WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Based on Frank McCourt's best-selling autobiography, Angela's Ashes presents the dismal and rain-drenched story of a poor Irish-Catholic family living in Limerick, Ireland, during the '30s and '40s. Tragedy after tragedy haunts their every waking moment as disease, death, alcoholism, prejudice and poverty wedge them into an outrageously cruel existence. A grown-up Frank narrates his childhood experiences and his desperate quest to leave Ireland for the golden shores of America.

Positive Elements: As a history lesson, Ashes can serve as a reminder to those prone to self-indulgence that life doesn't owe them anything. The flip of a coin, the change of a decade, or a trip across the ocean and one might find everything stripped away. The creature comforts, even the bare necessities of life. Despite being forced into a life of extreme poverty and desperation by her drunk and deadbeat husband, Angela devotes her life to keeping her children fed and clothed. Her maternal love knows no bounds and no obstacle too big.

Spiritual Content: Catholicism is frequently depicted through the youthful and disillusioned eyes of Frank. While religion is never mocked, Frank's perspective provokes serious questions revolving around sincerity and compassion (or lack thereof) in the Church. He is rudely denied the privilege of being an altar boy because he is poor and "from the North." When his teachers see that he is a bright boy and deserves the chance to go on to higher education, the Christian brothers in charge flatly deny him that chance, for the same reasons.

After his first communion and communion breakfast, Frank becomes sick and throws up. His horrified grandmother shrieks at him, appalled that he has "thrown up the body and blood of Jesus." Convinced that "the body of God is in the backyard" where Frank threw up, she sends him to confession to ask the priest what to do. A school teacher uses Jesus' own lack of material possessions to reprimand Frank's classmates for laughing at his old and repaired shoes. He points to a nearby crucifix and says, "You don't see our Blessed Savior sportin' shoes!" A despondent Angela exclaims once that, "God may be good for some people somewhere, but He hasn't been seen lately in the lanes of Limerick." Still, much prayer is offered (some of it directed at Mary and St. Francis) for food, clothing, health and other basic needs.

Nudity and Sexual Content: Frank and his young pals climb up a trellis to spy on naked girls (the women's breasts are shown). The boys talk about female body parts, and Frank briefly contemplates bestiality after a priest asks him if he is committing that particular sin. Later, the boys are pictured standing together in a field, masturbating (their bare backsides are shown). When Frank is fifteen years old, he succumbs to a sexual relationship with a girl. It begins quite abruptly one day when he delivers a telegram to her house. He's cold and wet, so she tells him to take off his clothes and dry off by the fire. She then grabs his penis and leads him across the room to a couch. Shadows obscure his genitals, but the scene is quite graphic in its implications. Early in the film, toddlers are shown naked while they take a bath.

Violent Content: Family squabbles result in slapping and hitting on a couple of occasions. Frank gets into a schoolyard fistfight with another boy.

Crude or Profane Language: Nearly 20 f- and s-words, and volleys of the word a-- punctuate dialogue. Some of the profanity comes from Frank and his friends when they are still quite young. Despite the devout Catholicism of the film's subjects, Jesus' name is used in vain on numerous occasions.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Frank's father, Malachy, suffers from a severe case of pride mixed with alcoholism. He is repeatedly shown falling-down drunk. He drinks up every wage he ever earns, along with gift money for a new baby. He can't keep a job for longer than a few weeks because he becomes too drunk to work once the paychecks arrive. Malachy and Angela also smoke frequently. When Frank turns 16, his uncle takes him to a pub for his first "pint." Frank stumbles home, just like his father, slaps his mother across the face and calls her a slut before collapsing. Alcohol is never glorified here. Its evil effects are felt too deeply for that. Yet, it is tolerated and even embraced from a cultural and social perspective despite its obvious dangers.

Other Negative Content: Frank's obsessive quest to flee to America prompts him to steal money from a dead employer to finance his journey. When he curses at, slaps and reviles his mother, he goes to confession, but never apologizes to her. The concept of morality seems to remain foreign to him, despite his immersion in the Catholic faith.

Summary: Frank McCourt had a terrible life. But Angela's Ashes doesn't even begin to do his story justice. Think of it this way. It's as if a stranger came to your house, told you tales of a distant and forgotten land, throwing pictures on the coffee table to illustrate his points. Ashes is a combination of those snapshots thrown haphazardly across the screen. It's like flipping through a National Geographic at a doctor's office; you're touched by what you see, but the moment you walk out of the waiting room, you forget. The gravity and despair of Angela's Ashes slips from your mind, in much the same manner, moments after leaving the theater. The emotional depth of what transpires is never communicated fully to the audience. You see what happened, but you don't feel it. That's unfortunate. Couple that with the film's troubling winks at public masturbation, casual sex, foul language and theft, and this Irish history lesson just isn't worth the effort.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!