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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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|E M E R G E N C Y
H E L P
N E E D E D!!!
UPDATED September 15, 2003
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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.|
(2003), R -- ...Sometimes funny, sometimes not funny.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Columbia Pictures Corporation, Dimension Films, Troublemaker Studios
Distribution (US): Columbia Pictures, Dimension Films , Miramax Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Robert Rodriguez
Producer(s): Elizabeth Avellan, Carlos Gallardo, Sue Jett, Tony Mark, Robert Rodriguez, Luz María Rojas
Written by/Screenplay: Robert Rodriguez
Cinematography/Camera: Robert Rodriguez
Music: Robert Rodriguez
Film Editing: Robert Rodriguez
Casting: Mary Vernieu
Production Design: Robert Rodriguez
Art Direction: Melo Hinojosa
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Once Upon a Time in Mexico presents three major subplots: a military overthrow of the Mexican government; a drug lord making changes to his face to elude the CIA; a presidential assassination.
El Mariachi (Antonio Banderas) is the bandito supreme serving to tie all three subplots together. Mariachi is feared by all and is an accomplished guitar player. Mariachi was so enthralled by both avocations -- violence and guitar playing -- that he developed weapons from guitars. [Prov. 3:31-32] Most were shooting or exploding devices but one was a flame thrower.
But Mariachi has retired to mourn the loss of his wife, Carolina (Salma Hayek) and daughter to the warlord General who is trying to overthrow of the Mexican government. Jesus warns that those who live by the sword will die by the sword [Matt. 26:52]. If this movie scenario were real, Carolina and their daughter died because of Mariachi's life "by the sword." They died not because of the will of God but by the will of the General who has freedom of choice as do we all ... a freedom given to us by God who will not take it away for any reason. He does not want puppets. Still, maybe being the fault of your family's death by one's evil deeds could be worse than death by the sword. [Ps. 141:4; Ps. 1:6]
Though Mariachi is retired, rogue CIA agent Sands (Johnny Depp) hires Mariachi to help launch the military coup and thwart the plans of drug lord Barillo (Willem Dafoe) and his hit man, Billy (Mickey Rourke) to kill the Mexican president.
Some comic relief and acrobatic prowess are provided to combat the saturation of violence and killing. In flashbacks (the only places Carolina is alive) Mariachi finds himself chained to Carolina in a hotel room as the bad guys come for them. Shackled together, they swing down from the hotel room window from outcropping to outcropping, he hanging on to something while she swings down to the next outcropping, then she hanging on and he swinging down, repeating the cascadings until they plop to the ground.
There's even some Han Solo(tm) of Star Wars tactics. While Sands sits at a table to barter in crime [Hab. 2:6, 2:12], he uses a prosthetic of his left arm to hold, for example, an eating utensil while his real arm holds a gun at whomever sits at the other side of the table. Sands even adds a little comic relief as he barks at henchman Cucuy (Danny Trejo) "Are you a MexiCAN or a MexiCAN'T." And some of Bandera's comic style is not left in Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2:The Island of Lost Dreams and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. He brings some of it to buffer the violence of Once Upon a time in Mexico. Eva Mendes of 2Fast 2Furious serves well as Ajedrez, Sand's lady desperado. One of the lighter scenes, but still embedded in violence, was a portable piano or bar on wheels being rolled out of the way before a saloon duel then back again when it was over. Don't shoot the piano player/bartender, I guess.
Sometimes funny, sometimes not funny. While the movie was light-hearted in some ways, it was downright ugly in others. Morally ugly. The uses of the most foul of the foul words doubled the uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8]. God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive appeared almost half as many times as the most foul of the foul words [Deut. 5:11]. Killings were brutal, cold and unremorseful and threats with and use of firearms to control were rampant [Job 34:22 ]. Sexual immorality came more as innuendo, suggestions, references, one instance of ghosting of female anatomy though translucent clothing, multiple instances of dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure and thong nudity of strip bar dancers than anything particularly bold, but there were enough of them to drag the score down into the "R" realm. [Mark 7:21] The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal all that was noted. Please consider it seriously before deciding whether to see this highly publicized movie.
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***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)
Single Christian Network
|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.|