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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

The Postman (1997)
CAP Score: 58
CAP ID: 0.76

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

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The Postman (1997) CAP Thermometers The Postman (1998) -- an otherwise okay movie made not-so-okay by foul language, sex, gore, and other unacceptable material. Kevin Costner was good: good at what he did, which in some ways was not good. And Olivia Williams was good, too, at what she did, which in some ways was not good. If it were not for the token sex, hate, impunity, vulgarity, gore, etc., this might have been an okay movie. There was nothing spell-binding or moving about this movie, but there was enough to enable the viewer to follow along.

I suppose there was a wholesome statement buried in the movie if Hollywood can make a wholesome statement: a statement of fighting an oppressive feudal rule. And there were some values portrayed as human weaknesses were conquered as a single individual rose up to rally many against the feudal rule...but at what price to the morals and ethics of the viewer? The single individual who rallied many did so based on many and continuing lies. Whom do we know in real life has done that recently?

Following is a breakdown of the distribution for scoring.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) lost the intermediate level of points in six instances due to animal attack, kidnapping and beating of a woman, gore, threats with firearms, and graphic deaths by gunfire. This Investigation Area lost the maximum level of points also in six instances of multiple gunfire to kill, feudal aggression graphic deaths with hard gore, murders of teens with gore, and firing squad executions.

Impunity/Hate (I)(1) lost the maximum level of points once due to the use of the most foul of the foul language.

Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost the intermediate level of points due to masked sexual intercourse with partial nudity.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Offense to God (O)(2) lost the maximum level of points ten times due to the use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive.

Murder/Suicide (M) (3) lost the intermediate level of points four times due to murder by gunfire, murder by sword, and murder by knife.

Additional examples of questionable programming included:

  • thirty-two uses of the three-four letter word vocabulary
  • the use of God's name in vain without the four-letter expletive
  • racial and ethnic slur
  • lies to build false dreams and to gain confidence
  • mockery of Salvation
  • reference to male-specific anatomy
  • feudal ethics/violence/coercion
  • gore
  • attempted murder
  • knifing
  • being familiar with a human skeleton
  • booze as a soothing drink
  • dirty magazine
  • man in bathtub
  • sexual talk and offerings of sexual performance, propositioning
  • nudity
  • foul language in a vulgar sexual reference
  • bloody fistfight

    In accordance with the numeric comparative baseline database of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model, The Postman (1997) presented programming equivalent to R-rated material in Wanton Violence/Crime, Impunity/Hate, and Offense to God. The movie is equivalent to PG programming in Sex/Homosexuality and Murder/Suicide, and G-rated programming in Drugs/Alcohol. Thus, The Postman is equivalent to 50% R-rated programming, 33% PG programming, and 17% G-rated programming.

    (1) 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.

    (2) 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.

    (3) 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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    In the name of Jesus:
    Lord, Master, Teacher, Savior, God.

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

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