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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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UPDATED December 31, 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), PG -- Shame on the writers! Shame on them I say!
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Revolution Studios, Radio Productions, Tollin/Robbins Productions
Distribution (US): Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director(s): Michael Tollin
Producer(s): Herb Gains, Todd Garner, Jordan Leibert, Brian Robbins, Caitlin Scanlon, Michael Tollin
Written by/Screenplay: Mike Rich, Gary Smith
Cinematography/Camera: Don Burgess
Music: James Horner
Film Editing: Chris Lebenzon
Casting: Tona B. Dahlquist, Margery Simkin
Production Design: Clay A. Griffith
Art Direction: Thomas Minton
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
I am going to open this analysis report Summary/Commentary with completely subjective commentary. Get the objectivity from the Findings/Scoring section this time. I have something very atypical to say just to get it said. Radio was one of the finest pieces of cinematic art I have ever seen. Aside from likely as much use of the three/four letter word vocabulary as some R-rated movies, Radio was a warm, engaging masterpiece sure to earn the respect befitting two Oscar winners performing to the same sheet of music. Together, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Ed Harris were, for the lack of a better expression, a symbiosis in unity, each less than half without the other. Without Harris, Gooding could not have done what he did. And vice versa. Even the choice of background music selections were perfectly mated to both the script and the statements being made by the acting to magnify them both.
We get to see a side of Cuba Gooding Jr. we've never seen. And it was a delightful discovery. A masterpiece of acting. After more than 750 of these movie analyses one would expect I am one to not easily be moved even by the deepest of portrayed emotions. Indeed, I am fairly true to that expectation. I must be distant from and pragmatic to "context" to ensure continued objectivity in reporting to you assaults on morality and decency. But Gooding's performance when Radio's mother died was so masterful I could feel his pain. He's was that good. If this "inspired by a true story" is true to the true story, may God richly bless Coach Harold Jones, his staff and his family; the students, ball teams and staff of Hanna High School; the people of Anderson, South Carolina. And James Robert Kennedy -- Radio.
You can bet, however, that Radio will not win any awards even though there are two Oscar winners in the lead cast. Why? Because it is not rated R. I hope i am wrong but sometime take look at the history of the Oscars and notice how many R-rated films are the tools of the winners.
Now let me get to crunching the numbers and calculate the scoring.
Sure enough! There was enough use of the three/four letter word vocabulary to drag the Impudence/Hate score down to equivalent to many R-rated movies, down to 11 out of 100, thus the red CAPCon Alert light. And in not one instance did a single use of the three/four letter word vocabulary support or amplify the script or the acting. Not once! Indeed, If the writers had just left out all the foul language which was obviously put there just to get a rating a little more "risque" than a G, put there awkwardly I might add, Radio would have earned a final score of 92!. That of a G-rated movie! Shame on the writers! Shame on them I say! And shame on Harris for uttering most of them. And shame on Gooding for matching them spoken by Harris, though behind a mask of a portrayed speech impediment. [Col. 3:8; Prov. 22:11; Titus 2:6-8] At least I can wait for the VHS/DVD and play it through a curse filter to share it with my family, a filter which should also filter out the single use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut 5:11].
In Anderson, South Carolina 1976, Hanna High School football head coach Harold Jones (Ed Harris) notices a mentally handicapped young man who rolls a shopping cart filled with his treasures by the practice field every day. The young fatherless man is James Robert Kennedy (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) who is soon to become known as "Radio" because of his fascination with radios. Coach Jones develops a fatherly attachment to Radio because of an incident from the coach's past. The coach knew he had handled the situation wrongly so many years ago and was not about to let the past repeat itself.
Coach Jones first talks Radio into simply coming onto the practice field with him and assistant coach Honeycut (Brent Sexton). Slowly Radio starts to open up and interact with the coaches and football players. Not too long after initial coaxing by the Coach, Radio begins to perform peripheral tasks. Realizing there is more to Radio than is apparent, Coach Jones brings Radio into the school itself. Amid much to-do, Coach Jones begins to help Radio become more productive and reliable. But always in the way of helping the semi-independent handicapped living among us are the rednecks who feel they must brutalize them. Star player Johnny Clay (Riley Smith) and his banker father, Frank (Chris Mulkey) are two of the greatest obstacles Radio must hurdle to achieve that which Coach Jones is trying to help Radio attain.
One of the obstacles Coach Jones must face daily is his family. Wife Linda (Debra Winger) keeps trying to warn the coach that his daughter, Mary Hellen (Sarah Drew) is growing up and growing distant from him. But as it turns out, Linda is not an obstacle at all but is rather the greatest help for the coach as a good and wise wife who understands the battle brewing and knows when and how to keep out and when and how and how much to "butt in."
Also offering patience and wisdom to the Coach's efforts to help Radio is his boss, the High School Principle, Lou Daniels (Alfre Woodard). Lou goes to bat for Coach Jones when his adversaries do their best to protect the school student body from the dangerous mentally handicapped young man the coach bought amongst their fragile children in the school while at the same time chastising him into sanity and reason with that Woodard style of wordless matronly authority.
Something not often noted in entertainment of today is self-sacrifice, in this case Radio's willingness to take the blame for a prank played on him by Johnny Clay. Clay convinced Radio that the girls' gym class teacher needed him to do something in the girls' locker room. Initially Radio said he can't do that, knowing it was wrong for a boy to go into the girls' locker room but Clay kept up the pressure until Radio believed Clay that the girls were not in the locker room. But they were. Even though Radio's future at the school was in danger because of him going into the girls' locker room, Radio would not tell Coach Jones who convinced him to do such a thing. Radio decided to sacrifice himself rather than get Clay into trouble. Whom else do we know sacrificed Himself for our sakes?
On a final note, there is some real world justice applied to wrong doers in this 105 minutes of absorbing story. Some till-you-puke, muscle-burning justice. There is also some justice through kindness, compassion and eye-opening realization.
I am not going to spoil any more of the plot and story just in case you decide the items of questionable programming in the Findings/Scoring section are palatable for your family.
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.
***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.|