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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG-13 -- "I HATE YOU" ... "YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE"
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): High Arc Productions, Beacon Pictures, Mandeville Films, Touchstone Pictures
Distribution (US): Buena Vista Pictures
Director(s): Garry Marshall
Producer(s): Ashok Amritraj, David Hoberman, Mario Iscovich, Todd Lieberman, David Scharf, Ellen H. Schwartz, Karen Stirgwolt
Story: Patrick J. Clifton, Beth Rigazio
Screenplay: Jack Amiel, Michael Begler
Cinematography/Camera: Charles Minsky, Michael Stone
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Bruce Green, Tara Timpone
Casting: Mali Finn
Production Design: Steven J. Jordan
Art Direction: William Hiney
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
This analysis is dedicated to Mrs. E. V. for her generous donation of $80. Helping Mrs. E. V. were K. H. with $2, R. T. with $15, J. T. with $20, A. L. with $3 and S B. with $5. Though their combined donations were not enough to meet minimum costs, their help was most appreciated indeed.
Raising Helen had some good things to say. And it had some not-so-good things to say. But what might be good for your children is up to you. We just tell you about the moral and ethical assaults being fed to our kids in and as entertainment, you decide whether the film is fit for your family.
Lindsay (Felicity Huffman) and Paul Davis (Sean O'Bryan) are killed and leave behind there three children, under 16 years old Audrey (Hayden Panettiere), preteen Henry (Spencer Breslin) and little Sarah (Abigail Breslin) with the nose boogies. Also surviving Lindsay and Paul are Lindsay's sisters Jenny Portman (Joan Cusack) and Helen Harris (Kate Hudson). Linday's Last Will leaves the children not to Jenny, the obviously best choice since Jenny is already a mother but to single Kate who is a high ranking associate of a successful model agency. Kate didn't have the time to care for children. At the start, anyway.
A subplot involves Kate signing the New Jersey kids up to attend school near her in Manhattan. Seeing the level of debauchery in the [stereotype] public schools, Kate signed the kids up at a clean-looking Lutheran school, the St. Barbara's school whose boss was principal Pastor Dan Parker (John Corbett), a new age "sexy man of God." Pastor Dan was instrumental in helping the kids learn living. But not as instrumental as Jenny as she chased Audrey out of a motel room with a kid who thought "What's the big deal? It's just prom."
One other good influence in Audrey's life occurred when she was caught having a party when Kate was gone. Lost for what to do when she showed up, Kate acted quite permissive to Audrey's insistence that it was a harmless get-together - with drinking. All the kids acted, of course, "We ain't doing nothin' wrong!" [Prov. 30:20] But when advice came long distance from Jenny to kick their little behinds out, Kate was unable to do so. To the rescue was a veteran mother neighbor whose name I wish I could remember. A delightful lady who used a baseball bat to chase the "baggypants" (underwear showing) kids out in no uncertain terms.
That is it for the plot summary. Cost-cutting measures are never pleasant.
Well, Raising Helen earned a 62 which places it confidently in the scoring range earned by PG-13 movies in the comparative baseline database (55 to 67 our of 100), but that does not mean it is fit for 13 year olds. YOU decide that for your 13 year olds, indeed any minors living in your house, not the MPAA.
Raising Helen does contains some of the typical Hollywood adolescent screaming of "I HATE YOU" and "YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE" by malcontent teens whose only perception of the real world, by no fault of their own, comes from the big screen and music: who, by no fault of their own, do not yet have any real idea what real life is beyond the big screen but are certain they know since the entertainment industry feeds them everything they want and need to know about real life, dontcha know. I wonder what kids did to learn about real life before the big screen. I think they used real life to learn about real life. And their parents!
Six uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by a teen and once by a pastor. The only instance of violence was the bat lady swinging a baseball bat at the mouthy kids challenging moral limits. Issues of arrogance against fair authority (in addition to the above notations) are typical of a teen flick and abound in Raising Helen: an underage teen getting a fake ID (and an adult congratulating her); teens uttering vulgar expressions; teens trying to minimize the gravity of sexual irresponsibility to excuse manufacturing sexual freedom [again Prov. 30:20 plus Heb. 13:17]; additional matters of teen arrogance against fair authority [Exod. 20:12]. And we wonder why our teens are this way in real life when the are encouraged and emboldened to be that way from every entertainment angle [Eccl. 8:11, Luke 17:2].
Issues of sexual immorality included camera angle to force viewer on private parts, dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, a request for sex, an invitation to sex, excessive cleavage, below navel skin challenging exposure of that which follows, teens pushing the limits of sexual morality and more. [Gal. 5:19]
The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will tell you all that was found.
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.
(The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
Single Christian Network
Kids, Teens and Home Vertical Portal
|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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