It’s A Beautiful Day to Be Kind!

The new movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood hits theaters Friday November 22, 2019 (the Friday before Thanksgiving).  This is a must see movie for everyone that is high school age and beyond. Why you say? Because we need to be reminded what it is like to live in a world that is kind and respectful. The culture we live in today needs a fresh dose of kindness and I believe Mister Rogers delivers that message with precision in this movie.

Fred Rogers was one of the most influential Christians of the 20th century. He conveyed Gospel principles to millions, using stories instead of sermons.

In the film, Fred’s love for Jesus is made self-evident through his ability to see the inner child in everyone. He makes his friend Lloyd feel known and heard. He sees and accepts Lloyd as a child of God.

As Mark 12:31 says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
(The Holy Bible, NIV) In today’s world, we all need to be reminded of the power of love and the importance of saying, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Galatians 5:22-23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Here are a few suggestions on how to demonstrate kindness from the Beautiful Day website:

 

  • Write a thank you note to the people in your life who have loved you into being.
  • Complete random acts of kindness in your community. Possible ideas: leave encouraging notes for others to find, post a positive review for a company, befriend someone new.
  • Offer someone a genuine compliment today.
  • Volunteer with a local nonprofit and give back to your neighborhood.
  • Coordinate a donation bin for people in need.
  • Check your road rage at the car door and practice being neighborly on the road.
  • Visit with the elderly at a nearby retirement home.
  • Participate in a neighborhood clean-up to inspire others to care for the environment.
  • Is someone moving into your neighborhood? Greet them with a knock on the door and perhaps a small housewarming gift.
  • Make an anonymous donation to a charity of your choice.
  • Host a neighborhood gathering (like a dinner party) to bless your immediate community.

 

It’s a beautiful day to be kind! Let’s put the fruit of the spirit into practice everyday and not just during the holidays. 

Thanks for your time.

Dave Almgren – Faith and Family Films


Here is the official synopsis from the Sony / Affirm Web site.

Tom Hanks portrays Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a timely story of kindness triumphing over cynicism, based on the true story of a real-life friendship between Fred Rogers and journalist Tom Junod. After a jaded magazine writer (Emmy winner Matthew Rhys) is assigned a profile of Fred Rogers, he overcomes his skepticism, learning about kindness, love and forgiven

Check out the official trailer for the movie;

 

Here is the Heart of the Story video for some back story on the film;

 

 

Resources:

Here are some resources you can use to bring the message of neighborly love to your church and community! http://resources.abeautifulday.movie/

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A Movie, Interview and A Craft Idea

I know it’s only October. But I am really excited about a new movie that’s coming soon from Sony Pictures Animation and Affirm Films. The movie tells the story of the first Christmas and is a well done, animated movie, that is fun, funny and full of adventure. The best part is there are no elves. It’s the real story behind the meaning of Christmas – the birth of Jesus.  I believe this is a movie that is going to be a wonderful theatrical experience for the whole family.

The official synopsis from The Star web site describes the story as follows.

” A small but brave donkey named Bo yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth, a lovable sheep who has lost her flock, and Dave, a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told – the first Christmas.”

Check out what a few ministry leaders are saying about this new movie.
“Okay – bit of a scoop. Last night me and my 3 boys (6, 10 and 13 y/o) went to a preview of The Star movie. I was pleasantly surprised – it was really good! Each of my boys (who usually prefer Marvel movies to animal movies) loved it, and I did too! it was hilarious – plus I really liked how they portrayed the nativity story. Would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a family friendly movie this coming Christmas season.Mark Millard The Lads Band 

“The Star is a delightful movie that does an incredible job of portraying the struggles Mary and Joseph went through and the merciful love of God that guided them through it. Just like in the Bible, The Star will point your family towards Christ.” Jeff McClullough JumpStart3

I love that this is a Christmas movie that will open in November, because families can see the movie and then spend the Christmas season unpacking the messaging in the movie around the dinner table, during bedtime conversations, at church and spontaneous moments during the Christmas season. The Star represents a gift for humanity in the promise of the Savior Jesus. After seeing the film I would encourage families to come up with a few ways in which they can be a gift at school, work, family members or to complete strangers in their communities.

Here are some suggestions for families:

1- The 12 days of Giving;  Establish 12 days of giving as a family and come up with different ways as a family you can be a gift and a blessing to someone in your community.

