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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

You've Got Mail (1998), PG
CAP Score: 76, CAP ID: 0.44

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

Executive Summary / Commentary
Findings / Scoring

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You've Got Mail -- a warm and gentle love story, but every bit PG. Tom Hanks (Forrest Gump,Saving Private Ryan) and Meg Ryan (City of Angels, Sleepless in Seattle) were perfect for the parts. The talent was there. The chemistry was there. Even this pragmatic stone-faced objective investigator was moved emotionally by the movie. I was glad I got to see You've Got Mail. But delightful as it was, it had most of the ignominious sores of other PG movies -- a delightful movie made uncomfortable by ignominy.

Though the movie was free of violence and murder, the three/four letter vocabulary infected the script like loose choked "00" shotgun pellets around a paper target. God's name in vain was there, too, once with the four letter expletive. While there was no nudity; full, partial OR brief, two couples were living together unmarried. Drugs to control sleep, presentation of failed marriage as routine, and a father's fiance making advances at his son disrupted an otherwise neat show. And booze whet the choreography. Note also that while Christmas was part of the script, Jesus was not part of it, nor was even the Cross.

FINDINGS / SCORING: You've Got Mail (1998) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Impudence*/Hate (I)(1) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Offense to God (O)(2) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Other examples of entertainment ignominy, each warranting the loss of the minimum point level, included

  • a man sitting on a woman's bed with her in it (both unmarried)
  • sexual motions by a woman on a man
  • five instances of unmarried couples living together, once in bed together
  • sexual talk and innuendo
  • 10 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • 10 uses of God's name in vain, once with the four letter expletive
  • 8 uses of alcoholic beverages, with one bar scene
  • repeated presentation of failed marriages
  • the use of drugs to control sleep
  • two instances of a father's fiance making advances at his son.
  • protrayal of Christmas without Jesus and without even the Cross
  • two instances of gamming on a talk show
  • the use of lies (during a warm, loving 'talk')
  • homosexual suggestion
  • "Here I am Lord, knocking on your back door"

    * "Impunity/Hate" is being changed to "Impudence/Hate."

    (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 is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

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

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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