TUESDAY
January 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 12

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VIDEOS & VIRTUES      INTRODUCTION
    Because Catholics rent videos like all others, we have decided to inaugurate on every Tuesday 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


VIDEOS & VIRTUES

We strongly recommend...

  • GONE WITH THE WIND (G) (This sixty year-old classic still evokes awe. And to think this movie, written by Margaret Mitchell, was once considered risque and rated "B" because of the language - "Frankly, Scarlet, I don't give a damn!" and the illicit affair between Gable and Leigh. Today it's considered "G" rated. What does that tell us about our moral standards today?)
          Because of wartime violence, romantic complications and period black stereotyping, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Gone With The Wind" is a romantic saga spanning 20 years in the troubled life of ambitious southern belle Vivian Leigh after she loses aristocratic Leslie Howard to another, then marries dashing Clark Gable, with unhappy results. Produced in 1939, the story's setting re-creates the myth of the Old South, its destruction in the Civil War and the tribulations of Reconstruction. June 1998


    New Videos released today:

  • BOWFINGER (PG-13) (Toned-down Eddie Murphy meets a brilliant Steve Martin in a sleeper comedy )
          Because of its comic treatment of a starlet's implied promiscuity, an instance of rough language and a few crude expressions, 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. In "Bowfinger," a desperate Hollywood producer (played by Steve Martin) secretly shoots footage of a top action star (played by Eddie Murphy) to use in his sci-fi-alien movie, but the star's paranoid fear of alien invaders produces comic complications. Steve Martin's script lampoons all sorts of Tinseltown pretensions with wry affection. August 1999

  • AN IDEAL HUSBAND (PG-13) (Classic British fare via this Oscar Wilde vehicle)
          Because of fleeting nudity and sexual innuendo plus references to fraud and deceitful behavior, 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. "An Ideal Husband," Oscar Wilde's 1895 drawing-room comedy of manners, finds a rising London politician (Jeremy Northam) in danger of losing his career and adored wife (Cate Blanchett) unless a spoiled bachelor ally (Rupert Everett) can outwit a blackmailing femme fatale (Julianne Moore). The streamlined adaptation is visually and verbally elegant with an able ensemble cast skewering the era's social pretensions. June 1999

  • THE WOOD (R) (It seems a long way to go to reach maturity and responsibility!)
          Because of sexual situations, brief violence, fleeting rear nudity, minimal 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. "The Wood" is a drawn-out yet warm-hearted tale of three African-American buddies, one of whom (played by Taye Diggs) vaccilates about taking his vows hours before his wedding while another (Omar Epps) recalls in flashback their awkward teenage fumblings with the opposite sex a dozen years earlier. The comically intended macho posturings are overly familiar but the three are finally revealed as men more prepared to accept marital commitment. July 1999

  • THE 13TH WARRIOR (R) (Dark and violent, disappointing vehicle for Antonio Banderas who did so well in "Evita" and "Zorro")
          Because of some gory battlefield violence with decapitations, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "The 13th Warrior" is a chaotic tale of tenth-century Vikings who force a traveling Arab diplomat Antonio Banderas to fight with them against savage cannibals decimating one of their kingdoms. The constantly panning camera, murky visuals and often incomprehensible dialogue amount to a dark and dreary horror film. August 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.

       

          

January 18, 2000
volume 11, no. 12
VIDEOS & VIRTUES

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