(originally published on January 22, 2018)
Not too long ago, I was watching Bobby Burns’s channel and I saw him collab with a very charismatic man named Kevin McCreary; subsequently, I was introduced to his YouTube Channel, Say Goodnight Kevin. (Formally known as Nostalgia Christian.) As a Christian myself, I was very impressed that Kevin’s channel is all about reviewing Christian films (as a Christian himself), and critiquing them from a fair standpoint.
I respect this very much. Although I am very devout in my faith, I love the fact that Kevin has been treating Christian films fairly and not giving them a round of applause just because he’s “supposed” to, being a Christian. That shows integrity. (Years ago my husband and I wrote freelance reviews for a Christian entertainment site. Although we have nothing but good memories during our time with them, I’ll admit that we had to give Christian films more credit than we would have liked. But I believe that we handled it the best we were able to.)
One of the things that made me admire for both his channel and him as a person was his review of the film I’m Not Ashamed, which was based on the real life Columbine victim Rachel Joy Scott. I gave Kevin my two cents and shared with him certain things I disagreed with, having read Rachel’s Tears back when it was very released. I also made it clear that I wasn’t trying to be critical of him, but just wanted to give my thoughts. Kevin couldn’t have been nicer! I was very moved as to how classy he responded and the experience encouraged me to keep commenting on his videos. That says a lot about Kevin and what a good person he is.
So, without further delay, here is my interview with Kevin McCreary:
1. As a Christian myself, I adore what you’re doing with your Channel! What made you decide to start? Was there a particular Christian film that gave you this idea?
I actually started my channel about a year before I even did a movie review. At that time I guess you would call them Vlog videos. I would stand in front of a solid white backdrop and do some kind of dumb list, like “5 Reasons Dating Sites Don’t Work” or “5 Ways to Impress a Guy.” I first did a movie review as a joke. I had been watching a bunch of Nostalgia Critic and MST3K. Nostalgia Critic has a few other friends who copy him, “Rap Critic” and “Nostalgia Chick” and thought of the idea of a Christian parody called “Nostalgia Christian” and the tagline could be “Jesus Died so you don’t have to.” I made the joke to a few friends, not entirely as an idea, but more as an irreverent joke. But my friend Bobby Burns told me I should actually make the video. So I went for it, and reviewed the original Left Behind. I was expecting a lot of my viewers to not like it, because it was pretty different from what I had made before, but everyone kept asking when the next one was. After about 3, I realized I really enjoyed making them. That’s when I decided to change the name and some of the formate and stuff. I didn’t want to be a complete rip off of another channel. I think I’ve made the channel my own since then.
2. You’re friends with Bobby Burns, which is how I found you. Are there any other YouTubers you would like to collab with?
Well, collabs are always a think I feel like I SHOULD be doing, and don’t do enough. I would love to work with Nostalgia Critic one day, since he was such a big inspiration for me. Obviously, I’d probably work with any bigger channel that asked, for selfish reasons. There are a few channels that are smaller that I’d love to work with too. One guy I really like is called houstonproductions1. I’ve worked a little bit with him, but I’d like to do a more prominent crossover. There are a bunch of people I watch, like movie channels like Mr. Sunday Movies, Jenny Nicholson, The ATZ show, JonTron, Game Theorist, How it Should Have Ended, Screen Junkies. It’s funny, because I don’t really watch a lot of people who have “Christian Audiences”. I watch some other more politic shows like Armored Skeptic, H3H3, Sargon of Akkad, Bearing, PewDiePie. I’d work with any of those people in a heartbeat. I think my channel is very similar to those channels, as we cover a lot of the same topics. But I sometimes wonder if my channel is too niche in the christian sphere to make a collab work. It would probably be a weird ask.
3. What are some things you think Christian films can do to be taken more seriously?
A big mistake people make about my channel is to think I’m attempting to change what directors do. I’m really not. My goal is to educate audiences and to encourage them to think deeper about the films they are watching. The only reason bad Christian movies keep getting made is because people keep buying tickets. Once audiences realize they don’t NEED to watch a movie just because it’s Christian and panders to them, the people making the movies will either change what they do, or be replaced with others. There are real christians in the movie industry making good films. Scott Derrickson and Glen Keane are two of my favorite examples. People who are so good at what they do, that they can talk very openly about their faith all they want, because at the end of the day, they get their job done better than anyone else. If you want to have better movies with better Christian messages in them, then make good movies.
So, how can they be taken seriously? In my opinion, I think they need to just stop being “Christian films”. Just make films. To me, “Christian film” is a marketing ploy, to lock in some ticket sales for a movie that would have otherwise never made it’s money back.
