21 awesome family movies you may never have heard of

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
Our family is always on the lookout for wholesome family films for our weekly Family Night. Some of the best movies we’ve ever seen have been undiscovered gems we’ve stumbled across by accident.

The 20 undiscovered treasures below are in no particular order. Some are newer and some have been out for awhile, but they all are must-see movies for your next Family Night!

 

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

The Redemption of Henry Myers (12+)

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Finding Normal

Clancy

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

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Though None Go With Me

The Gospel of John

Time Changer

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Last Ounce of Courage

The End of the Spear (13+)

King’s Faith (13+)

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Hidden Places

The Perfect Gift

Duma (12+)

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Seasons of Gray

Christmas Angel

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The Good Book

No Greater Love

Christmas Oranges

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Backroads and Lilies

Civil Love

 

For a listing of other fantastic movies, check out my Mom-Approved Movie List.  Interested in movie reviews? Go to my Mom-Approved Movie Reviews tab.

 

 

Movie Monday – Seasons of Gray

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s Movie Review Monday Movie is Seasons of Gray.

IMG (29)Seasons of Gray is a modern re-telling of the story of Joseph in the Bible. We are introduced to Brady, who deals with his older brothers’ vicious jealousy on a constant basis. The fact that he is their father’s favorite son only fuels the fire, as does Brady’s gift of being able to interpret dreams. When Brady receives a new truck for his birthday, his brothers decide they’ve had enough and take matters into their own hands.

Their ruthless decision forever changes the course of Brady’s life.

But does God still have a plan for Brady’s life despite the horror of what is to come?

Later sentenced to prison based on the words of his boss’s wife, who dishonestly accuses him of assault, Brady is faced with a decision. Does he turn his back on God, or grow in his faith?

That’s not the only major decision of which Brady faces. He’s also faced with yet another dilemma regarding his brothers.

Seasons of Gray has many great discussion points, including:

God’s plan for our lives, even when things go awry (Jeremiah 29:11);

Forgiveness (Matthew 6:14-15; Matthew 18:22);

Being a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17); and,

What was intended for bad, God can use to accomplish His purposes (Genesis 50:20).

While Seasons of Gray is a family film with nothing objectionable, it does contain thematic elements appropriate only for those 13 and older. There is some violence, but it is tastefully done and not of the typical “Hollywood” variety. Regarding the scene with Brady’s boss’s wife, the issue of sexual assault is also discussed, although not explicitly shown.

Everything about Seasons of Gray is well done. The acting is top-notch, the plot engaging, the story line realistic, and the scenes vivid.

Some movies are “downloads” or “rentals.” And some movies are “to purchase.” Seasons of Gray falls into the latter category. With a clear presentation of the Gospel and must-watch bonus features, I highly recommend it as one of the best movies of 2014.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – The Mighty Macs

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

IMG (26)Today’s Movie Review Monday suggestion is The Mighty Macsa movie inspired by the story of basketball coaching legend, Cathy Rush.

Take a trip back to 1971 when women’s college basketball was just beginning. Not many women tried out for the sport, and it was far from being taken seriously.  The Immaculata, a small Catholic college, has just hired a new basketball coach – Cathy Rush – to coach the Macs. Cathy’s goal is to turn the inexperienced women’s team with a losing streak into a #1 team. However, there isn’t much hope. The college gymnasium recently burned to the ground. Most of the players lack experience. Cathy’s unorthodox ideas aren’t exactly embraced by the Nuns at the college, and financial problems abound threatening to close Immaculata. Old uniforms and a lack of funds to purchase shoes and travel to games add to the troubles. Can Cathy, along with her assistant coach, a Nun named Sister Sunday, turn things around for the flailing team?

There are many great moments in this movie. One of the girls comes from a poverty-stricken home. When pictures are taken, she wears her only outfit – a pair of ratty overalls and old boots. The result is an act of compassion that, for me, was a tearjerker moment.  Another great moment is when Cathy has the chance to confront her former basketball coach and does so with grace toward someone who had caused her much pain.

