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

Entertainment Media Analysis Report

Stepmom (1998), PG-13
CAP Score: 65, CAP ID: 0.77

Thomas A. Carder
CAP President

Executive Summary / Commentary
Findings / Scoring

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Stepmom was quite likely the epitome of moderate malcontentism by an adolescent. If you want your child to learn a vast array of hateful expressions and manipulative techniques, take him/her to see Stepmom. And as do most modern movies, the ignominy was embedded in and somewhat hidden by an ultimate "message" of tear-jerking righteous cooperation and love, as though to say "Go ahead and lie and hate, as long as you're sorry afterward."

Though not a violent movie per se, Stepmom lost every one of the starting 100 points in Impudence/Hate. While no single example of impudence or hate was particularly severe, there were so m-a-n-y little pieces and parts, which all combined to make a very large picture with a lot of hate paint on it. And most of the impudence and/or hate was, of course, against fair parental or exofamilial authority -- just like every other movie which is restricted to the age a little older than the typical attendee.

And Sex/Homosexuality was thick with new age humanism regarding a divorced father living with his kids...and his girlfriend. The kids were exposed to that which kids should not be exposed. For example, though not seen on-screen the 12 year old girl impudently entered the bathroom knowing her father was taking a shower.......and found him showering his girlfriend. And bathing was not all that was going on, sayeth the daughter. Why, in the first place, would a 12 year old girl be going into a bathroom where her father is showering? This is just one example of many of inappropriate sexual programming such as innuendo, vulgar references to anatomy, and the girl speaking to sex as though she were very experienced.

For those of us who avoid movies with a lot of the use of God's name in vain, Stepmom is one to avoid. One of the tear-jerker elements was efficient portrayal of the grief of loss of a mother due to cancer. This is one violent emotion younger children might have a tough time with.

Cheap rivalry shots, lies without consequence, inappropriate touching, smoking drugs, a man and a woman in bed together (though clothed in underwear), and coaching a child to use lies and foul language as a means to get her revenge saturated this movie. As if all these pieces of ignominy plus an adult teaching a child that the use of foul language is really not that bad were not bad enough, Christmas without Jesus or the Cross topped off the unfitness of this invasion of the traditional family unit.

FINDINGS / SCORING: (Title) (YEAR) CAP Thermometers

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Impudence*/Hate (I)(1)lost the intermediate level points due to a single use of the most foul of the three/four letter word vocabulary. Impudence/Hate lost intermediate level points three times due to the use of the three/four letter word vocabulary by a child, extreme monologue against parents, and portrayal that the use of lies and foul language is not really that bad and sometimes helpful.

Sex/Homosexuality (S) lost intermediate level points once due to a 12 year old girl talking strongly of sexual activity. Sex/Homosexuality lost maximum level points once due to discussion of a 12 year old girl walking in the bathroom when her father was showering, that he was showering with his girlfriend, and that the daughter saw her father naked and his girlfriend naked, both engaged in sex.

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

Offense to God (O)(2) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Murder/Suicide (M)(3) lost no intermediate nor maximum level points.

Other examples of entertainment ignominy, each warranting the loss of the minimum point level, included

  • exposure to adult underwear
  • at least 11 instances of adolescent arrogance and hatred toward fair authority
  • at least 19 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • at least ten uses of God's name in vain without the four letter word expletive
  • shallow battle tactics for favor of children
  • "Hate is a completely acceptable word"
  • sexual innuendo
  • a blase attitude about a divorced father living with a woman, and repeated reminders to the kids that their father was not married to the woman he AND they were living with
  • inappropriate touching at least twice
  • invitation to girlfriend by the kids father to go with him on a trip
  • toying with witchcraft and wizardry
  • custody argument in front of kids
  • repeated cheap rivalry shots between the mother and the father's girlfriend
  • an unmarried couple in bed together
  • lying without consequences
  • hard realization of loss due to cancer several times throughout the movie
  • manipulation by mother of children to hate father's girlfriend
  • smoking drugs
  • halloween and haunted houses
  • deceit and cheating to gain unfair advantage
  • fall by a child with injuries and blood
  • a 12 year old talking of open-mouth kissing as though it is none of mom's business
  • coaching of a child to lie and to use foul language
  • vulgar references to male anatomy
  • four presentation of drinking as a relief
  • a child entering an adult's room without knocking
  • Christmas without Jesus or the Cross

    * "Impunity/Hate" is being changed to "Impudence/Hate."

    (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 is incorporated into the Impudence/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 and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

    Additional reviews of this movie may be located at "Movie Review Query Engine at Telerama."

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

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