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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2004), PG-13 -- attacks and ridicules Scripture and Christian doctrine.
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): James Forsyth Casting Inc.
Distribution (US): Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Distributing Corporation, United Artists
Director(s): Brian Dannelly
Producer(s): H. Kaye Dyal, Steven Gagnon, Michael Ohoven, David Prybil, David Reed Prybil, Kerry Rock, Cal Shumiatcher, Sandy Stern, Michael Stipe, William Vince
Written by: Brian Dannelly, Michael Urban
Cinematography/Camera: Bobby Bukowski
Music: Christophe Beck
Film Editing: Pamela Martin
Casting: Heike Brandstatter, Coreen Mayrs
Production Design: Tony Devenyi
Art Direction: Kristina Lyne
Viewed at: United Artists/Regal Entertainment, Hulen, Fort Worth
This is a long report and I hope you will have the patience to read it in its entirety. Further, this report is dedicated to TM in honor of his generous donation which made this analysis possible.
ZERO out of 100 in Sexual Immorality! ZERO in Offense to God! Rather reveals the targeting of this film, doesn't it?
Left to right in the image of the cast above is Patrick (Patrick Fugit), Mary (Jena Malone), Hillary Faye (Mandy Moore), Roland (Macaulay Culkin) and Cassandra (Eve Amurri). By the way, in the poster above that is a mano cornuto or horned hand Cassandra is displaying. A sly contrast it is, befitting the caliber and theme of this film, to have a "Christian" character (Moore) holding her hands in the prayer position at one (left) end of the grouping in the poster above then have a non-Christian character display a cornuto at the opposite end of the grouping, "opposite" being the point.
Mary. That is not only the name of the mother who kissed the face of God, it is the name of the lead character in this film. And what better way to mock Jesus, born of a virgin, than to mock His mother by using "Mary" for a young woman who becomes pregnant by immoral sex while other characters say things like "Don't you think she (Mary, mother of Jesus) made it all up" in a film that attacks and ridicules Scripture and Christian doctrine. I am surprised this film appeared in the buckle of the Bible belt, Fort Worth, Texas.
Mary, "I've been born-again for as long as I can remember" (Jena Malone), is the daughter of Lilly (Mary-Louise Parker), the "#1 Christian Interior Decorator" in a burb of Baltimore. I assume it is the Baltimore area since one of the public busses had "Baltimore County" on the front of it. Nowhere did the film say where Mary and Louise lived. But the film did say Mary attended American Eagle Christian High School whose principal was Pastor Skip Wheeler (Martin Donovan). Unhappily married Pastor Skip and Mary's single mother, Lilly developed an adulterous relationship limited onscreen to a kiss. [Prov. 6:32]
Pastor Skip said "The ultimate rebel ... Jesus." Jesus was not a rebel. Jesus was and is the standard by whom all others are measured. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. [John 14:6] All those who opposed, rejected and defied Him were (and are) the rebels. To say Jesus is a rebel is to say Jesus was wrong about being "the way, the truth, and the life."
Patrick is Pastor Skip's skate boarding son. Both had been on a mission in South American for quite some time so Patrick is somewhat withdrawn socially for a while. Hillary Faye is the model Christian and leader of a Christian band. And being the model Christian she is portrayed as superficially demonstrative, intensely shallow and vain, seeking only to fill her own belly. Roland is Hillary's wheelchair-bound brother who has been wheelchair-bound since 6 years old because of Hillary. Cassandra is a street-smart Jewish girl with an attitude attending the Christian high school by no wish of her own. It was either Christian school or home school for Cassandra.
One day when Mary was swimming with her boyfriend, Dean (Chad Faust), Dean gargles underwater to Mary that he thinks he is gay. When Dean told Mary this she jerked and hit her head underwater. Dean became unable to rescue Mary for some reason but a nearby construction worker dove in to rescue Mary. As the construction worker neared Mary underwater, he appeared to her as Jesus who told her to help Dean. By the way, the construction worker was a carpenter. Mary felt Jesus told her to give herself to Dean. And that she did. To help him overcome his burden of homosexuality.
