Feeling good faith through failure
NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Friday, October 21, 2022. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.
Hello. I am Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HOST: And I’m Myrna Brown. Coming next The world and all in it: a new movie from Pure Flix.
The family and faith-based streaming service recently increased its original content. Here’s arts and media editor Collin Garbarino with a review of his latest film, Nothing is impossible.
COLLIN GARBARINO: Nothing is impossible is an inspirational, faith-based sports film that depicts God working through failure. There is also a good dose of romance. Fans of Hallmark-style romances will appreciate Nothing is impossible. So go ahead while waiting for the sugar coating.
Scott: Hello, Mrs. Holcott.
Ms. Holcott: Your rent is due.
Scott: I know, I know. I am sorry.
Scott Beck dreamed of playing professional basketball, but instead of donning a jersey with his name on the back, Scott dons a work shirt with his name on the pocket every morning. Twenty years earlier, he had been passed over in the NBA draft. Now he works as a janitor at the Christian high school he previously attended. But at least he remains in good physical condition. His battered truck is so unreliable that he finds himself jogging almost everywhere.
Ryan Aikens is the new owner of the Knoxville Silver Knights, a professional basketball team. She has her own problems.
Ryan: The truth is we barely have enough money to pay the players we have now. And the board is threatening to move the franchise.
Coach: So you tried to put out a fire by throwing gasoline on it. Maybe it’s time for me to go fishing.
Ryan: No, no, no, no. Listen to me. I may have a solution to this, and it’s a bit unconventional. Why not try open trials.
Archie: We would be desperate.
Coach: We would look like clowns.
Ryan: It’s an event, unique and promotable.
When Scott discovers open trials, he sees an opportunity to regain his lost dream. But the road to redemption will not be easy. Scott is 40 years old. What about team owner Ryan? She happens to be the ex-girlfriend he left at the altar 20 years earlier. Scott still has skills on the pitch, but will that be enough to make the team? Will that be enough to give her a second chance with Ryan?
The idea of an NBA team holding open tryouts seems absurd. But you don’t have to hang as much disbelief as you think. NBA minor league teams hold open tryouts regularly, and this small Knoxville team feels a bit minor league. But can 39-year-old Scott really keep up? Well, LeBron James turns 38 later this year, and he’s still driving to the basket. Additionally, Scott stayed sharp helping out the high school team.
Scott: You have heart. But to win, you have to use your head. You must be smart. You have to think. Average height of a Clayton player, what?
Player: He’s a great coach.
Scott: Yeah, they’re bigger than us.
The film has solid performances. David AR White plays Scott – you’ll recognize him as Reverend Dave from the god is not dead franchise and soap opera star Nadia Bjorlin plays Ryan. Veteran film and TV actor Harry Lennix gives the film gravity as the Silver Knights basketball coach who wants nothing to do with these open tryouts. The production values are pretty good for a made-for-TV movie.
With this film, Pure Flix follows the tried and true formula the Hallmark Channel has been using for decades.. These movies might be a little cheesy, but they’re popular for a reason.
Ryan: Well, I came to tell you that Coach Banks publishes a list of players who have reached the second round. And you are on this list. You just have to sign your life.
Scott: Does everyone on this list get a visit from the team owner?
Ryan: Just the ones she almost married.
Nothing is impossible takes this formula and baptizes it with some overt Christian references. Scott and his friends pray and go to church. The characters grapple with God’s will for their lives, and there’s talk of God’s blessing in our failures.
Nick: Spit, man.
Scott: I don’t know. I just think about this whole abundant life story. Is this really the promise you want to make to these children?
Nick: I mean that’s not my promise. It’s up to God.
Scott: I mean, do you see a lot of abundant life around here, Nick? Because from where I’m sitting, I just see a lot of regret and despair.
Christian films often run the risk of becoming prosperity and gospel fairy tales – once the characters pray and believe hard enough, their problems disappear. The martyrs and the persecuted church would not recognize this version of Christianity. Nothing is impossible tries to avoid the name-it-claim-it mindset. But despite all the talk of failure, we know there will be a “happily ever after” at the end of this movie. Waiting for a promised reward in heaven does not fit the gender formula. Nor does it speak of sin or repentance.
Nick: What’s up with you, man?
Scott: I don’t know. I just feel like I have a chance to get my life back.
Nick: Scott, you always had your life. You don’t do anything with it.
Nothing is impossible is family entertainment with many feel-good moments. It’s also refreshing to see Christianity represented positively. Do not expect to find deep theological truths in Nothing is impossible. Hallmark-style movies offer an entertaining, yet superficial and candy-coated take on romance. Nothing is impossible offers the same, adding a bit of sweet faith and goodness.
I am Colin Garbarino.
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