Los Angeles Times

A Christian critic wrestles with new biblical films and the hope of a better 'faith-based' cinema

At one point in the hit musical biopic "I Can Only Imagine," Bart Millard (J. Michael Finley), a Texan singer-songwriter touring with his up-and-coming Christian rock band MercyMe, receives a rude awakening from the industry he's trying to woo. "You're just not good enough," says one record-label rep, inadvertently echoing the cruel words of Bart's abusive father (Dennis Quaid) and triggering a wave of flashbacks to the boy's traumatized upbringing.

Those flashbacks made me roll my eyes, but they also filled me with a strange sense of guilt. As someone who considers himself both a lover of cinema and a follower of Jesus Christ, I must confess that the words "You're just not good enough" have generally summed up my own opinion of the many, many Christian-themed independent productions that have sprung up since the smash success of "The Passion of the Christ" 14 years ago.

That may be a harsh judgment to render against pictures that, at least in their broad range of genres and stories, would seem to resist easy pigeonholing. Companies as different as

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times2 min read
Cody Bellinger's Grand Slam Highlights Dodgers' 100th Victory In Home Finale
LOS ANGELES - The Dodgers' 100th win of the season was much like many of the 99 that preceded it. There was strong starting pitching, in the form a seven-inning, three-run, eight-strikeout outing from Hyun-Jin Ryu. There was an offensive explosion at
Los Angeles Times2 min read
RuPaul Backstage At The Emmys: 'It Wasn't Easy Getting Here'
LOS ANGELES - Fresh off his first Emmy win for competition program, RuPaul Charles, along with a bevy of "RuPaul's Drag Race" executive producers, arrived backstage at the press room, where he teased the possibility of future international iterations
Los Angeles Times3 min read
Commentary: UC Investments Are Going Fossil Free. But Not Exactly For The Reasons You May Think
Our job is to make money for the University of California, and we're betting we can do that without fossil-fuels investments. We are investors and fiduciaries for what is widely considered the best public research university in the world. That makes