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Overcomer in Theaters Now! (+Movie Easter Eggs)

Are you involved in a sport or other team? Is there one that you want to join? Imagine showing up on the first day of tryouts. You have your choice of seats, because no one else is there yet. You get a little nervous, and check the paperwork to make sure you’re in the right place. You are. Eventually, the coach shows up. No one else does. You’re the only person on your team.

What would you do? Stay? Quit? Encourage the discouraged coach?

Hannah Scott is in this situation in the movie Overcomer. Her cross country coach, John Harrison, isn’t thrilled that he had to give up basketball and instead coach his least favorite sport, which no one else seems to be interested in either. He’s more frustrated when he finds out that Hannah has asthma, which may jeopardize her ability to place in competitions.

But that’s the least of Hannah’s struggles. She’s new to this Christian school, and her home life is a stark contrast from her rich classmates. She lives with her grandmother, who’s told her that both of her drug-addicted parents died long ago.

But this one-person cross country team may be the life change that both Hannah and Coach Harrison need.

Girlz 4 Christ Magazine Summer 2019
This article adapted from the summer 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Click here to read more.

Kendrick Brothers Do It Again

Which of these films have you seen before?

    • War Room
    • Courageous
    • Fireproof
    • Facing the Giants
    • Flywheel

All of these movies were made by the Kendrick Brothers, pastors who decided to expand their ministry with the silver screen. If you haven’t seen them all yet, order them online or check them out at your library this summer. That way, you can be all caught up before Ovecomer hits theaters on August 23rd.

Alex, Stephen, and Shannon Kendrick are the filmmaking Kendrick Brothers, based in Albany, Georgia. For OVERCOMER, Alex co-wrote, directed, and plays the role of Coach John Harrison. Stephen co-wrote and produced the movie. (He also has an onscreen cameo similar to War Room.) Shannon serves as the movie’s executive producer. They are excited to release their sixth movie.

The Kendrick Brothers exist to honor Jesus Christ and make His truth and love known among the nations through movies, books, curriculum, and speaking. By prayerfully blending engaging stories with doctrinal integrity, the Kendricks seek to encourage and inspire viewers and readers with resources that impact their spiritual lives and strengthen their families and personal relationships.

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Easter Eggs

The Kendrick Brothers enjoy including little things to watch out for in their movies. Be on the lookout for these:

    • A favorite breakfast cereal for many of their movie characters is Coney Bombs. Who eats Coney Bombs in this movie? Can you figure out what real-life cereal it’s based on?
    • Alex Kendrick is the brother that gets the most screen time. He’s played a major role in every Kendrick Brothers movie, plus other Christian movies like Moms Night Out and The Lost Medallion. However, Stephen has made cameos in the last two films as well as Fireproof. Can you find him in War Room and Overcomer? (Hint: he seems to like competitions.)
    • Speaking of competitions, do any of the other teams seem familiar? Perhaps a school from Facing the Giants?
    • Many of the cars don’t have license plates. That’s because it appears that they were recently purchased, and still have the dealership plate. Where were they bought from? You might know if you’ve seen their first movie, Flywheel.

Can you find any other Easter Eggs or references to other movies as you watch Overcomer? Let us know and we’ll share your findings on our social media!

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Interview with Overcomer Movie Star, Aryn Wright-Thompson

Aryn Wright-Thompson is an honor-roll student, a leader in her community, and studies piano and dance: ballet, jazz, tap, acro, and lyrical. Aryn also plays volleyball, basketball, and softball. Aryn has also participated in pageants including the Miss N.C.’s Little Miss program and the Black Miss North Carolina Organization. Overcomer is her debut film.

We had the opportunity to ask Aryn about her role as Hannah Scott in Overcomer, and we’re excited to share the inside scoop with you about her acting, her life, and her walk with God.

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Have you done any acting or theater before Overcomer?

Yes, a little. I had done some regional NASCAR commercials, and extra work. I was an extra on the Three Stooges movie. That was a lot of fun because I was younger and there was a lot of playing outside and a big cafeteria scene where I got to sit next to my brother and eat and be silly all day. Jennifer Hudson took the time to talk to me that day. Still a highlight of my life…lol!

I have done both school and community theatre. I really enjoyed both.

How did you get involved with the Kendrick Brothers film?

My agent sent over the audition request. I read the sides that were sent and loved that. I taped the audition at home and made my dad cry.

What did a day on set look like?

