What We Do
PHONES AND FACEBOOKPlugged In mobile apps (for iPhones and Androids) offer instant, on-the-go access to our movie reviews, game reviews, music reviews and TV reviews. On those apps, and on our site, you’ll find that some of our written reviews are accompanied by audio and/or video reviews. If you’re as interested in sharing your own opinion as in hearing ours, check out the PI Blog, our Facebook page or our Twitter feed. By subscribing to our weekly eNewsletter, you’ll get quick access to brand-new articles, reviews and Culture Clips.
RADIO AND TVThe Plugged In team also creates a 60-second radio feature where each weekday they focus on a different big-deal entertainment area—movies, videos, music, TV, and games and apps. These are designed to help parents process what is available for families today, ensuring that you’re equipped to deal with everything contemporary culture throws at you. Approximately 8 million people weekly hear at least one of these as they tune in to (primarily) Christian radio stations. Not only do more than 900 stations/outlets currently carry this feature in the U.S., stations in about a dozen other countries do so as well. (To watch video versions, subscribe to our YouTube channel.)
CONECTADOSCalled Conectados in Spanish, Plugged In (in conjunction with our associates in Focus on the Family’s Costa Rica office) provides translated versions of most of our movie reviews. And a Spanish version of the Plugged In Movie Review is available in some Spanish-language radio markets.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Plugged In looks at films through a biblical worldview filter, keeping families—especially those with children in the home—ultimately in mind. Realizing the MPAA’s ratings system is greatly lacking (and often untrustworthy), we strive to be reliable “information providers,” highlighting both the positive and negative content elements, a requisite for discerning individuals regarding the making of wise entertainment choices. While providing a numerical rating for each movie and varying colors of caution for broad age ranges in an effort to help categorize where a film generally stands within the cultural context, we refrain from telling people to view or not view a specific film. Instead we outline content in categories such as “sexual,” “drug and alcohol,” “violence,” “crude or profane language,” “spiritual,” etc., then provide summation and perspective for that content, equipping families (and individuals) with information they can draw upon to assist in making media decisions.
According to a poll of Plugged In readers, 70% watch R-rated movies. Additionally, since many R films target teens (especially raunchy comedies and horror flicks), our reviews help families navigate this prominent area of the culture. By reading our reviews, parents gain a clearer understanding of what Hollywood is aiming at their kids, and what their children’s peers are consuming. Also, by having a content breakdown of R movies, parents can articulate why a particular film fails to meet the family standard. Beyond observing a “label,” this reinforces moral boundaries for adolescents.
A California mom alluded to this benefit when she told us, “Last weekend my son, age 16, saw a very disgusting film at a friend’s home. Only after that did I find your website. This created a very meaningful two-hour discussion with him on values and media choices. However, the next weekend he asked to go see another R-rated film. We said ‘no.’ My son then asked, ‘How about if I check it out on that website Mom likes?’ My husband, smiling, said, ‘Sure!’ A few minutes later my son emerged from the office and said, ‘You guys wouldn’t want me to see it.'”
Yes! To write a comprehensive and meaningful review, this is a must. And that goes for listening to music albums and tracks, playing video games and watching specific episodes of a TV series, too.
No. Because most unrated video versions of films add negative content, we feel that our review of the rated version continues to do the job it was intended to do—help families make discerning choices about the entertainment they consume. There is rarely a good reason for families to intentionally watch a film with more negative content in it than the original release contains.
Not all theatrical releases are made available to us before they hit the cineplex. But even when we do get to screen a movie early, a professional code of ethics called an “embargo” requires that we wait until either the day of or the day before its release to post our review. We realize that not all reviewers abide by this, but it’s important to us that Plugged In operate with integrity, both in the way we write our reviews and the way we publish them.
We almost always choose to review the unedited version. The so-called purifying process used on “clean” CDs and downloads is usually nothing more than the bleeping (or overdubbing) of some of the most egregious obscenities. In the case of gangsta rap, the censor might also excise words such as “murder,” “drive-by” and “bullets,” along with extreme references to drug use. But savvy listeners can easily fill in the blanks. A teen named Alicia wrote us, “Some of my friends have gotten the edited version of Eminem and they think it’s OK. But it’s not like you don’t know what’s being cut out.”
Focus on the Family’s “Family Safety” page is a good place to start.