Australian Council on Children and the Media

Hoot

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Short takes

Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Viol. Theme)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Hoot
  • a review of Hoot completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 15 September 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and the movieu2019s theme.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended
Children over the age of 13 Should be ok to see this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Hoot
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 90 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Roy Eberhardt (Logan Lerman) is used to moving all over the country due to his father’s job with the Justice Department. The latest move takes them from his ideal home in Montana to Coconut Grove Florida where once again Roy finds himself the new kid at school.

Straight away, Roy becomes the subject of unwanted attention from Dana (Eric Phillips) the school bully. He also befriends Beatrice The Bear (Brie Larson) and her stepbrother, ‘Mullet Fingers’ (Cody Linley), who has run away from home.

In attempting to help Mullet Fingers Roy gets drawn into a plan to help save a precious piece of Florida coast from a money hungry developer Chuck Muckle (Clark Gregg) and his frustrated foreman Curly Branitt (Tim Blake Nelson). Muckle wants to bulldoze the land to build another Mother Paula’s (Jessica Cauffiel) Pancake House, but the development will destroy the burrowing ground of an endangered species of owl.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Endangered species, Bullying, Family breakdown

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Dana grabs Roy and smashes his face into the bus window.
  • Dana grinds his fist into another kid’s head.
  • Dana tries to strangle Roy and Roy fights back, eventually breaking Dana’s nose.
  • Roy is hit on a number of occasions by golf balls.
  • Dana grabs Roy’s hair and Beatrice smashes Dana against the window while he begs her not to beat him up.
  • Dana and his mother wrestle with each other, half the time in headlocks, while arguing over a letter
  • Mullet Fingers puts a sack over Roy’s head and ties his hands behind his back. He then leads him away threatening to put poisonous snakes in his bed if he ever comes near him again.
  • Beatrice slams Roy against a wall and then threatens him
  • Dana chases Roy into a construction yard, backs him up against a fence and tries to punch him. Roy escapes and Dana trips landing on a pile of mousetraps.
  • Mullet Fingers is attacked by two dogs. We see two dogs lunging at him and later see the wound on his arm.
  • Mullet Fingers throws a net over Muckle. He then ties him to a chair and gags him.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there in one scene that could scare or disturb children under the age of five. A police officer checks a port-a-potty at the construction site and sees something swimming in the toilet. When he takes a closer look, the snapping jaws of an alligator jump out at him. The scene was suspenseful and the jumping alligator unexpected and as such it could be frightening for some young viewers.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent and scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Roy is repeatedly the target of Dana’s bullying and at one stage is grabbed and trapped in a closet where Dana tries to punch him. The darkness and suspense of the scene could be quite frightening, especially for any child who may be experiencing bullying.
  • Chuck Muckle blasts a fire extinguisher into the baby owls’ burrows and laughingly tries to kill them.
  • Muckle attempts to run a bulldozer over the owls’ burrowing holes and stops only when he is about to run over three kids.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Some children aged eight to thirteen, particularly those closer to the age of eight years could be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that anything in this movie would scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

None

Sexual references

None

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Beatrice and Kimberly (Mother Paula) show some cleavage.
  • On a commercial Mother Paula uses a husky voice to ask: “Are you a big boy with a big appetite?” To which Curly replies, “Yes.” She then reverts to a normal voice and continues the commercial.

Use of substances

Some men have drinks at a golf clubhouse.

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse language in this movie, and quite a bit of name calling, including:

  • dork
  • bugger
  • goober
  • jerk
  • idiot
  • dang nitwit
  • stupid

In a nutshell

Hoot is a drama based on the book by Carl Hiassen. It is well cast, with a very important message but it has a very predictable plot. It will most likely be best received by an adolescent audience and fans of the book.

The main message is that while development has a place, it also has a price and it is important to look at the future consequences of our present actions because what could be termed important development today could be tomorrow’s ecological disaster.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • persistence
  • justice
  • honesty

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • bullying
  • running away from home
  • going against the law and taking matters into your own hands
  • lying to protect someone

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