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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Recess: School's Out (2001), (G)
CAP Score: 82
CAP Influence Density: 0.32

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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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.

RECESS: SCHOOL'S OUT (G) -- Maybe this is an oppositional satire of year 'round school?

This one is for the Honeycomb homeschool moms.

TJ and the gang thwart the scheme of a mad scientist to end recess -- and summer vacation. Maybe this is an oppositional satire of year 'round school? At any rate, it should not have been rated G (more on this later).

With dual-focus, this flick may be fun for kids as well as have something for adults. While the flick feeds the kids with a few touches of the "too much independence too soon" trend of modern entertainment targeted at youth, it also will bring back some memories of the Peter Max and "Green Tambourine" generation ("Green Tambourine" sung by Robert Goulet does leave something to be desired, though). Because there is some flashback to the "hippie-freek" days circa the 1960s (which is ancient history to the target audience), there are some popular symbols of the era displayed which are also used by antiChristian and occultic organizations. And it is no less violent and arrogant than the TV series.

School is out for the summer. TJ Detweiler (the voice of Andy Lawrence) is looking forward to another summer vacation of fun and games with the gang, Gretchen, Spinneli, Vince, Mickey (whose singing voice is Robert Goulet), Gus, et al. But TJ learns each of his friends is headed for summer camp of some sort. Spinneli is headed for wrestling camp. Mickey is headed for some sort of arts camp. Gus is headed for military camp. And so on. Now, TJ is alone. During one of his time-killing tours to find something to do, TJ discovers suspicious activity in the 3rd Street School -- his school. Flashes and rumblings are emanating from the gym.

Dr. Benedict, a rival of Principal Prickly is building a secret tractor-beam in the school to rid America of summer vacation by shifting the orbit of the moon, creating a new ice age for America. If summer is full of ice and snow, more kids will stay inside -- and study. Well!? The test scores of Canada, Iceland, and Norway are so much better than US scores! The secret to better test scores must be year 'round cold! Learning of the dastardly deeds of of Dr. Benedict, TJ takes on Benedict and his henchpeople, single-handedly in the beginning, to thwart his scheme. One by one, TJ drafts the aid of his gang who are off to summer camps. And, of course, not one of them are accountable to any adult authority and devise ways to prevent mom/dad and camp counselors from finding out. And, of course, no adult believes TJ that world-changing things are happening at the school. Dissonance is a consequence of watching this movie, possibly giving rise to emboldenment of throwing "You don't believe me" at parents.

Back in the 60s, the now Dr. Benedict and Principal Prickly were on the staff of the 3rd Street School. Benedict was the Principal. And the gravel Miss Finster was there, too. Finster and Benedict had a "thing" for each other. Benedict was bent on canceling recess but Prickly was not. Benedict implemented no-recess which drew a barrage of complaints from parents. Benedict was fired and Prickly made principal in his place, and there he stayed for 30 years. And for 30 years the animosity festered in Benedict. Benedict, after a stint as the US Secretary of Education, is still bent on canceling recreational time and filling it with study to raise the US test scores. Many of you educators will hear several mentions of the myriad of pieces and parts to school reform, particularly the one which manipulates the kids into holding teachers hostage with school ratings by test scores.

Many examples of unwarranted (and unearned) adolescent independence and autonomy filled the script [Prov. 29:15]. Also, many examples of placing fair authority in subordinate roles were presented. And many examples of portraying adults as ignoramuses with the children as the wise sages were presented. And all in good clean fantasy fun. Too bad many kids do not see past the surface of such programming: that all they see is the superiority of the characters over proper authority (an element of values / behavioral modification for the educator readers) [Heb. 13:17]. And as introduced above, there were some rather invasive matters of violence associated with the "too much independence too soon." In one case where TJ coerces Mr. Prickly to open the school up so TJ can investigate the strange happenings, Prickly is what appears to be vaporized by electrical energy -- the details of his facial expressions were convincing, a lot more than the Buggs Bunny(tm) and Road Runner(tm) days. There is abduction of children, brutal attitudes of adults toward children [1Tim. 4:12], and children participating in contraband [Luke 17:2]. Remember, this analysis assumes like influence by cartoon behaviors and imagery which can be reasonably duplicated by real children and/or real life. I know this one is going to cost the CAP analysis model some credibility what with a red CAPAlert light, but I did not write the movie. The content, NOT my opinion dictates the scoring. Extremes such as brutal attitudes toward kids, graphic incineration of a character and abduction of children are expensive to the scoring.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will tell you all that was noted.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  • 1Tim. 4:12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
  • 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 [teach or cause to sin] one of these little ones.

    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: recess: School's Out (2001) CAP Thermometers

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

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • breaking and entering and assault with violent control
  • school property theft
  • children participating in contraband
  • breaking and entering to spy
  • character vaporized by electrical energy
  • kids taking the law into their own hands
  • brutal attitudes by adults toward children
  • abduction of children
  • threat of revenge

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • somewhat vulgar talk about authority
  • lies to manipulate authority
  • portrayal of children as authority and adults as dolts
  • much portrayal of the dissonance created by adults not believing children
  • sneaking out of the house

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • adult in underwear and before a child

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • none noted

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • three uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive
  • presentation of symbolism used by antiChristians and occults

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • note noted

    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." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud 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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