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

(2004), PG
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
February 6, 2004
76 out of 100

By popular demand, my pict will be here for a while then moved to the end of the report pages.

Written/Prepared by:

T. Carder

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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.

(2004), PG -- Something was done right ... I can't put my finger on it.

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Pop Pop Productions, Mayhem Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Gavin O'Connor
Producer(s): Mark Ciardi, Gordon Gray, Ross Greenburg, Justis Greene, Jon Mone, Greg O'Connor
Written by: Eric Guggenheim
Music: Mark Isham
Film Editing: John Gilroy
Casting: Sarah Finn, Randi Hiller, Coreen Mayrs
Production Design: John Willett
Art Direction: Ross Dempster
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

Does the "PG" rating of this film (or any other film) tell you anything? Does it tell you of the 29 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary? Does it tell you of a flash image of streaking nudity from the 1970s? Does it tell you of the repeated instances of drinking alcoholic beverages? It would be a miracle if "PG" told you all these things. The CAP analysis model does.

Miracle was not spectacular but yet stirring. Except for Russell, acting was moderate and maybe even sometimes cardboard. The story was the Cinderella story of hockey with the US hockey team of 1980 finding the glass slipper. Connectivity of subplots was what I believe is recipe (I am not a professional critic) but a rather palatable concoction. We knew the ending before the beginning of the film but there was still some newness to it. There was nothing earth-shaking or heart-grabbing and nothing to write home about. But while watching it I, probably the most pragmatic para-critic there is, had no trouble paying attention to every frame. And after it was over, I felt exhilaration about something that happened over 20 years ago in something I don't particularly care for - hockey. Something was done right. But not being a professional film critic nor schooled in films, I can't put my finger on it but there was definitely something there to entice even they who, like me, don't really care for hockey. I indeed came away with a new respect and understanding of the (for the lack of a better term) poetic flow of hockey. And that leads me into the next point.

In one of the reviews I read, there was a comment about how this film would have a huge influence on youngsters deciding to play hockey. I wonder if that individual knew how precise was his/her innocent comment regarding the huge influence. The power of the entertainment industry to shape opinions, values and even beliefs may be, at times, immeasurable. Especially when a movie plays a stanza or two in the symphony of the observer's life whether the symphony tells a pleasant story or a decidedly unpleasant story. And since a film can make changes in the hearts of youngsters about hockey, how can we deny the ability of films to change the hearts of kids in other ways? Negative ways. Answer: We can't. Of all the influences in a child's life, the only exofamilial entity that more deeply and intimately saturates our children than the entertainment industry is air. The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, several other professional health agencies, God and myself agree that the power of the entertainment industry is opinion-, values- and beliefs-changing for many, especially youth. Harvard educated child developmental expert Dr. Karen Nelson, Developmental Psychologist and Professor of Psychology and others agree with me not only that aberrant behavior in and as entertainment can plant aberrant behavioral templates in the observer, positive behaviors in and as entertainment can plant positive behavioral templates as well and maybe even more readily.

Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), who died in a car wreck recently, and his wife Patty (Patricia Clarkson) accepted the challenge of coaching the US hockey team after the US lost to the Russians time after time. Coach Brooks had some new and innovative ideas with hard boiled tactics not well received by the Board. Coach Brooks even kept the Board out of the team selection process.

The Russians used fultime professional players. At the time, the US used amateur players. What to do? Coach Brooks led the boys through a grueling set of thow-up generating practices. Assistant coach Craig Patrick (Noah Emmerick) began to wonder whether Coach Brooks' pace was body and skill building or was cruelty. In one set of particularly brutal skating drills, even the team doctor, Doc Nagobads (Kenneth Welsh) rode Brooks hard for abusing the physical abilities of the boys. But as the boys heaved and dropped to the ice, Brooks prepared to send them on another skating drill after dozens of previous repetitions if it Then, one of the players, between gags and gasps, announced support to what Brooks was doing and Brooks ended the practice knowing the boys learned exactly what he wanted them to learn. Earlier, Doc had told Patrick, in response to Patrick's query to the Doc about whether Doc thought Brooks was too hard on the boys, that maybe Brooks' did things the way he did so the boys would hate him and not each other.

There is much, much more to this based-on true story and much of it is indeed good and positive. But those matters are for your discovery should you decide the amount of ignominy we reveal for your consideration is tolerable for your family.

In the first paragraph I pointed out that the CAP model revealed repeated instances of drinking. Certainly the team players, coach and many others drank alcoholic beverages, especially to celebrate getting the gold. But that is the point -- using booze to celebrate in a children's film. The suggestion is just too dangerous. And though drinking in and of itself is not sinful, getting drunk is. [Gal. 5:21] Since it is, getting drunk to celebrate just doesn't make any sense. Further, a recent study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in alcohol abuse. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. Whether the movie is rated R or PG, the focus is the influence of adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment. The prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was 46% for children with no restrictions, 16% for those with partial restrictions and four percent for those with complete restrictions. Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? And viewing of PG movies is probably not restricted from any age group by anything but the pocketbook, thus exposing an even larger population of even younger children to drinking in and as entertainment can only magnify the width of the above findings. Influencing children to sin with drink in and as entertainment screams of violating Luke 17:2.

With a final score of 76, Miracle indeed earned a score in the range of scores earned by PG movies in the comparative baseline database (86 to 68 out of 100). But one of the greatest features of the CAP analysis model shines brightly for this PG film. That is, identification of any programming areas which presents a concentration of assaults on morality and decency. Three of the six CAP investigation areas revealed scores equivalent to G-rated movies (100 to 87 out of 100) and two earned a score equivalent to PG movies in the comparative baseline database. Only Impudence/Hate earned a score less than those earned by PG movies. Indeed, Impudence/Hate revealed enough foul language to drag the value of that area down to that equivalent to R-rated movies (54 and below out of 100). A glance at the CAP thermometers will tell it all. Clearly, the concentration of ignominy in Miracle was in the use of foul language. Twenty-nine times to be exact. [Prov. 22:11] Plus three uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] Another issue likely to raise the eyebrows of us fundamental Christians is the use of a vulgar reference by the Coach to monkeys being sexually active with a football. [Eph. 5:4]

Please inspect the listing in the Findings/Scoring section before you decide whether this film is tolerable for your children.

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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.

  • Gal. 5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Prov. 22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. \
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. [Vain is shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. 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 AND the misuse of Jesus' name.]

    ***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 and present it 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, submit to 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.
  • Rom. 5:19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
  • 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.

    Miracle (2004) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • bloody beating injury
  • on-ice action violence, repeatedly
  • fighting

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 29 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • marital friction, twice
  • adult tantrum

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • full male side nudity, flash of 1970s streaking
  • reference to monkeys being sexually active with a football
  • sexual humor, male team member giving girl's underwear to a male team player
  • man in towel only
  • teens/young adults in shower with implied nudity below screen

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • bar
  • celebrating with booze

    Offense to God (O)
  • Christmas without Jesus
  • three uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

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    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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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture

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