In 2006 filmmaker Alex Kendrick made a movie about high school football in the South. But it wasn’t a typical comedy about wild teenagers untethered by rules or about the intensity they absorb from football obsessed towns. No, Facing the Giants was a movie about spirituality.
Coach Grant Taylor is not doing well. His team has a consistent losing record, his car is a lemon, his house is falling apart, and he and his wife cannot get pregnant. It seems like things can’t get any worse until Coach Taylor hears a group of parents and townspeople discussing ways to oust him as head coach of the Shiloh Christian Academy Eagles. While strategizing ways to motivate the team and put points on the board, Coach Taylor is given some great advice about praying for help, while at the same time working to earn it. Coach Taylor, his staff, and the leaders on his team reexamine their philosophies on football and what their goals are as a team. When they realize that trying their best is more important than winning games, the new attitude has an uplifting effect on the school and their town.
Facing the Giants is unabashedly a Christian movie, though accessible to all audiences. It’s not a story about how a team prays for and receives a winning season, but rather a story about hard work and the power of positive thinking. While the acting is fair at best, the heartwarming message does well to mask it. Watching the coach encourage a boy struggling through a grueling practice routine and seeing another boy face his fear of failure through the encouragement of his crippled father is incredibly inspirational and infectious.
Facing the Giants is a great movie for fans of sports films like Rocky and Remember the Titans. It’s also good choice if you need a break from the more cynical fare of modern movies.
Special features include a filmmaker commentary, featurettes “Fumbles, Funnies, and other Fun Stuff,” “Behind the Scenes of Facing the Giants,” and “Interview with Mark Right: Head Coach University of Georgia Bulldogs Football Team,” deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, and “With You” Music Video of the Production. Facing the Giants is rated PG and is 111 minutes long. Alex Kendrick pulls triple duty as director, star, and writer alongside Stephen Kendrick. The film also features Shannen Fields, Jason McLeod, Tracy Goode, Matt Prater and Bailey Cave. This one is a little harder to find in stores, but can probably be tracked down at FYE and Amazon.com.