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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: June 21, 2019.

Family films in theaters are topping the box office for the third week of June.  The Secret Lives of Pets (No. 1 at the box office)Aladdin (No. 3 at the box office), Dumbo, and Breakthrough.  Further, another top pick movie, Toy Story 4 (Disney, Pixar, G-rated), opens in theaters June 21. These delightful movies display the importance of family and faith values.

‘The Secret Lives of Pets 2’|A Film About Overcoming Fears

The Secret Lives of Pets 2 is an entertaining movie (PG) for the whole family that focuses on the secret emotional lives of pets and follows the funny antics and adventures of a cast of amusing pets.  Max, the dog, faces changes and challenges when his owner Katie gets married and then has a child. Then, on a family trip to the countryside, Max meets a farm dog named Rooster, who helps Max overcome his fears. In the meantime, Gidget, the dog, tries to rescue Max’s favorite toy from a cat-packed apartment. Further, Snowball, the bunny, sets out to free a white tiger named Hu from a circus.

The Secret Life of Pets 2 is especially appropriate for older children through adults. (Consumers should know that it has animal bathroom comedy and a scene at the end of the movie with the credits showing a male dog dressed in a female costume.)

New ‘Aladdin’ Teaches Kids About Humility

Disney’s new live-action, G-rated, Aladdin, is a delightful cinematographic, humorous, and musical treat; but most importantly it presents themes of the importance of honesty and integrity, which outshine magical and deceptive power. Because Aladdin wants to impress the Princess Jasmine, he has the genie of the lamp turn Aladdin into a prince; however, the princess rejects the false prince as she has rejected other suitors.

‘Dumbo’ Reminds Us That Performance Is Not Everything

Dumbo is another heart-warming, live action remake of a Disney classic. This movie tells the well-loved story of the baby elephant named Dumbo, who can fly with his big ears, and is separated from his mother. Coming to understand the ugly secrets beneath the glamourous surface of the circus, Dumbo helps to save it and his mother. This is a wonderful, well-made movie with themes about the value of family, and about helping others to overcome intense evil lusts for power and greed. It is directed by Tim Burton and features the voices of Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, and Danny DeVito. This PG film is appropriate for older children through adults.

‘Breakthrough’|A Film About the Miracle of Faith

Breakthrough is based on the inspirational true story of an adoptive one mother (played by Chrissy Metz) who demonstrates unfaltering and conquering love in the face of impossible odds. This inspiring movie is based on the true story of John Smith, a 14-year-old boy who drowned in Lake Saint Louis in January 2014 and was dead for nearly an hour. CPR was performed on John for 27 minutes to no avail in the emergency room. Then John’s adoptive mother, Joyce Smith, (played by Chrissy Metz), came into the emergency room, praying loudly, and defied the institutional verdict of death. Suddenly, there was a pulse. John was revived and the miracles continued two weeks later as he walked out of the hospital without any brain, lung, or any other physical impairment. Today, John is alive.  He is graduating from high school and preparing to study for the ministry. It is appropriate for young teens through adults. Some of the most influential adoption and foster-care organizations are partnering with Breakthrough to help share the love of this movie. To learn more about these vital issues, be sure to connect with the Dave Thomas Foundation and the National Foster Parent Association.

‘Toy Story 4’|Teaches Us About Teamwork

Toy Story 4 is a Disney, Pixar, G-rated movie for the whole family which continues from the last Toy Story movie, when Sheriff Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and their other toy friends are receiving fresh appreciation after Andy Davis gives them to Bonnie Anderson. However, when Bonnie makes a new toy, Forky, the old toys are challenged to include and help Forky, who experiences a crisis over being a toy. The other toys help him understand how to be one.

When Woody and the gang go on a road trip with Bonnie and her family, Forky escapes but Woody goes to save him, which separates them from the group near a small town. While Buzz and the others try rescue Woody, he finds Bo Peep among other toys in the town’s antique shop. The movie is filled with many exciting adventures and events.

Toy Story 4 is entertaining with some good themes about the values of family and serving others.  The importance of taking care of others: of maturing to find real love in good positive, male/female monogamous relationships; and finding the purpose for which one is created are stressed.  The villain is transformed by redemptive self-sacrifice. (It should be noted, however, that there are some scary scenes for very young children.)

Further, there are many good, redemptive, family movies due out in theaters in days ahead. Please continue to search for and support the best movies for your friends and families. Be aware that the titles and trailers of some movies make them appear to be family-friendly when they are not. More and more Hollywood studios and independent ones are making better family movies, but there are movies that may seem family-friendly that have politically correct themes with subtle messages that you may find disturbing.

Not all seemingly family-friendly movies are equal in terms of family values, including superhero movies! It is critical for movie viewers who want uplifting, entertaining, and wholesome experiences for themselves to research movies written by trustworthy sources before they see them.

Furthermore, all movie review and recommendation sources are not equal. Make sure you read reviews by those you respect who have previewed movies you are considering. Don’t just rely on trailers to choose movies. All that seem to initially glitter is not gold, even with cute and seemingly innocent characters or with light humor. Buyer beware. Make careful, informed choices. The best family movies can be entertaining, educational, and edifying.

The best is yet to come when we continue to support the ongoing reformation in content and renaissance in media. As audiences continue to see good family and redemptive movies in theaters, more good movies will be made. Even the mainstream media has been amazed at the success of recent faith-based movies, due to consumer interest and support, and has seen that it is possible to produce movies with high production qualities that entertain but also edify and enrich audiences mentally and spiritually. Look for media that shows what is true, honorable, right, and pure. 

Here’s to family and redemptive movies that are entertaining during summer 2019!

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

See Dr. Howard’s top picks lists on IMDb

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