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Movie Monday – Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

My suggestion for this week’s Movie Monday is Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke:

As a movie reviewer, I love discovering movies that I haven’t heard of yet. Such is the case with Killer Flood: The Day the Dam Broke. My oldest declares this movie should have been more aptly titled Narrow Escape. Here’s why:

IMG_0001 (3)Killer Flood is a movie that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat from the very start.

Architect David Powell does everything in his power to convince those in the town of Rutland, Vermont, that the dam is going to burst, causing torrential flooding and loss of lives and property. No one believes him. After all, why should they? The acting mayor, Natalie, is David’s estranged wife; the architectural intern at the dam is David’s son; and Matt, the man in control of the town is David’s nemesis.  All three feel as though David is responsible for the dam’s inferior design. David’s wife and son are still grieving over the fact that David left them five years ago after being accused of shady dealings while designing the dam.

So…what can David do when so many lives are at stake?

Joe Lando of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman  plays David. (Have to admit, I’m a girl who loved watching Dr. Quinn). He gives a commanding performance of a man rebounding from failure. Versatile Bruce Boxleitner proves he can successfully play a bad guy. And Michele Greene gives a convincing performance as David’s wife and acting mayor. The story line is realistic, the acting good, and the movie a pure nailbiter. Twists and turns make for never a dull moment.

This movie brings up some great discussion points. For instance, if someone is wrongfully accused, what’s best course of action? What’s the value of family and at what cost should one attempt to keep their family together, even through challenging times? How important is loyalty between friends? And finally, this movie gives a good example of why the love of money truly is the “root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

While there is nothing objectionable in this movie, younger viewers will find the scenes depicting the terrifying and traumatic flood to be frightening. Therefore, I would highly recommend this movie for those 10 and older.

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 Monday.

For a listing of all mom-approved movies, go to the Mom-Approved Movie Listing page.


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

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Movie Monday – The Christmas Card –

This week’s movie review is The Christmas Card

IMG_0001This movie is one of our family’s all-time favorites. The story unfolds with a Christmas card sent by Faith to a soldier named Cody serving in Afghanistan. What happens when Cody later searches for the town in the picture Faith included on the Christmas card? And what happens when he has a chance meeting with the woman who sent it? Romance, humor, and drama soon follow.

There is nothing objectionable in this movie and I especially enjoyed the emphasis on Faith’s close-knit family. Themes such as loyalty, patriotism, enduring love, long-lasting marriage, giving one’s life for another, and hope round out this great film. Highly recommended for all ages and a must see!

Don’t forget that I have a huge listing of movies for the entire family (along with archived movie reviews) under my  Mom-Approved Movie Listing Tab at

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Movie Monday – Civil Love – 10/01/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is Civil Love

IMG_0004 (3)Once in awhile you come across a love story to be added to your list of favorites. For me, Civil Love is one of those movies.

Rachel and her two children must find a way to survive on their own after the death of Rachel’s husband a year earlier. A soldier for the Union Army during the Civil War, Rachel’s husband was killed by enemy soldiers. When faced with a proposition to remarry the local sheriff, will Rachel do so, even if it means being married to someone she doesn’t love? And what will she do about the stranger she found injured in her barn? After all, the stranger is a Confederate soldier – just like the ones who killed her husband.

Daniel recently escaped from a Union Army prison. A Confederate soldier from Georgia, Daniel is shot in his attempt to return home. Will he survive the brutal cold? Will he be able to outrun the two men relentlessly searching for him? What happens when he collapses in a barn, only to discover later it is the barn of a woman who has lost her Union Army husband at the hands of Daniel’s fellow soldiers? Will she turn him in to the sheriff?

Civil Love is not only a love story, but it’s also an action story, which makes it perfect for a husband/wife movie night. The characters are real-to-life and the plot is engaging.  Family unity, loyalty, love, honesty, and not judging others are the themes showcased in this movie.

Civil Love contains nothing offensive and I would highly recommend it for those ages nine and over due to a scene showing Daniel’s wound, a scary scene of a burglary, and a shoot-out which might frighten very young children.

I have placed this movie in my library of favorite movies  – thank you SunWorld Pictures for creating enjoyable and wholesome family entertainment!

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!

