Go On…The TV Show That Reminds Me of Church

Have you watched the new Matthew Perry show “Go On”?

Perry plays Ryan King, a radio sportscaster whose wife died in a car accident. His employer requires him to go through group therapy before he comes back to work. The group meets at a local community center and as you can imagine, since this is a sit-com, its members are odd. Every person in the group is going through “something”: blindness, brother in a coma, parents divorcing, death of a spouse, etc. There’s even a man who frightens everyone just enough that they are too afraid to ask him why he’s there.

These people shouldn’t be friends; they have absolutely nothing in common.

Except their pain. They’re united because they are all learning to work through and learn to live in spite of loss.

This show reminds me of church experiences I’ve had and long to have again. I’ve been a regular church “goer” and Christian since 1998. During that time, I’ve been a member of two churches and at both places I have met people I NEVER would have chosen as friends but through common experiences whether it was serving in the same location or taking a class together, I made friends. Had I not met these people, I would have missed out on something very special.

“Go On” demonstrates to me what church is and should be.  A place for people from all walks of life to learn to do life together and love each other. As I watched last night’s episode and saw the group show up during Ryan’s biggest moment of need, I thought that’s the most wonderful community group (church speak for Bible study group) I have ever seen.

I hope to have experiences like that again but more importantly, I hope I can be that to someone else.

The Grace Card

The Grace Card is the story of Mac McDonald and Sam Wright.

Mac is an embittered police officer who is on the edge. The accidental death of his young son leaves Mac in a pit of despair that he’s never tried to climb out of.  His wife and living son live in fear of him. His job suffers. Financial pressures mount. The last thing he wants is a new partner. The only thing Mac really wants out of life is for it all to be over.

Sam Wright is Mac’s new partner…and he’s not happy about working with someone who has a problem with the color of his skin.  Sam is good at his job; the recent promotion helps him to take better care of his family. But where his heart truly is, is being the pastor of his church. A job he loves but feels he’s not good at. He’s struggling to find out what God wants for his life and trying to find his place where he can truly make a difference.

Both men learn that we have an opportunity every day to rebuild relationships and heal wounds by extending and receiving God’s grace.

Calvary Church in Memphis created The Grace Card. The entire production crew came from their congregation as well as most of the actors. Inspired by Sherwood Pictures (Facing the Giants, Fireproof, and Courageous), Calvary wanted to tell a compelling, God-honoring story. With the support of their congregation, they worked in conjunction with Hollywood professionals and volunteers to write and produce this film.

Personally, I’m not a fan of the material that Sherwood produces, so I was skeptical of another church making a feature film.  But The Grace Card is a solid movie. The story line is compelling and even though I found the acting a bit amateur in places, it didn’t get in the way of telling a good story.

Propeller Marketing is letting me give away a free DVD of The Grace Card. If you’d like to win, here’s what you need to do:

  • Subscribe to this blog if you haven’t already
  • Answer this question, “Did a story ever leave an impression on you that changed you for the better? What was it?”

I’ll choose a winner on Friday, September 16th.

“Disclosure of Material Connection: I receive this product mentioned above for free in the 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.”

Change Of Plans-Fox Family Movie Night Review

Tonight the boys and I watched an online screening  of the second movie in the Walmart-Proctor & Gamble sponsored “Family Movie Night”, entitled “Change of Plans”.

Change of Plans stars American Idol contestant Brooke White and Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show).  You can watch a preview here.

Ms. White plays the role of Sally Danville, an up and coming musician.  She and her husband, Jason, are on the career fast track.  They know exactly where they want to go in life and have no doubts about achieving their goals.  A phone call changes everything. A childhood friend of Sally’s has died tragically in an airplane crash; leaving her four children to Sally and Jason.

The young couple is abruptly faced with a myriad of problems: becoming instant parents, helping the kids (who were raised in Uganda) navigate the cultural shifts of America, and considering other people when making personal decisions.

I enjoyed the premise of this movie but had the same feelings about this as I did with “A Walk In My Shoes“…I just don’t think the full potential for drama and conflict is being mined to it’s full effect. The acting is a bit wooden and it’s just not good storytelling.

That being said, this TV movie accomplishes the goal of family friendly viewing. It’s just not very compelling.

Change Of Plans will air on Fox on Saturday, January 8th.

A Walk In My Shoes-NBC Family Movie Night Review

On December 3, NBC is airing their first Family Movie Night television drama, A Walk In My Shoes, starring Nancy Travis (So I Married An Axe Murderer).  I had the opportunity to participate in an online screening of this movie last week.

Premise:  An uptight high school teacher, Trish, is a bit of a judgmental person, quick to assume that the struggles her students have are caused by their own laziness and poor parenting.  After a encounter with a stranger named Molly and a car accident, Trish finds herself waking up in the body of Cindy, the mother of one of her most troubled students.

It’s an interesting premise.  I would describe it as Freaky Friday meets Touched By An Angel meets Highway to Heaven. 🙂

I felt the characters and story could have been more compelling, but this movie does accomplish its goal.  This is a movie that the whole family can watch AND discuss afterwards. There’s nothing that I feel parents would find objectionable for their children to watch and there are some interesting points that families can discuss together about judging others.

A Walk In My Shoes will air this Friday night on NBC. You can watch the trailer here.

What Would You Learn If You Stepped Into Someone Else’s Life?

NBC is working to bring Family Movie Nights back into American homes. Their first feature “A Walk In My Shoes” is scheduled to air on Friday, December 3rd. To watch the trailer, click here.

The synopsis is:

Ever judge someone just by looking at them? Of course, we’ve all made snap judgments about people. But what if we really got to know them? How would our opinions change? And what if we were forced to become them… how would the shoes fit then? Stressed-out high school teacher Trish Fahey can’t understand her students’ lack of effort and why their parents don’t seem to care. This is especially true of Justin Kremer, a popular, skateboard-loving, basketball star who is underperforming in her class. Trish has him suspended from the team and quickly chalks up the situation as a case of bad parenting.

This perspective dramatically changes when Trish meets Molly, a mysterious stranger intent on helping her see things differently. When Trish wrecks her car, Molly is there as Trish wakes to find herself living the life of Cindy Kremer, the woman she has personally judged and criticized. Trish discovers that there is often more to the story and learns a powerful lesson that affects everyone she interacts with. Her husband, her daughter, the ex-Marine next door… No one is left unchanged.

I think it will be nice to have something family friendly to watch on network TV again. 

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