The Greatest Showman


It’s time to look at a fairly recent film that did quite well for itself. I’m sure many people have heard of the famous Barnum circus for which this film is based off of. When I was a kid I went to a few circus shows, but it didn’t really follow me as I entered my teen years. I sort of just grew out of the circus. It’s certainly impressive with how they are able to perform the acts many times over without an incident but it just isn’t as exciting as a nice arcade or in this case, watching a movie about a circus. The Greatest Showman is a fun film even if the main character adds some unnecessary drama.

So the film starts off with Barnum having a dream where he is the greatest showman on Earth. Everyone loves his shows. Then he wakes up in reality where he is a commoner who works for the rich. Everyone disrespects him and his father dies from all of the pressure. Barnum decides that he will be a great man someday. He gets a nice 9-5 job and ends up marrying his childhood friend Charity. They are low on money, but still have a good life. One day Barnum loses his job so he decides to gamble on the circus. Now he can make his dream a reality. His circus is a very different one as he decides to only hire people with a unique act. A lady with a beard, a guy with tattoos, a guy who is short, the Wolf Man, etc. He gets them all together and the show is a big success. Still, it isn’t enough. Barnum wants to keep getting more and more famous no matter what it ends up costing him!

You can probably already guess how this can get a little dicey. Barnum had literally achieved his dream. The show was amazing and he was rich enough to quickly move into a castle. Then he decides to risk it all by letting the fame get to him. He ditches the people who got him this far to go on a tour with a rich celebrity. He even comes close to having an affair on the side. He manages to avoid making this mistake, but isn’t quick enough to prevent the singer from pulling him into a scandal. It adds some extra drama and suspense to the film, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Perhaps the film would have been a little too happy otherwise I guess, but they could have just kept the whole circus in flames scene and that would have delivered the necessary tension.

So, I can’t say that I liked Barnum. When you achieve your dreams and still aren’t satisfied, then it’s tough to sympathize with a character like that. He learns the error of his ways by the end, but it was awful late for that. They probably should have just restarted without him. A shame since he was a quality character for the first half of the film. His wife Charity was certainly more enjoyable than him. She kept it real throughout the film and never let herself get corrupted. She defied her extravagant lifestyle and risked it all to live the life of a pauper. I can’t picture Barnum making the same decision.

Philip was the other co-star here. He decides to also put aside his rich life to have fun at the circus. He is a fun character but his romance started a little too quickly. He falls for one of the performers almost instantly and even then he can’t stay strong after hearing the super singer Jenny who apparently ensnares everyone while in the act. Philip is a charismatic character, but he needs to have more willpower than that. I can see why Anne was worried about starting anything with him after such a moment and I don’t blame her.

In general I can’t say that the romance here was all that good. Perhaps sticking to just one romance plot instead of having 2 would have helped. The main character one I can understand and it did take years so it’s not like they married out of the blue. Philip’s romance on the other hand just feels tacked on. What happened to keeping up the friend zone while at work? They don’t have time to be getting distracted like this.

As this is a musical there are quite a few songs in here. For the most part they are pretty solid. I think the cicus troup probably can’t sing quite as well as the main characters but they do well enough. The best song in the film is certainly the one in the bar between Barnum and Philip. The bartender there was low key the best character in the film. I like how he always had the drinks ready and would slide up and down the aisle as he followed the dance. He knew that he was going to make a lot of money out of these 2 guys and he was absolutely right. When there is a buck to be made you can’t afford to hesitate. That’s what it means to be a true performer. They should have hired the performer to get an act. I do have to say that if I were Philip I would have certainly turned down the offer though. Losing everything just to get to be in a circus? I dunno, doesn’t really seem like a tempting offer to me.

Overall, The Greatest Showman is definitely a pretty fun film. There is a short period in the film where it starts to get rather somber and dramatic, but for the most part it’s pretty lighthearted. The first half of the film probably does beat the second half, but it’s still a good all around film. It never drags on and the cast is likable for the most part. They all simply lack willpower and the conviction to see their dreams through to the end. Better luck next time in that regard I guess. I’d recommend checking out this film especially if you like musicals but also if you like a good time at the circus.