Every day we would have devos as a group of all the cast & crew at between 7 and 8. Someone would pray and give a motivational or inspirational speech during breakfast. That was my favorite part of the day. Then I’d go to wardrobe, then hair and makeup. Sometimes I’d meet with Ms. Beth, the acting coach, to review my scenes. A lot of times Ms. Shari would talk with me or pray with me. We’d shoot some, have lunch. Shoot some more, then have dinner. There could be another wardrobe, hair or makeup change in there somewhere. We were also fortunate enough to have different churches volunteer to either cook or bring us all dinner to set! We’d eat, fellowship and then head home. Usually about 7 or 8 for me.

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Your character is a runner, but do you do any sports?

Yes! My parents have always kept us busy and active. Dance has been a constant in my life. I’m a competitive dancer and tap is my favorite style of dance. I have also played softball, basketball, volleyball and been a cheerleader. I also enjoy competing in pageants. I have participated in several North Carolina pageants.

How did you balance acting with school or your other commitments?

To be honest, it has always been a challenge because I live in North Carolina and I have often had to travel for opportunities. My mom would work with the schools and my teachers so that I wouldn’t fall behind and I have had to attend Saturday school a few times to make up missed time. I am very serious about my education and school work, so I always take every opportunity to work on assignments so that they’re on time.

How are you and your character Hannah alike?

I think that we are alike in the sense that we are both unsure. I had not always been sure of myself or my purpose. Spending time getting to know God and the love he as for me and all of us has given me the confidence to follow my dreams and I know who I am in Christ. That’s a big deal.

In real life, what’s something you’ve been working on accomplishing or overcoming lately?

Hmmmm…lately I think it’s been body image. Social media is such a big influence on the world. It seems the expectation is perfection. That’s not realistic and actual. I think it’s ridiculous. I’m definitely overcoming looking at myself from the view of the expectations of other people. God made me exactly the way he intended to, Who am I or anyone else to second guess that? As far as accomplishments, I’m working on being a professional at doing my own hair, there’s a lot to it!

Check out more girl heroes like Aryn Wright-Thompson in Girlz 4 Christ’s new book Girls Who Change the World, now available for preorder on Amazon!

Now that filming is wrapped up and the movie’s almost out, do you have any plans or hopes for a next project?

Ultimately, whatever God has for me..I’ll do it and give Him my best. I would love to continue acting and telling stories! I have another project I’ve been cast in called Don’t You Tell A Soul. I’m super excited about it because it’s a period piece. I get to play a young lady in the 1940s. I have always wanted to do that. I also plan on going to college and maybe becoming an attorney one day.

Did you have a favorite scene or moment on set?

Every day was my favorite. If I could redo last summer all over again I would. Maybe my favorite day was the first day because everything was new to me. I was a little nervous, but after completing that first day I knew I could do this. I also LOVED getting to spend so much time with all of the Kendrick kids! That was so much fun.

Last question: how much did you REALLY have to run for the movie?

LOL! A lot! Probably an average of 3 miles a day, and when we were filming most of the distance running scenes probably about 7 miles a day. But the girls that were in all of those scenes with me are actual runners. They kept me going and encouraged. The crew was amazing in helping us get through those scenes.

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Interviewed by Jessica Lippe

Taken from the Summer 2019 issue of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine

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Breakthrough

When John Smith crashed through the ice on a frozen lake near St. Louis, he was trapped for 15 minutes, and after he was rescued he had no pulse for 43 minutes. The ER physician called his mother in so she could say her final goodbye. She prayed instead and that’s when a miracle happened…John came back to life.

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John Smith was probably like a lot of the boys in your eighth grade class. He played basketball. He played video games. He hung out with his friends. Although he was abandoned as a baby in Guatemala, he was adopted into a loving Christian family in Missouri.

January 19th, 2015 started out as just an ordinary Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. To celebrate the day off of school, John and his two friends (both named Josh) decided to play on a frozen lake. After taking a selfie and running around… CRACK! The ice wasn’t as thick as they thought. Suddenly, the three boys found themselves in a cold lake with no means of escape.

When the emergency team responded, they found one Josh had managed to pull himself out of the water, and the other Josh was treading while trying to keep hold of an ice sheet. But John was nowhere to be seen. Since he had sunk underwater long before the rescuers arrived, they were prepared for the worst. As fireman Tommy Shine searched through the water, he heard a voice say “Go back!” He retraced the area he’d just searched and, sure enough, found John. Tommy Shine later tried to figure out who called out to him to go back, but no one on his team had said anything during that time. It was divine guidance that could have only come from God. Especially unusual since Tommy didn’t even believe in God!

It was a miraculous rescue, but it was only the start to a chain of miracles. The lifeless John had been submerged for 15 minutes- no breathing, no pulse. Yet the rescue team still did everything they could as they transported him to the hospital. He was considered dead for an hour by the time Joyce, his mom, was able to see him. After crying loudly, she shouted, “Holy Spirit…breathe life back into my son!”

