The Worst Film Ever
a film so unique, intoxicating and bizarre that it not only demands another viewing, but is also forgivable as a satirical comedy where the jokes eventually take the back seat.
The joyful confection is coated in a sparkly gloss, bright enough to gleam from the darkest, most cynical corners.
Like the great film, it's made with a great deal of visible affection both in front of and behind the camera.
It was a good movie and their handling of a near death expeience was very interesting. But this is a family that I would not want to be near for fear that their tremendous bad luck would be catching. Anything that could go wrong, did go wrong for this family. Miscarriages, broken leg, burst appendix, doubting wife, doubting congregation, etc.
Currently I'm approaching the autumn of my years and question the existence of an afterlife. Is there a place for our souls to continue after our brief stay on Earth? How are we judged? Do we get our memories erased and are sent back for another try? Or do we just cease totally in darkness? So many infinite questions. I recall a documentary called Beyond and Back made in the late 1970's showing real life experience entwined with near death experiences. The Subject just fascinates me which brings us to this review of the afterlife. Our story centers around a Nebraska Family (The Burpo's). Todd Burpo, (Greg Kinnear) Pastor, firefighter, Husband and Father of two children who lives on the Nebraska plains with his wife Sonja (Kelly Reilly). They live a busy but normal life. As for the Burpo's two children, the older sister Cassie(Lane Styles) typical wide-eyed girl filled with curiosity and our centerpiece the adorable three year old Colton played by Conner Corum. The Burpo's take a trip to the Denver zoo. Older sister Cassie is shown confidently petting a tarantula. Meanwhile timid Conner hides behind his Dad and wants no part of the petting experience. A short time later, the kids contract a stomach flu. Cassie and Colton recover but in Colton's case his fever returns and his temperature eclipses to 104 and is rushed to the hospital. At the hospital, the Burpo' wait and pray . You see Todd in the hospital chapel frustrated, pushing the chairs in disgust as to why their son fell ill? The result was an appendectomy and the surgery was successful. With Colton on the mend , financial strains on the household become burdensome . Todd juggling the Church and his other duties is consumed as subtle statements from the virgin lips of Colton have him astonished. Due to Christian accuracy I had a problem with Colton's depiction of his heavenly experience. For me personally why couldn't Colton meet Moses, Shoshone, Allah or any religious figure. Does this movie preach us to pray the Christian way? That was my only problem with the accounts by the boy. The movie had a suspense to it at times when Colton would reveal his experience in the afterlife. Fine supporting roles by Thomas Hayden Church and Margo Martindale. As for the appearance of the film as a whole . The cinematography extenuates the Nebraska landscape and the vibrant Heaven scenes are worth a look. I still question which denomination is on the other side?
I expected 'Heaven is for Real' to be bad, but I didn't expect it to be as bad as it was. Writer/Director Randall Wallace who gained fame for writing 'Braveheart' over twenty years ago who moved on to direct such films as 'The Man in the Iron Mask', 'We Were Soldiers', 'Secretariat', and now 'Heaven is For Real'. It seems like his glory days from 'Braveheart' are long over, because this religious movie plays out like the cheesiest made-for-TV LifeTime movie that should only appeal to a small group of people. But as times have told, these religious-centered films tend to draw people in. But don't expect a very realistic and bloody movie like 'Passion of the Christ' or the recent 'Noah'.Instead, you will see a very cartoony version of what a child thinks heaven looks like, complete with winged angels, a toga wearing Jesus, and some of the corniest moments ever captured on camera. It's unfortunate, because this movie packs some really great actors such as Greg Kinnear, Thomas Hayden Church, and Kelly Reilly ('Flight'). I'd be willing to bet that 'Heaven is For Real' makes my 'Worst of 2014' list in December.For those of you who are unfamiliar with this "true story", like so many movies are made today, then I'll fill you in. Back in 2003, a small town pastor, Todd Burpo's (Kinnear) very young son named Colton (Connor Corum) had emergency surgery to take out his appendix or something like that. After Colton's surgery, the little kid began telling his parents that he visited heaven and saw Jesus on a rainbow colored horse, angels singing specifically to him, amongst other stereo typical things kids might think heaven looks like.Why this got so much attention in the news, spawned a book, and eventually this crappy movie, was that Colton began to tell his parents that he met his dad's grandfather, their mis-carried child, and saw God and Mary themselves, along with other interesting revelations. But how could Colton know about these things, since he wasn't born for these things to take place yet. This is more or less the basic story for 'Heaven is For Real'.Wallace focuses his movie on Todd, the boy's father, as he tries to make sense of all of this, while questioning his faith. Meanwhile, the news is going around town, and his church congregants are quick to turn on him and his family for actually believing or wanting to believe that his son is telling the truth. Make no mistake about it, Todd is very level headed and tries to figure things out from a scientific aspect as well as a religious aspect, but people in town and even his wife (Reilly) are tired of him trying to prove or disprove his son. The dialogue is just downright awful and cheesy with your stereotypical kiss scenes with the sun peaking through them, and even a few lines that will make you cringe and say, "Who talks like this?"At least Kinnear and Reilly do a very professional and great job with their performance and sell it as well as they can with the material they are given. And Thomas Hayden Church is a comedic genius, but is so underused here, that they could have filled his role with anybody in Hollywood. It was big missed opportunity. And Wallace seemed to want to film the movie from heaven, because there are more aerial shots in this movie than in a Michael Bay film. There was just no point to it. Sure the kid actors are cute and all but that can only go so far.I'd say the best part of the movie came from a scene where Colton's older sister was explaining to her parents that she punched two kids at school for making fun of Colton, to which her dad Todd was impressed and told her, 'I'll teach you to hit someone without hurting your knuckles." But the scene where it showed her hitting the other kids was so poorly executed, that you'd think you were watching an after- school special for three-year olds.The emphasis on Christianity is very heavy here. It's not overly preachy, but it's very 'on the nose'. I don't know if 'Heaven is For Real' could have ever been a good film no matter who was in it and who made it. All I know is that it could have been better than this. You can do yourself a favor and save yourself the money and see something else this weekend.
Heaven is for Real (2014): Dir: Randall Wallace / Cast: Greg Kinnear, Kelly Reilly, Connor Corum, Thomas Hayden Church, Margo Martindale: Emotionally charging faith based film that addresses the reality of Heaven vs what is mainly spoken of during church service and taken for granted. Greg Kinnear plays a pastor in a small town. He is married and has a young son and daughter. He is generous with his time, too often putting others ahead of himself thus neglecting tremendous financial responsibilities at home. Central plot regards his son growing sick, taken to hospital and having what is perceived as an out-of-body experience. He survives the surgery but the church congregation grows weary when the boy describes Heaven, angels, and even the loving embrace of Jesus himself. Kinnear struggles to fathom this as even his grandfather is described in his younger form. Kelly Reilly plays his wife who grows frustrated with the unwanted media attention that follows. Connor Corum plays young Colton who is wise beyond his years and seems at peace with his spiritual encounter. Thomas Hayden Church and Margo Martindale steal scenes as members of the church facing their own issues. We eventually discover that their son is deceased and they must come to terms with Kinnear's situation. Randall Wallace does a fine job hinting at the afterlife, dazzling our imaginations without cheating us. Screenplay is flawed by disjointed subplots including Kinnear's broken leg and kidney stone passing that does nothing but hold up the premise. Theme addresses hope through the doorway of death to another reality. Score: 8 / 10