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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

A Walk to Remember (2002), PG
Analysis Date: January 25, 2002
CAP Score: 63
CAP Influence Density: 0.73

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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 completely objective to His Word 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.


Distributed by: Warner Brothers
Director(s): Adam Shankman
Producer(s): Denise Di Novi, E.K. Gaylord II, Bill Johnson, Casey LaScala, , Hunt Lowry, Edward McDonnell
Written by/Screenplay:Nicholas Sparks (novel), Karen Janszen (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Julio Macat
Music: Mervyn Warren
Editing: Emma E. Hickox

A Walk to Remember is mildly invasive but yet a gentle and emotional love story about a girl with righteous values and ethics and her influence on a "bad boy." Jamie Sullivan (brunette Mandy Moore) shows Landon Carter (Shane West), the reckless and superficial big man on campus, a thing or two about wholesome and proper. Mandy is the "odd" girl who always wears the same sweater and is the brunt of the ridicule by the "popular" kids. She enjoys astronomy and reading. She also has the lead part in a school play. Carter is the big man of a clique of big men on campus (with a couple "dolls"), "hooligans" as they used to be called. Carter is the head hooligan.

Carter and his entourage of hooligans have an initiation ritual which, as usual, involves some defiance of authority. In this case, trespassing after drinking -- and jumping off a cement factory apparatus (in their underwear) into a pond. I wonder at what age kids finally figure out that it takes more courage and personal strength to obey righteous authority than to defy it.

Through it all were frecklings of what movie makers apparently think is "teen language." I wonder when filmmakers will finally realize that such language in movies is likely the biggest reason some kids talk that way. While several professional health associations and academies have finally admitted that violence in entertainment begets violence in youth. And a new report (November 2001) by the American Academy of Pediatricians reveals that of 3500 studies conducted, 3482 find violence in entertainment begets violent (aggressive) behavior in youth. Dr. Nelson, a Harvard educated Developmental Psychologist agrees with me that any behavior expression such as arrogance/impudence, compassion, hate, rebellion, self-sacrifice, integrity, etc. portrayed in entertainment can manifest in the observer's personal behavior mechanics and copings skills. I applaud these folks and Dr. Nelson for fortifying what God said 2000 years ago in 1Cor. 15:33.

A "new kid" to the hooligans, I missed his name, was ready to be initiated. Carter climbed onto the cement factory apparatus with the new kid as encouragement to him. Carter had, of course, done it himself and told the new kid he would jump with him. When the countdown reached "zero", only the new kid jumped and nearly drowned because injuries received from the impact. He had to be brought ashore by others. Now the real courage and integrity of the hooligans becomes known. As police sirens sound their approach, all the hooligans scatter ... except the new kid. If Carter had not wrecked his car while trying to escape, he would not have been caught. The new kid was left behind and ended up in the hospital ... paralyzed. Permanently. All in the name of a dare. Sound familiar, mom/dad?

As punishment for his crimes, Carter was ordered to do a few community service tasks and to meet some new people. To do that, the school principal ordered Carter to participate in the school play which centers on a "Mickey Spillane" night club bar scene complete with "pretend" booze. This is where Carter really meets Jamie who plays the night club singer.

Jamie has a secret. A secret that could infect Carter in a permanent way. But that and a lot of quality entertainment I will leave to your discovery should you feel the ignominy we reveal is acceptable. That is what we do. We tell you what is there. You decide whether it is fit for your kids and/or yourselves.

Jamie is the daughter of a pastor (Peter Coyote) who will not allow her to date but not for the reason one might expect the movies to portray. The movie portrays Pastor Sullivan as a hard nosed Bible-thumping speaker of hellfire and brimstone to be sure, but the reason Jamie is not allowed to date is for the protection of whomever might fall in love with Jamie. Jamie even told Carter to not fall in love with her; that not falling in love with her was one of the conditions for being her friend. But did that stop Carter and Jamie from falling in love?