2- Make The Star cookies as a family and share them with a neighbor, a retirement center, a homeless shelter as an unexpected gift.

3- As a family, create some memories by making Star ornaments or a star tree topper for the family tree (see the video example below).

4- Continue to talk and discuss the story of Christmas as a family thru out the Christmas season and unpack ideas on how each person can be an example of a gift to their community.

Check out the video below of an interview with the Executive Producer of The Star, Devon Franklin. Devon talks about the movie and why he decided The Star was an important story to share with the world this coming Christmas season.

The Star opens in theaters November 17th. Mark your calendars and make plans as family to see the film to start the celebration of the Christmas Season.

See you at the movies!

David Almgren – The Movie Guy

Check out this “How To” Video idea for a family Activity;

Lessons Of Grace

graceFrom early on in my adult life I knew deep in my heart that my travels through Life would be a little different from ‘the norm’.  I married later than all of my friends, started a family later, and then was blessed to have a daughter who happens to have Down Syndrome.  We had the name ‘Grace’ picked out years before she came along (it is the meaning of my name) and appropriately it means ‘Gift’.  For that is what Grace has been to our family.  It has indeed been a Journey. Grace is now 15 years old and although we get to experience the tween attitude now, we would not trade her in for anything.

Here are some of the Lessons of Grace that we have learned over the years:

  1. IT IS OKAY TO TALK TO PEOPLE ON THE ELEVATOR OR IN LINE… We all tend to avoid eye contact or just stare straight ahead.  Grace, however, loves to meet everyone and socialize with them.  We have met so many strangers over the years because of her.
  2. WHEN PEOPLE ARE SAD, THEY JUST WANT TO BE HUGGED… She is always concerned when someone is crying or sad and wants to hug and console them. Personally, I have a tough time hugging others and do not always know what to do or say when someone is sad.  Grace is teaching me that it is okay to embrace others more.
  3. IT IS IMPORTANT TO SAY “I’M SORRY” IF YOU HURT ANYONE… There were many times that Grace was the reason why other little girls (usually the emotional ones) would be crying.  She went through a long stage of pulling hair when she was young.  I think she was just fascinated with long, golden hair and would reach out to touch it, causing the owner to pull away in shock and get her hair tugged.  Yet Grace always said “Sorry..” and would then try to hug them tightly.  She did not make many close friends during this stage.LessonsfromGrace#1
  4. PEOPLE ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TOYS… I have been asked multiple times what Grace’s interests or favorite toys are.  It has always been people.  She came out a social butterfly and chats away with anyone she engages with.  However, she has also embarrassed me at times with her strong opinions.  One time someone we met was so excited to get our girls together and Grace took one look at the daughter and said “I don’t like her!” They eventually did become friends, yet that was quite humbling.
  5. SOMETIMES WE JUST NEED TO STOP AND TAKE A NAP… Anywhere. Anytime.  Enough said.
  6. IF YOU ARE SAD, JUST SAY “I AM HAPPY” AND FORGET ABOUT WHAT WAS UPSETTING YOU… Of my three kids, Grace gets over a foul mood quicker than any of them and flashes a smile to let us know that she is happy again.  If only it was that easy for the rest of us!
  7. IT’S IMPORTANT TO WAKE UP EACH MORNING WITH A SMILE… Grace has always been a morning person and now that she is getting older we hear “what’s next?” a lot.  This is tough when we have no plans or she is not excited about “what’s next”.  Yet, unlike her older brother, she always starts the day in a great mood, ready to conquer the Day.
  8. WE ALL WANT FRIENDS WHO LOVE US AS WE ARE AND DO NOT STARE AT US IF WE MAY BE ‘DIFFERENT’… Being my social bug, Grace has made lots of friends over the years.  Bless the ones who have patiently listened to her passing obsessions (over and over again).  We all just want to have people listen to our hearts, don’t we?
  9. WE NEED MORE OF THE ‘OH, WOW SYNDROME’…That is what I call it when Grace is next to me one second, and then missing the next.  What was so fascinating that caused her to say in her head “Oh, wow!” and then take off after it? This was not always logical and yes, we ‘lost’ her temporarily a few times in stores and in our neighborhood.  Now she at least looks back at me like, “Oh, yeah..I’m supposed to check in with you first”.  I need to look around more and find wonderful things that attract my attention.
  10. TO BE CONTENT IN LIFE IS A GREAT THING… There is a stereotype with these wonderful kids with Down Syndrome. The stereotype is that ‘They are always so happy’.  Always happy?  No.  Content?  Yes.  I long to be content with what is going on in my Life, to embrace each day and each person I encounter and to be content.

