Cinema with Sandie from Common Sense Media

In this episode...

Today I talk to Sandie Angulo Chen a film critic, entertainment reporter, and book reviewer that writes for Common Sense Media, a non-profit website that gives parents in-depth reviews of movies, shows and apps so they can make informed decisions about their family’s media diet. We also dive into our favorite film picks including Watchmen, My Octopus Teacher, The Social Dilemma, and Enola Holmes.   

Some have called Common Sense Media “nutritional labeling for media,” and Sandie gives us a behind-the-scenes tour of how they the publish detailed cliff’s notes with specifics about language, violence, sex, and consumerism.

“At very beginning of our review [is] a paragraph that sums up everything. That’s called the Parents Need to Know. And the Parents need to know paragraph is what really makes Common Sense Media Shine.”
Sandie Angulo Chen
Senior Writer, Common Sense Media

According to their statistics, Common Sense Media reviews reach more than 90 million US homes through partnerships with media giants like Comcast, Netflix, Best Buy, Google, and many others. Their media education materials are used in more than 75,000 schools across the U.S. and their advocacy wing pushes elected officials and the media industry for responsible strategies to protect children from harmful content.

My Octopus Teacher (Netflix)

Sandie and I also had a ton of fun talking about some cool shows and movies out there like My Octopus Teacher, Craig Foster’s story of  

overcoming burnout by returning to his roots free-diving in the kelp forests of South Africa.

Watchmen (HBO)

We talk about the riveting and bizarre superhero saga, Watchmen, that reimagines the original graphic novel’s tale of an alternative U.S. history that includes winning the Vietnam War, Nixon’s re-election, reparations, and subsequent uprising of the Seventh Kalvary. It’s recasting of the old superhero storyline with new characters, a new theme (fighting racial terrorism starting with the White massacre at Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and diverse cast make for provocative discussion.

The Social Dilemma (Netflix)

Lastly, we discuss a documentary on Netflix called The Social Dilemma about silicon valley whistleblowers warning parents about the intentional engineering behind social media to override our sense of healthy consumption limits. I think this film is a must-see for any kids with smart phones – and any adults for that matter, too.

Sandie's Cinema Picks for the Family

And Sandie gives us her top three picks for shows she thinks can bring families together to watch, keeping in mind both younger ages and teens.

Sandie Angulo Chen is a film critic, entertainment reporter, and book reviewer. She’s written professionally about movies, books, and pop culture for more than 20 years, contributing to outlets such as Common Sense Media, where she’s the senior reviewer, The Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, EW.com, Moviefone, and Variety.

Sandie Angulo Chen

She’s a proud member of the Washington Area Film Critics Association, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and the nonprofit advocacy group We Need Diverse Books. Sandie lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with her husband Hans and three children.

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Episode 13