Opening Night at the Cherry Bowl

On Friday night we went to opening night at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In and watched The Lorax (it was pretty good). The kids were excited to wear their pajamas and bring blankets to stay warm. Of course, we had some treats as well!  Here are a few photos from the playground.

Luke holding up the cherries!

Going for a ride!



The Chicken

The Giant Chair

In the Tunnel

All on top!

Help Bring Tepeyac Hill to the Local Theater

I love movies. Especially movies that help share the Catholic faith. One of my friends sent me an email about Tepeyac Hill, a film about Our Lady of Guadalupe, that is in development. The creators are trying to spread the word to get this movie into theaters all over the world.

Here's the synopsis...

In the twilight of the Aztec culture, indigenous Cuauhtlatoatzin witnesses the fall of the Aztec world led by Conquistador Hernán Cortés and is faced with an uncertain future. Baptized by the first Franciscan missionaries, ‘Juan Diego’ experiences an apparition of a woman clothed in light, resembling an Aztec princess. Moved by the power of her message Diego realizes that it is the Virgin Mary and struggles to convince church authorities who will not be moved until they witness for themselves the greatest sign of all.

A powerful story full of beauty, warmth and humor, 'TEPEYAC HILL' will transport you to a world you have never known.

So if you can take a moment and share this link - - you will help get this fabulous story of Our Lady of Guadalupe into theaters!

Movie Review Sites

Last night the family and I along with a couple of nephews went to watch Cars 2 at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In. We had a great time, the weather was perfect, and we sat under the stars to watch what turned out to be a very fun movie. There were a couple of moments that made me shake my head, but that's pretty normal while watching Rated G movies these days. The car chases were intense including some with bullets flying around and some ending in big explosions. For the most part the story did stay true to the G rating so that was nice.

My wife was sharing with me that she and her friends were talking recently about movie review sites, so I thought, hey, there's a blog post! I thought I would share the links I use to learn about a movie before my family or I watch. I don't have one favorite out of the sites below, in my opinion they all can be useful, as each delivers the content in a different way. Whether you want a true review of a film or a list of the specific content of a movie, these links should help.

In no particular order...

Decent Films Guide - The online home of Catholic Film Critic Steven D. Greydanus. He really goes into great detail in his reviews and gives great insight into plot points you may have missed. You can also find his reviews in the National Catholic Register. He's got a strong following so I also find great comments from others who have seen the films.

Plugged In Online - Great reviews and also a nice breakdown of what's in the movie by various sections. Sometimes I skip right to the conclusion as they do a great job of summing up the movies.

kids in mind - Easily the most descriptive of the questionable content in any movie, they go to great lengths to list and share what they find. The mouseover ads on their site are very annoying and sometimes feature movies I wouldn't want my kids to see, so be careful when visiting this site.

Movieguide - Direct to the point with a nice rating scale and very specific listing of questionable content. One of their taglines is "Christian Movie Review".

Catholic News Service Movie Reviews - Movie reviews by Catholic News Service (as well as from the former Office for Film and Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops). Generally gives a nice summary of the film but not very detailed on questionable content. Just a note that the USCCB Office ran into some trouble on a couple of occasions.

Do you have any sites you use to research movies for your family? Share them in the comments below.

Photo above by

Help bring "There Be Dragons" to Traverse City

Just helping to spread the word about the new movie "There Be Dragons" with the hopes of bringing it to Traverse City. Father Libby at Holy Rosary in Cedar is asking us to share this with as many people as we can.

Here's a synopsis of the movie...

There Be Dragons is an epic action-adventure romance set during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War. The story traces the lives of two young men, Josemaria Escriva (Charlie Cox) and Manolo Torres (Wes Bentley), childhood friends who are separated by the political upheaval of pre-war Spain to find themselves on opposite sides as war erupts. Choosing peace, Josemaria becomes a priest and struggles to spread reconciliation by founding the movement Opus Dei (work of God).

Manolo chooses war and becomes a spy for the fascists. He becomes obsessed with a beautiful Hungarian revolutionary, Ildiko, who has joined the militia in pursuit of passion and purpose. But when Ildiko rejects him out of love for the courageous militia leader Oriol, Manolo’s jealousy leads him down a path of betrayal.

As personal and national battles rage, the characters’ lives collide and their deepest struggles are illuminated through the fateful choices they make. Each will struggle to find the power of forgiveness over the forces tearing their lives and friendship apart.

And here's the trailer...

YouTube Preview Image

Movieguide – If you like movies then check this site out!

I love watching movies with my wife and my children, so I absolutely love Movieguide. I've used a few other sites to try to find appropriate movies to watch, but I think this one is my new favorite. Great detail in the reviews of the type of content in the movie and all from a Christian and Family perspective. Anyway, check it out if you get a chance. I love this list on their About Us page...

