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A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word
Analysis Date: May 23, 2003
CAP Score: 48 out of 100
CAP Influence Density: 1.36
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(2003), PG-13 -- This movie has problems but cheapening of God and believers is NOT one of them...
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Shady Acres Entertainment, The Pitbull Co., Beverly Detroit, Interscope Communications, Partizan, Pit Bull Productions
Distribution (US): Spyglass Entertainment, Universal Pictures, Buena Vista International
Director(s): Tom Shadyac
Producer(s): Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Michael Bostick, James D. Brubaker, Jim Carrey, Linda Fields, Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, Tom Shadyac, Janet L. Wattles
Written by/Screenplay: Story: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe. Screenplay: Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe, Steve Oedekerk
Cinematography/Camera: Dean Semler
Music: John Debney
Film Editing: Scott Hill
Casting: Junie Lowry-Johnson
Production Design: Linda DeScenna
Art Direction: James Nedza
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6, Granbury, Texas
WARNING: There are spoilers in this report.
The evening news anchor for WKBW Channel 7 in Buffalo, NY is retiring. Reporter Bruce Nolan (Jim Carrey) is a hopeful for anchor but is cheated out of the position. A rival of his (Steven Carell I think) sneaks and slithers his way into the right moments to get the best stories. Bruce has an on-the-air tantrum and gets fired. That is it! It can't get any worse for Bruce. As do many who do not understand God by His Word, Bruce blames God. "The only one around here not doing his job is YOU!" ANSWER ME!" And He does. This movie has problems but cheapening of God and believers is NOT one of them such as in the spiritual chop job, Dogma. Jim Carrey is well suited for the irreverent type and is almost a misfit for the part of a believer. Morgan Freeman is an excellent choice to play the part of God with the countenance of unquestionable wisdom, immeasurable patience and unconditional love with a dash of potential righteous wrath peeking out from under it all.
Through an "indestructible" pager, God leads Bruce to meet with Him in an empty warehouse. As God mops the floor of the empty warehouse, He makes an offer to Bruce he can't refuse -- to be God for a week. God gives Bruce all His powers under two conditions. One, that Bruce tells no one what God has done and two, "Don't mess with free will." What a clever and appropriate condition. God indeed gives us each a free will to either obey Him or disobey Him (not to decide on our own what is and is not sinful). It is our choice whether we obey or disobey. While there are consequences for disobedience, I believe God will not take away our free will for any reason. He doesn't want puppets. And He wants us to be accountable for our behaviors. Though He could, for example, save the little girl from the drunk driver, He will not take away the drunk driver's free will to drive while drunk even to save the little girl. He may, through fervent prayer for her safety, change things to where the little girl and the drunk do not meet, but He will not take away the drunk's free will to drive drunk. You'll find by close inspection that all the ills and troubles we suffer in life are due to someone's free will somewhere along the line, not God's Will.
And use God's powers Bruce does. Gladly. Selfishly [James 3:16]. For material gain and personal advantage. Repeatedly. In one of the visits from God, He asks Bruce "How many [people] have you helped?" That question makes Bruce realize he has helped only himself. Before Bruce was given God's powers Bruce had encountered some street punks harassing a homeless man. Bruce tried to help the homeless man but only got beat up. But after being given God's powers, Bruce used God's powers for revenge by causing a monkey to exit the [unseen] posterior of one of the punks then back in again plus a plague of bees on the rest of the punks. In an evening of intimacy with his live-in girlfriend, Grace Connelly (Jennifer Aniston), Bruce used God's powers to pull the Moon closer to the Earth to make it bigger and more romantic, the resulting tidal wave notwithstanding.
There are many additional examples of Bruce's selfish use of divine power. One was to enlarge the breast size of Grace. Another was to part cars in a traffic jam so he could get through. Bruce also used the divine powers to cause his news anchor rival to stutter and make offensive sounds during a live broadcast. Bruce creates a sports car from his wrecked car and creates a stylish wardrobe. Bruce even uses his new powers to create disasters and other news stories while he is on the air with another story, apparently without regard for human life.
