Christian Movie Review: Homerun, my new favorite movie.

So evidently people use blogs like this to get into real issues in life.  To expose their deepest darkest secrets.  To share the confessions that they can only share with God or their closest anonymous internet readers.  In that spirit, here goes.  I am a grown man who enjoys the outdoors, God, military history and flannel…. and I love and normally get weepy at Christian movies, particularly of the romantic variety.  You know the ones that 12 year old girls watch and say, “that was kind of sappy”, yes those, they just speak to me man.  I know, I know, it is somewhat silly but it’s also true, throw on a Kirk Cameron movie or the selected works of David A.R. White and give me some popcorn I will be crying like a baby in no time.

I have always loved movies, particularly as a lonely little kid as they kept me company, but the world of movies is even more enjoyable now as I walk with Jesus.  Watching even a bad movie about Jesus working in someone’s life is a joy.  It is one of my favorite things to do.  With the best Christian movies, I also often learn meaningful things about walking with Jesus, even if the movie itself is not as well done as the latest summer blockbuster.  To pass on this love of the genre, I will periodically review old favorites and new Christian movies here with the hope that people will check them out and be inspired by them as well.

My next review is of a movie that is one of my all time favorites, Homerun, a 2013 film starring Scott Elrod.  If you don’t want any spoilers, stop here and just go watch the movie.

Though it is listed as a sports drama and has a baseball player on the cover, it is more like a drama with sports flavor.  The main character is a pro baseball player and the movie revolves around a Little league team, but at its heart it is a good old story of redemption through Jesus.  My lovely bride’s least favorite movie genre is sports but she was able to enjoy it as much as I, a baseball lover. It is also technically a very well done movie with acting, screenwriting and presentation above what one expects within the Christian genre.

The movie revolves around Cory Brand, a professional baseball player who is struggling with alcoholism at the major league level.  After an incident occurs at one of his games caused by pregame drinking, he is forced to return to his small Oklahoma hometown in order to do community service of sorts.  He is to spend 8 weeks in rehab and also coach a Little League baseball team also coached by the high school sweetheart he left behind to pursue his major league dreams. In the process of coaching the team away from the limelight of pro baseball, Cory is forced to face his alcoholism, the childhood of abuse he suffered at the hands of his alcoholic father and the consequences that have been haunting him since he was a kid.  We see him trying really hard to be good, to fix himself through will power and the desire to be better for others only to run into the problems of the filthy old sin nature that can only be solved by Jesus Himself.

The movie itself is well done and the actors are convincing in their roles, particularly Elrod as the likeable but very weighed down Cory.  What really sets Homerun apart for me though was the authenticity of the story. It was spot on!

As I have written elsewhere, I grew up with an alcoholic Dad and in a household where verbal abuse was the norm.  I struggled with alcohol for much of my life and it was only Jesus who saved me from the depths that my father and grandfather descended to as their losing battle with addiction consumed them.  It was only through Jesus that my life actually changed and I was able to get off the dysfunctional family roller coaster so common with alcoholic families.  Watching the same struggle acted out over the course of the movie was like watching 10 years of my life unfold to a scary extent.  My wife’s side was bruised from me constantly nudging her during the movie — remember that! and that!.  I suspect that Cory is a compilation character put together by someone who is very familiar with the struggles faced by alcoholics.

You don’t need to have fought the same fight to appreciate what a man’s desire does to him and how when all fight is knocked out of you that is often when Jesus is allowed to take over.

There is some objectionable content in the movie, though it is part of the story and not gratuitous.  Emotional abuse of children is shown through flashback scenes with Cory and his brother as kids being berated by their drunken father.  Drinking and drinking and driving are shown, in a negative light, and abuse of drugs, theft and pornography are mentioned in a recovery group setting.  It is not a movie for small children.  Adult to high teens would be my recommendation but parents should watch and judge for themselves.

Homerun is very well done and presents a great story with baseball flavor.  What it does best though is show a person struggling under the weight of their past and their sins and the way to find redemption from that past and sin through Jesus.

Additional Information — FURTHER Spoiler Alert

For those dealing with an alcoholic loved one, though this is not a perfect movie and fiction is simpler than life, Homerun does give a good glimpse into the mindset of an alcoholic.  Though Cory Brand is nicer than most, he shows the sheer unbridled love of self alone and ego driven self-pity that characterizes and drives most addicts.

For those struggling with accepting someone back in any capacity after that person sinned greatly against you, whether alcohol, infidelity or other betrayal, and trying to figure out if someone is really repentant, the final scene of the movie is great to watch and take note of.

Cory apologizes to his love interest, Emma who he greatly wronged in the past and who he now loves.  Clearly stated with the apology is a recognition of the entire wrong without reservation and the statement that as a result of the wrongs, the injured party Emma is not required to do anything.  Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation in every case and a person showing true Godly repentance is humble and willing to accept whatever the consequence because they have seen their sin in the eyes of God.

 

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