family

Homeless for the Holidays: A DVD Review

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A Bridgestone Film

Believe it or not, I remember watching this on TV once locally. It was a couple of years ago I was watching one of my local television channels when I saw this unusual obscure title on the programming list. I was reminded of Homeless for the Holidays years later while looking around online for Christian Christmas films. When I was reminded of this, I had to ask myself: “why didn’t I like this again?”

Homeless for the Holidays is an independent film about a wealthy marketing director who gets fired from his job, due to a wrongfully accused situation he is pinned upon. Jack Baker with his reputation now ruined cannot find ANY job, until he pushes his way into a minimum wage fast food job. The idea of dressing up as a penguin is embarrassing enough, but things get real tough and discouraging when his power gets shut off and the bank is ready to foreclose on his house if some serious cash doesn’t fall into his hands. Will his family really be homeless for this Holiday? What will Jack and his family learn? And will he ever get his job back with his reputation restored? Homeless for the Holidays had a good premise, especially because this was said to be based off of a true story. I liked the fact the movie was discouraging Christmas to be about material things, and instead was promoting something worth while like family. In fact, one might argue this might be a modern-day parable of The Book of Job.

However, overall I’m not much of a fan of this film. My first complaint is Jack Baker’s personality. I get the idea you’re supposed to not like Jack at the beginning of the film, because he is egotistical and obsessed with his job, but I just didn’t like much of his personality throughout the entire film even when he was being humbled. Of course maybe part of this feeling comes from the fact the acting was terrible. Most of the people in this movie unfortunately sound like they’re either over acting, inauthentic, or just down right cheesy. Speaking of cheesy, certain story elements I strongly felt were quite cheesy like when Jack’s first dawning the Penguin suit and especially the ending itself when things just get resolved perfectly as though the accusation was never even made. Not planning to buy this movie, but if a friend gave me a choice of whether to watch Homeless for the Holidays or a Holiday Fluff film like Adventures of Bailey: Christmas Hero I would much-much rather watch Homeless for the Holidays.

Movie Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

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The Heart of Christmas: A DVD Review

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Produced by Image Entertainment

Christmas time is already approaching, I mean you can see it in the TV commercials so it MUST be true! Lol. Anyway, I wrote a blog entry not too long ago about the Three Types of Christmas movies, which I recommend you read when you have the time, and I started thinking about Christmas movies. At one point I even thought: “I should do research and see if there are more Christian Christmas films out there…” One day I went to my local Family Video and saw they had The Heart of Christmas available, and so I had some hopes on this being a really good and hopefully real Christmas film.

The Heart of Christmas, is a story about a busy business mom whose kids and husband don’t feel like they see or spend time with her enough. This mom barely manages to go trick or treat with her kids and when she does, she uncovers a house with Christmas decorations. She asks “why the early decorations?”, and a local hands her a business card and replies: “read this blog and you’ll understand.” So she starts reading the story of a boy named Dax and the painful journey his parents are making for him… The acting was very good from all the cast members, the quality and script were quite original, and the song by Matthew West is awesome! But, what I am about to write might sound heartless to some people and I apologize for that in advance. It is not my intent to be a jerk, however I feel this needs to be said.

The Heart of Christmas is misleading, because this is not a conventional Christmas film like you may imagine when observing the movie’s cover appearance and the title itself. So if you’re hoping for a movie which heavily relates to the Christmas season, and with which you can laugh/enjoy beside the whole family, this isn’t it. No, The Heart of Christmas is a very painful journey through the lives of a group of parents whose child is fighting off cancer.  I get the idea that you’re supposed to see this film and then say to yourself: “Wow… I could have it a whole lot worse. I should be grateful of what I have.” However, I felt it was unnecessary for that to be most of the movie itself, because I can’t imagine this being a film I can watch again and again and again. Basically, no disrespect intended, this movie was designed to be emotional porn meant to make you cry. (I am not misusing that word, look it up.) Though this is a necessary message for some people to hear, because there are a lot of ungrateful people out there and we also have to be realistic in that Christmas isn’t always full of smiles and giggles, it doesn’t really talk about WHY Christmas is even worth celebrating; it just hints Dax “just needs one last happy moment” with his family. I won’t discourage you from watching/purchasing the movie, because there are somethings within the movie I felt are worth seeing especially if you haven’t experienced Cancer for yourself, but I won’t be adding it to my library; I’m sorry if that sounds heartless.

Movie Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

p.s. Please don’t misunderstand my words. I take what they produced very seriously and my heart goes out to all children, especially the children involved apart of that kind of situation. I just can’t watch a movie like this again and again and again, because this will emotionally shock you just as certain horror films are designed to emotionally shock you; hence why I called this ’emotional porn.’ Also keep in mind I would rather watch this than many of the Holiday Fluff films being currently released like Kung Fu Panda Holiday Special.

Rogue Saints: a DVD Review

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A Surround Media Film

I was searching for another Christian movie title recently, because of my movie group. I have loved many titles in the past, and I’ve always wanted to find Christian based movies which are really good. When I say really good, it’s meaning it has good acting, a great story, and a theologically accurate message. At some point during my search, I saw the trailer to this online and I thought it looked pretty funny. In addition, the concept just looked very promising because of its uniqueness.

