Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Smile as Big as the Moon

Hallmark’s Hall of Fame continues to set the standard in excellence in broadcasting. Their recent offering, A Smile as Big as the Moon, proves once again that television is not a total wasteland. Thanks to Hallmark, we can find stories that are uplifting, inspirational, and heartwarming. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that.

A Smile as Big as the Moon meets all of the above criteria. Frankly, it’s just a feel-good movie. The movie tells the true story of a Michigan high school football coach and special ed teacher, Mike Kersjes, who in 1988 against all odds took his special ed class to NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. In the film, John Corbett plays Mike Kersjes, a man who believes that even kids with ADD, Bipolar, Downs Syndrome, Tourette’s, and Autism are capable of much more than we can ever imagine. All they need is an opportunity.

Space Camp is an elite program for only the best of the best. But after a visit to a local planetarium, one of Mike’s students picks up a brochure about NASA’s Space Camp. Soon the seeds are planted. Mike makes a call to Huntsville and talks to the administrator about the possibility of his kids attending Space Camp. At the time, NASA’s Space Camp had no program open to kids with disabilities. With the help of his assistant, Robynn McKinney (Jessy Schram), they wage a campaign to convince the principal, the school board and, most importantly, the officials of space camp that his kids are capable of meeting the demands of the stringent program.

Of course, there will be some challenges along the way; however, Mike and Robynn believe that anything is possible with hard work, faith and endurance. It’s inspiring to see educators who are not just parking their kids but are dedicated to their development and are determined to unlock their potential. As I said, A Smile as Big as the Moon is an exceptionally inspiring movie.

If these kids can overcome their disabilities and succeed against all odds, then you have to ask yourself what do we have to complain about. Most of the students in the film are played by kids who have real disabilities. As a result, the film feels authentic and real. The acting is spot on.

Some people might complain that there is a lack of conflict driving the story; however, I disagree. As the movie unfolds, we see the challenges facing Mike and Robynn. Not only do they have to get everybody on board, but they have to raise $50,000. What they accomplish is nothing short of a miracle.

This is the kind of material that Hallmark strives for. I think you’re going to enjoy this film. Thanks to a recent deal with ABC, Hallmark Hall of Fame will air A Smile as Big as the Moon on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday, February 4, at 8:00 p.m. EST. The movie will also be available on DVD at Hallmark Gold Crown Stores.

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