WHY WE CARE


Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."

YOUR STORIES


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

PLUGGED IN RATING

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

Baby's life is defined by two machines: the iPod and the automobile.

He's never without the first: He listens to one and carries a couple more, just in case he feels like changing tunes/moods. He wears earbuds so much that it's amazing they haven't permanently fused to his lobes. He soundtracks his life like a master mixer. Sure, the music's part defense mechanism—a way to silence his awful ringing tinnitus and to mute the horrific memories that created it. But the tunes give him pleasure, too. He doesn't just listen to the beat of a different drummer: He follows that beat wherever it takes him.

That's where the cars come in.

Baby knows music, and man, does he know cars. Punch on the gas. Yank on the e-brake. Twist the wheel. Spin. He's about the best driver around, especially when his tunes and the road sync up just right. It's a perfect meld of machine-man-machine, a symphony of high fidelity and high octane. Spin the iPod wheel, twist the steering wheel. Punch the volume, pound the gas. When Baby's car meets Queen, the asphalt rhapsody becomes a kind of magic.

And when you're driving for a bunch of high-profile thieves, a little magic comes in handy.

For years now, Baby's been driving for Doc, an underworld braniac with a penchant for big scores at big banks. Baby's involvement is not by choice, mind you: Doc caught Baby swiping his car, and—as penance and payback—the kid's been driving for the kingpin ever since.

While Doc's crews are ever-rotating cadres of crooks, Baby's the only constant. Doc's "good luck charm," he says. Doc doesn't mind the fact that Baby always seems lost in his tunes. He's unfazed by the boy's eccentricities. Can't say as much for the crews. But, hey, that's their problem. Baby has always come through for Doc.

But Baby's no willing criminal. Sure, he takes his meager cut and stores it under the floorboards in his apartment. But he has no interest in getting rich by stealing other people's money. Crime may pay, but it's not for him. Plus, it's dangerous for the people he loves: his deaf foster dad, Joseph. His new squeeze, Debora. In fact, he'd like to steer clear of Doc and all his malevolent machinations.

And maybe he can. After all, Baby's debt to Doc is just about paid off. One more job and he can call it quits, driving away for good.

If Doc'll let him go, that is.

Positive Elements

Yes, Baby's in a bad spot and he makes some bad decisions, but he's not a wholly bad guy. Even in the context of his critical role in Doc's crew, he does his best to protect innocents.

When one of his crewmates tries to shoot a security guard with a shotgun, Baby purposefully knocks the gun upward to ruin the shot. When he's waiting in the car for his crooked mates to rob a post office, he signals to one of the workers not to enter the building; just walk away, he indicates. Even stealing someone's car, he tries to do it considerately: When he takes a purple Cadillac from a woman, he hands the woman's purse to her out the window, apologizing for the inconvenience.

Baby has special affection for Joseph and Debora, of course. He promises Joseph—now deaf and bound to a wheelchair—that he'll never let anything happen to him. And when things get a little too hot for them in the apartment they share, Baby takes him to a senior care center, leaving him on its porch with a wad of cash and detailed instructions on how to care for him as he leaves to meet his fate. He'll do anything to protect Debora, too, including facing off against one of his trigger-happy crewmates.

[Spoiler Warning] All that said, Baby's highly illegal activities demand some sort of societal recompense: To his credit, he eventually turns himself in (in part to protect Debora) and goes to prison.

Spiritual Content

An arms dealer says he has the "best prices in all of Christendom."

Sexual Content

Baby and Debora kiss both passionately and sweetly on occasion, but their relationship doesn't go beyond that.

Buddy and Darling, a husband-and-wife criminal duo, are involved in several of Doc's operations: They kiss, cuddle and make out in the back seats of cars. When one of Doc's heists requires that Buddy hold Darling hostage, Darling quips that they've "role-played that a lot." They discuss (in broad but not explicit detail) how they might celebrate a big score. Darling wears tight clothing that reveals cleavage.

Bats, another crewmember, lecherously eyes Darling: At one point, both his attention and the camera's lens ogle the woman's backside as she walks.

Violent Content

Baby Driver might've well skated by with a minimum of content in this section had it not been for one aptly-named criminal: Bats.

