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Capalert is a website run by the "ChildCare Action Project" (CAP), a Christian "ministry" known mostly for reviewing movies from a Christian perspective. It was started in 1994 by Thomas Carder, who runs the website from his home in Texas.
Carder's mission is to review as much entertainment as possible, count all the examples of sin in each, and list them on his website. He feels that by doing this, he is informing all the other fundamentalist Christians about what sins are in the movie. He's mostly concentrated on film, but he's also rated at least one TV show (Dilbert), and he's hinted at covering other media as well, such as video games. He also includes a large "about the pastor" section where he points out that he has been in an adulterous relationship with his previously married and then divorced wife. Apparently biblical injunctions are only for other people. He also has that "coming soon to an airport stall near you" air of protesting a wee bit too loudly about homosexuality.[note 1]
“”An Investigator will observe relatively closed cultural or societal engines for occurences[ ] of the Investigation Standards. Annotation of findings is performed using detailed recording instruments. The Investigator will then input his/her findings into a computer system. The computer system is designed to generate a numeric score in each of the six Investigation Areas plus a unique statistical average. The higher the CAP score the greater the moral acceptability of the cultural entity under investigation.
The CAP methodology is, to say the least, complicated. If there is one thing that becomes apparent while reading the website (aside from Carder's odd reading of the Bible and his strange definition of "objective"), it's his love of numbers.
Every film starts out with 100 points, and each instance of sin causes it to lose points; the idea, of course, being that movies with higher scores are more suitable for Christian audiences (from Carder's perspective, anyway). He categorizes every sin into six investigation areas that form the clever acronym WISDOM: Wanton Violence/Crime, Impudence (originally Impunity), Sexual Immorality, Drugs/Alcohol, Offense to God, and Murder/Suicide. He then runs the data he's collected through over thirty calculations on a computer. Apparently, without this, some films would earn a negative score in some areas.
All this is then compiled into his final review, containing five key elements: a traffic light meant to intend its ballpark palatability (almost always red), a thermometer that shows visually how the movie scored in the six investigation areas, the findings/scoring section that itemizes each sin shown in the movie, a summary/commentary section where Carder discusses the movie and often summarizes the plot, and a scriptural reference section where he cites scripture to back up his assertions. If the movie is a remake or sequel, Carder will also typically include a side-by-side comparison of the thermometer scores that each of the films have received.[note 2]
Carder claims that everything listed in his Findings/Scoring section of a film's analysis is objective and that the CAP analysis model is objective. It can only be assumed that Carder feels that using math makes a film review objective, despite the fact that what calculations to use, how to categorize the various sins, and even how to interpret the Bible are all subjective in nature.
Four movies have earned a score of 0: Scary Movie, Sin City, American Psycho, and Freddy vs Jason.
Six movies have earned a score of 100: Baby Miracle Volume 1: The Story of Creation, Grandpa Friendly's Workshop: Making Friends, Hurleyville, Episode 1: One God, Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution, Vol. 1,[note 3] Who Gets the House, and Mary Poppins.
Mary Poppins was the first movie Carder rated to have a perfect score, and it remains the only theatrically-released movie to have such a score. Poppins is, if you think about it, cut from the same cloth as the vile Harry Potter movies. It has magic, mischief, and children disobeying their elders; all things Carder has taken a strong stand against. Carder contrasts Poppins to Harry Potter - even though both characters use magic for good, Potter's explicit use of "witchcraft/sorcery/wizardry" marks him out as ultimately serving evil, but Carder feels Poppins "could have been portraying an angel".
Carder's review of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, the fourth Harry Potter movie, shows a kind of exasperation with Harry Potter and the wave of fantasy movies. In that movie review, Carder quotes Steven Kossor, his "Director of Child Psychology Support" (he never names Kossor, but he names the position) as saying:
Kids who revere Harry can't help to notice their own impotence by comparison, and yearn for the antidote that having "magical powers" would provide.
He then goes on to say how bad that is and talk about Jesus throwing himself off a cliff and angels picking him back up.
The quote is used again, in a review of the movie Sky High (about a high school for superheroes). In that review, Carder said:
Note that none of the portrayals of super powers were wielded to portray witchcraft, sorcery or the like but such was still incorporated into Offense to God due to the portrayal of super powers to do harm and/or control others. As our Director - Child Psychology Support reported: "Kids who revere Harry [Potter] can't help to notice their own impotence by comparison, and yearn for the antidote that having 'magical powers' would provide."
When he feels like being sophisticated, Carder turns to psychology instead of the Bible to make people not see movies about magic, and arbitrarily applies this to superpowers too. This seems to contradict his earlier statement about Mary Poppins.
In his review of Hellboy, Carder interpreted the title character to be the beast of the Apocalypse, and was offended by the idea that he could choose to be good. Apparently free will is an un-Christian value.
Fun with objectivity
The Capalert website is rife with oddly-classified "sins" and examples of subjective Biblical interpretation.
In his review of K-19: The Widowmaker, Carder lists "story tension episodes, action violence" under Wanton Violence/Crime, as though such things were both against the law and the teaching of Jesus Christ. No scriptural citations are made to support this.
In his review of Herbie: Fully Loaded, Carder classifies "open mouth kissing" under Sexual Immorality. Likewise, in his review of Disturbia, he classifies "teen girl in teen boy's bedroom without supervision" under Sexual Immorality. 'Nuff said.
Carder is also fond of listing tattoos and piercings under Impudence/Hate, but never cites scripture or otherwise elaborates on it.
