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


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

Changing Lanes (2002), R
Analysis Date: April 12, 2002
CAP Score: 62
MinMax: -100
CAP Influence Density: 0.77

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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 completely objective to His Word 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.

CHANGING LANES (R) -- and 4% for those with complete restrictions.

Distributed by: Paramount Pictures
Director(s): Roger Michell
Producer(s): Ronald M. Bozman, Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder
Written by/Screenplay: Chap Taylor (story and screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Salvatore Totino
Music: David Arnold
Film Editing: Christopher Tellefsen
Casting: Marcia DeBonis, Ellen Lewis
Production Design: Kristi Zea
Art Direction: W. Steven Graham

Gavin Banek (Ben Affleck) has a conscience ... to a point. He doesn't seem to mind a little lying and cheating, even on his wife. But beyond that he puts his foot down, at least lightly until the situation calls for a little more compromising ... or a little more ... or a little more. Gavin is a successful lawyer for a prestigious Wall Street NYC law firm specializing in charitable affairs. Gavin is on his way to a vital court session with a file that will prove his firm has control of a multi-million dollar account. Failure to deliver the file to the court could put the entire firm in jail. The daughter of the benefactor of the big bucks is challenging the law firm's proprietorship of the funds, claiming her father was coerced during a stage of advanced age vulnerability to sign papers giving the law firm power of appointment of the funds.

Doyle Gipson (Samuel L. Jackson) is also on his way to court but to divorce court. Failure to arrive on time would result in a decision against Gipson having custody or visitation with his kids since his ex-wife was moving to Oregon with the kids. Doyle had just purchased a house in NYC for his ex-wife and kids so they could stay in NYC and he could see them reasonably frequently.

Gavin and Doyle meet -- on the highway, resulting in the disabling of Doyle's car. Late already, Gavin leaves without exchanging enough information and even leaves Doyle stranded on the highway ... wouldn't even give Doyle a ride. Now both Gavin and Doyle are late. Gavin is later than he thinks. Using the file folder as a hard surface on which to write, Gavin leaves the vital folder with Doyle. Arriving late in court Gavin is given until close of the business day to get that file to the judge. Also late arriving in court, Doyle finds the court has ruled against him in his absence. Once his ex-wife moves to Oregon there would be little hope if any of ever seeing his kids again, so he thinks. So, Gavin is at fault for Doyle losing visitation with his kids. Doyle is not about to be nice about returning the file to Gavin. Now the cat-n-mouse games start.

What follows is a challenge to two basically regular guys in exceptionally extreme situations, largely brought on literally by themselves as they try to get what they want from the other. Gavin the file and Doyle his time lost. Some ingenuity is expressed in the various ways the two duel with progressively harmful means to get their goal. But at what price?

This is an example of a lite R. If it were not for the language, it would not have been R. And the only sexual issue in it was a portrayal of adultery. The strongest presences of likely concern for the Christian parent or grandparent in Changing Lanes was the foul language [Eccl. 5:2, Col. 3:8, Deut. 5:11, Prov. 13:3]. God specifies that the use of vulgar and foul language is indeed sinful for both the one who speaks it and the one who finds it entertaining. Violence in the action sense was not all that present. But violence in the form of crime was another major presence in the movie [Hab. 2:12]. While there were no murders or suicides there was some drinking and drunkenness [1Pet. 4:3].

A recent study revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking (and smoking) in entertainment leads to an undeniable increase in substance abuse. 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 15 Vermont and New Hampshire middleschools (90% were under 14 years old) only 16% were completely restricted from viewing R-rated movies. The report further states the prevalence of having tried smoking without parental knowledge was 35% for those with no restrictions on viewing R-rated movies, 12% for those with partial restrictions, and 2% for those with complete restrictions. The prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was 46% for those with no restrictions, 16% for those with partial restrictions and 4% for those with complete restrictions. Rather revealing of the influences of the entertainment industry wouldn't you say? The American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association and others have proven that violence in movies can and does begat aggression in youth. The American College of Physicians have proven that viewing smoking and drinking can and does increase the use of these substances in youth. Harvard educated Dr. Karen Nelson agrees with me that any behavioral expression can be shaped by observation of behavioral aberrations in entertainment. Doctor Larry Gilliam agrees with me that it would be unusual for even a 16 year old to be able to fully comprehend the consequences of his/her actions or to be able to fully separate fantasy from reality. God Himself warns of "bad company" influencing good manners. I still say the influence is more the portrayal of freedom from authority, freedom from accountability and freedom from consequences -- the attitude, the stealing of childhood from children -- than specific influences such as violence, alcohol, tobacco, sex, language, etc. that lead our children by their noses into arrogant and irresponsible behavioral choices. When are we going to listen? And speak up? Do something?

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section, the heart of the CAP analysis model, will provide the item by item findings in Changing Lanes.


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.

  • Eccl. 5:2 Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing [rash or vile] before God [who is omnipresent]: ...
  • 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 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
  • Prov. 13:3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
  • Hab. 2:12 Woe to him who builds a city [a place guarded by waking or a watch] with bloodshed and establishes a town [a collective such as mob or gang or regime] by crime! [The 'city' or town could even be wealth.]
  • 1Pet. 4:3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do -living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

    *******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]
  • 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 would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; 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.

    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.

    Changing Lanes (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • leaving the scene of an accident
  • assault
  • suggesting illegal maneuvers
  • illegal handling of legal files
  • beating
  • planning forgery, repeatedly
  • activating a fire suppression system as a decoy
  • encouraging forgery
  • corporate corruption, repeatedly
  • forgery
  • extortion
  • tampering to cause harm

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 12 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • 8 uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • divorce
  • lies, repeatedly
  • adult tantrum with property damage
  • adolescent disrespect
  • portrayal that a few good deeds offset intentional wrongdoings, ease the conscience of the wrongdoer
  • portrayal that leading sins excuse followup sins

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adultery

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • bar
  • booze
  • drunkenness

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

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

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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 or example 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 nearly seven 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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    (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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