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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2003), PG-13
Analysis Date: July 18, 2003
CAP Score: 32 out of 100
CAP Influence Density: 1.61

MinMax: -100

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, 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 completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(2003), PG-13 -- ... since when has immorality been considered ...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Radar Pictures Inc.
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Clare Kilner
Producer(s): Toby Emmerich, Ted Field, Mathew Hart, Erica Huggins, Scott Kroopf, David Linde, Stephanie Striegel, William Teitler, Chris Van Allsburg, Michele Weiss
Written by/Screenplay: Sarah Dessenv (novels Someone Like You and That Summer), Neena Beber (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Eric Alan Edwards
Music: David Kitay
Film Editing: Shawna Callahan, Janice Hampton
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: Dan Davis
Art Direction: Andrew M. Stearn
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Halley Martin (Mandy Moore) is disgruntled at her parents' divorce [Mal. 2:16] that is to happen on the same day her older sister Ashley (Mary Catherine Garrison) is to get married [1Cor. 7:2]. Raising all shields and insulating herself from the world, Halley is approached by Macon Forester (Trent Ford) with the intent to build a relationship with her, even if it is "just good friends." Strange it is how Hollywood always seems to make "just good friends" teen relationships end up as sexual.

Halley has her shields up but Macon "uses the Force" to employ Jedi(tm) mind tricks on her to penetrate her shields and beam aboard [Matt. 5:28]. If you let your children see this movie (as did many parents on opening night) be prepared for exposing them to many forms of sexual immorality and amoral attitudes toward it [Luke 17:2], including inappropriate touch [1 Cor. 7:1 - 2], teen intercourse out of wedlock and pregnancy by it and attempts at it. If you let your children see this show, be prepared for a yet more "new age enlightened" attitude in your kids of increased tolerance toward immoral sex [1 Cor. 15:33, 1 Cor. 6:18], especially when you are not physically with them. And, for some of the kids in the audience on opening night, they know about sexual immorality before they know what sex is.

All display of sexual immorality is justified, of course, by Halley's refusal to let Macon get to home plate [Rom. 16:17 - 18]. Apparently the writers believe that Halley letting Macon get to first base, second base and third base is acceptable, of course, as long as he does not get to home plate. Toward the end of the show Halley's shields are down to about 20%, not likely to withstand another direct hit. And Macon's phasers are at 100% with all dilithium crystals fully intact. I know this is a crude way to describe the theme of the show but it is much less crude than the show itself -- just to give you an idea of the caliber of it. Though no crimes are committed (except underage drinking and drunkenness), since when has immorality been considered when legality is determined?

Mrs. Martin (Allison Janney) is ignorantly (maybe) passing on to Halley her bitterness toward and about her absent, soon-to-be ex-husband. And Halley is absorbing the bitterness. Incorporating it. Using it. And passing it on to anyone with whom she interfaces. Never-gown-up dad, Len Martin (Peter Gallagher), local DJ and radio personality is not helping matters by getting remarried to the stereotype of the much younger "ditzy blonde." Even dope-smoking Grandma (Nina Foch) fuels the fires in Halley.

While How to Deal has some good things to say with accuracy to reality I am going to ignore them since they were apparently token just to give some sort of connectivity with the teen arrogance and immorality. Even Satan mixes the Truth with lies just to pull us away from the Truth a little at a time. And what better way to convince us that immorality is not really immoral after all than to present it in and as entertainment as everyday, run-of-the-mill, expected and even acceptable behavior day in and day out, year after year after year, progressively immoral each year? [Ps. 12:8] Halley's best friend, Scarlett (Alexandra Holden), who is so enamored by one of high school's jocks she lets him have his way with her, ends up pregnant. Or maybe he let her have her way with him? Who knows? And who can tell in these modern episodes of entertainment pansexualism. And what purpose the pregnancy subplot had to the theme is ambiguous at best. If it were left out entirely, nothing would have been lost. But that is quite often true for almost any ignominy included in popular entertainment.

