2015 Plugged In Movie Awards: Best Christian Movie

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All this week we’re announcing the nominees for the Plugged In Movie Awards in the categories of Best Movie for Kids, Best Movie for Teens, Best Movie for Adults and Best Christian Movie.

These films represent what we consider to be the best of what got released in 2014, and not just artistically speaking, but morally and content-wise, too. Our selection isn’t a stamp of approval, of course, so link to our full reviews and read them carefully before deciding to see anything we’ve listed here.

In February we’ll pick our winners. But you can do it right now! To voice your thoughts and vote for your favorite nominee for the Reader’s Choice award in each category, post a comment on this blog or on our Facebook page.

BEST CHRISTIAN MOVIE (NOMINEES)

PIMA-2015-Christian-Moms-Night-Out-blogMoms’ Night Out (PG): Ally’s life is a disaster. Or at least that’s how it feels. It’s not that this young mom isn’t smart, warmhearted and capable. And it’s not that her husband, Sean, isn’t a loving and supportive guy. It’s just that in spite of all that, Ally is afraid her kids are going to quite literally drive her crazy. They’re three typical tykes who can turn a tidied-up room into a disheveled disaster area two-and-a-half seconds after they walk into it. And to a clean freak like Ally, well, that’s a bit stressful. If only she and her two mom friends could all just get a few hours away from yelling children, needy husbands and ringing cellphones. A moms’ night out, you could call it! A little time at a nice restaurant where they could share a good meal and unwind. Why, that would be bliss. What could possibly go wrong with a perfect scenario like that? Except, of course, everything. Which is the exact opposite of what happens with this quality comedy that gives us lots of laughs, great messages and very, very little negative content.

PIMA-2015-Christian-When-the-Game-Stands-Tall-blogWhen the Game Stands Tall (PG): Sports history is full of David-vs.-Goliath stories of underdog teams rising up to slay indomitable giants—many of which have been made into very satisfying movies. When the Game Stands Tall flips that familiar formula on its head while still holding on to that satisfying part of the equation. We watch what happens to a dedicated coach and a group of high school football players when the longest winni
ng streak in American sports history comes to an end. Both the coach and the players have some soul-searching to do about what really matters in life, especially when real tragedy rears its ugly head. Fortunately, Coach Bob Ladouceur is bolstered by a deep faith, convictions he’ll need to help guide his young team through the painful losses—both on the field and off.

PIMA-2015-Christian-Song-blogThe Song (PG-13): As in, The Song of Solomon—with a modern, musical twist. Jed King is a young singer whose career has been floundering. But that all changes after he meets, falls in love with and marries Rose. As in, the Rose of Sharon. Her love inspires him like no one else he’s ever known. And Jed writes the most incredible song about her … that quickly becomes a huge hit. Next stop: fame. Then temptation and sin. As Jed gradually learns just how futile it is to chase after the wind, so do we as the film bombards us with lofty and lyrical life lessons about love—man’s and God’s.

PIMA-2015-Christian-Gods-Not-Dead-blogGod’s Not Dead (PG): In a year full of faith-themed movies, perhaps none was a bigger surprise at the box office than the drama God’s Not Dead, which ended up raking in a whopping $61 million. The movie pits an earnest Christian freshman against a hardened, cynical philosophy professor who asks each of his students to sign a paper agreeing that “God is dead.” When Josh Wheaton says he can’t do that, the professor forces him to defend the idea that God is not dead. And so he does in this (at times) melodramatic movie about clinging tenaciously to your beliefs when they’re attacked.

PIMA-2015-Christian-Son-of-God-blogSon of God (PG-13): It’s the life of Christ as told by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey Jr. Essentially a distillation of the Gospels’ portion of their hit History Channel miniseries The Bible, Son of God is both reverent and inspirational—which is certainly far more than can be said for the year’s other two biblically inspired features (Noah and Exodus).

Movie Nights discussion guides are available for When the Game Stands Tall and The Song.

Movie summaries written by Plugged In reviewers Paul Asay, Bob Hoose and Adam Holz.

Who wrote this?

Steven Isaac served as editor for Plugged In’s NRB- and EPA-award-winning website for more than a decade, orchestrating, managing, scheduling, shaping and tweaking at least 750 reviews and articles annually. He’s a husband and a father of a teenager.


Have something to say? Leave a comment.

oohamanda More than 1 year ago
I only saw Moms' Night Out and I absolutely loved it. I thought it was genuinely funny and heart-warming.
Erik Hitechew More than 1 year ago
I haven't seen any of these other films (though The Song sounds like it could perhaps be interesting).  That being stated, I can't recommend God's Not Dead on any level.

Professor Radisson, despite his lack of redeeming personality traits, is probably the strongest character in the film, and of course he has an ulterior motive behind his atheism, which does nothing to address the questions of atheists who simply don't see a valid reason to believe in God.  The actual context of the film seems like a complete waste--Josh is a pre-law student who is never shown actually attending a law course, his girlfriend mistreats him (all of the romantic relationships in this movie are extremely ugly, though the scene of one girl being ~*sincerely cared for*~ following her abusive relationship really is beautiful and is one thing in the movie I really did like), and the professor seems less interested in actually teaching anything of worth than simply making the main character look like a fool.

Literally one of the first things out of said character's mouth, once the main "debate" (which one of the participants, the professor, is going to be the judge of--that is not how impartiality works) begins, is a useless statement.  If Person A claims that God cannot be disproved, then Person B can simply claim that atheism cannot be disproved, and we're right back where we started, with nothing having been accomplished.

