Coronavirus got you stuck indoors? There’s great, uplifting films to stream at home! I’m Jonathan Decker, family therapist and film critic, and I’m here to help you find the good stuff. For more curated picks and discussion guides for movies, follow me on Facebook.
LIVING SCRIPTURES (SIGN UP HERE)
Charly, the quintessential Latter-day Saint weepie (and I mean that as a compliment) finally arrives on Living Scriptures streaming, adding to their already-staggering library of faith-promoting content. Hop on the Ferris Wheel and feel the love. Stream it on Living Scriptures or rent/buy it here.
Frozen 2 arrives on Disney Plus a whole three months early as a gift to homebound subscribers. From where I sit, this is a much-superior sequel and with fantastic lessons about healthy relationships. Stream it on Disney+ or rent/buy it here.
Hook finds Steven Spielberg delivering childlike cinematic wonder as only he can, directing Robin Williams as a grown-up Peter Pan who’s forgotten who he is until Hook kidnaps his children to Neverland. Critics were divided, but make no mistake: this is a family film classic. Stream it on Netflix or rent/buy it here.
Run the Race. Tim Tebow produced this superior Christian drama about two brothers, football, track and field, and young love. A beautiful family tale of overcoming hardship through faith. Stream it on Hulu or rent/buy it here.
The Chosen. VidAngel is offering two free weeks of their service during the COVID-19 shutdown. That means you can watch the entirety of the brilliant New Testament-based TV series The Chosen for free. Sign up right here.
Kung Fu Panda, with its big heart, gorgeous animation, first-rate vocal cast, stirring musical score, and jokes aplenty, has arrived to stream for Prime members. Stream it on Amazon Prime or rent/buy it here.
YOUTUBE MOVIES (FREE)
Love, Kennedy is director T.C. Christensen’s (17 Miracles, Cokeville Miracle, Fighting Preacher) most underrated, overlooked gem. Since you can watch it legally for free on YouTube, I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Soul-stirring, faith-affirming stuff.
3:10 to Yuma (original). The remake with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe is available to filter through Clearplay (and is my all-time favorite film), but the original is family-friendly and such a powerhouse morality tale. I love this story about a humble rancher who bonds with the outlaw he’s escorting to trial. So many layers here. A true classic of the genre. Stream it on Crackle or rent/buy it here.
Adventures of Tintin. Director Steven Spielberg brings the brawny spirit of adventure he gave us in Indiana Jones. Producer Peter Jackson offers the visual wizardry of his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. Combined, this is an energetic and super fun family romp.
Stream it on TubiTV or rent/buy it here.
VeggieTales: God Wants Us to Make Peace is the latest from the longtime Christian animation favorites, thankfully jettisoning the manic style of their Netflix partnership and returning to classic form. New and classic VeggieTales adventures, along with other wholesome Christian content, are now on YipeeTV. There is a free trial.
VUDU MOVIES (FREE)
The Ultimate Gift. One of the best Christian dramas of the past 20 years. A spoiled young rich man is left a mighty inheritance by a relative, but must engage in a series of character-and-faith-building tasks to get it. The concept is a stretch, but the execution is divine, with known Hollywood actors and a beautiful script. Stream it on Vudu or rent/buy it here.
RENT OR BUY
Bells of St. Mary’s is an Oscar winner with Bing Crosby (White Christmas) and Ingrid Bergman (Casablanca) as a priest and nun who butt heads then form an unlikely friendship while looking out for the boys in their Catholic school. Terrific music by Crosby and an ending where Bergman’s performance will make you cry tears of joy. A delight. Rent or buy it here.
FROM THE STREAMING SAINT
Indiana Jones and the Search for Eternal Joy is a 50 minute Latter-day Saint seminary action-comedy I wrote and directed for our high school seminary in the year 2000. Indy and Short Round learn about The Book of Mormon and battle the baddies. An adventure the whole family can enjoy. Cheesy fun.
GET MORE PICKS TO STREAM WITH YOUR FAMILY
For a thorough exploration of what apostles and prophets have said about watching uplifting media, along with hundreds of reviews and Gospel discussion guides, pick up a copy of my book 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families!
Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist, actor, author, and film critic. He is known for starring in The KJZZ Movie Show and the Utah action-comedy CTU: Provo, performing with BYU’s Divine Comedy, and as the author of 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families.