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Men of Honor (2000), (R)
CAP Score: 45
CAP Influence Density: 1.87
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SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
MEN OF HONOR (R) -- every bit a R-rated show, but inspirational.
Black Navy divers are just not allowed ... until Carl Brashear comes along. Cuba Gooding, Jr. plays the part of Carl "Cookie" Brashear in his challenge of the U. S. Navy to let him be a diver. But only the best get through the rigorous diving school -- and Brashear was the best. At least according to Men of Honor.
Share cropper by trade and without a high school education, Carl is instructed by his father "Don't quit on me." And Carl takes him literally -- and doesn't quit even in the face of overwhelming opposition. To the question "Why do you want it so much." Brashear replies "Because they said I couldn't have it." Though indeed a noble template, such dogged determination can lead to trouble especially if one is focused on "They said I couldn't have it" -- a rebellion issue, instead of "I can do anything I work hard enough to get" -- an achievement issue. There are a million things we can have and a million things we can't.
Harry Truman ordered racial integration of the services after World War II, but resistance to blacks in the military was strong though sometimes subtle. For a long time the only positions for blacks were cook and officers' valets. Opposition was so strong in the Navy diving school that when Brashear was denied entry into the diving school camp he stood outside the gates for at least two days before getting in. It seems the crotchety old commanding officer, Mister Pappy (Hal Holbrook) was not going to let that black man in his camp: "There may be a day when a colored graduates this school, but not while I'm here." It was Master Chief Billy Sunday (Robert De Niro), the lead diving school instructor who finally let Brashear in the camp and who gave Brashear the nickname "Cookie": "You know what they say in China, Cookie ("Cookie" because he was black and a cook before coming to the diving school)? Be careful what you wish for." Further opposition came as every man in the barracks left because they would not share quarters with a black. All except one, a man named Snowhill (Michael Rapaport).
Many attempts were made to discourage Brashear and to make him want to drop out. Firehose "education", social rejection, racial insults, and undesirable treatment with treatment as an undesirable by his peers and instructors were not enough. Even the final performance test was rigged to make it seemingly impossible to complete. But Brashear did at the risk of his own life. Brashear displayed superhuman fortitude and resilience, assuming the movie is accurate.
While this movie possesses much to inspire youth to not give up, at what price must that object lesson come? Sure, military men (and women to a lesser degree) use foul language as a profuse helping of crunchy topping on their verbal salad, but does that make it okay? If everyone on the planet cussed in every sentence, would it no longer be a sin? Would widespread use of God's name in vain cause Him to not hold the violator guilty [Deut. 5:11]? Would complete saturation of everyone's everyday language with vulgar words change God's admonition that such speech is perverse and filthy? Men of Honor presented 120 individual uses of some form of cussing [Prov. 8:13, Col. 3:8], much of it as God's name in vain and all of them with the four letter expletive.
Some of the other matters of possible concern for parents and grandparents include a ton of smoking and some drinking/drunkenness [2 Cor. 7:1] and racial insults, many vulgar anatomical references [Eph. 5:4], some mockery of God (e.g., Sunday: "I am God.") [Gal. 6:7], There were also some sexual comments, some disaster peril, an order to kill one of our own, and a graphic near amputation.
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:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):