The Plugged In Show, Episode 139: Christian Values in Secular Movies (Plus Marcel the Shell With Shoes On!)


Most of us don’t go to the movies to strengthen our faith—unless we’re going to a Christian movie, of course. Faith-based films such as War Room and I Can Only Imagine are admittedly designed to teach and inspire their faith-based audiences.

But sometimes, secular films can do the same thing.

Today, on this addition of The Plugged In Show, we look at a few of them and explore how flicks right in the middle of the pop-culture stream can inspire us, challenge us and even draw us closer to God.

Then after we finish our stroll through this spiritual air, we’ll make our way to a California rental home and spend some time with Marcel the Shell With Shoes On. This animated mollusk husk first came to fame in a small series of YouTube videos. Now he has his own PG movie, and it’s sweeter—and deeper—than you might think.

So join host Kristin Smith and the rest of the Plugged In gang as we dive into these topics, both big and small. And once you’re through listening to us talk, we’d love to listen to you. Chime in on Facebook and Instagram. And, as always, check out the links below to read about everything we talk about.

Additional Resources:

Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

4 Responses

  1. -A movie that impacted my positively: Captain America: The First Avenger.

    This movie saved my life. 
You’re probably thinking “How can a movie save a life? It’s just images on a screen meant to entertain.” 
Well, you see, I was born with heart condition and had to have heart surgery at 8 days old. The doctors were certain I would not survive, but through God’s power and will, I survived the surgery. I still struggle with heart problems every day, though, as well as skeletal and respiratory issues. I never really thought much about this until I entered public school. I was always the shortest kid in the class, and on top of that, I had severe ADHD, which due to my pre existing conditions, I couldn’t be medicated for. So to all my teachers I was the “problem student” that they had to deal with on a daily basis (though I didn’t mean to cause problems), and to my fellow students I was the “weird kid.” I was always made fun of for being the shortest. It got so bad, I had to be homeschooled from 4th-6th grade. This was good because I was away from the bullying and also, I could work at my own pace instead of getting ahead of the other kids in English, but falling behind in math, which I was later tested for a learning disability for, and turns out, when it comes to math, I have a learning disability. But after 6th grade, my mom insisted I re-enter the public school system. I decided to give it a chance, but the bullying continued. 
Examples: I had a leg surgery and when I came back to school on crutches, a kid snickered as I passed.
In P.E. I always felt self conscious about my body. I hadn’t struggled with that before, but in P.E. I was so self conscious in the locker room, that I would find a private stall to change in so I wouldn’t be questioned or teased about my scars. 
In P.E. we were expected to run a mile every day. The kids who were taller than me, had longer legs, and didn’t have heart and lung issues of course could do this, but it always took me around 30-45 minutes to complete, and I was always scolded by the coach for it. (Public school system child abuse at its finest.)
I developed unhealthy eating habits to try and not be underweight. I would binge eat, but nothing worked.  
I was mentally and verbally abused by female students. 
I was sexually harassed by a male student and they of course did nothing.

    It was around that time I began contemplating suicide. “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” was the reason I was continuing to live because I really wanted to see it. Once it came out and I saw it, I didn’t really have a reason to live anymore. That, and the fact that school was starting again a few weeks later and I didn’t want to go though that again, had me seriously contemplating ending my life. I didn’t care anymore. Then I got a very strong thought “Go see Captain America”, which was a weird thought because I hadn’t seen anything about it and just wrote it off as a silly superhero movie. “No,” I kept being promoted, “go see Captain America.” “I don’t have anyone who will take me to see it.” “Go ask your dad to take you to see it.” “But apart from X-Men, he has no interest in seeing superhero movies.” “He’ll say yes. Trust me. Go ask him.” So I obeyed the promptings of the Holy Ghost and asked my dad to take me to see it. I see the movie and see Steve Rogers, this skinny blond kid with a laundry list of medical problems. The line from Dr. Erskine “There are already so many big men fighting this war. Maybe what we need now is a little guy” made me feel like he was specifically talking to me. The line about “somebody get that kid a sandwich” made me laugh because it was relatable to me. The clincher was the line “I’m from Fresno, ace.” I live in Fresno, and that overly specific line pretty much guaranteed to me that someway, somehow, Stan Lee and Marvel created him for me. After seeing that movie, my whole perspective on life was changed. I realized, I didn’t have to feel bad about the hand life dealt me. I could keep on trucking. I now had a reason to live. I was no longer as self conscious. So, yes, it’s because of this movie that I decided not to kill myself that year. This movie literally saved my life. I firmly believe the fact it came out right after the last Harry Potter but right before school was divine intervention. So, thank you Stan Lee for saving my life, even if you don’t know it yet.

  2. -I would never have expected a movie like “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” from a studio like A24 (I did enjoy Ex Machina; The VVitch, less so, with one of my least favorite elements being the inappropriate undertones of how the various witches interacted with the young boy struggling with his sexuality), but I’ve been hearing good things about Marcel.

  3. -Hello there everyone, I am speaking about a film called ‘The Batman’ I know I know, it is not that great morally, but man before I knew of its “Jesus name in vain problem” I was hyped. And I was going through allot at that time and it really gave me the strength to move forward. I was so excited to see Batman again in a darker and more detective-like approach. This movie has me very conflicted, I love the plot, and the story, but the swearing has me quitting more than half way through because of how much there is, I do truly believe Jesus had this movie help me, because I was thinking about suicide, and he knew I wasn’t ready to die, so he helped me in a very creative and helpful way. I know this may sound stupid but, I have prayed that the future batman projects are much better morally, and are on a more DKT level. My name is Sam I am a Christian and an aspiring filmmaker that does not want to make Christian movies. I know that may sound weird, but. I want to appeal to a larger audience, not for the money, not for the attention, but to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. In Jesus name Amen!

Comments are closed.