Grace has been a wonderful gift and is teaching us about living life with a different perspective as we move forward in our journey in life as a family.

“Grace is a pleasant surprise…Grace is a kind gesture.  Grace is something you did not expect.  Yet Grace is something you would never turn down.”  Max Lucado

Have a grace filled day!

Karis Almgren

Is the Movie Unbroken Broken?

Unbroken-posterA few months ago I was sitting in the theater waiting for the featured film to start. As with any movie these days, there is an onslaught of trailers before the feature actually starts to roll on the screen.  One of the trailers that caught my attention was for a new film called “Unbroken” ( in theaters Christmas Day). The trailer caught my attention, most of all because of the book that chronicles the journey of WWII American Hero Louis Zamperini and how faith in Christ transformed his life.  I will say that after seeing the trailer, “Unbroken” looks like an entertaining and inspirational movie, but is this film worthy of my $12 dollars at the box office?

In order to answer the question, I did a little research and discovered there seems to be some concern about the content in the movie and the absence of key elements to the story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini. According to an article in the Christian Post, Pastor Greg Laurie states that he is disappointed that Director Angelina Jolie chose to leave out the WWII hero’s Christian faith in the upcoming movie. If you have read the book or viewed any of Zamperini’s  interviews, his faith is an important part of the story. Pastor Greg Laurie interviewed Louis Zamperini at the November 10, 2011 Harvest Crusade at Dodger Stadium. In the interview you hear about his amazing life story how he reflects on the importance of faith in Christ in his life.

Click here to view the interview;

I also discovered a few comments from Christian Media critic Ted Baehr.  Here is what Ted stated regarding the film.

“It could be a great movie, but not without the story of his “spiritual release.” Ted Baehr

It sure seems that his conversion is just as important as his physical release from imprisonment.  It’s like saying, which wing of the airplane is more important, the right or the left wing? It’s obvious that both wings are of vital importance. So it seems with this story, the faith elements are vital to the overall story.

So, is the film broken because of the deletion of Zamperini’s faith in Christ and his conversion at a Billy Graham Crusade in San Fransisco?  I also have to ask the question, why did the director leave out this part of the story? Is Hollywood pulling a “Noah” with  “Unbroken” and leaving us to believe that they are staying true to the original storyline? According to the “Unbroken” movie web site, Unbroken is the most inspirational and faith-revitalizing film you’ll see all year.  Is this just Hollywood’s spin to convince the faith audience that they should show up and support this movie regardless of the missing elements that is said to be deleted in the film?  Although Zampareini’s conversion story seems to be left out, there are some references to faith highlighted in the movie trailer, such as a pastor preaching to a young Zamperini: “However dark the light, however dim our hopes, the light will always follow darkness,” the pastor says. But is this enough to cover the bigger faith elements that are said to be missing from the film?

In the end, is Unbroken, broken?  If you are going to see the movie as purely entertainment, then I would say that it is not. If you are going to see the movie that is based upon the book and Zamperini’s complete life story, than I think the movie is broken. You will have to decide if seeing the film is worth your time and money.

At the end of the day, I really want to support this film and I am disappointed that the faith elements seem to have been deleted from the story. Do I feel the movie is worthy of my $12 dollars?   Well, yes I do. Having read the book, I will use it to fill in the complete back story as I watch the movie. Also, understanding that the film is not a conversional story, it will indeed be conversational with multiple lessons to learn about the survival and resilience of a true American hero.


Movie Synopsis;
Academy Award® winner Angelina Jolie directs and produces UNBROKEN, an epic drama that follows the incredible life of olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII – only to be caught by the Japanese navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s (“Seabiscuit: An American Legend”) enormously popular book UNBROKEN brings to the big screen Zamperini’s unbelievable and inspiring true story about the resilient power of the human spirit.Starring alongside O’Connell are Domhnall Gleeson and Finn Wittrock as Phil and Mac – the airmen with whom Zamperini endured perilous weeks adrift in the open Pacific – Garrett Hedlund and John Magaro as fellow POWs who find an unexpected camaraderie during their internment, Alex Russell as Zamperini’s brother, Pete, and in his English-language feature debut, Japanese actor Miyavi as the brutal camp.

