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(1997), NR [Lite PG-NR*] (94.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
September 13, 2012
September 17, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(1997), NR [Lite PG-NR*] ... mother using her youthful sins to excuse the sins of her son

Production (US): Summer Monkeys Productions, Fremantlemedia Enterpirses to Wesscott Marketing, Edge productions
Distribution (US): BWE Distribution Inc.
Director(s): Michael Anderson
Producer(s): David Doerksen. Ellen Freyer, Chris Harding
Screenplay by: Greg Taylor, Jim Strain
Based on: Book by Wilson Rawls
Cinematography/Camera: Michael Storey
Music: George Blondheim
Film Editing: Lenka Svab
Casting: Junie Lowry Johnson, Libby Goldstein
Production Design: Seamus Flannery
Viewed on BWF Distribution DVD

The setting is the summer of 1910. Twelve year old Jay Barry Lee (Corey Seiver) loves Annie. Not to worry. Annie is a pony. Jay Barry is obsessed with buying her. The price is $75.00 and he has $10.00. Jay Barry plans to work extra all summer at the General Store owned by his grandfather Sam Ferrans (Wilfred Brimley) to get enough money to buy Annie. But grandpa says no. Jay can work his regular work but cannot work extra because money is very tight.

Not long after that disappointment a poster appears that announces a total of $85 reward for the capture and return of four chimpanzees that escaped the circus following a train derailment. The apes in this show had no tails and the soles of their feet had no hair. Why the writer called them "monkeys" I do not know.

Now Jay Barry has a source of enough money to buy Annie ... if he can capture the apes and get them back to their owner. But the chimps have set up a camp in the river bottoms where Jay Barry is not allowed to go. In addition, their camp is set up near the moonshine still of Bayliss Hatcher (Don Francks) ... and his double barrel shotgun.

That introduces the central theme of the rest of the show, which I will spoil no further.

About the rating of this film. The page from which the DVD I viewed came reports it is not rated (NR). The Internet Movie Database page reports it is rated G. I rather believe it is not rated since there is no MPAA certification at the end of the rolling credits. We'll see to what rating it is equivalent.

. . .

After crunching the numbers, the CAP Analysis Model determined the content of this film is equivalent to some of the lighter PG-rated films in our comparative baseline database. Please note the individual investigation area discussions that follow. But realize that the Findings/Scoring section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

At the end of the film the writers had Jay Barry doing a noble and selfless act with which his father was well pleased. But that seems to be a device used by so many "kids' films" writers -- to spend most of the film time on the child being arrogant and disrespectful then for a few moments toward the end portray the child as a sort of hero. To me, as cynical as I am, such a maneuver seems to be using a short noble act to excuse a long string of ignoble acts, sort of an example of "Go ahead and do the wrong things as long as you are sorry for them afterwards." By His Word, my Father and yours does not see things that way ... a noble destination does not excuse an ignoble path to it. God will forgive us of our sins if we humble ourselves to Him and ask forgiveness believing but He will not excuse any sin. Even after we are forgiven of a sin it is still sinful if it is repeated. Recall the prostitute Jesus forgave. After Jesus told the men ready to stone her to death that he who was without sin may cast the first stone, all the men dropped their stones and left. Jesus then asked her whether any of the men were still around to condemn her. After she replied "no man, sir" Jesus said "neither do I (condemn you). In that forgiveness Jesus did not excuse the sin of prostitution, He forgave the woman of it, not the sin itself. Jesus even reminded her of the sin of prostitution by telling her "Go and sin no more": that repeating any sin would be as sinful the first time; that the second time of a sin does not excuse the first, nor does the third excuse the second, nor does the thousandth More on this in our Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged publication. "Judge not..." does not mean we may not judge at all. We must judge. But judge the deed, not the doer.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 68 out of 100
The only violence and/or crime noted in the entire 94.5 minutes of the show was a train derailment (with injuries but no gore), adolescent fighting (with one episode rather brutal), petty theft of a pocket knife, storm peril, Jay seeing a storm fatality up close and rescue peril. While these matters of violence/crime were not all that graphic, there were enough to drag down this investigation area score more than 35%.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 51 out of 100
Though not nearly as extreme or graphic as are typical of R-rated features, there are certainly as many instances of impudence and/or hatred in this film as there are in some of the lighter R-rated features in our comparative baseline database of films. Most of the instances of impudence and/or hatred are adolescent disrespect, arrogance and defiance. A few of them led to endangerment of the children. [Exod. 20:12] But I cannot ignore the mother using her youthful sins to excuse the sins of her son such as the mother excusing the son running away with her own running away as a child. The sins of one never excuse the sins of another. I wonder if filmmakers will ever again be able to make "kids films" that demonstrate and praise wholesome adolescent behavior without contrasting it to their aberrant behavior then, at the end, make a "hero" of the child because of his/her noble behavior?

