Director: Dylan Baker
Writers: Bram and Toni Hoover
Cast: Mark Hapka, Bram Hoover, Stephen Lang, Max Adler, Dylan Baker, Alexa PenaVega
Studio: Ocean Avenue Entertainment
“23 Blast” is the story of Travis Foreman. Travis was a Kentucky student athlete who went blind, seemingly ending his High School football dreams. What’s weird is that the real kid was just entering High School when his optic nerves were damaged. But, let’s get back to the film. Travis works with his doctors, coach and local clergy to find his new place in the world. There’s a kid on the team that believes having a blind player might cost him a football scholarship. But, the team uses his greed against him to help out Travis. The aforementioned Travis Foreman would later become a pastor and have a cameo in the film. Does it sound good all around?
My first exposure to the film was a random selfie taken by a friend visiting the Kentucky Film Commission. Well, so much as you can say that this state has one. Knowing my love of character actors, I quickly identified Dylan Baker and wondered what he was doing shooting a movie in the state. Cut to about a year and some change later and we’ve got a movie that I’m surprised I love so much. Faith based movies aren’t normally my cup of tea, but I’m starting to investigate them as a legitimate subgenre of film. While it’s easy to bash them for the push to include Jesus and his teachings at the cost of narrative quality, there’s something wonderfully hokey about these new B-movies.
Football movies are a dime a dozen, but when they’re done right…it’s magic. Everything in the movie works for one person and that’s to make you believe that Jesus became Travis Foreman’s eyes and willed his ass up and down the football field. If you can’t appreciate a film that takes that so earnestly, then we’re appreciating two wildly different kinds of film. There will be the faith-based crowds that take this film at superficial level, like they’ve done in any number of related entries. But, there’s something wonderful about the emergence of Cult Christian Cinema. Check out “23 Blast” and enjoy it for yourself.
RELEASE DATE: 10/24/2014