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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)
CAP Score: 61
CAP ID: 0.69

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

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The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) CAP Thermometers The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) was a most difficult movie to justify. It was clearly a movie written for children but in it was much programming to lower the threshold of acceptability at a younger and younger age and to increase desensitization to what used to be unacceptable behavior. For example, this movie presented nineteen scenes of exposure of what has been traditionally too much posterior flesh and frontal flesh between the beltline and the thigh. Granted, the American Indians wore outfits similar to the outfit worn by Little Bear in this movie, but if the amount of exposure of his flesh was not a deliberate attempt to show as much skin as the producers thought they could get away with, then why did Little Bear the man not wear as much clothing as Little Bear the figurine? The Greecians and the Corinthians did things even now unacceptable but does that excuse presenting such behavior to children in the name of entertainment?

In furtherance of the lowering of the threshold of acceptability at a younger and younger age, The Indian in the Cupboard presented many instances of the three/four letter word vocabulary, two of which were spoken by a child. In addition, there were some very graphic and invasive violent scenes -- impalment of a man with an arrow, removal of the arrow, and multiple deaths by gunfire -- one of which was the miniature brought-to-life cowboy shooting a boy, though from the cowboy's viewpoint the gun was not miniature.

If it were not for the brevity of clothing, the impolite language, and a few other invasive matters, this could have been a very fine movie for children -- it presented several good examples of compassion for and responsibility to others. Of particular noteworthiness was a comment by the cowboy -- he stated, when watching MTV with Omri and his overnight overnight guest, that such display was "Disgusting." At that, the boy stated "It's not real" but the cowboy retorted with "Oh it's real's real."

I made no attempt to account for the contradiction of bringing plastic figures to life with only Jesus having the power to give life or to resurrect. While The Indian in the Cupboard presented Little Bear as believing Omri, the little boy who changed plastic figurines into three-inch humans, was the Great Spirit (i.e., God), this was a fantasy movie for children that gave make-believe substance to the typical playtime adventures all young boys experience. There was no apparent significant invasion into the authority and soveriegnty of God by the make-believe bring-to-life magic aspects of The Indian in the Cupboard. However, of significant potential to corruption of the spiritual health of the adolescent viewer was the presentation of "There is no God" by Little Bear.

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) warranted strong loss of points in Wanton Violence/Crime due to multiple and graphic gunfire deaths and due to graphic impalement of an arrow in the chest of a man and the removal of the arrow. Impunity/Hate warranted strong loss of points due to foul language by a child...twice. Offense to God warranted strong loss of points due to "There is no God." All other Invetigation Areas found no exceptionally graphic or strong programming. Other examples of unacceptable programming included

  • a son pushing his mother while at the top of a small
    staircase while talking with someone
  • quick movement to prevent parental discovery
  • ten additional occurences of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • unauthorized exchange (theft)
  • taking parent's things without asking
  • nineteen examples of exposure of too much flesh, one of which was a flash of a bare posterior
  • death, implied to be the fault of a child
  • a lie to hide planned activity
  • bully tactics/theft
  • drunkenness and talk of drinking/needing drink, suggestion of alcohol as medicine
  • two occurences of the use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • an exchange of gunfire/arrow barrage
  • an adolescent watching MTV
  • bloody injuries
  • argumentiveness against school authority and each other
  • making a mess with no concern for the work created for others

  • In accordance with the comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) presented material equivalent to R-rated programming in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impunity/Hate, and Sex/Homosexuality, and PG-rated material in Offense to God. The movie was equivalent to G-rated programming in Drugs/Alcohol and Murder/Suicide. Thus, The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) was equivalent to 50% R-rated programming, 17% PG-rated programming and 33% G-rated programming.

    As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impunity/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name is incorporated into the Impunity/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the three/four letter word vocabulary is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication. As required of the Holy Scriptures, unless God's name is used with reverence to His glory and praise, its use is considered in vain, whether literal or euphemistic.

    Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Presentation of attempts to commit murder or suicide, deaths by police action, and deaths by war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Please remember we believe that if even one of the six Investigation Area scores for a movie is equivalent to the CAP comparative baseline database scoring range for R, PG-13, or PG material, the entire movie should be regarded as so rated.  For example, if only Wanton Violence/Crime earns a score equivalent to R but all other Investigation Areas earn a score equivalent to G, THERE IS R-RATED MATERIAL IN THE MOVIE AND YOUR KIDS WILL SEE IT AND HEAR IT IF THEY WATCH THE MOVIE!

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

    Thomas A. Carder
    ChildCare Action Project: Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP)

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