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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

The Skulls (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 38
CAP Influence Density: 1.25
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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or its manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. 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. 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 purely objectuve and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


*The Skulls* (PG-13) -- a secret society with familiar secrets.

Membership is most selective in this secret college society mimicking the real Skulls and Bones of Yale University, though the logo of The Skulls did not use the crossbones beneath the skull. If nominated for their outstanding achievements or feats such as champion rowing, pledges have to perform some daring-do, possibly illegal to become a Skull. Membership has included high profile and high power business, legal, educational and political leaders for more than 200 years. The rules of the society were, of course, above the law.

With a theme of "preppie fraternity" pretending to be dark and sinister, initiates were sworn to secrecy and servitude at the risk of death, at least for this one "different" member, Luke McNamara (Joshua Jackson). While hungry for the notoriety of membership to The Skulls with all the social and financial benefits of it, Luke still had "scruples." When one of Luke's friends, journalism student Will Beckford (Hill Harper) is killed by his curiosity and for the good of the society, McNamara lashes out and exposes the whole lot with the help of an immune powerful politician who has a participated in adulterous sexual immorality with a young woman -- I aint' saying nothin' here except that such immoral behavior of at least one immune "powerful politician" and him/her (and most of a congress) believing s/he is above the law just might be a reflection of reality, a shameful reflection.

Though *The Skulls* was rated PG-13, in keeping the trend of PG-13 movies it earned a CAP Final Score equivalent to R-rated movies. Why not? By paraphrasing the MPAA president, PG-13 is merely a slice off the top of the R rating anyway. I guess the MPAA and its questionable survey population and its questionable survey techniques feel we need to let the early teens see "adult entertainment", too don't we? Soon, maybe we can look forward to the PG audience being permitted to watch "adult stuff" too. Next is G. And then the *world* -- NAY, THE UNIVERSE **ya-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!!!**. I have yet to figure out how watching "adult entertainment" that makes the viewer adult. Also in keeping with the trend of PG-13 movies (and others), the ignominy was presented by saturation of the movie with tons of "lesser" issues of sinful behavior instead of fewer massive issues of ignominy -- a most effective tool to quietly desensitize us and ready us for lowering even further the thresholds of acceptability and morality.

Thick with violence and crime [Hab. 2:12], *The Skulls* emptied the foul language dictionary on the viewer [Matt. 12:36-37]. Arrogance toward and defiance of righteous fair authority was as present as Bluebonnets in Texas [Jer. 13:15; Prov. 30:17]. Cowardice by intimidation with firearms, attempted murder by gunfire, attempted suicide with a firearm and a bloody death by gunfire (none of which were defensive) gave fodder to the anti-gun fanatics [Matt. 26:52]. Hanging a dead body by the neck to cover up murder, trickery to avoid prosecution, and breaking and entering to commit theft were among the criminal aspects portrayed in the movie [Eccl. 8:11]. Lies to get out of duty, lies to cover up wrongdoings, and a lie by a father to the face of his son helped to desensitize the viewer's commitment to integrity [Prov. 29:12]. Then comes the issue of permitting fraternal rules to supersede law. While we indeed must measure our laws by the Scriptures, giving reigning weight to the Scriptures, there was nothing Scriptural about the fraternal rules. No one may take the law into his/her own hands but must rather submit to due process like everybody else. Ours is a democracy not an existentialistic totalitariansim (yet anyway -- maybe in November 2000 this threat will go away). And no matter how old the participants including unmarried college students, any sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, especially prostitution, is sinful [1Ths. 4:3].

In an effort to improve the chances of the continuation of these reports, this Summary/Commentary section will be progressively minimized and may eventually have to be discontinued. Please see the Findings/Scoring section below for a full accounting of this movie: for the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


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

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • reckless driving
  • breaking and entering to thieve
  • branding humans
  • hanging a murder victim to cover up the murder
  • pursuit resulting in what is thought to be death
  • trickery to avoid prosecution
  • beating
  • extortion by previous sexual immorality
  • attack of a police officer
  • attempted vehicular homicide
  • attempted abduction
  • graphic gunfire death
  • threat with firearm
  • attempted murder of father by son
  • attempted suicide with gun to head
  • threat to kill

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 30 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • teen arrogance against father
  • lies
  • doctrine of rules superseding law
  • direct lie by father to son
  • extremely hateful father

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • ghosting of female anatomy through clothing
  • girls as sex toys
  • gaping mouth kissing
  • mutual undress for intercourse

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar
  • smoking
  • booze
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • chugging
  • drugging

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 1 use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 13 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • graphic murder to cover up

  • (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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