No one expected John to make a full recovery. He was unlikely to even make it through the night, and if he did, he would have severe brain damage. But sixteen days and two hospitals later, John headed home as the healthy boy he’d always been. Prayer does work, and miracles do happen.

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Your Turn

As you’ll see in the movie, God wasn’t present only in John’s hospital room. His story made waves around his community. The classmates at his school gathered for prayer, and people came to his church to do the same. The prayer vigils were just as important as the prayers spoken at his bedside.

Do you know someone that needs prayer right now? It doesn’t necessarily have to be for a life-threatening issue; God hears all prayers and knows that each request is important to us. Take a break from reading- yes, right now!- and pray for a family member, friend, or someone in your community.

Need an idea for something to pray about? How about that Breakthrough would change lives! Here are a few other things you can do to help with that:

  • You can reserve your ticket right now! If your local theater doesn’t have showtimes for Breakthrough, ask what it would take to get the movie to your town.
  • Bring some people to see the movie in theaters. You can get discounts on group tickets, so this may be something you want to coordinate with your church, youth ministry, or other group.
  • Even non-Christian friends might be interested to see the movie for its cast of stars or basketball player-turned-producer Stephen Curry. Invite some people to the movies and then pick a restaurant, coffee shop, or ice cream parlor near the theater to chat afterward.
  • Visit breakthroughmovie.com to find out more about the movie. You can also access some “share tools”, that include printable prayer cards as well as images you can post on your social media.
  • Allow the message of the movie to affect your life. And keep on praying.

Breakthrough is in theaters now!

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For more about Breakthrough as well as lots of fun and inspiration for your personal journey, be sure to grab a current copy of Girlz 4 Christ Magazine. Subscriptions are free- just click here!

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Hitting the Breaks

Earlier this year, I came up with an idea I thought would revolutionize Christian television production. Along the same vein of The Office and Parks and Recreation, we needed to shine a light on the world of ministry through a mockumentary of those front-line workers. I created characters, ministry jobs, and early versions of a script. Unfortunately, while writing is my forte, I do not have an in with anyone working in Hollywood.

Little did I know that, around the same time, a new mockumentary-style Christian series was in the works. I admit it might even be better than my show idea. Hitting the Breaks premiered last month. I watched it on Pure Flix and am hyped to tell you about it.

Hitting the Breaks is the first original sitcom series from Pure Flix. We would like to invite you to watch this series for FREE by signing up for a free trial of Pure Flix’ streaming service. To celebrate this comedy, we wrote this review comedy-style as well.

The Premise

Lightning McQueen… I mean, Randy Wilcox’s car

In case you forget why this mostly-normal Christian family ended up in an anything-but-normal Colorado Rockies town, just listen to the theme song. The title sequence begins with the opening sequence of Cars 3. (That’s also the same scene as the final race of the first Cars movie, but I digress…) Without giving away too much of the setup of the show (or the Pixar Cars franchise), there’s an accident on the racetrack. This forces driver Randy into a midlife crisis of early retirement and moving his family cross-country to his recently inherited hotel, which is where we first meet them in the pilot episode.

Serenity Inn from Hitting the Breaks
Quaint, quiet, and no cell phone tower within miles to disrupt the scenic view!

The Wilcox family walks into The Serenity Inn, their new home in Colorado. Oh no! What happened to the Wi-fi and cell service? I guess it lacks those features to make what otherwise looks like a just-built hotel set seem old and dilapidated. They never get those services, so I guess they won’t be able to read this review. Or watch their own show.

When it comes to the topic of finances, this modern-day Petticoat Junction is mysterious . Why did Randy’s father die and leave his estate conveniently at the same time that Randy also flirted with death and needed a place to move to? Why is Randy concerned about money when he has free housing and presumably a professional athlete’s savings account? How can a hotel that never has a paying guest afford to keep on a maid? (Although this does explain why she never does any work- there’s no one to clean up after!) How can Randy quickly get hooked up with an endorsement deal when he wants several thousand dollars, but can’t drop a hundred bucks to replace a falling-apart floor rug that everyone complains about? And the most mysterious of all: why are Christian films notoriously low-budget, but Hitting the Breaks is actually a good show?

Speaking of Christianity, this is an original series created by and available exclusively through the Christian entertainment company, Pure Flix. But don’t expect the characters to awkwardly pause the story line to give their testimony. Instead you’ll see the Wilcox family and some of their friends living out their life with Christ through Bible studies, church events, reading, and prayer. For them, Christianity isn’t a separate part of their lives that they focus on for two minutes but ignore the remainder of the episode. It’s how they live their whole lives. That’s a good takeaway for all of us.

