. BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE (PG [PG]): CAP Movie Ministry Entertainment Media Analysis Report MAR25015

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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2005), PG [PG*]
Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
February 18, 2005
84 out of 100

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Christian Long Distance

(This section may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2005), PG [PG*] -- ...truly G-caliber programming in all CAP investigation areas but one...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): 20th Century Fox, Winn Productions, Walden Media
Distribution (US): Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp.
Director(s): Wayne Wang
Producer(s): Trevor Albert, Becki Cross Trujillo, Joan Singleton, Ralph S. Singleton
Novel: Kate DiCamillo
Screenplay: Joan Singleton
Cinematography/Camera: Karl Walter Lindenlaub
Music: Rachel Portman
Film Editing: Deirdre Slevin
Casting: Aisha Coley, Todd M. Thaler
Production Design: Donald Graham Burt
Art Direction: Monroe Kelly
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6

What in the world are "thematic elements? The MPAA has rated this film PG for brief mild language and thematic elements. Is that because of elements of its theme? I guess that makes sense in some cases, such as (Heaven forbid) putting some of that Christian stuff in a film. Because of Winn-Dixie (PG) has a Baptist preacher speaking the Word for a couple sentences and has wonderful use of faith in God and prayer. Is that the "thematic elements? If so, isn't that singling out the Christian faith? Somebody help me out here.

By the way, unless I missed them, the only uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary in this film were two uses of obvious but incomplete foul words. There were no uses of complete foul words in the cut I saw. There could be other cuts distributed and the MPAA may have seen the director's cut or the screener's cut which are sometimes not the same as the cut sent out to public theaters but in the cut I saw there were no noted uses of complete foul words. Just completely clear implications of two of them.

Because of Winn-Dixie was truly G-caliber programming in all CAP investigation areas but one -- Impudence/Hate -- which includes the use of foul language so two points were lost to the two obvious incomplete foul words. But Impudence/Hate found other material equivalent in magnitude to some "softcore" R-rated films. None of the extremes of ignoble behavior or imagery typically found in R-rated programming were present in Because of Winn-Dixie. However, the sheer number of the "lesser" issues of immorality made the magnitude of the Impudence/Hate content equivalent to the content of the Impudence/Hate pocket of some mild R-rated films. This is the reason this analysis bears the red CAPAlert light. See the CAP Rule of 1000 for more information on how the use of many "lesser" issues of assault on morality and decency can be equivalent in magnitude to the use of fewer more bold or extreme issues of ignominy typically found in R-rated programming. Indeed, our Director - Child Psychology Support, a practicing psychologist and licensed school counselor, shared with me that many "lesser" issues of moral assault usually associated with the less severe MPAA ratings in a given period such as 1.5 hours or so can have moremoreof an influential envelope than the fewer but more extreme issues of ignominy in the same time period usually associated with the R rating.

Impudence/Hate found content to cause the loss of two (2) too many points to remain in the scoring range earned by G-rated movies (100 to 86 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. If the filmmakers had left out just two instances of, for example, name-calling, masked foul words, lying and a child's hatefulness toward her father, this film would have earned a score equivalent to the G-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. A "hardcore" G but a G nonetheless.

But maybe that is yet another example of what we found during the verification and validation of the CAP analysis model: that it is not so much violence, sex and drugs which are the most influential properties of much of modern entertainment but is the portrayal of as acceptable and even desirable the arrogant and/or hateful attitude; the impudence toward fair authority; the "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" attitude. For more information, please see ATTITUDE: In Perspective - Investigation Area Scoring and Trend in CAP Entertainment Industry Investigations, Special Report-001.

Hailing from Denver, 11 year old AnnaSophia Robb starred as ten year old India Opal Buloni, daughter of a too-busy Baptist preacher (Jeff Daniels) and victim of abandonment by her mother (Lara Grice) in this 102-minute film based on the novel by Kate DiCamillo.

Searching for friends after moving to Naomi, Florida from Whatley so her father could pastor an old convenience store turned Open Arms Baptist church, the local citizenry was slim pickings for Opal. Two local boys, Dunlap and Stevie Dewberry (Nick Price & Luke Benward) were openly hostile to Opal. Opal did find a friend in young Amanda (Courtney Jines) but there just wasn't enough in it. It seemed the local youth were just not friend material.

