The other day, my 15 year old daughter and her friend asked if I would take them to see the movie Magic Mike. Knowing that this was a movie about male strippers, I thought I would take a look on Pinterest to see what information I could find. Hence the topic of movie reviews.
The first pin I found was a link to pluggedin.com. What struck me immediately was how thorough this site was in its review. Among the topics were positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, profanity, etc. Becuase of pluggedin.com’s review, I found out that the f-word was used 150 times in this movie! Maybe not a great movie for 15 year old girls.
After looking up Magic Mike, I decided to look at one movie on several review sites I found on Pinterest. I chose the Hunger Games because it is a tween movie that is also of interest to adults.
The Hunger Games takes place in a nation known as Panem, established in North America after the destruction of the continent’s civilization by an unknown apocalyptic event. As punishment for a previous rebellion against the Capitol, in which a 13th district was destroyed, one boy and one girl between the ages of 12 and 18 from each district are selected by an annual lottery to participate in the Hunger Games, an event in which the participants (or “tributes”) must fight to the death in an outdoor arena until only one individual remains. Can you believe that this horrible ritual takes place on a reality TV show? Of course the show is apptly named The Hunger Games.
The Pluggedin.com review shows that this movie “references and invokes modern struggles, raising questions of government abuse and cultural clashes. Its themes of government overreach, corruption of the powerful and the struggles of the common man ring true throughout.” One of the the main characters in the movie, Preeta, demonstrates the intellectual struggles of the characters in Hunger Games when he states, “I don’t want to be another piece in their game. I don’t want them to change me into something I’m not…if I’m gonna die, I want to still be me.” Clearly, this is not a movie to see when you are depressed and need a laugh!
5 Real Moms says that “even movies ‘made for kids’ seem to contain plenty of crudity and messages that parents would not want to be pushed onto their family.” They recommend that parents visit pluggedin.com and/or commonsense.org. When I visited commonsense.org, I found a rating system that rates movies in categories such as positive messages, role models, violence, drinking, drugs and smoking among others. You can also find parent AND kid reviews of movies with ratings.
One parent wrote of Hunger Games:
Appalling… maybe. Important… yes. I don’t really understand why some think that his movie glorifies teens killing teens. I think quite the opposite is true. Is there violence?… yes. Is it a movie that is just too scary for young children?… yes. Are the themes too complex for most young children?…. yes. That being said, this movie does anything but glorify teens killing teens. Indeed, the heroes of the movie actually risk their own lives to save others that they should be trying to kill. A movie or book series that can get that message across to adolescents without being preachy (preaching never works with teens) gets an A in my book.
This parent gave the movie 4 out of 5 stars and recommended for kids age 12 and up.
A 17 year old kid reviewer wrote:
Incredibly, the Hunger Games movie has stayed extremely close to the book, with only a few minor changes, and several larger ones that, while it didn’t quite happen that way in the book, it’s about as close as they could get without making a 5-hour movie. The violence is toned down somewhat. Most of the deaths were slightly off-camera, though in many cases you can still see the blood fly.
This kid gave the movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommended for kids 13 and up.
These are reviews that would be hard to find without the power of Pinterest.
Commonsensemedia.org also suggests topics that families can discuss. For example, “how the Hunger Games’ ‘ last man standing’ premise (minus the actual killing, of course) compares to current reality shows. Which shows pit people against each other? Why is it so much fun to watch the alliances and the voting off and the cattiness of these programs? How far do you think shows like this could go?”
Where pluggedin.com and commonsense.org review movies from a moral perspective with specifics about moral content, other reviews have more entertainment value and editorializing. A pin to Roger Ebert’s reviews in the Chicago Sun Times gives us his opinion of the quality of the movie with little or no moral review. He states, “The story centers on the two tributes from the dirt-poor District 12: Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark. The 16-year-old girl hunts deer with bow and arrow to feed her family; he may be hunkier but seems no match in survival skills. They’re both clean-cut, All-Panem types, and although one or both are eventually required to be dead, romance is a possibility.” Ebert’s dry humor makes the review of such a serious movie more fun and entertaining.
Joyce’s Choices focuses on character analysys. She describes Katniss as “a woman of few words, looks best unmade up, and can shoot a bow and arrow straight through the heart. Her character and superior skills are immediately understood by everyone in the room.” How refreshing to see a young woman portrayed in this way, and how annoying that it’s still enough of a rarity for me to point out..” Although Joyce touches on the topic of sexism in our society, she will also send you updates on movie reviews via email and gives her readers the opportunity to win free movie previews.
Blogs have also become a source for movie reviews on Pinterest. It can be a lot of fun to read the opinions of our fellow bloggers and to throw their opinions into the decision-making mix. You will surely find perspectives you would not find on mainstream review sites. On the splashofourworlds blog, the blogger focuses on the violence in the movie. He states, “Well if you don’t know what Hunger Games is, you are probably living under a rock..I mean it’s everywhere!” He goes on to say that there “were small details that weren’t explained about the districts, the games, the war…seriously.. i don’t even know how many people asked me what the ‘3 finger farewell move’ was and stuff like that…the boys would probably want a little more violence or excitement, but in general, there is no doubt it’s one of the good ones.” All of the reviews on this site focus on the more juvenile aspects of a film.
Another fun way to find reviews at your fingertips when you’re out and about and away from your newspaper (the old-fashioned way to get movie times) is Flixster. This Android app allows the user to get instant movie times, movie trailers, reviews and more. Flixsterlets you search for movies by what’s coming out soon or by your favorite local movie theatre.
On the way to the movie theatre, Flixster lets you play the trailer, view photos, and even rate the movie. After the
movie, when you’re dying to find out when you can get the movie on DVD, Flixster has a section with a list of movies and their DVD release dates.
You can find my movie review pinboard here.
And when you decide to go to that thoroughly-reviewed movie, you can order discount movie tickets and snack packages from bulktix.com! As always, I have included a few movie ‘must-haves” from my Etsy colleagues here.
Yours in pinning,
Convo me here