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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Finding Forrester (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 61
CAP Influence Density: 0.80

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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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.

FINDING FORRESTER (PG-13) -- poignant work of art smeared with a strong dose of ignominy.

All of this poignant work of art smeared with a strong dose of ignominy is centered around the interactions between a Pulitzer Prize winning weathered and crusty old writer, William Forrester (Sean Connery) and a brilliant but restrained Bronx street kid, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown). In each event in Jamal's life, one ends up thinking how the sage mentor Forrester will guide and advise Jamal. Both were perfect for their parts. Perfect. Too bad the movie had to be laced with behavior unacceptable in polite crowds which many excuse by calling it "reality" -- as if its reality excuses the sin of it [Rom. 16:18; Isa. 5:20; Col. 2:4; Hebr. 13:9].

Connery, with his decades of experience on the screen was masterful at being the cantankerous and crotchety old man who would rather be seen that way than let his true feelings be known -- he would rather be thought of as an old issue of flatulence than as caring deeply for Jamal and his success in what is clearly his best direction. Brown was quite possibly the best possible type casting I have ever seen. Perfect for the part of a young and brilliant Bronx kid, and maybe the most level-headed, responsible young man I've seen in the nearly six years I've been writing movie analyses. Maybe Brown would not have been as good as he was if it were not for being reflected off Connery, but I suspect Brown's acting genius is as real as his staged academic genius was to the movie.

Supporting cast were ... supportive, but I suspect this flick could have made its impact with just about anybody in the support roles. Two support roles that stood above the rest were Jamal's mother (April Grace) and an "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" adversary of Forrester, Professor Crawford (F. Murray Abraham). Grace was truly the loving and supportive mother and made her mark in the story well. Abraham was the teacher at Mailor who would not believe a black Bronx kid could write well and who forced Jamal into intellectual battle. But this movie is still one of those you wish was a true story.

Jamal was one of those kids who knew he had to tone down his brilliance to be accepted by his peers. He was led to believe that acceptance is best achieved on the basketball court. So, Jamal excelled on the court and kept his grades down to a "C" ... until his academic aptitude and achievement tests in his junior year proved otherwise. Jamal was then discovered and sought by Mailor-Callow Prep School, a prestigious private school which offered him a full academic scholarship to attend their school. Though such a development would place a street smart kid floating in an ocean of rich and spoiled kids, Jamal accepts the scholarship. While the scholarship was academic, Mailor-Callow knew of Jamal's excellence on the court and hoped he would serve the school as well in sports as he would in academics. And that he did.

Forrester was the "man in the window" -- the man who spied on the neighborhood guys playing basketball in the public court below Forrester's fifth or sixth story apartment window. As would be expected to happen with a bunch of kids placed in such a scenario, the guys started wondering who was this man in the window. "A" led to "B" and a dare was launched to check out this dude in the window by breaking into his apartment. Jamal ended up with the "short straw." While in the apartment of the man in the window, Jamal is discovered by the man in the window. Startled and rocketing out of Forrester's apartment, Jamal leaves his backpack That is the backpack you see in the trailers hitting the ground at Jamal's feet. Some intricate and events and sequences lead the two together in one of the strangest but enduring friendships ever to hit the silver screen.

Numerous subplots and script exchanges paint this complex pattern with brushes of warmth and urgency as well as cleverness and bitterness iced with love and companionship. But as most really good movies are tainted with superfluous ignominy, so was Finding Forrester. It was every bit as "PG-13" as any other PG-13, as if any age is "old enough" to witness such behavior and imagery. Though not an R-13, Finding Forrester should at least raise parental eyebrows. There were at least 45 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, three uses of the most foul of the foul words and three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 10 without [Mark 7:20; Deut. 5:11]. Of course such language is commonplace on the streets and in schools, but wide spread acceptance of foul language does not equal God's acceptance of it. If every single individual on the planet used foul language, even in every sentence, such practice would still be sinful. I remind us all that I did not write that Rule. And maybe, just maybe the streets and schools are "flooded" with such language because of movies like Finding Forrester.

Adding to the poor brush strokes were sounds of intercourse, sexual insults and conversations and vulgar rap songs [Gal. 5:19-21]. Lies appeared as coverups of wrongdoings and to manipulate the life of another [ Prov. 6:16-19; Prov. 17:27]. Smoking [1Cor. 6:19], drinking and drunkenness [Rom. 13:13] were also expensive to the final score. While many folks seem to be relying on just this Summary/Commentary for an accounting of the content of movies, let me remind you that excluding the Findings/Scoring section from your research into the fitness of a movie for your kids and/or yourself would be like having a sandwich without bread.


Applicable text is underlined and fortification is provided in brackets [ ] for special focus if needed.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Rom. 16:18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. ["...good words and fair speeches..." includes desensitization by inundation with ever progressive invasion of proper and righteous.]
  • Isa. 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter [e.g., accepting sin because of its prevalence].
  • Col. 2:4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments [which includes inundation with ever progressive invasion of proper and righteous to condition the consumer].
  • Hebr. 13:9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by ceremonial foods [things to feed sin and want of it], which are of no value to those who eat them.
  • Mark 7:20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.'
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  • Gal. 5:19-21 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Prov. 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes [arrogance, rebellion], a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. [This is powerful, folks. The Lord HATES these behaviors. Not the actors but the behaviors.]
  • Prov. 17:27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
  • 1Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; [to intentionally damage the temple is sinful]
  • Rom. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting [orgies, revelry] and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.


    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: Finding Forrester (2000) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • breaking and entering as a dare
  • theft
  • pretend threat with a knife
  • outburst of anger
  • animated argument

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
    45 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lie to mother to coverup wrongdoing
  • lie top manipulate the lives of others
  • overbearing and bitter teacher

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • vulgar rap song
  • necking between teens, and in school building
  • sexual insults in conversation
  • sex talk

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • party with booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 10 without
  • equating prayer with superstition

    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." [Emphasis is mine] 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.

  • (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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