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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2006), PG-13 ["Very Lite" R-13*] (2hr 3min)
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): DreamWorks SKG, Paramount Pictures, Laurence Mark Productions
Distribution (US): DreamWorks Distribution, Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG
Director(s): Bill Condon
Producer(s): David Geffen, Laurence Mark, Leeann Stonebreaker, Patricia Whitcher
Screenplay: Bill Condon
Book: Tom Eyen
Cinematography/Camera: Tobias A. Schliessler
Music: Henry Krieger
Film Editing: Virginia Katz
Casting: Debra Zane
Production Design: John Myhre
Art Direction: Tomas Voth
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Soul singer James "Thunder" Early of the 60s needs backup singers. Curtis Taylor, Jr. (Jamie Foxx) happens to notice a trio in a Detroit Theater talent contest that should fit the need. Thus begins the rocky music career of the Dreamettes: lead singer Effie (Jennifer Hudson), Deena (Beyonce Knowles), and Lorrell (Anika Noni Rose).
But Effie does not do backup. She has always been lead singer since her brother C.C. (Keith Robinson) began writing songs for the Dreamettes. The girls need a manager. Now steps in Taylor who recognizes the talent the girls possess. Needing a backup group in a hurry, Taylor explains the monetary and opportunity benefits of singing backup to the phenomenally successful Early and Effie finally caves in. Upward movement for the Dreamettes begins. But soon their soaring flight leads to friction and descent.
Part of that descent is when Taylor drops Effie as the lead singer because of her abrasiveness. He puts the more attractive and less ambitious Deena in her place and hires a no-name to regain the trio status. Both Effie and Deena have sound arguments against the change but Taylor is cast in concrete about it. Taylor also breaks the Dreamettes away form Early and on their own as the *Dreams*. And marries Deena.
Taylor seeks notoriety with the Caucasian audience since most of the mainstream radio stations cater to the white population: that their only hope to stardom is via the white radio audiences. As breaks come and doors open, Taylor learns well the business aspects of managing the group and becomes rather cold toward the girls.
As the *Dreams* skyrocket to the top of the charts, Effie is not to be ignored. But that is another subplot I will leave to your discover should you decide after knowing of its content whether this film is fit for the intended age stratum of middle school to early high school.
This film is labeled "'Very Lite' R-13" because it earned a final score of 53 which falls only two points under the bottom of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. Had it not contained so much profanity, sexually oriented programming and so much drinking it would have likely earned a PG-equivalent score.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
In a rather light portrayal, the only violence noted is boxing violence and file footage of civil unrest. Some of the predictable ugly aspects of moving upward through the music industry are not included.
But the same kudos cannot be given *Dreamgirls* regarding the language content. Twenty eight times in this 2 hour 3 minute production the three/four letter word vocabulary is used, including one use of the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8, 2 Tim. 2:16 - 17] But other than the profanity, the only impudent content noted is an attempt by one of the Dreamgirls to absolve herself of the sin of immoral sex with "It [immoral sex] ain't wrong if you love someone." Sexual activity is not love but is a tool of love; a servant of love, never its master. Sex is morally and Biblically reserved for the married heterosexual couple. [1Ths. 4:1 - 7]
Sexual Immorality (S)
Neither can the same kudos be said for the sexual immorality content of this film. Inappropriate touch. Man and woman in bed nude. Multiple innuendo, some about intercourse. Long and short term cohabitation. More. [1 Cor. 7:1-2, 1 John 2:26, Rev. 22:15]
This film is filled with smoking and drinking. And that is a danger to the target audience. The drinking and drunkenness are of significant danger in this film suggested by the MPAA as being fit for the middle school age stratum. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in alcohol abuse among underage kids. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies.
The researchers selected R-rated movies because they claimed R-rated movies typically present more drinking than movies of other classifications. This assumption is no longer true. The researchers were not aware of the matter of "R-13" proven not only by this ministry but Harvard University School of Public Health scientists (though Harvard's finding was made a full four years *after* ours). Whether a movie is rated R, the focus is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in and as entertainment regardless of the MPAA classification. Besides, Epic Movie is fully equivalent to most R-rated films and contains more cavalier drinking and drunkenness than most of the R-rated films we have analyzed.
Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was
Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And emboldening children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding. [Eph. 5:18]
Sidebar Note: I can add to this study that claims R-rated films contribute to underage substance abuse. I submit that it is not so much the presence of alcohol and tobacco in R-rated films that embolden youth to abuse substances, but is rather the attitude typically portrayed heavily in R-rated movies and even more severely in many PG-13 movies. Our report on this, ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001, may provide more understanding of the point.
No murders or suicides were noted.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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.
***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.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Christian Educators Association International
|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: |
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ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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