When’s the last time you saw a secular feature film, Rated G, that opened with a Bible verse? When the lights go down in the theatre this Friday, and the previews finish… these words appear on the screen:
“Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” – Isaiah 30:21
The film I’m talking about is the new Robert Duvall and Lucas Black film titled, Seven Days in Utopia, the story of a young pro golfer who finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, TX and welcomed by an eccentric rancher (Duvall). I happened to catch Duvall on the Today Show earlier this week talking about the film. It looks amazing. Apparently actor Lukas Black is actually a scratch golfer- the first of this caliber to play a golfer in a film like this. (A great little featurette on IMDB here.)
A month ago we had the opportunity to send one of our reviewers to screen this film, and Todd and I knew that we needed to give this review to David R. Smith (co-author of my book MINISTRY BY TEENAGERS, and author of so many of our Youth Culture Window articles), so he attended an early screening near his home in Tampa, FL. You see, David loves golf in every way. He has come to Sacramento several years and helped us raise money for our ministry at our golf tournament… and let me just say that David can hit a ball! Last time I played, David was an 11 handicap. That means while I was hitting balls in the woods, in the sand and in the water, David was hitting long and straight.
David chimes in on our Movie Reviews & Quick Q’s page today about this amazing film hitting theatres tomorrow. Here’s just a snippet:
This isn’t the typical movie you see coming out of Hollywood. First, it’s rated G. (I didn’t think they made those anymore.) Second, it contains a fairly strong Christian message within the story. Finally, it’s absolutely loaded with tons of healthy themes like “having conviction,” “restoring relationships,” “overcoming addictions” and “pursuing a godly romance.”
The plot revolves around a golfer named Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black) who suffers through a horrendous meltdown during his professional debut on the pro circuit. He hastily exits the scene and drives through Texas until he accidentally crashes his car in a little town called Utopia, TX, population 375. There he meets golfer-turned-rancher, Johnny (Robert Duvall) who teaches him that life is far more than a golf score. Through Texas’ version of “wax on, wax off” style instruction, Johnny helps Luke regain his game…and much, much more.
In this movie, Matthew Dean Russell, the renowned visual effects guru behind such films as Live Free or Die Hard, Night at the Museum, and Blade: Trinity, makes his directorial debut. For the most part, he provides great coaching for the relatively unknown actors/actresses as they navigate several compelling scenes; only once or twice do simple lines get delivered in a slightly unconvincing manner.
One really cool feature the film employed was its use of actual golf icons (who aren’t actors). From the PGA Tour, we see appearances by some really big names like Ricky Fowler, Stewart Cink, K. J. Choi, and others; outside the ropes we see and hear from actual analysts on the Golf Channel like Kelly Tilghman, Brandel Chamblee, and Frank Nobilo. These features help add realistic elements to the movie.
Of course, the biggest name on this movie is Robert Duvall, who needed no leading by Russell. He plays the perfectly eccentric rancher, who was formerly a professional golfer, himself, who helps Chisolm regain his confidence and find faith…
I look forward to seeing this one!