DAILY CATHOLIC   FRI-SAT-SUN    December 3-5, 1999    vol. 10, no. 230

MOVIES & MORALS

To print out entire text of this special Thanksgiving/Advent issue,
go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE and SECTION FOUR
    INTRODUCTION

      Summer is once upon us and it means reviving our weekly feature we bring you each weekend of the summer of 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 NOVEMBER

  • 1.   TOY STORY 2
      (Walt Disney)$80.5 million in one week:
          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 voiced by Tom Hanks is stolen by a greedy toy collector, sending Woody's toy buddies, led by Buzz Lightyear, the voice of 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.


  • 2.   THE WORLD IS NOT ENOUGH
      (MGM)$34 million last week/    $75.5 million in two weeks:
          Because of much stylized violence and a few discreet bedroom scenes, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. 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 World Is Not Enough" is typical breathless Bond fare in which Pierce Brosnan's agent 007 must outwit a dangerously duplicitous female and a sinister psychopath intent on seizing control of the world's oil supply. The escapist fantasy's fast and furious action eventually wears itself out in an overlong and overly elaborate plot.


  • 3.   END OF DAYS
      (Universal)$31.5 million in one week:
          Because of excessive violence, frequent mindless mayhem, a perverted sexual encounter with nudity, some profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. "End of Days" is an ultraviolent millennium thriller in which ex-cop Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to prevent satan, played by Gabriel Byrne, from impregnating a young woman, thus ushering in the devil's reign. The big-budget action movie simply exploits a religious theme to showcase murder, mayhem and explosive special effects far removed from genuine spiritual concerns.


  • 4.   SLEEPY HOLLOW
      (Paramount)$26.9 million last week/   $61.6 million in two weeks:
          Because of recurring grisly decapitations and a discreet sexual encounter, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In "Sleepy Hollow," a violent adaptation of Washington Irving's spooky tale of the headless horseman, Johnny Depp's Ichabod Crane is a pompous, fearful NYC constable sent to Sleepy Hollow to find a triple murderer who has made off with the victim's heads. Although it's a visually gorgeous period piece, the contrived humor doesn't work and the narrative overdoses on scenes of the horseman and another villain gleefully butchering their prey.


  • 5.   POKEMON: THE FIRST MOVIE
      (Warners Brothers)$9.1 million last week/   $77.7 million in three weeks:
          The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. "Pokemon: The First Movie" is a Japanese animated movie based on the TV cartoon series in which youngsters and their pocket monsters called pokemons gather on a remote island where they must defend themselves against an evil pokemon clone and his minions intent on enslaving the world. Colorful but crudely animated, the movie's characters battle one another while a preachy voice-over asserts that violence is wrong, thus sending a mixed message to little ones.


  • 6.   THE BONE COLLECTOR
      (Universal)$7.5 million last week   /$53.7 million in four weeks:
          Because of grisly violence, an implied affair, occasional profanity and recurring 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 Bone Collector" is a grim thriller in which paralyzed police forensics expert Denzel Washington relies on rookie cop Angelina Jolie to gather evidence and clues to the identity of a serial killer who is taunting the bedridden cop with a series of increasingly grotesque murders. The police procedural slides from engrossing to disappointing with its unsatisfying revelations and gory wrap-up. selfdestruction.


  • 7.   it's-a-DOG, MA
      (Lyin' Gate)$5 million in one week/   /$21 million in three weeks:
          Because of anti-religious buffoonery, intense violence, sexual references, substance abuse, assorted vulgarities, profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. It's-a-"Dog, ma" is a sophomoric religious satire in which a heavenly messenger persuades the last descendant of Joseph and Mary to leave her job in an abortion clinic and set out to stop a pair of fallen angels from regaining heaven by means of a plenary indulgence. The unfunny proceedings rely on a mindless mix of irreverence and absurdity in poking fun at biblical characters and Christian stereotypes.


  • 8.   ANYWHERE BUT HERE
      (Fox)$3.9 million last week/   $14.6 million in three weeks:
          Because of an implied affair, sexual references and occasional profanity, 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. "Anywhere But Here" is a heartfelt drama in which a level-headed daughter played by Natalie Portman struggles through her teens with free-spirited mom Susan Sarandon who has rashly moved them from their Wisconsin roots to Beverly Hills with self-delusional dreams of fame and fortune. The finely acted film explores the unhappy daughter's love-hate relationship up to its sentimental resolution.


  • 9.   THE INSIDER
      (Buena Vista Pictures)$3.3 million last week/   $22.1 million in four weeks
          ecause of frequent rough language, and mature subject matter, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R restricted. "The Insider" is a fact-based, largely riveting account of how a CBS news producer (Al Pacino) is prevented from airing a -60 Minutes" interview with a tobacco company whistleblower (Russell Crowe) because the CBS corporate parent feared a costly lawsuit. Superbly acted, the lengthy, documentary-like drama explores corporate manipulation of journalism as well as the human cost to those involved in complex ethical issues.


  • 10.   BEING JOHN MALKOVICH
      (USA Films)$2.7 million last week/   $11.9 million in four weeks:
          No review from the bishops available yet.


    • 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.

    December 3-5, 1999      volume 10, no. 230
    MOVIES and MORALS

    DAILY CATHOLIC

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