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Christian Analysis of American Culture (CAP Ministry)
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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones through you in His name by His Word
(2006), PG-13 [PG*] (1hr 52min)
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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)
Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Overbrook Entertainment, Escape Artists, Columbia Pictures Corporation, Relativity Media
Distribution (US): Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
Director(s): Gabriele Muccino
Producer(s): David Alper, Amy Baer, Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Mark Clayman, Louis D'Esposito, James Lassiter, Will Smith, Steve Tisch, Teddy Zee
Written by: Steve Conrad
Cinematography/Camera: Phedon Papamichael
Music: Andrea Guerra
Film Editing: Hughes Winborne
Casting: Denise Chamian
Production Design: J. Michael Riva
Viewed At: Driftwood Theater 6
Chris Gardner (Will Smith) is having a hard time making ends meet selling bone density scanners. He sunk his entire savings into buying into the franchise. But little did he realize that the office X-ray machines most doctors have were cheaper and did a better job. Since Chris had already sunk his life savings into the venture, he was locked into getting the ones he had sold.
In the meantime, his family, young son Christopher (Jaden Smith) and wife Linda (Thandie Newton), were suffering. Linda was working two shifts to help. But she had all she could take and left Chris to live with her sister in NYC. Now it was Chris and Christopher.
One day, as Chris admired a fancy car he asked the man what did he do and how did he do it. The man answered he was a stock broker for Dean Witter. That planted a bug in Chris. So he applied for a job with Dean Witter.
It wasn't long before Chris found the job was not salaried but was straight commission. Bound and determined to make it in the stocks world, Chris kept selling his bone scanners while he completed the internship with Dean Witter -- six months of training and practice selling. The incumbent must sell so many new accounts to be considered for the job. Twenty hopefuls were trying for only one opening. Even a candidate who scored 100% on the test in the group before Chris did not make it.
This based-on-a-true-story film is an unusual one regarding the rating versus the content. The MPAA gave it a PG-13 where the CAP analysis model found its overall content envelope to be equivalent to most PG films in the comparative baseline database. The reason for the MPAA giving it a PG-13 is "for some language." The "some language" is 16 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary plus three viewings of the most foul of the foul words spray painted on a door and spoken once by a child. Such language is incorporated into the CAP analysis model through the Impudence/Hate (I) investigation area and The Pursuit of Happyness certainly earned an Impudence/Hate investigation area score of zero out of 100, making it equivalent to many R-rated films in language content, but all other CAP investigation areas revealed no such depth of offensive content.
Noting the scoring distribution displayed by the CAP thermometers the content of The Pursuit of Happyness is most certainly equivalent to many R-rated films in Impudence/Hate (I), which includes profanity, but it is PG-equivalent in the Wanton Violence/Crime (W), Sexual Immorality (S) and Drugs/Alcohol (D) investigation areas and is G-equivalent in the Offense to God (O) and Murder/Suicide (M) investigation areas. This film provides a relatively unique opportunity to really demonstrate one of the features of the CAP analysis model: to reveal to you precisely where any concentration of ignominy lies.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Aside from a hit by a car, a few assaults and thefts plus a threat to kill, this film was not that violent or criminal.
As noted above, the profanity in this film was by far the most invasive of content relative to the six CAP investigation areas. God is not at all pleased by impure language, even if you think He cannot hear you. [Col. 3:8, Prov. 22:11] Additional matters of impudence and/or hate include the marital friction and desertion, the lies told to the son [Prov. 19:5] and verbal child abuse. [Matt. 25:40, Luke 17:2] But what makes the filmmaker the most guilty of violating God's Word is having a child speak profanity. [Matt. 25:40] Jesus is not patient with they who teach and/or cause youth to sin. And if you don't believe me, ask Him. In Luke 17:2 Jesus warns that the one who teaches and/or causes our youth to sin would be better off with a millstone tied about his/her neck then cast into the sea. And what do you suppose the angel who watches over Jaden - an angel who beholds the face of God - said to God about the filmmaker? [Matt. 18:10]
Sexual Immorality (S)
Smith and Newton are seen in bed together as stage husband and wife. While there is nothing wrong with a husband and wife in bed together, Smith and Newton are not married. Further, such intimacy between husband and wife is not for public viewing. Adults are seen in their underwear and Smith is seen in a shower. Though no nudity is seen, it is a small leap to envisioning it since we do not typically shower with any clothes on. Something often hard to grasp, especially by the young, is that sin does not always involve behavior: that sin can also include impure thoughts such as envisioning the nudity implied by this film. That also makes the filmmaker guilty of violation of Luke 17:2.
There were no uses of or references to illegal drugs, alcoholic beverages nor was there any abuse of prescription drugs noted. The only substance use noted was of smoking tobacco.
Offense to God (O)
There were no uses of God's name in vain noted, with or without the four letter expletive. Further, there were no instances noted of witchcraft, sorcery or any of the many other forms of evil.
There were no murders or suicides noted in the entire 112 minutes of the film.
If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ] or bold. 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.
***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
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.
Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
Sexual Immorality (S)
Offense to God (O)
|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 more than eight years of 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.|
|In the name of Jesus: |
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