Monday, January 28, 2013

Meant To Be

When 20-year old Nathan Burr (Bradley Dorsey) loses his career and his girlfriend, he questions his purpose in life. Compounding his struggle, Nathan grew up in a foster home and never met his birth mother. Nathan sets out on a quest to find his mother and somehow come to terms with her rejection of him. His journey begins by flying to the city where he was born. Upon his arrival, Nathan checks into a hotel and meets Mave (Della Reese) the hotel's housekeeper. Encouraged by Mave's wisdom and the help of a hotel guest, Shelly, (Kristen Renton) Nathan finds the address of his mother, Linda Dixon (Erika Eleniak). Linda is a social worker who agonizes over the decision she made with Nathan 20 years ago. In an effort to admonish the guilt of giving up her son, Linda is caught up in the life of a teenage mother, Tori (Erin Sossoman) who is conflicted by the decision to abort her baby... 

 My Opinion: Meant To Be is a pro-life film, but one with a twist. I admit that I can be the biggest critic of films that have scenes that I think are illogical, but it's easier for me to grant a bit of leeway with films that aren't meant to accurately portray reality. So I did have a few qualms in the beginning with why the husband (Dean Cain) seemed so harsh and other little things that seemed odd. However, the message of the story was so powerful that it made me more forgiving of what I initially considered flaws. I felt the writers of the film (Bradley Dorsey, Lori Marett, and Marshal Younger) were very effective in asking the viewer to pause and consider her actions. I recommend this film, especially to teens, in hopes they will think before they do something that will always stay with them...and consider their options. It also has a strong message to others who protest from the sidelines, but do no more.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Flowers For Fannie

Fannie Fairchild married her high school sweetheart, George, but was widowed just months after becoming a wife. Sixty years later, she realizes that when she dies, there will be no one to put flowers on her grave. She has not kept in contact with relatives, and never took the time to make friends during her career in education. In fact, she has become a lonely, embittered woman who rejects friendly overtures from others.  Her search for a perpetual flower plan includes contacting relatives who either think she wants something from them, or who hope to get something from her.

A young woman named Louise, who is nothing like Fannie, then enters her life. Using Luke 6:31 ("Do to others as you would have them do to you.") as her guideline, Louise decides to use The Golden Rule to reach out to Fannie. This lonely young woman demonstrates a love for Fannie that slowly chips away at the barriers she has put around herself.


Tonight there was a special "sneak peek" of  Flowers For Fannie. My interest originally is because someone I used to go to church with, Brandon Oliver, had a small role in it. I thought I would watch at least until I saw Brandon's performance, and then get on with other things. I must admit, though, the story did capture my interest and I grew to care about Fannie, Louise, and the other characters. Some of the acting was not very good, but I was able to overlook much as the story progressed.

The writer/director, Sharon Wilharm, brought together characters that formed a slice of Southern small town life I am familiar with and remember fondly. Keeping graves maintained and fresh flowers on them is a tradition that is not as important as it once was, but it was certainly part of my childhood. This is a charming story that reminds us to respect and cherish our past, but more those who are still with us. Just as a flower will wilt and die if it is not nurtured, people need the same love and attention to survive and thrive.

 Read CFDb interview with Sharon and her husband [producer/editor] Fred Wilharm for more info and background.

"Like" Flowers For Fannie on FB.

Flowers For Fannie website.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Abel's Field

Left motherless by tragedy and abandoned by his father, high school senior Seth McArdle (Samuel Davis) has been put under enormous pressure to support his little sisters. At school, he endures the daily bullying of the football team. When he fights back, he's singled out for punishment, assigned to an after-school work detail under the supervision of a reserved groundskeeper, Abel (Kevin Sorbo). Much to his surprise, Seth discovers that Abel may be the only one who truly understands his struggles. As dark times lure Seth towards desperate measures, the reluctant Abel may be the one person who can point him back towards the light. (back cover)

Watch the trailer below:

I liked this film, but I did not love  Abel's Field  . One one hand it was a moving story of a young man who was willing to do whatever it takes to take care of his younger sisters. He was not afraid to work hard, and did his best to provide a safe environment for them and make them feel loved. One scene (it's in the trailer, but I hate to give away too much) has a football player committing a criminal my state anyway.  [Goodness knows we are crazy about football too, but the boy needed to be held accountable by the witnesses.] Plus, it bothers me that no one seems overly concerned about how these children are surviving. There is an inconsistency that distracted me. I can go along with some of it, but not the entire thing.