Rogue Saints, to be very simplistic is a Christian version of The Lady Killers. To be a bit more specific though, Rogue Saints concerns two guys who have been friends since childhood: Nick and Dylan. Nick and Dylan catch up online one day about how their lives are going, and suddenly remember a story they heard back when they were kids. 30 years ago, a rich old woman named Mother Wright planned to hide a large diamond underneath her favorite church as her way of giving it back to Jesus. Dylan and Nick, both not Christians, decide they want to tunnel underneath this church and steal the diamond. However, in order to do that they have to volunteer their services to the church as janitors and pretend they’re Christians; while digging for the diamond. Will they find something of great value? And will the people of that church impact their lives?

Rogue Saints is a very good film. This is the first Christian movie I’ve seen which involves a criminal operation, and after seeing how well this did I’d love to see more films like this. I thought at times this was funny, especially when parodying certain church goers (which is not meant to be taken seriously), but then there were also more serious moments which gave the characters strong detail in addition to pointing out how important it is to be apart of God’s Family. The story was well written, the effects and video quality were also very good, and the acting for the most part was great. The only downside to this was that I was able to predict much of it, but nevertheless this is a movie I’m glad to have apart of my Christian movie collection and hope to see more movies like this.

Movie Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Disciplines of a Godly Family by Kent and Barbara Hughes

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By Kent and Barbara Hughes

Family is a word and concept talked about a lot in our society, but the idea of Family isn’t something people necessarily put enough practice or importance into as often as they should. Now I am desiring become a father in the near future, and because of that desire I want to prepare myself for that role in multiple ways. I picked up this book at my local Christian bookstore, because I want to learn how to be a great Dad, when the time comes, and I need any advice/suggestions to be ones which will glorify God. I wanted to see if the Hughes Family had some great, biblically based tips for readers like me.

Disciplines of a Godly Family is a sequel/expansion to Disciplines of a Godly Man, which was written by Kent Hughes, and Disciplines of a Godly Woman, which was written by Barbara Hughes. Together they share various details and suggestions on building/maintaining a great family. Some of the ideas they share are ones which they personally practiced together as a family, and others are ideas which they feel they should have used more often or used more effectively. The tips and advice shared within this book range from vacations, manners, discipline, food, education, character, Holidays, bonding activities, and many other important topics.

Obviously, Disciplines of a Godly Family did not address EVERYTHING, but what I did read was very good. It’s no surprise that some of the stuff The Hughes talk about are worth tweaking, but like they say in the book ” each family is unique“. Although certain details are going to be limited due to income or physical ability, much of the suggestions and advice I believe are reachable goals. I especially like how they emphasize the importance of reading; it is a dying trait in our society… (unless it’s a book which has recently become a movie) I like how they admit that no family is perfect, and that they don’t expect the reader to practice everything they talk about, because it shows honesty and consideration; they certainly had some hard times too and let readers know they will too. After reading Disciplines of a Godly Family not only do I plan to read this a second time, this time a loud with the wife, but also heavily encourage you to buy this today if you’re also desiring to start a family soon.

Book Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

The Woodcarver (WWJD II): A DVD Review

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A Nasser Group North film

Though John Ratzenberger had a smaller part in the movie What if…? I thought he was great in that movie. In addition to liking his previous performance as well as his work for Pixar, I bought this DVD because the plot premise seemed like this would be both comedic and inspirational. Interestingly enough, when I first opened The Woodcarver case I saw the disc stated this was also WWJD II. If you are familiar with some of my previous entries, you should know that I did watch WWJD the Movie and thought it was a pretty decent film, but will this second be just as good?

Like WWJD the Movie, The Woodcarver is multiple stories weaved together very finely. The primary story concerns fifteen year old Matt Stevenson who is caught on camera vandalizing a Baptist Church; why he did this you’ll have to find out. The Pastor of First Baptist Church gathers Matt and his parents together, and tells them that if Matt repairs the damaged done the church will not press charges. Another story concerns Matt’s parents who are currently separated, and are struggling to deal with all their family’s drama and strife. The third story concerns Ernest Otto, the woodcarver who originally carved the church’s woodwork, who hasn’t carved in years due to his wife’s death. Ernest is now commissioned by the church to rebuild what was once destroyed, though a certain construction company would prefer him to not complete the job… All together each of these stories eventually beg everyone the question: “What Would Jesus Do?”

This movie has given me an appreciation for anything that is hand carved. I felt the movie impressively described and demonstrated what it means to be a woodcarver and how difficult it is of a task;  I wonder what Jesus Christ’s wood work looked like. The message presented, like the first WWJD movie, was very good of a reminder especially for those who haven’t gone to church in a while. This is a story about manhood, mentorship, family, character, and hard work. The only downsides I can honestly give are two things: 1) Matt and his dad’s actors could have been better at times, though the acting was decent overall 2) some parts of the story’s plotline were kind of predictable at least for me. Other than those two things I can definitely say this is a great movie for the family and glad to have this in my Christian movie collection.

TCP Movie Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.