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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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Snow Falling on Cedars (1999), (PG-13)
CAP Score: 68
CAP Influence Density: 0.57
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*Snow Falling on Cedars* (PG-13) -- and clothing falling on ground.

One might think this is a very rude and crude thing to say about this movie. Well, yes. It is, but it is earned, not fabricated. This movie is little, if any, more than portrayal of a sexual relationship between two teens -- early teens, very early teens. And, yes, there is sexual intercourse -- repeatedly -- thus "clothing falling on the ground." I guess if there is any "good" to be found in this programming it is no visible nudity, at least of the sexual relationship. But there is battlefield nudity. All for your 13-year old's viewing "pleasure." Remember, there is no law that says you must let your 13 rea old watch PG-13 movies.

An American teen boy violates the norm of the time by entering into a relationship with a Japanese teen girl just before America's entry into World War II. And when the Japanese military of the time killed thousands of American soldiers at Pearl Harbor, the American government split the pair up, which gave fuel to the teen arrogance against fair authority. As hard as it may be on teens in love to be split up by some "big kids" starting a war, there is no justification I can find in the Bible for arrogance against parents for such a "cause." Granted, Eph. 6:4 states "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." But there is a very distinct and defining difference between wrath and simple anger. Wrath is justifiable in the eyes of the Lord, NOT the eyes of the one angered, while simple anger is typically selfish. For a discussion about this distinction, please visit our "Spare the Rod . . . Spoil the Child: A Parental Perspective" from our Table of Contents --> CAP Reports --> Commentaries.

The Japanese residing in America in this movie were treated harshly as they were robbed of their homes, property and any wealth to be herded off to internment camps during the war. "While some have been misled to believe that this was for their own protection, and most experts believe it didn't do a thing for national security," [editorial assistance by Arthur Hu], it is the parents' job(s) to teach children of these realities, not the imagination of the movie writers.

The main content of this movie was the long-term relationship between two young people which started as a tender love and progressed into sexual intercourse, starting at around 12 or 13 years old and lasting well into adulthood, even after the girl married another man. And, of course, not one mention was made about such a relationship being sinful. However, the only nudity noted in this 121-minute movie was nudity on the battlefield.

I am certain I will hear about my lack of attention to the beautiful way the movie identified vain prejudices against people of another race and how the movie efficiently pointed out the shallowness and stupidity of such prejudices and the pain caused by them. To that, I remind the antagonists that the single greatest advantage of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model is that objective and will not permit incorporation of the opinions or even the values of the investigator. ONLY the teachings of Jesus are used as Investigation standards. We make no scoring allowances for Hollywood's trumped-up "messages" to excuse, or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood has embedded it within any theme of syrupy love and compassion or other cinematic mask. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of the sin.

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: Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) CAP Thermometers

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

Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • repeated graphic depiction of a drowning victim
  • autopsy procedures
  • war brutality
  • threats
  • harsh treatment of Japanese in America at declaration of WWII
  • battle gore and death
  • surgical amputation

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • racial slurs
  • arrogant aggression of a young army officer at a civilian woman
  • arrogance against fair and loving authority, including screaming at and "looking down the nose" at parents
  • a daughter's "so there" arrogance against her mother when the daughter's immoral sexual behavior was revealed
  • lies about sexually immoral behavior

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • camera angle focusing viewer on young girl's chest, implying the focal field of the teen boy
  • teen boy making advances at teen girl
  • young teens exploring sexuality and physical attraction
  • sexual intercourse (masked) between two young teens
  • sexual intercourse in a shower
  • battle nudity
  • partially hidden sexual intercourse
  • attempt to rekindle past sexual relationship with a married woman

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • two uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    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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