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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2004), PG [PG*]
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Skipping Christmas, 1492 Pictures, Revolution Studios
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Director(s): Joe Roth
Producer(s): Michael Barnathan, Bruce A. Block, Allegra Clegg, Chris Columbus, Charles Newirth, Mark Radcliffe, Suzanne Todd
Nvoel by: John Grisham
Screenplay: Chris Columbus
Cinematography/Camera: Don Burgess
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Nick Moore
Casting: Margery Simkin
Production Design: Garreth Stover
Art Direction: Christopher Burian-Mohr
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
This analysis is dedicated to T&LH for their generous support of the CAP Movie Ministry.
Christmas with the Kranks is another Christmas film without Christ. Christmas is not Christmas without Christ who is the very Reason for the season. Christmas is Christian. "Well! Not everyone is Christian." Well! Christmas is Christian. As Christians, we do not have to -- and should not -- trash the Reason for the season for the sake of entertainment. So, this film is another Christmas movie, this time Christmas with the Kranks ... but not with Christ.
But Christmas with the Kranks, based on the original novel, "Skipping Christmas" by John Grisham, is not without some good warm-n-fuzzy feelings. Feelings of togetherness as a community. Unselfish sacrifice. A community which builds traditions together. A community which supports each other when tragedy or mishap strikes in spite of their little day-to-day social battles. Certainly a character Christ would appreciate, but He was not credited for it.
Luther (Tim Allen) and Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis) Krank discovered their little girl of 23, Blair (Julie Gonzalo) was traipsing off to Peru for the Peace Corps and would be gone for the first time during the Christmas season. What to do!? With no one but themselves in the big house for Christmas, it wouldn't be the same for Luther and Nora.
Luther has a bright idea. He put the dilemma into equation form and discovered last Christmas cost them $6,138 and had no reason to expect this Christmas to cost any less. (Six thousand dollars for Christmas!? Wow!) So, since the only child will be gone for the holiday, why not skip Christmas and run off to the Cayman Islands on a 10-day cruise that would cost only $3,000? Rewind! Skip Christmas, enjoy a 10-day luxury cruise and save over $3,000. What a deal.
Deciding that since he was going to be in the Cayman Islands on Christmas, Luther decided he was not going to put up the Frosty snowman on his roof this year even though it was his turn to do so. Luther further decided he was not going to buy the annual police fund raising calendar. Nor was he going to throw the annual block Christmas party. He wouldn't eve put up a Christmas tree. I mean really! He wasn't going to be there come noon Christmas day. Why should he do all these subservient tasks to support that which he was going to skip this year?
Reluctant at first, Nora finally agreed with the idea and eventually relished in its promises of fun and relaxation. But local pressures started to weigh down her spirits ... and her resolve. The strongest of the local pressures was named Vic Frohmeyer (Dan Aykroyd) who seemed to be the local "Big Brother", monitoring the performance of all in the neighborhood, ensuring that all traditions were honored and all duties were met. Frohmeyer was also the local telegraph. And nothing escaped his eagle eye.
Key ally for Frohmeyer was across-the-street neighbor, Walt Scheel (M. Emmet Walsh). Walt's cat kept pestering Luther and almost everyday Luther stepped on its tail. Walt's wife, Bev (Elizabeth Franz) was diagnosed with cancer and the cost of such news drained severely their holiday spirits. But that is a key point in the story and a significant plot device which, out of appreciation for the behavior portrayed at that point, I will explain later.
Everything is in place for the glorious cruise to the Cayman Islands. All preparations have been completed. Even the string bikini and speedo swimsuits have been bought and a tan begun. Yes, we are treated to the well established, 46 year old Jamie Lee Curtis (born November 22, 1958) in a string bikini. And Allen, too. But what to our wondering eyes should appear but a phone call from Blair telling she will be home for Christmas! AND that she will be bringing home her fiancé with her. No party! No tree! No Frosty! And no honey smoked ham for Blair. What to do! What to do! They had hours instead of days to prepare everything for Blair.
I will stop with spoiling the story at that point because it is here I want to point two really nice things in the film. First was the portrayal of the entire neighborhood coming to the rescue to do in hours that which took the Kranks days to do. They all pitched in to make it appear this holiday had all the traditional trimmings for Blair's benefit. And second, now that the Kranks were not going to the Cayman Islands and since the vacation package was not refundable, what was Luther to do with $3000 worth of vacation he could not take? In the true spirit of Christ's Christmas love and compassion, Luther gave the package to the Scheels. Bev had numbered days left. What a nice thing to do but to give her and Walt the gift of a lifetime.
This film was not as moving as It's A Wonderful Life with James Stewart but it, too, had its heart-touching moments. And it had its morally uncomfortable moments. A couple of times the film presented drinking alcoholic beverages to soothe nerves and emotional stress. Portrayal of alcoholic beverages in an endearing or desirable light can be a time bomb for the young (see the link with the Eph. 5:18 Scriptural reference below).
This film has one of the smoothest flat scoring distributions I have ever seen. And every one of the six CAP investigation areas found programming to be equivalent to PG movies (86 to 68 out of 100 points) in the comparative baseline database with Drugs/Alcohol having the strongest negative influence.
There were only two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary (both of which were completely unnecessary and mechanically placed for effect). [Prov. 22:11] And God's name was used in vain an equal number of times with both uses without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11]
I will leave the rest of the rather few items of moral ignominy to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section.
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***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
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.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|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 more than eight years of 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.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
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