Posted in Movie Monday, movie reviews

Movie Monday: Play the Flute

When Brandon is hired as a youth pastor, he never realizes the challenge before him. His heart is set on leading teens to the Lord, but he is instead faced with an uphill battle that he can’t win, barring the Lord’s intervention.

It’s difficult for Brandon and his wife not to become discouraged as they seek to make an eternal difference in the lives of the teens. When Brandon’s friend from seminary, a fellow youth pastor, remarks that the number of kids in his youth group has grown exponentially, Brandon reminds himself that it’s not about numbers. Not about constant outings. It’s about leading teens to the Lord and helping them grow in their faith.

There are several talking point questions and some cautions throughout the movie, although there is nothing objectionable. I highly recommend you watch this movie with your kids/grandkids.

Talking point questions:

*Why attend a youth group?

*Why is knowing/memorizing Scripture important?

*What is wrong with cheating?

*How should we treat those with disabilities?

*Why is it important to exercise patience with others, especially those who are struggling?

*Why is it important to respect authority?

*Why is lying wrong?

*Why is it important to stand for what is right, even if you stand alone?

*Can you identify with any of the teens in the movie? Why or why not?


*Mention of death of a main character

*Several instances of disrespectful teens to their parents, a boss, and the youth pastor and his wife

*Couple of instances of stealing

*An instance of lying that causes extreme consequences

This movie resonated with me, both as a mother and as one who once attended a youth group that had no real “meat”, but only sought to provide fun outings for its members. While I have fond memories of those days in my youth group watching movies, attending all-night skate parties, and playing dozens of volleyball games, I wish I’d had the privilege of attending a group that put the Gospel above all else and sought to disciple its members. There is nothing wrong with fun activities and socializing, but when its the main (and only!) focus, we’ve missed the real reason: the critical importance of planting seeds that will last for eternity.

Play the Flute is suitable for the entire family, although recommended for tweens and older, as those who are younger will not understand the scope and intention of the movie. It is entertaining, engaging, realistic, and a sad commentary of the apathetic attitude so prevalent in many of today’s youth groups.

I give Play the Flute a five out of five stars. It’s not only a must-see movie for family night, but an excellent movie for any tween, teen, or adult.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

Movie Monday: Fearless Faith

31 awesome movies for your must-watch list

Mom-Approved Movies Listing

All things Christmas: Favorite Movies of the Season

how to survive in an out-of-control world

10 Bible verses to start off your day

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

training for the Mom Olympics

Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday – Soul Surfer – 8/29/11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

This week’s family movie suggestion is Soul Surfer…

I remember hearing about Bethany Hamilton’s frightening ordeal of losing her arm (and nearly her life) to a shark attack while surfing. When the movie was released, I hoped for two things: (1) that it would relfect Bethany’s faith and how that faith saw her through horrific trauma in her life and (2) that it would be a family movie. The movie met my expectations on both accounts – I loved this movie!

Family unity and loyalty is strong in Soul Surfer and that is one of my favorite things about the movie. It’s apparent that Bethany, her parents, and her brothers are a closeknit family and that they truly care for each other. When times are difficult, we need those we love most to come alongside us. Bethany is also surrounded by loyal friends, who rally around her, not only during her surfing competitions, but also after her accident. What amazed me was that she and her best friend competed in competitions, yet they didn’t allow that to interfere in their friendship. What an example of how to love your neighbor!

There are many opportunities for discussion in this film:

1. Bethany sneaks out at night to go surfing. I’m not sure she had a consequence, but this provided a great discussion point nonetheless. 

2. There is a girl Bethany surfs against who is spiteful and mean. How should we handle people like that in our own lives?

3. At one point, Bethany becomes discouraged about what happened. Why do bad things happen? Does the Lord distance himself from us during those times? Or does He forever remain by our side, never leaving us and never forsaking us?

4. Another great discussion topic is about modesty, as at times, the bathing suits are a bit immodest. And finally,

5. Bethany embarks on a missions trip. At times when we feel as though things couldn’t be any worse in our lives, all we have to do is look around and see the pain and the suffering of others. Then, reach out and offer assistance.

I loved this movie. Yes, I bawled after Bethany was injured (I’m a mom after all!) and yes, I bawled at the end. It is a powerful movie that points to God, family, and determination. I would highly recommend it for those ages tween and up. Younger children will be frightened by the shark attack, although it was tastefully done and not prolonged.

Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday – The Perfect Gift – 8/22/11

Penny Zeller, Christian Author


My choice for a great family movie for this week is The Perfect Gift

Product Details

The Perfect Gift is a great family film that serves as a timely reminder of the real meaning of Christmas. One of the main characters, a tween named Max discovers that Christmas is more than just the day she celebrates her birthday (she was born on Christmas) and that the meaning of Christmas is more than just seeing how many gifts you can receive and whether or not you’ll receive the fancy birthday cake you want.

The actors were great and work well together (if you’ve seen the phenomenal movie “Clancy,” you’ll recognize some of the key cast members). There was no objectional material and I would highly recommend this movie as a traditional Christmas film for the entire family.  A definite must-see!

Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday 7-18-11

Welcome to Movie Monday! My choice for a family movie this week is Doc (Season 1)…

Doc - Season 1

This series, peppered with faith, humor, and touching stories, stars Billy Ray Cyrus as a doctor who travels from his practice in small town Montana to New York. Taking a job in the big city, however, is no easy task for the cowboy who sees the good in people and always makes time for those in need of help.  A small town girl myself, I can only imagine how a move might make a huge impact on someone unaccustomed to city life. 🙂  

Viewers find themselves growing attached to the characters, who seem to come to life as they wrestle with everyday problems. Great lessons abound, including discussion of topics such as humility, greed, selfishness, putting others first, and the importance of faith no matter what our chosen profession. To me, this is one of the best series ever produced (I loved it almost as much as Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, which I’ll have for another Movie Monday post). It is great for the entire family and contains nothing objectionable. My only question is…when are they going to bring Season 2 to DVD?!

For more awesome movie suggestions for your family, check out my Mom-Approved Movies tab at the top of this page.

Posted in movie reviews

Movie Monday 7/4/11

Happy 4th of July everyone! I am so blessed to be an American and I thank all of those in the military who fight daily for our freedoms. God bless America!

Since it is the 4th of July, I thought it would be fitting to choose a patriotic “movie” for Movie Monday 🙂

My choice this week is not really a movie, but rather a documentary.

The American Heritage Series is a truthful account of America’s history and a peek into the lives of our Founding Fathers. Historian David Barton does an amazing job of exploring the past and presenting in an informative and interesting way. Our entire family enjoyed watching each “episode.”  It was neat to be able to pause and hear our children’s thoughts on various topics and to hear that they had learned in school much of the information presented in this documentary. It is also a great asset to homeschool curriculum and teaches a lot of the things not being currently taught in many schools.

Although not a big deal, there is a short (seconds long) repeating segment on each “episode” – almost like a preview. It may have been that this series aired on TV and they were showing this repeating segment before or after a commercial. However, again, this wasn’t a big deal. We merely fast-forwarded during the repeating segment.

This series is fascinating and an eye-opening refresher course for adults. It is well-produced and timely. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in the early beginnings of our great nation.

For more mom-approved movies (and documentaries 🙂 please click on the Mom-Approved Movies tab at the top of this page.