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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
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(2010), PG-13 [Lite PG(13)*] (1hr 34.5min)

Final Score
Analysis Date
Date Posted
Influence Density
June 19, 2011
June 20,2011

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(While the Scriptural references are certainly not subjective, my commentary may be and sometimes is somewhat subjective.)

If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary.

(2010), PG-13 [Lite PG(13)*] ... certainly not a PG-13

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Production (US): Level Path Productions, Whitow Films, The Trial Productions, LLC
Distribution (US): Fox Home Entertainment
Director(s): Gary Wheeler
Producer(s): Gary Wheeler, Mark Freiburger, Matthew Modine, robert Whitlow, Kathy Whitlow, Brad Mix, Joh Ayers, Reid McGraw, Cha Gundersen
Screenplay: Mark Freiburger, Gary Wheeler, Robert Whitlow
Novel by: Robert Whitlow
Cinematography/Camera: Tom Priestley, Philip Hurn
Music: Rob Pottorf
Film Editing: Jonathan Olive
Casting: Beverly Holloway, Beverly Holloway Casting
Production Design: John D. Kretschmer
Viewed on Fox Home Entertainment DVD

Because of the loss of his wife, Laura and two sons to a car wreck, attorney Kent "Mac" McClain (Matthew Avery Modine) is suffering ... and so is his practice.

At the point of having a gun to his chin and a bottle of drugs at the ready, a phone call from Judge William L. Danielson (Rance Howard, Ron Howard's father) snaps Mac back to reality with an order to represent accused murderer, Peter Thomason (Randy Wayne). In a daze of bewilderment and pain, Mac agrees to interview Thomason.

Thomason is accused of murdering his girlfriend 21 year old heiress Angela Hightower (voice of Kera O'Bryon). At the interview, nothing of any substance that can be used in Thomason's defense was offered. All Mac could see is that Thomason reminds him of his son, Zach ... and that the ghosting of his lost son he saw in Thomason might be significant. It might be.

Mac has to almost completely restart his practice. His first stop was to meet with his previous assistant, Mindy (Nikki Deloach) who agrees to again work for Mac. Now Mac needs an investigator. The first that comes to mind is his brother in law, Ray Morrison (Robert Forester). Also needing someone to pick Thomason's amnesiac brain, Mindy recommends Dr. Anna Wilkes (Clare Carey). Finally, Mac slowly comes to believe he needs help that cannot be found in past associates or professional comrades.

This is an intriguing and comfortable film about courtroom proceedings that mimic most courtroom dramas but with a Spiritual flair. I am not going to spoil the film any further in case you find it fit by the content we reveal.

The MPAA rated this film PG-13 for "some thematic material and a disturbing image." Granted, God is praised as He should be for our reliance on Him (which I am certain is the "thematic elements") but I could not find any "disturbing image" worthy of parental concern enough to be pointed out in the rating caption. The film shows flashes of the car wreck in which Mac's wife and sons were killed but the only thing about it that even approaches graphic is a small head wound on Mac with a little blood on the collapsed driver's side air bag. The film also displays a gunshot to disable an aggressor but neither the discharge of the gun nor the impact of the bullet is seen, only the pointing of the gun at the aggressor and the sound of the discharge. This film is not of typical PG-13 caliber. It is a PG(13)* film which means a film which earned a PG-equivalent score under the CAP Analysis Model but was rated PG-13 by the MPAA.

We have been applying the CAP Analysis Model to films for more than 15 years now and have performed analysis of nearly 1400 films. We have even proven, regarding film content, that which Harvard University researchers proved but we proved it four years before them. Because of a number of matters of violence and/or crime and of alcohol consumption and/or illegal drug references, the magnitude of the content is indeed worthy of a PG label but certainly not a PG-13 label. The final score earned by the content of this film is 81 out of 100. This score places the content of the film solidly within the upper portion of the range of scores earned by films rated PG (86 to 68 out of 100) in the comparative baseline database. I suspect the PG-13 label is mostly because of the "Christian" content. Gotta do our best to keep children away from anything "Christian", don't we now? By the trending seen in nearly 1400 film analyses, not sex and violence and hate or other assaults on morality and decency, just "Christian." So sayeth the MPAA anyway. Apparently.

Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 44 out of 100
Because of the frequency of violence and/or crime content, this film is actually equivalent to some R-rated films in violence/crime. Films rated R in the comparative baseline database earned scores of 54 and below out of 100. The violence/crime content of this film earned an area score of 47.

Examples of the violence/crime content include the images of the traffic collision, a tale of murder and a tale of suicide, an episode of defensive gunfire causing injury, defensive assault, embezzlement [Hab. 2:9] and others. Please look to the listing in the Findings/Scoring section for a complete listing of the findings.

God has told us that violence is "catching." [Prov. 16:29] Man has since echoed God's warning and has issued a finding "viewing violence may lead to real life violence." It would be prudent to consider the impact of the violence portrayed in this film before you decide for which age stratum it might be fit.

Impudence/Hate (I) - 89 out of 100
The prosecutor told his assistant to pull the building fire alarm if his meeting lasted longer than 15 minutes. There is also a series of lying on the stand [Rev. 21:8] but there is not a single use of profanity in the entire film. This investigation area was unable to find any assaults on morality and decency beyond those which might typically be found in G-rated films.

Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
There was nothing found that would apply to this investigation area. This film is fully G-equivalent in Sexual Immorality due to the absence of any sexually immoral portrayals or demonstrations.

Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 58 out of 100
On a number of occasions someone drinks an alcoholic beverage and numerous times illegal drugs and their use are referenced. Though these matters are inherent to the story, therein lies some danger.

A 2002 study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) revealed that adolescent exposure to drinking in and as entertainment undeniably leads to abuse of alcohol among underage viewers. The finding entitled Relation Between Parental Restrictions on Movies and Adolescent Use of Tobacco and Alcohol reports that of 4544 youths from grades 5 through 8 of fifteen Vermont and New Hampshire middle schools (90% of the youths were under fourteen years old) only 16% were completely restricted in their entertainment diets. Within the ACP study population, the prevalence of having tried alcohol without parental knowledge was

  • 46% for those with no viewing restrictions
  • 16% for those with partial viewing restrictions
  • four percent for those with complete viewing restrictions. [Eph. 5:18]

    The area score of 58 places the content applicable to this investigation area equivalent to most PG-13 films. This is the only investigation area to find content matching the MPAA rating.

    Offense to God (O) - 96 out of 100
    The only content found that applies to this investigation area was a single use of God's name in vain and then without the four letter expletive. But once is one time too many. With or without the four letter expletive. God is not happy with abuse of His name. [Deut. 5:11] This investigation are found the content to be fully G-equivalent.

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
    There is a tale of murder in this film, that of Angela Hightower, a tale of suicide and there is a portrayal of contemplation of suicide -- these elements are incorporated into the Wanton Violence/Crime scoring -- but there are no murders or suicides portrayed in the entire 94.5 minutes of programming. The content found by this investigation area is also fully G-equivalent.


    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.


  • Hab. 2:9 Woe to him who builds his realm by unjust gain to set his nest on high, to escape the clutches of ruin!
  • 21:8 But the {unforgiven} fearful [cowardly], and unbelieving, and the abominable [vile], and murderers, and whoremongers [sexually immoral], and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
  • Prov. 16:29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. [The issue is the violence, the 'way that is not good' no matter how "small" or "justified" the violence might seem, and its "leading" effect on the observer. "A violent man" can be any character of any age, any gender, human or not in the act of committing (demonstrating in the case of entertainment) violent behavior/action whether for good or evil OR the violent behaviors/actions themselves. Such exposure can and does embolden the viewer into aggression, especially youth. It took years for the American professional health community to finally affirm, probably without knowing it, that which God told us in 1 Cor. 15:33 below. See also Joint Statement on the Impact of Entertainment Violence on Children: Congressional Public Health Summit for more information. Further, God speaks darkly of violence 56 times in the Old and New Testament of the KJV.]
  • Eph. 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. [Since "drunk" is methusko {meth-oos'-ko}: to intoxicate; make drunk; to get drunk; become intoxicated, "wine" can be any intoxicating substance including illegal drugs or abuse of prescription drugs. The issue is do not abuse the body by intoxicating it [1 Cor. 6:19]. Though it is not a sin to drink, it is a sin to get drunk OR to influence to get drunk OR to drink in defiance such as underage drinking.]
  • Deut. 5:11 You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. [Vain is shav {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity, such as an expletive. With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or responsible discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it AND the misuse of Jesus' name or title. So, trying to excuse such expressions with "I was talking TO God/Jesus when I said that" or "It's just words" or "I was acting" will not work with Him. Nor will "Everybody says that" excuse the sin of using His name in vain. If everyone on the planet who has ever drawn a breath used His name in vain, it would still be a sin to do so. If no one ever did, it would still be a sin to do so.]

