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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: May 24, 2017.

For the fourth week of May, Box Office Mojo reports that four top pick, family, redemptive movies prevail at the top of the box office:  Born in China, Case for Christ, Hidden Figures, and Champion.

First released in China in August 2016 and in the United States in August 2017, Box Office Mojo reports that Born in China prevails at the top of the box officeThis outstanding Disneynature documentary is about unique animals in harsh, mountainous China, who demonstrate persistence, perseverance, and resilience.

This rare G-rated movie follows three families of pandas, snow leopards, and snub-nosed monkeys in their fascinating behaviors and antics, along with shaggy yaks, beautiful cranes, and small antelopes. Although this captivating, heart-grabbing movie is a real-life documentary, the featured animals are given names that appeal especially to children, even though natural lessons of survival are part of the story.

The movie first introduces a female snow leopard preparing on a harsh, snowy, mountainside a place to bear and raise her cubs. The movie also follows an adolescent snub-nosed monkey from his birth family to joining a roving group of maturing males dubbed, “the lost boys.”  A panda teaches her cub to swim, climb, and forage for bamboo. An expectant antelope participates in a migration of capering antelopes to raise her young in a safe environment.

The gorgeous cinematography in Born in China presents a range of landscapes, which includes lush forests, broad plains, and rocky mountains. Fandango provides behind-the-scenes video and YouTube presents other video features for Born in China. Good family movies like Born in China entertain but also positively enrich, educate, and edify.

Box Office Mojo also reports that the movie, The Case for Christ, which was first released in the United States and in other countries in April 2017, persists at the top of box office. This captivating narrative drama, The Case for Christ, is produced by Pure Flix, a company with a solid track record of producing excellent movies with redemptive content for all ages, as well as ever-improving artistry. The Case for Christ is based on the true story of the award-winning journalist and avowed atheist Lee Strobel, and takes place in 1980 when his investigative reporting earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. At the same time his career was taking off, his home life became a battle zone when his wife Leslie – who had been an agnostic – found faith in Christ.  Leslie perseveres with her new faith, while Lee struggles with evidence that leads him ultimately to faith in Jesus Christ.

Applying his well-honed journalistic and legal skills, Lee set out on a mission to disprove the newfound Christian faith of his wife. The result was unexpected and life-altering. See Sonoma Christian Home’s in-depth interview with Lee and Leslie Strobel.

The movie The Case for Christ is a must-see film for everyone who has ever pondered the existence of God, or the evidence related to the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Lee, who earned a law degree from Yale Law School, used his legal experience and training as a former courtroom analyst to thoroughly study and build a case to discredit the deity of Jesus. It is also a must-see movie for those who are persisting in faith and prayer for the faith of their loved ones.

Employing historical, personal, and medical records of evidence of the life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, Lee “cross-examined” a dozen leading experts with doctorates from schools such as Cambridge, Princeton, and Brandeis, who are recognized authorities in their fields. His careful research and scrutiny led him to stunning conclusions and results. This movie is appropriate for middle-schoolers through adults.

Further, Box Office Mojo reports that Hidden Figures, which was first released in the United States in December 2016 and in January 2017 in other countries, has remained at the top of the box office for five months. This top pick movie, Hidden Figures presents the overcoming and resilience of women who have a Christian foundation. This movie entertains but also edifies, enriches, educates, and enlightens. Hidden Figures has earned many SAG, Movieguide ®, and Oscar honors, and is based on an amazing true story about an outstanding team of African-American women during the American Civil Rights Movement and Space Race of the 1960’s. It is primarily about these brilliant women who provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program’s first successful space mission.

As the United States races against Russia to put a man in space, NASA finds incredible talent in a group of female mathematicians who serve as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in U.S. history. Hidden Figures is based on the incredible real-life stories of three of these women, known as “human computers.” These women wisely, boldly, and quickly rise in the ranks of NASA, alongside many of history’s greatest minds. They are specifically tasked with calculating the momentous launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit and guaranteeing his safe return.

DF-02289_R2_Comp_V2 - Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) are three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

DF-02289_R2_Comp_V2 – Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) are three brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), and Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) cross all gender, race, and professional boundaries, as their brilliance and desire to dream big – beyond anything ever accomplished before by the human race – firmly places them in the history of heroes.

Hidden Figures has many outstanding elements: amazing true story set in fascinating and sad history; good acting; effective use of humor and romance; character role models (of perseverance, humility, determination, and faith); inspiring Christian church, family, community, and support.

The three female leads are engaging, captivating, and delightful in their performances.  Hidden Figures features Kevin Costner as Al Harrison, Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell, and other notable actors. The movie focuses on the gracious, strong, and overcoming spirits of the women at NASA and those who support them. This movie is inspirational, redemptive, and hopeful.

Hidden Figures, which is PG-rated, is most appropriate for teens through adults due to its subject matter. Unfortunately, the hard-core administrator, Al Harrison, has one line early in the movie in which he takes our Lord’s name in vain. There are also honest, historic depictions of harsh treatment to African-Americans. However, the movie shows the growth of harsh figures towards respect.

Champion was released last week and continues at the top of the box office this week. With an inspiring Christian worldview and beautiful cinematography, Champion is a story about an arrogant dirt track car racer, Shawn, played by Andrew Cheney (Beyond the Mask).  Challenged by another driver, Ray Reed, Shawn gets angry and deliberately runs into his vehicle. The crash kills Ray.

Furthermore, Ray’s estranged father, Jack, who has recently reconciled with Ray, has watched the accident from the stands and resumes having harsh feelings for his son.  Shawn, who consumes too many drugs and alcohol, loses custody of his daughter. The problems seem insurmountable.

Champion grapples with the concept of true winning. It deals honestly with the struggles of fathers and their children. It presents issues of guilt, trials, and forgiveness. The acting is good. This movie that inspires with its story about true overcoming and real winning is engaging.  It is PG-rated and is appropriate for middle schoolers through adults.

What we as patrons and consumers attend, support, promote in theaters will persist and encourage filmmakers to produce more of the same. Fortunately, many redemptive family movies are prevailing in theaters due to consumer interest and support. We reap what we sow in terms of participation and promotion.

Beware that there are there are also other “family” movies in theaters that have undesirable language, situations, and philosophies. Therefore, caution is advised and research encouraged before making any choices for movies you and yours see.

The Bible tells us to think on the following: whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and anything excellent or praiseworthy.

Top pick movies in theaters for the last week of May are The Case for Christ and Champion for mid-schoolers -adults, as well as Born in China and Hidden Figures for all ages.

Next week there are two outstanding encore Fathom Events for one night only: June 1 In His Hands and  June 3 Jonah On Stage!. See Sonoma Christian Home’s interviews, stories, photos and more for these excellent events.

In months, ahead there are many promising family, redemptive movies. They include the following:  Cars 3, 6/16; All Saints, 8/25; The Heart of Man, 9/14; Same Kind of Different as Me, 10/20; The Star, 11/10; and Let There Be Light, 12/24.

Hold out to see and support the best. Avoid compromising movies that mix truth with error. Research movies before you see them. Remember that all that glitters may not be gold.



To learn more about this author, please visit Dr. Diane Howard


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