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

Domestic Disturbance (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: November 3, 2001
CAP Score: 31
CAP Influence Density: 1.80

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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.

DOMESTIC DISTURBANCE (PG-13) -- the boy who cried wolf.

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Harold Becker
Producer(s): Harold Becker, Donald De Line, Anson Downes, Jim Dyer, Linda Favila, Jonathan D. Krane
Screenplay: Lewis Colick
Cinematography/Camera: Michael Seresin
Music: Mark Mancina
Writer(s): Lewis Colick, William S. Comanor, Gary Drucker

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Domestic Disturbance certainly didn't "feel" like a R-13, but it certainly was! Just another example of a "subliminal effect" of using a lot of "lesser" issues of bad programming instead of just a few issues of hard programming to get the same effect. Ten behavioral examples worth 100 "bads" each or 100 behavioral examples worth ten "bads" each. It is the same. And does the same. [Ps. 12:8]

Domestic Disturbance is a story of a father's undying love for and unyielding faith in his son. It is also the story of the boy who cried wolf, but this time the wolf almost gets the boy but does not. Lies will never build trust. Trust is so not-gonna-happen once one too many lies have been told. Danny Morrison (Matthew O'Leary) lied to everyone [Prov. 19:5]. The teachers. The police. His mother. But never his dad, Frank (John Travolta). So no one believed him but his dad. Not even when Danny told of a murder did they believe him ... but his dad did.

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Frank and Susan (Terri Polo) are divorced. And for all the wrong reasons. While God permits divorce if either party commits marital unfaithfulness, marriage is a commitment not a convenience. [Matt. 19:3 - 9] And I believe the reason so many are successful in redefining marriage is that marriage has universally become gossamer; like an old shoe to be discarded when it no longer satisfies us because of our departure from, indeed rebellion against His Word.

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Susan is remarrying Rick Barnes (Vince Vaughn). Danny is not happy and acts out as he has acted out in many of the steps leading to and after the divorce. Granted, a kid is likely to act up when his world is crumbling around him, but defiance and mischief require accountability which was, as usual in popular entertainment, avoided. This time, 12 year old Danny ends up at the police station. After some adolescent "What's the big deal" from Danny, Frank and Susan cart Danny back to Susan's place.
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Soon, Susan and Rick are married after a battle to get Frank and Danny to attend the wedding in an attempt to foster bonding between Danny and Rick ... and Frank and Rick. Like Rick is the only one who matters? At the wedding, one of Rick's cohorts in crime, Ray Coleman (Steve Buscemi) shows up. Here we find that Rick and ray plus a couple other characters were partners in crime [Hab. 2:9]. A large stash of loot had been gotten through their evil deeds. Now Ray is expecting his cut of the loot. Ray is tenacious about his cut.

Rick found Ray to be a very bad annoyance and finally agreed to give Ray his cut. Wanting Ray to be out of the newlywed picture, Rick set Ray up in an out-of-the-way motel for a few days. Having nothing to do, Ray partook of the offerings of one of the local ladies for hire. We are introduced to tattooed Patricia ... in her underwear, just like Ray. Both in bed. Together. [Prov. 6:26]

Very conveniently, the script had Danny running away one evening to escape the hatred of his new stepfather. Rick was quite abusive and even clearly announced himself as a threat to Danny [Matt. 25:40]. Once out of the house, Danny hid in the back of Rick's SUV. I say conveniently because that same evening, Rick set out in his SUV to do the dastardly deed to Ray. While leaned over the backs of the front seat looking for a map in the back of Rick's SUV, Ray noticed Danny on the floorboard but was not able to say anything -- a blade in his body stopped him. Danny witnessed Barnes murdering Ray and incinerating his body in the local brick factory kiln. Narrowly escaping detection by Rick, Danny escaped and told the story at the police station. No one believed him ... except his dad.

There is much brutality to an adolescent in this R-13 movie -- much evil against a child [Matt. 18:10]. And, as noted in Monsters, Inc. there were lies to protect in Domestic Disturbance. As I said in the Monsters, Inc. report, God has some quite disturbing things to say about liars [Rev. 21:8]. If a lie would save someone, the sin is on to whom the lie would be spoken. Lying cannot be excused. Let the listing in the Findings/Scoring section reveal it all.


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.

  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively extreme vulgar and vile entertainment with impunity] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it.].
  • Prov. 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.
  • Matt. 19:3 - 9 Some Pharisees came to him [Jesus] to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?" "Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." "Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?" Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery."
  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • Prov. 6:26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread, and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the ..., and all [unforgiven] liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. [Note that God did not inspire John to say "some" liars or "most" liars or "only the really bad" liars.]

    *******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: Domestic Disturbance (2001) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • property damage for vengeance
  • incineration of a murder victim
  • adult man brutalizing a 12 year old boy, repeatedly, sometimes viciously
  • fighting, attacks, once with a club
  • reckless driving
  • kidnapping, once with intent to kill
  • threats of harm to gain silence/allegiance
  • intimidation of an adolescent with threatening mannerisms, speech
  • breaking and entering
  • attempted murder with arson
  • manhandling of a woman
  • brutalizing of a woman, once with injury
  • defensive violence
  • stalking/terrorizing
  • strike to head with a baseball bat
  • adult man beating an adolescent
  • long fight sequence
  • electrocution

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 20 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • attempt to slight personal accountability
  • adolescent arrogance toward parents
  • denial of personal accountability by blaming divorce for poor behavioral choices
  • abusive attitude toward stepson
  • lies and admissions of them
  • adolescent sneaking out of house
  • adolescent eavesdropping on mother and stepfather
  • adolescent stowing away to escape
  • father's abusive talk at son
  • lying to protect

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear in bed together - prostitution
  • additional prostitute presence

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • celebration drinking
  • smoking
  • drinking to drown sorrows
  • bar
  • drunkenness

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • God's name in vain without the four letter expletive 18 times plus twice with it

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic blade murder
  • murder of unborn child by physical abuse of mother

    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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