Television Tops 2015: Paul Asay’s Year-End Picks


They say we’re spoiled by our television riches. Shows have never been so rich in character, so deep in theme. Alas, the last several years have given us a new depth in abysmal content, too. The Walking Dead is getting ever gorier. Jessica Jones has taken superheroes in a new, tawdrier direction. And trust me, […]

Continue Reading

The Hunger Games a Game No More


The grand, bloody finale of The Hunger Games series—The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2—will plant its flag in theaters next week. Some have wondered how the movie will stay within the PG-13 rating, given how wrenching the book is, and I’m anticipating that it’ll be difficult for me to sit through. Which, I think, […]

Continue Reading

Journey of a Pop Culture Prodigal


If you’re here, you’re probably somewhat familiar with pop culture. Odds are good that you’ve also heard the story of the Prodigal Son. You may have even wondered what that story might look like if revamped by pop culture. Jeff Bridges would be the Father, of course, and Chris Hemsworth would do quite nicely as the […]

Continue Reading

Television’s New Crop of Shows Doesn’t Look Too Great So Far


Autumn is when everything outside just seems to … well, die. Crops are harvested. Leaves fall from the trees. Grass turns a bit brown. Cold sets in. It’s a depressing time of year for many (obviously not football fans). Hey, even the sun doesn’t seem to want to stick around as long anymore. So there’s […]

Continue Reading

What Spy Movies (and Grandma) Say About Media Discernment


Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation is not the headiest of movies, but it still got us thinking. In this, the second episode of the Plugged In Vodcast, Paul explains why spy movies always make him think of his grandma and how a particular conversation with her got him thinking about the ways we make exceptions […]

Continue Reading

An Entertainment Adventure in Garage Saling


As we do almost every year, my wife and I spent vacation time in July visiting our out-of-state daughter. And although you’ll probably find this a bit strange (for that matter, I find it a bit strange), over the last couple of years at least we’ve found ourselves spending some of that R&R garage saling. […]

Continue Reading

Rock’s Not (Quite) Dead … and Why That Matters


Last September, KISS bassist, entrepreneur and reality TV star Gene Simmons became the latest in a long line of voices to loudly lament, “Rock is finally dead!” In many ways, Simmons may very be correct. Rock music doesn’t enjoy the cultural omnipresence it wielded from the 1960s through the ’90s. And the industry as a […]

Continue Reading

Getting Real (Fictionally, of Course)


Comedian Jim Gaffigan recently launched his very own sitcom titled, perhaps a bit uncreatively, The Jim Gaffigan Show. It’s on TV Land, and the show’s gotten all sorts of attention. I reviewed it earlier this week, and while it has its share of problems, I have to say I enjoyed parts of it. Not just […]

Continue Reading

Mom’s ‘Extreme’ Movie Advice to Son is Right On


What would you do if your teen wanted to see the recent movie Pitch Perfect 2? Author and blogger Glennon Doyle Melton said yes to her son Chase’s request to see the movie. But she didn’t want her son to be just a passive viewer, so her yes was a conditional one. And the conditions […]

Continue Reading

‘Dirty Deeds’ (Almost) Done for Real


An ongoing controversy in the 1980s revolved around whether certain rock bands’ music inspired isolated, unstable listeners to commit heinous crimes. Perhaps the highest-profile of these cases was that of convicted serial killer Richard Ramirez. Ramirez, who came to be known as the “Night Stalker,” was convicted in 1989 for the murder of 13 people […]

Continue Reading