To address the point of Jesus telling Mary to have sex with Dean to help him, Jesus never sinned and never encouraged us to do so. Why would He sin by encouraging Mary to sin? If Mary heard someone tell her to have immoral sex with Dean to help him overcome homosexuality, it was not Jesus. As a Christian Mary should have known that Jesus would never tell someone to sin. But then, this is not a Christian film.
Using the example of the prostitute the townsmen wanted to stone to death [John 8:7], Jesus loved the prostitute enough to intercede for her and forgive her, but He did NOT excuse the sin of prostitution nor did Jesus give her a "you poor baby" coddling. He even reminded her of the sin of prostitution by telling her "Go, and sin no more", touching upon the need to repent. [John 8:11] Prostitution was just as sinful after He forgave her of it as it was before He forgave her. Jesus did not argue the judgment or the law. He argued whether anyone present was worthy of the authority to kill the woman. Likewise with the sin of practicing homosexuality or lesbianism and even heterosexual immorality and any other sin. Jesus will forgive the sin but will NOT excuse it. It will be just as sinful to practice the sins after being forgiven of them as before they are forgiven.
Thus, we must take His lead and love they who choose to practice sexual immorality (which includes homosexual behaviors) enough to compassionately and lovingly try to help them out of the bondage to it but be not afraid to tell them the Truth. The Truth is love. Lies are hate. And lies never heal. God's Truth always heals if we can be strong and wise enough to embrace it. Jesus was never afraid to tell the Truth no matter who heard it. Neither should we be afraid to tell the Truth no matter who hears it. Let us not be ashamed to speak it compassionately and gently when necessary, and boldly when needed. They who have ears, let them hear. [Mark 4:23] Indeed, Jesus spoke the Truth to tell us of our sins. So should we. Even our own. Our own!?!? Oh, my! There is where the Pharisaic begin to cringe and tremble and cough up fancy words and rationalizations. Yes, even our own. Let me begin a new trend by admitting I am a sinner, once unworthy but by the Precious Blood and He who shed it am now worthy and new.
Shortly after coming out to Mary, Dean was discovered by his parents who found a gay porn magazine in his room then admitted him to the Christian Mercy House. The Christian Mercy House was established to help unwed mothers, drug addicts and homosexual practitioners [1Cor. 6:9-10]. Mercy House is spoken of - how else - in a way to quietly and softly ... "intelligently" ... guide the viewer into questioning the legitimacy of the services of Mercy House, the same way the script treats anything Christian in this film.
There is much more to the Spiritual underhandedness of this film, much of which is likely invisible to the unaware, uninformed and inexperienced. I would love to itemize all the subtle and gossamer mockeries of the teachings of Jesus in this summary but cannot. I would love to itemize for you all the faint as well as bold attacks of "Christian" if for no other reason than to share with you the deceit and trickery of which you might not be wise by they who would have "Christ" obliterated from life by attack from within through feeding the vulnerable egos of the multitude of soft and weak believers and the unbelievers, discoloring His Will for us brushstroke by brushstroke with corrupt but legitimate-sounding and enticingly disguised deceit and trickery of which I am certain most of us feel we are quite aware and wise. But in claiming ourselves to be wise we may make ourselves fools [Rom. 1:22-23] for the sly and subtle cunning artists who would do and say anything to mislead and redirect us away from or turn us against anything to do with Jesus. I used to be the biggest fool of all until I dedicated myself to this, His CAP Ministry nine years ago and was almost immediately made to realize that while I was familiar with the easy and surface Truth I was blind to the gut-deep Truth and slave to many lies such as in this film. But by His Grace and His Word I can now see (discern) "demons" that were previously invisible to me. I am not being arrogant or "holier-than-thou" in this but am rather praying that through sharing with you His work though me you too will gain wisdom to replace the ignorance we all suffer at one point or another and realize the reality and necessity of the Good Fight and how intricate and detailed it can be. [Prov. 4:7]
Saved! is quite likely more dangerous to those with undeveloped or underdeveloped Spiritual health than Dogma or any of the other similar films that situationally redefine, counterfeit and conditionally apply God's Word and His wishes for us. [Job 15:35, Rom. 16:17-18] This film, in its setting of teen and preteen identity, speaks in a way that directly reaches they who are quite likely of the age stratum least equipped to discern fine-sounding and self-serving lies and they who are most likely to entertain and incorporate into their own decision-making and coping skills the changes and/or redirection implied and suggested by its strange philosophy and vain deceit after the traditions of man, not of Christ. [Col. 2:1-8, esp. 1:8]
I couldn't write fast enough to capture all the insults to the Christian faith of to God's Word. This film, rather its writers, tried to make man's understanding, perception and expectations appear righteous while making God's Word optional and even discardable and unrighteous. It mixed well the Truth with untruths to make the untruths sound like the Truth. [Rom. 1:25] Though Rom. 1:25 speaks to the behaviors of they who chose to practice homosexuality and lesbianism of the day, it fits well with the promotion of acceptance of the practice of homosexuality in this film. Much smooth talk was launched at the viewer to deceive the Spiritually undeveloped or underdeveloped [again Rom. 16:17-18] to feed well the doubting, the arrogant, the rebellious and the haughty whether intentional on the part of the filmmakers or not.
