Movie Monday – Rugged Gold – 11/19/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Rugged Gold.

Martha, a widow, is raising her young son Lloyd with the assistance of her wealthy in-laws. One day, a few years after her husband’s death, Martha attends a seminar where the speaker, a man named Don, asks her out for coffee. Before long, Martha finds herself in love with the rugged gold miner from Alaska.

Fast forward and we see Martha following her new husband Don to the wilds of Alaska. Leaving behind a comfortable life in a fancy house with all of the comforts of the 1950s, Martha is in for a shock when she discovers just how primitive her new life will be. Her son Lloyd is even less thrilled. Lloyd later runs away leading Martha on the rescue of a lifetime. While Don takes the boat and goes in search of Lloyd, Martha, on foot, also searches closer to home for her son. Will she find him in time? What about the grizzly bear that has been seen in the area? When Martha is severely injured, how will she survive alone with Don and Lloyd gone? Is Don even still alive?

Rugged Goldis a movie full of adventure. There are also some great discussion points…

1. About family loyalty and unity – Martha’s in-laws are quick to assist her after her husband’s death and are protective of her when she falls in love again.

2. Obedience – Lloyd’s lack of obedience nearly cost three lives.

3. Marriage – While not every woman would be so eager to leave her comfortable life behind and follow her new husband to a primitive and isolated place, Martha does so with optimism. Don also, while not perfect, is quick to show his love and admiration for his wife.

4. Reliance on God during times of hardship. Although this is not a Christian movie and there are a couple of “nature” themes, it is clear that Martha relies on the Lord.

Rugged Gold is based on a true story found in Martha’s journals. A wholesome older movie with some good discussion points, it fits the bill for family movie night. I would recommend it for ages 12 and over due to some intense scenes including injuries, earthquakes, and a grizzly bear that may frighten younger children.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – A Song for the Season – 11/12/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

Today’s Movie Monday movie suggestion is A Song for the Season * (released by Feature Films for Families).
Fern has recently lost her parents and is living with her uncle Cal, who travels around the United States looking for ways to cut school budgets and save schools from closure.  Fern despises the constant traveling to new towns so her uncle can fulfill his job requirements. So when Cal accepts a job in the small town of Bethlehem, Kentucky where her WWII veteran grandfather lives, Fern is none too thrilled.

Lily Waite gave up her career as a professional musician years ago to care for her mother in the tiny town of Bethlehem, Kentucky. Now Lily is a beloved music teacher at Bethlehem High School.  She has changed lives for the better through a love of music and is thrilled to embark on yet another Christmas production. What will happen when she discovers the school is looking for ways to streamline its budget and that some programs will have to be cut? Will her music program be among the programs deemed “unessential” so that the school can continue to stay open? Throw in the complicating issue that she is drawn to Cal and enjoys spending time with him and that Lily has taken Fern under her wing and the plot thickens.

A Song for the Season is an enjoyable watch with themes of sacrifice, forgiveness, and finding hope after a loss. It is a story of priorities, investing our time in the lives of those struggling, and using the gifts and talents God has given us.

While A Song for the Season is not a Christian movie, it was great to see Christmas songs performed in the school. It was also refreshing to see veterans, such as Cal’s dad Jake, honored for their service to our country.

A Song for the Season features Gerald McRaney, Naomi Judd, and Andy Griffith among its cast. The version I watched, released by Feature Films for Families, contained nothing objectionable (however, there was a strange song at the Christmas dance). I would recommend this movie for those ages 9 and over.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – Follow the River – 10/29/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s movie Monday suggestion is Follow the River

IMG_0006 (3)It’s the 1700s in Virginia and all seems well for Mary Ingles and her family. She and her husband, Will, have homesteaded on a beautiful piece of land, they have a strong marriage, an adorable son, and a baby on the way.  Residing close by are Mary’s brother and sister-in-law, as well, as her mother. But their lives are about to be turned upside down…

On a calm morning after Will and Mary’s brother, Johnny, leave to mend fences, there is an Indian raid on the homestead. Lives are lost, fires are started, and Mary, her son Thomas, her sister-in-law, Bettie, and another man are kidnapped and taken to a Shawnee Indian village. John and Will return to devastation and form a search party to find their missing family.

Mary is nine-months pregnant during this time, which makes the long grueling walk all the more difficult. What will become of them? Will they be allowed to live? Will Mary ever see her husband again? What happens when the Indian chief takes an interest in Mary? When Mary is sold and separated from her children, what will become of them? Will Mary’s plans to escape be successful?

This is a movie of hope, courage, and strength. It’s also a movie of a strong love between a husband and wife who will do anything to be together again.

This movie contains nothing objectionable, although young children will likely be frightened by the raid scene at the beginning, as well as, a scene where the prisoners are forced to run through a line and whipped.  I would recommend it for those ages 12 and over.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – The Woodcarver – 9/24/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is The Woodcarver.

A couple on the brink of a bitter divorce…

A teenage boy seeking attention, and in the process committing crimes to get that attention…

A lonely widower wondering if he still has a purpose in life after the loss of his beloved wife…

Four people are brought together in this touching and well done film that has been said to resemble the movie The Last Bricklayer. Matthew feels tossed between his parents as they continue with their plans for a divorce. His dad is a workaholic who seems to have little time for his family. His mom, in her anger and frustration, isn’t emotionally available to her son. The only time Matthew sees his parents together is when they’re fighting – many times about him. As an act of seeking attention, Matthew vandalizes the church. After all, isn’t it God’s fault that his parents are seeking a divorce? Isn’t it God’s fault that Matthew feels unloved?

