Something To Sing About - The TV Movie

Something To Sing About
Made-for-Television Movie

The highly recognizable names jump out at you. Tamera Mowry (Sister, Sister), Darius McCrary (Family Matters), Irma P. Hall (Soul Food) and Kirk Franklin. And of course the name of Billy Graham rings a few bells.

Darius McCrary (as Tommy Blessed) and
 Raashann Nall as G. SmoothSomething To Sing About is a made-for-TV movie from World Wide Pictures Inc., which is the movie arm of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. At nearly 90 minutes in length, it is billed as an engaging, family-oriented, Christian movie. There's no doubt it fits that bill.

The talented cast brings an energy and enthusiasm to the small screen that captures the immediate message of redemption and life-changing salvation of Jesus Christ. Starring as Tommy, Darius McCrary carries the production on his shoulders.

The Network Situation

To catch the TV presentation may take a small bit of effort. Since many media outlets have balked at covering the movie, due in part to the scattered broadcast times, but also no doubt due to the strong Gospel content of the production, you’ll have to check your local listings during the week of June 3 - 10, 2000 for airtime details.

You can also check your area's TV listings by clicking here.

Note also that TV listings may list this movie feature simply as Billy Graham or as Paid Programming. That's because many network executives considered the movie's strong Gospel presentation as unacceptable for prime time. Since the alternative was not to air the movie at all, the Billy Graham people purchased prime time blocks on at least one major station in every market across the country.
Tommy is an ex-con trying to set his life straight. He soon meets up with the endearing Memaw (played with appropriate combination of tenderness and spunk by screen veteran Irma P. Hall), who befriends him and offers him hope. Soon into the proceedings, Tommy accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior (with the Billy Graham TV Crusades get a supporting role), and thus begin the twists of plot.

Tamara Mowry (as Memaw's granddaughter Lilly) takes a personal interest in Tommy, as do various street thugs, whose drug-dealing interests are upset when their colleague G-Smooth, who happens to be Tommy's childhood friend, is influenced by Tommy away from the drug-dealing game.

This is where the movie shines its brightest, as the interaction and conflict played out by McCrary and Rashaan Nall (as G. Smooth) comes across as street-credible. (At times, Nall is more guilty of scene-stealing than drug-dealing.) In her directorial debut, Charlie Jordan makes good on establishing this part of the drama.

As the scenario unfolds, church choir director Charles (played by Kirk Franklin) gets a passing involvement as a positive influence on his new choir member Tommy. Suffice it to say that various subplots involving musical aspirations, love interests, Nashville contracts and TV news stories make things interesting.

While the plot moves a little slowly at times and the story line tends towards the predictable in places, the acting is for the most part strong enough to carry the day. The mix of musical segments (helped along by McCrary's unsung vocal talent and produciton from Brent Jones) also helps to spice things up (see soundtrack review).

Darius McCrary (as Tommy Blessed) and
 Tamara Mowry (as Lilly), singing in the choirWith the solid success that the Sister Act series and The Preacher's Wife generated, Something To Sing About really can't go wrong. While there's no Hollywood budget supporting this one, and no-one's rehearsing their thanks to the Academy, you can rest assured that the message contained on this reel is very much stronger than in the commercialized counterparts. And it's wonderful thing to see such an honest and creative effort put into portraying the Good News of Jesus Christ, and prime-time-bound at that.

Whether you catch this movie on TV in across North America in June 2000, as a feature presentation in your church, or in your VCR later on this summer, you'll find the means by which the Gospel message is brought out to be refreshing.

Film director: Charlie Jordan
Film producer: John Sheperd
TV air date: June, 2000
World Wide Pictures

— reviewed by Stan North

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