I do not want to make more of a sermon of this than I already have but I feel it is well that I share as much as I can of what you will find in Saved! if you decide to watch it, with or without your kids.
This film relies greatly on slick dialogue to counterfeit true Christianity to suit worldly interests and to claim true Christianity is counterfeit. It promoted man deciding which of God's Words are true and which are not; which of them we may treat as relative and gave unjust meaning to quotings of His Word. It was as if we had to be good for Jesus to love us. Jesus does not love us because of who we are, He loves us because of who He is. God does not hate anyone of us - not one. He hates our sins, i.e., our choices of behavior, not us.
A Christian rock band that played at Mary's prom was a good example of modern times rather than His Word deciding for us what it means to be Christian. The band used a song with words of praise for Jesus that sounded more like it should be sung around a boiling cauldron. Maybe the words praised Jesus but as often as not the sounds say more than the words. Consider this. Which of the following would you say likely has a more humble and Jesus-like sound?
(A) "Jesus loves me this I know. For the Bible tells me so."
(B) "JEEEEEEEEEEEZZZUUUUSSSSS -GRIND -- SCREEEEETCH- LUUUUUUVV -SCREEEEECH- VVVVVVVZZZZZZZ MEEEEEEEE ....YAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH. -EEEEEEEEEEEEEE- -UUUUU -SCREEEEECH- UUUHHHHH- THISSSSSSSSS AHHHHHHHH KNOOOOOOOOOOW. -SLAAAAAAM- -SLAAAAAAAM- FOR THUH BAAAAAAAAAAABLE TEEELLLLLLLLLLS MEEEEEEEE SOOOOAAAAHHH -SCREEEEECH- SOOOOAAAAHHHSOOOOAAAAHHH"
They both say the same thing but say it quite differently. Too many use the sounds of hate and acid like (B) above to speak words of praise to Jesus not realizing or not wanting to realize that what is heard is not what is said but is arrogance and haughtiness and emotional fire or at least feeding them, especially to like-minded people [Rom. 1:32].
In one scene a young girl who ostensibly had been taught that believers go to Heaven after they die, whose Christian father had died, was portrayed as running into traffic to be killed so she could go to Heaven to be with her daddy. If that was not a "message" to not teach the young about going to Heaven after they die, I don't know that it is.
Toward the end of the show at Mary's prom, Dean argued with Pastor Skip who wanted to throw Dean and his boyfriend out because their chosen behavior was against God's Word and to let them stay would be to the others implied acceptance of such behavior. And Great Scott did the filmmakers milk that for all it's worth by making it so that God's Word was suspect, not Dean's chosen behavior: that Dean's behavior was the standard, not God's Word. One of the things Dean said to Pastor Skip was "Why would God make us all different if He wanted us all to be the same?" To they who know where Dean was going with that, it was just an attempt to excuse his chosen lifestyle. NOTHING we do is God's "fault." Period. All that we do is by choice. Every single non-autonomic movement of the human body is a choice. No exceptions. No debate. God did make us all different, but He did not make us different so our differences could excuse sinful behavior.
There is a l-o-t more to the assaults on "Christian" in this most certainly non-Christian film and I hope there is enough here and in the Findings/Scoring listing for you to form you own judgment about the content of this, what I would call, a dangerous film that attacks and ridicules Scripture and Christian doctrine. The performances in this film seem to fit 2Pet. 2:1 - 14.
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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Unique. Posted 5/27/04
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