Woodcarver Ernest Otto’s wife recently died of cancer. He struggles with overcoming her death and the life they once shared. Deep in his grief, he finds it difficult to continue without the woman with whom he shared so many years of his life. It doesn’t help that the ornate woodcarving he did for the church many years ago has been destroyed by vandalism.

Before long, Matthew’s and Ernest’s lives intersect. Together, they set out to repair the damage done by Matthew, and Ernest provides the fatherly role model for Matthew that he has long yearned for. In the process, Ernest teaches Matthew something very important. What if, in every dealing that we have with others, we ask ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” This simple, yet profound question changes Matthew’s outlook and perspective.

What happens when Matthew’s dad discovers Matthew has been spending time with the elderly woodcarver? What happens when a fire destroys the hard work Matthew and Ernest have accomplished? Is it possible that God has plans for us even when we think our lives are lacking purpose? Is forgiveness possible, even in difficult situations?

This is a great family film that approaches the topic of treating others as Jesus would treat them and becoming more and more Christlike in our everyday dealings with others.  It also focuses on forgiveness, grace, and the importance of marriage. I have seen The Last Bricklayer, and I enjoyed that movie very much – and yes, this movie is similar. However, The Woodcarver adds elements of faith-based answers to life’s problems.

This movie had no objectionable material, with the exception of an utterance of the Lord’s name in vain. As I have mentioned before, in my opinion, this never adds to a movie, only detracts from it. Little ones may be frightened by the brief vandalism scene and a brief fire scene (these are both tastefully done). Aside from that, this is a heartwarming film with an excellent message that I would recommend for families with children over the age of 5.

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.

Join me each Monday for a new movie review. Until then, have a blessed week!

Movie Monday – Game Time: Tackling the Past 7/30/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Game Time: Tackling the Past

IMG_0005 (3)Jake Walker is an NFL football player with everything going for him. He’s loved by his fans, has a lucrative career, and seems to have it all. Then the phone call comes that changes his life: his dad has suffered a heart attack. Jake travels back to his small North Carolina hometown. But will things ever be the same? Can broken hearts forgive?

In North Carolina, Jake’s brother, Dean is a husband, father, and high school football coach. As a matter of fact, with his dad, he coaches the same team both he and Jake played for in high school. However, things aren’t good between Dean and Jake, nor Jake and his father.

When Jake unexpectedly receives a call letting him know he will no longer be playing for the same NFL team, Jake worries about his future. Football is all he has ever loved. What will become of the NFL career he fought so hard to build? Will his agent be able to sign a contract for him with another team? If not, what then? Will his injured knee hold up through another season? What will become of the newly blossoming relationship between he and Sarah, his high school girlfriend from the past whom he recently reconnected with in North Carolina?

I applaud Walmart and Proctor & Gamble for producing family movies, many with great themes. That said, Game Time: Tackling the Past is one of my favorite of these movies. It combines drama and sports for an enjoyable movie that is appropriate for the entire family. There is nothing objectionable -no foul language, no violence – just an awesome family movie with an important lesson that I highly recommend!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – Ken Davis & Friends: Get ’em While They’re Hot!

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Ken Davis & Friends: Get ’em While They’re Hot!

We are huge fans of Ken Davis (and David Jeremiah, whose church, Shadow Mountain Community Church, hosted this comedic gang) so it was a no-brainer for us to purchase this DVD.

This video is awesome! Each of the comedians was very funny. Ken Davis, as always, was great. We have watched many of his videos and have also listened to him on the radio. He has a gift for bringing out the humorous happenings of real life in an identifiable way.

Our second favorite was Bean and Bailey, followed by David Pendleton. Both of the latter performances were so funny that my husband and I both had tears streaming down our faces from laughter. This is definitely a must-see. It is one of the most hilarious videos we have ever seen – and how nice that it contains no foul language or objectionable content! I would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.

Movie Monday – Hot Lead & Cold Feet – 6/11/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Monday Movie suggestion is Hot Lead & Cold Feet…

What’s family night without an old Disney movie thrown in every now and again? Hot Lead & Cold Feet stars the hilarious Don Knotts as the goofball sheriff in a small Wild West Arizona town. He spends most of his time dueling with Rattlesnake, an equally goofy town resident played by Jack Elam.

Twin brothers Eli and Billy, and their father, Jasper, are all played by the same man in this hilarious movie from waaaayyyy back in 1978. Eli and Billy are twins, and Eli was raised by their mother, while Billy was raised by their father. The differences in their upbringing are clear – Billy is a gunfighter who disregards the law and has turned the town his father founded into a chaotic mess filled with gunfights and lawlessness. On the other hand, Eli is a mild-mannered preacher who has taken in two orphans and makes it his own personal mission to be kind and do good to others.

What happens, then, when the twins’ father fakes his death and the two brothers meet for the first time (since their birth) in an effort to see who will win their father’s vast  inheritance?

This movie contains nothing objectionable and families will find themselves laughing at the antics of the characters.  Very young children may be frightened by the adventures Eli finds himself in during the race to win the inheritance. There is one spot (shown for laughs) where Eli is tricked into drinking whiskey (which he’s never had before). This is a great discussion point about being careful who we trust and not taking food and drink items from strangers.

I highly recommend this movie and a travel back into a time when innocent, wholesome, and funny movies were the norm and not the exception.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see https://pennyzeller.wordpress.com/mom-approved-movies-for-families/

Join me each week for a new movie suggestion of recommended movies suitable for the entire family with reviews written from a Christian worldview.