Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013): Mormon Movie Review


Quality: stars_5

   The Desolations picks up pretty quickly where we left off in the first film.  Now on the run with a pack of fierce orcs close behind we follow Bilbo as he journeys with Ganldalf and his 13 Dwarf companions to reclaim the Lonely Mountain and the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor.  If you missed The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, I highly suggest you pick it up on iTunes or Amazon or at least read our review and synopsis.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Frozen (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Frozen Wide Poster

Quality: stars_5


   Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) teams up with rugged mountain man Kristoff anna-kristoff-sled(voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven in an epic journey to find Anna's sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.

   During the 2nd Golden Age of Disney that was ushered in with The Little Mermaid we were treated to movies that had beautiful visuals, compelling stories, and moving music. I'm convinced this age died with Tarzan for one reason, music! Disney movies were basically animated musicals, but without that piece we were given films like Bolt, Meet the Robinsons, and Atlantis. They aren't bad movies, but they can't hold a candle to Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King, which have both been turned into Stage Musicals.

   When Tangled came out in 2010 we saw a reemergence of this era. Frozen continues this pattern of beautiful visuals, compelling stories, and moving music.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How do you Celebrate Thanksgiving and Black Friday?

Thanksgiving Freedom From Want Rockwell

   There have been some heated arguments online this week about "Grey Thursday" and being "Part of the Problem." I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts.

   The world is careening down a path to increased secularism. We see it in how Christmas is portrayed in the media. When you think about your favorite Christmas Movies, there are very few that actually mention the birth of Jesus Christ. Usually they are about helping Santa save Christmas, getting along with family, or finding the special toy for your child. Although if Jingle all the Way is your favorite Christmas Movie you have a whole other set of issues besides increased secularism. Luckily there are still Christ centered Christmas films, (Amazon made a great list) but they are getting fewer and fewer.

   I see a similar thing happening with Thanksgiving. Although Thanksgiving has been celebrated in many ways since the Pilgrims, it was Abraham Lincoln who instituted that national holiday as we know it today.   During the Civil War when old and young were fighting, and dying, the President chose to set aside time to remember our blessings.  In an excerpt of the proclamation he states;

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Did I Change My Blog Format?


   We have been getting a lot of questions lately about our format change.  For those of you who are new here, let me bring you up to speed.  Back in 2010 I started a Movie & Media Review Blog to help like minded individuals find content that is entertaining without being offending.  I love movies and I love writing about them!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Guest Post: Opt-In Pornography Should be Required in America


Source: This Week in Mormons

   Geoff and Al records a weekly Podcast about what is happening in the world of Mormons.   Currently there is a petition gaining signatures with the purpose of making online pornography an opt in feature with ISPs, just like it is Cable TV.  Geoff writes a convincing argument as to why this is in the better interests of our faith and society as a whole.  Geoff has written for us before on the revival of Arrested Development, this post is of a more important matter.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thor: The Dark World (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Thor-the-Dark-World Poster

Quality: stars_5


   Marvel has done a great job of establishing a cross franchise universe in Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, and the other Avengers.  Because of this success Thor got an extra 20 million in its budget and it really shows with some great actors.  There were some real missed opportunities though.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ender’s Game (2013): Mormon Movie Review


Quality: stars_5

   My November 1st daily gratitude Facebook update was, “I'm grateful for books. For without them, we would not have awesome movies."

  In the near future, a hostile alien race has attacked Earth. In preparation for the next attack, the highly esteemed Colonel Graff and the International Military seek to find a future leader who can save the human race. Ender Wiggin, a shy but strategically brilliant young mind, is recruited to join the elite, where he's trained to lead his fellow soldiers into an epic battle that will determine the future of Earth

Friday, November 1, 2013

Repost Commentary: Wallflower


   One of the things a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m a bit of an introvert.  Like my sister Summer at Made by Munchies Mama posted about herself two years ago we are really good at faking it.  For those of you who know me personally, or listen to the Podcast I seem pretty outgoing.  But here is my trick, I rarely initiate conversation.  I just don’t.  I don’t know what to say or even if that person even cares to chat. 

