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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
(2005), PG-13 [R-13*]
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(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Malpaso Productions, Albert S. Ruddy Productions, Lakeshore Entertainment
Distribution (US): Warner Bros., Lakeshore International, Lakeshore Entertainment, Warner Bros. Pictures Co., Warner Bros. Pictures Inc.
Director(s): Clint Eastwood
Producer(s): Clint Eastwood, Paul Haggis, Robert Lorenz, Gary Lucchesi, Robert Moresco, Tom Rosenberg, Albert S. Ruddy
Written by: F.X. Toole
Screenplay: Paul Haggis
Cinematography/Camera: Tom Stern
Music: Clint Eastwood
Film Editing: Joel Cox
Casting: Phyllis Huffman
Production Design: Henry Bumstead
Art Direction: Jack G. Taylor Jr., Jack Taylor
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Since this film has been released, I am not concerned about spoiling it. So this analysis report contains spoilers. With this film, doing so is necessary to reveal some of the influential content in it.
Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman -- two of the greats lead the story. One might expect a great show from these two greats. While young children will draw little if any meaning from this film, adults will probably not be disappointed. But with a final score of 50 out of 100, Million Dollar Baby is a R-13*, barely R-13 but R-13 nonetheless.
* R-13 films are PG-13 films which earn scores earned by R-rated films (54 and below out of 100).
Though this film presents many assaults on morality and decency, Million Dollar Baby is a very well made and engrossing film typical of Eastwood. It is about the aging boxing trainer/manager Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) and a most unlikely trainee wannabe, the boxing waitress Margaret "Maggie" Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank).
With Hard Knocks University wisdom and vision that can be portrayed only by Morgan Freeman, ex-boxer and gym tender for Frankie, Eddie Scrap-Iron Dupris was quick to give Frankie a piece of his mind whether Frankie wanted it or not. I will not say much about Freeman's contribution to the film in order to minimize the spoilers, but I will say the film would not have been what it was without him. And I will say that the story would not have made as nearly as much sense if Freeman's character had not narrated it.
Frankie is a boxing trainer whose key title contender, Big Willie Little (Mike Colter) left Frankie for another manager who was willing to put Little in the title ring sooner than Frankie. All through this, tenacious Maggie appeared repeatedly at Dunn's Hit Pit gym begging Frankie to train her to box. Frankie was down to his last nerve and Maggie was on it. Until Little left, Frankie was not about to train a g-i-r-l in a man's world! But through bantering and bartering, Maggie finally broke down Frankie and he bought into the bum job of training the 31 year old badger, maybe to soothe his guilt-ridden conscience about his estranged daughter.
Fight after fight after fight, Maggie proved her skills as she grew into a professional fighter. Most fights were first round knockouts. Most opponents did not last beyond three or four of Maggie's swings ... until Maggie squared off with Billie "The Blue Bear" (Lucia Rijker). Bear was rumored to be the dirtiest fighter in the ring. She was. But this was not the last time Maggie would square off with Bear. The next time was the last time. Not only the last time Maggie fought Bear, the last time Maggie fought ... period. By a cheap shot from Bear after the bell, Maggie went down. As she fell, the left side of her neck hit the edge of the round seat board of an overturned ring corner stool. A neck break at the C1/C2 vertebrae (cervical vertebrae at the base of the skull at the top of the spinal column) left Maggie permanently and completely paralyzed, unable to even breathe on her own. Miserable beyond words, Maggie tried to commit suicide twice in her hospital bed by bitting through her tongue, hoping she would bleed to death. But each time the hospital staff saved her. [Exod. 20:13]
Million Dollar Baby climaxed with the murder of Maggie by assisted suicide. Maggie begged Frankie to kill her. Frankie, could not stand it knowing Maggie would be like that the rest of her life. The once vibrant boxer, one step away from the world championship title, was now bed-ridden and 100% dependent on others just to stay alive. So one evening Dunn arrived to visit Maggie ... with a syringe of adrenaline. After disconnecting Maggie from all the life support devices, Frankie injected the adrenaline into the intravenous tubes feeding her. In moments the heart rate monitor read flatline. And he walked away without consequences to start a restaurant business.
But what if the day after, the week after, or the year after the "mercy killing" medical breakthroughs happened that could have made Maggie a whole and firm person again? More portrayal of the three quintessential influences of modern entertainment; freedom from accountability, freedom from authority, freedom from consequences.
Now comes the soul-searching question of whether Frankie killing Maggie was murder. [Deut. 5:17, Prov. 28:17, Exod. 20:13 ] First, to put such cinematic influence into perspective, to conjure this kind of dissonance in the age stratum the MPAA says is acceptable is playing with fire. Dr. Karen Nelson, expert child development psychologist and professor of psychology plus a number of other professionals agree with me that it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality or to fully anticipate the consequences of their actions. God agrees. [Prov. 22:15] Then comes the fanning of such flames with such influence in and as entertainment. We are making our kids grow up too soon, making them worldly without the wisdom. Back to the question. If such a "mercy killing" is not murder, why is Jack Kavorkian in prison?
In addition to the dissonance likely generated in the target audience, this film presents 38 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus a single use of the most foul of the foul words. [Col. 3:8] And as would be expected of a boxing film, boxing violence is plentiful. [Prov. 3:31-32] Sexual immorality is for the most part limited to verbal and expressional vulgarities and using women as display toys. [Eph. 5:4] A priest says things most discordant with his collar plus a number of uses of God's name in vain with and without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Please inspect closely the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether to let your kids watch this film.
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.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
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 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: |
Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.
ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture
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