Three Things That Make Terrible Christian Movies Great

Heard of Slamma Jamma? I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s pretty awful. Or, depending on how you look at it, awful pretty.

It’s the story of Michael Diggs, a college basketball star who spent six years in the slammer for armed robbery and/or being an accessory to murder (we hear both), but who now believes in God and wants to find redemption through a series of slam dunk competitions.

The basketball gymnastics we see here range from the credible to the incredible. But the rest of the movie shoots a brick. The film is filled with delightfully terrible touches: Michael’s strangely inconsistent backstory. His two-dimensional villains. The overwrought dialogue. The cameramen who appear so often in shots that they really should be credited as extras.  The cheap wig that star Chris Staples wears for flashback scenes. The way the local gang in Michael’s neighborhood renews acquaintances with the former basketball standout: “Just letting you know, we don’t do drugs anymore,” one says. “We’re running guns now!”

When former Cowboys wide receiver Michael Ervin proves to be the most convincing actor in your film, you know you’re not looking for an Oscars sweep come next February. If Mystery Science Theater 3000 ever screened Christian movies on the ol’ Satellite of Love, this might be a candidate.

And you know what? I’m cool with that. In fact, I kinda like it.

Now, a lot of folks would take issue with me. Bad Christian movies, they’d say, are bad for Christians and bad for Christianity, and I get where they’re coming from. And on some level, I agree—especially when it comes to those shrill, strident Christian flicks that reinforce some pretty negative stereotypes of who we are and what we value.

But here’s the thing. Sometimes, bad movies can be a sign of some pretty good things.

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