There are some positive features in this film. Though cohabitation is sinful [1 Cor. 7:1-2], Grace appears to be a caring woman of decent deeds (though deeds are not enough to be Saved [Eph. 2:4 - 9]) and turns out to often be in prayer for Bruce. Even Bruce prays "I want You to decide what is right for me. I surrender to Your Will!" The movie praises drug-free stay-in-school kids, persevering single moms and other seemingly routine issues which the cinematic Sovereign calls true miracles. In one case, even after being told thou shalt not tempt the Lord, your God, Bruce puts God to the test by asking Him how many fingers is he holding up behind his back. After several "plays" which God tells the correct number of fingers each time, God tells Bruce he is holding up seven fingers. Bruce shouts "Wrong! Five!" and whips his right hand around spread open to show God the correct answer was five fingers. Sure enough, there were seven fingers ... on one hand. Bruce also pleads with God for a sign and ends up behind a stakebed truck loaded with glowing street "stop", "wrong way" and other warning signs that Bruce never notices. I think there were even a "no left turn" and a "no right turn" sign. How appropriate! The true path is straight and narrow [Matt. 7:14].
Earlier in the show God turns on a light in the warehouse ceiling plenum space that Bruce finds exceedingly bright and God explains that many people find the light uncomfortable and spend their lives hiding from it. And, whether intentional, this speaks to the Light of His Word, which may be the closest the film gets to referring to Jesus [John 1:1]. Many of us indeed do spend our lives hiding from His Word, trying to hide from that awful "s" word, sin.
Among the most offensive of offenses in this movie is Bruce yelling at God "You suck!", but cleverness about the sovereignty of our Lord is comfortably placed at opportune moments as God shows compassion. mercy and forgiveness to Bruce. Toward the end of the show Bruce even drops to his knees in desperation on a highway and pleads with God in prayer looking up to Him as he prays. Then an aura of warm light slowly grows from behind Bruce's face and head. Next we hear a diesel truck air horn as the aura of light continues to grow about Bruce's head. God later explains to Bruce the practicality of reality - drop to your knees in the middle of a highway and you are likely to get hit. That sequence probably said as much as any other. Specifically, do not expect "rockets and fireworks" miracles from your prayers, you may get them but don't expect them, and don't expect your prayers to keep you from harm if you are acting stupid and careless. In other words, don't be like the snake teasers and let them bite you then expect God to save you from their lethal poison.
The picture painted of God is incomplete in many ways including a very serious way. Although Freeman's portrayal of God is embraceable by all who believe in God, there is no Jesus. Not even a mention of God's Son nor any mention of our need for redemption through the precious blood of Jesus [Eph. 1:7]. In fact, the only time the name "Jesus" is used is in vain [Deut. 5:11]. And I believe that terrible "s" word is absent as if nothing is sinful and nothing has consequences. Bruce cursed God and "got away with it." What a terrible behavioral template to plant. God requires that we cannot come to Him in Heaven expect by Jesus [John 14:6]. Also, though I cannot find it in Scripture I believe I was taught that no man shall see the face of God. Even Moses saw only a burning bush [Exod. 3:1 - 4], not God's face -- but Bruce did. Yet another missing part is that there is no moral judgment or accountability to His Word. While Grace is lightly dissatisfied with the live-in arrangement between her and Bruce and longs for marriage with him and a family, there is no mention of the sinfulness of premarital sex [1Ths. 4:3, 1 Cor. 6:18] nor any other sinful behavior.
While there is much to be said for this movie, there is much to be said against it. When a film about God is made, there is always going to be someone to say it is not right because it does not follow their particular pattern of faith and belief. Maybe that is reason enough for everyone to shed their own understanding of God [Prov. 3:5], which unfortunately and maybe even innocently too often ends up being situational redefinition, counterfeiting and conditional application of his Word to suit cultural tolerances [Rom. 16:18/A>], and embrace what He says about Himself AND His Son in the Scriptures [2 Tim. 3:16].
There are 18 uses of God's name in vain in this film though none with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. The use of God's name in vain along with the cheap selfish use of holy power for personal and material gain dragged the Offense to God score to zero. Fifteen uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, including one use of the most foul of the foul words dragged also the Impudence/Hate score to zero. There was nearly every manner of sexual programming just short of nudity. While there were only two instances of drinking but without drunkenness, the American College of Physicians has proven a direct link between drinking in and as entertainment to an increase in adolescent consumption of alcohol
There is more to the list of offensive programming such as sexual climax by "holy power", beatings and vulgar gestures but I will leave revealing of them up to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model.
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***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.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Offense to God (O)
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|NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery 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 of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.|
|"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.|