Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Last month's "Winter Jam" concert at Broadbent Arena was a sell-out, with 6,000 tickets sold! I guess Louisville was excited about The Newsboys and Toby Mac coming to town! I bet that we will see the tour come to town each year after a response like that.

Speaking of sold-out, tickets for the Third Day/David Crowder Band show, coming up on March 2 at the Louisville Palace, are gone. This marks Third Day's first appearance in Louisville since filming their Live Wire DVD here. It's marks the David Crowder Band's first show in Louisville since launching releasing A Collision CD last fall at Southeast Christian Church - with nearly 9,000 people in attendance! Look for a review of this month's show in April's LMN.

One of the coolest (the best word I can think of to describe them) bands in the world comes to Louisville this month. Superchick brings their "This is Your Anthem" tour to New Vision Ministry Center on the 22nd. Also featured on the tour are rapper KJ-52, Seventh Day Slumber and new group Eleventy Seven. I have yet to see Superchick perform live, though I've watched their music videos and it looks like it will be an energetic and fun show. I haven't seen any of the other bands either. I'd like to see KJ-52 to see if he can perform as well in front of an audience as he does in the studio. Superchick is currently getting airplay in Louisville with the hit "We Live," which has to be one of the catchiest songs of the year - and has a great message. The chorus is "We Live/We Love/We Forgive/And Never Give Up" and the song talks about living life to the fullest. Good lyrics with good music combine to make Superchick one of the best bands anywhere. Check out the CD, Beauty From Pain, and see if you agree! Tickets are available at the church, which is located at 6901 Outer Loop, and online at itickets.com.

Casting Crowns, Nichole Nordeman, Kentucky's Josh Bates and speaker Tony Nolan will appear April 8 at Broadbent Arena. This should be a huge show - I would get your tickets now if you want to attend. "Winter Jam" and Third Day were sell-outs and Casting Crowns is certainly as hot as those tours. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster outlets.

I just attended a screening of the new film The Second Chance. While I normally wouldn't include a movie review in this column, this film has very obvious ties to Christian music and Louisville is one of the few markets the film is actually showing.

I attended a screening of "The Passion of the Christ" where Mel Gibson mentioned that he didn't know what the "curse" was on Christian films - why are they usually so bad?

A prominent movie producer once told me Christian films struggle because of the sheer amount of effort it takes just to make a movie in the first place.

I understand it must take an incredible amount of work to pull off any film - much less a good one. But I wondered, where is the passionate Christian filmmaker, the visionary, who won't let a lack of budget and manpower stop him from achieving his dream?

His name is Steve Taylor.

Best known these days as a music producer, Taylor has helmed a film that not only looks good and features top-notch acting, but also has a thought-provoking message and will have moviegoers discussing it afterwards.

The Second Chance stars Michael W. Smith as Ethan Jenkins, an associate pastor at a wealthy, predominantly white, suburban church called The Rock. This is Smith's first leading role in a motion picture and he does a fine job. I talked with someone who said "I didn't think of it as Michael W. Smith doing a good job acting, I just thought of it as good acting." Well said. It may be hard for some to get past the fact that it's "Smitty," but he plays the role convincingly.

Newcomer jeff obafemi carr plays Pastor Jake Sanders, the leader of The Second Chance Community Church, an inner-city predominantly black congregation founded by Smith's father years ago. In his first film role, carr (who uses lowercase for his name) shines and shows major star potential.

After Jenkins allows the visiting Jake to shoot off his mouth in the pulpit at The Rock one Sunday morning, the elders tell Jenkins he has to spend time at Second Chance to see what's happening there. The Rock still pays the bills for The Second Chance.

This sets a fairly predictable, but thoroughly entertaining, story in motion as Jenkins begins to see how life in Pastor Jake's "hood" differs from suburbia. And Taylor doesn't shy away from many of the harsher realities, including unplanned pregnancy, gang violence, drug use, alcoholism, homelessness, etc. There are a handful of profanities in the movie as well, though most seem appropriate to the story.

One scene that takes place late in the film was surprisingly moving. It occurs when one of the members from The Second Chance shows the love of Jesus in a very literal way. I found myself (and heard many others) getting choked up.

Pastor Jake's message is that the Church must do more for the poor than simply "roll down the window and throw a check out." This is a message rarely told in church and rarely ever in Christian film.

Many of the movie's sub-plots involving the "hood" go unresolved, but maybe Taylor didn't want to wrap things up nicely. I know after the film, I found myself discussing those plots with others and, in turn, discussing larger issues as well. Good art can do that. The Second Chance does that. Go see it. And let's hope this isn't the last film we see from Taylor and the rest.

At press time, The Second Chance was playing at Cinemark Tinseltown USA, 4400 Town Center Drive and Showcase Cinemas Stonybrook 2745 South Hurstbourne Parkway. However, if the film has already left the theatres, I'd encourage you to check it out on DVD later this year.

The film is rated PG-13 for drug references. There is some profanity and very brief violence as well. It is not suitable for young children.