Topping off the anti-friend list was Friendly Corners trailer - err - mobile home park owner Mr. "Scrooge" Alfred (B.J. Hopper). Mr. Alfred had let Pastor Buloni have a trailer free of rent since he was pastoring the new Baptist church. But Mr. Alfred was not about to warm up to Winn-Dixie. Indeed, Alfred was actively hostile to Winn-Dixie and inherently belligerent to Pastor Buloni and Opal because of Winn-Dixie. "NO-PETS."

Opal did find friends in several of the adult residents of Naomi: ex-con and Gertrude's Pets pet store operator, Otis (Dave Matthews) who sang to the animals; nearly blind "witch" Gloria Dump (the always delightful and powerfully talented Cicely Tyson); the local librarian Miss Franny (Eva Marie Saint) who had some very special candy called Litmus lozenge candy which had the "power" to reveal certain sensitivities in the one who tasted the candy, just like litmus paper in college chemistry could reveal the acidity or alkalinity of a solution.

Opal also found friendship in a stray Picardy shepherd dog that smiles -- Winn-Dixie. The dog was so named because Opal rescued him after wreaking havoc in a Winn-Dixie grocery store. After the chaos subsided, the store manager, Boyd (John McConnell) demanded to know whose dog it was. Opal quickly took ownership of the stray and gave him the name Winn-Dixie because "Winn-Dixie" on a store refrigeration unit was the first thing that caught her eye in the rapid moment of coming up with a lie to save the dog.

"A boy and his dog" has been replaced by "a girl and her dog." Warmly and kindly. The shorings of the plot provide strong foundation for the sometimes gut-wrenching loneliness of a transplanted preteen girl.

In addition to the two uses of incomplete foul words, the concentration of moral assaults in Impudence/Hate include a father changing his "no" into a "yes" because of his child's sobbing [Prov. 19:18]; lying with impunity [Ex. 20:16]; a child physically defying her father; hatefulness by a child; a child running off into the stormy darkness alone; portraying it acceptable for a child to disregard the rules about the personal property of others; portrayal of a ten year old child being able to manage worldly problems clearly beyond her expected development, thus tending to give kids the impression they are wiser than they should be, wiser than typically possible. [Is. 30:1, Col. 3:20, Matt. 25:40, Luke 17:2, Matt. 18:10, Eph. 6:4]

While Because of Winn-Dixie is indeed a "kid's show" it touches on some "adult issues such as Otis the ex-con and Gloria's alcoholism plus the alienation by personal pain expressed in Opal's father's loss -- and hers.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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.


  • Prov. 19:18 Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.
  • Is. 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
  • Col. 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord.
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • Ex. 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. [This is the "thou shalt not lie" verse.]
  • Matt. 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. ["Despise" is kataphroneo {kat-af-ron-eh'-o}: 1) to condemn, despise, disdain, think little or nothing of, to look down upon (which includes abuse, even by influence)]
  • Eph. 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it].
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among you], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. ["Offend": skandalizo - to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away; to be offended in one, i.e. to see in another what I disapprove of and what hinders me from acknowledging his authority. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    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.
    (The heart of the CAP Analysis Model)

    Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • bear growl that caused children in audience to cry
  • child trespassing to retrieve dog

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • two uses of incomplete foul words
  • changing "No" into "Yes" because of child's crying
  • using private property without permission
  • lie, by preacher
  • child physically defying father
  • children name-calling
  • abandonment of child and husband by mother
  • belittlement of police
  • hatefulness by a child
  • child arrogance regarding personal property - e.g., "What's the big deal"
  • social lie
  • child running off in dark stormy night to fetch dog
  • child speaking hatefully/disrespectfully to father, twice
  • child access to an ex-criminal without other adult supervision

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • dog nuzzling man's crotch
  • adult in underwear before children

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • story of alcoholism with repeated references to it to a child without other adult supervision

    Offense to God (O)
  • two uses of God's name in vain
  • placement of a child in a worldly position
  • portrayal of a child superior to her father

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none noted

  • Christian Long Distance



    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.

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