There are some humorous moments throughout this movie as well. Viewers will want to be sure to watch The Mighty Macs ESPN segment at the end of the movie, which shows coverage from the real games and highlights some of the real-life players,  as well as, the real Cathy Rush.

I enjoyed this movie. It’s a heartwarming and touching story for the entire family about an underdog team and the value of teamwork.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday ~ Safe Harbor

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Monday Movie suggestion is Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor MovieSafe Harbor is the true story about an amazing couple, Doug and Robbie Smith, who found a ministry to take in troubled teenage boys. Their ministry came by accident.  It wasn’t Doug and Robbie’s intention to help the boys, who would otherwise spend time in prison.  They had quite different plans after retiring – to take a cruise in their boat and spend their days relaxing at sea.

Approached by a judge in their town, who asked the couple to take in three boys, the Smiths found it difficult to deny the judge’s request.  After all, it was this same judge who gave Doug another chance years ago when he himself was a troubled teen.

Cramming everyone into the tight living quarters of their small boat, Doug and Robbie devote their time to nurturing and guiding the boys who come from a variety of troubled backgrounds.  It isn’t easy, and at times the Smiths wonder if they’ve made the right choice. However, they never give up hope that they can truly make a difference in the lives of those who need them most.

This was an excellent movie of hope, second chances, and sacrifice. There are two minor swear words and viewers are shown the sad reality of severely dysfunctional homes and the result such homes had on the teenage boys. Due to some thematic elements including an attempted suicide, I would recommend this movie for those ages 12 and older.

My favorite thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. The Smiths are a phenomenal couple, and I enjoyed seeing the real-life Doug and Robbie during the CBN bonus feature at the end of the movie.  This movie will warm your heart and I highly recommend it!

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Silver Bells

Penny Zeller, Christian AuthorThis week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Silver Bells

IMG (22)Bruce Dalton works for a local TV station as the sports anchor. With an inflated ego and impatience to match, Bruce expects everyone everywhere he goes to recognize him and the nightly tagline he uses after reporting the latest sports news.

Bruce is a man with a family – a wife, a daughter in law school, and a son named Jason who has lately been distancing himself from his father. Bruce’s selfishness is portrayed in many ways, from “fighting” for a parking spot at the local Kmart to putting his job above the needs of his family.

So what happens when Bruce takes his self-centered attitude too far? What happens when, in his anger and lack of self-control, a ref is injured at his son’s basketball game?

Will Bruce’s punishment finally show him what’s really important in life?

Silver Bells is a great movie on so many levels. When Bruce has to commit to community service as part of his punishment for injuring the ref, viewers get a glimpse inside the Salvation Army and how hard the bell ringers and other volunteers work to serve the less fortunate. Discussion questions abound, including:

  • The importance of family and their needs and why that should come first, after our relationship with the Lord. Bruce is not a Christian, but his son shows an interest in Jesus and church. Bruce wants nothing to do with either.
  • The importance of carrying out God’s command to serve others and care for the less fortunate. Bruce has no desire to ring the bell for the Salvation Army and finds himself in a bind many times regarding his attitude.
  • The importance of listening to wisdom, rather than focusing on ourselves. Major Lowell, the Salvation Army leader and pastor is a Godly man with much foresight. Will Bruce bother to listen to his gentle answers to the problems Bruce is facing in his personal life?
  • The importance of not sinning in our anger and keeping keeping our self-control in check.

Silver Bells has ingredients of a great movie. It has drama, humor, a wonderful plot, and a touching ending. Expect to laugh throughout the 88 minute movie, shake your head at Bruce’s shenanigans, and rejoice in the hope and redemption offered.

Bruce Boxleitner plays Bruce Dalton and gives a commanding performance as a versatile actor who can effectively play either the “good guy” or the “bad guy.”

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. A Christmas classic for years to come, this movie has quickly become one of our family favorites.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

Movie Review Monday – Christmas Oranges

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Christmas Oranges…

IMG_0002 (6) As a movie reviewer on a quest to find wholesome family entertainment, I’m always thrilled to find a heartwarming movie that I hadn’t heard much about and discover a gem in the process.

