedom from addiction and the healing that people can find in their relationships.
Will the movie tempt someone to sin?
Now we all have different sin-tendencies, I know, but I can only speak of a few of the more obvious ones. The sin of drunkenness which is depicted is never glorified, even though some pretty intense scenes must be developed to be true to the story. A person who is struggling or has ever struggles with substance abuse may find Cory to be a character to which people can relate. But if there is particular weakness in the area of alcohol, the movie may be best avoided.
In general, the story is very germane, but there are a few scenes where the female actresses show more skin than necessary for a movie billed as a Christian movie. As above, a weaker brother probably ought to stay away for now, but most people won’t even notice.
Is God glorified?
This is a tough one to answer fairly. I do not want to trash Home Run, but at the same time, I found this movie lacking in a few key areas.
I do not recall any mention of sin in the movie. If it was mentioned, it was in passing. In the movie, professions of faith in Christ are made, but the profession is no more than, “I’m a Christian.” Home Run lacks the things that I think would truly make a movie Christian – a reference to the gospel itself (including man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness and the redemptive work of Christ) or an overt depiction of godly or biblical events (see my review of Hosea).
The power of God is never truly put on display.
And even worse, the power of the support group mentality IS put on display. The program called Celebrate Recovery is really what gets the glory in this movie. To a non Christian, this will look not much different than an AA meeting. To be certain, the movie makers had a chance to do this right: present a clear gospel, and they chose not to. I can only assume it is because they eithe do not know the gospel or understand its power or they simply wanted to be able to entertain a larger viewing audience, but still try to get Christians to pay for tickets and form action squads.
In conclusion, you are safe to spend a few dollars for the entertainment value of Home Run. But if you are like my wife and me and wish to see the opportunity to share the life-saving gospel in a movie labeled Christian, you will walk away sorely disappointed. If you have non Christian friends you were hoping to invite, come prepared to lead them further toward God than the movie will.