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(1999), NR [PG-NR*]

Analysis Date
CAP Final Score
CAP Influence Density
November 8, 2001
73 out of 100

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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.

(1999), NR [PG-NR*] -- What would you do?

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy Internet Movie Database
Distributed by: Cloud Ten Pictures and Interstate Forty Feature Film Company
Director(s): Barry Berman
Producer(s): Carol Baum, Craig Fincannon, Frank Capra, Jr., Jon Cornick, Rolan Joffe, Christopher Bromley, Roy Walker
Written by/Screenplay: Barry Berman
Cinematography/Camera: Steve Thompson
Music: J. Peter Robinson

Please understand that the CAP analysis model treats any onscreen behavior as a possible behavioral template for the viewer, whether utilized in a Christian film or not. Only by using such sterile scrutiny can we provide you with objective findings by which you may make a determination whether a movie is fit for you and/or your family. For example, drunkenness is incorporated into the scoring the same whether in a secular film or a Christian film. We tell you the facts about the content of a film and use the teachings and expectations of Jesus to determine what we need to tell you. You decide whether a film is fit for your family or yourself. We just provide you with some tools with consistency and Rock-solid reliability to help you make an informed decision.

A high-energy, sometimes riveting sometimes comic, reality-oriented believable story of the power of forgiveness with high-wattage performers holding your attention minute-by-minute. Reynolds reveals the depth of his talents. Even my 16-year son old likes it! And with a CAP Final Score of 73, confidence is high this film would have been given a PG rating (PG movies in the CAP comparative baseline database earned scores from 68 to 86 of 100). There are several issues of aberrant behaviors as may be necessary to build a plot but nothing nearly as extreme as is typical in secular entertainment. Note that Waterproof was produced in 1998 but was shelved for four years lacking a distributor until Cloud Ten Pictures acquired it.

Ten year old Thaniel Battle (Cordereau 'Cord' Dye) became mixed up with the wrong crowd, ostensibly because of having a single mom working long hours just to make ends meet. Thaniel's mom, Tyree (April Grace, Finding Forrester) worked for the Diplomat Cab Company in Washington, D. C. Thaniel tried to find unconditional acceptance in a street gang. The gang required Thaniel to commit an armed robbery to be unconditionally accepted [Prov. 3:31]. Thaniel was told to lie to Eli Zeal (Burt Reynolds), a small city store owner to get him to open the closing store [Rev. 21:27]. What's a man to do? A 10 year old lad is alone, on the inner city streets begging to use Eli's phone to call mom. What would you do?

Once inside the store, Thaniel leveled a gun at Eli while the street punks got in and started trashing the store. One of the street punks commanded Thaniel to shoot Eli. Thaniel would not do it. The same street punk tried to take the gun away from Thaniel to shoot Eli. Thaniel tried to keep the gun away from the street punk but in the struggle the gun discharged, hitting Eli in the upper left arm. Now the armed robbery has become assault with a lethal weapon and attempted murder as well. Then the street punks ran off, leaving Thaniel to fend for himself. [Hab. 2:9, Hab. 2:12]

The first to find Thaniel was his mother. She found him standing just outside the store with the gun in his hand. Panicked, Tyree gathered Thaniel and Eli in her cab and fled. Stopping for first aid supplies, Tyree called her mother Viola (Ja'net Dubois) whom Tyree had not seen for 15 years, to tell Viola she is coming home to Waterproof, LA. Now kidnapping is added to the list of crimes. [Jonah 3:8]

In Waterproof, Eli slowly found room to forgive Thaniel and Tyree as Grandpa Sugar (the late Whitman Mayo, "Grady" of Sanford and Son) nursed his injury with deep south tonic and poultice [Matt. 6:14 - 15]. Grandpa Sugar's instructions were for Eli to sit and watch the sunrise for nine days. In those nine days the bulk of the story of redemption and forgiveness unfolds. I'll not spoil any more of the movie for you should you decide to watch Waterproof, but I will tell you that you will see some of the finest and least artificial performances ever. And having the press kit for a movie to augment the analysis makes it easy to give you a high level of detail.

The character of Grandpa Sugar, the patriarch of the Battle family, is inspired by 99 year old John 'Sugar' Banks of the filming locale - an old and very wise man who would just sit and talk with Berman, the man to whom the film is dedicated. Grandpa Sugar acted a little "off" occasionally, but we are left wondering just how "off" he really was as his wisdom and skills beamed through. Mr. Mayo found time during the filming to serve as a guest lecturer at Clark Atlanta University in speech communication and theater arts. Mr. Mayo died after the filming of Waterproof at the age of 71. A grand man indeed was Whitman Mayo.

