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.

Track Review

Here's a riddle for you: When is a generic breakup duet not just a generic breakup duet?

Here's your two-part answer: One, when the duet is between the reigning pop queen of the musical universe, Taylor Swift, and former One Direction member ZAYN (full name: Zayn Malik … but he's gone all-cap mononymical these days).

And, two, when their breathy, smoldering ballad is attached to the even more breathy, smoldering sequel Fifty Shades Darker (which lands in theaters in February 2017).

Love Still Hurts

As end-of-relationship songs go, this one's pretty standard-issue. ZAYN and Taylor take turns expressing their post-romance pain, a hurt that's so agonizing that they find themselves despairing about the future.

"It's a just a cruel existence, like there's no point hoping at all," ZAYN emotes. "Baby, baby, I feel crazy, up all night, all night and every day."

Taylor's not in any better shape. "I'm sitting eyes wide open, and I got one thing stuck on my mind," she sings. "Wondering if I dodged a bullet or just lost the love of my life."

There's more disoriented regret and confusion elsewhere in the song. The chorus (which they each sing individually, then together) hyperbolically projects their pain into the infinite future as they sing, "I don't wanna live forever, 'cause I know I'll be living in vain/ … I just wanna keep calling your name until you come back home."

That last line could be read as a veiled allusion to a sundered cohabiting arrangement. But it could just as easily be using the word home as a metaphor for the warmth of the relationship now ended.

The only other lyric that might have a mildly suggestive implication is when Taylor complains, "I gave you something, but you gave nothing, what is happening to me?" The "something" in question here obviously hints at an emotional investment, but one that could have had a sexual component as well. Still, the song never explicitly goes there.

Which is certainly more restraint than the movie to which it's attached will likely exercise.

A Marketing Match Made in Heaven?

Swift obviously doesn't need help expanding her audience or influence. (And ZAYN's post-1D solo career seems to be off to a solid start too.) She's a once-in-a-generation phenomenon whose image has gradually morphed from squeaky-clean country teen songstress into a sophisticated artist who now breezily sings lines like, "Got a long list of ex-lovers" ("Blank Space").

At first glance, it might seem as if the folks at Universal Pictures are getting the better end of this collaboration. I mean, Taylor Swift!? I know, right? Swift has lent her much-coveted brand equity to a decidedly darker, more explicitly sexual franchise. That imprimatur has to be considered the marketing coup of the millennium for whoever coaxed Swift and ZAYN to get on board with this project.

And yet …

Taylor's been drifting in an increasingly "adult" direction—both sound-wise and in terms of her songs' sensual and sexual themes—for the last several albums. And though she's never taken the kind of giant leap into explicit material that some of her former child-star peers have, Swift's songs these days are nevertheless a long ways from "Today Was a Fairytale." So perhaps she views the implicit endorsement of Fifty Shades Darker as her next calculated step, an opportunity to further define herself as an adult artist and to, ahem, shake off the last vestiges of her formerly innocent image.

Swift's decision may well boost her brand among older fans and viewers of the movie. But it also suggests to her younger fans that the bondage and S&M-filled movie Fifty Shades Darker should be on their pop-cultural radar … when it might not have been otherwise.

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







Surprise release instantly topped iTunes' singles chart.

Record Label

Universal Records




December 9, 2016

On Video

Year Published



Adam R. Holz