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(2005), PG-13 [PG-13*] (1hr 57min)

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
October 14, 2005
57 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG-13 [PG-13*] -- ...three points out of 100 above "R-13."

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Paramount Pictures, Cruise/Wagner Productions, Vinyl Films
Distribution (US): Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Cameron Crowe
Producer(s): Cameron Crowe, Tom Cruise, Andy Fischer, Donald J. Lee Jr., Paula Wagner
Written by: Cameron Crowe
Cinematography/Camera: John Toll
Music: Nancy Wilson
Film Editing: Mark Livolsi, David Moritz
Casting: Gail Levin
Production Design: Clay A. Griffith
Art Direction: Beat Frutiger
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Oregon-based "California" shoe designer, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is trying to manage double double trouble. I guess that would be quadruple trouble.

First, by failure of Drew's special shoe, the Spasmotica, the Mercury Shoe Company loses $972 million dollars. In a thespian display that would challenge Morgan Freeman or Harrison Ford's best, Alec Baldwin delivers a seething performance as Philip R. DeVoss, the boss of the Mercury Shoe Company, that would make any CEO shake in his boots. In a short presentation, Baldwin sets the purpose, direction and foundation of the entire film.

The effectiveness of DeVoss's (Baldwin's) delivery at imparting the depth and scope of the trouble Drew has caused with his failed Spasmotica caused Drew to seek relief through suicide. [Ex 20:13, 1 Cor. 15:33] He built a special stabbing machine from his exer-cycle. Each time the electric machine pumps a turn of the wheel a knife thrust forward into the space above the seat. Fortunately, his contraption fell apart, so he vowed to try again later -- after another portion of the quadruple trouble was settled.

After Drew's shoe design failure, amidst his suicidal failures comes news of the death of his father, Mitch (Tim Devitt) who was visiting his hometown Elizabethtown, Kentucky. All the hometown folk in Elizabethtown, who think Drew is from California rather than Oregon, want Drew to bury his father in the traditional way - in a grave by the Clarke Funeral Home. But mom, Hollie Baylor (Susan Sarandon), who stayed back in Oregon with Drew's sister, Heather (Judy Greer), wants Mitch brought to Oregon. Drew ends up having funeral services done in Elizabethtown then cremating his father then taking him back to Oregon.

On top of the disaster caused by his shoe, his failed attempt at suicide and his father's death, a pushy airline hostess, Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst) is trying to start a relationship with Drew. Her vies for Drew's affection started with his flight to Kentucky and persisted through his guided road trip back to Oregon by way of a number of clue stops along Route 66, including the Second Largest Farmer's Market in the World.

There was one portrayal of noteworthiness by the writers - a good example of the Ruckus, lunacy and licentiousness generated in a rock-n-roll frenzy. I didn't see any of the raised, waving lit cigarette lighters, though. Didn't need them. The place caught fire anyway.

Elizabethtown the city is about 45 miles south of Louisville (pronounced loo-ee-ville, not loo-iss-ville, but sometimes loo-ville), KY on the OH River which keeps IN detached from KY. And that is good, too. Hoosiers had been selling all their winter snow to Kentucky for landfill. And they kept coming back for more.

I have been to Elizabethtown as a field officer for the State of Indiana, for what reason I cannot remember, but I could not recognize any landmarks in the film. Some of the locations shown in Louisville off Interstate 65 were authentic, though. The foliage in the film was like the densely wooded area around Elizabethtown (and most other KY and southern IN towns) with ribbons of concrete slicing through the forests but I could not verify whether the film was shot on-location. I can say the "Welcome to Indiana" road sign in the film is authentic having seen Indiana "Welcome" signs probably 1000 times. Seeing the "Welcome to Indiana" signs in the film makes sense since one would likely take Interstate 64 in southern Indiana on the way from Oregon to Elizabethtown.

Elizabethtown was sometimes warm and touching but as with almost all modern entertainment, immoral behavior had to be added. The PG-13 Elizabethtown earned a CAP final score of 57 which placed it two points above the bottom of the scoring range earned by PG-13 films (55 to 67 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database, three points out of 100 above "R-13."

Some of the demonstrations of sin, in addition to the 11 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary including two uses of the most foul of the foul words [Prov. 22:11, Col. 3:8] were a number of sexually immoral deeds such as displaying flashes of private skin [1John 2:16], portrayal of cohabitation for sex [Hebr. 13:4] and speaking vulgar innuendo let alone with kids within earshot [Luke 17:2, Matt 25:40].

Though it was not a violent film per se, the portrayal of staging, planning and attempting suicide to the middle school crowd is playing with fire since it has been proven that behaviors in and as entertainment can and do embolden the impressionable. [Ex 20:13] Likewise with drinking alcoholic beverages. Heavy presentations of drinking and drunkenness is as likely to embolden risk-taking whether they act on it or not. [Eph. 5:18]

Please inspect closely the listing of observations in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this film is fit.


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.


  • Ex 20:13 Thou shalt not kill. (NIV) Exod. 20:13 You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • 1John 2:16 For everything in the world -the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does -comes not from the Father but from the world.
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure [which includes *before* marriage AND outside of marriage], for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. [...whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]
  • Ex 20:13 Exod. 20:13 You shall not murder. [Suicide is murder of the self.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. ["Wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. This issue is do not get drunk. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    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 objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary/
    Commentary section.

    Elizabethtown (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • thoughts of suicide
  • building suicide machine
  • staging suicide
  • postponing suicide
  • plan to get back to suicide
  • talk of killing self

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • nine uses of three/four letter word vocabulary
  • two uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • "Success through ... and theft"
  • lies, repeatedly
  • child arrogance at parent
  • portrayal of parent as "pal" to son

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • pelvic thrusts
  • crude humor
  • adult in underwear, repeatedly
  • urination
  • woman in tub
  • rude gaze
  • flashes of private skin
  • open mouth kissing
  • admission of sexual immorality
  • cohabitation for sex
  • vulgar innuendo with kids
  • sexual reference including with kids

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze, repeatedly
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • smoking, repeatedly
  • bar

    Offense to God (O)
  • six use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • two gunfire murders on background TV

  • 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.

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