   Once the ice is broken (usually by the other party) I can hold my own and be very charming and entertaining.  For me to approach someone it is a very conscious decision that takes a lot of pumping myself up.  But here is the funny thing, I don’t really mind.  I can go through a church 3 hour block and be perfectly content to limit interpersonal conversations to a few handshakes, smiles, and a friendly nod of the head. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Why Women Don’t Have to Objectify Themselves on Oct. 31



Source: Deseret News

   It is currently hard to be a man talking about the importance of modesty.  To admit that seeing a woman in revealing clothing makes our “minds wander” has recently been reflected back on to us.  As if to say inappropriate images leading to inappropriate thoughts are some how a sign of our individual deviant nature.  Us men who desire to live chaste lives have a lot to tempt us and it takes a lot of moral and mental strength to refocus our thoughts when presented with content that objectifies women.  It’s like having headphones on playing “I Like to Move it” from Madagascar on repeat… all day.   When they day ends and you are safe in the refuge of your home, what song do you think will be going through your head?  It is going through my head now.  Is it going through yours? 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Getting Pumped Up for General Conference

General Conference Cover Photo
general conference cinnamon rolls- Summer 

Like hundreds of thousands of other families around the world tonight we just finished out Semi-Annual General Conference Prep Family Night.  (The Annual occurs in April).  General Conference is one of my favorite times of the year.  There is the family togetherness as we gather at my parents house with the siblings and grand kids, Donuts on Saturday, Cinnamon Rolls on Sunday, getting dress up to go to priesthood with my Dad, and getting dressed up in our Pajamas for other sessions at home. 

   My sister, Munchie’s Mama, posted my wife’s General Conference Cinnamon Roll recipe as well as some other fun packets to keep the kids busy/engaged in conference.  I wanted to post about I am doing, and you can do, as an adult to get ready for conference.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Watch Downton Abbey Season 4 Before it Airs in the US

Downton Abbey Season 4
   Last year we posted How to Watch Downton Abbey Season 3 in the US Before it Airs on PBS.  It is the most popular post we ever had!  So naturally with the new season starting this Sunday in the UK we wanted to let you all know how to watch it before it airs in the US in 2014.

   If you are one of our UK readers you can simply go to iTV's website (the English broadcaster of Downton Abbey) and watch it from their site.  But if you are here in America you get an error, "This Video in not Available to Play in Your Region."  It is a rotten thing that iTV & PBS make us wait 4 months to see Downton Abbey here in the US.

Monday, September 9, 2013

General Conference Cinnamon Rolls Recipe & Activities


general conference cinnamon rolls- Summer

My sister Summer is the voice behind Made by Munchie’s Mama.  She recently shared some great General Conference traditions as well as my wife’s awesome General Conference Cinnamon Roll recipe.  My wife doesn’t care for Banana Pancakes or Jack Johnson she started making these beauties.  Even though they are very sweet we typically don’t give our kids sugar during the first year.  My dad thought it would be funny to give one of our 10 month olds ice cream in the other room while we were over for a visit one day.  My wife cursed him with no more General Conference Cinnamon Rolls.  He thought it was a joke until we showed up two months later to watch Conference empty handed.  He quickly apologized and the next April called to see if she had forgiven him yet. (and if she was bringing Cinnamon Rolls) 

“Every six months our Church holds a General Conference where we hear messages from our church leaders through a television broadcast.  My family lovingly referred to it as Pajama church since we would roll out of bed and gather in the living room to watch the broadcast.  My Dad always makes banana pancakes and when my brother got married, his wife added the tradition of making cinnamon rolls too.  They are to die for and since our next General Conference is coming up in October I thought I would share the recipe with you all.  Trust me that you are going to want to pin this sucker for your next brunch, shower or Sunday morning.


This recipe is super quick and easy and great for bakers from beginning to advanced.  I have no idea how to use yeast and I have yet to screw it up.  The rolls always turn out golden and flakey on the outside and soft, chewy and just the right amount of gooey on the inside.  It's spiral perfection.