4. Since you critique Christian Films so well, are there any critics you respect?
Well, all the people I mentioned already. I’ve watched Jeremy Jahns for a very long time too. In terms of film analysis, The one I respect the most is probably Lessons from the Screenplay blows my mind every time I watch him. That guy makes me want to quit reviewing movies all together, because I feel like a hack. I’ve learned so much from him. Along with Wise Cracked and Frame by Frame.
One of the funniest people I’ve seen is a guy names Man-E Kerr. He should have more subscribers, because he makes me laugh every time!
5. I know you have a lot of fans (such as myself), but how has the response from the Christian community been overall?
I’ve been really blessed by a very nice audience. Most people who watch my videos on a regular bases are super nice. Part of that is because they know where I’m coming from. They’ve watched more than one of my videos and know I’m not out to destroy Christianity or anything. I think Christians who just stumble upon one of my videos are typically the meanest. You can look at the comments of my Let There Be Light trailer reaction to see how horrific Christian audiences can be.
That said, I’ve also gotten the chance to meet a lot of the people involved in the Christian movie industry thanks to this show and typically the reaction is always the same. “I’m so glad someone is out there saying this stuff.” I think a lot of these film makers WANT to make better movies, but they also want to feed their families. There is a “no man’s land” for Christian movies. Films like Thr3e, Blue Like Jazz, Believe Me, Greater, Woodlawn, they aren’t embraced as good movies, but they aren’t blatent enough to be embraced by Christians either. A great example is The Case for Christ verses God’s not Dead. I would argue that the former is by far an all around better movie. From acting, to story, production, everything is better. Yet, God’s not Dead made $64.7 million and The Case for Christ made $17.6 million. This is why GND gets 3 or more sequels, a spin off TV show, books, merch, ect. And Case for Christ ends up in the bargain bin and is considered a flop by its distributor.
6. Are there any “So Bad They’re Good” Christian films that you would recommend for people to watch just for a good laugh?
I would say the movie David and Goliath, on netflix is pretty crazy, knowing that it had a reported budget of $50 million. That will really mess with your mind, trying to figure out where that money went. There is a movie on Youtube called Miracle Man that is pretty fun at parties. There are just so many. Pureflix.com has a bunch of really funny ones. I saw one the other day called Seeker & Fetch that had me laughing pretty good.
7. I think it’s wonderful you got to visit God’s Not Dead: A Light in Darkness. I listened to the podcast where you talked about your visit to the set. Are there any future plans to visit other Christian Film sets on behalf of Christian Cinema?
It’s been a lot of fun working with Christian Cinema. Mainly because I get to find out about all the latest news, which helps me keep ahead on videos. I’ve also found a ton of my Bargain Bin episodes lately off their website. The Christian movie industry is really funny. I don’t hate the people in it, and I am genuinely not trying to make fun of people. I think there is a LOT of room for the Christian movie industry to laugh at itself and lighten up a bit. Not that the people in the industry don’t laugh, but they are so used to polishing up so much for the camera. I think the audiences would like to see more tongue in cheek humor. And I think I might be the one who can do that!
So, to answer you questions, yes. The marketing teams for these movies often want press to come in and report about their movies. Christian Cinema seems to want to send me to these things, and I am more than happy to go. It’s fun, and I think people think it’s funny that I would want to go. As much as they will let me go, I’m going to go!
8. What plans do you have for your Channel in 2018? Do you have any other career plans you’d like to share?
2017 was a big year. I put a lot of focus on developing new formats that would allow me to review other content, without having to spend weeks on it. So I put together Bargain Bin with my friend Josh, in order to review lesser known movies and my reaction style videos, to review trailers, videos, mail, basically anything I want to say, off the cuff. I also put a much bigger focus on Patreon this past year, doing mail outs and T-shirts and live streams. And that’s working out well. I will continue with that. I probably want to do more collaborations and interviews.
I lost my job this past year, which has actually turned out pretty well. Thanks to Patreon and freelance gigs, including the work I do for Christian Cinema, I’ve been able to keep myself and my dog alive. I really like being able to focus so much on the channel, so as long as things keep going how their going, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I might go back to doing some of the list style videos too, that can go along with what I’m already making. It’ll be a big year!
Thank you very much, Kevin! I’m thrilled that you agreed to do this interview and am very grateful. I look forward to what 2018 has in store.
Even if you aren’t a Christian, I still honestly believe anyone can connect with his channel and the content he puts out. He isn’t trying to appeal to just one audience, but to everyone. That’s such an important thing to do not just as a Christian, but as a smart content creator. You can tell Kevin loves all his fans, and it’s beautiful the way he makes it so anyone of any belief can watch and feel like they’re not being attacked. Way to go, Kevin!