January 25, 2000
volume 11, no. 17

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    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


We strongly recommend...

  • THE MUMMY (PG-13) (For pure escape without blood and gore, bad language and sexual situations, this move wraps it all in the spirit of Indiana Jones and exciting serials of yesteryear! )
      Because of recurring stylized violence and fleeting partial nudity, 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. "The Mummy" is a spirited horror adventure set in 1920's Egypt where a treasure hunting Yank (played by Brendan Fraser) is confronted by a revived 3,000 year-old mummy whose evil powers seemingly know no bounds. The lavishly shot action movie is stuffed with spooky special effects and comical moments that downplay horror in favor of rousing, old-fashioned entertainment. May 1999

BONUS: (Since there is only one new release today we're providing a bonus classic for you to rent)

  • COME TO THE STABLE (G) (This forgotten picture is a classic depicting the culture of the Church before Vatican II with two French nuns played by two loyal Catholic actresses and stars of their day who portray the Church in the light it should be shown and not the superstition ogre Hollywood depicts today in such dogs as "Stigmata", "Dogma", and "The Messenger". )
      The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. "Come to the Stable" is a sentimental comedy about French nuns Loretta Young and Celeste Holm arriving in rural New England to establish a hospital with help from an eccentric artist and a cynical songwriter. The 1949 movie offers much genial humor as the nuns learn American ways while the locals try to adapt to the unworldly simplicity of the newcomers, with predictably heartwarming results. December 1997

New Videos released today:

  • RUNAWAY BRIDE (PG) (It's the only new release today but it's a harmless love story that leaves the viewer feeling good in this reunion of Roberts and Gere in a mild "Pretty Woman II" )
          Because of very discreet sexual innuendo and minimal profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. In "Runaway Bride" cynical big-city reporter Richard Gere comes to a small town to do an exposť on bride-to-be Julia Roberts, who has left several previous suitors at the altar, only to find he wants to replace the groom at the imminent ceremony. With Roberts luminous in her role, the feel-good romantic comedy, though predictable, brims with warmth and charm. July 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 25, 2000
volume 11, no. 17

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