In addition to the rampant sexual immorality, How to Deal presents repeated instances of teen drinking and drunkenness. smoking dope by a grandmother, a teen screaming at her mother and verbally battering her into submission (and her mother yielding), calling her father a hypocrite and a loser with "I hate him. I HATE him!" [Prov. 20:20] and teens sneaking out all hours of the night to get what they way. [Prov. 22:15]

That is just a few of the issues you may want to be aware of (and God's Word about some of them) before letting your teens watch this movie. The long list in the Findings/Scoring section itemizes the findings.

Remember, mom/.dad. We tell you about the issues of which the MPAA, advertisers, promoters, etc., don't or won't tell you so you can be in a better position to make an informed decision whether a film is fit for your kids or not *before* setting through it. Sometimes a movie like this one is quite vulgar and we do our best to tell you about it without being vulgar ourselves. Often that is very difficult. But we will not simply tell you "It was vulgar" or "It was unfit" and expect you to accept it. Besides, that is not my decision to make for your kids. We tell you what is there -- you decide whether it is acceptable or not. The positive features of a film, which many indeed do present, are for your discovery lest we spoil the entire film.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be reducing the volume of coverage in the Summary/Commentary section of our reports and the number of reports generated in an effort to reduce costs until full funding can be achieved. The Findings/Scoring section of each report, the heart of the analysis model, will NOT be reduced in any way.

Thank you for your patience as we diligently search for funding. Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help us locate 501(c)(3) nonprofit funding and sponsors is encouraged to notify me.


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.

  • Mal. 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away [divorce]: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.
  • 1 Cor. 7:1 - 2 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.
  • Matt. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
  • 1 Cor. 6:18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
  • Rom. 16:17 - 18 I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those [e.g., filmmakers, screenwriters] who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk [e.g., film dialogue] and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people [e.g., inexperienced youth, vulnerable to acceptance by the worldly].
  • Prov. 20:20 If a man [or woman, son or daughter] curses his father or mother, his lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.
  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 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 (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 [warp, distort, falsely represent, situationally redefine, counterfeit, conditionally apply] 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]
  • 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 would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; 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.


    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.


    How to Deal (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • death of a teen by heart attack
  • traffic wreck causing injury that would not have happened if the injured teen had obeyed her mother
  • offering to die

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • seven uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • ruination of teens by divorce
  • teen arrogance toward father, repeatedly
  • teen arrogance toward "everything"
  • defiance of father
  • portrayal of school official as idiot
  • teen calling her father a hypocrite
  • teen social cruelty, tormenting
  • teen calling her father a loser
  • convenience deceit by teen at mother's "Who are you talking to?"
  • lies to parents, repeatedly
  • teen sneaking out, repeatedly, once for teen drinking party
  • teen boy luring teen girl behind mother's back, repeatedly
  • teen screaming at mother, repeatedly
  • teen verbal battering of mother into submission
  • "I hate dad. I hate him. I HATE him."
  • leaving mother behind as teen daughter has a baby
  • teen autonomy over parental wisdom/authority, repeatedly

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • camera angle to force viewer on private parts
  • teen couple having sex with flash nudity
  • equating immoral sex with love
  • excusing sex before marriage
  • teen public affection
  • teens encouraging immoral sex amongst themselves
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, and on high school property
  • sexual innuendo
  • brief side upper female nudity
  • teen pregnancy by immoral sex
  • dog "hugging" woman's leg, repeatedly
  • teens making out, repeatedly
  • teens co-stripping for sex, repeatedly
  • teens open faced kissing
  • adults making out
  • "They went out all summer" as expectation of immoral sex
  • teens on bed at drinking party
  • teens performing inappropriate touch
  • teen under belly button skin, repeatedly
  • "I thought you wanted to be together" equated with sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • smoking dope and glorification of it
  • teen smoking
  • dinner drinking, repeatedly
  • teen revelry, repeatedly
  • teen drinking, repeatedly
  • teen drinking party
  • teen drunkenness, repeatedly
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)
  • 18 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, 11 by a teen

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme/plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "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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