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


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

Hardball (2001), PG-13
Analysis Date: September 8, 2001
CAP Score: 39
CAP Influence Density: 2.42

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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.


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

HARDBALL (PG-13) -- If I could, I would rename this movie G-Baby... But it was R-13 ... very R-13.

Hardball struck exceptionally close to home. Twenty-four kids have called me "Daddy", some for a few days, some for years, eight of them permanently, all but two of them coming to us as foster kids. Each foster child with his/her own horror story. Most of them at or near G-Baby's age when they arrived. And their stories are not that different from G-Baby's story. And to avoid arguments, our antagonistic visitors should read Matthew 10:42 before accusing me of glory-seeking in man's eyes. My service to children through fostercare is in honor of He who spent three days in Hell so we who believe in Him would not have to spend one moment there. Period.

G-Baby (DeWayne Warren) was a character in the show who paid a horrible price for the evils of inner-city life for many kids (I'll not spoil how he paid such a price in case you chose to see this movie). If I could, I would rename this movie G-Baby (and delete the vulgarities) in sort of tribute to the G-Babys of America and the world: to the foster/adoptive parents who help chase away the under-bed monsters, especially the two-legged kind; to each of the foster kids who have lived with us and the adopted kids who do, indeed to all foster and adopted kids who each know a measure of the horrors G-Baby experienced. This movie had a warm story for which you could not check your brain at the door. But it was R-13. With a final score of 39 and an influence density of 2.42, it was very R-13.

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Connor O'Neal (Kenau Reeves), the initially unwilling coach of a little league baseball team, ticket scalper and sports gambler, discovered one of the horrors many kids are forced to live as he toured the residence of one of his ballplayers, Jefferson (Michael B. Jordon). O'Neal noted that everyone was sitting on the floor instead of chairs or beds in the one-room homes. Asking Jefferson why everyone was sitting on the floor the too-old-for-his-age Jefferson said "bullets." Everyone sat on the floor to stay below the bottom of their window frames of their cinder block home, praying the blocks will stop the bullets from street warfare. And we are given [cinematic] evidence of their fear toward the end of the show with two street gangs engaged in a gun battle with the hoods showing absolutely no concern for where their bullets stop ... or who stops them [Hab. 2:12; Is. 59:7]. And there is verbal brutalization of a child by an adult [Matt. 18:10]

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O'Neal is forced to serve as the coach for the Kekambas little league team as a way to pay back his gambling debts. The next things he knows he is standing before 10 young boys glaring up at him. Very shaky at the start, O'Neal slowly gains the respect and trust of the lads. Jefferson you already know about. G-Bays is a nine year old, too young to play and is kicked off the team but continues as his brother Kofi's (Brian Reed) agent. In spite of my bias about kids, the writers and cast seem to do a good job at building a touching relationship between the boys and O'Neal. They even start a shallow relationship but a relationship nonetheless between O'Neal and the boys' teacher Elizabeth (Diane Lane) who arranges O'Neal a job with the school.
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One of the lanky ballplayers is an outstanding pitcher but can't pitch worth a hoot unless he has his head stuffed in headphones playing a special song. Then comes the "off-with-his-head" mentality from the league officials who tell O'Neal that wearing the headphones is a safety issue and it must stop. Oh, bothers! What to do? O'Neal teaches the boy to play the song in his head. When the lanky lad starts jiving on the mound, the very supportive team get right behind him and start jiving in rhythm. The spectators get into the act as well. Now the boy is again the star pitcher but without the headphones. There are several such heart-warming subplots to this show. But...
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By watching this movie, one would think that the vocabulary of every inner-city black kid consists of the same string of three/four letter one-syllable words. I am not going to get into racial stereotyping. I've heard inner city kids use foul language about every other word and I've heard inner city kids who do not. "You never see the white kids in Bad News Bears or Mighty Ducks using this language," said Bob Muzikowski, whose ministry of inner city little league baseball was profiled in the book Hardball: A season in the Projects, the template for this movie. "I have never been cursed out once. None of the coaches have been addressed like this. These kids are unbelievably respectful to their coaches." I've said it before and I'll say it again ... and again ... and again, maybe some or most of the reason some kids talk the way the kids talked in Hardball is BECAUSE of such movies. Hmmm? Whether Hardball unfairly stereotypes inner city black kids as foul mouthed or not this movie is saturated with foul language. Saturated. [Titus 2:6-8; Mark 7:20; Eph. 5:4; Prov. 17:20; Col. 3:8] Even God's name is used in vain, sometimes by children [ Deut. 5:11].

Most of the foul language (60%) was by the kids themselves. Which leads us to Luke 17:2, the theme of this "sermon" where Jesus warns that anyone, movie writers and parents alike, who teaches or causes one of His little ones (which includes uncleaved teens) to sin would be better off if a millstone were tied around the neck of the one teaching/causing kids to sin, then the stone and its captive being cast into the sea (now don't "shoot the messenger"). And this is in addition to His warning to not place in the path of our brothers and sisters any stumbling blocks (anything to cause them to sin by speech or thought). By the way, depending on the output of the mill using the millstone, they were up to about five feet in diameter and about two feet thick. Whether the millstones in Jesus' day were that large, He has made a point. A heavy point with finality indeed.

Additional issues of ignominy include drinking, smoking, gambling and beatings. Sexual comments, talk and innuendo, and vulgar anatomical references and gestures by children clouded the benefits of this movie.

However enamored I might have been by this movie and the closeness of its "message" to my heart, take not my opinion or other subjective comments over the facts. Read for yourselves the listing of findings in the Findings/Scoring section so that you may make up your own mind whether this movie is fit for you and/or your kids.


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.

  • Matt. 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple [one who is learning or being taught], verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
  • Hab. 2:12 Woe to him who builds a city [a guarded thing such as place or organization] with bloodshed and establishes a town [a collective such as mob or gang or regime] by crime!
  • Is. 59:7 Their [from Is. 59:4, they who trust in vanity, speak lies, conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity] feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.
  • 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.
  • Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
  • Mark 7:20 He went on: "What comes out of a man is what makes him 'unclean.'
  • Eph. 5:4 Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
  • Prov. 17:20 He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse [obstinate in opposing the norm or the accepted] tongue [lashown {law-shone'}: language] falleth into mischief.
  • 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 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [vain: shav' {shawv}; false, emptiness, nothingness, lying, worthlessness (of conduct)]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
  • 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.

    *******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]

    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: Hardball (2001) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • beatings of children
  • gambling
  • assault
  • threats with ball bat
  • offer to commit crime to pay off gambling debts
  • extortion on debts
  • fighting
  • gambling and with gain
  • heavy gunfire to kill with endangerment of children

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • 102 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, 61 times by children
  • two uses of the most foul of the foul words
  • self-infliction of injuries
  • vulgar rap music in background
  • running from fair authority because of emotional pain
  • verbal brutality of children

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • toilet comment with anatomical reference
  • adult in towel only
  • sexual comments, talk, moves and innuendo, some quite vulgar, some by children

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking - repeatedly
  • smoking - repeatedly
  • bar scenes

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • seven uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, some by children.

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • murder of a child by recklessness of gang warfare

    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.

    "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 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.

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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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