By Diana LéGere, Crosswalk.com
What makes a good date night movie? A family-friendly film with a blend of comedy, relationship dynamics, a curious plot, and a message that sparks a great conversation.
Any feature from this list will be enjoyable for both guys and gals.
So next date night, settle in for an entertaining and faith-filled evening, and enjoy God's work with the one you love.
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1. God's Country
Meghan Doherty (Jenn Gotzon) is a smart, powerful sales executive. Her love of work and shiny things makes it tough to maintain relationships, even with her mother.
The first hint of Megan's vain ego is in the jewelry store. Meghan arrives to select a fantastic birthday gift for her best friend, Valentina (Arlene Santana). But we learn the stunning bracelet worthy of royalty is for her. As an afterthought, she adds a delicate wristlet for Valentina. Meanwhile, her friend and assistant, Adam (Todd Duffey), gave Valentina a designer bag almost worth his entire salary.
But Meghan's world view is about to rumble like an earthquake. Her boss selected her to head to the Mojave Desert in Arizona to close a profitable deal with a Christian landowner, Eden Graham (Michael Toland), who is about to lose his property to foreclosure.
Meghan has full confidence as the firm's sales genie and is sure she'll walk out with a hefty commission. The trouble is, Mr. Graham is holding out for God. He's not willing to sell unless she spends seven days living on the ranch to discover why he loves the place so much. Reluctantly, she agrees.
Within one week, Megan must participate in all planned activities, or the deal is off. The movie is amusing to watch as Meghan adjusts to a cheerful Christian camp lifestyle that allows no cell phone service, sleeping in an RV with spiders, early bedtime, waking up at the crack of dawn, and prayer.
The film unfolds as Meghan witnesses the art of relating as she's never seen. God shows up as only he can, and it changes Meghan forever as she sees God's hand perform a miracle for Eden Graham.
Message: If it's God's will, there will be no power or adversary that can stop it.
Scripture: "I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:2.
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2. Finding Normal
Surgeon Lisa Leland (Candace Cameron Bure) embarks on a 2600-mile trip from LA to Long Island to meet her fiancé, Dr. Steve (Andrew Bongiorno). But the big-city girl ends up in the sleepy town of Normal, North Carolina when a traffic stop uncovers a stack of unpaid parking tickets and a warrant for her arrest.
Sentenced to 3 days of community service as the town doctor, Lisa takes on the family medicine side gig to be on her way to the Hamptons. Lisa cavorts all over town on a bicycle to make house calls even providing medical services to animals. Patients expect her to pray, which is a foreign practice to this doctor.
Meanwhile, Lisa learns that Doc Shelby (Lou Beatty, Jr.) wears many hats in the small rural town, including the judge, pastor, and doctor. As Lisa and Doc become friends, he witnesses to her. Soon, she wonders how she can have everything she ever dreamed of but feel empty inside. Yet, she can't shake that she's experiencing joy she's never known.
The twist comes when Lisa develops feelings for Lucas Craig (Trevor St. John) as her fiancé makes a surprise appearance, forcing Lisa to choose. Lisa can't make sense of giving up all she has for a simple life in Normal and leaves for Long Island. But has she finally learned what "normal" is?
Message: No matter how rich our life is, we have nothing if we don't have Jesus.
Scripture: "Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions." Luke 12:15
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3. Marriage Retreat
Three dysfunctional couples attend a Christian marriage retreat. The men yearn to indulge in golfing and fishing while their wives learn their biblical place in marriage. Meanwhile, the women are sure this weekend will prune their husbands in shape.
Retreat owners Dr. Craig (Jeff Fahey) and Katrina Sullivan (Victoria Jackson) use creative measures to assist a motley crew.
Melody (Caroline Choi) and her gambling addict husband, Bobby (Tommy Blaze), are dealing with finance issues. Workaholic actor James (Matthew Florida) is married to Donna (Anna Zielinski), 9-months pregnant, and planning to divorce him.
Clair (Andrea Logan White) is secretly pregnant. But her hubby Mark (David A. R. White) doesn't want children. He's about to reveal why.
The couples work through issues and re-evaluate their part. Hilarious incidents arise. Each couple's story unfolds to reveal hidden misery, making the marriage retreat a fallout disaster. At one point, they aren't even sure they want to resolve their marriages.
