It’s not often that Hollywood portrays Christians in a positive light, so the members of the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., decided to slay the movie giants and beat them at their own game.
The result is a perfect family film called “Facing the Giants,” which was made with an all–volunteer cast and a budget of just $100,000. Despite playing in a limited number of theaters, the film opened in 12th place nationally and had grossed $10 million by the first of the year.
“Facing the Giants,” which was recently released on DVD, is about Coach Grant Taylor and his Shiloh Christian Academy football team. In the beginning of the movie, Taylor’s Eagles haven’t had a winning season in six years, and some parents grow restless when the team starts the new season 0–3.
To make matters worse, the battery in Taylor’s car is dying. His house stinks—literally—and he and his wife, who are starting a family, are having financial problems.
In a scene you are not likely to see in a Hollywood film, Taylor gets up early to pray. He’s next seen in a wooded area near his home reading Psalm 18 and talking to God.
“Lord Jesus, would you help me? I need you,” he says. “I feel like there are giants of fear and failure just staring down at me waiting to crush me, and I don’t know how to beat them. I’m tired of being afraid.”
Taylor’s team is incredulous when he shows up at practice the next day and announces that winning isn’t the most important thing to him.
“Winning football games is too small a thing to live for, and I love football as much as anybody,” he says, “but even championship trophies will one day collect dust and be forgotten.”
He explains that he and the team have made everything about them instead of being about God.
“The more I read this book, the more I realize life is not about us,” he says, holding up the Bible. “We’re not here just to get glory, make money, and die. The Bible says that God put us here for Him, to honor Him. Jesus said the most important thing you can do with your life is to love God with everything you are and love others as yourself. So if we win every game and we miss that, we’ve done nothing.”
Taylor explains to the team that football should be just another way they honor God as they do in their relationships, their schoolwork, and their respect for authority. Armed with this new philosophy, the team suddenly starts winning.
The volunteer actors in “Facing the Giants” are not likely to win an Academy Award, and the movie has a sappy ending, but the story is a vivid reminder that nothing is impossible with God.
“Giants” has several heartwarming subplots, such as the story of kicker David (slaying giants, get it?) Childers, who kicks a 50-yard field goal to win the state championship. David is small and not much of an athlete, but he does well when his wheelchair–bound father raises his hands before each of his field goal tries.
“David, I’ve asked God since you were a baby that He would show how strong He is in your life and that through you, people would see how good He is,” the father says.
David responds, “Then why would He make me so small and weak?
“To show how mighty He is,” the father says.
The producers said they were told upon the film’s release that “Facing the Giants” would be given a PG rating by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for its strong religious themes. After a Christian outcry, the MPAA said it rated the film PG because it included football violence and some mature themes, such as infertility.
Christian media experts later called the rating a blessing because the publicity surrounding the controversy brought more attention to the movie and more teens into theaters.