Good media discernment is about guarding our eyes and hearts before we watch or listen. And it's also about grappling with the entertainment we do see or hear. That's why the Plugged In Blog is devoted to guarding, discussing and grappling.
Yesterday we launched our first-ever Plugged In Movie Awards with nominees in the Best Movie for Kids category. Today we present five nominees in the Best Movie for Teens category.
Vote for your favorite on our FACEBOOK PAGE or right here on our blog. Note that you're more than welcome to vote and speak your mind anonymously, but if you want it to count, you'll have to JOIN our blog community and use your forum name. We'll announce our winning picks right alongside yours on Feb. 14 during that day's Official Plugged In Podcast. The following day we'll publish the details on this blog.
Remember, our nominees aren't perfect films. There is no such thing. But they're all movies that have merit—capable (we think) of inspiring you and/or making you think. So please read our linked reviews carefully before watching any of them.
BEST MOVIE FOR TEENS
The Avengers (PG-13): The year's biggest moneymaker is also one of its most inspiring as a collection of squabbling superheroes team up to save the world. These do-gooders aren't completely good, mind you. Viewers can expect to hear a bit of cursing and see loads of superhero violence. But the themes here—that we're stronger together than we are apart, that even if we're flawed we can be a force for good—are as strong as the Hulk's mighty right hook. These heroes risk their lives for the sake of others and overcome their differences to fight for a common cause. In an age when we could sure use a hero or two, these Avengers (at least on the big screen) fit the bill.
Chasing Mavericks (PG): Surfer Jay Moriarity has one dream: to ride the biggest, most dangerous wave in the world. But to do so, he'll have to juggle work, school, his semi-flaky mom, his sometimes jealous friends and, oh yeah, talk a grizzled beach bum named Frosty into training him. Based on a real story, Chasing Mavericks illustrates the importance of family (even if it's a little untraditional), the value of hard work and the beauty of harboring dreams as big as the sea itself. While not everything here is worth emulating, the relationship between this hotshot teen and his surfing sensei help viewers see what it means to be a good father, son and friend.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13): It's been nearly a decade since director Peter Jackson wrapped up his much-loved big-screen adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now he's returned to Middle-earth to tell the story before that story (or, the first third of it, anyway)—an adventure-drenched tale of how a hobbit named Bilbo, a wizard named Gandalf and a dozen dwarves with names that (mostly) rhyme set off to slay a dwarf-killing dragon named Smaug. Orcs and trolls, giants and goblins lurk around every bend. And then there's a certain ring that turns up too … as well as its "precious" keeper. It's a terrific, heroic tale for teens (understanding that its battle scenes are pretty intense).
Mirror Mirror (PG): Tired of grim fairy tales? This whimsical, colorful spin on the Snow White legend stars Julia Roberts as the vain, scheming queen eager to get rid of the lovely young princess destined to supplant her. And while our heroine may be innocent, Snow's not helpless or passive—a strong role model for teen girls. Powerful themes include bravery, benevolence and the importance of inner beauty. Most of all, it's good-hearted fun. By not taking itself too seriously, the film exudes a self-aware charm. And since everyone onscreen seems to be having a blast, so do we.
The Odd Life of Timothy Green (PG): This gentle story of a boy who magically sprouted from a backyard garden might look like an odd fit here. It may seems to some to be more of a kids' movie. But while Timothy (the garden-boy in question) has lots of great things to say from a kids'-eye view about individuality, charity and love, The movie's themes go deeper and skew older—sometimes even speaking directly to Mom and Dad. It's hard to be a parent, it reassures us, and we won't always be perfect. Sometimes we might even make a mess of things. But through love and forgiveness—not just forgiving our kids, but ourselves—the glorious messes we make can turn a family into a thing of wonder. There's a gorgeous sadness at the core of this story, twined with themes of loss and death. This movie, for all its quirky, fairy tale vibe, goes surprisingly deep.
Explore our other Plugged In Movie Awards nominees in these categories:
Best Movie for KidsBest Christian MovieDiamond in the Rough
It's a tie between Avengers and The Hobbit.
I think Mirror Mirror is more for kids than teens. It was pretty lame. Snow White & The Huntsman is more for teens.
Chasing Mavericks is a terrible movie. I never saw Odd Life of Timothy Green so I don't know about that. But the plot sounds iffy to me.
I would also have to say a tie between the Avengers and The Hobbit.....my whole family loved both of them!
I knew it! I knew the Avenger would make it. I love JRR Tolkien, so while it pains me to say this, The Avengers is the best one on here. (the Hobbit gets second.)
