I went to a special screening in Dallas tonight for MGP. There is another one on Wednesday and one on Thursday too - if anyone local wants to see it. I decided to go to this one because there was a Q & A with Sam Childers afterwards.
BTW - Gerry, Michelle and Sam were in Dallas promoting MGP today. They were on some morning shows. Michelle and Sam actually introduced the movie tonight. Gerry was traveling (probably to London for the London Film Festival and Coriolanus).
A few comments - Michelle is TINY. I mean TINY. Now I really wonder about Gerry after seeing him in pics with Michelle and Sam because Sam's not that big either.
The Q & A with Sam was really good. He is very likable. I went up to him afterwards and spoke to him and was surprised that I was about the same height as Sam. I looked him straight in the eyes. I had on heels and am fairly tall, but I would guess that Sam is about 5 ft 10 and really not that big. Again, it makes me think Gerry is really small now.
As for the movie, it was good. I suggest that you go into the movie with no expectations. I think all the Oscar talk and all the talk about how the movie is a tear jearker may have affected my enjoyment. I liked the movie, but I wasn't blown away. Gerry does a good job and for people who have only seen Gerry as Leonidas and as rom-com guy, they will be surprised. This role allows him to show compassion and the full range of emotions (which I think he can do very well). It is similar to some of his early stuff like "The Jury" etc. But I think I was expecting more because of all the buzz and talk.
As for his accent, it was.....as I expected from the trailers. Not only could I hear his accent intermittently, his accent seemed to change between a couple of scenes. One scene sounded almost like faux Texan. It was wierd. But again, keep in mind that I have a trained ear (I speak other languages and have formally studied phonetics) so I am a stickler about accents. It's my thing and my pet peeve. I'm sure that some people will be surprised by his accent and think he did a good job. He did....compared to Bounty Hunter (shiver).
The story itself was good, but I think I was expecting to be moved to tears, to be a mess. I wasn't. Many comments from people who have seen it indicated that they were sobbing throughout the movie. I didn't. However, I have read Sam's book so none of the atrocities were surprising or shocking to me. If I hadn't read the book, I am sure that I would have been more moved from watching the movie. To be honest, I was more moved by the ending credits which included a snippet of Sam speaking and real pictures combined with the Q & A session than I was at the movie itself.
Sam got a standing ovation from the Dallas crowd when he came back into the theater after the movie ended. And people shouted out in agreement etc when he was talking. It reminded me of a church sermon because I heard a few "Amen!" and "So true!" from behind me! I bet Sam got a kick out of the Dallas crowd. I wonder if other screenings in other cities had different responses. We are part of the bible belt here and many questions from the crowd had to do with the religious aspect of the movie and his life. One gentleman asked a question and after Sam answered the gentleman stated that Sam was an inspiration during his recovery (he apparently was in the middle of recovering from an addiction of some kind). You could here his voice catch. Other people in the audience seemed to respond and encourage that man as well as Sam. So it was clear that this movie affected the Dallas audience. It was a diverse crowd - all ages etc. The large audience seemed surprisingly intimate during the Q&A and no one shied away from the relgious aspect of the topic etc. Again - very good reaction from the audience.
So, my advice to everone --- go in with no expectations. Don't let all the buzz around this movie affect your expectations. It is a good movie. I enjoyed it. I recommend it. However, I wasn't blown away - which kind of disappointed me. I really wanted to be blown away. But I enjoyed it and enjoyed meeting Sam. I recommend the movie and I'll definitely see it again when it comes out on DVD to see if I enjoy it even more.
I hope Gerry continues to do better movies like this one.
I'd love to hear what other people think when they see it.