Today’s post comes courtesy of Bob Waliszewski, director of Focus’ Plugged In department. -JD
I’ve been accused of seeing the glass half empty when it comes to today’s movie releases. For example, during a recent meeting, a colleague who helps with Pluggedin.com shared the reaction of a potential advertiser to my rating a film 4.5 out of five for family friendliness: “Really?!Bob never gives a film that high of a score!”
Although far from the truth, I laughed along with the rest of the folks in the room who enjoyed the punchline. I can’t deny the joke had some truth to it.
Take this other example: Laura from Indiana, a senior in high school, emailed me to complain that thanks to the fact her parents ardently read Pluggedin.com, she’s “restricted to the freedoms of a 10-yeard-old when it comes to watching movies.” She continued to call our staff “uptight,” saying we only approve of “’Narnia’ and ‘Facing the Giants.’” (Laura should know that we’ve added “Fireproof” and “Courageous” to our list.)
While I can understand Laura’s frustration with our team, the reality is Hollywood continues to crank out films like “Sex Tape,” “The Internship,” and “Easy A.” It is responsible for the “Saw” and “Hangover” series. You can see how it’s impossible to give movies like these a high score on family friendliness.
However, it’s also true that Hollywood gets it right sometimes. Our website currently rates 36 films a perfect five out of five on family friendliness. We rate another 252 movies four out of five. (Did you read that, Laura?)
Welcome to the family-friendly weekend
I’m happy to announce in my 23 years of being here at Focus on the Family, I’ve never seen a more positive showing at the local cineplex than right now.
Right now, in many cities across the country, there are a whopping five films showing that warrant a four or better for family friendliness. Currently showing are “The Giver,” “The Identical,” “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” and “When the Game Stands Tall.” Not only that, but this weekend “Dolphin Tale 2” is debuting on the big screen. Notice not one of these films is animated, making this Hollywood accomplishment even more astounding!
Unlike a lot of folks, I’m not a huge Tinseltown fan. More often than not, I’ve been critical of what directors and producers put out as “excellent art.” But when Hollywood gets it right, I’m happy to announce it. And right now, that’s exactly what I want to do: Kudos to those filmmakers who care about families! My hat’s off!
[Note: Incidentally, even a film with 4 out of 5 family friendliness rating is not technically considered a Plugged In recommendation. We are not in the business of telling people to go or not to go to a certain motion picture. Instead we provide content analysis (and a numeric rating) to help guide families in making their own, God-honoring decisions.]
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