FRI-SAT-SUN
February 4-6, 2000
volume 11, no. 25

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MOVIES & MORALS      INTRODUCTION

    Because Catholics do go to the movies, we bring you each weekend reviews of the Top Ten Movies of the week as rated by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops so you can check the moralometer before plopping down hard-earned money for something. 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 go in with an open mind and keep in mind the best advice before you plunk down your hard-earned money at the box-office: Would Jesus and His Mother Mary watch it with you? If not, think twice about seeing it.

      To the right are the top ten for this last 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 and figures provided through Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.


TOP TEN MOVIES
FOR THE FINAL WEEK OF JANUARY

  • 1.   EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
      (Destination Films)$6 million in one week
          Because of recurring brutal violence, promiscuous sexual situations, some nudity, brief drug abuse and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O - morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. "Eye of the Beholder" is a pathetic psychological thriller about a British agent (Ewan McGregor) who becomes obsessed with an icy American murderer (Ashley Judd) he has been assigned to investigate. The trashy melodrama is unintentionally laughable, presenting an absurdly smitten agent who chooses to protect the serial killer instead of her random victims.

  • 2.   NEXT FRIDAY
      (New Line)$5.75 million last week:/   $39.5 million in three weeks
          Because of sexual situations, intermittent violence, recurring recreational drug use, bathroom humor and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R - restricted. "Next Friday" is an unfunny sequel to the juvenile 1995 "Friday" in which central character Ice Cube moves to his uncle's home in the Los Angeles suburbs trying to escape a bully only to find trouble with his uncle's Chicano neighbors. The characters become caricatures as the cast squeezes out nothing but cheap laughs from the thin material.

  • 3.   THE HURRICANE
      (Universal)$5.7 million last week:/$30.9 million in five weeks
          Because of brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, some profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Hurricane" is a powerful fact-based account of the 20-year struggle of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (played by Denzel Washington) to regain his freedom, aided by an African-American teen (played by Vicellous Reon Shannon) and his Canadian guardians, after Carter was wrongly convicted of a 1966 New Jersey barroom triple murder. An a study of institutionalized racism, the movie chronicles a man's personal agony and triumph as he spiritually transcends his confines while helped by those committed to social justice.

  • 4.   STUART LITTLE
      (Sony)$4.8 million last week:/   $123 million in seven weeks
          Because of scenes of menace and a few cuss words, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents.. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. "Stuart Little" is a fetching live-action fantasy in which a talking white mouse (voice of Michael J. Fox) is happily adopted as the younger son in a human family (in which Geena Davis plays the mom) only to be targeted as a meal by mean neighborhood alleycats. As loosely adapted from E. B. White's 1945 classic, the cheery tale has ample visual appeal, though purists may find the neatly happy ending a cop-out to the author's more probing tale of self-discovery.

  • 5.   THE GREEN MILE
      (Warner Brothers)$4.2 million last week/   $115 million in eight weeks:
          Because of some violence including an horrific electrocution, occasional profanity and intermittent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Green Mile" is a prison drama set in 1935 Louisana where death-row head guard Tom Hanks comes to believe in the innocence of a huge, gentle black man played superbly by Michael Clarke Duncan whose miraculous healing powers affect those around him in startling ways. Adapted from the serialized 1996 Stephen King novel, the movie is unduly long but presents affecting character studies of good and evil men with spiritual undertones and a sobering depiction of capital punishment.

  • 6.   DOWN TO YOU
      (Miramax)$4.1 million last week:/   $13 million in two weeks
          Because of implied affairs, sexual references and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III - adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 - parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. "Down to You" is a romantic comedy about college sweethearts (played by Freddie Prinze Jr. and Julia Stiles) who become serious when the are too young to cope with the work involved in making a relationship last. The cookie-cutter film romanticizes the thrill of first love then wraps up all the loose ends too predictably.

  • 7.   GALAXY QUEST
      (DreamWorks)$3.4 million last week/   $58.8 million in six weeks:
          It's hard to believe this humorous film has been out for a month and a half and still no available review from the NCCB on this film as of yet, but it has received favorable reviews and is rated PG so it can't be all bad. Actually is quite funny with Tim Allen as a mock William Shatner from "Star Trek" fame.

  • 8.   GIRL, INTERRUPTED
      (Columbia)$3.3 million last week:/   $21.2 million in six weeks:
          Because of a suicide, implied sexual encounters, crude references, occasional profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Girl, Interrupted" a half-hearted suicide attempt lands a spoiled teen (played by Winona Ryder) in a late 1960's private asylum where living with the more seriously disturbed, especially a charismatic sociopath (played by Angelina Jolie), allows her to gain some insight into her own problems. Although unevenly adapted from an ex-mental patient's memoir, the movie is basically engrossing in spite of some melodramatics and sketchy characterizations.

  • 9.   THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
      (Paramount)$2.8 million last week/   $72.2 million in six weeks:
          Because of occasional gory violence, and implied affair, discreet homosexual innuendo, fleeting full nudity and a few instances of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The Talented Mr. Ripley" is a disquieting melodrama set in 1958 Italy where, after befriending a rich expatriate couple (played by Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow), an impoverished young American assumes his identity and stops at nothing to keep the risky charade going. Adapted from Patricia Highsmith's 1955 novel, a chilling cautionary tale of materialism expanding to grotesque evil unfolds replete with seductive visuals and sleek performances -- but an ambiguous ending.

  • 10.   TOY STORY 2
      (Disney)$2.3 million last week:/   $234 million in eleven weeks
          The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. In "Toy Story 2" the animated adventures of toys that come to life when humans aren't around continues as cowboy Woody (with Tom Hanks as the voice) is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear (voiced by Tim Allen), on a breathless rescue mission. Featuring even better animation, the briskly paced cartoon sequel is slightly less original, but zippy action scenes and gentle humor should amuse small fry and grown-ups alike.

      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 4-6, 2000
    volume 11, no. 25
    MOVIES & MORALS

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