Bats never saw a living being he didn't want to shoot. He apparently guns down a security truck driver. (We don't see the shot but do see the man lying in a pool of blood). He may kill another for several packs of gum. (Again we don't see the kill, but when Baby looks through the convenience store window, he doesn't see the cashier anymore). And he seems ready to off a waitress instead of paying the bill. (Baby stops that from happening.) Bats even kills one of his own crewmates as well, and we see that person's body stuffed in a car trunk. Baby is then asked to take the vehicle to the wrecking lot and have it crushed to get rid of the evidence.

Bats' psychosis reaches its apogee during a weapons deal with a bunch of crooked cops. He shoots one of them several times, setting off a wild gunfight that leaves several people dead. (Buddy and Darling participate, too, with Darling getting hit in the shoulder.)

That incident is the catalyst that sends the film into super-violent territory. One man is then skewered in the chest by a metal pole. (Blood splashes against a car window.) Several people are either injured or killed in various shootings and shootouts. A car gets pushed out of a parking garage several stories up, exploding. A man is shot in the leg and falls from a substantial height (and lands on the burning car). Someone gets shot several times, then hit by a car (his body goes flying over the vehicle), then run over by the same car (though the camera turns away from the presumably grotesque scene).

Doc warns Baby that he could have both of his legs broken and everyone he loves killed. He tells Baby that his girlfriend is pretty: "Let's keep it that way," he ominously concludes. Loads of cars and trucks are crashed and smashed and rolled and otherwise abused, leading to probably numerous (but uncounted) injuries. Someone knocks Baby's sunglasses off his face. Someone fires gunshots near one character's face, trying to rupture his eardrums.

We see flashbacks of the terrible accident that set Baby on the path that he's on: When he was young, his mother and father were fighting while driving, and their car slammed into a semi, leaving the boy orphaned. (We don't see the crash itself, just the impending collision moments before.) We also see flashbacks of Baby's dad pulling his mom's hair: She later comes into the little boy's bedroom, her face stained with running mascara.

Crude or Profane Language

Nearly 60 f-words and at least 20 s-words. Jesus' name is abused three times, while God's name is misused eight (seven of those with the word "d--n"). We also hear "a--," "b--ch," "d--n," "h---," "p---ies" and "p-ssed." Characters speculate about whether Baby is "retarded." There's a crass reference to a man's genitals.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Doc smokes. Bats speculates that Buddy and Darling engage in crime to support their drug habit. "I do drugs to support a robbing habit," he counters. He also says that he enjoys three things about the biz: "Money, sex, drugs and action." (Bats' counting skills leave something to be desired.)

Debora drinks wine at a fancy dinner.

Other Negative Elements

Baby takes a dismissive view of traffic laws. Nor does he pay much attention to people even when he's walking, occasionally bumping or jostling into them as he listens to his tunes.

Conclusion

I'll say this for Baby Driver: The soundtrack is killer.

This stylish, frenetic movie feels a little like a 110-minute music video, every scene saturated with tunes ranging from old-school jazz to classic rock to pounding rap. The music gives us access to Baby's mindset and emotions: He's a charismatic criminal with a heart of gold and a foot of lead.

Forget nitrous: This film is fueled by iPod. But like Baby himself, the movie runs into plenty of obstacles that slow any enthusiasm for this film way, way down.

Lots of people die, sometimes in terrible ways. While Baby Driver doesn't make gore the point, it doesn't shy away from it either. Some scenes will elicit gasps, winces and even gags.

Moreover, any time the movie's ever-present music pauses for a breath or two and someone speaks, more often than not, they swear. We're talking either an f- or s-word for nearly each minute of run time here.

Baby Driver has gotten some critical acclaim, and I get why. But what makes this movie fun isn't what makes it rated R. And what earns this thriller its R isn't all that fun. Sure, the flick's all about pressing the gas. But it also makes me wish they would've applied the brakes a lot more in some areas.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

R

Readability Age Range

Author

Cast

Ansel Elgort as Baby; Lily James as Debora; Kevin Spacey as Doc; Jon Hamm as Buddy; Eiza González as Darling; Jamie Foxx as Bats; C.J. Jones as Joseph; Jon Bernthal as Griff

Director

Edgar Wright ( )

Distributor

Sony Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

June 28, 2017

On Video

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Paul Asay

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!