Violence and sex and really bad language, oh my! Not to mention zombies, vampires and werewolves. With healthy choices for moviegoers dwindling, the chances believers have of choosing something safe can be dicey. In the December 13, 2013 issue of Entertainment Weekly (http://www.ew.com/ew/) the top ten movies for 2013 include six “R” rated and four “PG-13”. Of the PG-13’s one is about a zombie war and another features torture. As such, is there a way to determine in advance just which movie to go see? Enter Focus on the Family® to the rescue.
Focus on the Family® hosts a movie review website called PluggedIn. At www.pluggedin.com/ readers can find out just how family friendly a movie is. Movies are rated on five elements: positive content, sexual content, violent content, crude or profane language, and drug and alcohol content. Spoiler alert: The reviews pull no punches in describing what a viewer can expect should they decide on a particular movie. Some moviegoers may not want their experience diminished by such revelations. On the other hand, Christians who wish to avoid any unpleasant surprises should welcome PluggedIn’s candid observations.
A fun fact of each review is how the reviewers often rate the movies, from one to five stars, with a humorous commentary from a particular feature of the film. For example, the Christmas film Black Nativity received “four Christmas Eve Services out of five for family friendliness.” The real-life thriller about Somali pirates taking the freighter Maersk Alabama captive in Captain Phillips was given “three choppy boat trips out of five.”
PluggedIn can also be a useful ministry tool. Each summer East Coast Christian Center in Merritt Island, FL (http://www.eccc.us/) features a sermon series based on current in-theater shows. Senior Pastor Dan Stallbaum begins each Faith Flix sermon with a PluggedIn review. He then discusses issues of the movie that have relevance for believers.
So, for Christian moviegoers looking to have a safe experience, this writer is giving PluggedIn.com five feathered quill pens out of five for Christian friendliness.