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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
(2006), PG-13 [R-13*] (1hr 49min)
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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): Universal Pictures, Morgan Creek Productions
Distribution (US): Universal Pictures, Morgan Creek International
Director(s): Barry Levinson
Producer(s): David Coatsworth, Robert N. Fried, Barry Levinson, Guy McElwaine, David C. Robinson, James G. Robinson
Written by: Barry Levinson
Cinematography/Camera: Dick Pope
Music: Graeme Revell
Film Editing: Steven Weisberg
Casting: Pam Dixon
Production Design: Stefania Cella
Art Direction: Joshu de Cartier
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
If this film was made with more finger-pointing and more of the "it ain't good enough no matter what 'it' is" atmosphere, it might be thought of as a Michael Moore exposé of politics. But it's not. It is a Robin Williams show, however dazzling and often vulgar Williams' talents might be. But that's William's style. With Williams in it you know before hand you will get some sand with your sugar.
Due to a glitch in a special computer program developed by the Delacroy corporation that replaced voting booths with laptops, Tom Dobbs (Robin Williams), a successful and opinionated comedian, is elected the President of the United States. At least, he gets to President-elect status and gets to sit in the oval office for a moment or two.
During one of Dobbs' highly popular comedy shows, one of the audience members suggests he run for President. Then another audience member in another show makes the same suggestion, then another and another, snowballing until Dobbs finally gives in and announces his candidacy for President.
There is only one problem with the Delacroy computer voting system ... the results are wrong. Double letters in the name of the candidate confused the system and Dobbs with the double "BB" trumped rerunning President KeLLog (D) (David Nichols) and candidate Senator MiLLs (R) (David Ferry) just because "B" alphabetically comes before "G" and "L." Actually only 6% of the voting public voted for Dobbs but the computer could not have cared less. Elanor "Ellie" Green (Laura Linney) of the Delacroy company discovered the glitch and felt she must reveal the error even though doing so would cost Dobbs the Presidency.
Not caring about the computer error because of financial concerns, Delacroy CEO James Hemmings (Rick Roberts) with the sinister guidance of his key aide, Alan Stewart (Jeff Goldblum), tried to silence the obsessive honesty of Green using a forced injection of just about every illegal drug known to the street market. Ellie is now, in the judgment of the hospital staff, a street junkie.
Stewart even tried to make a hit man of one of his money-needy employees. As Ellie tries to communicate with Dobbs from a street phone booth, Stewart's hit man feigns loss of control of his truck due to the snow-covered streets after mowing down a phone booth Ellie was using.
Snubbing the "party" idea, Dobbs runs under the Independent ticket, declaring "party politics" to be thieves of independent thinking. This film does indeed point a sharp finger at politics and politicians. So much so that it might be good for every politician to watch it. It has some rather poignant things to say. Many of them being of the "I wish I'd said that" caliber.
A couple times I found myself getting curious about what was said. For example, once scene had probably only a half dozen congress critters present while Congress was in session. Another point of the story that perked my ears was that the media shape elections and maybe even they who control the media decide for us who will be voted into office. (Do tell. Little do the writers know that with that piece they declared support of the very heart of this ministry regarding media influence.)
Ellie said she doesn't vote. While she admits it is none of her business to gripe about who is in office since she doesn't vote, the reason she painted for not voting certainly used a sobering paint brush ... and made a revealing point. That point being whether we vote we have to live with the administration of whomever is in office and that makes it our "business."
A couple of the other features that perked my interest enough to tell you about them was two up-front portrayals of good ole, down home, apple pie honesty. Elanor could not sleep until she revealed the dishonesty of the Delacroy corporation executives and the flawed voting results. And Dobbs, though he could have ignored the computer error and become President, he fessed up to the situation and stepped down.
One of the more insulting comments made by Dobbs at the end of the show was "Politicians are like diapers. They should be changed often ... and for the same reason."
Through it all is Jack Menken (Christopher Walken) at Dobbs' side. Menken was Dobbs' manager before Dobbs became President-elect and then became his campaign manager. Menken is quick with sage advice but the advice was always for the benefit of Dobbs, not necessarily what is right.
Many people have asked me what movies I like and dislike. I give them my standard reply that it is not my job to like or dislike a film but rather to report objectively on its content. Well, this one I might have liked if it were not for the "R-13"ness of it.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
The film content in this investigation area lost a little more than 25% of its starting 100 points due mostly to contemplation of assault to silence, an attempted vehicular murder with injury, abduction and cover-up activity. [Prov. 16:29, Ps. 62:10]
Eighteen uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary including one use of the most foul of the foul words were expensive to the starting 100 points of this investigation area. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29]
Sexual Immorality (S)
In what seems to be critical opposition to Williams previous stage position concerning homosexuality such as in Birdcage where he liplocks with another man a time or two, Williams' writers throw in a couple quite ugly jokes about homosexual/lesbian practitioners. While we must not embrace the practice of homosexuality a we try to embrace the practitioner, the one who practices homosexuality is as precious to Jesus as one who does not. Ugly jokes about their choice of behavior are not productive. But ugly jokes about the practice of homosexuality is not all. This film is rife with coarse joking of the sexual nature [Eph. 5:4]. Innuendo about sexually immoral behaviors, seemingly typical of Williams' style, nearly saturate the script which nearly makes the actual story an after-thought. While there were none of the bold sexual behaviors typically reserved to R-rated films, there were so many of the "lesser" kind that the total envelope was definitely equivalent to the envelope of many R-rated films. For more information on this technique of film making, see the CAP Rule of 1000. [Ps. 12:8]
More than half of the starting 100 points in this investigation area were lost to smoking, alcoholic beverages, drinking and a forced injection of illegal drugs. The presence of alcoholic beverages in and as entertainment has been known for a long time to influence the observer, especially the young. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk or to drink in defiance such as underage drinking. A study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) has found an undeniable link between the presentation of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in and as entertainment and abuse of them and arrogance/defiance with them by adolescents. And teaching/causing youth to abuse alcohol/tobacco (or drugs) by emboldening youth with them in and as entertainment invokes Luke 17:2. If alcoholic beverages in entertainment were not a problem for our young, why is there and why has there been such a push to get and keep booze commercials off prime time broadcast TV? Even the University of Connecticut corroborates the ACP finding. [Eph. 5:18]
Offense to God (O)
The Offense to God (O) investigation area also lost more than half its starting 100 points due entirely to the many uses of God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive. God is quite serious about respecting his name [Deut. 5:11].
No murders or suicides were noted.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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.
***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)
Christian Educators Association International
|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.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
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