Tag Archive: song

I Can Only Imagine

Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

Sometimes a good song falls in your lap. Sometimes a good song takes years to make. Sometimes it takes only minutes to write a song after a lifetime of experiences.

It is the story that drives I Can Only Imagine, a movie about the man who wrote the hit song on the Christian charts. It is both sad and sweet. It’s about redemption and taking chances.

The movie starts when Bart Millard is 10. He lives with his mother and father but the house is not happy. Alcoholic Dad takes his anger out on his family, causing Mom to up and leave. But not before she drops him off for a week at summer sleepover bible camp.

I can Only Imagine IMDbIt is here that Bart meets the love of his life, Shannon. They bond over camp activities and sneaking out to watch fireworks. But when Bart comes home, his mother has left and the only one at home is Bart’s father. A man who takes his anger out on his child.

So Bart spends the next few years trying to please his dad. But plans don’t always go the way you hope. Suddenly, Bart find himself in a different school club and a new door opens for him.

If you follow the band MercyMe, you might know the rest of the story. Of how a promoter saw the band, of how the band worked to be better, how they got an opportunity of a lifetime.

You might know the story on how Bart learned to forgive and open his heart. How his father made the biggest transformation of all.

It is a movie that surprised me because I enjoyed every bit of it. This is one of the few Christian movies where I feel like the writers and directors finally figured out that if you lean heavy on a good story, the message you want to share will come through.

I can only imagine BartIt helps that first time film-actor, J. Michael Finley, does an excellent job as the adult Bart. He makes the high school student and the adult vulnerable and closed off in the right parts. And yet, he cannot deny his own talent or his eagerness to use that talent.

Dennis Quaid gives us a character that is gruff and mean and unforgivable at the beginning. But in the end, we find ourselves rooting for the older man. Granted, he is only about five years older from the last time we see him but he is greatly changed. Quaid expresses all sides of this complicated man without going too far in one direction or another.

Trace Atkins also brings a special something to his role as the manager/promoter who gets the band noticed. His reluctance and belief in their potential makes the role feel real.

Sometimes sincere emotions can make up for lacks in this genre. Many of the people in this production came through with heart-felt portrayals that never let us down. Because of its uplifting story, because of the real transformation of the characters, I enjoyed watching this movie and would happily watch it again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.


Sing Along

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

I was standing in line the other day at Walgreens to pick up meds and listening to the music. It was a Mamas and Papas cover and before I knew it I was shaking my vitamin bottle to the beats.


That was not the strange thing. The person who came up behind me started humming and dancing a little when the next song – “It’s My Party” by Leslie Gore – started playing. The woman in front of me looked as if she might be willing to tap her feet if given a chance.


All that started me thinking about movies where characters spontaneously started singing or dancing in an ordinary place without the film being a musical. It had to be an organic action that made sense with the plot but not a part of the total story.


Image from IMDb.com

I immediately thought of The Full Monty with Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy. The movie is about men who have been laid off from the local stainless steel plant who are trying to find work and not getting anywhere. So Carlyle decides he and his buddies should put on a show – a dance act – to perform at the pubs women like to going.


And they plan to take it off – take it all off. There is no way that this movie is appropriate for small children, just so you know out of the gate. But there is a lot of hope and joy in this flick along with some serious outpouring of emotion.


The scene I am thinking about occurs in the middle of the movie when the majority of the troupe is at the unemployment office. They are in line at various points when the speakers overhead begin playing the song that goes with their routine. While trying to keep their cool, the men start doing the moves to the dance. Not all at once and not one of the men do the whole routine to the song. But it is this wonderful moment in the middle of a movie about desperation and re-kindling of joy.


Image from IMDb.com

I also thought about a wonderful scene in Tortilla Soup in which the three sisters sing “Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.” And there is that moment in Almost Famous when the band sings “Tiny Dancer” on the bus while they are really hating on each other. It is a reconciling moment.


I was trying to think of a family movie that has a scene like this and my brain cannot find one. Remember the movie is to not be a musical in the first place. I thought about the moving truck scene in Toy Story or the first Latin dance scene in Toy Story 3.


Image from IMDb.com

The other example I can think of is in Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009). Miley is writing music when he father joins her and she has him sing with her. It is supposed to be a spontaneous moment but I like it for the emotional closeness between father and daughter that is displayed.


All of these are enjoyable movies to watch as we get ready for the holidays, remembering the love and joy of being with family.

What movies do you remember having moments of song? 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.