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.

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

Game Review

Rock Band, the video game that took a Guitar Hero by the collar of his tattered T-shirt and set him to playing in a rockin' band (well, a gaggle of gamers with a likeminded taste for plastic musical instruments, anyway) has just rolled back into town. Rock Band 2 is ready to set up in your local amphitheater (read: family room), riff through its latest playlist and show you some new party tricks.

The game itself is essentially unchanged. Creative thinkers at Harmonix figured, "Why fix what ain't broke?" The title features the same scrolling lyrics and color-coded blips. The same karaoke-style play- and sing-along. The same multi-city virtual stages (along with 15 new arenas). And the same toy-like guitars, drum pad and microphone that many a band whaled away on last time. The Harmonix gang, however, did send out some roadies to fix up a few bits of the game that fans complained most about in the first edition:

Too Easy or Too Tough
Most everyone agreed that the original game played well enough, but it didn't offer a really intense challenge for those who had already mastered a couple Guitar Hero titles. On the other hand, the purely party-minded who just brought out the game when family and friends were over—and didn't want to spend their weekends slaving over a game controller—found a number of the tunes too hard.

So this time around, not only is Rock Band 2 pumped up with songs that get progressively more challenging—with complex beats and guitar note combos—but it also offers a no-fail setting for the less-serious rockers. That way the well-meaning warbler who can't carry a tune in a bucket or would-be virtuoso who can't seem to master those colored buttons won't penalize the rest of his crew.

Another pick-up-and-play feature: Bands no longer have to be tied to a specific player—or a player to a specific instrument. Gamers can just jump in and play whatever instrument suits their fancy and play pretty much instantly in any game mode.

Hitting the Online Road
Speaking of modes, the World Tour has been given a boost as well. This time around gamers can recruit local bandmates, or join up with a far-flung group via the Internet and play their way to superstardom in an online tour. Which means that fun and a rippin' band can always be yours even when no one shows up at your party. (Hey, more chips 'n' dip for you, right?)

But the biggest addition is the game's song-list capabilities. Not only can most of the original Rock Band tunes be downloaded for play (for a $5 fee), but this game offers another 80-plus songs that once again cover a huge variety of bands and styles: AC/DC, Alanis Morissette, Avenged Sevenfold, Beck, Elvis Costello, Foo Fighters, Jethro Tull, Metallica, Panic at the Disco, Paramore, Steely Dan, Smashing Pumpkins, The Who—to name a few.

Once the tunes are unlocked—as you progress through the World Tour—the game allows the option of putting together a playlist of your favorites for quick head-to-head competitions.

Unfortunate Clunkers
For all the variety and fun this game's collection of music can offer, it's also the biggest problem area. Let's face it, with an artist list as diverse as this one, these so-called purveyors of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll are going to sing about, well, sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. All of the crudest language is blanked out or substituted with something milder, but the words "a--," "d--n" and "h---" still make it through a number of times.

And for every positive lyric such as those in the Jimmy Eat World song "In The Middle" ("It's only in your head you feel left out/Or looked down on/Just try your best"), there are several others with seriously twisted worldviews, such as Jethro Tull's "Aqualung" ("Sitting on a park bench/Eyeing little girls with bad intent").

Then there's the problem of players seeking out some of their favorite songs or artists online and being surprised by the unfiltered version or far cruder sister titles. (Nearly half of the songs in the game contain harsh profanity in their uncensored state.)

Add in some of the new clothing selections for onscreen male and female avatars—such as the "demons and lace" top which features a metal demon that perches on your character's back and reaches around to cover her breasts—and you suddenly end up with a mixed bag that isn't as friendly as it originally appeared.

That's not to say rockin' fun can't be had here. But gamers looking for musical bliss with their friends and family need to keep their eyes and ears open to avoid Rock Band 2's unfortunate pitfalls and ugly clunkers.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range







Record Label


Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii


Electronic Arts,MTV Games,Harmonix


On Video

Year Published



Bob Hoose

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!