The relationship between Seth and Abel was more convincing. Both were struggling with unimaginable issues for most of us, but each provided something the other needed. Abel had withdrawn into himself and did not want to let anyone in. Many of the touches of humor sprinkled through out the film played on this aspect of his character, and I thought Sorbo showed great reactions to these situations. Seth was overwhelmed by responsibility, mistreated and/or abandoned by those who should have been helping him; He also believed that God didn't care about him. Both of these men learn that family matters, we need others, and that God can be trusted to be there even when we are having to step out on faith.

FlyBy Promotions has a copy of this dvd to send out to one of my readers. To be entered into the random drawing, leave a comment on the blog. A winner will be selected at 6pm (CST) on Thursday, January 31, 2013.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Jenn Brings DOONBY To DC

Jenn Gotzon & John Schneider on set of Doonby
Jenn Gotzon (Frost/Nixon, I Am Gabriel, Alone yet Not Alone) has been busily involved in scheduling screenings of the pro-life film  Doonby  during the "March For Life" events scheduled this week in the nation's capital. The free film showings will be held on Jan. 24th at 7pm at Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW and the 4pm showing on Jan. 25th will be at the (Marriot) Residence Inn, 333 E Street SW, Washington, DC. 


WASHINGTON DC (Jan. 23, 2013) – Actress Jenn Gotzon, whose career broke after portraying President Nixon’s First Daughter Tricia Nixon in a small role in 2009 Academy Award Nominated Best Film “Frost/Nixon,” is set to grace the real Nation’s Capital, a four-year President’s term later, screening the first of her seven films she stars in to release 2013, “Doonby.”
   Cast as the love interest opp. “The Dukes of Hazzard” heartthrob John Schneider in the British writer/director Peter Mackenzie film, Gotzon plays the wild leading lady, who’s both smitten with and suspicious of the chivalry, heroism and seeming omnipresence of her town’s newest resident, Sam Doonby.
Both free film showings are sponsored by NET TV, a new television station broadcasting uplifting movies through Verizon Fios Video on Demand in over 18 cities nationwide. “Doonby” actors Jenn Gotzon and Joe Estevez (host of NET TV’s Faith Film Festival) will be in attendance along with film’s director Peter Mackenzie and associate producer Steve Doherty.

Sam Doonby, a mysterious, handsome drifter gets off a Greyhound bus in a small Texas town and finds work at Leroy’s Country/Blues Bar where his great musical talents make him very popular, especially with Laura, the beautiful but spoiled daughter of successful doctor Cyrus Reaper. Sam always seems to be in the right place at the right time to avert disasters befalling the town and its people until suspicion and jealousy drive folks to ask who he is and where he comes from. Even Laura starts to question him and then he disappears as quickly as he came and things start to go terribly wrong. His rejection results in a series of shocks for the whole town, and especially for the town's doctor as Cyrus’ past comes back to haunt him. Starring John Schneider, Jenn Gotzon, Robert Davi, Joe Estevez, Will Wallace, Jennifer O'Neill, Ernie Hudson...Doonby also introduces the acting debut of Norma McCorvey (alias Jane Roe in Roe vs. Wade) of the Supreme Court Decision legalizing abortion.

Please read this article by my friend
Alex Murashko, in The Christian Post:  "Interview: Actress on New Film About Life's Choices, Abortion and Faith":

Also, Sonoma Christian Home published this article by Ginny Dent Brant interviewing the film's director Peter Mackenzie "Doonby, A Thought Provoking Classic":

  For more info, visit, DoonbyTheMovie.Com or

Jenn's current & upcoming films!

Like Doonby on Facebook

The Breath Of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

Corporate turnaround specialist Morgan Spencer, dubbed the "success guru," has a Midas touch in business. But losing his wife sent him to the brink, and his two-year-old daughter, Livie, is all he's living for--until they encounter a woman whose trouble just might draw him out of his own.

Four years ago Quinn Reilly did the right thing. Now the man her testimony put in jail is getting out. Though she has put up barriers to protect herself and those around her, she has come to care for the Spencer family, especially the winsome Livie and her mercurial father. Unwilling to put them at risk when the threats begin, she requests something she hopes the super-successful Morgan might be able to deliver.

