Our family has a tradition of watching a movie every Friday and ordering out for pizza. It gives the kids something consistent to look forward to, gives me a break from cooking, and provides an opportunity for us to view quality movies as a family (and discuss them) without the kids having to feel deprived because we don't often spring for the "real" movie theater experience.
Over the last year or so, I have been blessed by the opportunity to work some new quality family movies into our repertoire that diverge from the usual kiddie, cartoon-y movies that seem to often be the only "clean" movies available (and if you keep track of some of the cartoons out these days, you will know that even being a cartoon does not guarantee appropriateness for children these days). Hubby and I have found this to be a great relief...oh, let's be honest here...I have found this to be a great relief (Hubby is happy with cartoons) because I am just not that into animation, or cartoon-y characters, or constant capers and hi-jinx.
These new family movies are emerging to fill a market need that producers are starting to identify as "family values.' GASP! It's like Hollywood forgot that there are FAMILIES out there who watch movies, too, and not all parents want their kids to see promiscuous women parade across the screen, hear language not fit for the local pub, or see adults engaged in sleazy high-risk behaviors, and children determined to undermine their parents' authority. It amazes me that the average movie has gotten so bad that even if it has a "good" message, you still have to be cautious about taking your family (even your teens) to it, because it is likely that negative behaviors such as swearing, drinking, and violence will be showcased, all for the sake of "making it realistic."
Last week for family night we watched a new movie from the Thomas Kincaide collection. Yes, that's Thomas Kincaide the artist. I remember walking through Thomas Kincaide galleries when I was younger, admiring the paintings of cottages and misty streets that seemed to glow from within. Well, he still has those, but these days he has diversified and now he even has Disney, NASCAR, and baseball paintings! Then there are the movies, too. Movies like The Christmas Cottage (available for instant viewing on Netflix...it's a good one), and The Christmas Lodge, and now, A Mile in His Shoes (he also has a painting series based on the movie which you can view HERE).
Based on a true story, A Mile in His Shoes is a film about the profound changes that occur in many lives when a determined minor league coach (played by Dean Cain) recruits a sweet young man named Mickey (played by Luke Schroeder, Ricky Schroeder's son) to be his team's pitcher. Mickey, whom Murph (the coach) discovers on a farm when he runs his car into a ditch in the country, is unusual in a number of ways. First, there is his innocence, because he has been sheltered by his parents (good on you, mom and dad!). Second, there is his amazing pitching arm, which he developed by pitching apples into a wash tub on the farm so they'd splat and make slop for his pet pig (my kids loved that part!). Lastly, there is the fact that he has Asperger's, a type of autism, which means that while he is incredibly talented in some areas, in others (such as social interactions), he has some difficulties coping. In spite of the challenges, though, Mickey and Murph make a great team, and work together to make the Rats' year their best year yet.
We watched the film on Friday, curled up together on the couches in the parlor, while enjoying CiCi's three specialty pizzas for $9.99 deal (can't beat that one!). We explained to the kids beforehand about the young man being autistic, so they'd understand the context of the movie. They have a friend who is autistic and he is not quite as high functioning as Mickey, so they were a bit confused by that, but overall they got the idea that Mickey was just a really nice guy with a special God-given talent, and that he was blessed to have been influenced by such a passionate and thoughtful coach as Murph. They saw that the real blessing, though, was to the team, whose lives were all changed by their interactions with the young man. The players (and coach) learned to consider more than themselves, and to take stock of what was really important, and Mickey learned to spread his wings and take on a challenge.
There was only one spot I was uncomfortable with the kids in the room (time for a bathroom break, anyone??), and that was when the "bad guy" has taken Mickey to a party (not a nice one...more like a tailgate in the woods one, but the alcohol use is not overt) where he convinces a female admirer of his to take Mickey for a walk in the woods. I was concerned because I didn't know how far they'd take that scenario, but other than some talk, and a peck on the cheek where she tells Mickey she likes him, it's fairly tame...sort of. The walk turns out to be a set up to get Mickey alone so some guys can beat him up and prevent him from pitching. They really didn't show that either (other than a fist coming for his face), but if it bothers you, you could send the kids out like we did.
The movie was a nice change for the adults (I mean, I love Tangled and Ratatouille, but you can't watch cartoons every week). It was safe for families...no cursing, no (real bad) violence, no guns or crazy chase scenes, no vampires or undead, no (really) sleazy women (the one girl was a bit ditsy, though, and clingy, but in the end, nice)...and it had a good message, or two, or three:
- Don't judge people.
- Hard work pays off.
- Being the "nice guy" CAN get you somewhere.
- Stand by your friends, teammates, family.
- You have God-given gifts for a reason...use them.
- Don't let grief cripple your ability to love (the coach still mourned his son, who died young).
- There are many people out there who need to be loved for who they are...love them.
- Second chances don't always happen. If you get one, don't waste it.
- Take care of those who need protecting.
- Stand up to your fears.
- Share your gifts (of teaching, of love, of kindness) with others.
- Be honest, be kind, be sincere, be determined, be brave, be a friend.
I just thought you'd appreciate knowing another movie is out there with family values, so go on out and get yourself a copy, then buy another to add to your church or local library...if everyone did this, there would be more quality choices out there to influence more young lives. Supporting the good films, and refusing to go to the bad ones CAN make a difference.
This is a Dove Family Approved Movie.
If you'd like to see a trailer of the movie, you can check it out HERE.
If you'd like to buy a copy of the movie, it is available HERE.
If you'd like to buy a copy of the movie, it is available HERE.
If you'd like a copy of this movie without buying it, you can enter my giveaway, which ends on Monday, January 30th at midnight. Just follow me (or let me know that you are already a follower) and leave me a comment telling me who in your family will like this movie the most. I will give ONE bonus entry to the first person who enters...just because I think you are awesome!! I will draw a winner and notify him or her on the 31st (just make sure you leave me an easy way to contact you, or the movie will go to the next name I draw). Thanks!