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Jer. 37:9 This is what the LORD says: Do not deceive yourselves, thinking, 'The Babylonians [the destroyers from within] will surely leave us.' They will not!
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences and present it to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, enjoy it, want it, submit to it. I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • Col. 2:8 Beware lest any man [by his influence] spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 Be not deceived: evil [kakov: of a bad nature, not such as it ought to be] communications corrupt good manners.
  • Rom. 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
  • Jude 1:4 For there are certain men* crept in unawares [secretly slipped in among us], who were before of old ordained to this condemnation [whose condemnation was written about long ago], ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [a license for immorality], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
  • 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 one of these little ones. [Offend: skandalizo {skan-dal-id'-zo} - scandalize; to entice to sin; to cause a person to begin to distrust and desert one whom he ought to trust and obey; to cause to fall away.]
  • Ps. 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me [let no sin rule over me].
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. ["Evil" includes all things that are sinful.]


    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.
    (The objective heart of the CAP Analysis Model, independent of and insulated from the Summary / Commentary section.)

    The Trial (2010) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W) - 44 out of 100
  • traffic collision images, repeatedly
  • gun to head for suicide
  • tale of murder by strangulation
  • tale of suicide
  • firearm for custody of inmates
  • embezzlement
  • fight, defensive
  • framing of another by staging murder to look like suicide
  • gunfire injury to disable
  • defensive assault
  • contemplating suicide by gunfire

    Impudence/Hate (I) - 89 out of 100
  • ordering associate to activate fire alarm without a fire
  • series of lies on the stand

    Sexual Immorality (S) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D) - 58 out of 100
  • contemplating suicide by prescription drugs
  • drinking, repeatedly
  • illegal drug reference, repeatedly
  • bar
  • drugging to subdue

    Offense to God (O) - 96 out of 100
  • a single abuse of God's name

    Murder/Suicide (M) - 100 out of 100
  • none noted

    Interested parties, send us your proposal. Your link will appear on each new analysis report prepared during the desired period and, once placed on a page, will not be removed.

    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 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.

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    * CAP Equivalence to MPAA Rating Scale:
    Please note our new manner of indicating a film's Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating in comparison with the CAP equivalence such as "PG-13 [R-13]." The first term is the Motion Picture Association of America's (MPAA) rating. The second term [in brackets] indicates that which the film earned under the CAP analysis model. In the example, "PG-13 [R-13]" indicates the MPAA rated the film PG-13 but the film earned a CAP final score in the scoring range earned by R-rated movies in the comparative baseline database. Other comparative terms used might be "PG [13-PG]", "G [PG-G] or even 'PG-13 [PG]" as was the case for Alien vs Predator. I doubt there will ever be a "G [R]" used, but only time will tell. The CAP analysis model is Rock-solid. The MPAA is not.

    The current CAP to MPAA** nomenclature is:

    For G rated Films with
    G equivalence: G
    PG equivalence: PG-G
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-G
    R equivalence: R-G<
    For PG rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-PG
    PG equivalence: PG
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-PG
    R equivalence: R-PG
    For PG-13 rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-13
    PG equivalence: PG(13)
    PG-13 equivalence: PG-13
    R equivalence: R-13
    For R rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-R
    PG equivalence: PG-R
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-R
    R equivalence: R
    For NR rated Films with
    G equivalence: G-NR
    PG equivalence: PG-NR
    PG-13 equivalence: 13-NR
    R equivalence: R-NR
    ** G, PG, PG-13 and R are registered trademarks of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

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