God’s Club (2015) -Religious Movie Review – Free on Netflix

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By Melissa Antoinette Garza

 

The past few years have been pretty crazy. I began watching religious films, like GOD’S NOT DEAD (2014) for entertainment value alone.  I wasn’t really a religious person and bounced into and out of Christianity.  It’s only very recently that I felt a solid relationship with God.

Don’t get me wrong.  I still watch these films for entertainment.  They have some soap opera qualities.  The villains are wonderfully over-the-top and display exaggerations of actual arguments.   That said, there is a difference.  The earnestness of the filmmakers and actors strikes a chord, that they didn’t do previously.

GOD’S CLUB is a perfect example.  The film follows teacher Michael Evens (Stephen Baldwin), who copes with his wife’s death by trying to get the God’s Club approved as an after-school activity.  She had been attempting to get the club, but was met with quite a bit of resistance from the parents of other students.

The resistance doesn’t ease up as Michael and his high-school daughter Rebecca (Bridget Albaugh) start the class.  The two main opponents, Spencer (Lorenzo Lamas) and Littlefield (Rico Simonini) scheme to try and destroy the God’s Club.

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Meanwhile, Rebecca’s rivals vandalize her father’s classroom, car and even go as far to set fire to their home.  Michael’s faith is tested when he survives the fire.  It is only through Rebecca’s constant encouragement that he continues.

Michael isn’t the only one who depends on Rebecca’s faith.  Spencer’s son Victor (Nic Lukon) is seeing a psychiatrist for depression.  The Prozac prescribed is making him worse and when he goes off it cold-turkey he starts having suicidal tendencies.  Rebecca is reluctant to reach out to him at first because he doesn’t believe in God, but when she sees how much he needs her, she befriends him.

Spencer hates the union and threatens to send Vic back to an institution if he doesn’t take his meds like intended.  This side-story is very intriguing.  Thankfully, they make the psychiatrist a nice man and the film certainly isn’t anti-medication, but it’s really easy for some to pull parts of this movie and get that feel.  One of the glaring omissions of the movie, is Vic’s full recovery story.

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He finds faith and without question faith can do wonders, but as Spencer tells him the make-up of his brain is altered in a way that he needs meds.  This is never fully addressed.  Vic obviously needed a different anti-depressant, but the movie ends prior to that.

Otherwise, GOD’S CLUB is a great film with an amazing cast and great characters.  Rico Simonini was perfect as a villain.  He said his dialogue with so much vitriolic anger and disgust that he stole every scene he was in.

Lorenzo Lamas is just great and he did a phenomenal job as well.  Spencer is a complicated character because he isn’t evil.  He loves his son, believes GOD’S CLUB is a brainwashing tool and is trying to do the right thing.  Littlefield is more-so a rebel-rouser, who outright hates everything Michael stands for.  He’s a lot like Ray Wise’s character from GOD’S NOT DEAD 2 (2016).

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Corbin Bernsen also has a pivotal role as Stephen’s ally, Max. Max rallies to Stephen’s defense when Littlefield provokes a physical altercation.  Bernsen is an asset to any film and this was no exception.  Max was a laid back, sensible guy who is there for Stephen in his darkest moments.  It’s a great comradeship the two have.  Baldwin and Bernsen play off one another fantastically.

The younger cast portrayed their characters in a believable and interesting way.  Whether verbal and physical fights between the teenage girls or Vic’s decent into major depression, the film remained captivating.  A major part of that reason is the dedicated cast who all brought their A game.

Speaking of A game, Stephen Baldwin was perfect in the lead role.  He has come so far from BIO-DOME (1996).  I’m not insulting that film.  Back in 1996, I enjoyed it.  I still like the scene where they reenact the SAFETY DANCE video.  God Bless Men Without hats!

Still, one can see how far Baldwin came in 20 years.  I would assume a big part of it is that he is the real deal. I know he’s been a Christian for a long time and his love for Christ is shown in every element of his performance.  He put his heart and soul into this production and the outcome makes for a great watch.

If you have NETFLIX, definitely put this on.  It’s an uplifting fun film with comedic moments and a heartfelt message.

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Scared Stiff Rating: 8.5/10