Relationship with the MPAA
Carder is distrustful of the Motion Picture Association of America, who he feels does a disservice to children and parents by rating movies in a manner inconsistent with biblical teachings. This view was solidified by his "discovery" of "ratings creep". Carder noticed that some PG-13 movies had as much sin in them as some R rated movies, and calls these moves "R-13." Because of this, Carder has created a complicated CAP-to-MPAA rating guide where he notes the MPAA rating and the rating he feels it deserves based on the amount of sin in the film.
A great many sins are described in the Bible, so by Carder’s standards, children would be best off avoiding this unsuitable material, but Carder will never admit this. For example, the Bible tells kids (and adults) to hate their parents. Carder takes off points for any suggestion of rebellion against parents.
- The House on Haunted Hill
Some actresses permitted the camera to photograph for public display and for pay their gender-specific parts without clothing.
- Brokeback Mountain
...one of the most sly and cunning anti-Christian films ever produced. It violated God's Word not by belittling or vilifying God's Word or faith in him but rather by encouraging empathy for the practice of behaviors that slap the very face of God."
- School of Rock
...consider the concept of the CAP Rule of 1000 which states that a movie which presents 100 examples of bad behaviors of lesser severity, each worth only 10 "bads" (such as in PG movies infrequently but almost all PG-13 movies) is just as bad as a movie that presents only 10 examples of bad behaviors but of extreme severity, each worth 100 "bads" (such as R-rated movies).
Geppetto prays to the blue fairy which looks like an angel with wings and all. Geppetto kneels with palms together and head bowed which is traditionally symbolic of Christian prayer to God, but he is praying to the blue fairy. This smells a little bit like the beginnings of the use of initially small and seemingly innocuous tools and tactics to substitute Christian symbolics with "gentle" counterfeitings to draw away from the Christian faith: the beginnings of paganizing Christianity by paganizing the children. [2 Cor. 11:3] Maybe there is nothing to the possible dangers of "wishing on a star" stealing thunder from praying to God, but maybe there is.
- Lord of the Rings
This movie is likely another maneuver to capitalize on the new found infatuation of visually oriented youth with bright and dazzling display of the occult, witchcraft and evil. It is another presentation of the "good" using evil to fight evil. And it presents sorcery as both "good" and evil. Violently. Grotesquely.
- The Nutty Professor II
While the most foul of the foul words was not noted even once, slack was taken up to the breaking point with at least 67 uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary [Col. 3:8] and God's name in vain both with and without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
homosexual song/talk/dance/presence/practices" "suggestive eye movements"
Movies Carder has walked out on
Sometimes, Carder is so offended by a movie that he leaves in the middle; in this case, he simply compiles a full review with the sins that he saw before leaving. Carder claims that this doesn't negatively impact the report, perhaps under the logic that every sound Christian would surely leave anyway after seeing such an offensive sight as... er, the Buddy Christ.
Dogma was quite possibly presented more danger than South Park in a more subtle or "acceptable" way -- and used live actors and actresses to do it. Eighty-one examples of a witch's brew of foul language plus 40 examples of sexual programming in 38 minutes.[note 4] I really do not need to say more, but I will.
- In the Cut
After 64 minutes into what is claimed to be 119 minutes long (in the US version), when Mark Ruffalo started a perverted phone call with Meg Ryan instructing her in what to do to in great detail, I left. That was the final straw that broke the camel's back in this which is, out of more than 750 films, subjectively speaking one of the most vulgar movies I have seen.
- Kissing Jessica Stein
There is lesbian kissing and sex in it and trumped up justification for it and glorification of sexual immorality in general, as if sexual intimacy outside of a monogamous heterosexual marriage is as commonplace and routine as blowing one's nose or scratching an itch and as acceptable as a serving of desert[ ] after supper. I left as a lesbian pair began their couch cooing and cuddling.
- Mulholland Drive
I left when the nude lesbian licking kissing came on...
...a teen boy undresses to nudity for a shower as teen girl hiding in the shower watches intently, her gaze obviously fixed on a specific target (only his uppermost glutei maximi were seen by the audience).
- The teacup of the storm. Updated to 2011! Dig that authentic late-'90s website design!
- The portrayal of lesbian intimacy in the films Kissing Jessica Stein and Mulholland Drive made Carder walk out of the movie theater.
- Somehow, Carder managed to sit through all five movies. Poor sod.
- Sadly, this film does not give a profile of the crocoduck.
- It's probably a good thing he left after 38 minutes, the whole black Jesus thing would have really pissed him off.
- From the Pastor, capalert.com.
- CAP Methodology, capalert.com.
- Wherein Carder tells people that reviewing movies and griping about them is expensive.
- The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 review, capalert.com.
- Mary Poppins review, capalert.com.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire review, capalert.com.
- Sky High review, capalert.com.
- Hellboy review, capalert.com.
- Carder's PG-13 -> R comparison.
- Sharon Waxman, Study Finds Film Ratings Are Growing More Lenient. Archived from The New York Times, 14 July 2014.
- Harvard Agrees with him! Four Years After He Proved It!
- here Carder explains why he won't apply the same methodology to the Bible and here we see his review of The Passion of the Christ and his treatment of religious subjects.
- The Gospel According to Luke, Chapter 14, The Skeptic's Annotated Bible. Luke 14:26: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."
- Review of the The House on Haunted Hill
- Review of Brokeback Mountian
- Review of School of Rock
- Review of Pinocchio
- Review of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
- By now, I think it's obvious that you want to read the review of The Nutty Professor
- Rocky Horror Picture Show review, capalert.com. This movie got a higher score than Rebel Without A Cause.
- Dogma, partial review, capalert.com.
- In the Cut, partial review, capalert.com.
- Kissing Jessica Stein, partial review, capalert.com.
- Mulholland Drive, partial review, capalert.com.
- Slackers, partial review, capalert.com.
- Sleepover, partial review, capalert.com.