General Conference Cinnamon Rolls

Adapted from All

1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
½ c margarine, melted
4 ½ c bread flour
1 t salt
½ c white sugar
2 ½ t bread machine yeast
1 c brown sugar
1 ½ T ground cinnamon
1/3 c butter, softened
1-3 oz package of cream cheese
¼ c butter
1 ½ c confectioners’ sugar
½ t vanilla
1/8 t salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select dough cycle; press start…”

For the rest of the recipe and more great ideas read the full article here.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

New to Watch Instantly on Netflix - 8.3.13

Your source for Netflix news is back just in time for an extended weekend. September 1st brings in a fresh batch filled with some oldies but goodies. Men In Black, There Will Be Blood, The Seven Year Itch, Fear and Loathing in Las VegasRequim For A Dream and the classic, Zoolander!!
50 First Dates (2004)
In this offbeat romantic comedy, marine veterinarian Henry Roth changes his womanizing ways after he falls for pretty art teacher Lucy Whitmore. Trouble is, she has no short-term memory, so Henry has to win her over again every day.

Breakin' All the Rules (2004)
Upon being dumped by his fiancée, a spurned lover (Jamie Foxx) authors a book on how to deal with the undeniable ups and downs of the break-up process. But everyone (including the author) is caught off guard when the book becomes a best-seller. Co-stars Gabrielle Union, Morris Chestnut, Jennifer Esposito and Peter MacNicol.

read more

Monday, September 2, 2013

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke: Victims or Perpetrators of Lasciviousness

   There has been a lot of talk this week about the “performance” by Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards.  For those of you who missed it, you can see the video on our Facebook Page, along with the tongue lashing we got from concerned readers.  There are a lot of issues at hand here and I wanted to break them down one by one.  While some of the themes are mature, if you were old enough to stay up late and watch the show, you are old enough to know the messages it was sending.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Great Gatsby (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Quality: stars_2
   A few months back we talked about The Great Gatsby on our Podcast that we do with the Mormon Movie Guy.  I hadn’t seen it yet, so I got to pick his brain a bit.  Most of what I feared was true, but my mom recently purchased the Blu-Ray (even though we advised not to in our most recent episode) so I went over to watch it as a double date with my wife and parents.  I always have an open mind when seeing a movie, contrary to a comment we will read in the next podcast episode.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Mormons and Hollywood: 5 Fun Facts

Source: LDS Living
The history of Mormons and Hollywood is more exciting and far-reaching than most people realize. Check out these five ways Church members have left their mark in television and on the silver screen.
1. Battlestar Galactica, a television series that aired in 1978 and 1979, was created by Church member Glen A. Larson and includes several references to Mormon doctrine.
For example, in the show, the colonies originated from the planet Kobol (thought to be an anagram of Kolob) and were governed by a "council" or "quorum" of twelve. And in the episode War of the Gods, Part 2, angels (or advanced beings) explain, "As you are now, we once were; as we are now, we may become." Sound familiar? Compare it to Lorenzo Snow's famous couplet, "As man is now, God once was; as God is now, man may become." Even marriages were referred to as sealings that lasted "not only for now, but for all eternity."
Larson also worked on other popular television shows such as The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy, Magnum P.I., and Knight Rider.
Photo from

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Turbo (2013): Mormon Movie Review


Quality: stars_3

   Turbo is the story of a snail who loves speed, but as a snail doesn’t have much of it.  Then a freak accident involving a street racer and Turbo is born!  Turbo has big dreams of becoming a race car driver like his hero, Guy Gagné, but his brother Chet doesn’t understand his need for speed. Turbo believes that no dreams are too big and no dreamer too small.I took my boys to see it and they loved it!

The Church Releases a New Version of the Temple Film

Author’s Note: I have a pronounced respect and love for the Temple.  It is a place where I have received inspiration and made promises that draw me closer to my Family, my Savior, and my Heavenly Father.  All the information shared is available through official church public sources. I have taken great care to be respectful to the sacred nature of the Temple and I hope that you would show the same respect in comments.

newport-beach-california temple 
   Today I went to the Newport Beach Temple; being inspired to see the new Temple Film after talking with Mormon Movie Guy, Jono Decker, during the recording of our last Podcast.  I had first heard about it while listening to the This Week in Mormons Podcast.

