DVD Blog-entary: To Save A Life – Virgin Viewing

I’ve been intrigued by this film for some time now, ever since seeing the trailer for it online.  I walk into it with a dual hesitation:  1) will it appropriately handle the topic of teen suicide?; and 2) how Christian will this Christian film be?

Despite being a staunch Pagan, I do not mind Christianity per se.  I do mind feeling preached to, being told I am evil for differing beliefs or being beaten about the head with a proverbial Bible.  I have devout friends that I love dearly.  I enjoy the music of Jars Of Clay, a Christian band.  Can To Save A Life straddle that fine line and remain appealing to all audiences?  Can it treat teen mental health and problems realistically and accurately?  Preliminary reviews suggest it does, but let’s find out, shall we?

Obviously, expect major spoilers…  scroll to the end if you just want my final opinion.

To Save A Life:  Live Blog-entary

  • Is it bad that from the moment I heard the original title, How To Save A Life, all I can do is sing The Fray song of that same name whenever I think of this film?  Speaking of, they definitively have a Christian slant to their music and I LOVE THEM.  Be like The Fray, movie.  Be like The Fray.  *clicks play*
  • Outreach Films… Accelerated Entertainment.  Well, 2 hours isn’t accelerated, but it’s definitely outreach.
  • We begin with a funeral inter-cut with a Goonies-esque moment on bikes and talk of treasure hunts.
  • Damn, little boy!  Diving in front of a car?  That’s some serious bromance.
  • The guilt is screamingly apparent:  Jake’s BFF Roger spends his life with a hindering limp after saving his life, and winds up dead at 17… I’m wagering by his own hand.
  • “Basketball jones!  I gotta basketball jones!”
  • You know it’s a Christian film when the lead girl is introduced in sixties style pigtails.
  • Ugh, jerk.  You diss your friend for a not-that-pretty snob?  Lame.  How do you diss a sweet kid who saved your life like that?  Main guy Jake is a d-bag, indeed.
  • And they never talked again until Roger was dead…
  • Did he just make a “did yo’ Momma” joke?  Bwahahahaha.  Between this and the rap music to set the “cool kid scene”, it’s trying a little hard.
  • Typical woman:  “I want kids, so you want them” – at age 17.  Oh my lord.
  • OMFG they’re both going to Louisville!  Yay, dumping your friend for brainer girlfriend who soothes your “dad lives through me” speech a la Andrew of The Breakfast Club.
  • Oh my God kid, you’re a high school senior.  Stop fake sportscasting while shooting hoops alone at night.
  • Shooting up the ceiling of the school, eh?  Well, that will get you attention.  Hey Jake, guess who played a huge role in this downward spiral?  Yep, you.
  • Did he seriously just call a full court press more intense than a suicide? *facepalm*  And Jake fist-bumped that shit?  *headdesk*
  • Pastor just happens to come to the basketball game and “introduce himself” to Jake.  Yep, Christian movie.
  • CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!  Kegger!!!!!111111
  • The music sounds like it was composed by the “Friday” people.  Sung well, though.  Guess they blew their soundtrack budget on the studio players.
  • Of course, randomly the school loser du jour arrives in a wizard hood thing at the cool kids party to be mocked in front of Jake, thereby initiating the plot…
  • Oooh teen sex!
  • Bwahahahaha, DrunkJake is hilarious.  Jumping off a roof and shit.  At least his girl jacked his truck to keep him from a DUI.
  • ARRGH!!!!  “The Dawson’s”.  The Dawson’s what?  And why does only a single Dawson merit a sign?  My inner grammar nazi is sobbing.
  • Well, at least you know you suck, right Jake?
  • Wow, Dad, way to shit on his parade.
  • “Can he pay yo’ bills?”
  • Jake’s so angry at his failtastic parents, his non-religious ass just went to church.  Wow.
  • Rainbow-phobic…. Oh, lovely.  Irritated.
  • Oh wow, it’s a Christian concert for teens!  Rock out, teen band!  Everybody clap and sing!  You can order the album by phone from Time Life records.
  • “Waaaah!  You want me to apologize for stealing your truck?  You were supposed to buy me roses and wine after deflowering me.  And now you’re thumping Bibles and my daddy left me for a cult.”
  • Wow, this bitch is insensitive.  “Oh so your former bestie killed himself?  Whatever!”
  • LOLZ half the Bible group kids are stoners and Jake’s listening to Hooked On Jesus tapes.  Bwahahaha.
  • And here come the cool kid friends to shame him for talking to the lesser minions of their school.
  • This pastor talks about Christianity like smoking up for the first time…. Ahh, gateway religion!
  • And here she comes to reclaim her trophy boyfriend and dreamy future baller meal ticket.
  • They have an actual belt for the beer pong champion of their clique.  OMFG.  These kids are so cute.  They’re like kids without parental supervision for the first time.
  • MySpace.  REALLY?
  • This Coke chugging sock game is brilliant.  This pastor is pulling some serious prankery.
  • Amy my dear, no one is judging you.  Unless you previously humped the entire church youth group.
  • “There are people out there killing themselves and you’re chugging soda through a sock.”  EPIC QUOTE.
  • Aww, Jake started a lunch group at school for the church kids.  You go, Jake.
  • Amy moved on to his teammate way too fucking fast.  Hoor.
  • “Get your bling – buy a class ring!”
  • *snort* They baptized him in the ocean.  These are moments where I feel this film drifting from a plot into an infomercial for Buddy Christ
  • A-dork-able: he asks about how often girls shave their legs.
  • Jake’s dad is a wanker.  I loathe him every minute he’s on screen.
  • Oh pardon me, it’s OUR-Space.
  • Aww, Jonny is a-dork-able in every way.  He’s my favourite.
  • Dude! Pro-life vs pro-choice action up in here.  Have to agree though:  it’s her body.  Not yours.
  • This is so not this boy’s day.  Finds out he knocked up the girlfriend, walks in the door and watches his mom bail on his cheating POS father.  After several minutes of fluffy fun in quads and ice cream, it’s like boom!
  • “God is not some little genie or vending machine.”  *snort*
  • Christian prayer moment with meaningful music crescendo…
  • OMG, nosy kid, just because you have a pathetic haircut doesn’t mean you can eavesdrop and manipulate people.  Just go get some scissors.
  • Wow… How did no teacher notice the walls covered in Burn Book drawings?
  • Well look at that, bitchy Amy.  Your only friends are the church kids.  Learned a lesson?
  • WTF is wrong with wanker hair son of the main priest?  Calling a bomb threat with a kid’s cell phone to make his life hell?
  • Okay, wouldn’t it have been simpler to start yelling that asshole has his cell phone and therefore, the kid’s been falsely accused?  Also, what cops don’t search a kid under arrest for a bomb threat and find his pill bottles of suicidality?
  • Hooray!  Open abortions:  Jesus’ pleasing compromise solution to teen pregnancy.
  •  Wait, Jake deferred a semester (as I would have said), but Amy didn’t?  Um… WTF?  She was offered early entrance for her awesome grades and they couldn’t defer her?
  • Close on a magical highway shot…. and a life saved…
  • There are more soundtrack songs featured in the credits than throughout the entire two-hour film.


Final Verdict:  It’s a little too heavy on the Christianity to be fully accessible, which is a shame, since the topics of teen suicide, self-harm and pregnancy are handled realistically.  The message is powerful and needed, and while in the end, it’s not God preventing the suicide, but human decency and compassion, the fact remains that the middle half of the film is beating you over the head with being Christian.  A shame.  Worth a watch, but not a movie I’d ever watch again or purchase.  Hooray, Netflix!

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