Saturday, December 19, 2015

A list of Christian/family friendly movies with reviews

I'm glad most of you enjoy Christian movies, or clean movies with positive good message. They are hard to find! I've watched some good ones, and I'll share them with you. These are only some recommendations based on my personal opinion, and your tastes may vary - so no worries of none of these movies suit you.

I feel the Christian movies on the list are God-honoring and biblically sound. Those that aren't explicitly Christian are family friendly with good themes. I searched for where these movies may be found streaming online, but did not look for where they could be rented for pay or purchased. I'm sure most of them can be rented. If I didn't mention where a movie can be found to watch it doesn't necessarily men it is unavailable, just that I didn't search for paid-rentals. Be advised that if the movie is on a free site, quality may vary.

Thsi list is not comprehensive. I've reviewed other films but did not include them here if the review was negative. Faith Like Potatoes, War Room, The Bible tv series, Life of Pi, Dancer & the Dame, etc and others are a few films I've reviewed and put in the 'not recommended' category.

Where I wrote my own review of the film, I've included a link. Happily, some of these are available to watch for free on various venues online.

Note: some of the synopses pasted below come from Internet Movie Database or the movie site itself and not written by me.

-----------------------------------

Finding Normal is a Christian movie and a very well done movie on all levels. Here is the official synopsis from Internet Movie Database.

The only thing standing between Dr. Lisa Leland (Candace Cameron Bure) and the wedding of her dreams in the Hamptons is a 2600-mile drive from Los Angeles to Long Island. However, a run in with the law in the country town of Normal, Louisiana leaves Dr. Leland with a choice--Jail or community service. Sentenced to serve three days as the town's doctor, Lisa has her world turned upside down by a man she would never expect. Quickly, Lisa finds that there's a lot more to Normal than she could have ever imagined.

Candace Cameron Bure is little DJ from the 1980s television show Full House. She has grown up to be a stunning young woman, and she is Christian. Lou Beatty Jr as the judge is tremendous and steals nearly every scene he's in.

The moves along beautifully in illustrating that Christian love can melt even the most compassionless or selfish heart. Dr. Lisa sees people who have different priorities than she does, which are prayer, church, love to neighbor, and a simple lifestyle where the community comes together and shares with those in need, or just to have fun. It doesn't involve high pay, glitzy parties, or fancy cars. It involves pastures, children, God, fireflies, and genuine care for people- including patients.

Streaming on Netflix. My review is here.


---------------------------------
Good Ol' Freda

For fifty years, the untold story of Freda Kelly remained untold, until Freda herself decided to speak. Freda was the Beatles' trusted secretary since before their rise to fame until their breakup, 11 years overall, and their friend throughout their rise to fame. Yet never then or now did she capitalize on her insider status to grab fame or money for herself. Her integrity is noted throughout the film. The movie synopsis says,

"Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teen, works for a new local band -- the Beatles -- hoping to make it big. As the band's fame multiplies, Freda bears witness to music and cultural history but never exploits her insider access."
My review is here.
On Hulu.

---------------------------------

Foster AKA Angel in the House

I watched a good movie, called Angel in the House, but also known as Foster. At Internet Movie Database you will find it under the name "Foster" which is a terrible name. I don't know why this film has two names, but the film I'm talking about titled Angel in the House 2011 is not to be confused with the short film Angel in the House 1978 or the 2005 short film Foster on which the longer 2011 I'm reviewing today film is based and in which the entire first ten minutes are the same. Got it?

The name is the only thing that is terrible about this movie, however. It is a sweet, cute, sentimental, charming fairy tale of a film. Easy on the eyes, melting of the heart, it's a light and airy meringue with great acting and a satisfying ending.

My review is here.
On Hulu.

---------------------------------

WWJD II: The Woodcarver

This film is not a sequel to a previous movie with called WWJD John Schneider. It stars John Ratzenberger of Cheers and Toy Story who plays a grieving widower. Meanwhile a family has disintegrated, the parents fight all the time, they are separated and thinking of divorce. Their 15 year old son has lashed out by quitting school and vandalizing the local Baptist church. The story is about the intersection of these two sets of characters. The themes are:

--power of prayer
--putting Jesus first
--the man resuming headship of his family under the guidance of Jesus via worship at church, prayer, and bible precepts
--living a sacrificial life of love for your neighbor, and your family

I am always taken by the power of watching a multiplying faith founded on shared love and personal sacrifice. These kind of movies are far better because they demonstrate what Jesus would have us do in making disciples and working out our faith in fear and trembling. Movies that show the strong, undying, persevering commitment to living a Christ-like life in mundane circumstances in your home, your work, your school - which is the real miracle.

