Crazy, Stupid, Love – and just as an “fyi,” it is the complete opposite of Tackling the Past.
Jake Walker (Ryan McPartlin) left behind his small-town lifestyle for big city pleasures and the life of an NFL pro-athlete. In high school, he showed promise as a football star and that is the direction his dreams took him in. His father blames him for an injury his younger son sustained in a high school football game and ever since then, Jake has let more than literal distance separate him from his family. When his dad (Beau Bridges) unexpectedly falls ill, Jake’s brother Dean (Josh Braaten) calls him back home. Once there, memories assault him – times spent playing football on the high school field, Saturday night activities with his teenage friends… and the hometown girl he left behind. Sarah (Katie Carr) is happiest in this place she grew up in – she tried big-city life and it didn’t agree with her. After a broken heart, her own dreams fell apart and now she is a teacher. Seeing each other again was not what either of them expected.
With his contract optioned this season, and coming off an injured knee, Jake is, for the first time in his life being questioned at what he does best. Now with his parents counting on him, Jake must ask himself what he really wants out of his life. Should he go after what makes him feel a sense of satisfaction – happy… or go with common sense and return to a comfortable, easy life with a generous two-year offer?
This is now the eighth movie sponsored and produced by retail giant Wal-Mart and Proctor & Gamble. You all might be a little tired of my praise and admiration for these small-budget tele-films, but they are really quite good… and entertaining… and thought-provoking. This one deals with skeletons in the family closest and while the plot points can be seen a mile away, the story has something to say. Each movie has gotten a little big stronger in that regard although I have my favorites and aren’t as fond of some, I own about three of them and have a couple others I liked well-enough to purchase yet.
Tackling the Past is actually a really well-made production in the behind-the-scenes aspects; it comes across well on the television screen and plays to our own human nature – in short, it’s a “real” story. Filming is well-done and there are several adorable scenes including those between Jake and newcomer Maxwell Perry Cotton. The acting is fine (featuring a lead that actually looks like he could pass as a football player) and the script might not be inspired by Christianity or Biblical Truth, but it is profound nonetheless. This series of movies is actually one where the word “family” isn’t an oxymoron – it doesn’t abuse the title. Unlike certain other programming, this movie seems to understand the meaning of the word much better than the majority of secular programming. I did get overly weary of the constant blame that was laid at Jake’s doorstep. It was almost as if his entire family saw him as the only one who was in the wrong – something that is simply not true. Jake did play a role in the alienation between him and his family, but he wasn’t the only one at fault. Telling an eighteen-year-old that he is no longer a source of worthy pride and when this comes from your father, it is going to make an impact – maybe not one that should fester for over ten years, but still…
There is hardly anything that is second-rate about this movie. It’s just a gem. If you’d like to see it, the only way to do so might be through the DVD release which is now on store shelves and exclusive to Wal-Mart stores (although small Christian book stores are now carrying these titles). As far as I know they have only re-aired one or two of their previous titles and the films are not available through avenues like Netflix. If you enjoyed Facing the Giants, this is one not to miss out on.
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