Friday, September 25, 2015

90 Minutes in Heaven spends more time on pain than miracles

Rating: PG-13, 2 hours 1 minute

Grade:    C

In a Nutshell:  I wanted to see heaven, not a hospital room.  This sluggish film of faith takes a lot longer than 90 minutes to finally reveal what Don Piper saw when he “died” in a car accident.  The majority of the true story  features the pain and suffering Don experienced after the crash, making the film kind of a pain to watch.  I was eager to get to Don’s “sacred secret”, which turned out to be a disappointing payoff for sitting through all the boring, dreary scenes about pain.

That being said, the Christian film isn't without merit. There are some inspiring messages that will leave you with increased faith and hope.

Uplifting Theme:
·         In the words of Don Piper: “God still answers prayers.  God still performs miracles.  Heaven is real.”
·         “Choose to be better, not bitter.”  - Don Piper
·         “If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.” – Don Piper
·         People care and want to serve.   They are blessed through their service, so never deny someone that opportunity to love and grow.  The people who surround Don are true heroes in this film.
·         Wear your seat belt.
·         God answers prayers.

Things I liked:
·         I love true stories that build faith and inspire goodness.  Christian audiences have proved that they want them and are willing to pay for them.  Keep ‘em coming.
·         Country music star Dwight Yoakam branched out into acting in the 1990’s and plays Cecil Beaumont, a slimy attorney.
·         I always like seeing the real person who movies are about.  You get to watch the real Don Piper give part of a sermon at the end of the film when he triumphantly states “I have been beaten up, but not beaten.”
·         You will learn about the Ilizarov apparatus, which is a fixation device used to connect bones back together.  It’s truly a medical miracle, but looks extremely painful.    
·         Don’s family has a little black and white Papillon named Butterfly.  (Papillon means butterfly in French.)   I have a little black and white Papillon too!  Here’s a picture of mine.  His name is Blaze.  By the way, a “blaze” is what you call the stripe on a horse’s muzzle (nose).

·         The goal of the movie is to help non-believers have faith in an after-life.  Unfortunately, the movie preaches to the choir.
     - I was very touched by the preacher who prayed over Don's dead body.  
     - There were quite a few miracles that occurred during Don's car accident. I loved that Don thanked the preacher for holding his hand, only to learn that it wasn't the preacher who held it...
         I thought it was sweet that the first thing Don did when he returned to his body was sing.

Things I didn’t like:
·         I think Kate Bosworth is gorgeous, but her acting felt stiff and forced in this film.  She goes to bed with lipstick on and doesn’t dig deep enough to show sincere emotion.  Look closely and you’ll notice that her left eye is blue and her right eye is hazel brown!
·         Most people may not recognize Hayden Christensen, who plays Don Piper.  Director George Lucas rocked his world when he made Hayden Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith .  Hayden is thinner and mostly horizontal in this film.  Interestingly enough, Hayden portrays both Anakin and Don as mopey.
·         The acting isn’t particularly good.
·         The screen would show a bright light and I would get excited, thinking I was finally going to see heaven, but it would just be a transition from one boring scene into another. 
·         The music was super sappy throughout the entire film.  Lee Ann Womack’s hit song I Hope You Dance should have helped a dance scene in the movie become a climactic moment, but the song was cut off and the scene never had time to build into much.  What could have brought the audience to tears came resulted in a ho-hum scene without much energy.
·         Cranky nurses should really be fired and forced to find another line of work.
·         I thought it was super sad that Don’s mother couldn’t pull herself together enough to visit her son in the hospital. 
·         I wish Christian movies were awesome.  As a whole, they’re getting better and always share a message I’d like everyone to hear, but this one just wasn’t up to par.

Interesting lines:
·         “You know, you did something Baptist preachers never do…finish a speech early.” –Jay B. Perkins (played by Fred Dalton Thompson)
·         “We’re going to get through this together as a family.  That’s what families do.” – Eva’s dad (played by David Clyde Carr)
·         “David was my best friend and, like me, an ordained minister.  And by far the most loving human being I’ve ever known.” – Don    -   What a wonderful thing to say about another person.   I hope that someone will be able to say that about me some day.
·         “You know what they say about faith?  You can have hope without faith, but you can’t have faith without hope.”  - Jay Perkins  
·         “Sometimes what inspires you isn’t what you end up doing.” – Jay Perkins

Tips for Parents:
·         The car crash scene is intense and you see Don in a bloody state, which might be frightening for some children.  In fact, you see the car crash scene over and over again.
·         Most children will be bored and tired of waiting for the “good stuff.”

Christian movies to hit the big screen recently...see my movie reviews for them by typing their names in the search bar:

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