I normally don’t review movies on this blog very often but since Saturday’s Warrior is an LDS film I felt like it belonged here more. It was interesting because I saw Everybody Wants Some, the new film from Richard Linklater today along with Saturday’s Warrior. Both films are set in the late 70s and both are heavily nostalgic and both rely on music to tell their stories. It’s funny because on the surface they couldn’t be more different but seeing them back to back I saw some similarities. To read my review for Everybody Wants Some go here.
Anyway, let’s talk about Saturday’s Warrior. Based on the popular stage play written by Lex de Azevedo, Saturday’s Warrior is a musical focused on a Mormon family in the 1970s.
It starts in the premortal spirit life where the family is gathered to say goodbye as each of them leave to join their earthly family. The oldest Jimmy and Pam promise the youngest Emily that they will make sure their parents don’t get tired of having kids before they can have her, the 8th child.
Then Julie, the second daughter, sings to her love Tod that they will find each other on earth. The last group is Wally Kestler who is desperate to go on a mission and convert the world.
Once they get to earth things get more complicated with the appeal of that darn old rock and roll music (gets you every time!) and Jimmy gets dragged into a band that is up to no good. They even start singing a song literally called ‘Zero Population’ criticizing his big family and threatening the birth of little Emily.
Meanwhile Tod hasn’t been born with the gospel and is an artist and poor Elder Kestler doesn’t have much luck on his mission (until he meets Tod…spoiler alert).
The main appeal to this movie is the songs. If you have nostalgia for the songs than you will probably enjoy it. There is no attempt to lessen the camp at all and this is true for the songs. Aside from having popular Mormon singers like Alex Boye involved they feel like they are straight from the 1970s.
I guess you either go with that kind of vintage feel or you don’t. There’s also no attempt to update the production either. It might as well have been shot on the Brady Bunch set how low budget 1970s it looks. That has some appeal but wears thin after a while.
One thing that was weird is the camerawork seemed off the entire time. I am wondering if there was something wrong at my screening. It felt like everything was chopped off. You’d have characters talking and their foreheads would be chopped off of the shot. It was very weird but when I watch the trailer I don’t see that happening.
The acting feels low budget and it is a religious film where the Mormon way is the right way and the other is the way of the devil. Not a whole lot of in between. If you are looking for a subtle movie about faith this is not the film for you. It’s very cheesy but I knew that going into it. No surprises there!
Unfortunately the acting isn’t very good and it all feels like a Mormon episode of Saved by the Bell.
If you are a big fan of the music than you will probably enjoy it. I had fun with it on that level but I can’t really recommend it. It’s not a good movie but not the worse thing I’ve seen either so take that for what you will.
Overall Grade- D+ (2/5 stars)
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