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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Fear and Loahting in Las Vegas (1998), R
CAP Score: 17
CAP Influence Density: 8.74

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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.

FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS (R) -- less than anything approaching entertaining.

Based on a book with the same title, this collection of alcoholism and drug inducted hallucinations and stupor [Eph. 5:18] is less than anything approaching entertaining. This analysis was conducted as a special request analysis for a father in the UK concerned about his 13 year old daughter and her viewing habits. If she has been watching this, he should be concerned. Deeply.

Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp), a journalist and Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro), Duke's attorney both journey to Las Vegas to cover a $50,000 Mint 400 desert motorcycle race and a convention of district attorneys. That is the only plot to the show. Nothing more. I found no humor in it whatsoever. There was nothing of any value in this 112 minute strip of selluloid.

Other notables in this movie include Gary Busey who plays a homosexual cop, and Christina Ricci who plays an adolescent artist and willing victim of sexual abuse trying to make her mark in life in Las Vegas. Cameron Diaz appeared as "victim" of Gonzo, dressed in motorcyclist gear, in an elevator who is a TV reporter enamored by motorcyclists. Ellen Barkin played a waitress victimized and terrorized by Gonzo. Barkin was probably the most realistic performer in the whole show. Others included Harry Dean Stanton, Mark Harmon and Tobey Maguire.

If one were to take all the pages of the Bible which present any guidance on personal behavior and tape them to a large wall then throw a couple hundred darts at them, it is likely each dart would point to a Chapter/Verse which has applicability to the behaviors in this movie. Except murder and suicide. There were no murders or suicide noted in it. Foul and vulgar language thundered at about 72 per hour, more than once per minute with God's name in vain at an identical rate, mostly with the four letter expletive. Use of the most foul of the foul words outnumbered the use of the rest of the three/four letter word vocabulary nearly four to one. Illegal drugs formed the quintessential presence in this movie with more than 88 examples per hour of illegal drug possession or use, consumption of them, offering of them or coercion with them, or intoxication with and hallucinations from them. All with little to no consequences, of course.

I am not going to summarize the listing in the Findings/Scoring section this time. To summarize would be much too incomplete. Please see Full Report below for a full accounting of the findings and scoring.


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.

  • Eph. 5:18 "Do not get drunk [methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to get drunk, become intoxicated] on wine, which leads to debauchery [excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures; intemperance; subversion of integrity, honesty, honor]. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." [Do not become intoxicated is the point, whether it be with booze or illegal drugs. In Gal. 5:21 God equates the behavior typically associated with intoxication with "envyings, murders, revellings, and such like" and warns that such [unforgiven] behavior will not pass the gates of Heaven.]

    *******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 below -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.


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    FINDINGS / SCORING: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • imagery of historical unrest
  • talk of committing murder then concealing it
  • reckless driving including to avoid lawful arrest
  • graphic traffic fatality
  • planning murder
  • firearms and threats with them
  • story of sex murder with graphic gore
  • gambling
  • auto gunfire
  • threat to burn home down
  • knife threats
  • threats to kill
  • illegal flight to avoid prosecution
  • recreational gunfire
  • animated aggression
  • talk of cannibalism
  • accosting of a woman
  • beating
  • terrorizing a waitress with a lethal weapon
  • reckless vehicular endangerment

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 27 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • 102 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • flatulence
  • lies
  • vulgar gesture
  • long sequences of insane behavior

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • public necking
  • centerfold nudity, repeatedly
  • sexual innuendo and comments
  • revealing dress
  • claim of bestiality
  • vulgar sex talk
  • adults in underwear
  • female nudity
  • homosexual request with claim of homosexual rape
  • homosexual suggestions
  • child sex abuse
  • planning sexual crime with a minor
  • sexual stories
  • inappropriate touch

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • comments/talk of illegal drug consumption
  • assorted illegal drugs and paraphernalia, repeatedly
  • booze
  • consumption of illegal drugs, many
  • smoking (cigarettes), many - a nearly constant presence
  • smoking illegal drugs
  • drug induced intoxication/hallucinations/stupor, many - a nearly constant presence
  • offering of illegal drugs and suggestions to consume, repeatedly
  • drinking
  • drunkenness by alcohol
  • sniffing/snorting intoxicants, repeatedly

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 44 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive plus 91 uses without
  • mockery of faith, repeatedly
  • demon imagery
  • insult of God

    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 aplaud 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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