(Looking back at last year, the best Teen movie was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.)
I think the Avengers was widely overrated and the Hobbit was unfairly criticized. So, I vote for the Hobbit!
I'm assuming that 'movies for teens' includes ages 13 to 19. That said, some teens will roll their eyes at Mirror Mirror, it was really lame. Chasing Mavericks got atrocious reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I saw the trailer for the Timothy Green movie and it looked cute. But, I never actually saw it.
The Hobbit hands down! The Odd Life of Timothy Green is a kids movie. Mirror Mirror is borderline. Didn't see Chasing Mavericks. The Avengers was good, but I couldn't remember what it was about the next day.
I'm glad they put the Avengers in here. Another one would be the Hunger Games. Honestly, it has less cursing and the action doen't even start till half way through the movie while the Avengers goes throughout. There is more blood and the action is more intense, but there is a lot of the bravery and sacrifice that you saw in the Avengers.
I would have included Hunger Games too but I think it's better they didn't. Given the endless controversy surrounding that movie, I get they'd want to avoid that. People would get sidetracked from the voting and get into an argument over the violence in the movie. We've had quite enough of that already.
What? You were expecting me to say more? Why is that?
The Avengers was a blast and the better popcorn flick (I only eat Skittles when watching movies set in Middle Earth). The whimsy of Mirror, Mirror seemed fun to me from the brief bit I caught, but I can see how it might not be everyone's cup of tea (Wild Berry Zinger is always preferable). I have not seen The Odd Life of Timothy Green, but having two young kiddos of my own I am fairly confident that I do not have enough tissue in my house to risk watching it just yet. And, sorry (though I am sure you are not), but I am coming up blank for Chasing Mavericks.
I really like the direction Peter Jackson decided to go with The Hobbit. It isn't a perfect movie by any means, but the heart and the execution were wonderful. The grand theme of being called into an adventure that feels counter to his nature and far more uncomfortable than he would like has been a real encouragement to me in my walk with God and is something, along with the many other positive lessons in the film, I would love to share with my kids when they are old enough to handle the battle scenes (we currently shy away from anything much more intense than a Perry v. Doofenshmirtz battle royale).
The Avengers would be my pick.
HAHAHAHAHA Perry vs doof, thats good.
When considering movies as the best for teens specifically... I am not looking at my choice because of fantastic action sequences or amazing cgi or cinematography, or even for great acting and direction. The best movie for teens because of the message of "fitting in" no matter your appearance, no matter your place of birth, and in spite of prejudices etc... goes exclusively to the Odd Life of Timothy Green. This movie was SO underrated I almost didn't see it. I am so happy that I did! It is charming and its message will touch your heart!
I would definitely pick The Hobbit. I think that when it comes down to voting, it will be close between The Hobbit and The Avengers. Mirror Mirror was also an awesome movie, but I think that in all seriousness, it won't come close to The Hobbit or The Avengers.
My vote is for The Avengers. I was excited about it from the start, but I was hoping it wouldn't prove to be overrated. It most definitely wasn't--I loved it, and can now say it's my favorite Marvel superhero film (favorite superhero film period is still The Dark Knight.)
I wanted to love The Hobbit since the LOTR films are probably my favorite movies of all time, but I won't lie, it was a little disappointing for me. The visual effects, art direction, and acting were all as great as ever (love Martin Freeman as Bilbo, and the Riddles in the Dark scene was outstanding). But it just felt too long, and I normally love 3-hour-plus epics. I knew they were going to add things, since there is no way Jackson could reasonably stretch a 200 page book into three 3 hour long films, but some of the things they added were a little ridiculous for me. The white Orc who has an ongoing feud with Thorin was beyond cheesy and not nearly as scary or intimidating as the Orcs in LOTR (I know the book was more for kids, but the movie was PG-13; they could have made the Orcs more scary) and the wizard Radagast also seemed like an unnecessary character. Now granted, I only saw the movie once, so I'm hoping a second viewing might change my mind on some things, but that was my initial reaction. I love Tolkien, love LOTR, and I did like The Hobbit; it just wasn't as great as I was expecting and hoping.
I haven't seen Chasing Mavericks and really have no desire to after seeing the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. I haven't seen Mirror Mirror either, but based on what I've heard about it, it's more of a children's movie than a teen movie (I worked at a movie theater up until last summer, and when Mirror Mirror was showing, the majority of those seeing it were parents with small children. There were not many teens buying tickets.) I enjoyed Odd Life of Timothy Green, but not enough to vote for it over The Avengers.
Mirror Mirror, really?
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