Family Movie Nights: Mom’s Night Out Movie Review

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This week, in honor of Mother’s Day, for Sunday Family Movie Nights I wanted to review a movie for moms. Last Friday a friend and I had a girl’s night out and we went to see the movie Mom’s Night Out.

Let me tell you, this was such a good movie! It was funny, uplifting, and relatable. As a Mom, I sympathized with the main character, Allyson, who was feeling frazzled in her role as a wife and mother. She and two friends decide to leave the kids with their husbands for a girl’s night out, which, of course, leads to some rather comedic results!

I liked that this movie was clean enough to bring your kids (at least your older ones) or your mom. While I’ve never left my baby at a tattoo parlor or been thrown in jail, during much of the movie I found myself saying “that is my life!” (especially when Allyson’s husband comes home to find her hiding in the closet after her children are asleep, not that I’ve ever done that or anything…. Winking smile).

Here’s the trailer:

Mom’s Night Out Trailer

 

So grab your girlfriends, your Mom, your family, or just take a night off yourself to see this movie!

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Family Movie Review: Monster Truck Adventures

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Cars. Trucks. Trains.
Pretty much, if it has wheels, my boys like it!

Lately their wheeled obsession has been monster trucks. They have a number of these big-wheeled trucks and they like to line up their cars and drive the trucks over them. So last week when we were walking through the library and I happened to see the title Monster Truck Adventures, I knew it would be a great pick for our next Sunday Family Movie Night!

Monster Truck Adventures is about a young monster truck named Meteor and his group of friends (Meteor’s dad is the famous monster truck Bigfoot!). In these short 13-15 minute episodes, Meteor and his friends learn about moral lessons such as patience, kindness, and friendship, while doing things that monster trucks do: racing, doing tricks, and splashing in the mud! Each episode ends with a summation of the story and lesson and a Bible verse to reinforce the lesson. The moral message reminded me of VeggieTales, though at times the lessons felt a little heavy-handed or even cheesy, but it works for this age group (designed for ages 4-9), and my boys loved it!

These DVDs are “Dove Approved” (you can find reviews of a number of the DVDs here).

Easter Movies for Kids

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As I mentioned in a previous post, about a year ago our family instituted a tradition of Sunday Family Movie Nights, in which we each take turns picking a movie to watch as a family on Sunday evenings. This has become a fun tradition that my boys look forward to (although Mr. Not-quite-three only stays up for part of the movie).

With Easter coming up this Sunday, I wanted to share a few of our favorite family Easter movies with you.

  • VeggieTales: An Easter Carol – In this Easter veggie version of A Christmas Carol, Mr. Nezzer learns the true meaning of Easter from a music box angel named Hope (voiced by Grammy winner Rebecca St. James). There was one part that scared my little guy at first, when Grandma Nezzer pops out of the picture and Mr. Nezzer thinks she’s a ghost. But she is quick to reassure him that there’s no such thing as ghosts, and that he’s having a vision (“like a dream, with a point”), and then she breaks into song and my little guys was fine after that.
  • VeggieTales: Twas the Night Before Easter – In this cute animated tale, reporter Marlee Meade wants to save the local theater but gets into a “pickle” (pun intended!) when there is competition with the local church production. My kids really liked the “Hopperena” silly song too! This one reminds me a lot of the plot of another Veggie Tales movie, The Star of Christmas.
  • The Easter Story Keepers – In this movie a group of orphans are being helped by a Christian baker and his wife during the persecution of Emperor Nero. During the tale, the baker tells stories about Jesus’s life.
  • The Miracle Maker – this is probably my favorite movie from the list. In a combination of claymation and animation, the story of Jesus is told from the perspective of Jairus’s daughter, whom Jesus raised from the dead. It is overall very accurate and it even includes the scene of Jesus appearing to two followers on the road to Emmaus.

I hope you enjoy the time this weekend with your family spending time reflecting on Jesus’s death and resurrection!

Sunday Family Movie Nights: Cars Movie Review

Sunday Family Movie Nights

I really like family traditions. Things you look forward to with anticipation, creating fun memories as a family. Growing up, one of our family traditions was my Dad and I making a big pot of chicken noodle soup every Sunday night after church. We used to mix up a couple of packages of Ramen noodles, some egg noodles, and Mrs. Grasses soup mix (do they even make that any more? I remember it used to have a capsule of liquid bullion that I loved to watch dissolve in the pot). It wasn’t healthy, but it was our special tradition, and to this day, I always think of my dad every time I open a bag of egg noodles or Ramen soup.

