Heaven Bound: If You Died Tonight? (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell7 Minutes

If you ever decided to embark on a career of breaking and entering, what do you think would happen if you were caught in the house you were burglarizing?

You would probably assume (and rightfully so) that the homeowner would call the police or possibly take the matter into their own hands. Either way, the outcome probably wouldn’t be pretty.

That’s not the case for Ted and Josie Hoover and Josie’s bumbling, but lovable and eccentric brother Moochie in the surprisingly funny movie, Heaven Bound.

Although the movie’s plot, on its premise, is a little absurd, it’s that light-hearted absurdity mixed with some funny one-liners and the film’s overall message that makes it such an enjoyable watch.

The message, which is posed in the form of a question, is “If you died tonight, do you know where you would spend eternity?” Wow, such a profound question nestled in the confines of a comedy flick. The question is first posed to Dr. Walter Drake (or “Doc” as his patients call him) by Curt, a “Got Jesus?” t-shirt wearing, traveling pitchman for the Sparta Community Church. Curt (Jamie Costa) shows up on Doc’s doorstep to introduce and convert whoever lives there to Christianity. The problem is Doc (Danny Vinson) is already a Christian.

Curt: “If you would die today, do you know where you would spend eternity?”

Doc: “Hmm … hmm …”

Curt: “Sir?”

Doc: “Well, now, that’s a good question there.”

Curt: “Yes, it is.”

Doc: “I mean that’s a good question. That’s a … that question kinda trumps all other questions if you think about it.”

While the Christian message is present in the film, it’s not over the top, instead relying on the jokes, situations, and gags to lightly dance around the question of what does your eternity look like?

Setting Up the Crime

Ted (Michael Joiner) and Josie (Nancy Stafford), by most accounts, have a pretty comfortable, if not lavish, lifestyle. They live in a nice house, have fancy cars, a boat, and plenty of other things that suggest wealth. Josie is a well-respected nurse at Doc’s practice. Ted is a marketing executive at the Mr. Mitzky Organic Gourmet Gluten-Free Dog Food Company. The company’s mascot, Mr. Mitzky, is a beloved dog who happens to be an atheist with his own massage therapist and acupuncturist and a dislike for Old Spice and being petted.

Everything changes for the Hoovers when Ted accidentally kills Mr. Mitzky. Not only does he become one of the most villainized people in his community, but he is also fired from his job. To make matters worse, no one will hire him because he’s Mr. Mitzky’s killer.

Ted and Josie’s life gets turned upside down. They run out of food and both their electricity and water are shut off. In addition, they are forced to sell most of their possessions — the symbols of their affluence,

Desperate for a break, they hatch a plan to break into Dr. Drake’s mansion to steal the jewelry of his deceased wife. The jewelry is valued at more than half a million dollars; therefore, it would go a long way in helping their financial situation. There is one minor hiccough though.

Moochie (Torry Martin) shows up unexpectedly at their house — actually he’s been living there for three days unnoticed — and wants in on the caper.

The Crime & The Lesson

With information that Doc keeps his late wife’s jewelry in a grandfather clock, the unlikely band of thieves breaks into the mansion, which, unbeknownst to them, is designed to keep them in rather than keep them out. Armed with nunchucks, squeaky shoes, a change of clothes, and surprisingly adept lockpicking skills, Moochie quickly proves he’s probably not the best accomplice to have in such situations. His carelessness and clamorous actions alert the Doc to their presence.

The novice trio of burglars take off through the house to avoid being found out. Unfortunately, without any chance of escape, they are eventually captured. Certain that they’ll be turned over to the police, they expect the worse. However, Doc, who is dying from cancer, has another idea in mind.

Shortly after their capture, Doc asks the three crooks if they were to die tonight, did they know where they would spend eternity?

Ted replies, “Well, I just broke into the house of a man who’s dying of cancer, I’m pretty sure I know where I’m going.”

Doc tells them that it doesn’t have to be that way and decides to explore what it means to be a Christian, beginning with a skewed retelling of the Christmas story. They also engage in various activities aimed at instilling a Christian heart within them: watching Fireproof, playing a Heaven Bound board game, singing hymns, and others.

Not only do Ted, Josie, and Moochie come to terms with their own life decisions, restore relationships, and learn about the power, grace, and mercy of God, Doc has an epiphany about his own life and future — one that has the possibility to shape all four of their futures.

Although the 2017 movie went straight to DVD and may not have as much name recognition had it been released in the theaters, Heaven Bound is just as good as many of the flicks I’ve seen on the big screen. It is an endearing, goofy, family-friendly comedy that will make you laugh and ponder what would happen if you were to die tonight? It reminds us to look internally at ourselves, examine how we act as Christians, and question if we are living a life deserved of entering God’s eternal kingdom.

It truly is something to ponder.