Such is the case with Christmas Oranges.

Rose was abandoned as a baby on the steps of Greenwoods Orphanage. The motherly caretaker, widow Mrs. Hartley, takes Rose in to the orphanage and raises her, along with the other children of the orphanage, as if they were her own. The children enjoy a loving environment and all is well until the unspeakable happens.

Rose is then transferred to Irongates Orphanage, a place opposite in every way from the Greenwoods Orphanage. Under cruel Mr. Crampton’s direction, the children at Irongates are under strict rule with no love and very little attention.

Rose is immediately grateful for the new friends she finds at Irongates, as well as, Mr. Crampton’s kind brother Joe, and Polly, the cook. She hears of the stories of what happens on Christmas – the only day Mr. Crampton allows the children to have any fun. It’s on that special day that Joe brings each child an orange – oranges he has hung on the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve. Rose finds it difficult to wait for Christmas Day.

Along the way, Rose encounters difficulties at every turn with Mr. Crampton. When she discovers he harbors a secret, will her gentle spirit sway him to realize the mistakes he’s made and that it’s never too late to start anew?

Christmas Oranges has quickly become one of my favorite films. Delightful, heartwarming, and humorous in parts, I was thrilled to have stumbled upon it. Christmas Oranges is not a Christian film, but it does have some wonderful lessons for discussion. For example: love despite biological ties, loyalty, friendship, forgiveness, grace, and serving others. There is nothing objectionable in this movie.

But I will give you one word of caution: you may need a kleenex. I know I did.

I highly recommended this movie for all ages for Christmas and for any time of the year.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.

 

Movie Review Monday – Coming Home for Christmas

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
This week’s Movie Monday family movie suggestion is Coming Home for Christmas…

IMG_0003 (2)Kate and Melanie were once as close as sisters could be. Until one day when Kate did what Melanie deemed to be unforgivable. Five years later, the girls still aren’t talking, which is taking a toll on their parents, who decide to separate.

Kate decides to make it her mission to not only bring her parents back together for Christmas, but also to restore the loving friendship she once shared with her sister and best friend. Kate longs for the days when her family was close and the fond memories they shared in a house her parents have since lost due to the bad economy.

But will her plan succeed?

Melanie seems to have the perfect life. She married into money, has a 5,000 square foot home, indulges in spa days, and has a seemingly wide circle of influential friends. But is everything as it seems? When Kate discovers her sister’s real life, will she be able to convince Melanie to make amends?

Throw into the mix a budding romance with a handsome soldier, some humor, the loss of a father, and the sad background of one who never had a family and you’ve got an interesting mix meshed into a delightful story.

While Coming Home for Christmas is not a Christian movie, it is a feel-good, fun-to-watch show that highlights some great discussion topics, such as,

Forgiveness – can Melanie ever forgive Kate for what she did? The Bible tells us to forgive others in various passages in the Bible, including Matthew 6:15.

Importance of family – Kate and Melanie grew up in a family that shared a lot of love for each other. They spent time together, sang together, and made each other a priority. God highly values family.

Grief – throughout the story, we see the grief of a young boy who has lost his father. He’s not the only one who has suffered loss. Enter Mike who knows firsthand all about grief and loneliness. The Bible discusses how we can comfort others after knowing firsthand the way God comforts us in our time of need. (2 Cor 1:4).

Marriage – Can Kate and Melanie’s parents move past their differences and once again experience the deep love they had for each other? Marriage is of utmost importance to God.

I highly recommend Coming Home for Christmas, especially for those mom-daughter nights or movie nights with the girls. It contains nothing objectionable and is appropriate for tweens and up.

I am passionate about finding movies suitable for families. For a complete listing of family movie suggestions and an archive of past reviews from a Christian worldview for Movie Monday, please go to my Mom-Approved Movies Page.

For an archived list of movie reviews, go to my newly created Archived Movie Reviews page. This page will be updated regularly to show all movies included in Movie Review Monday.