A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 3

greatest showman

Recently, Plugged In surveyed many of our users regarding a number of things we needed to know to better serve you. If you were one of those who responded, thank you!

We learned a great many things from readers like you. For instance, we learned that we had an NPS score of 62. That doesn’t mean much to you, probably: It sure didn’t mean much to me at first either. Turns out, it’s an indicator of how many users would recommend to a friend, and 62 is apparently pretty great. For comparison’s sake, Pandora has a 59 NPS score. Spotify comes in at 31. Apple iTunes gets a 30. Would it be gloating of me to say I’m pretty happy we more than doubled Tim Cook’s little music site?!

When we asked you how we could improve, several of you said we needed to review more classic movies. A number of you wanted to see “more of everything,” which means you’d like to see more book, TV, music and video game reviews.

But one common bit of survey-advice hurt my feelings: You asked if we could offer lists of recommended movies.

Okay, so my feelings weren’t really hurt. We don’t do as many lists as some outlets do, primarily because we want you to really be the final arbiter of what’s right for you and your family. We give you the information and let you decide.

But we do offer some opinions from time to time. Why, Plugged In’s coming close to selecting our top movies for the year for our annual Plugged In Movie Awards. And I’ve offered lists of my own on this very blog—titled “A Few of My Favorite Things (Parts 1 and 2)”. You can read them here and here.

So, because you’re (still) asking, I thought I’d go out on a limb at least one more time and list a few films I’ve enjoyed since “A Few of My Favorite Things, Part 2” was posted two years ago. A quick reminder before I start, though: Always use this list in conjunction with our reviews (though we, admittedly, didn’t review everything on my list). Nearly every film has a content concern or two.

So here we go!

All Saints



Born in China

The Case for Christ

Darkest Hour


A Dog’s Purpose

Facing Darkness

Far from the Madding Crowd

Finding Dory

The Finest Hours


Goodbye Christopher Robin


The Greatest Showman

Heaven Sent

Hidden Figures

I’ll Push You

I’m Not Ashamed

Is Genesis History

Jonah the Musical

La La Land

The Letters



The Man Who Invented Christmas


Megan Leavy

Miracle from Heaven


New Life

Pete’s Dragon

Queen of Katwe

The Resurrection of Gavin Stone


Same Kind of Different as Me

The Shack

The Star

To Joey with Love

A United Kingdom


The Young Messiah


I should also mention that there were many other movies that were relatively family-friendly like Ferdinand, The Force Awakens and Leap!  that didn’t make my list. And that’s just because I didn’t enjoy them enough. There were others like Marshall and Breathe that almost made my list, but contained too many content concerns.

Speaking of lists, if you’ve checked out all three of my “Favorite Things” blogs and are still looking for more potential films to view with the spouse or kids, I’d like to suggest that you Google the words “Plugged In Movie Awards.” You’ll find lists of nominees and winners from the Plugged In team that go back several years. And while there is a bit of overlap, there are a number of films that aren’t among my favorites such as Mr. Holmes and The Martian.

One final way to find “recommended” films is to get a copy of one of our “Movie Nights” books. Sadly, we no longer carry them here at Focus, but you can get them on Amazon. When I checked, I had to add “Focus on the Family” to “Movie Nights” to get them to come up.

Lastly, Happy New Year!

Oh, and feel free to tell me what film you think I really should have added to my list. And if you didn’t get to be part of the survey and yet have a suggestion or two, just note ‘em in the comment section below.

Who wrote this?

Bob Waliszewski is the director of the Plugged In department. His syndicated "Plugged In Movie Review" feature is heard by approximately 9 million people each week on more than 1,500 radio stations and other outlets and has been nominated for a National Religious Broadcaster's award. Waliszewski is the author of the book Plugged-In Parenting: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids With Love, Not War. You can follow him on Twitter @PluggedInBob.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As an extra note, I'm glad that the list includes under-celebrated gems such as Queen of Katwe and A United Kingdom.
Nate Andersen More than 1 year ago
Thank you for sharing that list, Bob!

As far as family-friendly fare goes, I think the list should also include The BFG, The Eagle Huntress, The Jungle Book, and Moana. (Unless I'm mistaken, three of those are movies that Plugged In warmly reviewed. The exception, The Eagle Huntress, of course wasn't reviewed by PI, which I assume is because the movie was too low-visibility.) 

As far as more adult fare goes, I think that Dunkirk, The Lost City of Z, A Monster Calls, The Red Turtle, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi belong on the list.

I'm surprised to see Megan Leavey (given both its relatively gritty content and the fact PI gave it only 2.5 out of 5 plugs) and Maudie (considering how much of the film involves its two chief characters living together outside of marriage) on the list.
Evan Weisensel More than 1 year ago
The ones you mentioned (BFG, Jungle Book, and Moana) all came out last year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The list consists of movies from the last two years, rather than just the past year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably Megan Leavey is being recommended for its heart-warming story, relatively restrained realism, and ultimate hopeful messages. I was put off a bit by the iffy content detailed in PluggedIns review, but decided to give it a shot since it could always be turned off if I became uncomfortable. I'm happy to report that Megan Leavey is an excellent little movie. Not completely clean, but definitely well-done and probably not a moral hazard when watched through the lens of strong, well-established Christian morality. My guess is that's why it was recommended on the list. PI gives plugs based off of cleanliness, not overall moral themes or artistic merit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree with that assessment of Megan Leavey!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So happy to see Arrival on the list. An absolutely brilliant movie that more people should see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Nice list!

Though I would also add Dunkirk, Wonder Woman and Cars 3, and I personally would remove A Dog's Purpose from the list.

But hey, that's just me.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Nothing was wrong with A Dog's Purpose. It just felt kind of... pointless. I mean, it was cute and all, but there didn't seem to be any moral or lesson to take away from the movie.

It's not a bad movie by any means, and a family could definitely choose a worse movie for a movie night, but I wouldn't say that it's a great movie.