Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Kirk Cameron Drove Me to Drink: or 'Is Your Marriage/Liver Fireproof?'

From 1985-1992, Kirk Cameron became a household name due to his role as Mike Seaver on the TV sitcom, 'Growing Pains'. His visage adorned the covers of numerous Teen magazines in the late 80's, and he has won two Golden Globe awards, People's Choice Awards, and even Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards for his work on 'Growing Pains'.  Since then, he has touched our collective hearts by starring in such cinematic classics as 'The Growing Pains Movie', 'You Lucky Dog', 'The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes', and 'Growing Pains: Return of the Seavers'.  Then, in 2001, he would reprise his Oscar-winning role as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in...wait... no, that was Anthony Cameron.  Or was it Kirk Hopkins? Which has the hospital named after them?  Whatever.  Kirk Cameron also played Josh in 'The Miracle of the Cards', a Christian movie about a boy dying of some disease who needs to collect as many Get Well cards as possible in order to fuel his own Doomsday device to rid the world of smoking, or bad language, or something. Watch the music-less trailer here

Now, it's not my intention to discuss or debate religion here since this blog is supposed to be about movie reviews, and I'll do my best to stand clear of any incendiary points, but it's difficult when bringing up Cameron's work since he has long since lived as a Christian evangelist, and relegated himself to making only films which contain Christian themes and ideologies.

One of these films is Cameron's latest 118 minute opus, which comes in the 2008 hit, 'Fireproof'. Cameron plays Capt. Caleb Holt, a fireman pushed to his limits by the very woman he once loved: his mother. In almost every scene the two actors share, this succubus drives poor Caleb to distraction, causing him to go on numerous walks with his father in the woods, and even a few awkward runs by himself.  Oh, and there's a small subplot about his marriage falling apart and his Christian father challenging him to a 40 day 'Love Dare' in order to save Caleb from a costly divorce that would keep him from his dream of buying a boat. I knew I loved this movie from the opening scene when young Catherine wants to marry her father, the firefighter. Twenty-five years later, her Daddy complex drives her to marry Caleb, a shorter, less pregnant version of her father.  Caleb is all man, and we see this right off the bat when he orders one of the other fireman to go and apologize to his partner, and to 'make it sincere' in his introductory scene.  It isn't really clear how long he and Catherine have been married, or what they ever saw in each other, and I suppose that's not really important since they plod through this loose framework of a plot the writer/director has concocted in order to get the true message across: that the institution of marriage is more important than loving your spouse. In order to illustrate this, the male characters move along their paths, from point A to point B with little concern of involving women, who we all know don't deserve equal say in any conversation, until they (the men) discover whatever it is the script needs them to. Plus, there's a fantastic scene where Caleb smashes a computer because "the pornography" has a hold on him. Which, I believe, is a very appropriate reaction to one pop-up window. After all, how can you know that the unclean spirits have been vanquished unless you destroy that demon-box in which they live?

But, I can assure you the best part of this movie is the (cough) amazing acting that SUCKS you into the story, and the, um...what was I saying? Listen, let's not waste any more time reviewing this since we've covered the important parts. Instead, why don't you take some time to comprise a grocery list while I listen to some music, or you could write that great American novel you've always talked about.  You know, the one about the handsome spy sent undercover, deep into enemy territory for one final mission, only to fall in love with a beautiful agent from the other side. Theirs is a forbidden love. You could call it 'Love in the Crosshairs'.

Trust me, you'll want to watch 'Fireproof' with a 12-pack of beer, or a bottle of scotch, or some paint thinner and a rag. It's the only way you'll get through it, but you have to watch this movie. It's truly amazing.  I considered stealing it from Netflix, but then I'd just be robbing you of a chance to bask in its warm glow. Oh, and I've outlined the rules of our new 'Fireproof' Drinking Game if you need to exorcise the demons with alcohol. 

Drink once every time you see....

A religious symbol, or reference
Someone questions their Faith
Someone uses a bad metaphor, or analogy
Someone calls another character by their first name
Caleb and his wife are in any room in their house, other than their kitchen

Drink twice every time you see...

Someone put a caring hand on another character's shoulder during a conversation
The subversion of women
Any mention of what day they're on in the Love Dare
Any character puts on their wedding ring

Chug a beer any time you see a fire

If this isn't enough for the true alcoholic, you can also drink every time someone says the word Divorce, every time the firetrucks come out of the station, or whenever there's a reference to pornography or a boat.

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