Viola Battle (Ja'net Dubois, "Willona Woods" of Good Times), Grandpa Sugar's daughter is the very image and personification of a Word-believing "mother." Viola embodies all that is "mother": the care-worn face everybody immediately loves; the intense fussing to make sure everybody is happy and well-fed; the bottom-swatting force to be reckoned with if one of "hers" is threatened; the epitome of the one who, as last, will be first. Everybody's mom. Ready to give all that she has to give. This is the contribution of Ja'net Dubois to Waterproof.

April Grace found not only a great opportunity to demonstrate her skills as an embittered and abused single mother, she found Salvation during the shooting of Waterproof. The Holy Spirit touched April during the filming. The film portrays Tyree as coming forward to accept Jesus as Lord and resurrected Savior after reconciliation with her mother and forgiveness from Eli Zeal. As part of the portrayal, Tyree is baptized into the Holy Spirit. But is was not fake. April chose for the baptism during the filming to be her true baptism. The pastor performing the baptism in the film is a local pastor who agreed to perform in the movie and performed the authentic baptism in the movie. Praise the Lord! He works in many seemingly strange ways.

Two more characters I will take the space to tell you about is Big Battle (the late Anthony Lee) and Nathaniel 'Natty' Battle (Orlando Jones), the two brothers of April. Big is a perpetual drunk [1Cor. 6:9-10], apparently blaming his addiction on carrying a lie for 15 years: a lie about the reason Natty is slow-minded; a lie that garnered for him bitterness and disdain he did not deserve from his mother [Prov. 19:5, Prov. 6:16-19]. After the filming of Waterproof Mr. Lee was shot and killed at 39 by the police while carrying a costume revolver.

There is much, much more to be told about the high caliber of the cast and crew of Waterproof but the reason you come to the CAP reports is to find out what is in a film that may be of moral concern to you. There are issues of aberrant behaviors in addition to those mentioned above which may serve as behavioral templates for the impressionable [1Cor. 15:33]. Of significant concern should be the portrayal of drunkenness and drinking. Even 10 year old Thaniel is portrayed as being made drunk by Big. There are numerous instances of smoking as well. The presence of firearms is strong in the first part of the film.

And there are the ever-present, universally accepted, often ignored, widely used little white lies to protect and encouragement to lie to protect. I have yet to find any Scripture which says under which situation or condition a lie is not a lie. God has some quite disturbing things to say about liars [Rev. 21:8], so let us not take any chances and ensure you and your family members understand that a lie is a lie no matter the conditions. There is no justification to make slight of God's Word in the name of entertainment. If a lie would save someone, the sin is on to whom the lie would be spoken. God's name is used in vain only once [Deut. 5:11], then without the four letter expletive. Bloody injury, bike theft, an adult in his underwear and talk of pride in crime may serve to exemplify God's warning in 1Cor. 15:33. Let the listing in the Findings/Scoring section provide an itemization of the findings.


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.


  • Prov. 3:31 Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways,
  • Rev. 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter it [the holy city - Heaven], nor will anyone [unforgiven] who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life.
  • 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!
  • Hab. 2:12 Woe to him who builds a city [a guarded thing such as place or organization] with bloodshed and establishes a town [a collective such as mob or gang or regime] by crime!
  • Jonah 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.
  • Matt. 6:14 -15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
  • 1Cor. 6:9-10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Prov. 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free.
  • Prov. 6:16-19 There are six things the LORD hates, ... a false witness who pours out lies...
  • o Rev. 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, 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.
  • Deut. 5:11 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain [shav' {shawv}: emptiness, nothingness, vanity]: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless [naqah {naw-kaw'} :blameless, innocent] that taketh his name in vain.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it].
  • 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 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 [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] 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. I suspect "offend" includes sexually abusing the little ones. "Little ones": mikros - little;, small of age; younger which can include at-home teens].
  • 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.

    Waterproof (1999) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
    street punk intimidation to commit armed robbery
  • threat with firearm
  • firearm injury
  • blood
  • illegal flight to avoid lawful prosecution
  • firearm display
  • theft of private property, bicycle
  • fighting with a board causing injury to a child

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • lie to gain access to a store
  • talk of pride in crime
  • encouraging of lying to authorities
  • ten year old boy sneaking out at night
  • family argumentation with physical aggression
  • long-term deceiving of mother
  • white lies to protect

    Sexual Immorality (S)
  • adult in underwear, twice
  • child by immoral sex

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking
  • drunkenness
  • smoking

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • none 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 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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