Summer Movies: Pope Francis Style!

OK, sports fans: this post is for you!

As you probably know by now, Pope Francis entrusts two prayer intentions each month to the Apostleship of Prayer. His universal prayer intention for this shiny new month of July is Sports. As this month's children's reflection explains, we pray "that playing sports makes us strong and helps us grow in friendship."

There's a weekly radio hour on Radio Maria called "Embracing Your Greatness," hosted by Christina King. At the beginning of the month, Christina invites me on the show to discuss the Pope's two new prayer intentions, especially as they relate to children. Just yesterday when I was on the show, Christina and I got to talking about various movies that demonstrate the kind of strength and camaraderie Pope Francis is encouraging in his universal prayer intention this July. As we chatted, I realized I had never seen any of the movies being mentioned. Not even one. Given my love of playing sports and my history of being raised with six brothers, you'd think I would have seen dozens of sports films. Alas.

So, like any good 21st century hard-core researcher, I appealed to my Facebook community to help me identify movies I should watch with my family this month to celebrate Pope Francis' prayer--because Family Movie Night is a spectacular way to pray!

Friends proposed dozens of sports-themed movies with encouraging messages of strength, character, and friendship; I chose twelve to share with you today. A couple of movies I weeded out because I have seen them, and I want those hours of my life back. At least three excellent suggestions would not be appropriate for Family Movie Night if children younger than twelve would be snuggling up with their popcorn. (Apologies to Invictus,  Friday Night Lights and The Blind Side, which all hit the CNS scale at A-III--adults only.)

The CNS (Catholic News Service) movie reviews helped me determine the age-appropriateness of the films. On its website, the Catholic News Service says this about its origins: "While created in 1920 by the bishops of the United States, CNS is editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops." Their movie review page uses the following criteria: 

Please comment on the blog to share movies I have missed! Or offer your reviews so other parents can get a sense of a particular film. There are 31 days in July to pray with the Pope--I hope at least some of those days will include a Family Movie Night: Pope Francis Edition.

A huge shout-out to IMDb (Internet Movie Database) for their movie images and content, quoted directly for each film.

    • Ice Princess (2005) G
      • IMDb DescriptionWith the help of her coach, her parents, and the boy who drives the Zamboni machine, nothing can stop Casey (Trachtenberg) from realizing her dream to be a champion figure skater.




          (story),  (story)
      • CNS Movie Review & Rating: A-I--general patronage. [I found this reviewer's comment amusing: "All in all, this is unobjectionable family entertainment. Though it will appeal most to young girls, their parents (and even brothers) will find it more than tolerable."]