Review by Mary C. Gildersleeve
We don’t watch much television in our house – we haven’t had cable for the past 10 years, we avoid network television except when there is an important news or sporting event scheduled, and we read-aloud to the kids during week-nights. That said, we do avail ourselves of all the amazing DVDs, videos and audio-books available which enhance our home-learning environment.
We also have twice-weekly “family movie nights”. Friday and Saturday evenings can find the kids ensconced in sleeping bags, binkies and pajamas, dad with his feet up, and mom with her knitting – all ready to embark on an adventure to a distant place, live the life of a saint or battle on the line of scrimmage. We watch old movies and new movies, classics and “sleepers”, mysteries and comedies. The only criterion we use is that the movie be good, true and beautiful. Additonally, the movie must be what we deem a “family” movie: a movie that has suitable content for our five year old as well as enjoyable subject matter for the adults and all those in-between.
One new resource, and the subject of this review, is a newly organized family movie resource called Faith and Family Flix ,a web-based DVD-rental site. Faith and Family, started by a few Christian families in the Chicago area, prides themselves on renting only family-friendly movies. This is a membership service – you can enroll for one DVD at a time or up to six DVDs at one time, paying a monthly fee that starts at $9.99. There are no late fees; your family can keep a DVD as long as you want. The shipping back to Faith and Family is included with your rental.
We subscribed to the two-at-a-time plan ($16.99) so as soon as we watch one DVD, we place it in the mail, and wait for another to come in its place – we’re able to see many more than two movies in a month for the $17. Netflix and Blockbuster have the same rental plan.
This service is set up in direct competition to Netflix and Blockbuster’s monthly rental programs. Focused on bringing great family movies into homes, Faith and Family Flix is a wonderful alternative to these other national programs. However, Faith and Family Flix does have a limited selection – especially as they’re buying policy is pretty strict concerning what justifies a “family movie”. They are adding new titles every month and willingly seek suggestions for additions to their selections. I like that many of their movies are not obtainable at my public library – many that I see only in catalogs such as Ignatius Press. Many of these movies we don’t want to own, but want to see (or, more importantly, have the children watch) and a rental service like Faith and Family is perfect for this.
The selections are listed by genre – biography, documentary, mystery, TV show, etc. You can add or edit your rental queue throughout your subscription; the queue is used for sending your next selection as your DVD is returned. We’ve been members for just a few weeks and have already seen: a fabulous documentary about Solanus Casey, a classic adventure movie called El Cid (with Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren), and a high school football team movie called Facing the Giants. We’re now awaiting our next selections: Diary of a Country Priest and Faces of Jesus in Art.
So, pop some popcorn, layout the sleeping bags and comfy pillows, and have your own “family movie night” using Faith and Family Flix rental service or just borrow something from your public library -- just make sure it's a fun movie for the whole crew. Your kids will thank you for creating such joyful memories for and with them!