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.

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

TV Series Review

Forget skinned knees and black eyes. Kids in the 21st century are more likely to suffer eye strain or sprains to their texting thumbs.

But the McKenna boys ail from something else, too: hurting hearts.

Patrick McKenna—husband, father, whimsical inventor and all-around great guy—died recently, leaving behind wife Beth and three young sons: Liam, Dash and Wyatt. All grieve, of course. Patrick was the family's engine, the force that pushed the boys out of their comfort zones and into new places of possibility. But Wyatt, the youngest, perhaps misses his dad the most of all. For a while, the kids salve their pain via the ministries of the modern age: their phones. Their videogames. Their virtual pleasures.

But while Dad may be gone, in some ways he's still with them.

Part of that is because Terry, Patrick's lookalike twin brother, is staying with the family now—at least, we're told, "'til he gets arrested again."

But more importantly, Patrick left behind a book, which he wrote especially for his sons. Called The Dangerous Book for Boys, it's a lot like the author: whimsical. Scattered. And, yes, a wee bit dangerous.

But then again, thinking always is.

How to Grow Up

The Dangerous Book for Boys is a guidebook, essentially—a how-to tome on how to be a kid. Or, maybe, an astronaut. Or a cowboy. Some of its chapters are quite practical: "How to Build a Paper Plane," for instance, or "How to Build a Treehouse." But the first chapter that Wyatt reads details "How to Walk on the Moon" (also the title of the first episode), a skill that seems of dubious utility in the McKennas' suburban neighborhood.

But while learning how to walk on the moon may seem impractical, Patrick (who, as far as we know, didn't have a lot of moon-walking experience himself) believed it to be essential. Sure, maybe Wyatt will never have occasion to literally hop around on our lunar satellite's dusty surface. But he might want to go there someday … in his imagination. So it's best to be prepared.

And that, we must assume, gets to the heart of why Patrick really wrote this book. He didn't care so much about teaching his boys how to build a battery as he did about triggering their imaginations. Stoking their collective sense of adventure. The book's how-to portions are interspersed with short biographies and fascinating historical snippets, all designed to whisk Patrick's sons to strange, exciting realms filled with adventure and possibility. It's through these things—building and exploring, imagining and dreaming and, yes, even skinning the occasional knee—that boys become men worthy of the moniker. Or so Patrick thought.

And through the book, Patrick can still be with his boys in a way. In fact, he tells Wyatt that he's still with them "on every page."

How to Turn off the TV (After This Show's Over, of Course)

Based on the bestselling book written by Conn and Hal Iggulden, Amazon Prime's The Dangerous Book for Boys is, on one level, a study in irony. Amazon, after all, has done its fair share to suck people into screens: We watch its shows (of which this is one). We buy its screen devices. Thanks to Amazon, we don't need to even go outside to shop anymore. It only makes sense that when we see the McKenna kids fiddle around with their tablets, they all appear to be made by Amazon.

And yet, this show's message is unmistakable: Put down the gadgets for a bit, it tells us. Go outside and climb a tree. Fly a kite. Do something different. Challenging. Dangerous.

It's a great message told by what is, in fact, a pretty good show.

The Dangerous Book for Boys manages the ticklish trick of being sweetly sentimental without being treacly. It targets younger viewers without ever alienating the old ones. It reinforces the beauty and importance of family—even when that family is flawed and awkward and imperfect (as all families are). And while it doesn't focus on faith in any more than in the most glancing of ways, The Dangerous Book for Boys does remind us that we're never really without our loved ones even here on earth—as long as we love them and value what they taught us.

Admittedly, The Dangerous Book for Boys may be a tad perilous for some families, in spite of what it offers. Tiffany, the boys' hippy, New-Agey grandma, lives with the McKennas. She sometimes alludes to her wild-child youth or shares her crystal-tinged philosophy of the universe. (In the opening episode, Tiffany says she's reluctant to talk about Patrick because if she does, "He'll think we're calling him back." They all need to wait a full three moon cycles until he reaches his "celestial terminus," she says.)

Twin Terry isn't always the best of role models, either. And some moms and dads may not want their kids learning the surface lessons Patrick's book teaches. (The second episode, for instance, is titled "How to Play Poker.")

The show engages in a bit of gross-out and bathroom humor as well, and the brothers—as brothers are wont to do—don't always treat each other with the utmost respect:

"What's so dangerous about a book?" action-oriented Dash asks.

"For you?" bookish eldest brother Liam says. "Trying to read it."

But those minor caveats aside, The Dangerous Book for Boys encourages its viewers to be "dangerous" in the best possible ways. It tells them that there's a world beyond the screen, one worth exploring and engaging with. And that, I think, will make the Dangerous Book worth cracking open for some families.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

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

Dangerous Book for Boys: Mar. 30, 2018 "How to Walk on the Moon"

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Chris Diamantopoulos as Patrick/Terry; Gabriel Bateman as Wyatt McKenna; Drew Powell as Dash McKenna; Kyan Zielinski as Liam McKenna; Erinn Hayes as Beth McKenna; Swoosie Kurtz as Tiffany; Athan Sporek as Sam; Sophia Valinotti as Maya

Director

Distributor

Network

Amazon

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Released

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!