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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

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

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Movie Monday – Samantha: An American Girl Holiday – 4/16/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Samantha: An American Girl Holiday

Based on the books and the American Girl doll, Samantha, this movie takes place in 1904. Samantha Parkington lives with her wealthy grandmother, GrandMary on her beautiful estate. Samantha has previously lost her parents to a tragic accident and settles into her new life. GrandMary is loving, yet strict, and endeavors to teach Samantha all there is to know about growing into a presentable young woman in the early 1900s. Along the way, Samantha has many adventures, including some hilarious times that involve her rude and inconsiderate neighbor, a boy of about her age, who lives with his wealthy mother.

When three young girls and their father are hired to tend to the neighbor’s home as servants, Samantha quickly befriends Nellie, the oldest, and her younger sisters. Samantha teaches Nellie how to read and they become best friends, despite the wide gap in their social and economic status. When Samantha moves to New York to live with her Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia, what will become of the friendship between her and Nellie?

This is a wonderful movie and possibly one of my favorite American Girl movies, although it’s a close tie between this movie and other excellent American Girl movies – Felicity, Kit Kittredge, and Molly. (I will be posting reviews for those movies at a later date).

Samantha has a variety of great topics for family discussion. Loyalty, accepting others for who they are, honesty, dealing with grief, and standing up for what’s right (even if no one agrees with you) all top the list. There is a scene in the movie where Samantha, out of desperation, doesn’t display honesty. Is it ever all right to lie and/or to hide the truth?

There is nothing objectionable in this movie, and one of the things I love about Samantha is that it’s a movie for the entire family (yes, dads and brothers too!), although there is a scary part that takes place in a factory that will likely frighten little ones.

Samantha is a movie of hope and of courage and of how just one person can make a huge difference. I highly recommend it!

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

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

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Movie Monday – Flipper – 3/19/12

Today’s movie suggestion is Flipper (original 1963 movie with Chuck Connors and Luke Halpin)…

Take a trip back to 1963 when the original movie Flipper was released. (This movie was ancient by the time I watched it as a child during  TV movie night specials!)  The movie begins with a hurricane threatening the small town where 12-year-old Sandy and his family live. (This scene may be frightening to young children). Later, Sandy finds a dolphin injured in the hurricane, whom he rescues.

Since Sandy’s father is out of town having repairs done on his fishing boat, Sandy doesn’t think twice about placing the injured dolphin, whom he names Flipper, in the fish pen near their home.  Sandy and Flipper bond immediately – so much so that Sandy neglects his chores, and instead spends all of his spare time finding food for Flipper. Sandy learns a hard lesson about obedience and priorities when his father returns.

We borrowed an old VHS copy of  this movie from our church library and my children were excited to watch it. After all, they love dolphins and had enjoyed watching Dolphin Tale. This is a delightful movie about strong family bonds, friendship, and courage. I love how the townsfolk assist each other in times of crisis. It’s obvious no one in the town is well-to-do, yet they join together and give a new meaning to loving your neighbor as yourself.  A charming classic, I recommend this movie for families with children of all ages.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

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

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Movie Monday – Homeless for the Holidays – 3/12/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday movie suggestion is Homeless for the Holidays

Jack Baker is a young and affluent businessman making his mark in the world of marketing for a large firm in his town. An arrogant man, Jack is not only selfish with his money (as is seen when he donates only a quarter to the Christmas fund), but he is also selfish with his time. His children yearn for him to spend time with them, and his wife, Sheryl, is tired of his cell phone ringing nonstop.

But Jack has bigger priorities that donating to every cause that comes his way. He has bigger priorities than spending time with his family. Jack is all about money and what money can buy. He finds great value in being able to provide the best Christmases for his family, which in his mind are the best and most expensive gifts and a large budget for decorating his house.

What happens one day when Jack is fired from his job? What then will become of his monetary dreams and his career ambitions?

This movie has many great discussion points. Jack must deal with pride and humility when he secures a job at Penguin’s Point, a fast food restaurant. The bills are piling up – where will Jack turn?

But negative points, such as deceit and greed, aren’t the only items up for discussion. There’s also loyalty, family-togetherness, sticking together in the most difficult times, and kindness also receive screen time. My favorite part is when Jack models for his son an example of true sacrifice and the mandate to love our neighbor as ourselves.

There are a few corny parts of this movie, but the resulting clear and heartwarming message make this movie one I would recommend for all ages.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

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

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Movie Monday – Saving Winston – 3/5/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Saving Winston

Ashley is a troubled teen who is sent to live with her Aunt Diane after being released from treatment. Ashley adamantly pushes her aunt out of her life. When she discovers a neglected horse, Ashley seeks Diane’s assistance in helping the horse (whom she names Winston) to recover. In doing so, Ashley sees that there is more to life than her own problems. She also sees for the first time that Winston isn’t the only one who is broken.

