4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (3 Votes)
ABOUT

Jake Reeson is an up and coming country singer who has the whole world in his hands.  That is until his ego gets in the way.

REVIEW

Like A Country Song is a movie about broken people. The fact is, almost every character in the film is broken in one way or another. At first I found this to be a little unbelievable. But then, after the movie ended, I got to thinking. And the more I pondered on brokenness, I had to conclude that we’re all broken to some degree.

Jake Reeson is an up and coming Country singer.  He has the voice and the talent, but he’s missing the real blood, sweat, and tears passion, in that he believes everything should be handed to him on a silver platter. And as Jake soon finds out, that’s not the way it works for most people; instead most have to work hard to achieve.

So when things don’t go his way, instead of pushing harder into his dream to reach his goals, Jake turns to the bottle and loose women. And soon he finds himself on a downward spiral to a place where no one can seemingly reach him.

Like A County Song is a great movie.  It looks good thanks to some good lighting, camerawork, and post production color correcting, making this a movie that would play well on both at the theater and on a TV screen.  As for the sound, for the most part it’s crystal, allowing for dialogue and great music to come through nice and clear.

The acting for the most part is top-notch. Joel Smallbone takes the lead as Jake Reeson.  I was surprised to discover that he had only been in one other feature before – last year he played Xerxes in the Pureflix movie The Book of Esther.  And Mr Smallbone plays Jake Reese very convincingly.  Many times in the movie he had to tear up, and every time he managed to get the tears running down his cheeks like rivers. It should also be noted that in real life Joel Smallbone is Australian. To that end, he does an excellent American accent – I only caught his native Australian accent a couple of times during the movie.

Jennifer Taylor (Burn Notice), Kerry Knuppe, and BooBoo Stewart (Twilight), play Jake’s mother, ex-girlfriend, and best friend respectively, and they all play their parts well. As with many lower budget movies, Like A Country Song, has a name to pull in the audience. And Country music superstar, Billy Ray Cyrus (Doc), is THE name for this movie. As he’s a busy man, I wasn’t expecting much screen time from him, just a name to draw in the audience. However, Billy Ray gets some serious screen time in Like A Country Song. And it was sure nice to see him in a Christian movie standing up for what he believes in.

Now for the content.  The story is not the deepest, and to be honest it’s quite predictable. But this more than helps the movie live up to it’s title; as my wife pointed out, “It’s as predictable as a good country song, but as enjoyable too.”  However, as much as it may be predictable, the screenplay itself goes quite deep to explore the themes of brokenness and healing. Writers Daniel Backman and Johnny Remo go to some length to show how the burdens of this life – namely unforgiveness and regret – can utterly destroy someone’s life.

The movie is quite edgy in places.  There are quite a few scenes in which people are seen drinking and discussing sex. There are also some allusions to one of the main characters “sleeping” around.  As for violence, there is some on-screen violence – in one scene a young man is severely beaten by three men. There’s also some grabbing, shoving, and punching in other scenes.

As for other negative content, suicide is openly talked about as are drug and alcohol abuse. There’s not much in the bad language department, just a few “tamer” bad words and a racial slur. Sexual content consists of a few after-the-fact scenes in which women are seen leaving Jake’s apartment; there is no nudity and no actual sex scenes.

Now for the positive. The major themes running throughout the movie are brokenness, regret, forgiveness, and redemption. And as the movie progresses it’s clear that the movie’s story was based in part on the Bible verse Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (NIV)  The writers do a great job reminding us that Jesus is The Way.

Like A Country Song has a lot of Christian and pro-faith content. Some of the main characters are Christian and the screenplay is dotted throughout with Christian phraseology. And again the main themes are brokenness and the healing that can come as a result of taking Jesus up on His promise found in Matthew 11:28. I totally loved the line, “We were never meant to carry these burdens.” Amen to that!

All in all, Like A Country Song is an enjoyable movie. It’s not not quite as good as Hardflip, an earlier movie by writers Daniel Backman and Johnny Remo; Remo also directed both movies. But it did manage to more than hold my interest throughout. It’s a movie that features deep drama, so don’t expect too much in the way of humor. But in the end it has a decent payoff for the viewer, which is always a good thing in my book!

FAMILY GUIDE & CREDITS

FAMILY GUIDE
CREDITS

MAIN THEMES: Brokenness, regret, healing, redemption, forgiveness, family, Matthew 11:28
FAITH/SPIRITUAL CONTENT: People pray, some characters are Christian, The Bible is read from, Christian phraseology used throughout, forgiveness is shown and healing the result.
VIOLENCE: Some violence throughout – punching, grabbing, pushing, and a scene where a young man is severely beaten. Talk of a young girl’s death.
SEX/NUDITY: No actual sex or nudity. Some talk about sex, and a couple of after-the-fact scenes; nothing seen only alluded to.
LANGUAGE: Get lost, butt, Godforsaken, “jerk” written on a cell phone text, and a racial slur.
DRINK/DRUGS: Quite a lot of scenes feature drinking of beer and harder liquor. Talk of alcohol and drugs abuse.

MOVIE TITLE: Like A Country Song
GENRE: Drama
RATING: PG-13
CAST: Billy Ray Cyrus, Joel Smallbone, Booboo Stewart, Jennifer Taylor, Kerry Knuppe, Madelyn Deutch, Larry Gatlin
WRITERS: Daniel Backman, Johnny Remo
DIRECTOR: Johnny Remo
STUDIO: Skipstone Pictures
RUNNING TIME: 102 mins
YEAR OF RELEASE: 2014

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