Announcing the winners of the third annual PLUGGED IN MOVIE AWARDS!
BEST MOVIE FOR KIDS
Nominees: Big Hero 6, Dolphin Tale 2, The LEGO Movie, Muppets Most Wanted, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
Plugged In’s Pick: The LEGO Movie
This was a tough choice for us. All the movies here are solidly entertaining. All have some great messages. In the end, it came down to Big Hero 6′s poignant story of a would-be hero and his blow-up robot and LEGO’s tall tale stressing that everyone is awesome … and joyfully unique and therefore valuable. Finally, we felt that the bricks built the best case.
Readers’ Pick: The LEGO Movie
Readers showered praise on the same two films we gravitated toward—and then added a third to mix: How to Train Your Dragon 2. But in the end, not even Baymax could hold back the avalanche of LEGO votes that came pouring in.
BEST MOVIE FOR TEENS
Nominees: Belle, The Giver, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, Maleficent
Plugged In’s Pick: The Giver
The teen category is where the blockbusters live. Three of the five films here earned at least $240 million at the box office (with Mockingjay – Part 1 standing as 2014’s highest-grossing movie overall). But while The Giver might not have soared into that rarefied financial air, it sure reached great heights when it came to presenting a powerful story. This adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 bestseller is loaded with resonant themes involving free will, the preciousness of life and the double-edged power of emotion—and stars a couple of Academy Award winners (Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep) to boot.
Readers’ Pick: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Those with furry feet, rejoice! After The Desolation of Smaug got locked out of the PIMA nominations last year, The Hobbit series made a triumphant return to consideration and was rewarded by readers as the Best Movie for Teens. But just like Bilbo’s steady slog toward the Lonely Mountain, it wasn’t easy: Both The Giver and Mockingjay – Part 1 received strong support, and some readers were aghast that not a single superhero movie made it into contention. Perhaps the numerous write-ins that Captain America: The Winter Soldier garnered will give ol’ Cap some measure of cold comfort.
BEST MOVIE FOR ADULTS
Nominees: The Hundred-Foot Journey, Interstellar, Into the Woods, Selma, Unbroken
Plugged In’s Pick: Unbroken
Some quibbled that Louis Zamperini’s Christian faith got short shrift in Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of his life (and Laura Hillenbrand’s excellent book). But Louis’ spiritual journey certainly wasn’t all-out ignored in this riveting, resonant and truly inspiring movie. It’s not always an easy to watch: Most of it, after all, takes place in Japanese prison camps, where conditions are harsh and harrowing. We felt, though, that it puts you back on your heels for all the right reasons.
Readers’ Pick: Interstellar
Christopher Nolan’s spiritually tinged space epic struck a powerful chord with our readers, soaring past Into the Woods and Unbroken in the voting. This unquestionably beautiful and, for some, deeply moving fable may wear well as the years go on.
BEST CHRISTIAN MOVIE
Nominees: God’s Not Dead, Moms’ Night Out, Son of God, The Song, When the Game Stands Tall
Plugged In’s Pick: The Song
Hardly anyone saw this film based loosely on Solomon’s writings in Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes. At least not in theaters. It earned just a little more than $1 million. We think the movie world missed out on a real gem. The Song is a resonant, realistic fable for grown-ups that represents perhaps the next step forward in Christian moviemaking.
Readers’ Pick: Moms’ Night Out
Who knew that Christian movies could be funny? Our readers did—or, at least they found it out after watching Moms’ Night Out. This entertaining romp starring recognizable stars Sean Astin, Sarah Drew and Patricia Heaton (not to mention a funny Trace Adkins) rounded up readers’ votes and stormed to a narrow victory over God’s Not Dead. (But note that if we had counted exclamation points as votes, God’s Not Dead would’ve pulled ahead by a nose!)