FRI-SAT-SUN
February 11-13, 2000
volume 11, no. 30

To print out entire text
of Today's issue, go to
SECTION ONE
SECTION TWO
SECTION THREE

MOVIES & MORALS

INTRODUCTION
    In lieu of providing reviews of the top ten movies for the week which really only promote the movies, regardless of bad reviews by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, we have decided to merely list the ten top movies with a link to the Bishop's page that provides reviews and devote this column to something with much more substance. Within the next few weeks we will be establishing a special column by the author of this piece today - Michael Vincent Boyer, the 42 year-old Catholic editor and publisher of the new monthly Goodbye, Hollywood tabloid which truly tells it like it is for Catholics to consider and act upon. We will have much more on Michael in the coming weeks and want to promote his excellent publication for it is badly needed as he exposes Hollywood for what it is - the disciple of the devil. Yet there are good people in the land of celluloid and he will also treat the pros as well as the cons in his interesting, unique, thought-provoking columns that will run regularly in the DailyCATHOLIC.

The Top Ten Movies for the First Week of February:

    1. Scream 3
    2. The Hurricane
    3. Stuart Little
    4. Next Friday
    5. Eye of the Beholder
    6. The Green Mile
    7. Galaxy Quest
    8. Down to You
    9. Girl, Interrupted
    10. The Talented Mr. Ripley


What Hollywood doesn't want you to know

The coarsening of values: "Value Manipulation" emerges as Hollywood Strategy

        The term "coarsen" has risen in usage lately due to the increasingly negative effects of demoralized entertainment coming out of Hollywood. Elected officials, psychologists, sociologists, columnists, and the general public have used the term more frequently in efforts to make the entertainment industry aware of its impact and to clean up its act. Instead, corrosive behavior is promoted with multi-million dollar ad campaigns as "entertainment." What Hollywood doesn't want you to know is that it really doesn't care.

        The industry has embarked on a campaign to change your values based on Beverly Hills qualifications. While its not talked about openly, a few major power brokers can't help but foam at the mouth when criticized for peddling sleaze. Critics of coarsened values perpetuated by the Disney Company were called "nuts," foolish," and "like Hitler" by none other than Disney Chairman Michael Eisner. Just ten years ago you would not have heard such comments from the head of an entertainment conglomerate - especially Disney.

        Webster's New World Dictionary defines the word coarse: rough, harsh, vulgar, crude, gross, lack of culture and good taste. That definition now applies to many entertainment titles in feature films, television, videos, and video games, as well as music; with notable exceptions in all categories. It's the notable exceptions that Hollywood rarely applauds. In fact, many movie critics find coarsened values in entertainment as the sign of a "serious work of art." Is Hollywood playing to the movie critics or to the movie-going public?

        The coarsening of values began quickly after the start of the ratings system instituted by Jack Valenti in 1968. And Hollywood has been raising the bar even higher for at least 30 years, but moreso in the decade of the 90's. Its appearance covers all genres from comedy, drama, and especially horror films with such recent films as the "Scream" series by Disney's own Miramax division. [In fact, "Scream 3" garnered nearly 35 million over the weekend while playing in 3,467 theatres nationwide. Consider that it is rated "R" - restricted to those under 17 - and yet the majority of those paying at the box office are teens under 17. More evidence that the current ratings system is a dismal failure and needs overhaul.]

        The industry has managed to eliminate the harsh term "horror" in favor of what they call "fright films" where the main theme is fear. What Hollywood doesn't want you to know is that they are promoting fear as "fun" to increasingly younger audiences. The roots of this fear can be traced back to the original "Halloween" and "Friday the 13th." For the first time, mainstream studios were marketing an extreme form of violence as "fear and fun films." But, each passing year saw more graphic depictions of decapitations, bloody stabbings, bodily dismemberment, shattered skulls, and exploding human bodies. New Line Cinema and Miramax, long recognized as irresponsible filmmakers, have been leaders in this pack.

        "The harmful effect is the cumulative impact," according to Professor Greg Smith of Dickinson College. Constant exposure to "frightening images of destruction or harm" doesn't always lead children to imitate what they see, but it does have a coarsening effect that makes children and even adults "more callous toward one another." And television has not escaped "coarsened values" with Fox being among the leaders. Writing about the Fox series "Action," columnist George Will wrote that the show "is evidence of how frantically producers now strain in search of something that can startle - never mind shock - America's desensitized audiences." He adds, "Some mediocre and even some excellent entertainment that is not offered on the four major networks seems to tempt those networks toward coarseness. Over-the-air [broadcast] television is lurching deeper into vulgarity to compete with limited access TV, such as HBO, that properly feels freer to depict sex and violence." In fact, HBO largely marketed itself as showing movies and shows "you won't see on regular TV" and has been dropped by many former subscribers because of its foray into softcore pornography and profanity after midnight with shows like "Real Sex" and "Chris Rock."

        Value manipulation and its resulting coarse values is the insipid campaign now being waged by the entertainment industry. It is the secret that Hollywood doesn't want you to know!

Michael Vincent Boyer
          

February 11-13, 2000
volume 11, no. 30
MOVIES & MORALS

To print out text of Today's issue, go to:
SECTION ONE | SECTION TWO | SECTION THREE

The DAILY CATHOLIC Search for anything
from the last three
years in past issues of
the DailyCATHOLIC: