COURAGEOUS (2011)

courageous-movie-men-praying-7

Elizabeth

Here is how the very self-righteously titled Courageous begins: Nathan Hayes (Ken Bevel) stops at a gas station. After filling his tank, he realizes he wants to wash his windshield. He’s already turned the car back on, but walks over to another pump several yards away to find a squeegee . . . with his door open. The entire time he’s there, there’s a very stereotypically gangster-looking guy, lurking behind him. So naturally, when Nathan leaves his giant truck running with the door wide open and completely walks away from it, the gangster guy immediately jumps in and drives off in it. But alas! Nathan chases him down, jumps on the truck and hangs onto the driver’s side door. Eventually he messes with the carjacker enough to cause him to drive off the road, flinging Nathan off. The carjacker’s partner was apparently following them the whole time, because he immediately pulls up behind him and drives off with the carjacker in tow. As a couple of female bystanders (one with a giant cross on) come to help him and tell him not to worry about his truck as he crawls over to it (MEN, AMIRIGHT???), he opens the back door and we see a screaming baby in its carseat.

How courageous are you if you risk your life (by jumping onto the side of a moving truck) to save your child . . . because you walked away from your running car, with its door open, with said child inside, leading to said car getting stolen in the first place? To me that does not make you courageous, but rather a shitty person and a really shitty parent, and also just really fucking stupid.

So that’s actually a pretty good way for Courageous to start because even though the first scene only focuses on Nathan, it gives a pretty good feel for the rest of the movie. Because we soon find out that not only is Nathan a shitty person and a shitty parent – but he’s a shitty cop, too! Yes, a police officer left his baby in his running, door-open car. And he is courageous.

Anyway, so this is about Christian cops. At some kind of cop meeting, the cop boss tells the cops that they, especially fathers, should spend more time with their families because “research” says that being raised without a father present leads to crime. Good discovery! We meet Adam (Alex Kendrick – hilariously also the director) who continues our time-honored tradition of seeing movies with characters who hate their children. Or I guess I should rephrase: Adam only hates his son, he just kind of doesn’t care about his daughter. What makes me say this? Adam comes home from work to his wife, who’s angry. We find out she’s angry because Adam missed Emily (daughter)’s recital – which was that night – which Adam completely forgot about, even though apparently it was a really big deal. And then we find out why Adam hates his son, Dylan: “All he wants to do is run five miles and play video games.” ALL HE WANTS TO DO IS RUN FIVE MILES AND PLAY VIDEO GAMES?? What kind of critique of a teenager is that? He sounds super well-rounded to me. And not only that, Adam is pissed because Dylan keeps wanting to do a father-son 5k with him. Sooooo, you have a son that is desperate to spend time with you, is athletic, but also enjoys video games . . . and you don’t like him because of that? What the fuck? HOW COURAGEOUS?

We also meet David (Ben Davies) whose main characteristic is that he’s stupid, and Shane (Kevin Downes) who’s just kind of a dude (for now). But then we meet one of my favorites . . . Javier (Robert Amaya). Javier has such a comically bad Mexican accent that I looked up Amaya just to confirm that he’s actually Hispanic. Javier also has such a comically pathetic life when we first see him that it’s sort of hard to get behind him. He’s a construction worker who unexpectedly comes home early after getting laid off. His wife, who is of course named Carmen, freaks out and asks Javier why he didn’t have his boss call her. What? She also reminds him that Marcos, their son, needs shoes and all they have for food is beans and rice. Javier hands Carmen $300 (which maybe it’s because I’m not raising a family but that seemed like a lot? Or at least plenty for kids’ shoes and some food) and says he’s going to go look for work – but he refuses to take the car because he won’t let his family walk. He looks like shit (since he just came from that construction job), but decides he’ll just walk out of the house and wander around looking for a job? Because of their food problem, when Javier asks Carmen for a lunch he could take with him, she hands him A TORTILLA. A SINGLE TORTILLA. One of my favorite moments in the whole movie.

There’s a crazy scene that I think is supposed to prove that these guys are not just good cops, but cool cops, except it fails so spectactularly at that that it seems like a weird parody of itself. All of our main cop friends are going after some drug dealers, so they go to a house where they suspect the drug dealers will be. Shane and Adam go inside while David and Nathan keep watch outside . . . except for the fact that David stands with his back to the door of the house the entire time – and then appears shocked when he’s inevitably tackled by one of the drug dealers running out of the house . . . which he didn’t see coming . . . because he had his back to the door. Shane and Adam don’t look in the rooms of the house; instead they go straight to the attic, assuming the drug dealers are hiding there. Wouldn’t you maybe check open rooms, and then check the one room that’s closed off, just to be safe? Because maybe the drug dealers aren’t in the attic like you are for some reason assuming and are going to be able to run out of the house without you reaching them and without your co-worker stoppping them because HIS BACK IS TO THE FUCKING DOOR?? So then the cops have to chase the drug dealers, both on foot and by car, even though David literally does nothing except drive around because he only knows street names – something new guy Nathan apparently knows really well somehow. Then there’s an amazing part in which Adam is driving with Nathan in the passenger seat, and one of them says “Slingshot?” as if that is a totally universal cop thing, considering Nathan is new, they both agree, and Adam does some crazy car thing that involves turning the car really fast so Nathan can roll out of the moving car or something. It’s crazy and it’s hilarious how unnecessary it is.

Eventually, God sends Javier work . . . HAHA oh wait, that’s not what happened. Javier is walking down a residential street, looking for work, because that’s where you go to find construction work. Turns out he’s on Adam’s street, and when Adam sees Javier, he calls his name. Confused, Javier walks over. To make a way too long story short, Adam hired some guy he never met named Javier to help him build something, the real Javier never showed and lo and behold there was our Javier walking down the street, so Adam hires him. He also eventually recommends Javier for a sweet full-time job, thus essentially solving all of Javier’s problems. Thanks, God! I mean miscommunication/Adam!

Geez, I’ve already talked to long about this movie. Other crazy shit happens: Emily is killed by a drunk driver, causing Adam to start liking Dylan again. Nathan gives his teenage daughter a purity ring after she’s asked out by an older boy – who later joined a gang – which she is supposed to wear until it’s replaced by a wedding ring. So I guess it’s not weird that her dad wants her to wear a ring he gave her on her wedding ring finger, which she will presumably wear while trying to date and have sex, until she actually gets married. What if she doesn’t want to get married? Or what if she’s gay and still lives in who-the-fuck-cares Georgia? Oh well! Emily’s death and the realization that he has another child causes Adam to write up a resolution about being a good father that he got out of the bible somehow, and all of the men have a weird ceremony during church for it. Javier is put in a tight situation where his boss basically wants him to steal so he can get promoted, but against his wife’s wishes he goes with his heart and tells his boss he can’t do that . . . only to discover it was a test! And he was the only one that passed! So he got promoted! Does this shit actually happen in real life? What the fuck. Adam discovers Mitchell is stealing drugs and selling them on the street for profit. He goes to jail, and the other guys act like the resolution they signed was a huge fucking success – even though 1/5 of the men are now in prison for stealing drugs and will not be able to raise their child. COOOOOOL!!!!!

This movie is a fucking piece of shit, jesus christ. Literally.

Christopher

The best thing about this movie is how it’s specifically made to make men proud to be God-serving fathers. It’s full of crazy action, death, and a gang member seeking revenge. Unfortunately, nothing about these characters really make you want to change anything about your life. Other than to be nothing like them.

One father hates his kids, another doesn’t think twice about leaving his child alone in a running car and one of them might be evil? We first heard about this movie from a trailer in front of Heaven is for Real and I have to say it was very worth watching. If you enjoy watching crazy Christian films this should be at the top of your list. The best thing about these movies is that there is so much to make fun of that doesn’t even include religion. I think it’s a film for everyone.

 

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