DAILY CATHOLIC   FRI-SAT-SUN-MON   May 28-31, 1999   vol. 10, no. 104

MOVIES & MORALS

To print out entire text of Today's issue,
go to SECTION ONE and SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE
    INTRODUCTION

      With the Memorial Day Weekend 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 and 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.

TOP TEN MOVIES FOR FINAL WEEK OF MAY

  • 1.   STAR WARS: EPISODE ONE - THE PHANTOM MENACE
      (20th Century Fox) -    $105.7 million in first week:
            Because of sci-fi swordfights and battle sequences, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace is A-II - adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. The Phantom Menace is a disappointing prequel to the "Star Wars" trilogy in which two Jedi knights (played by Liam Neeson and Ewan McGregor) intent on saving the planet Naboo from Federation invaders enlist the help of a young boy who will eventually become the evil Darth Vader. By emphasizing fantastical creatures and myriad special effects, writer-director George Lucas loses much of the movie's human dimension and ends up achieving mostly visual spectacle. May 1999


  • 2.   THE MUMMY
      (Universal)    $100.2 million in three weeks:
            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


  • 3.   ENTRAPMENT
      (20th Century Fox)    $49.9 million in four weeks
            Because of a romanticized view of crime, fleeting violence and a few instances of rough language and profanity, 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. Entrapment is a mindless escapist caper in which a wily insurance investigator (played by Catherine Zeta-Jones) appears to join forces with the world's craftiest art thief (played by Sean Connery) to nail him red-handed. The glossy fantasy of double-crossing daredevils is sluggishly directed which limits the suspense. April 1999


  • 4.   THE MATRIX
      (Warner Brothers)     $149.5 million in eight weeks
            Because of excessive violence and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification, O -- morally offensive. Motion Picture Association of America rating, R -- restricted The Matrix is a convoluted sci-fi tale in which a tiny band of cyber rebels led by Keanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne do battle with virtually indestructible humanoid killers from the 22nd centry. The action movie's violence is glorified, glamorized and made to look exciting with a dazzling array of eyepopping special effects. April 1999


  • 5.   THE LOVE LETTER
      (Dreamworks)    $2.7 million in one week
            Because of an off-screen affair, references to a same-sex relationship, fleeting 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 PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. The Love Letter is a lightweight tale set in a New England village where romantic complications ensue among the residents (including Kate Capshaw, Tom Selleck, Tom Everett Scott and Ellen DeGeneres) when several of them believe they are the intended recipient of an anonymous love letter. The comedy's charms are minor and its resolution weakly dramatized. May 1999


  • 6.   A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM
      (Fox Searchlight)    $8.2 million in two weeks
            Because of romantic complications and, fleeting 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. William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is an uneven adaptation of the Bard's comedy in which forest fairy Puck causes all manner of romantic upheaval overnight by casting spells on a quartet of mismatched young lovers, a hammy actor (played by Kevin Kline) and fairy queen Michelle Pfeiffer. Not all the cast excel in articulating Shakespearean dialogue but the fanciful and luminous visuals look sprinkled with, fairy dust. May 1999


  • 7.   NEVER BEEN KISSED
      (Fox)    $46.2 million in seven weeks
            Because of implied affairs and sexual references, a sex-education scene involving condoms 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. Never Been Kissed is a bogus romantic comedy in which 25-year old rookie reporter Drew Barrymore goes undercover as a high school senior to write about teen life and ends up reliving her adolescent insecurities before winning the heart of her English teacher. Movie cliches and stereotypes abound, and Barrymore's clunky performance further sinks the contrived coming-of-age tale. April 1999


  • 8.   BLACK MASK
      (Artisan)    $7.3 million in two weeks
            Because of excessive violence with gore, a rough-sex encounter, much rough language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is 0 morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Black Mask, set in Hong Kong, a genetically enhanced human (played by Jet Li) joins forces with a cop to battle super criminals intent on world domination. The martial-arts slugfest seems intent only on cataloging myriad ways to maiza and slaughter opponents. May 1999


  • 9.   LIFE
      (Universal)    $57.5 million in six weeks
            Because of some violence, mild sexual innuendo, intermittent 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. In Life, Eddie Murphy and Martin Lawrence spend six cantankerous decades stuck together on a Mississippi prison farm after being wrongly convicted of murder. The foul-mouthed comedians display some chemistry together but the bittersweet tale is often shapeless in its scattershot focus on racism and injustice. April 1999


  • 10.   ELECTION
      (Paramount)     $9.2 million in five weeks
            Because of several sexual situations, fleeting nudity, crude sex references, recurring rough language and an instance of profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV, adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Election is a biting satire in which idealistic but flawed teacher Matthew Broderick goes overboard in trying to prevent scheming senior Reese Witherspoon from being elected president of the student council. The sharply observed comedy examines with ironic, sometimes nasty wit such human foibles as sexual obsession, hypocrisy and rationalization of such behavior. April 1999

  • Reviews provided through Film & Broadcasting Division of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and figures provided through Exhibitor Relations Co. Inc.

    May 28-31, 1999      volume 10, no. 104
    MOVIES and MORALS

    DAILY CATHOLIC

    |    Back to Graphics Front Page     Back to Text Only Front Page     |    Archives     |    What the DAILY CATHOLIC offers     |    DAILY CATHOLIC Ship Logs    |    Ports o' Call LINKS     |    Catholic Webrings    |    Catholic & World News Ticker Headlines     |    Why we NEED YOUR HELP     |    Why the DAILY CATHOLIC is FREE     |    Our Mission     |    Who we are    |    Books offered     |    Permissions     |    Top 100 Catholics of the Century    |    Enter Porthole HomePort Page    |    Port of Entry Home Page |    E-Mail Us