As the couples engage, they give up their illusions about marriage. They come to terms with their flaws that led to unhappiness. Together, they realize there is one missing figure in the union, God.
It's so good to be able to find humor in marriage problems! Everyone has them, and it's refreshing to watch others move through theirs with God's help.
Message: With God in the center of marriage, we take on His image.
Scripture: "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27
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4. The Last Brickmaker in America
This award-winning drama weaves a story of healing and redemption of two strangers, old and young.
Henry Cobb (Sidney Poitier) is a 76-year-old brickmaker struggling in a family business he's worked for over 50 years. As he copes with losing his wife, Henry is also facing automation that has made his craft obsolete. He now sees little purpose in his solitary life.
Henry meets a rebellious teen, Danny Potter (Cody Newton), at the school where he will supply brick for a new library dedicated to his deceased wife. Danny is dealing with his parent's pending divorce and in community service. Henry invites the boy to learn the process of making bricks. Fascinated by the opportunity, the 13-year-old seeks refuge to flee his family troubles. He soon finds a mentor and new friend in Henry.
Danny's father, Mike (Jay O. Sanders), is the library project's project manager. Henry must make 22,000 bricks by hand. Mike tries to get Henry to sign off on the contract to use another brick company to produce brick faster. But Henry refuses. This incident causes a lot of tension, and the backstory of Danny's family emerges.
Danny helps Henry make the bricks, but the duo faces weather challenges that make it impossible to meet the deadline. Heavy rains destroy the first set of bricks. Danny enlists his parents' help, and after some resistance, they help Henry meet his delivery date.
This inspiring film shows the power of God. Even the most unlikely relationships can mend broken hearts. Henry and Danny comfort each other, and restoration heals a family.
Message: God is always waiting to offer restoration to relationships.
Scripture: "Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption." Psalm 130:7
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5. Time Changer
The scene opens in a meeting room with the board members of Grace Bible College. Russell Carlisle (D. David Morin) is waiting for his new book endorsement. (from a liberal perspective).
Dr. Norris Anderson (Gavin MacLeod) has the last vote. But he refuses to endorse the manuscript because of a liberal viewpoint. He is adamant that morals taught without the authority of Jesus Christ will affect the future. Norris sends Russell on a secret mission to see the proof. The professor will fly into the future via a time machine.
When he arrives, reformist views clash with his 1890 mindset. His quest comprises playful findings hampered by the shocking beliefs of Christians. Russell learns there is no reverence for God. Even among churchgoers, morality has sailed out the window—rude youth overrun the city. And adults are indifferent.
Russell seeks to minister to the lost world before returning to 1890 and meets several characters along the way. Christian, Michelle Bain (Jennifer O'Neill), helps him navigate the city during his visit. Meanwhile, church people question the Bible professor's back story and try to prove him a fraud. Russell races the clock to the place where he can safely transport back to 1890.
Time Changer is a clever movie with an evangelical plot and a solid biblical worldview. The film paints a picture of what occurs when our life doesn't center on God. Morin does an outstanding job portraying a Victorian man living in modern times.
Message: All truth comes through the authority of Jesus Christ.
Scripture: "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." John 14:6
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6. Waiting for Butterflies
The movie begins with a horrific tragedy that rips apart a family. John Archer (Jason Burkey) agrees to take his niece Lila (Sadie Morton), out for ice cream. While in the parking lot, John receives a phone call and sends Lila alone into the store, not knowing there was a robbery.
He hears a gunshot and runs into the store to find that Lila shot. After Lila's death, his sister Rachel (Clara Cloud) refuses to forgive him and wants nothing to do with him.
A few years later, after no contact, his grandmother, Carolynn Archer (Bonnie Johnson), is dying of cancer, and she wants to see John. Her great hope and dying wish are to see the family reunited, but Rachel is still bitter. When John arrives, he finds that his grandma has one last request. He must visit the man in prison who killed Lila.
The remarkable story takes you on a heart wrenching emotional journey that unfolds as John gets to know Noah (Tim Ross), who has become a changed man while in prison. Through one death, many lives are saved.
Waiting for Butterflies is a beautiful movie about faith, forgiveness, and how God works miracles in people's lives through unexpected situations and people.
Message: Forgiveness is challenging but possible when we trust God and allow Him to heal us.
Scripture: "Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32
I hope these movies are a source of growth for you, both in your relationship with God and with each other!
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