By Cecily Markland
Born and raised in Mesa, author Jonathon Decker offers a great way to get past movie night “uh ohs.”
Whether considering a helpful gift for Christmas giving, or wanting to expand your own movie-viewing choices, Decker’s new book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families offers a myriad of pluses.
Decker says his ties to Arizona run deep. “I went to Mesa’s Mountain View High School, was president of the seminary, and I love Filibertos. Now a resident of St. George, he was recently in Arizona to introduce his new book.
A strong point qualifying him to write such a book is the fact that he is a movie-buff with experience. He not only has a strong background in stage and film performance, appearing in numerous independent movies, Decker is also the host of a weekly segment about classic and overlooked films on The KJZZ Movie Show on KJZZ-TV in Utah. He writes a weekly entertainment column and review current films on his website: www.mormonmovieguy.com.
Add to his extensive movie background yet another important fact: As a licensed marriage and family therapist, Decker is qualified to write about the “Latter-day Families” part of his title as well.
In the introduction to his book, Decker explains that in determining what is “good” and what to recommend in terms of movies, he does much more than look at whether a movie has profanity, violence and nudity.
Instead, he writes, “Clearly, there is much in art and entertainment that can inspire righteous choices and draw us nearer to God. “ He seeks to find and to recommend, films “that either testify of Him directly or champion the causes and principles that He would champion.”
Interestingly, he recommends good entertainment—all in a style that is entertaining in and of itself. His reviews are candid, upbeat and just, well, fun. He grades each move, and provides a quick explanation of what the movie is about. Then, for each of the films, Decker gives a “content overview,” that may read something like
this: “There is some very mild language” or “It is implied that a man and a woman lived together—all so “you can get an idea, and make your own decisions about what you want to see without any surprises,” Decker said.
At the end of each review is what he calls “Messages to Discuss.” This is a helpful a tool to help spur dinner table or after-movie conversations, which will allow parents to understand their children better and get them talking about important issues.
250 Great Movies for Latter-day Saint Families is available in LDS bookstores or online at www.MormonMovieGuy.com.