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10 tools to help pick a great flick

If you’re looking to watch a good film with family or friends, a trustworthy list of suggestions can be a wonderful find. But maybe you already have a film in mind, and you want to find out whether it’s really worth watching. Then have we got some helpful tools for you!

Judeo-Christian reviews

Pluggedin.com, ChristianAnswers.net/spotlight, Dove.org, and MovieGuide.org all offer a generally conservative Judeo-Christian perspective and will have something to offer on most any current film and many older ones too. Of these four, Plugged In and Christian Answers might offer the best worldview help, while Dove often has the most detailed listing of objectionable content. Movie Guide is helpful, but sometimes not half as harsh as it really should be.

Secular reviews

Two more review sites aren’t Christian, and therefore don’t offer much by way of worldview analysis. But they do offer the most reliable and detailed overview of a film’s objectionable content. Kids-in-mind.com has a 10-point scale for three categories: sex, violence, and language, and is searchable via this scale (ie. You can search for movies that have no sex). It has fantastic coverage from 1990 onward.

CommonSenseMedia.org is not particularly conservative, but offers lots of concisely delivered information, including both parental and children’s quick takes on a film. The one downside? After three free reviews, you’ll have to pay $3 a month to access more.

One last option is IMDB.com’s parents guide, which isn’t nearly as detailed, but seems to exist for most every film out there. Find it by googling “imdb parents guide” followed by the film’s name

Search the script

While these other sites do their best, they’ll often miss instances of God’s name being taken in vain. The most effective tool on that front is simply to do a word search of the film’s script. Scripts.com and SpringfieldSpringfield.co.uk both have thousands of movie scripts, easily searchable by simply opening the script and (on most computers) hitting your Control button, and the letter F (for “find”). You can then type in “God” to find out how they use His Name. While both sites are huge, neither prioritizes keeping up with what’s currently playing in theaters so they are most useful for films that are at least a few years old.

Find the film

Once you’ve checked it out to your satisfaction, the next step is figuring out how you can actually buy or rent it online. JustWatch.com (and, in Canada, JustWatch.com/ca) will give you a pretty comprehensive list of options. But don’t forget, if you have a DVD player, and a little time, you may be able to watch a film for free by requesting it from your local public library.


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