Wilcox Family from Hitting the Breaks Pilot
Accurate depiction of how kids feel when they have to move to the middle of nowhere.

But although there are mysteries and faith themes, Hitting the Breaks is a comedy. You’ll be reminded of that every four seconds when the laugh track goes off. Sometimes it gets so cheesy that you’ll want to grab tortilla chips and make some nachos. The characters even acknowledge this a handful of times while breaking the fourth wall.

The Characters

Is it Brother White? Is it Holy Man Undercover? No! It’s a racing star you’ve never heard of!

Randy Wilcox is played by that ever-present actor in nearly every Christian movie, David A.R. White. Instead of his typical portrayal of a pastor or an Amish man, David branches out in this show as a retired race car driver. The word “retired” might be a bit harsh, since he’s only middle-aged with daughters still in school. But what can you do if you have a family full of women who convince you that your line of work might be dangerous after your last race ended in smoke and shambles?

Coincidentally, I was also in a car crash shortly before Hitting the Breaks premiered. (I’m not a race car driver; I just share the road with people who think that a red light means “keep going!”) I even got the same lingering injury as Randy: a shoulder in so much pain that I couldn’t raise my arm. But since Randy’s arm was instantly cured by falling off a roof, I am definitely jumping off a building now. If anything goes wrong, I’ll just send my hospital bill to the production company. (Not everything you see on TV is meant to be impressionable, kids!)

Charlie Wilcox Hitting the Breaks
I think she’s the only person in this whole TV show that has any idea what’s going on.

Charlie Wilcox is Randy’s wife. Actress Andrea Logan White is also the real-life wife of David A.R. White. In Christian film world, that means it’s okay for the couple to share a bed unlike the sitcom couples of the 50s, and kiss each other without pulling Kirk Cameron’s stand-in stunt from Fireproof. Yay for realism!

Delancey Wilcox Hitting the Breaks
While watching Hitting the Breaks, try to get a screenshot of her without a sarcastic look. I dare you.

Delancey Wilcox is the oldest daughter of Randy and Charlie. Since she’s a teen, the writers gave her typical teen traits like being obsessed with boys and shampoo. Wait, shampoo? Is that a legit obsession? I started working on this teen magazine (that you should subscribe to) as I was aging out of my own teen years. All this time I guess I forgot to include a much-desired magazine section dedicated to shampoo. If you’re a teen girl with a shampoo obsession,  please leave a comment at the end of this post. I need your help with an upcoming article.

Darcy Wilcox Hitting the Breaks
She may be a preteen, but her IQ is higher than the rest of the town’s combined.

Darcy Wilcox is basically a female version of Brick Heck from ABC’s The Middle. Book brainiac, youngest child, remembers everything, socially awkward… you get the picture. I almost expected her to repeat words in a whisper. Maybe they’re saving that for season two.

Bernie and Sky
Sheriff Bernie and non-cranky-vegan Sky appear to be best friends. Not sure what they have in common.

Other Characters abound in this Rocky Mountain town. A fan favorite is Sky, a vegan-restaurant-owning/ motorcycle-riding/ friends-with-everyone twentysomething who knows the rest of the townsfolk are unusual without realizing that she’s a different kind of offbeat as well. The bumbling cop Bernie makes Barney Fife look like a SWAT Team agent. Then there are two old guys who continually wear bunny costumes. It’s weird how quickly you get used to that.

Tim Tebow in Hitting the Breaks
Tim Tebow makes his appearance. I wonder how many people watched the entire series just to get to this point?

Let’s not forget the special guest stars! There’s Alyson Stoner, and Morgan Fairchild, and Carrot Top, and IS THAT TIM TEBOW? LET’S FREAK OUT LIKE EVERY CHARACTER DID IN THE SEASON FINALE!

The Recommendation

Wilcox Family Hitting the Breaks
Your new favorite TV family. Do they have room for one more? I’ll see if I can make a cameo in the next season.

Joking aside for a moment, you probably know that there are fewer and fewer sitcoms airing that the whole family can enjoy. Two of the three family-friendly shows I alluded to above (The Andy Griffith Show and Petticoat Junction, which also has episodes available to stream on Pure Flix) were first filmed in black and white. The other mention, The Middle, is in its final season as television networks turn to edgier shows with more shock value. I’m glad that Pure Flix is stepping up to fill this widening gap. We need more shows that are funny, entertaining, and hold to God-honoring, family-friendly values.

