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All the Pretty Horses (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 30
CAP Influence Density: 1.23
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NOTE: 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 objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
ALL THE PRETTY HORSES (PG-13) -- we saw more than we should have seen. And so did Damon and Cruz.
Beginning in the 1940s, I believe 1949 in San Angelo, Texas John Grady Cole (Matt Damon) frets about the loss of his parents' ranch, pining about how the old west is disintegrating, longing to recapture its glory and adventure. John's mother, now divorced, sells the ranch to an oil company for three times its worth as ranch land. Smitten with the old west, John and his good ole like-minded buddy Lacey Rawlins (Henry Thomas) head south to Mexico, looking for something ... anything that would quench their thirst for the old west.
On their way to wherever, once across the Rio Grande 16 year old Jimmy Blevins (Lucas Black) meets up with them. Jimmy is riding a horse clearly outside of his social stratum and the guys question this with threats to kill Jimmy and take his horse since it obviously did not belong to Jimmy. Acting the parts of big bad guys was not enough -- Jimmy would not believe them and ends up tagging along. This is much to Lacey's chagrin. Lacey was predicting Jimmy would be nothing but trouble ... and that he was.
Along the way a thunder storm arises and scares the beganlges out of Jimmy who is running away from (of course) an abusive stepfather. He ensures John and Lacey understand that he ran away so his stepfather would be safe from him [Heb. 13:17; Eph. 6:2; Eph. 6:4]. Jimmy is deathly afraid of lightning since about an hundred of his kinfolk had been struck by lightning. In an effort to save himself, Jimmy stripped down to his skivies to get all metal off of him (now *there* is an inventive way to get another actor onscreen in his underwear). Alas, the thunder scares off the prize [stolen] horse he was riding, leaving him with only the underwear on him. Even the high quality gun he was carrying, with which he was a marksman, got toted off with the spooked horse. Now being "big brothers" to Jimmy, John and Lacey give up some of their clothes and give Jimmy a ride to wherever it was they would end up.
Along the way, the entourage happens across a small town and Jimmy recognizes the horse he was riding. In an attempt to get the horse back, John advises all to rest until an hour before dawn to make their move. But does the 16 year old listen? N-o-o-o. A few minutes later, Jimmy rushes the corral in which the horse he was riding was kept and steals it (again.) In a mad dash to avoid getting shot, the trio split up, Jimmy moving ahead along the expected path as John and Lacey high-tail it up into the woods. That is the last we see of Jimmy for about 30 minutes.
Eventually, Cole and Rawlins meet up with some cowhands driving cows. They ask for and get work. The daring duo drive the herd back to the ranch of Don Hector Rocha y Villarel (Ruben Blades). All seems well until Alejandra (Penelope Cruz) shows her pretty face. Alejandra is Don Hector's daughter. Alejandra and John are attracted to each other. Very attracted. Dangerously attracted. And yes, sexually attracted -- in no uncertain sinematic terms [James 1:21].
Don Hector values his horses very highly and John possess a knack and skill with them. After breaking 16 horses in four days, Don Hector confides in and seeks the advice of John. Together they seem to hit it off well -- until the Policia cart John and Lacey off to prison where we again see Jimmy. Jimmy had been arrested for horse-thieving, which he had apparently been doing for quite some time. John and Lacey were guilty by association. So, Lacey was right about Jimmy being nothin' but trouble. But nothing Jimmy did deserved what he got.
Of possibly extra significance to corruption of coping skills in observing teens was Cole presenting "I don't care what happens to me" even to his death as he defied Alejandra's father and aunt. Even as the wise and loving aunt (Miriam Colon) explained that in their culture a man's reputation could be regained somewhat easily but a woman's reputation, when damaged, could not be repaired in any way, Cole said he was going to see her anyway. And see her he did -- ALL of her. And we saw more than we should have seen. And so did Damon and Cruz see more of each other than was morally right ... all in the name of entertainment [1Ths. 4:2-5].
There were seemingly sincere mentions of trust in and dependence on God and His Grace. A few "Via con Dios" (Go with God) expressions were used in partings. And they were not followed with a "What's fer lunch" attitude but with sincere-looking eye contact by the participants. Almost as if the writers were trying to say "Listen up, people." The greatest use which spawned my interest in telling you about the positive use of the name of our Father was at the end of the show when John gives credit to God for having lived to tell his story. Normally, I leave the positive notable features of a flick up to you but such entertainment programming is so rare that I felt it beneficial to at least mention it [Phil. 4:4].
That is enough of the plot which uses some high caliber action and daring but seems to focus more on story than character. The movie also focuses a great deal of sinematic energy on foul language, on sexual programming which pushes the PG-13/R threshold to the brink of fracture and on smoking and drinking, including underage drinking. Fifty-two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary (some by a teen) [Col. 3:8], 13 uses of God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11], and a couple very bold issues of violence such as the (unseen) murder of Jimmy by the police and a knifing plus a knife killing in self defense with gun battles [Prov. 3:31] yielded this movie as yet another "R-13": a Final Score of 30 out of a starting 100. The scoring range for the randomly selected R-rated movies in the CAP numeric comparative baseline database is 54 and below. A complete detailed listing of the findings is, as always, provided in the Findings/Scoring section of this report. A full understanding of the programming with counterproductive and sinful influence cannot be obtained by reading only this Summary/Commentary.
Applicable text is underlined for special focus if needed.
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.
FINDINGS / SCORING:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
Offense to God (O)(2):