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


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to His little ones (which includes at-home teens) through you, their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

(2003), PG
Analysis Date: March 14, 2003
CAP Influence Density: 0.98

MinMax: -93

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Site Map (Table of Contents). Further, 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.

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If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

(PG-13) -- Mother heard some strange noises n the basement...

Cast/Crew Details Courtesy
Production (US): Hard Eight Pictures, New Line Cinema
Distribution (US): New Line Cinema
Director(s): Glen Morgan
Producer(s): Richard Brener, Bill Carraro, Toby Emmerich, Glen Morgan, James Wong
Written by/Screenplay: Book _Ratman's Notebook_, Gilbert Ralston. 1971 screenplay, Gilbert Ralston. Screenplay, Glen Morgan
Cinematography/Camera: Robert McLachlan
Music: Shirley Walker
Film Editing: James Coblentz
Casting: Heike Brandstatter, Coreen Mayrs, John Papsidera
Production Design: Mark S. Freeborn
Art Direction: Catherine Ircha
Viewed At: Ridgemar Movie Tavern

Willard Stiles (Crispin Glover) is not a happy man. His mother emotionally bullies him and uses the "after all I've done for you" guilt to make him serve her. Willard's brutally belittling foul-mouthed boss, MISTER [Frank] Martin (R. Lee Ermey) is out for Willard's professional throat. The only reason MISTER Martin does not fire Willard, who is perpetually late, is because Willard's dad founded the company and Willard always having a job is a condition of Martin being its boss. As long as Mr. Stiles owns the company Willard has a job there. But now that Mr. Stiles is dead... And Willard does not even have a girlfriend. He is everything a greek can be but smart. Rejected. Unwanted. Desperate.

The only critter than befriends Willard is a white rat. Mother heard some strange noises n the basement and sent Willard to check it out. That is how Willard met the rat. Willard decides to name the rat Socrates because the rat shows more intelligence than would be expected of a rat. Socrates is now Willard's pet and companion. Willard takes Socrates everywhere. Sleeps with him. Eats with him. Bathing with him was not noted. Slowly hundreds of Socrates' friends show up and befriend Willard as well. These rats seem to enjoy serving Willard. Willard spends quality time with them, enjoying their company and sharing unspoken secrets with them. Willard notices the rats chew on a rolled up newspaper. Willard also notices that they become more frenzied and numerous when he speaks "Tear." Eventually, Willard has the rats doing his bidding such as dozens of them scurrying into a satchel bag when he says "in" and out when he says "out."

There are reminders of Phil Karlson's 1972 movie *Ben* on which *Willard* is based. In *Ben* young and lonely David Garrison (Lee Montgomery) befriends a rat named Ben. In *Willard*, a "Big Ben" clock chimes away the minutes. One of the more notable reminders of *Ben* is noted as a cat flees for its life from a mountain of rats the cat hits the button on the TV 'mote. Now playing in the background and serving as background music is the movie *Ben* and its alluring theme song sung by Michael Jackson. But in this case, hundreds of "Jerrys" get tabby "Tom." For lunch. And the tabby is not all the rats get. For lunch.

But the most notable reminder of the movie *Ben* is ... Ben. A huge rat which seems to be independent of all the others ... watching ... and watching ... listening ... and thinking as if to be the embodiment of the totalitarian powers in Joy Batchelor and John Halas' 1954 *Animal Farm*. As all the other rats entertain Willard, Ben absorbs it all. One can tell that Ben is calculating,waiting for the moment he can act. Against Willard. I wonder if there is any "cosmic connection" of my associating the totalitarianism in *Animal Farm* with a conniving rat? Only God knows for sure. Note that Socrates and Ben are real in this film. Socrates is a Norwegian white rat while Ben is an African Gambian rat. Ben's expressions are sometimes cgi enhanced, but he is real. Large as a cat.

One day, when MISTER Martin thinks he has found a loophole that will allow him to fire Willard, he does so. Brutally. Broken and hurt, Willard, seeking out his new friends for comfort, his true friends that will do anything for him, plods along until one moment hits him as if a light bulb came on.......