I find it disturbing sometimes that makers/writers of "kid's films" put the children in roles of argumentative superiority over their parents (if parents are portrayed at all) and portray the parents as brutal, uncaring and draconian authoritarians. Such emboldening content picked up by naturally power-hungry adolescents is one of the strongest reasons so many kids suffer the "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" attitude. What else might one expect of most adolescents who are influenced by the portrayal of a like-aged character being satisfyingly and successfully defiant of "cruel parents" while throwing personal safety to the wind? And then, when all is said and done, when the filmmakers portray the parents as submissive to the demands of an adolescent, what emotional fires do you suppose such dissonance manufactures in the developing character of the typical adolescent who, by no fault of his/her own, is yet to amass any significant measure of experiential maturity? Such is a matter of stealing childhood from children ... in the name of entertainment.

A pretentious attitude (impudence, arrogance, a proud look, "haughty eyes") whether conjured by the content of entertainment or other "forces", is the first in a list of seven attitudes God hates. [Prov. 6:16 - 19] This is not to mention God's admonition that children are to honor their parents. [Exod. 20:12] Not to further mention that to honor your parents is one of the Ten Commandments. Not to mention also that to honor your parents is the first commandment with promise. [Eph. 6:2] Not to mention even further that to have a humble spirit, not an arrogant one, is one of the blessings named in the Beatitudes Jesus Himself told us ... the first one. [Matt. 5:3-11]

Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
There is no behavior or imagery in this film that applies to this investigation area.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 86 out of 100
Bayliss Hatcher is a drunk and operates a moonshine still. He is also noted drinking his moonshine. Not once does he try to get Jay Barry to drink any of it, just Jay Barry's dog which will not. However, the monkeys are noted as being drunk on Hatcher's moonshine whiskey.

In view of the findings of the American College of Physicians (ACP), I think it would have been better regarding influencing youthful viewers to have had Hatcher engage in some other illegal venture such as poaching rather than making an alcoholic beverage. A 2002 study by the ACP revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The report entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
    There is no blasphemy, witchcraft, sorcery, occultism or anything of the kind portrayed in this film

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    No murders or suicides are portrayed.



    If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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.


  • Exod. 20:12 Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  • Prov. 6:16 - 19 There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes (the KJV says "proud look"), a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
  • Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
  • Matt. 5:3 - 11 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • 1 Cor. 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 - 10 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not! Even if you were to defeat the entire Babylonian army that is attacking you and only wounded men were left in their tents, they would come out and burn this city down. [The "destroyers form within" do not have to be army warriors. They can be the ones who destroy through corruption of moral standards as well, such as filmmakers who perpetuate desensitization against wholesome standards. They aren't going anywhere, folks. Not until Jesus comes again.]
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it.]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*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 one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize, to entice to sin. And remember, mom/dad, "little ones" is mikros, meaning less by birth; younger. All of your children are younger than you and less by birth than you. So, "little ones" includes at-home teens.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [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. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    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 objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    Summer of the Monkeys (1997) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 65 out of 100
  • train derailment with injuries but no gore
  • fighting between adolescent boys
  • petty theft
  • firearm for offensive
  • rescue peril
  • gunfire to warn, twice
  • storm peril
  • child discovering a dead man, storm death

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 51 out of 100
  • adolescent defiance of parental authority, frequent, at times leading to endangerment [Exod. 20:12]
  • trespassing, repeatedly
  • sibling animosity
  • adolescent slamming door for parents' benefit
  • adolescent sneaking out
  • adolescent disrespect of parents
  • lying
  • adolescent runaway
  • one use of profanity
  • embracing adolescent defiance

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 86 out of 100
  • preparing a pipe for smoking
  • moonshine still
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    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 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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