Movie Review Monday – You’ve Got a Friend

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

IMG (6)This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is the recently-released movie You’ve Got a Friend.

The movie opens with Bobby Graham traveling to his Aunt Gayle and Uncle Jeff’s small-town home in 1976. His parents have died and he’s reeling from the loss.  To compound the pain, Bobby’s dad and his Uncle Jeff, who are brothers, haven’t spoken in years and Uncle Jeff inadvertently allows the animosity to trickle down to Bobby.

Uncle Jeff warns Bobby not to have anything to do with the reclusive, strange, and potentially dangerous Vietnam Vet Jim Klecan (played by John Schneider). All is fine until Bobby wants to build the soapbox derby racing car he and his late father had planned to build before his father’s death and enter it in the local contest. It is then that Bobby discovers that reclusive Jim Klecan was a national soapbox derby winner. Can Bobby convince Jim to help him build his own soapbox derby car? Will Jim allow someone into his life? What will Aunt Gayle and Uncle Jim do when they discover that Bobby has been lying about his whereabouts after school? Bobby isn’t at softball practice, but instead is building a soapbox – something Uncle Jeff views as a waste of time.

This is an enjoyable movie with no objectionable material. There is a lesson to be learned about lying, however it’s not specifically stated how important it is to always be truthful. Many good points abound – loyalty, not judging others, grace, and second chances. I highly recommend this movie for entire families (ages five and up).

I’ve been impressed recently by the movies that “Faith & Family Films” has produced, including You’ve Got a Friend in Me. Join me next week when I review another of their recent movies – The Woodcarver.

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.

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

Movie Monday – The Secret World of Arrietty

Penny Zeller, Christian AuthorToday’s family movie suggestion is The Secret World of Arrietty

Picture 128As a huge fan of The Littles during my childhood (I even had my pretzel house craft featured on an episode during the craft spot), I was excited to see the animated film The Secret World of Arrietty, based on the story The Borrowers.

While this movie is different than The Littles, it does have the same basic concept of little people living within the walls of houses and borrowing only what they need to survive. As such, items used by large humans are converted into necessary items for the Borrowers. For example, Arrietty uses a stick pin for a sword to protect her while she partakes in adventures.

In this movie, we are introduced to Arrietty, her mom Homily, and her dad, Pod.  They are tiny people who live a comfortable life at a home in the country where a large human, Shawn, is staying with his Aunt Jessica and the housekeeper, Hara.

From the moment Shawn arrives at the house, he sees Arrietty in the yard. He’s intrigued and wants to build a friendship with her. Arrietty isn’t so sure. Her father has warned her to stay away from all humans because their lives would be endangered to do otherwise.

However, Arrietty doesn’t heed her father’s advice. As such, her family soon has to move, as is customary when a Borrower is discovered by a large human.

If you’re looking for modern animation, you won’t find it in The Secret World of Arrietty (not to say that the graphics aren’t spectacular because they are vivid and colorful, just not what we in our contemporary movie-watching are accustomed to). However, what you will find is a sweet movie with a lot of heart – a movie reminiscent of the good old days of Saturday morning cartoons.

There are some lessons to be learned in this movie. For one, Arrietty sees the result of her disobedience when her family is uprooted from their pleasant home and forced to move. A great reminder that all actions have consequences. Secondly, Arrietty’s mom is a worrywart and at times, hysterical. Another great lesson that worrying solves nothing, but only creates more stress and shows a lack of faith. A verse that comes to mind is Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear…

While the very young may be frightened by the scene where the crow almost captures Arrietty and also when Homily is taken captive, there is nothing objectionable in this movie.

If you’re looking for a delightful and refreshing family night movie, I highly recommend The Secret World of Arrietty for the entire family.

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 – The Penny Promise – 11/5/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is The Penny Promise (Feature Films for Families)…

Picture 136Will is an honest man. In short, he never breaks a promise. He strives to do the right thing in all circumstances and his kind, trustworthy, and laidback personality make him popular with his students.

Will is also on a quest to marry Annie Farnsworthy, the woman he loves. However, before he can marry her, Annie’s wealthy father makes Will promise to save $10,000.  Will is poor and works as a teacher, but he is determined to save the money to win Annie’s hand in marriage. What Will doesn’t bank on is some competition from a wealthy young rival who also wants to marry Annie.  Can Will compete with someone who is deemed to be more worthy of Annie’s hand just because he has a well-paying job and a fancy car?