A Walk to Remember is NOT a PG. Twenty uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [1Pet. 3:10] in 99 minutes emulated other movies rated R and were largely responsible for the score of 63. The Impudence/Hate score, which includes loss of points due to foul language, was zero out of 100 starting points. PG-13 movies in the baseline database earned scores from 67 to 55 out of 100. PG movies earned from 68 to 86. I guess since this is a movie about high school kids and since filmmakers seem to have convinced everyone that high school kids cannot talk without using foul language, the MPAA has decided to eliminate foul language as a criterion for a more severe rating when used in a high school movie.

Of course, teen hatefulness and arrogance against parents has always been acceptable to the MPAA ... but not to God [Is. 30:1]. Yes, as with many movies there are some really fine character and ethics elements in A Walk to Remember. Carter learns respect and honor for a father's authority and love, both of the Pastor AND his long-divorced father. That is how Carter convinced Pastor Sullivan to let him date his daughter. "Sir" was one of the three/four letter words Carter knew ... and used. Honorably. Sincerely. Even when Carter's clan created a vulgar picture of Jamie, Carter came to her defense and was there for her in that time of embarrassment and shame.

The gaggle of scantily clad teen girls typically frequenting high school movies is reduced to a few. Binge parties were left out. While some sexual issues were added, the typical equation teen = sex was not exploded as is usual in this sort of movie. And there are no murders or suicides which also seems atypical of teen movies. Not even talk of them. But there is some trash, too.

Just realize that while this movie contains positive portrayals of faith in God, however dutiful or forced they might sound at times, A Walk to Remember is not a "Christian" movie. Christian means being saved by faith in Salvation through the Sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Period. Though Jesus wants us to be loving, humble and compassionate, these good behaviors (our "works") will NOT get us Salvation [Eph. 2:8-9]. The ONLY thing that will gain us Salvation; the only thing that will make us Christian, is to accept and believe Jesus is Lord and the resurrected Savior [Rom 10:9]. Salvation through His Sacrifice was not mentioned even once. The only time I was able to note the name of Jesus was in vain and the Pastor did speak to a bust of what appeared to be Jesus but only once. I don't know whether Neutrogena(tm) spokesperson, news reporter wannabe, never-been-kissed before "Walk Me Home" Mandy Moore is a Christian but I can tell you she hosted her own daytime MTV series in the Summer of 2000. I do not recall ever hearing of any Christian artists being connected with or aired on MTV. Maybe there may have been or are. Heaven knows they could use some Christian artists.

The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will reveal the ignominious content of A Walk to Remember.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. 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.

  • 1Pet. 3:10 For, Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil...
  • Is. 30:1 Woe to the rebellious [carar {saw-rar'}: rebellious, stubborn, revolters] children, saith the LORD, that take counsel [adopt ways, behavior], but not of me; and that cover with a covering [mask, hide], but not of my spirit [by vain and empty reasoning], that they may add sin to sin:
  • Eph. 2:8 - 9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.
  • Rom. 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*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 [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]

    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.

    A Walk to Remember (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • foolish dare resulting in permanent paralysis
  • illegal flight to avoid arrest
  • trespassing
  • fighting

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • twenty uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • arrogant and rebellious street behavior
  • leaving injured friend to avoid arrest
  • arrogance against police
  • arrogance against father, repeatedly
  • lies to avoid accountability
  • punk sounding music
  • hatefulness against others
  • challenging father's judgment
  • portraying pastor as unreasonable

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • sexual innuendo, comments
  • public display of intimate affection, four times, fully clothed, once on school property
  • invitation to come into teen girl's house with parents gone
  • dressing to maximize the female form and/or skin exposure, but only four examples
  • vulgar pelvic thrusts to emulate intercourse
  • suggestive eye movement
  • teens in underwear
  • picture of girl in very brief swimwear, thong style
  • open mouth kissing

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • talk of getting drunk and wanting more
  • booze as part of a teen school play

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • two uses of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive
  • "If there *is* a higher power."
  • mockery of faith and obedience

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    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 or example 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." 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 nearly seven 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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    (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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