Streaming on Netflix, Hulu, FREE on OV Guide

My review here.
---------------------------------

Raising Izzie

It is about two orphaned girls aged 14 and 10, who are struggling to live on their own in an apartment their dying mother set up for them. It was only a matter of time of course, before they were found out. A year later, a caring teacher of the older girl becomes suspicious when she compares parent signatures on a school paper and realizes that they differ.

The teacher's back story is that she wants children, and she and her husband have been trying for a while and haven't had the desired result. This causes stress on the relationship and their strong faith is tested. What is obvious to the viewer is that God is building a family between the two parties.

Issues explored:
--The teacher and her husband are black and the two girls are white. Can they make a family? Can family include adopting older kids? Can it be interracial?
--God's people helping the orphan, what is our responsibility? (There were discussions of what should they do, call DFACS? The Police? Take the girls in?)
--The father says he wants children but the wife worries that underneath he is more committed to their child-free lifestyle.
--The wife wants children but begins to resent God for the lack
--The older girl is resentful she has to raise Izzie and is angry at God for failing to answer her prayer to cure her mother of cancer. (It is stated that the girls' father had died just before Izzie was born)

Streaming on Netflix, Hulu, FREE on OV Guide here

My review here.
---------------------------------

No Greater Love

Jeff and Heather were the “lucky ones”. Best friends from childhood, high school sweethearts, and married by 22, they were inseparable soul mates. After the birth of her first and only child, Heather Baker (Danielle Bisutti) fell into a deep depression. Hopelessly lost, she did the unthinkable– she abandoned her husband and her infant son –and vanished. Jeff Baker (Anthony Tyler Quinn) was forced to raise their son Ethan as a single father. Ten years after his wife’s disappearance, Jeff is finally ready to move on and is on the verge of marrying his new girlfriend. His world, however, is dramatically rocked when Heather shockingly reappears in the most unusual place.

This movie is biblically sound especially when exploring the biblical approach to marriage and divorce.

Watch for free on iTBN.

Michelle Lesley Christian blogger reviews the movie here.
---------------------------------

What If...?

"What If...?" came out in 2010 and stars Kevin Sorbo, Kristy Swanson, and John Ratzenberger as the angel. 15 years ago, Ben Walker left his girlfriend and his ministry calling for a business opportunity. Now with a high-paying career and a trophy fiancé, he is visited by an angel, who gives him a glimpse into what his life would look like had he followed his calling. The director is Dallas Jenkins, son of Jerry B. Jenkins of Left Behind fame. It is a combination It's a Wonderful Life and Family Man. It is a time warping, parallel universe kind of peek into a life that has the other answers to choices you did not make in this universe and yet (without revealing spoilers) it shows that God IS at work to the good of all that love Him.

Streaming on Netflix.

My review here.

---------------------------------

Angel in My Pocket

A homespun minister (Andy Griffith in his first movie post-Mayberry) and his family, pregnant wife Lee Merriwether, and Jerry Van Dyke as the ne’er-do-well brother-in-law who’s a lush, move to a small town where he tries to win the support and trust of his new congregation. The town is in Kansas and the winning has to be done because the two sets of founding families have been feuding for 60 years. This terrible cycle of blame shifting, nit-picking and anger has paralyzed the town. The school is falling apart, and the church and pastorium is a wreck. No one can make a decision, or even a comment, without a fight erupting.

Griffith is a freshly graduated ordained minister called to his first church, “Church of the Redeemer” in this town in Kansas well known for pastor turnover- 7 ministers in 10 years. Of course, no one apprises Griffith of this fact, and he loads his wife, kids, mother-in-law, brother-in-law and dog off to Wood Falls. Where Mayberry showed the best of small-town life, “Angel” is a movie that exaggerates the worst of small town life: gossip, misunderstanding, entrenched views, selfishness, pettiness, church politics, but does it all with humor and not mean-ness as the increasingly exasperated Griffith tries to win his congregation.

On Youtube free, here

My review here.
---------------------------------

Honor Flight

Honor Flight is not a Christian movie per se, but a tremendously moving and wonderful documentary about how volunteers honor WWII veterans. It is a 2012 documentary chronicling the efforts of Wisconsin volunteers to organize Honor Flights in the Midwest. These are special flights transporting WII veterans from their home to the WWII Memorial in Washington DC and back, all free of charge. The IMDB blurb says

Honor Flight chronicles a community coming together to honor World War II veterans. The film follows a team of Midwest volunteers as they race against the clock to send every local WWII veterans to see the memorial built in their honor and the heart of the Capitol city of a nation that they protected.

