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Finding Forrester (2000), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 61
CAP Influence Density: 0.80
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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
SUMMARY / COMMENTARY:
FINDING FORRESTER (PG-13) -- poignant work of art smeared with a strong dose of ignominy.
All of this poignant work of art smeared with a strong dose of ignominy is centered around the interactions between a Pulitzer Prize winning weathered and crusty old writer, William Forrester (Sean Connery) and a brilliant but restrained Bronx street kid, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown). In each event in Jamal's life, one ends up thinking how the sage mentor Forrester will guide and advise Jamal. Both were perfect for their parts. Perfect. Too bad the movie had to be laced with behavior unacceptable in polite crowds which many excuse by calling it "reality" -- as if its reality excuses the sin of it [Rom. 16:18; Isa. 5:20; Col. 2:4; Hebr. 13:9].
Connery, with his decades of experience on the screen was masterful at being the cantankerous and crotchety old man who would rather be seen that way than let his true feelings be known -- he would rather be thought of as an old issue of flatulence than as caring deeply for Jamal and his success in what is clearly his best direction. Brown was quite possibly the best possible type casting I have ever seen. Perfect for the part of a young and brilliant Bronx kid, and maybe the most level-headed, responsible young man I've seen in the nearly six years I've been writing movie analyses. Maybe Brown would not have been as good as he was if it were not for being reflected off Connery, but I suspect Brown's acting genius is as real as his staged academic genius was to the movie.
Supporting cast were ... supportive, but I suspect this flick could have made its impact with just about anybody in the support roles. Two support roles that stood above the rest were Jamal's mother (April Grace) and an "It ain't good enough, no matter what 'it' is" adversary of Forrester, Professor Crawford (F. Murray Abraham). Grace was truly the loving and supportive mother and made her mark in the story well. Abraham was the teacher at Mailor who would not believe a black Bronx kid could write well and who forced Jamal into intellectual battle. But this movie is still one of those you wish was a true story.
Jamal was one of those kids who knew he had to tone down his brilliance to be accepted by his peers. He was led to believe that acceptance is best achieved on the basketball court. So, Jamal excelled on the court and kept his grades down to a "C" ... until his academic aptitude and achievement tests in his junior year proved otherwise. Jamal was then discovered and sought by Mailor-Callow Prep School, a prestigious private school which offered him a full academic scholarship to attend their school. Though such a development would place a street smart kid floating in an ocean of rich and spoiled kids, Jamal accepts the scholarship. While the scholarship was academic, Mailor-Callow knew of Jamal's excellence on the court and hoped he would serve the school as well in sports as he would in academics. And that he did.
Forrester was the "man in the window" -- the man who spied on the neighborhood guys playing basketball in the public court below Forrester's fifth or sixth story apartment window. As would be expected to happen with a bunch of kids placed in such a scenario, the guys started wondering who was this man in the window. "A" led to "B" and a dare was launched to check out this dude in the window by breaking into his apartment. Jamal ended up with the "short straw." While in the apartment of the man in the window, Jamal is discovered by the man in the window. Startled and rocketing out of Forrester's apartment, Jamal leaves his backpack That is the backpack you see in the trailers hitting the ground at Jamal's feet. Some intricate and events and sequences lead the two together in one of the strangest but enduring friendships ever to hit the silver screen.
Numerous subplots and script exchanges paint this complex pattern with brushes of warmth and urgency as well as cleverness and bitterness iced with love and companionship. But as most really good movies are tainted with superfluous ignominy, so was Finding Forrester. It was every bit as "PG-13" as any other PG-13, as if any age is "old enough" to witness such behavior and imagery. Though not an R-13, Finding Forrester should at least raise parental eyebrows. There were at least 45 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, three uses of the most foul of the foul words and three uses of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 10 without [Mark 7:20; Deut. 5:11]. Of course such language is commonplace on the streets and in schools, but wide spread acceptance of foul language does not equal God's acceptance of it. If every single individual on the planet used foul language, even in every sentence, such practice would still be sinful. I remind us all that I did not write that Rule. And maybe, just maybe the streets and schools are "flooded" with such language because of movies like Finding Forrester.
Adding to the poor brush strokes were sounds of intercourse, sexual insults and conversations and vulgar rap songs [Gal. 5:19-21]. Lies appeared as coverups of wrongdoings and to manipulate the life of another [ Prov. 6:16-19; Prov. 17:27]. Smoking [1Cor. 6:19], drinking and drunkenness [Rom. 13:13] were also expensive to the final score. While many folks seem to be relying on just this Summary/Commentary for an accounting of the content of movies, let me remind you that excluding the Findings/Scoring section from your research into the fitness of a movie for your kids and/or yourself would be like having a sandwich without bread.
Applicable text is underlined and fortification is provided in brackets [ ] for special focus if needed.
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:
NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
45 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
Offense to God (O)(2):