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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
(2007), PG [Very Lite PG-13*] (1hr 09min)
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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): Gabriel Simon Production Services, Storyline Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners, New Line Cinema, Zadan/Meron
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Producer(s): Michael Disco, Anson Downes, Toby Emmerich, Linda Favila, Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant, Mark Kaufman, Travis Knox, Neil Meron, Marc Shaiman, Adam Shankman, Robert Shaye, Daniel Silverberg, John Waters, Scott Wittman, Craig Zadan
Screenplay: Leslie Dixon, John Waters (1988)
Musical Play: Mark O'Donnell, Thomas Meehan
Cinematography/Camera: Bojan Bazelli
Music: Marc Shaiman
Film Editing: Michael Tronick
Casting: Tina Gerussi
Production Design: David Gropman
Art Direction: Dennis Davenport
Viewed on New Line Cinema Home Entertainment DVD
This is the forth of four analyses known to be left over from 2007. The CAP Ministry is broke. This analysis will be the last one until donations and/or funding are received to cover the expenses of doing new release and/or now playing films.
Films rated PG-13 in the comparative baseline database earned final scores from 55 to 67 out of 100. Hairspray (PG) earned 66. That score makes it is equivalent to a very lite 13-PG. If it were not for the smatterings of "lite" sexually oriented and impudent and/or hateful behaviors, Hairspray might have earned a G-equivalent score, or at worst a middle-of-the-road PG.
Hairspray(2007) is set in 1962 Baltimore and is styled after its 1988 same-name predecessor. It is a bright and lively song-n-dance celebration of integration and of reaching for a goal. There is not much of a plot. What plot there is to it is not executed all that well. But maybe this story does not need a plot. It is a snappy romp in teen musicals. Unfortunately it leaves a few scratches of immorality as it claws its way through its 109 minutes. But Hairspray is unassuming and does not try to be more than it is. It never hints of vying for the Oscars but it is easily a magnet for the middleschool "chick flick" crowd pocketbook.
Teenage Tracy Turnblad (Nicky Blonsky) is hungry to be a guest dancer on the Corny Collins (James Marsden) TV Dance Show which mimics the real American Bandstand with Dick Clark from the same period. Tracy and her best friend, Penny Pingleton (Amanda Bynes) rush home everyday after school to catch the show though Tracy's mountainous momma, Edna (John Travolta) disapproves. Edna sees her precious rotund daughter being lured into the performing world. While Tracy's dad, Wilbur (Christopher Walken), for the most part, is neutral but eventually supportive, mom is animated against Tracy becoming a TV star.
Tracy's "mom" Edna is John Travolta. Deuteronomy 22:5 shares with us God's admonition against men wearing women's garments (transvestism). But the filmmakers didn't even try the slightest hint of "gay." Travolta did not appear to be expressing "drag" nor is Travolta apparently "gay." A lot of controversy spawned as the result of Scientoligist Travolta appearing as a woman in Hairsray. "Gay" rights activists tried to boycott Hairspray. Shakespeare and others wrote plays performed by men wearing women's garments. Men dressed as women even in Escape from New York (1981) with Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken but no hint of homosexuality was noted. And Robin Williams dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire in the movie of the same name (which had "gay" characters in it). How about Buzz Lightyear when he was forced to wear a woman's hat at Hannah's tea party? I am at a loss on this one and could use some feedback. Was it a sin for Travolta to be dressed as a woman? The Shakespearean actors? Robin Williams? Buzz Lightyear? Granted, "acting" does not excuse the demonstration of sin but does Travolta's and others' garb violate God's Word in Deut. 22:5? Please share with me your thoughts on this. What is the intent of God's Word admonishing men from wearing women's clothing? I believe Deut. 22:5 addresses the practitioners of homosexuality who flaunt trying to appear as the opposite gender like the she-males on Cops(tm).
When the Corny Collins show announces tryouts for guest dancers, Tracy is in the front of the line. But as soon as producer, Velma Von Tussle (Michelle Pfeiffer) sees Tracy she dismisses Tracy as being too fat for the show. However, Corny likes her and puts her in the lineup. Tracy is an instant sensation.