One of my favorite parts about this movie is the example Ashley’s Aunt Diane sets for her. Diane is a strong Christian who, while not perfect, seeks to live her life for Christ. Diane never preaches at Ashley, but instead shows her what it means to be a Christ follower through her own actions. Diane’s patience, kindness, and compassion do not go unnoticed by Ashley. We also see at the beginning of the movie that Diane is praying for Ashley. It’s a fair assumption that Diane continues to pray for her young niece throughout the entire movie and never gives up on Ashley, even though Ashley stumbles and, at times, yields to temptation.

There are some great discussion points in this movie. Ashley struggles with drug abuse. While on probation, she is instructed to have no contact with her boyfriend. Yet, she makes the mistake of disobeying that order. It is a good example of why the choices we make are so important. They not only affect us, but also affect others. While there is some deep subject matter, I found this movie to be appropriate for those ages nine and up.

Saving Winston is slow at times, but the end result is worth it. This movie has heart and shows how, no matter how broken we are, Jesus still loves us and yearns for us to find salvation and peace through Him.

For a listing of movie suggestions, followed by archived movie reviews, please see

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

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Movie Monday – Jacob’s Harvest – 1/23/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Family Movie Night Movie Suggestion is Jacob’s Harvest (Feature Films for Families).

This movie begins several years prior when Daniel Hansen’s older brother, Jacob,  leaves on his wedding day, deserting his fiance, Maddy, and his family. Jacob isn’t seen again until he arrives, seemingly out of nowhere, twenty years later for a visit.  A lot of things have happened in those twenty years. Daniel and Maddy married, started a family, and together (with Daniel and Jacob’s father, James) run the family dairy farm.

Life hasn’t been easy for Daniel and his family recently. They are losing milk cows to an unknown cause. Their 17-year-old son is rebelling. A money shortage has required Maddy to secure a job as a waitress in their small Wisconsin town. When Jacob arrives, he only adds to Daniel’s stress.

This is a modern story of a prodigal son, similar to the Biblical “prodigal son” parable found in Luke 15. It is an excellent movie with many discussion points.  Some of those discussion topics include: family values, keeping one’s word, family loyalty, work ethic, rebellion, importance of marriage vows, envy, helping others in their time of need, and working out differences with those we love.

Jacob’s Harvest is a touching movie of one family’s fight for what’s important. It is realistically done with convincing actors. This movie contains nothing objectionable.  I would highly recommend for all ages, although very young children might be frightened by a few scenes.

I have a listing of numerous family movie night suggestions here:

Also, if you have missed any of the Movie Monday Movie Reviews, they are archived under the listing referenced above.

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Movie Monday – Facing the Giants – 1/16/12

Penny Zeller, Christian AuthorThis week’s Movie Monday choice is Facing the Giants.

We watched Facing the Giants when it was first released and I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it, so we watched it again just this past weekend for Family Night.  It has a little something for everyone – football for the sports fan in your family, touching drama,  humor, and most importantly, a strong message. It shows dependence on God and the importance of standing together in marriage, even when the world around you is falling apart.

Coach Grant Taylor is going through some trials in his life. The school for which he is a coach wants to let him go because his football team fails to chalk up any wins.  His car barely runs and there are some maintenance problems in his home.  There’s the possible betrayal of a close friend. Even more heartbreaking is the fact that he and his wife are facing infertility problems.  It’s during this difficult time in his life that Grant realizes how much he depends on the Lord.  Grant spends time in prayer and in the Word, and gives the entire situation to God.  God, in turn, uses the situation to change more than just Grant’s life.

Several minor characters in this film deliver a strong impact. One is a school employee who walks by each locker daily and prays each student. Another character, a football player’s father, is a Godly role model for his son and for those watching the film. A couple of football players have a change of heart in the movie and one makes a decision that impacts his life for eternity.

On the cover of the DVD, the words at the bottom state: “Never Give Up; Never Back Down; Never Lose Faith.” This movie delivers a touching and realistic look into the lives of a man struggling with the difficulties in life.  It’s a winner in more ways than one and I highly recommend it for your next family night.

For more movie suggestions, check out my extensive  movie listing at