Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book Review & Giveaway: 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families by Jonathan Decker

250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, by Jonathan Decker
2013, 319p, LDS Non-Fiction
My Rating=5 stars
Source: Received a copy from the publisher for an honest review

Finding wholesome, uplifting movies can be a daunting task—especially when Hollywood’s values are so far from the Church’s. 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families offers a broad selection of edifying options for your family’s next movie night. With content reviews, gospel parallels, and easy-to-use indexes, this guide is sure to have something for everyone.

“The theatre, the theatre, what’s happened to the theatre?” This is what many LDS parents are also asking. Finding films is not hard with the unlimited resources available for entertainment, including Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and Amazon instant video. But finding movies that are entertaining, well-made, and wholesome is a challenge.

Jonathan Decker, host of the KJZZ Movie Show and certified marriage and family therapist, offers this review guide—complete with easy-to-navigate indexes—on movies that range from Bing Cosby’s Going My Way (1944) to the more modern Avengers (2012). Each film receives a discussion of artistic value, a general content review, and suggestions for gospel parallels. This guide has something for everyone and is an essential tool when planning movie nights, dates, family home evenings, and other gatherings.

This book starts out with Mr. Decker talking about the importance of parents being engaged with their children in the media they watch so we can discuss those things that will uplift, build and enrich our lives. It's also important that the consequences of moral choices are accurately depicted. 

His reviews are broken down into three sections: Artistic Merit, Wholesome Content and Gospel Parallels. Scriptures and quotes from general authorities are included. He also points out that he's not the final authority on what a film means or what it's moral is. They are definitely open to individual interpretation and you may find more or different meanings than he does. His purpose is to get us thinking, examining and talking. 

I jumped at the opportunity to read this book! My first thought was: How many of these have I seen? I'm actually not a movie watcher. I'd rather read because the book is always better! I figured that I've seen about half of the movies he mentions in this book. And there are a lot I haven't heard of that sound like movies I would enjoy.

I also generally tend to watch movies as mindless entertainment rather than look for deeper meanings (unless it's a movie where I'm already aware of the deeper meanings involved, like The Chronicles of Narnia movies, Forever Strong or It's a Wonderful Life, which are all included in his book). I enjoyed reading his thoughts on some of the movies that I hadn't stopped to think of the deeper meaning before (like Elf, Hotel Transylvania, or Madagascar, also included). There is a lot of food for thought in this book.

This is a great resource for watching movies and I recommend it to everyone! Check out his website for more information and reviews (including one for Austenland). 

Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist moonlighting as a film critic, providing Hollywood movie reviews from a Latter-day Saint perspective at He also writes regularly for Meridian MagazineModern Mormon Men, and Mommy Bear Media, and has published articles in St. George Magazine, Desert Saints Magazine, and Southern Bride Magazine. Jonathan earned a master’s degree from Auburn University, where his thesis was picked up for international publication. He has a background in entertainment, winning a campus-wide talent show at Brigham Young University for his act, “One-Man Lord of the Rings,” and spending two years as a writer and performer with the popular BYU humor group Divine Comedy. Jonathan lives with his wife and children in St. George, Utah.

I'm excited to be able to offer a giveaway! The publisher, Cedar Fort, is giving away your choice of a hard copy or ebook version of this book, so it's open to US and International!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You must be 18 years old to enter. The winning entry will be verified before being awarded. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter. They will receive notice via email and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is sponsored by the publisher.


Taylor Dean said...

I'm a huge movie fan, so this books sounds amazing!

Melanie Valderrama said...

You'll love it!

Post a Comment