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."


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!"


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.


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

It’s a Friday night in September, 1988. The stores are all closed. The streets are quiet. Everyone in Odessa, Texas, has gathered to worship. But not at church. Rather, they’ve congregated at the local high school’s football field where 20,000 screaming fans chant “MO-JO” in support of their beloved Permian Panthers, a team expected to roll across the Lone Star State like a tumbleweed in a stiff wind on its way to the state championship. Anything less would be considered a tragic disappointment.

One reason the small town demands success is that it has tasted it before. Also, running back Boobie Miles has superstar written all over him (and knows it), and looks to carry the team on his back. But when Boobie goes down with a season-ending injury early in the campaign, Coach Gaines must patch together a winner out of spare parts while requiring more offensive production from Mike, his hard-working but only modestly talented quarterback. How far can this team go? And what physical, mental and emotional condition will it be in when it gets there?


Positive Elements

Once the film hits stride, its point becomes clear that putting too much emphasis on football is unhealthy for everyone involved. Coach Gaines and his players listen to hurtful, often unfair comments on a radio call-in show, illustrating what the Bible says about the kinds of things that come out of fools' mouths (Prov. 15:2) and the power and sting of unkind words (Prov. 26:21). Coach assures his boys, “Ain’t much difference between winning and losing except how the outside world treats you. ... We can dig our own holes.” He also preaches teamwork and expresses pride in his players and staff.

Running back Don Billingsly’s verbally and physically abusive father is vilified. (A touching moment late in the film suggests that the dad is truly sorry for his attitude and is changing his stripes.) Before that happens, Don shows an admirable level of self-control in situations where others might have lashed back. Coach tells Mike to take initiative and improve his situation when life gives him “the short end of the stick.” Mike is devoted to his ailing mother.

Off the field Coach is even-keeled, taking the criticism and pressure in stride. Midway through the big game, he informs his players that his admonishment that they “be perfect” has nothing to do with how the scoreboard looks when the gun sounds, and everything to do with character and relationships (“To me, being perfect is not about ... winning. It’s about you and your relationship to yourself, your family and your friends”). He proceeds to talk about integrity, honesty and joy, preparing them for the inevitable backlash from a community that puts winning ahead of those virtues.

Elsewhere, a young man is humbled by tragedy. And although it’s disturbing to watch older characters struggling with racial prejudice, it’s nice to see that the younger ones—white and African American alike—don’t make an issue of skin color at all.

Spiritual Content

In the locker room, the Panthers join hands and recite the entire Lord’s Prayer before returning for the second half of the big game (as does the opposing team). Boobie claims his talent is “God-given,” and calls a player whose last name is Christian “preacher man.” The losing team gathers for prayer. People raise their glasses for a toast that evolves into a blessing.

Sexual Content

The Billingsley boy urges his teammates to embark on a night of debauchery (“We’re gonna get drunk and laid”). Later on, he and a girl stumble into his house, kissing and undressing each other as they fall onto the couch. She is shirtless (her arms cover her breasts) when Don’s father—showing no moral concern—interrupts them. Students are shown making out at a party. A football groupie approaches Mike and implies she wants to have sex with him. When he declines, she accuses him of being gay. To prove he isn’t, Mike agrees to be intimate with her. (Both are shown dressing after the fact; the girl is seen in her underwear.)

Violent Content

Crushing tackles, blindside blows and after-the-whistle cheap shots show just how violent the game of football can be. We glimpse players bloodied from combat. Tempers flare on the practice field and teammates mix it up until coaches step in. When their momentum takes them out of bounds, athletes mow down a bystander and a cheerleader. A boy’s dislocated shoulder gets popped back into place. A gruesome tackle destroys Boobie’s knee. He throws a tantrum when a doctor says he shouldn’t play, then returns to action prematurely and incurs even more damage. Prone to fumbling, Don gets berated and thrown to the ground by his dad, who later humiliates the boy by angrily duct-taping a ball to his hands. The dad talks about being beaten by his own father, and kicks out the rear windows of a car he’s riding in.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 40 profanities, including eight s-words, a barely obscured f-word and an exclamatory use of Jesus’ name. God’s name is misused in conjunction with “d--n” nearly 10 times. A white woman refers to a black player as a "n-gger."

Drug and Alcohol Content

Adults drink wine at dinner. An ill woman takes prescription medication. But the real problem is teen drinking, which includes a wild party, binge drinking and a beer bong. A guy invites players to a party with the lure, “We’re gonna get wasted!” Don’s boozing dad is often drunk, which contributes to his abusiveness.

Other Negative Elements

Several remarks leave the impression that a person’s high school years are the best life has to offer, and that teens should let it all hang out in order to create memories without regard for morality and common sense. Mike’s mother seems less concerned with his well-being than his ability to keep playing when he takes a pounding.


Friday Night Lights is based on a real community embroiled in an actual football season. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist H.G. Bissinger’s compelling, disturbing and controversial book of the same title follows the ups and downs of Odessa’s unhealthy obsession with high school football. But while this small West Texas town may come across as a whipping boy, it’s merely emblematic of a more widespread problem. The truth is, many communities have been morally blinded by those same Friday night lights, turning football into a religion, and anointing high school kids as gods. If the film shocks those people into reordering their priorities and cutting their local athletic program some slack, it will serve a purpose.

However, some young people will internalize the message that they should turn their senior year into an excuse to party and sleep around because, after all “it’s all downhill from there.” For those viewers, the movie will do far more harm than good. A former state champ tells his son, “You’ve got one stinking year to make yourself some memories, and it’ll be gone after that.” A tragic thought. Teens need to know that high school is just a station of life, not the destination. And irresponsible choices can ripple far into their future. While Coach Gaines’ halftime speech preaches honesty, integrity, joy and community, it remains to be seen which ideals will stick with audiences.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



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!