The race against the clock refers to the fact that 900 WWII vets die per day. They are all in their mid-to-upper 80s and early 90s now, and many are very ill. Within 20 years there will not be any left in which to honor or hear first-hand accounts. HONOR FLIGHT is a moving documentary about the work that can be done when a group of passionate people work toward a common goal. In this case, the goal is simple: Help WWII veterans, who die at the rate of 900 a day at the time of the documentary's filming, visit a WWII memorial in their honor before they pass away.

It's on Netflix, Hulu, and also can be seen for FREE on a free film site called Snagfilms.com.

My review here.
---------------------------------

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

It stars Gavin McCleod who you might remember as Captain of the Love Boat and Mary Tyler Moore Show. He is actually a Christian. Also stars Robert Guillaume who you might remember as Benson (the butler) in the 17970s television show Benson. In 1970 a 75-year-old man named Jonathan Sperry starts mentoring three boys - Dustin, Albert, and Mark - to follow the Lord. I liked the movie for its accurate depiction of persistent, compassionate, loving Christian faith and its multiplying effect on people, hearts, and even neighborhoods.

Unfortunately I can't find it streaming anywhere, but you can buy or rent the DVD and watch

---------------------------------

Camp

To impress a potential client, financial advisor Ken Matthews signs up to be a counselor at a camp for kids in the foster system. He is paired with Eli, a 10 year-old determined to hate camp. However, when Ken discovers Eli's dark past, his apathy turns to compassion. But is he to late to help the scared boy nobody wants? Inspired by true stories of ordinary people providing extraordinary help for abused and neglected kids, CAMP is a tale of hope shining in the dark places for forgotten children. For his performance in the role of Eli, actor Miles Elliot won BEST PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURE FILM by a Leading Young Actor at the 35th annual Young Artist Awards. The camp mentioned is in reality Royal Family Kids' Camps.

This is one of my favorite movies with a Christian theme. It involves kids, and it is a true story. Can't beat that! Very moving and true to life. If you watch it, stay watching through the credits, they interview the actual people the movie is based on and give information about the Christian Camp fir these abused kids. Incredible.

On Netflix.

---------------------------------

The Blind Side

Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron), a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) and her husband, Sean (Tim McGraw), take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael's legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. The Tuohys eventually become Michael's legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. Michael's tremendous size and protective instincts make him a formidable force on the gridiron, and with help from his new family and devoted tutor, he realizes his potential as a student and football player. Very well done and moving. Based on a true story

Available on Netflix DVD, free on Youtube here

---------------------------------

I'll Be Me

Documentary about singer Glen Campbell's onset of Alzheimer's disease and he and his family's decision to continue with his already planned final tour. Campbell was a man of faith, and in reading about him after the movie left off, one nurse taking care of him said that even in his last days when he would have a few moments of lucidity he would immediately go to the window, look up, raise his arms and say "I am a blessed man." Very touching and movie of a Godly man and his battle with a terrible disease.

Streaming on Netflix.

---------------------------------

Walking Across Egypt

This is a Christian movie involving a juvenile delinquent and a lonely older woman. The ever solid Ellen Burstyn is the woman who eventually takes in the troubled teen. Also starring is Judge Reinhold, Pat Corley as Sheriff Tillman, Edward Hermann and Mark Hamill. The conclusion to the Wikipedia synopsis states, "Wesley (Jonathan Taylor Thomas), currently serving time in juvenile detention for a recent car theft. Mattie finds that this young man is just missing direction and believes that with a little insight on Christianity he can straighten up and fly right." Themes are also Christian love, applying the bible to life, and hypocrisy. There are a few mild swears, included to show that the boy is a delinquent, lol. But that's it, nothing else objectionable. Another good movie showing the power of a Gospel lived out and muliplying faith through sacrificial love and solid discipleship. Watch, it's a sweet movie.

Free on Youtube here, or here

---------------------------------

End of the Spear

End of the Spear is a true story of Christian missionaries making first contact with the Stone Age Huaorani tribe of Ecuador not far from the Shell oil company corporate base in Shell-Mera Ecuador. It's a good movie and I recommend it. The missionaries made the contact in 1956 in the Amazon basin. End of the Spear is a 2005 docudrama film that recounts the story of Operation Auca, in which five American Christian missionaries attempted to evangelize the Huaorani (Waodani) people of the tropical rain forest of Eastern Ecuador. Based on actual events from 1956 in which five male missionaries were speared by a group of the Waodani tribe, the movie tells the story from the perspective of Steve Saint (the son of Nate Saint, one of the missionaries killed in the encounter), and Mincayani, one of the tribesmen who took part in the attack. The two eventually form a bond that continues to this day.

