Enjoy Being Plugged In on Movie Night

Popular entertainment is interesting to us. We don’t indulge in it, we tend to think of ourselves as culture critics, fascinated at what others find so fascinating. While some may totally abstain from movies, we do diligence in researching the movies before jumping in and watching. Here’s a resource we’ve found useful in navigating our movie choices.

We may not be big TV watchers, but we love getting a good movie, popping some popcorn, and being entertained.

Plugged In.

Plugged In is an online movie review site. I know much of the staff personally; I worked with them at Focus on the Family. When the Denzel Washington movie The Great Debaters came out, I attended the movie with Paul Asay, one of the movie critics. Steve Isaac and I still get together now and then. These are fantastic people doing great work for families.

The subtitle of Focus’ most popular site is “Shining a light on the world of popular entertainment.” Plugged In helps parents have a solid perspective (they’re “plugged in”) to what their kids are watching. Here are three reasons why we think every parent should be “plugged in”:

1. Plugged In are rhetorical writers

I value the written word, and the editors at Plugged In are masters of it. They don’t just count the swear words or paste a number rating on the movie. They take the essay seriously and write a strong analysis of every movie they watch. You’ll find that even if you don’t intend to watch one of the movies, reading the essays are still a cultural analysis and a pleasant read.

2. Plugged In knows its audience

My kids devour the Plugged In reviews, but Plugged In doesn’t write to kids. They write to parents. You’ll get the feeling when you read their reviews: These editors are informing mom and dad of the potential problems the kids may find in the particular movie. I feel like Plugged In are advocates for parents, respecting the issues we may have with particular movies.

3. Plugged In gives parents a heads-up

There are movies that appear to be innocent, yet have a worldview we do not appreciate (why we really don’t join in the Avatar craze). Plugged In will point that out. Likewise, there are some PG-13 or R movies that we like to watch with our older children, movies that have Christian undertones that can be powerful teaching lessons. This is why we like M. Night Shyamalan so much (Signs is one of our teenage favorites in our home). Plugged In helps us see the underlying message of the movie before we waste a couple hours growing frustrated watching it.

4. Plugged In teaches you to be a fair judge

Click through these recent favorites:

  • The Last Airbender. Already mentioned, we are Knight fans. We’ll read the review before watching this movie.
  • Avatar. Personally, we don’t ever care to watch this movie, but we do want to read what the hoopla is about.
  • Toy Story 3. We watched this movie the other day and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, there were some subtle undertones we did not appreciate.

You’ll see what I mean when you page through the critiques. You become a cultural critic yourself, analyzing the messages rather than just being a mindless observer. You become active in your entertainment choices, not just a consumer.

Ultimately, you become a better parent. Plugged In empowers you. Bookmark Plugged In on your computer, and enjoy doing the research before heading to the movies or renting one for your living room. If anything, it will lighten up the conversation between you and your kids and make for an enjoyable, entertaining evening.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • natalie

    I love pluggedinonline. Still, after reading some of the movie reviews for popular movies, I cannot believe how awful our culture has become. People literally pollute their minds.

  • Susan

    We also enjoy plugged in online for movie research and paired that with a ClearPlay DVD player to “clean up” the movies we do choose to watch. We are very happy with it! Blessings from Susan mama of 8

  • Janette

    I love Plugged In Online, and always check it now. I learned my lesson when ‘Princess and the Frog’ was in theaters. I took my 2 oldest to see it, assuming it would be fine,(rated G). It was full of frightening voodoo magic! I was appalled. Never again will I make that mistake!

  • tereza

    I use Plugged in quite often.

    I was disappointed though with Toy Story 3. I bought the DVD believing it was a clean movie for the children and when I watched it I found it very dark ( the baby doll being evil guy was not cute!). My DS5 did not enjoy watching Ken being tied down and threatened by Barbie. I didn’t understand his complains about the movie until I saw it for myself. It was extremely feminist, and of course it had all the sexual innuendos.

    This is the second time that I let the kids watch a movie without me previewing it and then regretting it. I had read positive reviews about it, but it’s definitely not enough. As a parent, I think one needs to watch the movie before letting your children see it.

    I also thought that the G rating was not correct.

  • Michelle

    I cannot recommend Avatar. Way too much cussing. Cool graphics though. Much too much incinuation on Mother Earth and not people. Killing, sexual scene; not for Christians.

    I was not impressed with Toy Story 3 either.

    I will have to look into Plugged In. Sounds like a good idea.