Feeling usurped, Velma tries a number of dastardly things to get even, even canceling "Negro Tuesdays." In a counter move, Tracy joins and energizes a prointegration march. A tussle ensues and Tracy is arrested for assaulting a cop -- a trumped up maneuver to cover backsides.
A note about segregation and integration. God separated the people into races for a reason (Babel) but NOT to make one race "better" than another. [Gen. 11-1 - 19] He confounded the language of the one-language people because of their sin of trying to reach Heaven with a tower. Once the people spoke different languages they migrated into like-speaking "races" just as He intended We are all equal at the foot of the Cross and Jesus will not be black, white, Indian, Baptist or Jew while setting on the Judgment Throne. He will be just Jesus. This is a film which includes portrayals the social unrest, however sanitized it is, of early efforts to end segregation and racism -- an issue likely above the experiential maturity of the typical PG age stratum but worthy of introducing to them betimes. If it were not for the claw marks of the assaults on morality and wholesome ethics, this film would be a good tool to help you do that.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Though the film is mostly about civil unrest and racism, there is very little violence and no crime. The only violence was when a mother bound her daughter. [Matt. 18:10]
There are only two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary in Hairspray (2007) but each use is by a teen. But additional matters of impudence and/or hate dragged this investigation area score down to equivalence with some R-rated features: racial discrimination and insults throughout; classroom disrespect; sneaking to defy mother; a mother bounding her daughter; social warfare and cruelty; lies; more.
A note about lying. God is adamant about lying. So much so that He warns that the (unforgiven) liar will not make it into Heaven. [Rev. 21:8] And He does not specify whether the little white lie is more or less offensive than the boldfaced lie. Just ask yourself, "When is a lie not a lie?" and you will have your answer. Y'see, a lie is a lie period. Even if a lie would save someone's life. In that case, the one who forces the lie is the sinner. We cannot get around lying being sinful. Imagine this scenario. Mom asks you where you've been the past three hours? You tell her to the corner store just down the street. That you were at the corner store may be true but what you told your mother is a lie if you were also at Julie's, John's, the mall, the bowling alley ... It would be a lie of omission since it is also true you were at Julie's, John's, the mall, the bowling alley ...
Sexual Immorality (S)
There is no nudity or boy and girl in bed together in this film, but when you consider the magnitude of all the "lesser" examples of sexually immoral matters, there might as well have been. This is a point discussed by our CAP Rule of 1000, a relatively new technique of filmmakers to load a film with "lesser" examples of ignominy to get the, er, big picture "feel" of something more bold or intense. There are a lot of instances of cinematographic maneuvers to force the viewer's attention on private parts. Though all the private parts are clothed in this film, to cause the viewer to focus on the private parts is still sexual.
Additional examples of sexually oriented behaviors/imagery include pelvic thrusts, suggestion of pregnancy by immoral sex, using sex appeal to influence in adultery, inappropriate touch, a number of innuendo and more. [Prov. 30:20, Gal. 5:19]
Teens were observed as smoking in the restroom. Additional smoking was noted by the investigation area as was booze and a bar.
"A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking and smoking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol 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 assumed 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 by this ministry (see "R-13"
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. Even the University of Connecticut
Our studies provide an additional parameter for the ACP study. While booze, drinking and smoking in and as entertainment indeed embolden defiance of rule and law and take their toll on wholesome decision-making skills of youth, our studies indicate the problem is not as much the presentation of booze and drinking in and as entertainment as it is the attitude portrayed by and with the drinking and smoking. See ATTITUDE: In Perspective -- Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001 for more information on the strongest presence being not the sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, etc. but the attitude that presents the most proselytizing element of modern entertainment: the attitude of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom form consequences. And note that attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") is the first in the list of seven behaviors He hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19]
Offense to God (O)
Aside from the flashing to mock "Christian", teens used God's name in vain six times though each was without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Then the vulgar mockery of the Scriptures lost a few of the starting 100 points in this investigation area. If we mock "Christian" we mock God. And He don't like that. [Gal. 6:7]
There were no murders or suicides noted.
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***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)
|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 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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In the name of Jesus:
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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