   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a section on their public news site giving an explanation of the Temple.  It gives the history of Temples stating: 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Mormon Men: We Don't Want Unrighteous Dominion


Inside the Mind of the Mormon Man

Source: LDS Living
“Men are from Mars; women are from Venus.” Books and discourses abound on the differences between men and women. So we set out to understand the enigma that is the Mormon man, surveying 500 men, conducting focus groups, and interviewing experts in the process. This study was not a scientific one, and the results will not accurately represent every single LDS man, but we’re confident that we now have a good grasp on what goes on inside the mind of a Mormon man.
This is the fourth article in our five-part series. To get the other three parts, click here.
11763"Lately in the media it seems that there is growing attention being given to the movements for the so-called Mormon feminist movement," said one man. And that's true. In the recent past, women have worn pants in Church, agitated to pray in general conference, and even started a movement to allow women to be ordained to the priesthood. And right or wrong, they've been making a big splash and stirring up controversy both within the Church membership and without. "I don’t think I’m wise enough to really say much about how right or wrong these people are," he continued, "but the one thing they seem to attack the most is the idea of priesthood leadership. It hurts to think that women find our leadership so distasteful."

Unexpected Ballers: Mormons In The Hood Schooling These Dudes In A Basketball Game

   That is the official video title, not my words.  But man, talk about PR.  I think it is so awesome that these missionaries took an opportunity to interact with these guys. 

   I remember as a missionary going to a home to teach a family.  We would spend the first 10-15 minutes just plating football in the front yard the the neighborhood kids.  When we drove up the dirt road to the property kids would pop up out of no where and start running beside the car.  I will always remember the day I heard the them shout as they ran,

“It’s the Elders!”

“What’s that?” said a little kid behind him.

“C’mon, its fun!”


Monday, July 29, 2013

The Wolverine (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Wolverine Immortal Poster

stars_4   I chose the Spanish movie poster to represent this review of “The Wolverine” because Wolverine: Immortal is such a more fitting title.  Summoned to Japan by an old acquaintance, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) becomes embroiled in a conflict that forces him to confront his own demons.  Vulnerable for the first time and pushed to his physical and emotional limits, he confronts not only lethal samurai steel but also his inner struggle against his own immortality, emerging more powerful than we have ever seen him before.
TheWolverine and JeanGrey    We were treated to a Wolverine film in 2009’s X-men Origins: Wolverine.  While that film is a prequel of sorts this film follows the events of X-men (3): The Land Stand.  Logan (Wolverine) has lost all purpose after the events of The Last Stand and lives a secluded live in the mountains of Alaska.  He is constantly haunted by nightmares of his lost love Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).  And I mean constantly! She has so much screen time she is featured in some of the movie posters.  Because I am fundamentally against the movie trope where a girl leave the good guy for the bad boy this relationship is continually problematic for me and I loathe seeing it on screen.  (See my pending article asking why is James Marsden the perpetual cuckold?)  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

These Movie-Themed Engagement Photos Deserve an Oscar

Source: Mashable
When you're a professional wedding photographer, there's a lot of pressure to get the perfect shots of your own nuptials. So when photographer Joshua Watson and his then-girlfriend Rachel, who works in video production, wanted to take engagement photos for their June 1 union, they went above and beyond the typical photo shoot.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Man on Steel (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Man of Steel Poster HD
Quality:  stars_4
   Man of Steel is a reboot of the Franchise made famous in cinema by the late Christopher Reeve.  The Warner Bros. synopsis makes the story sound a little odd when taken at face value.  “A young boy learns that he has extraordinary powers and is not of this Earth. As a young man, he journeys to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. But the hero in him must emerge if he is to save the world from annihilation and become the symbol of hope for all mankind.” 
MAN OF STEEL   I was very conflicted on my opinion of this movie.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved it.  There were also some glaring flaws.  So in true D&C 121:43 fashion, let me give you a short list of my gripes before we give credit to the things praiseworthy.  There is some beautiful cinematography in this film, but there is one fatal flaw, shaky cam.  I was feeling a bit noxious at times a Superman flies around making the “cameraman” rumble.  As a result the view is blurred and the fine details obstructed. (See title photo) We also never really get to see the mind mannered adult Clark.  He seems to look more like a stand in for The Wolverine.  Lastly of my major issues, cookie cutter casting, more on that later.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To My Friends Who Didn't Make Troubadours (or anything else you strived for), It Gets Better!

  OCMCO Concert
  For those of you outside the Orange County area; Troubadours is the elite choir at Fountain Valley High School.  Those who pass the audition process are "kidnapped" in the night by members and paraded around school the next day. 

