WL_00382-1Last night, we filled our family room with friends for an ADVANCED SCREENING of the new Christian movie we’ve all been waiting for – WOODLAWN. This movie is truly top-notch entertainment with a bold Gospel message.

Before I tell you about the movie, let me tell you about the makeup of our audience. We had 5 teenage boys (12-17), 1 teenage girl (13, not a football fan), 2 football-loving moms (whose age I’m not about to tell), and 1 football-loving dad (who’s usually on his iPhone during movies at home, but didn’t get it out once last night).

Here’s the scoop … From Pure Flix (GOD’S NOT DEAD, DO YOU BELIEVE?), Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (THE BIBLE, SON OF GOD) and the Erwin Brothers (MOM’S NIGHT OUT, OCTOBER BABY) comes WOODLAWN, an exhilarating high school football drama and remarkable true story of how love and unity overcame racism and hate in early 1970s Birmingham, Alabama. Starring Academy Award winner Jon Voight, Sean Astin, Nic Bishop and newcomer Caleb Castille, WOODLAWN depicts the spiritual awakening that captured the hearts of a team and unified an entire city.

This is the description from the Woodlawn Movie website: ”

A gifted high school football player must learn to boldly embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field in WOODLAWN, a moving and inspirational new film based on the true story of how love and unity overcame hate and division in early 1970s Birmingham, Ala.

Tony Nathan (newcomer Caleb Castille) lands in a powder keg of anger and violence when he joins fellow African-American students at Woodlawn High School after its government-mandated desegregation in 1973. The Woodlawn Colonels football team is a microcosm of the problems at the school and in the city, which erupts in cross burnings and riots, and Coach Tandy Gerelds (Nic Bishop) is at a loss to solve these unprecedented challenges with his disciplinarian ways.

It’s only when Hank (Sean Astin), an outsider who has been radically affected by the message of hope and love he experienced at a Christian revival meeting, convinces Coach Gerelds to let him speak to the team that something truly remarkable begins to happen. More than 40 players, nearly the entire team, black and white, give their lives over to the “better way” Hank tells them is possible through following Jesus, and the change is so profound in them it affects their coach, their school and their community in ways no one could have imagined.”

WL_01258We loved this movie for so many reasons. I asked the kids what their take was when it was done.
Trust me, they ALL had opinions …

“It’s not a cheesy Christian movie.”  [Been there, done that.]

“It’s a movie that would appeal to both football people and to Christians, but you don’t have to be both to really like and ‘get’ the movie.” [Remember, Grace isn’t a fan of football, but she really got into the movie!]

“The fact that it’s a true story makes it credible.”

“We like that there were some very unpredictable moments (as well as a few predictable).” [It would be a spoiler if I shared any more about this. Go see the movie.]

“The period music was great!”

“The acting was strong and believable, and there was great character development.”
WL_01864As a homeschool, we’ve study the integration issues of that era, specifically the issues in Birmingham. The message this movie has for today’s racial issues [think Ferguson and Charleston and countless other places] was not lost on us. The telling of Tony Nathan’s story may be meant for such a time as this.

Check out the trailer …

WOODLAWN is a special movie with a perspective that America – believer and nonbeliever alike – needs to hear today. As Director Andy Erwin says: “I’m passionate about the truth that the only way to overcome hate is by a greater law – and that’s love and forgiveness. And Jesus is the ultimate way to receive and give both love and forgiveness.”

I’m giving away a package of goodies that you won’t believe. It ALL goes to ONE winner!

, by Todd Geralds, on which the movie is based

TOUCHDOWN TONY, by Tony Nathan, the autobiography of the superstar player on whose life the film is based

WHEN GOD SHOWS UP, by Robert Noland, a 40-day devotional tied to the themes of the film

An official WOODLAWN T-shirt – Large (Sorry, I have no control over the size)


TO WIN … Do as many of the following as you can!

1. Leave a comment on my Facebook post about this. (worth 1 entry)

2. Leave a comment below on my blog post (worth 1 entry)

3. Share the blog post from this page and tell me in your comment where you shared it: FB, Twitter, etc. (worth 1 entry for each share).

4. Go to the movie by October 25th, take a picture of your tickets, post the picture in the comment of my FB post. (worth 3 entries for EACH ticket you buy)

The movie opens tomorrow, October 16th. I will announce the winner on Monday, October 26th.

**Also, check this unbelievable article about a football coach in Washington who says he will defy his school’s prayer ban. #Believe #NoFear