Very good movie!! Available on Netflix DVD rental, free on Youtube (spoken in English with English & Spanish subtitles)

---------------------------------

Owd Bob

Not an explicitly Christian movie, Owd Bob is just a good ole clean movie, like Babe. It stars the same man, James Cromwell. The story is, recently orphaned in America, teenager David Roberts must spend the summer with grumpy maternal grandfather Adam MacAdam (Cromwell), whom he never met, on his sheep-farm on the Isle of Man. Both long for the end of the summer, having nothing in common but their love for dogs, notably Adam's precious champion sheepdog Bob. David strikes a friendship with Maggie, the sassy daughter of friendly neighbor Keith Moore, but Adam hates that family on account of an old canine competition-related tragedy. Other neighbors suspect Bob and the Moore's dog of the recent series of nocturnal sheep-kills.

Watch for free at OV Guide

---------------------------------

Brownstones to Red Dirt

Brownstones to Red Dirt is a 2010 documentary about children living in a violent part of Brooklyn NYC, whose middle school teacher initiated a pen pal program with children in civil war torn Sierra Leone. The unique aspect of this documentary is that there is no voice over, intoning and opining. No narrator and no narrative. The movie features the voice of the children (and parents and teachers) exclusively. The kids are the ones telling the story. And what a story it is. The movie blurb at SnagFilms.com summarizes: A sweet and lyrical documentary about a simple pen pal program, BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT captures the growth of sixth graders from housing projects in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and war orphans from Freetown, Sierra Leone. Though the kids know nothing about one another when they write their first letters, they learn that while their environments are vastly different, the struggles they face make them more alike than they realized. This revelation brings them closer together and teaches us all inspirational lessons about friendship, love and humanity. The kids are really incredible.

On Hulu, FREE on Snagfilms.com here

---------------------------------

Of interest:

Becoming Santa

is a reality TV movie-length exploration of one man's decision to "become Santa" for a Christmas season. The film focuses mostly on Jack Sanderson, a 44-year-old LA native. When a 97-minute movie centers around one character, it's important that the character be likable. Jack is. He is intelligent, witty, humble, self-effacing, and sweet. He is a delight to watch. The story is simple. Jack finds himself alone one Christmas, his mom having died previously and then his dad having died recently. He's by himself, in middle age, wondering where his Christmas spirit went. He decides to try jogging his spirits alive by posing as Santa for the holiday. There is a lot more to becoming Santa than one may think. The settings differ and so do the logistics. There is Santa in a parade, Santa ringing the bell outside on the corner, Santa visiting children in hospital or orphanages, Santa on the Polar Express, and of course the Department Store Santa. Jack decides to purchase a Santa suit (which one? There's lots!), dye his natural beard white, and attend a Santa School to learn what it's all about. Very sweetly affecting movie.

On Hulu, FREE on OV Guide here.

---------------------------------

Television shows:

Hope Island

A Christian TV series that was on the old PAX channel for one season. it was the highest rated and most critically acclaimed show they ever had, so of course they immediately canceled it. 22 episodes. Daniel Cooper, a newly ordained minister, is called to the island to fix up and restart an old church that has been empty and neglected for 30 years. Upon arriving, Daniel finds the situation is not quite what he expected it to be, and he struggles knowing if he should stay or not. However, the quirky residents of the island quickly grow on him, and he soon becomes an invaluable member of the community. With a large ensemble cast, Hope Island is full of quirky and lovable characters.

On Hulu, also free on OV Guide, here

Enlisted 

An American comedy television series that premiered January 10, 2014, on Fox. Despite low ratings, the show received critical acclaim, with The Army Times writing an editorial asking Fox to give the show another chance in a better time slot. The story is, three very different brothers, each soldiers in the U.S. Army, find themselves all assigned to the same unit: the fictional A Company, 2nd Battalion, 618th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 18th Infantry Division (Mechanized), at the fictional Fort McGee, located in Florida. While the majority of the base is deployed overseas, the two younger brothers (Derrick and Randy) are assigned to rear detachment – the soldiers left behind to take care of the base. The oldest brother, Staff Sergeant Pete Hill, is returned stateside from Afghanistan after punching a superior officer. He is assigned to supervise a platoon of misfits that includes his brothers. While working together, the brothers are able to renew and strengthen their childhood bonds. It's a show about family, loyalty, honor, and country.

Youtube, here

1 comment :

  1. I really appreciate these movie suggestions. Now and then we get a chance to watch a movie but I rarely know what's out there and by the time the kids are in bed I'm too tired to do the research to make sure they're acceptable to watch! Also, thanks for the recent Chris Powers video. Great stuff.

    Melissa

    ReplyDelete