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Plugged In Is Looking Back to the Classics

So Plugged In is gonna be reviewing old movies now? Well, yes, we are. And I’m here today to tell you a bit more about why.

We here at Plugged In have occasionally dabbled at expanding our catalog of reviews to include the blockbusters from yesteryear. We’ve reviewed some original classics after new remakes were released, for instance. We’ve covered films such as Jurassic Park, Top Gun and Titanic when they were rereleased in theaters. (We even covered the recent 40th anniversary rerelease of National Lampoon’s Vacation.) And we’ve picked up some indie fare and foreign films that were off the beaten box office path, too. But with the ongoing writers and actors strike, we thought it might be the perfect time to stretch our movie-reviewing legs a little more.

Hey, Hollywood may well have fewer new offerings in the near future. And you could be looking to streaming sites for a larger chunk of your entertainment. So, why not take a look at some classics of yesteryear? We can give you some info on films you may have heard of but never actually seen. Besides, most of those old classics are, well, classic because they’re pretty great movies.

Now, that might make you pause and wonder why we’re going to all that trouble. After all, we’re the guys and gals who count profanities and catalog the nasty content in many of today’s films, right? Yep, we are. But the truth is, every one of us also has a love for film, particularly when a given movie is well-made. A great film can be encouraging and uplifting, raise thoughtful questions, and help us see our world from a different perspective. A fabulous film enhances the time we spend with it.

Personally, I’ve found great joy in black-and-white movies created under Hollywood’s self-imposed Hays Code during the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. The Code was a set of guidelines that Hollywood dreamed up to actually draw families back into theaters after the Great Depression. It prohibited profanity, nudity, overt sexual content and graphic violence. (You know, the kinda stuff we might see in today’s kids’ shows. Sigh.)

So today, I’m kicking off our latest venture back in cinematic time with a review of 1945’s The Bells of St. Mary’s. It’s a wonderful little film, starring Bing Crosby and Ingrid Bergman. It deals with faith, family and reaching out to the world around you. In fact, it’s the sort of fare you’d probably never find in theaters these days, thanks to our more cynical world. But watching it and then asking the kids to think of how things have changed could be a great family discussion-starter.

Oh, and don’t worry. If you simply hate old black-and-white movies (?!?), we’ll be reviewing a pretty broad swath of yesteryear’s critical and commercial classics. We’ve decided that going forward, we’ll be working our way through the American Film Institute’s Top 100 list. So, that ought to offer up something for everyone. (And I might toss in a couple old B&W pics that aren’t on that list just for grins. Bwahahaha!)

And in case you’re wondering, yes, if there is profanity or other nasty content to report in any of those classics, we’ll be giving you a heads up on that front, too.

Hope you enjoy.

Bob Hoose

After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.

12 Responses

  1. -I love it! I was raised by my grandparents and I grew up on a lot of classics (especially old musicals like My Fair Lady and The King and I and so many WWII movies I lost count of them all) and also spent 7 years in drama class studying film and stage (lots of Hitchcock and Capra). So I’m definitely looking forward to your insights on some of my favorites… and maybe you’ll spark an interest in some ones I might have missed. 🙂

  2. -Finally! I’m a blogger myself, and I love movies. I decided to combine the two and create a movie (and TV) review blog. There are so many that I love, and have also covered so many unspeakably horrible ones that are unfit for any living being. Advice that I hear often about being a reviewer is to broaden your scope (i.e., look at top 100 lists, and even to cover foreign films). All fair advice, but how is a Christian supposed to navigate Hollywood? I am looking forward to your reviews of movies like Good Will Hunting and The Shawshank Redemption, some of my favorites but I fully acknowledge have issues.

  3. -I know you guys already reviewed the 1982 movie “E.T: The Extra-terrestrial” when that movie was rereleased for its’ 20th anniversary in 2002, but have you considered reviewing “Close Encounters Of The Third Kind” or “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”?

  4. -Hooray! This is a great way to introduce families to amazing movies that streaming algorithms might not recommend. Bring on the film noir! And don’t skimp on the foreign stuff. My son would watch The Red Balloon all day if I let him.

  5. -Thank you so, so much for doing this. I’d like to see you write a review of “It’s A Wonderful Life”, the very first Disney animated movie “Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs”, the original Disney animated version of “Dumbo”, the Disney animated classic “Bambi”, and the classic movies Audrey Hepburn starred in, such as “Roman Holiday”, “Sabrina”, “Funny Face”, and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.

  6. -Let’s not give the Hays Code too much credit. It was also problematic (“miscegenation” was forbidden), and a good number of the criteria it either prohibited or discouraged are openly found in Scripture. “Glamorized” is a different subject, but censorship boards don’t always allow for context.

  7. -Thanks, Bob! I teach an online high school course on watching classic movies from a biblical perspective. In fact, next week’s class is on the Hays Code. I’m thrilled to see Plugged In expanding its offerings to cover more of the classics!

  8. -Personally i wish we could go back to hays code a time where things were more decent, movies were more watchable and better made. Not drenched in sex, violence, and drugs and actually good stories that werent just garbage/ were alot less agenda and worrying trying to find movies can actuall watch as a movie. Give me that and good actually well made classic ls less garbage any day.

    1. -If we were to take “agenda” out of movies, that’d eliminate all Christian+Jewish movies by default. Every movie has some sort of message, healthy or not (and it benefits us to be discerning about so-called “Christian” movies as well).

  9. -Would love new ideas of old movies to watch with my family….. here are some ideas: African Queen, The Best Years of Our Lives, The Ghost of Mr. Chicken, Casablanca, Gone With the Wind, Pollyanna (or even a whole series on Disney Sunday night movies– we also love North Avenue irregulars).