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: April 25, 2003
CAP Score: 34 out of 100
CAP Influence Density: 2.02

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 -- I guess filmmakers do not know how to make a real PG-13 anymore.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Further Films, GreenStreet Productions
Distribution (US): Buena Vista International, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation
Director(s): Fred Schepisi
Producer(s): Joel Douglas Michael Douglas, Marcy Drogin, Kerry Orent, Fred Schepisi, Jesse Wigutow
Written by/Screenplay: Jesse Wigutow
Cinematography/Camera: Ian Baker
Music: Paul Grabowsky
Film Editing: Kate Williams
Casting: Avy Kaufman
Production Design: Patrizia von Brandenstein
Art Direction: George Allison
Viewed At: Loews Cineplex Citywiew, Fort Worth, Texas

One of the truly great masters of the World War II era movies graces us again but this time with a larger helping of humanity and vulnerability than typical of his resume, not at all like the hotdog soldier parts of his youth. One of the truly great masters of performances of a dogface GI to a heroic pilot to a pestersome nemesis of Captain Nemo, even his debut as a harried husband opposite Barbara Stanwyk in 1946. Kirk Douglas. Even a recent stroke did not keep the dogface GI down. I found respect for this movie going into it simply because Kirk Douglas led the entourage, maintaining faithful allegiance to his history of performances relatively free of foul language and sexual immorality. But not so with the rest of them.

I soon lost the respect I had going into the movie, but not for Kirk Douglas. I do not typically keep track of whom does the cussing in movies, just how many times it happens. I don't think Kirk Douglas uttered even one. He may have. I didn't log it as spoken by him if he did. But this time I kept track of who spoke the vulgarities -- at least of how many times adolescents used the three/four letter word vocabulary [Eph. 5:4] *including* God's name in vain *with* the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11], perpetuating the sin of doing so by example [Is. 30:1]. Yes, there is shock to such display, but at what cost? Especially to those who engineered the display and the stewards who permitted it [Luke 17:2]? Is it worth it?

Introducing the Gromberg family: Mitchell (Kirk Douglas), founder of a successful New York law firm; Mitchell's wife Evelyn, (Diana Douglas, who was Kirk's real-life first wife); Mitchell's son and lawyer with his dad's law firm, Alex (Michael Douglas); Alex's wife, Rebecca (Bernadette Peters); Alex's first son, 21 year old Asher (Cameron Douglas, who is Michael's son by his first marriage); Alex's second son, 11 year old Eli (Rory Culkin). And tucked away in the background is Mitchell's brother, whose name I cannot remember and IMDB does not list it, who is suffering senility and dementia.

I will in no way entertain that this movie is true to the Douglas family history, but this movie contained enough assaults on morality and decency to earn it a "R-13" label.

Mitchell is the family patriarch as portrayed in the photo on the poster above. He has become less of a limit-setter and more of one who would compromise to achieve harmony. Evelyn appears to be the "good woman behind every good man." She is the neck that turns the head [of the family] any way she chooses but in a way that gently lets the head of the family think he is the decision-maker. Too bad that when dancing with Mithcell's she placed his hands on her buttocks telling him "Hold me like you love me", equating sex with love. That they were married in the movie and even married once in real life does not excuse such display let alone with a cinematic counterfeiting of love. Love is not sex and sex is not love. Sex is a *tool* of the love reserved for a man and a woman in marriage. A beautiful tool to be sure but a tool nonetheless. A tool under their command, not commanded by it.

One of the first scenes is of Eli's classmates constructing female anatomy with clay [Eph. 5:4]. Amidst the stereotyping of 11 and 12 year old boys as sexual slaves comes a Goth girl Abigail Staley (Irene Gorovaia) who, that same night, becomes Eli's first kiss ... and maybe more offscreen. Implications were strong but not enough to make a credible claim. Abigail convinces Eli to sneak out of a supervised dance party to be alone so she could smoke and try to get Eli to smoke. While out on the streets, Abigail's big bad skate-boarding ex-boyfriend tries to muscle her away from Eli.

In another subplot as Alex pours over a rushed case, an acquaintance bursts in with a Hispanic woman begging for his legal help. Soon the scene moves to Alex volunteering in a local soup kitchen as another worked sexually attacks him, almost successful in raping him, causing he and she to commit adultery [Prov. 6:32]. But any who lusts after another in his/her heart is guilty of it [Matt. 5:28].

Tattooed Asher is the kind to push whatever limit is set before him until it breaks. And one did. Asher was a drug dealer and was caught, all the while denying he had any knowledge of the marijuana plants growing in his locked closet. Earlier, Asher was noted to be stripping a girl to her underwear as she stripped him to his bare backside [1Cor. 7:2]. But all is not lost to lust. Asher decided to tell the girl "No."

There is much more. Some good. A lot not good. Please read the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this film is fit for your family.

SPECIAL NOTE: We will be reducing the volume of coverage in the Summary/Commentary section of our reports 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. The only drawbacks I see in temporarily reducing the volume of the Summary/Commentary section will be the inherent reduction of direct Scriptural applications to noted aberrant behaviors and the loss of details about the contribution of the aberrant behaviors to the plot/story, thus lending to potentially increased confusion and loss of quality.

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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. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: ["may add sin to sin" - use the sins of others to excuse our own]
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it.]
  • Prov. 6:32 But a man [or woman] who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys him[her]self
  • 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.
  • 1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

    ***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.


    It Runs in the family (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • bully assault and intimidation
  • animated family argumentation
  • deaths, two
  • fight

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 38 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus 10 used by adolescents
  • facial piercing on adolescent
  • adolescent telling mom she's wrong
  • flatulence
  • a 21 year old man talking sex, including intercourse, to his 11 year old bother, repeatedly: the "You'll thank me when you're older" syndrome
  • massive tattoos
  • nearly constant arrogance by a young adult
  • adolescent arrogance toward parent
  • lies, including to parents
  • son speaking hatred of his father, repeatedly
  • insults at adolescents
  • nose ring on adolescent
  • adolescent encouraging sneaking out of a supervised dance then sneaking out, taking another with her
  • disrespect of a body

    Sex/Homosexuality (S)
  • sexual vulgarity in clay by adolescents
  • vulgar tongue gesture
  • adolescents drooling over porn mag
  • crude anatomical references by adolescents
  • adulterous touch, repeatedly
  • tongue kissing
  • adulterous intercourse (attempted)
  • anatomical reference
  • male underwear showing
  • adulterous sexual approach
  • child asking mom about parental sexual performances
  • sex talk, repeatedly
  • gaping face kissing, repeatedly
  • sexual offer
  • cohabitation
  • man and woman nude in bed after night together
  • nudity with genitals covered only by a sheet, repeatedly
  • man's hands on a woman's buttocks with her saying "Hold me like you love me"
  • ghosting of female anatomy through thin clothing, repeatedly
  • woman in underwear, repeatedly
  • rear female thong nudity
  • adults stripping each other for sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drug dealing
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • underage drinking
  • illegal drug consumption
  • drinking in revelry
  • smoking by adolescent
  • illegal drug manufacture/cultivation

    Offense to God (O)
  • 15 uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive and 5 with it plus one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive by an adolescent
  • goth, repeatedly

    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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