Will also doesn’t count on a misunderstanding that lands him in court and turns those he cares about most against him. Can Will prove his innocence? Can he do so without breaking a promise to a friend?

The Penny Promise is a fun movie with some humorous parts and some great lessons. It is quirky (and slightly unbelievable) at times, but full of good intentions. Themes include: honesty, keeping promises, doing the right thing, setting a good example, being a mentor, helping those in need, standing by someone in all circumstances, integrity, the importance of good character, bullying, lying, and dishonesty. Great discussion questions abound in this film. For example:  Is it ever all right to lie? If no one even recognizes that you are an honest and upright person, is it even worth it to be one? What are the most important attributes in a person’s character? What would you do in Will’s situation? In Dusty’s situation?

As we watched this movie, two Scripture verses came to mind: Proverbs 12:22, which states, Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who are faithful are his delight and Proverbs 19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.

I highly recommend this movie for all ages. There is no objectionable content (please note that we watched the edited Feature Films for Families version). In all, a great movie for Family Night for all ages!

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 – You’ve Got a Friend – 9/17/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s Movie Monday suggestion is the recently-released movie You’ve Got a Friend.

The movie opens with Bobby Graham traveling to his Aunt Gayle and Uncle Jeff’s small-town home in 1976. His parents have died and he’s reeling from the loss.  To compound the pain, Bobby’s dad and his Uncle Jeff, who are brothers, haven’t spoken in years and Uncle Jeff inadvertently allows the animosity to trickle down to Bobby.

Uncle Jeff warns Bobby not to have anything to do with the reclusive, strange, and potentially dangerous Vietnam Vet Jim Klecan (played by John Schneider). All is fine until Bobby wants to build the soapbox derby racing car he and his late father had planned to build before his father’s death and enter it in the local contest. It is then that Bobby discovers that reclusive Jim Klecan was a national soapbox derby winner. Can Bobby convince Jim to help him build his own soapbox derby car? Will Jim allow someone into his life? What will Aunt Gayle and Uncle Jim do when they discover that Bobby has been lying about his whereabouts after school? Bobby isn’t at softball practice, but instead is building a soapbox – something Uncle Jeff views as a waste of time.

This is an enjoyable movie with no objectionable material. There is a lesson to be learned about lying, however it’s not specifically stated how important it is to always be truthful. Many good points abound – loyalty, not judging others, grace, and second chances. I highly recommend this movie for entire families (ages five and up).

I’ve been impressed recently by the movies that “Faith & Family Films” has produced, including You’ve Got a Friend in Me. Join me next week when I review another of their recent movies – The Woodcarver.

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 – Drive Thru History (Greece is the Word) 7/23/12

Penny Zeller, Christian Author
 

 

For this week’s Movie Monday, I am proud to highlight Drive Thru History: Greece is the Word…

Dave Stotts, along with Focus on the Family, Tyndale Publishers, and Coldwater Media, have produced yet another winner in the Drive Thru History Series. Greece is the Word is the second in the series and includes fascinating facts about Athens and Rome, among other places, divided into three segments of approximately a half hour each. Our family enjoyed seeing historical sites and learning, through well-done graphics, the history of several places that Paul traveled during his ministry.

Dave does an excellent job of tying together pieces of the past with unearthed artifacts and preserved architecture, and how it all combines with the historical accuracy of the Bible. One of our favorite things about the Drive Thru History series is the humor that Dave infuses into each segment, which makes learning fun! I would highly recommend this DVD for family movie night, homeschoolers, youth rallies, and anyone over 7 or 8 years old who loves history.

Movie Monday – Clancy – 9-12-11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

 

 

This week’s family movie is Clancy

 

 

Clancy is easily one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. While it is not for children due to the nature of the film, it is an excellent show for teens and older. Despite being abused, Clancy holds strong to her faith in the Lord and shares it with Nick, a homeless man that has agreed to take care of her after she runs away. The acting is superb and the characters realistic. Spoiler warning: it does have a sad ending. I advise watching the “alternate ending” as I believe it should have been the real ending.

As one who has worked in the past for a social services agency, this story rang true on so many levels. There are children everywhere that are forgotten and abused. There are homeless people all around us. This movie is a tearjerker, but a “must watch.” I highly recommend it.