Went into this out of curiosity and not expecting much and it was a very well made movie. I see it in kind of the same category as Forrest Gump or Dazed and Confused. Kelsey Grammer from Frasier plays Pastor Chuck Smith, who sees protest footage of hippies and thinks he needs to minister to hippies. He spoke in jest about it to his wife while watching TV. His daughter picks up a street preacher named Lonnie Frisbee.
There is an incredible scene with an actor who plays Timothy Leary and delivers the “Turn on, tune in, drop out” speech. The Timothy Leary character is presented like a Shaman or a Wizard or Merlin, who speaks about the divine and getting in touch with the cosmos, the soul and with God and then, he lifted his hands to the sky and a plane flies over the crowd at a Janis Joplin concert and drops blotter acid papers over the fans. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turn_on%2C_tune_in%2C_drop_out
In 1969, a staid yet respected Southern California pastor, Chuck Smith, finds that his church is slowly dying with an inability to connect with the younger, live-free generation of hippies. One day, his daughter gives a ride to a colorful hippie hitchhiker named Lonnie Frisbee, who says he is traveling around and telling people about the Ministry of Jesus. Smith, at first suspicious of Frisbee, eventually warms to him and welcomes other hippies to his house. They join forces and start a successful movement to evangelize hippies and others.
Meanwhile, high-school student Greg Laurie runs away from his junior ROTC class and joins a girl named Cathe who “turns him on” to a rock concert featuring Timothy Leary preaching the value of drugs for self-discovery. However, Greg sees that various hippies are dangerously irresponsible; Cathe’s sister gets sick from a drug overdose. Greg and Cathe find solace at Smith and Lonnie’s ministry, though Cathe’s uptight parents are not enthusiastic about Greg.
The ministry explodes in popularity, being seen as a “Jesus Revolution” or “Jesus freaks”, and even sparking a Time magazine cover in 1971. However, Lonnie becomes egotistical and eventually splits with Smith, though they reconcile later on. Greg offers to take over a ministry branch in Riverside, and eventually marries Cathe and becomes a famous pastor himself. Smith and Frisbee are remembered as founders of the widespread Calvary Chapel movement, and more generally as leaders in the Jesus movement.
This movie did a very good job at capturing the era and at showing how young people could be caught in the crossfire if media lies, the psychedelic marketing psyop color revolution and religion. I liked how they youth explored their minds and souls and were told to keep digging and some of them arrived at a church conclusion. I found it interesting and I am saying this as kind of an unchurched person.
This movie would probably appeal more to a hippie type person than a religious person. Also, being relatively low budget, I think filmmakers would appreciate some of the scenes like the Baptism scene and the scene where Greg is overdosing in traffic and ends up talking on the lawn with Lonnie Frisbee. There was also a lot of drama, but it was almost a Hallmark channel movie featuring a young couple that is seeking answers to truth and what is real and ends up finding love.
Faith films were not really on my radar prior to this. I saw one called The Grace Card that was just ok. Missed FireProof. Missed I Still Believe about Jeremy Camp. Saw For Greater Glory and that one was good, and the other one I saw that was pretty good was Infidel. This movie Jesus Revolution is one that I liked and it came with some salacious gossip and controversy because Lonnie Frisbee died of AIDS and there is rumor he was gay, but it’s mired in controversy because he wrote three books and never admitted to this. So, this film actually takes a lot of incoming fire from the right because there is speculation that they are trying to normalize gay pastors, but that was not in the film at all. Also, tennis player Arthur Ashe died of AIDS and he was supposedly not gay, so who knows what was going on during that time.
I enjoyed this movie very much. It was well made with some solid directing and some memorable scenes. It was not sappy and it was not cheesy, but it was a bit emotional enough to hit you right in the feels. It made me think of other Faith Films that could be made, like maybe one about Keith Green or Hal Lindsey or Asbury Revivals or Jack Chick. In a way, the movie kind of inspired me in that it was this movie that makes me now take the Faith Film genre seriously.
Kind of disappointed in John Campea and other reviewers that were too scared to watch and review this. It’s not a preachy movie. It’s more of a romance drama historical era piece. I recommend the film.
This is the 8th Video of my Anime Recommendation Series. The Anime Recommendation within this video is what I would recommend to James Bond Fans, Mission Impossible Fans, Jack Ryan Fans, Jack Reacher Fans, and Sherlock Holmes Fans.
If there’s anyone who’s a fan of James Bond, Mission Impossible, Jack Ryan, Jack Reacher, and Sherlock Holmes, check these Anime out and let me know what you think of them.
If there’s any anime that I’m missing, let me know.
It’s a flawed video