ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth though you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Bubble Boy (2001), PG-13
CAP Score: 36
CAP Influence Density: 1.53

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

BUBBLE BOY (PG-13) -- the very picture of NOT what it means to be Christian.

Bubble Boy is a "remake" of The Boy in a Plastic Bubble (1976), one of John Travolta's best. But The Boy in a Plastic Bubble was not a comedy. It was an intelligent look at long term treatment for victims of immune system deficiencies with no foul language and no sexual tripe. Bubble Boy was nothing of the sort. Indeed, Bubble Boy was little more than perception-changing stabs at faith and Jesus plus tons of toilet/sexual humor and behavior [Rev. 22:15] and lots of flippant language [Eph. 5:4}.

A baby boy, Jimmy (later played by Jake Gyllenhaal of October Sky) is born to Mr. and Mrs. Livingston without the ability to fight infection. His immune system is so deficient a "single germ can kill" him. Hospitalized until he is four years old, the Livingstons finally get to bring Jimmy home to a life prepared just for him ... a life in a large sterile protective bubble in his room. Mrs. Livingston is very protective of him and bends her knee to his every wish.

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There is a price to pay for such extensive service. Mrs. Livingston (Swoozie Kurtz) drills into Jimmy every manner of extremism of faith. She uses Jesus and conveniently counterfeited Gospel and other Scriptures to manipulate Jimmy to ends which I will not spoil if you wish to set this type of entertainment before your eyes [Ps. 101:3].

Let's take a look at Psalm 101:3 for a moment, the first part anyway. "I will set before my eyes no vile thing." First, it is kind of hard to set something before one's eyes without the ears being included, right? And setting something before our eyes requires a willful action to accomplish it. So it seems that Psalm 101:3 would logically address what you voluntarily see and hear. Note also that since Psalm 101:3 admonishes us against knowingly setting vile things before our eyes (and ears), it also speaks to unknowingly doing so. Meaning, if we do nothing to place vile things before our eyes and ears but we unintentionally witness them it is not sinful. But it further seems to say that if we encounter vile things and do nothing to remove them from our senses, then we are guilty. For example, if we were to encounter nudity on the streets, to quickly show respect by looking away is not a sin but to stare at it is. Which brings up another point. Nudity in and of itself is not a sin. If it were, doctors and other health care professionals would be in trouble. But nudity for show and/or pleasure is sinful for both the one displaying it and the one drawing pleasure from it.

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Indeed, Mrs. Livingston is the very picture of NOT what it means to be Christian. It appears there is not one pure thought in her head .. all her thoughts appear to be for herself disguised as being protective of a fragile son. Maybe the over protectiveness is a narcotic for her.

As the years pass, Jimmy becomes a healthy young man and the movie writers take every advantage of that. Jimmy's attention turns to Chloe, "the filthy little whore next door" as Mrs. Livingston puts it. And for Jimmy's benefit while washing her car Chloe (Marley Shelton) performs a few maneuvers that would typically reveal whether the performer was wearing underwear, sensuously of course [Eccl. 7:26; Matt. 5:28]. As Jimmy's attention turns to Chloe, the writers also present a couple sequences of toilet humor regarding male erection. And a close relationship develops between the two. She says she loves him and he loves her though they had never touched. How about that! Is that by any chance an unintentional plug for the new "Zipit" public announcement that states "You don't have to prove your love?"
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Chloe gets drawn to a walking, talking vulgar attitude (Dave Sheridan of Scary Movie), though I didn't see him walk and talk at the same time, who asks her to marry him and she agrees though she loves Jimmy. Hearing of Chloe's upcoming wedding in Niagara Falls, Jimmy concocts a rather elaborate mobile bubble and escapes the confines of his home. Now the real shenanigans begin. While Jimmy cannot escape his confinement to the protective bubble, at least he will now escape the hurtful and hateful remarks of those in his neighborhood. In view of the findings regarding name-calling surrounding the Columbine horrors, one would think Hollywood would avoid promoting by example name-calling, especially to the obvious target audience of preteens and early teens -- folks of the same age and social stratum as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.
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Along the way to Niagara, Jimmy meets (among others) an east Indian Hindu (Brian George) who drives an ice cream truck, a massively tattooed biker (Danny Trejo) who leads an equally tattooed biker gang, a group of circus "phreaks" emceed by (I think) Dr. Boss (Verne Troyer of Austin Powers: The Spy Who...) and a bunch of other assorted characters, including a cult group called Bright and Shiny with a suggestively vulgar theme song. And, of course, the cult group mocks our faith in and especially our obedience to God and His Son, trying to place all Rev. Moon, David Koresh, Jim Jones followers and all cult groupies in the same boat with Christians. While the Hindu followers are as sure of their faith as are we of ours, God does not share their optimism because of worshiping carved and sculpted gods and because Jesus is not their Lord.

Jimmy even gets to wrestle with some female mud wrestlers to get the $500 needed for Pappy (Patrick Cranshaw) to transport him to Niagara. And Jimmy gets to fly part of the way with Pippy (Patrick Cranshaw) as the pilot in a single engine biplane. Jimmy also falls over the Niagara Falls in his bubble and gets hit by a bus in his bubble. I will tell you a teeny bit of the ending. The so prim and proper Mrs. Livingston turns out to be Wildfire, the ex-girlfriend of the biker gang leader. She dons leathers and a tattoo of the Jesus fish then rockets off into the sunset with the biker sandwiched between she and Mr. Livingston, all on the biker's Harley-Davidson hog.

Among some additional matters that may or should concern parents and grandparents are lots of toilet humor including "humor" associated with human erection, slapstick violence and illegal possession of alcohol by teens. There was picture nudity but no actor/actress nudity noted. There was also inappropriate touch, dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure and ghosting of female anatomy through clothing [Eccl. 7:26].

There is much more to be considered in the content of Bubble Boy but I will leave the full listing of issues of morality to the Findings/Scoring section.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Rev. 22:15 Outside [the Holy City] are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing.
  • Eccl. 7:26 I find more bitter than death the woman who is a snare, whose heart is a trap and whose hands are chains. The man who pleases God will escape her, but the sinner she will ensnare.
  • Matt. 5:28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Bubble Boy (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • reckless driving, multiple
  • boy being hit by a bus, graphic
  • gambling
  • threat with knife
  • animal consumption of human - animated
  • cruelty
  • throwing a human out of a moving car
  • much slapstick violence
  • robbery with firearm
  • attempted suicide for love

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 23 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • cult insanity
  • vulgar gesture
  • massive tattoos, multiple
  • harassment
  • cruelty because of infirmity
  • muffled profanity
  • defiance of parental authority
  • exaggerated arrogance
  • parents "imprisoning" son in the name of protectiveness

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • maneuvers that would typically reveal whether the performer was wearing underwear
  • much toilet humor about, e.g., human erection
  • much sexual innuendo, comments, talk, joking
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • vulgar humor/comments, many
  • inappropriate touch
  • picture nudity
  • mud wrestling with partial nudity
  • adults in underwear
  • cohabitation
  • vulgar song lyrics

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • illegal possession of alcoholic beverages by teens

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • many examples of mockery of faith, God, Jesus, religion, etc.
  • praying to God that He does harm to someone
  • mockery and counterfeiting of His Word for personal advantage
  • Hindu false gods/worship
  • mockery of prayer
  • mockery of Christian conservatism
  • claim of a human man being the Messiah

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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