Although Hitting the Breaks is only available on Pure Flix, we have a special deal for you. If you click here (or on any other link in this post) you will get a free month of streaming on Pure FlixHitting the Breaks has ten episodes, so you can easily watch the entire first season during your free trial, even if you’re not a binge-watcher.

Question: What kinds of things do you enjoy in a sitcom? Also, do you have a favorite kind of shampoo? I really want to know!

Don’t forget to check out our movie reviews for Princess Cut and I’m Not Ashamed, as well as snag a free Girlz 4 Christ Magazine subscription!

Reviewed by Jessica Lippe. All photos are from Hitting the Breaks/ Pure Flix. This article utilizes affiliate links. All opinions belong to the author.

 

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Princess Cut

 

 


We watched Princess Cut by streaming it on PureFlix, a service offering an entire library of clean, Christian movies and shows. We at Girlz 4 Christ would like to offer everyone a free one-month trial. Click here to start streaming PureFlix for free!

Have you ever gazed longingly at the engagement rings in a jewelry store? That’s where we meet Grace, a twentysomething farmgirl over the moon about getting married. True, her boyfriend hasn’t even proposed yet, but it’s just a matter of time, right? When he visits her on college break, she gets a surprise. It’s a ring… on another girl’s finger!

Heartbroken, Grace experiments with new relationships, starting with Jared. But when their differences in values makes dating each other miserable, Grace decides to approach romance in a new way. She has a lot to learn before getting that longed-after princess cut!

Princess_Cut_Screenshot1Highlights

“Princess Cut” busts a lot of the misconceptions that are believed about dating and romantic relationships. Do you have to get physical with your boyfriend? How involved should your parents get? Is there an appropriate amount of flirting? What qualities should you be looking for in a mate?

Remember that this movie shows just one example of a God-honoring relationship. Since everyone’s circumstance is different, “Princess Cut” isn’t a how-to guide or a list of dos and don’ts. However, it can still point you in the right direction of thinking about how you can form your own personal guidelines.

Aside from the main moral of purity, a major subplot point expresses the value of hard work and seeking God in all you do. When the family’s combine breaks, everyone pitches in to pick the fields by hand. After a successful harvest season, they give the glory to God by hosting an outreach community event.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot2Connection Points

When Grace decides that there must be more to God-honoring romance than what she’s experienced in the past, she checks out a pile of books to learn more. During her marathon of a reading session, she takes notes, highlighting things she finds important in a relationship. Do you think that something like this might help you prayerfully figure out your own dating rules and what you’re looking for in a future husband?

The soybean analogy that Grace’s dad introduces in the movie could be a great reminder in your own life. Sometimes we try to get a harvest before we even plant the seeds. We may be planting seeds right now for qualities such as patience, communication, and romance. They may not come to fruition right away, but that doesn’t mean we should quit working on them, just like you wouldn’t quit watering a plant that is still growing. You can remember this when you’re working towards just about anything.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot3Points of Concern

There was only one scene that caused enough concern that it may affect viewers. Grace receives a suggestion to try professional counseling. Although she’s apprehensive, she nervously goes anyway. Within the first few minutes, her counselor gives poor advice about premarital relationships, which causes Grace to walk out. For those who have never visited a counselor, know that this was a very atypical experience. Most counselors are in fact helpful in navigating a variety of life situations. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to go to counseling for yourself, whether it’s for for relationship concerns or any other reason.

A later scene involves two young men fighting over a love interest. The one that ultimately wins her affection is the one that tries to be a peacemaker despite the violent attacks. The fight quickly subsides when her father steps in.

Though it’s not clear, Grace at times seems more excited about getting a princess cut ring than she is for the relationship that comes with it. However, the movie is clear that, whether single or in a relationship, valuing others is more important than valuing objects.

Princess_Cut_Screenshot5Final Word

I often get tired of watching romance movies, or really any movie that has a romantic subplot. But I actually liked “Princess Cut”. It wasn’t unrealistic. It didn’t have inappropriate sexual content. It wasn’t even preachy. Instead, it inspired me to seek God for conviction in relationships, and not just in the romantic sense. Family members, friends, and yes, even boys, are all relationships that play a major role in your life. But through them we should seek our most important relationship of all: the one with our loving Savior.
000pcGirlz 4 Christ was provided with a PureFlix membership in order to view this movie. Opinions expressed are our own and were not swayed by payment. You can get a FREE month of PureFlix too just by clicking here!

To read our movie review of I’m Not Ashamed, click here. To get a free subscription to Girlz 4 Christ Magazine, click here. And of course, don’t forget to leave a comment on this post letting us know what you think!