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


For Wanton Violence/Crime and Impudence/Hate
Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Stuart Little (1999), (PG)
CAP Score: 89
CAP Influence Density: 0.21
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*Stuart Little* (PG) -- but not really PG.

As I watched *Stuart Little* I found myself wondering why it was rated PG and not G. There were some issues of ignominy in it but not nearly as much as the vast majority of PG movies nowadays.

The CAP final score for *Stuart Little* was 89 (equivalent to lower end G movies available in 1995 which earned a scoring range of 100 to 87), just two points above the upper cell boundary for PG movies of that period. Each of the four CAP Investigation Areas of Sex/Homosexuality, Drugs/Alcohol, Offense to God, and Murder/Suicide earned scores of 100 (the maximum). But Wanton Violence/Crime earned a score of 70 (equivalent to PG movies available in 1995) and Impudence/Hate earned 62 (equivalent to PG-13 movies available in 1995). This is one of the great features of the CAP analysis model -- it identifies in what areas the most and least invasive programming are found. So, that tells you that the most invasive programming is likely to be one or more examples of impudence and/or hate such as lies, foul language, hate, arrogance, nihilism and other matters of freedom from accountability, authority, and consequences.

Mr. and Mrs. Little were indeed caring and loving parents, though maybe a little ditzy at times. Stuart, their newly adopted mouse as a son, was not welcome at first by his human brother, George but the writers were kleenex-for-sniffles efficient at closing that gap as the show progressed. The writers were also efficient at making the hit squad mannerisms and tactics somewhat realistic since they were also efficient at making the animal-human schism seem as background (a low-visibility presence). The writers were also efficient at showing how even though one may not like or may even hate a family member, one can still show love and compassion for and tolerance of the undesirable member. A positive influence indeed.

As influential but in a negative sense were the issues of violence and impudence. Though "spoken" by a cat, "I'm gonna kill you" using a strong and intimidating voice combined with the dark image the cat projected can make an impression on your child that you might not want made. The solicitation of a hit squad to kill a family member might give another unwanted influence on your child. "We'll break his little arms. Then we'll break his little legs [before we eat him]" might do the same. "I'll kill you" was heard numerous times. Having provided 24-7 care for 22 youngsters over seven years I can tell you it is likely some kids who watch this movie will emulate that expression.

The writers were good at portraying the pain of loss, too. As Stuart ran away because he was led to believe by cruel lies that he was unwanted (another influence of its own), the pain showed by the rest of the family members may find unpleasant anchoring in your child's memory. And yes, there was unacceptable language -- the three/four letter word vocabulary four times, but God's name in vain was not noted.

So many of our visitors seem to be relying only on this Summary/Commentary for a full assessment of this movie. This is not possible. For the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie, visit the Findings/Scoring section below.

FINDINGS / SCORING: Stuart Little (1999) CAP Thermometers

NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • "I'm gonna kill you"
  • soliciting a hit squad to kill
  • pain of separation
  • "We'll break his little arms, then we'll break his little legs"
  • gang attack mannerisms
  • several threats to kill

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • "Talk to my [posterior]
  • flatulence
  • I'm not gonna hurt you. I just wanna show you something" to try to convince the pursued to come within reach
  • cheating to win
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • Lies in cruelty

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted
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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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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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