A Big Year For Jesus (at the Movies)

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Christians sometimes complain, especially this time of year, that Jesus is being taken out of everything. We bemoan the lack of traditional Nativity scenes on public property. We lament when people wish us “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” Last year, Starbucks was lambasted for serving up a plain red cup for the holidays instead […]

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Arrival and Us: Are We All Speaking the Same Language?

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Almost everyone likes Arrival. The $24.1 million worth of people who saw it thought it was just fine. (It gets a “B” from viewers, according to Cinemascore.) Secular critics thought it was fantastic. (It’s got a 93% “freshness” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and plenty of reviewers are calling it one of the best movies of […]

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Vodcast: The Curious Case of Doctor Strange

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Myth and the Curious Case of Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is nothing if not an odd, curious duck. Both the character and the movie, to be clear. The “good” doctor himself is a bit of a roguish hero who, while outwardly projecting confidence and bravado, inwardly struggles with a massive identity crisis due to a severely misplaced sense of self-worth. The movie itself, […]

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When Doctor Strange Went to Ephesus

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Doctor Strange is casting its lucrative spell on the box office. It’s Marvel’s latest successful introduction of a character whom only really “inside baseball” comic book fans likely even knew existed. And in translating the mystical story of Dr. Stephen Strange to the big screen, director Scott Derrickson has managed to do something paradoxically compelling: […]

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If Celebrities Have Pop Culture Triggers, We Probably Do Too

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Demi Lovato has suffered through some high-profile battles with addiction. Because of that, the singer and actress knows herself well enough to recognize what she’s got to stay away from if she wants to maintain her sobriety. Talking to Glamour magazine, Lovato recently said that she hasn’t seen a particular film because she knows it’s […]

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When Madea Scared Jack

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Projections can be scary things. Just ask Jack Reacher. You see, many prognosticators had forecast Tom Cruise’s latest, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, as the prohibitive favorite to win the weekend’s box office battle. But they underestimated the magnetic appeal of a certain moo moo-wearing movie matriarch: Madea. Tyler Perry’s no-nonsense, wisdom-and-vulgarity spouting alter ego startled […]

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Vodcast: Is The Birth of a Nation’s Grittiness Actually a Good Thing?

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The new Birth of a Nation movie is rated R, and rightfully so. But its subject matter has us wrestling again with a tricky concept: maybe, just maybe, harsh content can sometimes serve a purpose. The truth of the matter is this: Life—both modern and historical—is not as cut and dry as we like to make […]

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Vodcast: How Messy, Gritty Religion Invades The Magnificent Seven

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Villains aren’t the only ones who use faith for less-than-shiny purposes. Sometimes the good guys do it, too. Sometimes we use our faith in ugly ways, like when we use it to justify actions that are entirely self-serving. We may catch ourselves using it as an excuse to do what we want to do. We can all […]

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What Does it Mean to Be Christian … and an Actor?

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The Magnificent Seven lands in theaters today, starring Oscar-winning actor Denzel Washington and burgeoning superstar Chris Pratt. Next week, another box-office megastar, Mark Wahlberg, will unveil his latest action flick, Deepwater Horizon. All three actors, incidentally, are Christians. “Put God first in everything you do,” Washington recently told the graduating class of Dillard University, a […]

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‘We Want to Help People Think Critically.’ PI’s Adam Holz Talks With MTV

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At Plugged In, we talk about culture a lot. We review entertainment. We write these little blogs. We blather on in the occasional vodcast. But it’s a little more rare that we get an opportunity to speak directly to that culture. To chat with some folks who are most directly influenced by the very entertainment […]

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Tapping the Christian Movie Marketplace

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What do Christians want from Christian movies? It’s a question that Hollywood just doesn’t quite know how to answer just yet. When The Passion of the Christ made gazillions of dollars (well, at least $370.8 million domestically), folks in the entertainment industry fell all over themselves trying to duplicate that success. Scads of explicitly Christian filmmakers […]

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Vodcast: Is the New Ben-Hur Better Than the Old Ones?

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Judah Ben-Hur just gets better and better with age. And, depending on who you ask, the same is true of his movies. The latest retelling of Lew Wallace’s epic 1880 novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, limped through the box office during its opening weekend—perhaps not altogether unlike some of the horses in the […]

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The Olympics: Like Real Life, Only Better

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Bad things happen. Even at the Olympics. Looking at this year’s games in Rio, you can point to any number of mistakes, accidents and bone-headed moves. Just ask Ryan Lochte. Or Al Trautwig. Or the technicians in charge of the Olympic diving pool. But sometimes, the Olympics transcend all that. They go beyond even their […]

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