There are several elements of this film which would probably at least raise your parental eyebrows and possibly even make you squirm in your seat next to your child(ren). Maybe even get up and leave. A strong presence of this movie is vengeance [Rom. 12:19]. Martin's abuse of Willard was immeasurably "without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal." [2Tim. 3:1-5] As part of the highly skilled and intelligent use of three and four letter words, this movie includes the use of the most foul of the foul words AND the use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Only once each, but each is a sin as are all the other uses of "filthy communication" in this movie. [Col. 3:8] In addition to once *with* the four letter expletive, God's name in used in vain without the four letter expletive six times. By the way, MISTER Martin is responsible for about 90% of the 30 uses of disrespectful, vulgar and foul language in this movie. Imagine that! A movie associating potty mouth with the most unpleasant personality in the whole show

Many times the skills of the cgi experts and animal trainers give a high degree of realism to the infestations with rats which is certainly a foe for those with a fear of rats and the young. While there was no nudity noted, Martin is noted lusting over a porn web page. We know it is a porn page by the text. Violence and foul language are clearly the point stealers in this film. Intense pleasure from revenge and contemplation of suicide are two matters that might need your counsel should you decide, after knowing what we reveal, that this film is acceptable to your family. The listing in the Findings/Scoring section will provide all that was noted.


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.

  • Rom. 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
  • 2Tim. 3:1-5 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.
  • 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 that taketh his name in vain. [With or without the four letter expletive, the use of God's name in any way other than respect, reverence or thoughtful discussion is in vain. That includes the popular three syllable sentence with His name trailing it.]
  • Col. 3:8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

    ***Selected Scriptures of Armour against the influence of the entertainment industry***
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively vile/offensive entertainment with impunity and no consequences to younger and younger audiences every year] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to defend it, embrace it, pay for it, enjoy it, want it]. [I call attention to Ps. 12:8 to warn of the creeping desensitizing power of "entertainment."]
  • 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 [warp, distort, falsely represent] 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]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; 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.


    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.


    Willard (2003) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W)
  • explosive startle
  • perverted obsession with rats
  • verbal brutality, repeatedly
  • trespassing to do harm
  • sadistic pleasure
  • death of a woman by rats
  • display of insanity
  • contemplating suicide with blade at wrist
  • killing frenzy
  • assault with stick, repeatedly
  • defensive attack
  • avoiding police, repeatedly
  • gore
  • animal attack with gore (additional)
  • name-calling by a mental ward orderly

    Impudence/Hate (I)
  • 22 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary
  • one use of the most foul of the foul words
  • lies, repeatedly
  • use of animals for vengeance
  • hateful talk to wife
  • a mother saying "I hate you" to her son
  • "poor, poor me" manipulations

    Sex/Homosexuality (S)
  • sexual innuendo
  • web porn page, no pictures but words
  • lusting after web porn

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • drinking

    Offense to God (O)
  • one use of God's name in vain with the four letter expletive and 6 without
  • intense pleasure from revenge

    Murder/Suicide (M)
  • murder using rats

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    NOTE: While the Summary/Commentary section of these reports is precisely that -- a summary in commentary format which can be and sometimes is subjective, the actual CAP Analysis Model (the Findings/Scoring section) makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse, for manufacture of justification for, or camouflaging of ignominious content or aberrant behavior or imagery 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 of behavior or thought from the sinful display or of the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. We make no attempt to quantify the "artistic" or "entertainment" value of a movie -- whether a movie has any positive value or "entertainment" value is up to mom/dad. The CAP analysis model is the only known set of tools available to parents and grandparents which give *them* the control they need, bypassing the opinion-based assessment of movies by others and defeating the deceit of those who would say anything to convince their parents otherwise. The model is completely objective to His Word. Our investigation standards are founded in the teachings and expectations of Jesus Christ. If a sinful behavior is portrayed, it is called sinful whether Hollywood tries to make it otherwise. That the sinful behavior is "justified" by some manufactured conditions does not soften nor erase the price of sin. Whether there is application of fantasy "justification" or "redemption" is up to mom/dad.

    "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 more than eight 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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