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(2011), PG [R-PG*] (94min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
February 3, 2012
February 3, 2012

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

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

(2011), PG [R-PG*] ... We have become so morally numbed...

Production (US): 20th Century Fox (Fox 2000 Pictures) and Dune Entertainment III, Red Hour / Deuce Three / Sunswept Entertainment
Distribution (US): Fox 2000 Pictures
Director(s): David Frankel
Producer(s): Brad Van Arragon, Carol Fenelon, Ben Stiller, Jerry Kramer, Karen Rosenfelt, Stuart Cornfeld, Curtis Nason, Jeffrey Harlacker
Screenplay by: Howard Franklin
Based on the book by: Mark Obmascik
Cinematography/Camera: Lawrence Sher
Music: Theodore Shapiro
Film Editing: Mark Livolsi
Casting: Margery Simkin
Production Design: Brent Thomas
Art Direction: Michael Diner, Martina Javorovas
Viewed on 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment DVD

One can expect cinematic brownies to taste morally bad when baked with Jack Black as one of the main ingredients. When some Owen Wilson is added along with the pungent spice of Steve Martin, the mixture can be expected to be certainly not pleasing to the morally wholesome palate. I rather believe such content implanted in the youthful mind to be akin to those little straight pins that hold your new shirt in the package getting lost in the couch, always there, ready to make a point.

Note that the DVD I viewed came with a theatrical version and an unrated version. I viewed the theatrical version. Knowing that "unrated" means "anything goes", I opted to not spend the time on the unrated version.

The film opens with "This is a true story. Only the facts have been changed." It would be less disturbing if that were the worst of the "evils" in this modern PG. In terms of profanity, alcohol and the abuse of God's name without and with the four letter expletive, the content of this film is clearly equivalent in total magnitude to the same content in some R-rated films. In particular, I find it distressing and even deplorable that the MPAA would pass this moral cyanide off as a "kids" film by slapping a PG rating on it. The Big Year is a very good example of the moral degradation we have allowed onscreen: We have become so morally numbed by the narcotics of extremes in and as entertainment that what once was morally unacceptable has become morally invisible. -- TC

Roofing Contractor Kenny Bostick (Owen Wilson) set the world record in 2003 for bird watching, or better known as "birding" in the film. The "big year" is a birder taking a calendar year to sight as many bird species as he can. Bostick saw 732 different species of birds in one year, setting a new world record. Out to break that record is computer genius Brad Harris (Jack Black). Rich executive Stu Priessler (Steve Marin) has decided to go for the golden 732 sightings as well. All three men are obsessed with birding.

This is "the big year" indeed. The big year the MPAA permits vulgarities in "kids" entertainment.


Following are brief discussions of the content per individual content investigation area. As always the Findings section of this report, the heart of the CAP Analysis Model, is the best source for discovering the full accounting of the content of this film.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 68 out of 100
The Big Year is not all that violent. Sport gunfire, reckless driving, some slapstick violence, a near head-on traffic mishap, in-flight rough weather terror and a knife threat are the only matters related to violence that could be found. But on the legal side, Bostick abuses handicapped parking several times.

Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
Twenty-three times someone utters some form of profanity in this PG film. Crude terms are used three times. [Col. 3:8, Eph. 4:29, Eph. 5:4] Argumentation between Stan and his father Raymond (Brian Dennehy) is ugly at times. Cruelty raises its ugly head once but lying is the strongest presence applicable to this content investigation area. [Rev. 21:8, Prov. 6:17, Ps. 101:7] God is rather stern with lying. He won't let you in Heaven unless you are forgiven of it.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 79 out of 100
Bostick's third or fourth wife, Jessica (Rosamund Pike) is not afraid to show her chest and much of that which is attached to it. Nor is she afraid to parade around in only a towel or straddle her crotch on Wilson's crotch on a bed (in underwear). Maybe Kenneth and Jessica were married in the movie but Wilson and Pike were not married. Even if Wilson and Pike were married, such marital antics are not for public display.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 22 out of 100
Drinking and display of alcoholic beverages are rampant. The American College of Physicians (ACP) conducted a study of the influence of alcohol in and as entertainment and found, using R-rated films as their study source, that such influence indisputably leads to underage abuse of alcohol. This film contains as much or more alcoholic content than R-rated films which presents a serious deviation from previous standards for PG-rated films.

The study 2002 study by the ACP revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    Offense to God (O) - 33 out of 100
    Also presenting a serious deviation from previous standards is the allowing the content to present the use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive. That is in addition to a number of abuses of His name without the four letter expletive. [Deut. 5:11] I wonder if the filmmakers know that to cause youth to sin by example makes the filmmakers liable of the millstone sin [Luke 17:2] which warns that s/he who teaches and/or causes our little ones to sin would be better off with a millstone tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. Whether the filmmakers believe it or not. Whether they like it or not. Whether they care or not. Note that "little ones", translated from mikros meaning younger, less by birth, includes at-home teens since your teens are "younger, less by birth" than you. Note also that "less" in "less by birth" does not mean lesser in importance or value, it means less in stature or size and development.

    In addition to a number of abuses of God's name, this film contains the mano cornuto or horned hand twice, mockery of God and Christmas without Christ. It is okay, people, to say "Christmas." The Federal government has officially named December 25 each year as "Christmas Day." So, it is the Christmas season, not happy holidays or winter festival or ...

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There were no portrayals of murder or suicide found.



    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.


  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off [rid yourself of] all these; anger, wrath, malice [kakia: ill-will, desire to injure, wickedness, depravity, evil, trouble, not ashamed to break laws, etc.], blasphemy [blasphemia: impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty], filthy communication [aischrologia:foul speaking, low and obscene speech] out of your mouth.
  • Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful [deilos {di-los'}; timid, cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers [all forms of evil/magic to force or do harm], and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. ["Timid" as used in this verse does not mean humble or meek. It means cowering in fear when, e.g., someone threatens your loved one and you hide in the shadows to save yourself as your loved one is victimized.]
  • Prov. 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: (17) A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, (18) An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, (19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
  • Ps. 101:7 No one [unforgiven] who practices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.
  • 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. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as in slang or profanity. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion and in praise and prayer is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title even if as a euphemism. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so. Whether we believe it or not. Whether we like it or not. Whether we care or not.]

    Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry

  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend what is vile, embrace 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 [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] 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 us], 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 one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto 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 {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; 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.]
  • 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 objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Big Year (2011) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 68 out of 100
  • sport gunfire
  • falsification of handicap, repeatedly
  • slapstick violence
  • knife threat
  • traffic mishap, near head-on collision
  • in-flight bad weather terror
  • reckless driving

    Impudence/Hate (I) - Zero out of 100
  • 23 uses of profanity
  • crude term, three
  • cruelty
  • lying, frequent
  • abbreviations of profanity, three

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 79 out of 100
  • long sequence of excessive breast exposure
  • woman in towel only
  • man and woman on a bed making out in underwear, her straddling his crotch
  • homosexual innuendo
  • cohabitation

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 22 out of 100
  • booze, frequent
  • drinking, frequent
  • wall full of booze
  • drug reference

    Offense to God (O) - 33 out of 100
  • 7 abuses of God's name, once with the four letter expletive
  • mano cornuto, twice
  • mockery of God
  • Christmas without Jesus

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

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    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 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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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

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    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
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    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
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    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
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