Going overtime on our "week" of religious film review sites, we visit a guardian of morality tonight. Plugged In Online, created by religious right leader James Dobson, picks out every "damn" and flash of flesh to evaluate movies.
But not always skillfully. Take Paul Asay's review of the new Star Trek movie, which everyone seems to be highlighting right now. Asay's writing shows all the marks of a man on the wrong side of middle age, trying to sound culture current. James T. Kirk is a "ne'er-do-well" with a "penchant for derring-do." The starship Enterprise is the "snazziest set of space wheels." Asay also refers to Buck Rogers and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Geez, Paul, write for readers who didn't vote for Truman.
BTW, Asay did like the film on balance. He says it "embraces Star Trek's perennial sense of optimism and infuses it with something that, at times, has been somewhat lacking: fun."
A better writer is Adam R. Holz, who reviews X-Men Origins: Wolverine. His style is more intense and urgent, with short words and short sentences. But he doesn't shrink from longer treatment when needed, as when he says the movie "lacks the philosophical gravitas of previous X-Men films."
Each review labels spiritual, sexual, violent and drug/alcohol content, in discrete segments. Sometimes it comes off as hypersensitive -- will you really get upset at a woman in a flannel shirt, showing her legs? -- but it's actually an improvement over the past, when many ministers simply condemned most movies. Now you can decide for yourself, and before you buy a ticket.
And if you have small kids, be honest: Wouldn't you like an idea of what's in that film they've been hounding you to take them to?