Redeeming the values of the entertainment industry according to biblical principles means:

1. Know Before You Go
2. Monitor your child's leisure time activities, including your older teenagers
3. Read and study the Word daily
4. Preach the Gospel
5. Disciple believers
6. Train your children in the Christian worldview and in Media Wisdom
7. Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness

Do you know what your children are watching?


PG films make the most money

At least that's what a recent study found...

A new study by The Nielsen Company shows that PG-rated movies with less profanity made more money at box offices across the United States. The study cross-referenced box office figures for 400 films in wide release from the fall of 2005 to the fall of last year.

My wife won't watch many movies that are PG-13 or R so it's disappointing when browsing the local video store just how few PG or G movies there seem to be. It does seem that Hollywood just keeps spitting out trash and not taking the box office numbers into account. I remember driving by the Horizon Theaters one night last summer and every movie there was PG-13 or R. I know the mall theaters generally cater to the kids movies, and the Horizon more teen and adult, but still, it really seemed pathetic.

Read Appeal, success of PG movies apparently falling on deaf ears in Hollywood at

Want to watch a good movie?

Facing the Giants Movie PosterThen go rent or buy Facing the Giants. I just watched it and it was great. There aren't many movies these days that have a great message and are geared towards the family, but this one is. No sexual content, no violence, and no swearing certainly doesn't mean no entertainment!

Here's the synopsis...

In his six years of coaching, Grant Taylor has never had a winning season. Even the hope of a new season is squelched when the best player on his Shiloh Eagles decides to transfer schools. After losing their first three games of the season, the coach discovers a group of fathers are plotting to have him fired. Combined with pressures at home, Coach Taylor has lost hope in his battle against fear and failure.

However, an unexpected challenge helps him find a purpose bigger than just victories. Daring to trust God to do the impossible, Coach Taylor and the Eagles discover how faith plays out on the field … and off.

With God, all things are possible…

I give it two thumbs way up! Seriously do yourself a favor and go watch this movie!

The movie was made by the members of Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia with alot of hard work and prayer. While I don't share all their views in regards to religious beliefs, they are delivering a Christian message into our society, and that's a very good thing!

Visit the official site at

Cool feature on the Cherry Bowl Drive-In

We haven't been there yet this year, but chances are good at some point we might make a road trip down to the famous Cherry Bowl Drive-In. It's a blast for the kids as they get to play on the playground, eat popcorn and cotton candy, and watch a movie from inside the van! They love it, it's affordable plus how many times do you ever get to see a giant chicken?

Cherry Bowl Drive-In
Photo by Andrew McFarlane

Click the link below to read an article and view photos...

Read Freeze Frame - Cherry Bowl Drive-In preserves a time gone by in the Record Eagle

Cool movie about the Maritime Academy

Helped the Great Lakes Maritime Academy get this movie onto YouTube and Google Video to help promote their maritime college. It's always good to help someone. Anyway, check it out and see what they are all about!

Visit Official Site

The Nativity Story 'not on par' with Passion

I had read some positive reviews and comments, but did see this review today of The Nativity Story. Fr. Angelo Mary Gieger talks about some of the negatives about the movie, in particular how some scenes go "against Catholic Mariology".

The Nativity Story in no way compares to the masterpiece which is The Passion of the Christ, but it is at least sincere, untainted by cynicism, and a worthy effort by Hollywood to end the prejudice against Christianity in the public square. Whether considered in light of its virtues or its flaws, the movie provides an opportunity to catechize people about the true meaning of Christmas, about the real gift that is Jesus, and about His Holy, Ever Virgin Mother, Mary.

The subject matter of The Nativity Story lends itself so well to the promotion of true devotion to Mary. Unfortunately, the way in which it was treated will only confuse the ignorant and confirm them in Marian minimalism. Perhaps there is some hope that the likes of a Gibson will one day match the sublime Marian art of The Passion of the Christ with a Nativity story truly worthy of Our Lady.

You can read the entire review by following the link below...

Read The Nativity Story Not on Par with The Passion of Christ at Air Maria

The Nativity Story gets positive reviews from Vatican officials

It looks like another religious movie could be a huge hit at the box office judging from some of the reviews & comments I have read. I don't go to many movies anymore, but this will be one I am anxious to see!

Read Vatican officials give thumbs up for 'The Nativity Story' at Catholic News Service

Great Movie Reviews

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has a Office for Film and Broadcasting that features movie reviews that really matter. Check it out.

The Office for Film and Broadcasting is responsible for reviewing and rating theatrical motion pictures, previewing and evaluating television programming as well as providing the Catholic public with information about the role of the entertainment and news media in influencing societal and personal values.

Although they might want to update the second paragraph on the site to mention the new "DVD" technology, as they state the "importance of the videocassette player in the American home". From what I have heard VHS is dead.