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The Case For Christ

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The Case For Christ is definitely a film where the premise strikes out at you immediately. In 2 of the previous Christian films that I’ve seen (God’s Not Dead 1 and 2) it was about the main character having to prove that God was real. This title flips that around by having the lead try to prove the opposite, that God is fiction. He seeks to do this by overturning the biggest event in Christian history, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Is this feasible or will Lee soon find out that debunking such an event is as futile as trying to suggest that the world is actually flat?

The film starts off with Lee and Leslie heading to a diner to enjoy a nice meal. Unfortunately the situation grows dire when their daughter begins to choke. As despair begins to set in and all hope is lost, a nurse steps in and is able to save their daughter in the nick of time. She is a Christian and Leslie begins to believe that maybe there is a God who is watching over everyone. She goes with the nurse to Church and gets saved. Lee is not happy with this as he is a devout Atheist and tells Leslie that there is no way they can stay together unless she renounces her faith. Leslie refuses and so Lee decides that he will put his reporting profession to use by finding evidence and making a complete case that God doesn’t exist.

Naturally such a journey is doomed for failure. It’s interesting to see the evidence behind the existence of Jesus Christ and how we have hundreds of accounts from individuals who saw him. The mountains of evidence left behind is quite impressive. To Lee’s credit, it does make sense to attack the resurrection if you were trying to debunk the religion since that miracle is really what proved beyond a shadow of a doubt God’s power. There are many other moments in the Bible of miracles as well and even if there wasn’t a mountain of evidence to defend the Resurrection that wouldn’t be enough to rock our faith.

At the end of the day it is impossible to 100% prove or disprove many things. You often have to take a leap of faith and it wouldn’t be worth much if you didn’t need it to proceed. I’m not saying that I would refuse additional proof if it was ever discovered, but I’m fine without it. Everything within the Bible is ultimately all that we need to know. The film fortunately has a happy ending for Lee’s character as he concedes defeat. He was not able to prove that God didn’t exist and furthermore, he only just ended up convincing himself of the opposite. It was a good way to close his character arc.

That being said, I wasn’t a fan of the character. He definitely did not take the situation in stride and came across as completely unreasonable. He’s been married to Leslie for several years at this point, enough to have a daughter who is old enough to talk and everything. Yet, he almost immediately wants to end the marriage because she has become a Christian. I can understand not wanting to accept this and to continue debating it, but not wanting to leave immediately. It’s not like the person suddenly became a Satanist or anything like that. He also doesn’t have any sympathy for criminals and even puts an innocent man in jail because he couldn’t be bothered to look at the facts of the case more closely. That same guy then gets stabbed and nearly fatally injured. Lee is sad about that, but the guy just created so many problems during the film.

Leslie was a good character. She wasn’t too forceful about turning Lee into a Christian right away which was good. It makes sense that she would understand the situation and try to be tactful about the whole thing. Naturally she wouldn’t give up on converting him and that’s good because as a Christian you understand the stakes better than anyone. If she can’t convert Lee in time, he’ll end up burning in Hell for eternity. Of course you don’t want someone you’re close with to experience such a fate. Since the stakes are that high, she has to try playing 4D Chess and trying to slowly get him to her side. At times maybe she wasn’t perfect with her approach, but at least she kept on trying.

I also liked the characters that Lee went to for advice. They all had an extremely confident air about them. Their smirks basically never left and while they weren’t downright condescending to Lee, they certainly seemed to think that he was asking extremely basic questions. Of course they likely weren’t in the best mood since he clearly was asking them questions to get them to take a shot at their religion so they were guarded. I just always like these kind of characters. You know that they’re not going to be on the defensive during the verbal exchange and have all of the answers.

Overall, The Case For Christ is a pretty fun film. The writing is solid and the pacing for The Case for Christ is on point as well. I haven’t seen any debates in a while, but I always like seeing debaters challenge the two sides. I’m certainly not impartial as I’m a Christian, but all the more reasons to better understand the points that the opposition makes so I can know how best to respond. If you liked God’s Not Dead then I believe you’ll like this film. The main character is definitely annoying, but the rest of the case is solid. His coworkers are all pretty fun characters and the Nurse who saved the kid at the beginning isn’t bad. Maybe a little ineffective the whole time, but saving the kid is really all she needs on her resume. I’ll definitely be interested to see which film this company churns out next.