Friday Fives: Five Secular Movies That, Somewhat Unexpectedly, Reflect Biblical Truths.

This week on Friday Fives, five movies that offer surprising nuggets of truth for possible use in preaching or teaching.

#5 The Brave Little Toaster

I guess you could call this a “cult favorite.” My family and I have loved it for years. It’s the story of a band of appliances whose loyalty to their “master” – a young boy – sets them on a trek to risk everything to find him.

Year: 1987
Category: Family friendly animated drama
Biblical Truths: Loyalty, Sacrifice, Faithfulness to “The Master”
Weird-ism: The late Phil Hartman appears as a voice impersonating Jack Nicholson who is an air conditioner.
Rated: NR (Made for TV)

#4 Big Fat Liar

This is not Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar. It’s a teen movie starring Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes. (Remember this Friday Fives category is “Five Secular Movies That Somewhat Unexpectedly Reflect Biblical Truths.”) It’s a movie about a boy who lies and learns the importance of the truth when his movie script is stolen by a Hollywoodfilm producer.

Year: 2002
Category: Teen comedy
Biblical Truths: Liars get their comeuppance, Honesty, Integrity, “Oh what a tangled web we weave…”
Weird-ism: Jaleel White plays himself, with playful references to his famous character, Steve Urkel, from the TV sitcom Family Matters.
Rated: PG
Cautions: Revenge is a central theme.

#3 Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

It’s the story of a girl and her horse but is more centrally about the people around that horse and the way a risky faith changes them.

Year: 2005
Category: Family drama
Biblical Truths: Hope in the Unseen, Faith, Forgiveness
Weird-ism: Kris Kristofferson plays Kurt Russell’s father, even though he’s only 14 years his senior.
Rated: PG
Cautions: None

#2 A Paralyzing Fear: The Study of Polio in America

A powerful documentary on the scourge of polio in the 20th century and the race to find a cure, A Paralyzing Fear paints a fascinating picture of children who went from the playground to an iron lung and, along the way, part of the marginalized in society. It challenged me to think about how I view those who are sometimes cast aside and how Jesus sees them.

Year: 1998
Category: Historical documentary
Biblical Truths: Love, Compassion, Caring for the Marginalized
Weird-ism: The March of Dimes was successful because of a brilliant marketing scheme and the passion of a friend of Franklin Roosevelt.
Rated: NR (Made for TV)
Cautions: Scenes of children suffering

#1 My Dog Skip

In my view, this is one of the most underrated movies in the last 20 years. I often tell women to watch it as a fascinating peeling back of the layers of what it means to grow up male in America. It’s the coming of age story of real-life journalist and editor Willie Morris and his Jack Russell Terrier, based on his memoirs. (Willie’s, not Skip’s.)

Year: 2000
Category: Drama based on the true stories from Morris’s childhood
Biblical Truths: Forgiveness, Enduring Hardship, Genuine Masculinity, Healing
Weird-ism: The dog drives.
Rated: PG
Cautions: Often characterized as “a children’s movie,” it probably isn’t because of its serious themes.


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  1. Brian: This is such a fun, surprising list! I love how leaders can refer to it for possible use in their teaching. Good. Stuff. Well done.