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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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All the Pretty Horses (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 30
CAP Influence Density: 1.23

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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: 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


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

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.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  • Eph. 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
  • Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
  • James 1:21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
  • 1Ths. 4:2-5 For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;
  • Phil. 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
  • Col. 3:8 But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  • Prov. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways,


    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: All the Pretty Horses (2000) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • discussion of death and dying
  • dead body up close
  • threatening a 16 year old boy with harm
  • recreational gunfire
  • firearm threats
  • gunfire to kill
  • injuries from brutality
  • brutality to a 16 year old boy by police
  • very detailed and graphic beatings
  • police corruption
  • facial disfiguration by beating
  • knife attack with slicing of face
  • graphic injuries
  • hostage
  • pistol whipping
  • gun battles, some with injuries
  • self cauterizing the entrance and exit wounds of a bullet
  • fighting with firearm threats

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • defiance of authority
  • a toddler with a firearm
  • defeatism even to death for love
  • 52 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • teen in underwear
  • brief glimpse of shadowed male frontal nudity
  • brief glimpse of female frontal nudity
  • nude heterosexual pair skinny dipping
  • intercourse with brief female upper nudity
  • adults in underwear
  • cohabitation
  • man and woman in bed together

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking, including by a teen
  • drunkenness, including by a teen

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • eight uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 5 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • illegal police execution of a criminal teen (brutality seen but killing unseen)
  • very detailed and graphic knife killing (self defense)

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. 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.

    "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." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year 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.

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

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