Last year, we started a new family tradition in our family, Sunday Family Movie Night. It started off just being a countdown to Christmas. We started the Sunday after Thanksgiving, watching a different Christmas movie every night until Christmas. But we ended up enjoying the tradition so much that we decided to keep it going. So now we watch a family movie every Sunday night with Mr. 5 after Mr. 2 has gone to bed (he goes to bed at 7, while Mr. 5 stays up until 8:30, just enough time for most 90 minute family movies!). We take turns choosing the movie, and we often pick movies that are based on children’s books that we’ve read. Periodically, in our Family Weekend Spotlight, I’ll be sharing some of the movies we’ve watched and giving you our family review!

Tonight’s movie was my husband’s pick. It is one we’ve seen MANY times, but it is still a favorite: Cars.

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You can read the Dove review by going here and searching for Cars. I really like the Dove reviews because they tell you exactly what language is in the movie, as well as violence, drug use, and more. If you haven’t used it before, it’s a great resource. Another great source for movie reviews is Focus on the Family’s Plugged In. You can read their review of Cars here.

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We have watched Cars many times. The first time my husband and I watched the first Cars movie was actually before the kids were born. We took a roadtrip down old Route 66 from Chicago to St. Louis. The movie had just come out and we actually watched it at a Drive-In movie theater just off of Rt. 66 in Springfield. How cool is that?!

Cars is a very sweet movie about a self-absorbed race car named Lightning McQueen who learns learns that there’s more to life than just winning. After making a mess in the town of Radiator Springs, McQueen is forced to slow down and put things right, and along the way he makes some new friends and ends up helping the town. One of my favorite lines in the movie is after Mater and McQueen get back from “Tractor-tipping”. Mater tells McQueen “I knowed I made a good choice.” “In what?” McQueen asks. “In my best friend…”

Some of the positive themes in the movie include the importance of friendship, loyalty, caring about others rather than just yourself, being true to your word, and taking time to enjoy life rather than just rushing through. One of the things I like about Pixar’s movies is that they tend to be brighter and more positive than some of Disney’s movies, which can be, at times, very dark and even scary (think about the witch in Sleeping Beauty or Snow White, Jafar the sorcerer in Aladdin, or Scar and his band of hyenas in the Lion King). That’s not to say that those Disney movies don’t have their place, but at 5 and 2, my kids still get scared at those type of evil characters, and I’m ok with waiting until they are older to introduce those movies. The only “bad guy” in Cars is a race car named Chick Hicks, who is obsessed with winning at all costs and who makes snide or sarcastic remarks to the other cars. But his character is actually a good parallel to McQueen who is, himself, obsessed with winning at the beginning of the film. Chick and Lightening show the outcomes of these two paths. While Chick may win the race, it is McQueen who is shown to be the real winner because of his selflessness and sportsmanship. As my boys begin to get to the age where they enter school, want to play sports and be on a team, or participate in other activities, this movie is a good reminder that winning and being the best isn’t always the most important thing.

So what do the kids think? My boys love this movie because, well, it has race cars. Talking race cars. What little boy doesn’t love that?! The animation is really amazing, and I love how they made the windshields of the cars as the eyes, rather than the more traditional choice of the headlights. There are other cute elements in the film that parents will pick up on and enjoy, such as the scenery that is all in the shape of cars, or the names of some of the characters being linked to their real-life car names (Mack being a Mack truck, Mia and Tia are Miatas, etc.). Even the bugs that fly around the lights at night are actually VW Beetles!

As I watch this movie for the millionth time, I think of how much I can have in common with Lightning sometimes. I too can be very self-focused and so concerned with all the things I have to do that I don’t stop to enjoy those everyday moments. I guess that’s what I’m trying to do here on this blog – helping myself and my readers to take time to be still, think about what matters, and enjoy those everyday moments.

The only criticism I have about the film would be the use of the term “hillbilly h–l” and “holy” (as in “holy porshe”) a couple of times. Also, in reading the Dove review, it reminded readers about the dangers of “playing chicken” with a train (which happens in the movie as Lightning races to get across the tracks just as a train is approaching), which is worth mentioning to little ones, especially if (like me) you live near railroad tracks.

So all in all, we really enjoyed our family movie night, and I hope you enjoy the movie if you haven’t had a chance to check it out yet. This is quickly becoming one of our favorite new family traditions.

What are some regular family traditions you have in your house?