In the bigger picture, "God" and Christianity in this film only seem to be good for two things, the one being the healing of the aforementioned girl, and the other being arguing with atheists.  Our dear professor Radisson at one point physically grabs the main character without consequence, to say nothing of how the professor treats his girlfriend.  So, fine.  You find a way to prove once and for all that God does or does not exist.  What difference does it make?  How will or should it affect the way we live, in terms of how we love and treat others?  These are not things the movie seems to handle in great detail, as it seems to be more concerned with simple belief than actual lifestyle practice.  Likewise, the various characters seemed to have very little in terms of personality outside of whether or not they believed in God.  If you don't believe?  You're probably a jerk in this movie.  If you do believe?  You might well still be one.

I usually am not bothered by alcohol depiction in movies, but since there's a lot more of it here than I would have expected, I honestly have to wonder if this (and the few isolated but strong scenes of violence) might cause problems for some viewers.

Imagine this setup from a different angle.  Student A believes in God; Professor B does not.  Student A is unable to intellectually or academically sway Professor B to his or her way of thinking, but A shows the love of Jesus to B by way of holy living, righteous and uplifting words, and so on.  I think this would go a lot farther to showcase God's potency to someone who didn't already believe, than simply trying to argue with them would.  So let's say you somehow convince someone into believing in "God" by way of arguing.  Have you specifically pointed them to Jesus, or simply to an idea that ~something~ must have created the universe, which morally and spiritually could still lead that person down any number of paths.
Charity Bishop More than 1 year ago
God's not dead.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead. When The Game Stands Tall is a close second.
Scott Aven More than 1 year ago
The remaining is the best by far. But it is not on the list for some reason so I guess God's not Dead. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago

I wish this website actually did this all the time.  In other words, reviewed movies that Christians have business watching, rather than the smut  they view so that we can be "knowledgeable" of what's out there (fresh example: The Boy Next Door).  I wonder if you all even have the ability to blush anymore!  I can't believe that you all even make it appear that this is a Christian website.  Would true followers of Christ type some of the things that you all put on this site?  You are not part of the solution... you are part of the problem.  I doubt this will see its way on the comment board, but maybe this will cause someone's conscience to waken ever so little.  Paul made it clear how we were to handle such immortality... Ephesians 5:12 "For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret."  Of course, that would be inconvenient - it might affect the bottom line... which is what drives this site.  The mighty dollar - not the Mighty God.  I'm done... but I am sure you all are just starting.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally don't go to any movie that abuses Jesus name in any way. Thats why I love plugged in on line. It's a great tool. Of course my movie experiences are very limited but I feel very passionate about not spending my money to be entertained this way.......Having said that I vote for Moms night out or God isn't dead.
TheTrueEDU More than 1 year ago
Mom's Night Out. Plus I totally second what John Cornish said!
Rebecca Rose More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead
Wesley Javorsky More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead
Ivy Schexnayder More than 1 year ago
The War Within!  I can't believe you guys haven't talked about this incredible movie!  :) 
Casey Elkins More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead! But.... mom's night out makes a very close second.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought Trace Adkins was hilarious in Mom's Night Out.  Probably go with God's Not Dead though for Best Christian Movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't seen The Song or Son of God, but Mom's Night Out was pretty funny, and I liked the characters. When the Game Stands Tall had a great performance from Jim Caviezel, but too much talk-talk. So I'll go with Moms' Night Out.
Scott Jamison More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead was a dreadful movie designed to create atheists.  Let;s go with "When the Game Stands Tall" instead.
Andrew Miller More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead or Mom's Night Out
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought Mom's Night Out was absolutely splendid! It was very funny; I don't remember the last time a movie made me laugh so hard.  But it was also very sweet and touching. I cried.  I loved the message of this film, because even though we know God forgives us, it's easy to forget he also loves us.  I loved this movie tremendously, and I'm not even a mom!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
God's not dead is my vote. Runner up would be "When the Game Stands Tall"
Robbie Brissey More than 1 year ago
Gods not dead is my vote. Moms night out was good also.
Anna_Rose_M More than 1 year ago
When the Game Stands Tall was a touching and empowering movie. Even for someone who is not a sports fan (me), the film was interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My vote goes to Mom's Night Out.  Father of six and my wife can relate to the entire movie.  Laughed out loud and hey...Samwise Gamgee was in it!!  ;)
Joses Tirtabudi More than 1 year ago
God's not dead :)
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Noah was trash.  "Some" elements from Scripture but this was the worse movie of 2014.  I like Crowe and feel he is a very fine actor but he should've passed this one.  Hollywood had a shot but fell way way short.  Very disappointed!
John Cornish More than 1 year ago
As a college professor and a Christian, I have to say that I was embarrassed when I watched God's Not Dead. It contained non-stop negative caricatures of college professors, muslims, and non-believers. Rather than creating and embracing stereotypes, Christians should make art/movies/music that draws unbelievers to the beauty of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can do better than this!
Tish Soulliard More than 1 year ago
Agreed.  I would be embarrassed to bring any of my non-christian friends to that movie.  They would find it insulting and not listen to any of the good points made.
Mike Vickers More than 1 year ago
John, did you see The Song? I feel this movie is a cut above most faith-based movies and think it would fit the criteria you laid for Christian art. Please check it out.
TuckerClement More than 1 year ago
God's Not Dead is PG btw

My vote goes to Mom's Night Out
Steve Isaac More than 1 year ago
Thanks Tucker. Good eye. We've fixed that rating.