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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth though you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Bandits (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: October 13, 2001
CAP Score: 38
CAP Influence Density: 1.30

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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.

BANDITS (PG-13) -- a story of armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, and home invasion...

Distributed by: MGM
Director(s): Barry Levinson
Producer(s): Ashok Amritraj, Michele Berk, Michael Birnbaum, Arnold Rifkin, Paula Weinstein
Screenplay: Harley Peyton
Cinematography/Camera: Dante Spinotti
Music: Christopher Young

At least two major subplots appear in Bandits. A love triangle and successful crime. Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton are Joe and Terry, the Sleepover Bandits -- the most successful bank robbers in the history of the United States. And sooner or later, as to be expected, a third Sleepover Bandit joins the duo. Cate "I'm feeling very fragile and I don't think I should be alone" Blanchet joins the kidnapping desperados as Kate Wheeler, the sexual necessity of most PG-13s. Bandits is PG-13 so sex is necessary, right? Or was it a totally unnecessary lunge for theft of childhood from 13 year old (and younger) children? [Ezek. 23:35]

"The most successful bank robbers in the history of the United States." And we are maneuvered to like these guys. Rationale is given that the sleepover bandits are not stealing people's money ... it's all insured. And they were addicted to it. Just like God says in Eccl. 8:11. Of course, these lovable bumbling bandits were not subjected to any legal consequences at all. I wonder now if a rash of "sleepover bandits" bank robberies will raid righteousness.

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Joe and Terry find themselves in a pinch. They are in prison. Joe notices a big construction truck in the prison yard and coyly asks the driver if it is hard to drive. In a daring dash, Joe commandeers the truck and bolts for the chainlink fence gate. Terry somehow latches onto the truck before Joe blasts through the gate. Through a series of stealing cars by kicking the owners out of them, the duo slowly evaporate their trail. Now they are free.

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Dreaming, they come up with retiring from crime by robbing enough banks to finance a resort in Mexico. Then is when Joe comes up with the idea of kidnapping the bank manager by taking the manager and his/her family hostage the night before, spending the night with them. Thus, Sleepover Bandits. Their first robbery in the movie was a spur-of-the-moment decision of Joe to rob it with a yellow highlighter pen. Holding it to the back of the guard's head, Joe ordered the guard to take his gun out of its holster with his thumb and little finger. Now the crime becomes not just robbery, but armed robbery. [Deut. 5:19]
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Much cinematic energy is spent painting the criminals as nice guys, never wanting to harm anyone, loving children and exuding the "teacher" image from them. When one of the hostage children informs Terry she needs to go to the bathroom, he says "No more juice boxes, Cloe" waving his finger in the air in pedagogal style. Would you warm up to armed bank robbers that took your family hostage? Even if they were as "nice" as Joe and Terry?

"Things" go well for Joe and Terry until Terry gets hit by Kate. Kate is suffering a bad marriage and has left the house then, literally, runs into Terry after a bank job. Kate picks up the dazed Terry and heads to a hospital. But recovering composure after a few moments, Terry demands to be let out of the car. Kate would not. Not even when Terry threatens her with a gun to let him out. She was "feeling a little fragile" and felt she should not be left alone. Needing a ride Terry lets Kate take him to the "hideout." There she meets Joe and the triangle starts.

Bandits is not an extremely violent movie except toward the end when Joe and Terry murder each other - graphically. With blood splatter and pounds of flesh being ripped away when the projectiles exit their bodies. SPOILER ALERT. If you do not want to know about this point, move on to the next paragraph or leave. Joe and Terry staged the mutual murder scene to make the law think they were dead so some cohort medics could take them away by ambulance. Granted, they were not killed in the plot but influentially there was no difference during the act of the staged murders than those of movies portraying "real" murders. Until Joe and Terry sit up in the ambulance, optics tell you they killed each other. That is why they are treated as murders in the scoring.

Other issues of concern are the kidnapping and taking hostage of a family's children along with the parents, treating such behavior as "Nickelodeon(tm)" fun. This is a story of armed robbery, kidnapping, assault, and home invasion folks. It is not a human interest story of two guys trying to make a living. Yes, it is "R-13." Let's keep it in proper focus and not let such entertainment desensitize us yet further. [3John 11]

Mom/dad may opt to consider the influence of several other matters of ignominy in Bandits as well. Gunfire to kill. Multiple cases of grand theft - auto. Booze and drinking. Lies to parents. Teen pair necking with clothes open while parents were away. Much more. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section itemizes what was found.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Ezek. 23:35 Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Since you have forgotten me and thrust me behind your back, you must bear the consequences of your lewdness [zimmah {zim-maw'}: plan, device, wickedness, evil plan, mischievous purpose].
  • Eccl. 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong.
  • Deut. 5:19 Thou shalt not steal.
  • 3John 11 Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    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: Bandits (2001) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • gunfire to intimidate and to kill
  • prison break with gunfire to kill
  • grand theft: auto, multiple
  • armed robbery, multiple
  • assault with injury
  • reckless driving to escape capture/prosecution, multiple
  • home invasion, multiple
  • threats with firearm, multiple, including to child
  • kidnapping, many counts
  • threats to kill, including children
  • graphic car wreck
  • conspiracy to commit robbery, multiple

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 27 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • lies to parents and for other ends
  • tantrum

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • teen pair necking with clothes open while parents were away
  • intro to intercourse with brief glimpse of female posterior
  • dressing to maximize female form and/or skin exposure
  • man and woman in bed together
  • admission of sexual immorality, multiple

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • drinking to celebrate successful crimes

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • 4 uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 21 without

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • 2 graphic (staged) gunfire murders

    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." 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 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.

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    (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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