   I am sorry you tried out for Troubadours and didn't make it. I want to tell you, I know how it feels. I know how it feels to go to bed in your clothes or cool pajamas with your shoes by your bed just knowing they were coming for you. Waking up several times in the night thinking you've heard something. Then to finally be awoken by the rising sun as your hopes sink into despair.

   I remember going to school the next to see my classmates in slippers and silly clothes with signs prompting others to ask them to sing. I can still remember the embarrassment when I saw the posted roster revealing there was a vacancy in my section. It wasn't that I was out sung by better singers, but I just wasn't plain good enough.

Friday, May 31, 2013

They've Made a Huge Mistake: Arrested Development- Season 4 (2013): Mormon TV Review

We are lucky to feature today a Guest Post from Geoff Openshaw.  Some of you might recognize Geoff from his attempt to woo the Mormon Bachelorette, but you can how find him as the co-host of the popular LDS themed Podcast This Week in Mormons!  It is a weekly show discussing news and cultural items relevant to the Mormon community during any given week.
(You can also find Geoff if you Google image search "Virginity, I Choose You!")


**Warning - light spoilers below**

Experimentation is the vehicle by which society moves forward. Without experiments, there is no progress. Seen through that lens, the resurrection of Arrested Development  after being sent to pasture in 2006 should be a template for the future of television. Netflix seems like an ideal medium to demonstrate our streaming, commercial- and restriction-free, future. However, not all experiments yield good results, and while the new approach to Arrested Development is certainly bold, it is an exercise in the experiment disproving the hypothesis.

I wanted to love this season. I am a huge AD fan and have been since its Fox days. The hype surrounding its return has grown to near-mythic proportions, which certainly couldn't have done the revival any favors. But what has been regularly regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time falls on its face in its new format.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Epic (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Epic wide poster 2013
Quality: stars_5
MMR at the Movies Epic   My wife is an awesome hair stylist and so she usually works on Saturdays.  That means me and the boys usually have Saturdays to have fun (barring a ward movie or service project).  This Saturday we went to see Epic!  I was a bit nervous after my experience with Wreck-It Ralph, but it was a real great time!

   In Epic a teenager named Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfriend) finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world, and ours.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek- Into Darkness (2013): Mormon Movie Review

Star Trek Into Darkness Poster
Quality: stars_5
   I have always been a Star Wars guy.  I have seen all the movies and can tell you all about the characters and planets.  The only Star Trek movie I had seen was the one where they have to save the whales, which is why it is was the only one.  That all changed in 2009 with JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot.  If you missed it, you won’t need to see it to enjoy this film, but it could fill some gaps for you. (If you did miss it, Fandango will give you a free digital copy if you buy your ticket online)

Friday, May 3, 2013

Iron Man 3 (2013): Mormon Movie Review

   This review will be a little image light. I'm out at Fathers and Sons Campout, but had time to frame it up before I left. Now I'm watching my boy play as I write my review on my iPhone. Ain't technology grand?

   Iron Man 3 takes place shortly after The Avengers. Tony Stark (Iron Man) is haunted by the events that took place in New York City. Now a new threat appears and makes things personal for Tony. 

Netflix deleting and adding again - find out the scoop!

Apr 30, 2013 06:31 pm | melissa
Via Mashable and Slate
Tomorrow, May 1, 2013, Netflix will be pulling almost 2,000 Warner Bros titles from its catalog. To put this in perspective though, with over 300 movies in my queue, only 7 will come out. Slate has a recommendations list and InstantWatcher has the full list, but with this news, the site is probably overloaded, so check out their twitter.
So how about some good news: there's new stuff being added this month! I don't normally include TV, but thought I'd sweeten the deal. There's also another site, Instant Gratification, which proves to be generally accurate, there you can get the full list of what's being supposedly added. Here's what's coming:
Avail 5/3      
The Cabin in the Woods (2011) – Horror (screened for Cinemit members)
Kristen Connolly, Chris Hemsworth, Anna Hutchison, Fran Kranz, Jesse Williams, Richard Jenkins
In this surprising spin on a classic horror setup, five friends arrive at a secluded cabin with clear instructions for their anticipated mountain getaway. But when the rigid rules are broken, punishment is swift -- and everyone will pay.

read more

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