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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Stealing Harvard (2002), PG-13
Analysis Date: September 18, 2002
CAP Score: 17
CAP Influence Density: 2.03

MinMax: -100

Stealing Harvard (2002) CAP Mini-thermometers

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NOTE: 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.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

STEALING HARVARD (PG-13) -- ...septic sinema. ... hardcore R-13...

Production: Imagine Entertainment, Revolution Studios
Distribution: Columbia Pictures
Director(s): Bruce McCulloch
Producer(s): Chris Brancato, Susan Cavan, Marty P. Ewing, Howard Lapides, Maureen Peyrot, Bert Salke
Written by/Screenplay: Story: Martin Hynes,Peter Tolan. Screenplay: Peter Tolan
Cinematography/Camera: Ueli Steiger
Music: Christophe Beck
Film Editing: Malcolm Campbell
Casting: Juel Bestrop, Jeanne McCarthy
Production Design: Gregory P. Keen
Art Direction: Steven Schwartz, James E. Tocci

I am not at all concerned about this being a spoiler of the movie. I hope no one ever sees it. My description of *Stealing Harvard* is septic sinema. Just about every manner of crude and vulgar "humor" is used.

John Plummer(Jason Lee) works for his fiance's father at a home healthcare company called "Homespital." John and Elaine Warner (Leslie Mann) are engaged to be married but have set a financial goal of $30,000 for down payment on a house before they tie the knot. After scrimping and saving, their goal is at last reached. Ready for marriage (as if marriage will excuse their long-term cohabitation), Elaine starts house-hunting but John is confronted with a commitment from his past. His niece Noreen (Tammy Blanchard), daughter of Patty (Megan Mullally) who does not know which of her many paramours is Noreen's father, reminds John of his promise of many years ago to pay for her college. Noreen was accepted into Harvard. Okay. Now all John wanted to know was how much Noreen needed. Over $29,000. Does John let his niece, of whom he is very fond, fend for herself, trash his word and satisfy his finance or does he regard his promise as binding and crash the plans of the John/Elaine pair to buy a home for raising a family?

Woe and misery! What to do? What to do? Through all this at John 's side is Duff (Tom Green), an amoral walking, talking definition of crude who reminds John an oath is an oath, that he has no choice but to honor his promise to Noreen. That Duff hates Elaine is of no influence, of course. Duff also comes up with an idea that criminals get away with theft every day. Why not steal the $30,000?

One of Duff's clients (Duff is a landscape "engineer") is rich and lives alone. It just so happened that on the day of interest Duff left open the window to the room with the safe. Reluctantly, John agrees to do the deed. But in the middle of having his hands in the cookie jar a .357 magnum with a seven inch barrel peeks around the corner into John's face. The rich owner is holding it. After an expected period of dialogue comes the best indication of the caliber of this "entertainment." The plot moves to the owner making John dress up as the owner's wife and pretending to be her as they "spoon" as the movie called it. No, I won't explain that term. And this is not the last time you'll see two men spooning if you decide to watch this cinematic cyanide.

With that plot foiled, Duff's introduces John to his Uncle Jack (Seymour Cassel) who is fed up with the State using his chain of liquor stores as lotto joints. Duff's uncle agrees to split the $70,000 in the lotto pot in one of his stores with John IF John steals it. Not willing to use real firearms, John insists he and Duff use toys guns which become a give-away for the level of threat the pair of bungling bandits present. Foiled again, John and Duff now seek the second 30 grand from Elaine's father (Dennis Farina) ... with Elaine's help. But wise to the treachery, Elaine's father lies in waiting with his dog to foil even this caper. I mention "with his dog" because the dog is a key character in the vulgarity of this PG-13 movie. The dog appears to attack Duff and clamp down on his privates but instead the episode becomes sexual as John (while he, Elaine and Duff watch the dog do the deed) says "I think he really likes you." And it is repeated with a smidgen of variation, emulating *America's Sweethearts* I guess (another PG-13/R-13). Yes, *Stealing Harvard is another R-13 . With a final score of 17 it is hardcore R-13. Zero in every investigation area but Murder/Suicide which was 100. What a wild scoring distribution!

Among the ignominy in *Stealing Harvard* are, in addition to the above mentioned examples, providing booze to teens [Luke 17:2}, several episodes of a man and a woman in bed together for premarital intercourse (nude but gender specific parts unseen) [1Cor. 7:2], transvestism at gunpoint, and firearm threats and gunfire to kill. Foul language [Matt. 12:36]. God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Women are used as toys. Extortion [Hab. 2:6]. Drinking. Gambling. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will tell the tale better than this Summary/Commentary.


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.

  • 1Cor. 7:2 But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband. [Note that I am hopefully wrong but the only terms I can find in the Bible for a sexually immoral woman are wayward wife and prostitute, lying in wait and multiplying the {equally immoral} unfaithful among men. God is quite serious about sexual purity. A nutshell of all His admonishments against sexual impurity is any sexual contact (including visual), conduct or activity outside a monogamous heterosexual marriage is sinful.]
  • Matt. 12:36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  • Hab. 2:6 "Will not all of them taunt him with ridicule and scorn, saying, " `Woe to him who piles up stolen goods and makes himself wealthy by extortion! How long must this go on?'

    *******Food for Daily Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change 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.

    Stealing Harvard (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • planning theft, repeatedly
  • firearm threat to head, repeatedly
  • breaking and entering, repeatedly
  • transvestism forced at gunpoint, repeatedly
  • attempted robbery, repeatedly
  • gunfire to kill
  • planning assault
  • robbery
  • illegal entry
  • fighting
  • extortion
  • gambling

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 28 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • lies
  • invasion of privacy
  • hate sound background music

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • man and woman in bed together, unmarried, for intercourse, repeatedly (nude but genitals unseen)
  • excessive cleavage
  • anatomical references
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure
  • sexual fetish, repeatedly
  • bikini carwash
  • story of sexual immorally with pride
  • implied prostitution
  • demand for sex
  • cohabitation
  • adult in underwear
  • women as toys
  • man/woman showering
  • oral sexual stimulation by dog, repeatedly
  • stripping for sex
  • seduction
  • admitting to long period of sexual immorality with impudence

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • beer
  • providing beer to teens
  • drinking
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • five uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 9 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "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 nearly seven 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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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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