Stand with Coram Deo Studios

Brad Silverman and Russ Rice of Coram Deo Studios are launching a new film and they are enlisting support from the Christian community. They are attempting to make the boldest Gospel-centered family film ever.  Take a look at the video below to hear more about this new endeavor from Brad and Russ.

Here is a synopsis of the new movie from Coram Deo Studios.

“This touching & poignant family film traces the story of husband, father & author Scott Dempsey who calls himself a Christian, but his life simply doesn’t reflect it. He can talk the talk – but doesn’t walk the walk. That is until Al Watson (a seventy-five-year-old African American who happens to be the Jackie Robinson of NASCAR) befriends Scott’s young family and lives out a loving, Christ-like example before them. Over time, Al presents Scott with the true, Biblical, regenerating gospel of Jesus Christ… then the real journey begins.” The film will go into production early next year and plan for Summer2015 release.

If you would like to know more about this project and to support the movie with your dollars, click on the link below.

click here to find out more information. 

Heaven is For Real In Theaters April 16 2014

 photoTriStar Pictures, Affirm and Provident Films presents a new film called Heaven Is For Real. It’s based on the #1 New York Times best-selling book of the same name, written by Todd Burpo with Lynn Vincent. It tells the true story of a small-town Pastor who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience. Heaven Is For Real is directed by Randall Wallace (Bravehart, Pearl Harbor, We Were Soldiers, Secretariat). The screenplay is by Christopher Parker and Randall Wallace. It stars Greg Kinnear (“As Good As It Gets,” “Little Miss Sunshine”) as Todd Burpo and co-stars Kelly Reilly (“Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows,” “Flight”) as Sonja Burpo, the real-life couple whose son Colton (newcomer Connor Corum) experiences Heaven during emergency surgery. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence. He describes Heaven in vivid detail, and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth … things he couldn’t possibly know.  Todd is called upon by his congregation to explain the meaning of Colton’s revelations, and he and his family are challenged to examine their faith and draw meaning from this remarkable event.

From what I can see so far and after reading the book and previewing the film, I believe this movie could start and in some cases reignite a conversation about the subject of “Heaven” and what happens when we die.  The fact is, we all will face death one day and hopefully this movie cause’s us all to explore the question “if there really is a heaven.”   You know we have all asked the question “Is Heaven for Real?”  Maybe not out load – but we all wonder about life after death. I for one find myself thinking and also preparing for heaven much more than I have done so in the recent past. We are all on a journey thru life and my prayer is that this movie will encourage people to help others to reach heaven thru faith in Christ.

I highly encourage families to see Heaven is For Real on opening weekend. The first showings start Wednesday April 16, 2014.

Here is the trailer for the movie Heaven is For Real;

Check out the heart of the movie from Todd Burpo.

Veggietales MacLarry Coming Soon!

Veggietales-Maclarry-Stinky-Cheese-Battle-Christian-Film-Movie-DVDBig Idea is set to delivery a new episode from the award winning kids series VeggieTales. This time Larry The Cucumber takes the lead as “MacLarry” and brings us a lesson in getting along with others. Always a great reminder for kids and adults for that matter and as always audiences are served a brand new Silly Song (caution, may cause extreme laughter and singing unexpectedly in the car). The bad news is that you will have to wait until July 27th to secure your own copy.  The good new is that we have the trailer for you to view. Oh, and by the way you can pre order your copy from http:///www.kidzonearth.com.

 

Overview of  MacLarry:

A long time ago, in a land flowing with beards and kilts, there lived two clans who were locked in a longstanding feud! The tribes plotted against each other with various pranks, including water balloon ambushes, bad haircuts, and a host of other hijinks! Dwelling amongst these perpetual pranksters is “MacLarry” — a well-meaning young inventor who just wants to make kooky gadgets!

Try as he may, he has never mastered the art of pranking, even after much training from the Chief prankster himself; his father, Chog Norrius. Discouraged, MacLarry sets on a journey to find the great inventor “Archie-medes”, in hopes of finding a place he can belong. Meanwhile, the feud is escalating and Chog’s clan is plotting their biggest prank yet; releasing the stinkiest cheese in the land on their rivals! When the cheese caper goes afoul, Chog and the people realize they aren’t able to solve the situation on their own — they need MacLarry’s special skills to save the day! Will Chog and the tribe find MacLarry in time to convince him that his unique and God-given gifts are just what is needed to help both clans from being overcome by the loathsome Limburger and resolve their differences for good?

