February 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 22

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    Because Catholics rent videos like all others, we have decided to inaugurate on every Tuesday (except during Lent) a similar feature as our Friday series MOVIES & MORALS. We call the Tuesday entry VIDEOS & VIRTUES in which we'll preview some of the newest releases on Video as rated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops so you can check the moralometer before plopping down hard-earned money to rent a movie you might wish you hadn't. If it's worthwhile, the Bishops will let you know.

      As you'll see with each review there is almost always something objectionable about each movie so rent with an open mind and keep in mind the best advice before you plunk down your hard-earned money at your local Blockbuster or video store: Would Jesus and His Mother Mary watch it with you? If not, think twice about seeing it.

      Below are some of the latest releases and our pick for the week with the Bishops' reviews. Reviews are categorized by:

A-I -- general patronage;

A-II -- adults & adolescents;

A-III -- adults;

A-IV -- adults, with reservations (an A-IV classification designates problematic films that, while not morally offensive in themselves, require caution and some analysis and explanation as a safeguard against wrong interpretations and false conclusions); and finally, ones no one should see:

O -- morally offensive and should be avoided at all costs!

     Reviews are provided through Film & Broadcasting Division of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops


We strongly recommend...

  • OCTOBER SKY (PG) (Released a year ago, it didn't do that well at the Box Office, but it is a true story that will motivate all movie-goers. Plus, you won't be embarrassed to shed a few tears in the privacy of your own home when you rent this one. )
         Because of a mining tragedy, fleeting parental abuse and a few muttered profanities, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "October Sky" is an uplifting tale set in 1957 rural West Virginia where a miner's son rejects his father's occupation, instead enlisting three schoolmates to build a functioning rocket in hopes of winning a college scholarship. The fact-based story sensitively dramatizes the familial conflicts and how the impoverished youngsters persevere to better themselves with higher education. February 1999


  • THE SPIRIT OF ST. LOUIS (G) (No, we're not talking about the excitement in the gateway city in the aftermath of the Ram's Super Bowl victory, but rather of the classic film of Charles Lindbergh masterfully played by Jimmy Stewart that has become a classic. Lindbergh wasn't from St. Louis but rather was born in Little Falls, Minnesota; flew a plane made in San Diego and departed from New York but it was the spirit that counted - not only the name of the plane, but his own perseverance. )
         The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. "The Spirit of St. Louis" stars James Stewart in the role of Charles Lindbergh as he makes aviation history in 1927 by being the first to fly nonstop from New York to Paris. In this 1957 production, Stewart convincingly portrays the character's courage and determination on his solo flight across the Atlantic, despite early aviation's considerable dangers. July 1997

New Videos released today:

  • THE WINSLOW BOY (PG) (Slow, but interesting script where innocence conquers infringement on our rights as the Winslow boy's brilliant defense lawyer unravels a mysterious and surprising chain of events. )
         The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. In "The Winslow Boy" a 1910 London father (played by Nigel Hawthorne) believes the naval academy has wrongly expelled his 14-year-old son for stealing a five-shilling postal order, so at great cost to his family engages a prominent lawyer (Jeremy Northam) to prove the lad's innocence. The story unfolds through elegant dialogue and a marvelous cast of characters, fine tuning playwright Terence Rattigan's period piece about British justice upholding the rights of a citizen against the power of the state. May 1999

  • STIR OF ECHOES (R) (The echo goes out: Halloween is over, why waste your time wanting to be scared? Kevin Bacon has fallen into type-casting and this one isn't one of his best! He is only an echo of himself in this lame horror thriller.)
          Because of some violence, a shadowy sexual encounter, brief nudity and recurring profanity and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "Stir of Echoes" is a ghost story in which a family man Kevin Bacon starts having violent hallucinations about a vanished teen and becomes obsessed with locating her body on his property. While Bacon's character is sympathetic the villains are obvious in this minimally suspenseful thriller. September 1999

    While the reviews by the NCCB are very good and provide the ratings, we have discovered another site which will give you a much more detailed survey of what to watch out for. Just click on Christian Analysis of Culture Alert.

February 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 22

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