Plugged In Author: Bob Smithouser

Senior Editor for PLUGGEDIN.COM. In addition to hosting the weekly "Official Plugged In Podcast," Bob also writes reviews, articles and Movie Nights discussion guides, and manages areas of this website. He has served at Focus on the Family for more than 20 years. Since 1995, Bob has penned "High Voltage," a monthly column that answers children's entertainment questions in Clubhouse magazine. He has co-authored several books, including Chart Watch, Movie Nights, Movie Nights for Teens and, most recently, The One Year Father-Daughter Devotions. Bob is also co-host of "The Official Adventures in Odyssey Podcast."

Bugged by Spidey?

23

Will the real Spider-Man please stand up? OK, color me conflicted. I’m a long-time Spider-Fan who, on one hand, really enjoyed the new Andrew Garfield reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. As a film unto itself, Amazing delivers 137 minutes of popcorn-gobbling fun that, in some ways, actually improves upon Sam Raimi’s 2002 blockbuster starring Tobey Maguire […]

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Trashing Icons of Innocence

22

In June of 1989, rocker Don Henley struck a chord with his melancholy musical commentary “The End of the Innocence.” In that song, guileless idealism runs headlong into harsh realities of adult life. Divorce. Deception. Duplicity. But Henley’s Top-10 hit didn’t chronicle the final, dying breath of sweetness and naïveté in America. Twenty-three summers later, […]

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Not Worth Mentioning?

16

Want to watch a trailer? They’re all on YouTube. Need to know where you’ve seen that balding character actor before? Cross-reference him on IMDb.com. It’s the rare factoid that’s not available online. Yet even in this age of endless information, getting all the facts we need to choose movies wisely can be a challenge. Even […]

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Actresses Without Makeup

19

Every parent of a teenage daughter has, at some point, wrestled with the makeup issue. Should it be allowed? If so, when? What kind? And how much? Contrary to popular belief, World War III will not be waged with nuclear warheads; it’s already being fought in homes around the globe with lipstick, mascara and rouge. […]

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Touring From the Grave

14

A 2004 Disney Channel movie called Pixel Perfect involves a tech-savvy teen creating a holographic lead singer for his rock band, the Zettabytes. All goes smoothly until a concert glitch exposes their secret. At first the crowd mutters, “She’s not real.” Within seconds, however, everyone applauds, deciding it’s the coolest, most “unreal” thing they’ve ever […]

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Titanic’s Second Voyage

14

Class struggles. Young love. The greed and arrogance of the industrial age. These and other themes—plus lots of slam-bang action—energize James Cameron’s Titanic, which was history’s highest-grossing film for more than a decade until the Oscar-winning director bested his own record with 2009’s Avatar. How much will tomorrow’s 3-D re-release of Titanic close the billion-dollar […]

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When Animals Die

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It’s tragic when innocent animals die in entertainment. Fictional or not, we still feel their loss. King Kong. Mufasa. Old Yeller. Charlotte. Hooch. Artax. I could go on, but I’m already on my second box of Kleenex. We don’t even have to see their demise onscreen to be deeply moved. Remember Bambi’s mom? And what […]

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Super Bowl Ads 25 Years Later

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You may have heard the old show-biz adage “Always leave them wanting more.” Well, the NFL did that to me last month. Super Bowl XLVI ended on a breathtaking Hail Mary pass, and I’ve been craving football ever since. Right now, I’d welcome the sight of guys in striped shirts holding a momentum-deadening instant replay […]

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XLVI’s Biggest Gamble

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The most memorable moment of Super Bowl XXXVIII didn’t happen on the gridiron. For example, who played in that game? Who was the MVP? What was the final score? And what singer experienced a wardrobe malfunction at halftime on television’s biggest stage? See, I told you. Janet Jackson’s jaw-dropping miscue in 2004 left a greater […]

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Famous Last Words

3

If you’re one of those people who insists on having the last word, Mark Zuckerberg wants to give it to you—from the grave. A new Facebook app called If I Die lets users craft a final farewell that will go out to their online community once three designated friends have confirmed that the poster has […]

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Infamous TV Firsts

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In case you haven’t heard, ABC’s hit comedy Modern Family will air an episode next week in which Lily—the 2-year-old adopted daughter of gay couple Cam and Mitchell—will blurt the f-word. “We thought it was a very natural story since, as parents, we’ve all been through this,” Steve Levitan, the show’s creator, told ew.com. “ABC […]

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The Girl With the NFL Tattoo

5

The first round of the NFL playoffs is set, and as fate would have it, one Golden Globe-nominated actress has a rooting interest in both of this Sunday’s games. You could say it’s in her blood. In fact, every syllable of 26-year-old Rooney Mara’s name oozes football tradition. That’s because the Girl With the Dragon […]

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Check Out the Ride

1

Parents walk a fine line every day in the quest for balance in the home. That’s especially true right now, around the holidays, when we want our kids to enjoy themselves to the fullest but without jeopardizing their physical, emotional or spiritual well-being. For example, we don’t want to deny our children sugary seasonal treats, […]

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