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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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My Dog Skip (2000), (PG)
CAP Score: 82
CAP Influence Density: 0.32
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*My Dog Skip* (PG) --a good story but with hard language.

*My Dog Skip* knits some believable with unbelievable, as is true for almost all "Based on a true story" movies. *Titanic* (1997) probably being the most flagrant use of "based on." In the summer of 1942 in Yazoo on the Mississippi Delta, a rusty pup trots into the life of Willie Harris (of Harper's magazine fame) as a gift.

Little Willie (Frankie Muniz) was not much good at sports but had a sports hero Dink (Luke Wilson), a local high school sports star who turned out to be less than a hero in World War II, but still an honorable man: "It's not death I'm afraid of, it's the killing." A noble and most unselfish conviction indeed, but it has no place in war.

Young Willie was not much at socializing either. He did not have many friends except Dink -- until Skip came along. At first, WIllie's father (Kevin Bacon) was adamantly opposed to Willie having a dog. He felt Willie could not handle the loss of a pet since all pets sometime or another die for one reason or another. To the adult viewer, Willie's dad was acting out of love for Willie, but the younger viewers will not likely make that connection. But the younger folks will likely make a connection about marital division when WIllie's mother (Diane Lane) "sets her foot down" in a Freudian power battle and commands "He keeps the dog." Though Willie's dad lovingly compromises without much of a fuss, kids will likely see it as "mom won, dad lost" and may not appropriately incorporate such a display [Is. 30:1]. Just because marital friction happens does not make such friction okay nor does it make parading of it for entertainment okay [Rom. 13:13]. At least the parents in this kids show were not ignorant buffoons as in most kids shows and TV commercials [Deut 5:16].

Now, having a cool dog makes other kids want to become pals with Willie. And three of them do. One is the town bully, another is personification of Charles Schultz's Pigpen (I think he was chewing tobacco but it may have been gum) and the third is a regular kid. But to be pals with this elite trio requires demonstration of bravado and courage in the face of dastardly deathly death -- spending the night in a cemetery. And after seeing the army TV commercials soliciting dogs for para-pups to help out with the war effort, Willie prepares Skip for induction into the army. But, the army rejects Skip for private parts reasons, which I very much wonder whether that was "based on a true story"; whether it was just intentional focus on traditionally questionable or uncomfortable subjects using an animal as target.

Like Tramp of *Lady and the Tramp*, Skip had his routes for free handouts and quick scratches behind the ear. A regular routine in the apparently comfortable life of the Delta of the 40s. In one sequence, Willie tries his best at playing Little League baseball, but succeeds only in slapping Skip for the first time to stop Skip from running around the ball field making Willie think he appeared to be the brunt of the ensuing laughter.

However heartwarming this story, there was quite a bit of foul language in it: language mathematically equivalent to soft R-rated programming of 1995 and before (some by a young adolescent) thus the red CAPCon Alert Light. Something in it had to warraant the PG instead of a G. It is just that almost all of the "something" was in the Impudence/Hate Investgation Area. Some bully tactics, moonshining and criminal activities including child abduction made the Wanton Violence/Crime aspects of this movie worth your intercedence. And there was drinking and drunkenness and smoking in it. And as may be expected of modern entertainment for kids, there was some adolescent arrogance against fair parental authority -- just more perpetuation and fortification of the innate foolishness bound in the hearts of youth [Prov. 22:15]. "Honor thy father" appears 10 times in the Holy Bible. And each time, it is accompanied by "and they mother."

Also, there was a killing of a deer in this movie. While there is nothing illegal about killing a deer in season, to do so for sport and for the "fun of it" is questionable. No points were taken off for this even though the impact on some of the kids in the audience was clearly not good. Such programming opens an opportunity to share with you our responsibility to the animals on the earth and the earth itself. While God clearly gave them and the planet to us for our use, He did not give them to us to abuse but rather to be good stewards over them: Gen. 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." and Gen. 1:28 "And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." There is not a single animal on the earth nor any number of them worth one drop of human blood. To regard any animal as even equal to man let alone as higher than man is to regard God's gift of our dominion over animals as a lie. To do so is a sin. But animals (and the planet) are not here for our abuse.

So many of our visitors seem to be relying only on this Summary/Commentary for a full assessment of this movie. This is not possible. For the best representation of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie, visit the Findings/Scoring section below.

FINDINGS / SCORING: My Dog Skip (2000) CAP Thermometers

NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • bully tactics
  • moonshining
  • child abduction

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • nine uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, three times by an adolescent child arrogance against fair parental authority
  • marital discord
  • portrayal that youth must do wrong to get along
  • a dog bitting the private parts of an effigy

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • none noted

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

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