Pre order from http:///www.kidzonearth.com

Home Run The Movie Hits Theaters Today!

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The long awaited release of the new baseball themed movie Home Run hits theaters across the nation today ( check the films web site for theater listings). Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and freedom are apart of America. Well freedom is also the central theme in this new theatrical release from Samuel Goldwyn Films. Home Run takes you on a journey of a man with a bright future, but is haunted by a troubled past. Home Run is a must see film that will entertain and inspire audiences and will also remind us all that there is hope in our  journey of life. There are multitudes who are living life without hope and their addictions have completely overtaken and ruined their lives. My hope is that this movie will not only entertain, but will cause many to look inside and deal with their hurts, habits and hang ups that are keeping many from experiencing FREEDOM!

PLEASE NOTE: The movie is rated PG13 and is for junior high and above. The movie deals with some challenging topics and is not a movie for younger children.

HERE IS A SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE FROM THE HOME RUN WEB SITE:

Baseball all-star Cory Brand knows what it takes to win in the big leagues. But off the field, with memories of his past haunting him, his life is spiraling out of control.

Hoping to save her client’s career and reputation after a DUI and a team suspension, Cory’s agent sends him back to the small town where he grew up. Forced to coach the local youth baseball team and spend eight weeks in the only recovery program in town, Cory can’t wait to return to his old life as quickly as possible.

As his young players help him experience the joy of the game, Cory discovers his need to find freedom from his past and hope for his future … and win back the love he left behind. With this unexpected second chance, Cory finds himself on a powerful journey of transformation and redemption.

Based on thousands of true stories, HOME RUN is a powerful reminder that with God, it’s never too late … freedom is possible.

Check out the Home Run Movie trailer and than buy a ticket and go see Home Run this weekend!

Not Today The Movie – In Theaters April 12

This Friday is a BIG weekend for a few films that will deliver a poignant message that is sure to impact the psyche of our culture. The movie “Not Today” is most definitely one of those films and was birthed out of a desire to educate and challenge society to do something to stop slavery.  This is a giant issue to tackle and can be a challenge to really understand what a person can do to make a difference. Some may just ignore the issue and miss this movie altogether. So here’s a cliff note version of what your actions can do and simply start right here. First,  please understand that as you support the film and spread the word this helps create a successful opening weekend. As a result more people will be hearing about the movie and this issue and will explore their roll in helping to fight against slavery. Secondly, your ticket to see the movie is their ticket out of slavery. As a result of spending your money you are partnering with Friends Media and the Dalit Freedom Network who have committed to building 200 schools that will assist in rescuing thousands of children out of the human trafficking business and will give them a new life full of hope.

Not Today is a film that will grab your heart and leave you compelled to do something well beyond the credits. Please check out the movie, invite some friends, talk about the issue and how you can make a difference. Please note that Not Today is not necessarily a family movie because of the subject matter ( PG-13).

SYNOPSIS OF THE MOVIE:

Caden Welles has the world at his disposal. With the resources of his wealthy father, he’s living life as large as any 20-year-old could dream. But what happens when that dream becomes a nightmare halfway around the world?

Traveling with his friends to Hyderabad, India on a whim, Caden’s expectations of a never-ending party crash hard. But not as hard as his conscience when he refuses to help a starving man and his little girl. Haunted by the images of Kiran and Annika, Caden attempts to right his wrong—only to discover Kiran has been forced to sell his own daughter.

Caden’s eyes are now opened to a world few Americans know still exists: a thriving human-trafficking trade. Add the dehumanization of Kiran and hundreds of millions of other Dalits due to India’s caste system, and Caden could easily turn his back.

Yet spurred by a true purpose, an unlikely new friendship, and the prayers of his mother and girlfriend back home, Caden chooses to help in Kiran’s unlikely search to find his daughter.

Starring Cody Longo, Walid Amini, Shari Rigby, and John Schneider, NOT TODAY challenges moviegoers with a purpose that goes beyond its gripping story. The movie was produced by Friends Church Yorba Linda, a congregation committed to educating the Dalits and ending human trafficking in India.

NOT TODAY is a powerful reminder that change is possible if we’re willing to open our eyes … today.

“If not now, then when? If not me, then who?” Jewish leader, Hiller the Elder

Thanks for reading!

Peace

Dave Almgren