As a Christian family, we try to be discerning and wise in our movie viewing (not an easy thing these days). Here are some resources we use in previewing and monitoring our movie choice:
Plugged In - run by Focus on the Family, this is a Christian review site. Profanity, sexual content, violence, and religious themes are all clearly outlined.
Screen It – another “spoiler” type review website. Unlike Plugged In, this is not a Christian based site. It is geared toward parents, however, and does an excellent job of detailing the specific content of the movie. There is a separate section where the author rates the movie (on a 1 to 10 scale). Although he is not filtering through a Biblical world view, I often find the movie critique to be insightful.
If the children are going to watch a movie they have to pay a “chip.” Daniel and David encourage Sarah to pay as often as possible. They even occasionally let her actually select the movie. That’s big brothers for you.
IMDB (International Movie Database) – the mother of all movie websites. It has every movie, actor, director, etc every made in it’s database. This is the place to research movies, cross reference composers, or just plain track down the answer to that illusive question.
“Who was that guy who played in that movie with the other girl? You know, the one where she kisses him at the end?”
If you can figure out even one little piece of the puzzle – the name of the movie, one of the actors, even the year in which it was made – you can unravel the mystery and connect the movie dots. This has brought much peace in our household. Tim has resigned himself to my OCD need to place actors into proper movie context.
“Tim,” I’ll say in the middle of a movie. “Do you recognize that character? Yes, the cashier. Do you think he’s the same guy who played the teacher in the comedy we saw last week?”
Poor guy. He doesn’t even pause. After all, the “movie itch” isn’t going to go away. I must know.
“Why don’t you go check IMDB and see. I can wait.” Of course, that’s code for ‘I’ll be playing my computer game while you get online. Call me when you’ve figured it out.’
For movie trivia, you can’t get any better than IMDB. You can also find trailers and links to other external reviews.
Yahoo Movie Listings – I keep this site bookmarked because it links automatically to my zip code and will list all the theaters in my area, complete with showing times, movie info and maps.
Coming Soon Trailers – proceed with caution. This site collects the newest trailers as they are released. We don’t have a tv and rarely go to the theater, so if we do see a movie preview, it’s usually online. I ignore all the “junk” or questionable movies, and enjoy the fun ones. Although they do include children’s films as they are released, this is definitely not a site for kids to visit unsupervised.
These buddies stick together.
ClearPlay – a dvd player that offers filtering options. We purchased ours at Target last year but they have since stopped carrying them. Basically you purchase a subscription to the filters (which are accessed online), load them on to a USB stick and then plug the stick into the dvd player. The ClearPlay DVD player recognizes the filter and applies them to your copy of the movie. Profanity, violence and inappropriate sexual scenes are either edited or skipped. Recently we had some trouble with the audio portion of our player (purchased in November 2007), ClearPlay paid for our shipping and is mailing us a new DVD player free of charge.
If you have a movie resource that your family recommends, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about it.
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