Fixing problems is what Morgan does best, but his counterproposal takes them in a direction neither is equipped to handle. Determined to confront the past, will they survive to build a future? (from the publisher)

I am a bit torn on this one. Most of the time I really enjoy books by this author, and I do remember reading the 2 previous novels that used characters who are in this stand-alone novel. (You do not need to read A Rush Of Wings or The Still Of Night first to understand The Breath Of Dawn, but they are good books.) This just seemed to drag sometime, though, to the point I would put it down and forget about it for a few days. Ultimately I did enjoy it, but there were parts that could have been omitted and I never would have missed them. There were also things in the story that I never did understand the point of them being included. This is definitely a book the fans will love, and especially those who like a continuation of stories with beloved characters. I simply lost interest during some parts of the story that didn't appeal as much to me.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Silent Sermon

A member of a certain church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the pastor decided to visit him.It was a chilly evening. The pastor found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his pastor's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The pastor made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the pastor took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The pastor glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the pastor reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, 'Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery sermon. I will be back in church next Sunday'.

We live in a world today which tries to say too much with too little. Consequently, few listen. Sometimes the best sermons are the ones left unspoken.

God has given each of us the "Three T's.": Time, Talent, and Treasure. Don't waste any of these and remember to use them to serve one another. We need each other...

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10: 24-25
* I could not find the original source for "The Silent Sermon", so I can only credit it to Anonymous.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Les Miserables" - Focus On The Family

Victor Hugo's classic book Les Miserables  has always been popular, but this story of love, redemption, and forgiveness is once again in the headlines due to the release of the filmed version of the musical.  Focus on the Family Radio Theatre's Les Miserables is a bit different from the onscreen version, but this is much more family-friendly. Brian Blessed, Geoffrey Palmer, and Leo McKern are some of the better known (to me anyway) actors who bring this story to life in a manner that is sure to capture the attention and imagination of the entire family.

I listened to this radio drama, saw the 2012 film currently in theaters, and watched the 25th anniversary musical version online. All 3 have their good points and their bad ones, but I would say that this radio drama holds its own with the others. I have only read summaries and abridged (children editions) of the story, so I honestly cannot say who stays closest to the original story. I suspect each had twists and tweaks to the vision of the one responsible for the making of each but each tell the story of forgiveness and mercy versus unforgiveness and legalism. Love, loyalty, and sacrifice are themes that reverberate throughout, and this would be an excellent introduction to children of a classic tale that remains relevant.

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a free copy of this audio drama. I was under no obligation to give a favorable review, and all opinions are my own.

Monday, January 7, 2013

BTFS 2013

What are the viewers saying? ..."Intense." "Riveting." "Raw Emotion." "Forgiveness." "Powerful." "Honest." "Hard-Hitting." "Real Life." "No Boundaries." "Today." "Gut-Wrenching Truth." "Genuine." "Perfect." "Twists and Turns." "Unexpected." "Hits Home!"

Those are just a few comments made by audience members who have seen a preview screening of Beyond The Farthest Star. Watch the video for a few of their reactions:

I remember seeing a clip from the first screening of the rough draft and a critic said he got so caught up in the film that he forgot he was there to critique it. That said a lot to me. I always need to see a film twice because the first time I watch one, I miss parts due to distractions and wishing I could ask the director, "WHAT were you thinking when you made THAT decision?" (As a side note, one reason I love dvd commentaries is because my questions sometimes get answered. Sometimes I revise my opinion, sometimes I still dislike what I saw.) Telling me a film made you cry is telling me nothing unless you also tell me why it made you cry. So, I am always happy to see comments other than "tear jerker".

There was also an announcement made that actor/producer Benjamin Dane will be part of a panel of filmmakers that includes
Christopher Shawn Shaw, Sean Johnson Jr., and LaMarcus Tinker. This online event will be hosted by Tommy Kendrick (actor and host of Actors Talk) on Wednesday, January 16th at 9P CST. Fans will have opportunity to Live Chat and ask questions about BTFS and other projects the panelists are working on.

 Look for a new BTFS website, new art and the film's release in 2013! It will all kickoff with a countdown to the trailer reveal on the redesigned website in the coming weeks. You can also check out the fan page for any photos, videos, music, etc. that they revisited as a look back at 2012 in a nearly week-long 6 Days of 12 event. I know I have talked about this film (and book) quite a bit in recent months, but with this new year, I can only quote from their page: "NOW, it gets exciting!"

Here are several places you can check out Beyond The Farthest Star for yourself:

Like Beyond The Farthest Star Facebook page
Watch/Subscribe BTFS Youtube Channel 
Follow BTFS on Twitter
Beyond The Farthest Star IMDb pageBeyond The Farthest Star on CFDb
Sign up to BRING IT!

Like the pages...and join in the anticipation of a film many are looking forward to seeing. Andrew Librizzi has written a story that caught my imagination from the moment I first read about the film and I truly cannot wait to see what is BEYOND THE FARTHEST STAR!