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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Cast Away (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 77
CAP Influence Density: 0.41

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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: 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. 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

"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.

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



This paragraph is some "tech stuff" about the CAP analysis model if you want to know. If not just skip to the next paragraph. This movie is probably one of the third standard deviations from the mean, way out there in the flange of the bell curve among the 1.7% in Gaussian distribution. It contains surprisingly few issues of ignominy but a couple of them are bold. The CAP model avoids subjectivity by using total (final score) and pocket (investigation area) magnitudes, not the magnitude of individual programming ignominies. *Cast Away* earned a CAP Final Score of 77 which gives it a total magnitude equivalent to "middle of the road" PG movies in the CAP comparative baseline database of 39 random movies. While the total envelope magnitude -- the "big picture" influence -- of this flick is certainly equivalent to most PG movies, and while the violence investigation area (pocket) was certainly equivalent to R-rated programming of the baseline database with the other five pockets equating with PG or G programming, a couple micro parts might be particularly offensive to some. The matters of rear male nudity and a flash scene of pubic hair with nothing gender-specific may be particularly offensive to some. This is an example of the objectivity of the CAP analysis model -- it is not more sensitive to any one issue of ignominy or sin over any other. In other words, the CAP model just tells you what is in a movie in accordance with His teachings and expectations. The CAP model leaves the subjective decision of what is acceptable for you and/or your kids up to YOU. And we give you some reliable and consistent numbers to help you make an at-a-glance informed decision.

Hurried and clock-driven FedEx master of efficiency, Chuck Noland (Tom Hanks) displays his expertise as preparatory material. In Moscow, Noland barks a group of Russian FedEx workers into compliance with his hard nosed demands of unforgiving expert handling of packages. He even demonstrates slipshod practices of the system by FedExing himself a clock from Tennessee. It took 80 plus hours to get from Tennessee to Moscow -- most unsatisfactory to him. Sidenote: Since I am one who appreciates good music, I can tell you there are some very fine selections of Russian polyphony in this movie, for a short time anyway.

Back in the states, Noland meets his fiance, Kelly Frears (Helen Hunt) while she is making copies of her dissertation -- a touching reunion scene indeed and Hunt was as masterful as was Hanks. And in new age morality the pair end up back at his or her apartment or house, whatever it was, exercising cohabitation [1Ths. 4:2-5]. While none of the sexual programming typical associated with cohabitation was noted, there was no doubt.

Later, Noland entertains Kelly at a family Christmas party (another cinema Christmas without Jesus, of course), but Noland's pager had different plans for his Christmas. He is called away for urgent FedEx business. The two exchange gifts in his car. In parting, Kelly gives Noland her grandfather's old railroad pocket watch as a Christmas gift which Noland promises to keep on Memphis time. As Noland walks to a FedEx jet, he also promises he'll "be right back." "Right back' took four years.

The urgent FedEx flight Noland boarded crashed into the Pacific ocean. There was some quite realistic imagery of the perils that might be expected during an in-flight aircraft failure as well as of the downed aircraft and its sinking. If Noland had not left the pocket watch setting on the arm of his seat, things might have turned out different. His love for Kelly and her gift was stronger (rather, more prone to stupid risk-taking) than his desire to maximize personal safety. He recovers the watch and suffers for it. After ingenious use of an inflatable raft to deliver him to the surface of the ocean, Noland frantically paddles toward what appears to be land in the flashes of the storm. During this disaster, four people lose their lives -- but Noland's is spared.

On the island, Noland is without shoes since he had taken his off while in flight. But things washed ashore from the wreckage: a number of FedEx packages including a volley ball, some video tapes, a divorce decree, and party dress which Noland scavenged for usable items ... including the dead brine-bleached body of a crew member. The crew member had apparently been a snack to a number of nibblers in the sea. One of the first things Noland scavenged from the man's body was his shoes. The blood from a hand injury Noland suffered left a face-like image on the volley ball which Noland touched up to look more face-like. Then, in Noland's solitude and the sanity-challenging environment he fixates on the manufacturer's name, Wilson and implants the blood faced volley ball with the name Wilson. The ball becomes Wilson, his companion. And the obsession with the volley ball as a companion might be some of the most disturbing content of the show to some, especially the impressionable. Noland's obsession was so complete that when much of the face image had been lost, Noland drew more of his blood to rework the image. To further describe the extent of Noland's fixation on the volley ball, Noland risked his life to "save" it from drifting away at sea.

Additional disturbing content was Noland's contemplation of suicide by hanging. Though not revealed until the end of the show Noland had decided to commit suicide. But being the technical efficiency expert he was, Noland decided to test 30 feet of rope he fashioned from plant bark using a log to approximate the dropping of a human body in hanging. The test was unsuccessful. The branch extruding from the cliffside used as the hanging tree broke. But in display of some of the ingenuity in this movie, that hanging rope ended up becoming part of the escape raft, the successful escape raft. An instrument of death became the vehicle of life for Noland. With this movie you cannot check your brain at the door. You have to pay attention.

While returning to the states, Noland found that he had been given a funeral and that Kelly had married. It was Kelly's husband who told Noland this while still at the airport. Kelly was with her husband but outside in their car. After Kelly's husband told Noland about his marriage to Kelly, imagery while her husband was returning to their car showed her arguing with him, obviously wanting to come inside to see Noland. But wisely, Kelly's husband would not let her. After a hero's welcome, even knowing Kelly is now married, Noland still locates her ... and visits her... and kisses her -- repeatedly. And she reciprocates -- repeatedly. Now this is a married woman who made a vow to forsake all others. While these are indeed extremely extenuating circumstances, she IS married and not to Noland [Hebr. 13:4].

Among the other issues that may cause concern for parents and grandparents include adults in underwear, a child ignoring a police command, and in some cases very revealing clothing on Hanks. A few times a full buttock was exposed, once for long contact. One flash scene revealed his pubic hair but no gender-specific anatomy [Ezek. 16:58]. While there were only two instances of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Eph. 5:4], God's name was taken in vain once with the four letter expletive and four times without [Deut. 5:11]. There was also celebration with booze [Eph. 5:18], smoking [1Cor. 6:19, 2Cor. 7:1], open urination, and a number of sexual innuendo. The Findings/Scoring section will give you all available information.


  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • 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;
  • Hebr. 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
  • Ezek. 16:58 You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and your detestable practices, declares the LORD.
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • 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.
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
  • 1Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
  • 2Cor. 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.


    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: Cast Away (2000) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • in-flight disaster peril
  • detailed and very graphic plane crash - four dead
  • survival at sea peril
  • decaying and brine-bleached body washed ashore appearing it had been nibbled on by sea nibblers
  • bloody injuries
  • very detailed and graphic portrayal of tissue necrosis
  • survival brutality
  • long-term fixating on bloody image on volley ball as companion, ever to the extent of risking life and limb for it
  • attempted self-extraction of tooth with ice skate blade
  • risking of life
  • talk of suicide

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • child ignoring police command
  • open urination
  • two uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adults in underwear
  • sexual innuendo
  • repeated brief clothing exposing skin typically hidden
  • cohabitation
  • brief exposure to pubic hair - male
  • rear male nudity
  • married woman kissing old boyfriend with words of adoration and commitment to each other

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking
  • drinking
  • dinner wine
  • party drinking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • God's name in vain four times without the four letter expletive and once with

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

  • (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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