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August 28-30, 1998
SECTION TWO   vol 9, no. 169
To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION THREE and SECTION ONE
Events throughout the week in Church History
For time capsule events that happened in Church history on August 28th through August 30th, click on ALL ROADS LEAD TO ROME
Historical Events in Church Annals for August 28:
Death of Saint Augustine of Hippo, Bishop and Doctor of the Church. For more, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY
Historical Events in Church Annals for August 29:
Saint John the Baptist is beheaded by Herod at the request of Salome through her devious mother Herodius. For more, see THIS WEEKEND'S LITURGY
Death of Saint Poemen the Shepherd, Abbot of hermit monks who inhabited abandoned Egyptian temples.
A depleated college of cardinals (8) at Viturbo, Italy elect an outsider - the patriarch of Jerusalem Jacques Pantaleon as the 182nd successor of Peter as Pope Urban IV, who is commonly referred to as the "Corpus Christi Pope" because he established the feast to be observed sixty days after Easter at the urging of Saint Thomas Aquinas and Saint Bonaventure.
A son of a Roman Senator Cardinal Giovanni Batista Cibo is selected to lead the Church as the 213th successor of Peter, taking the name Pope Innocent VIII. His papacy is noted for his assisting Christopher Columbus in his mission to the new world, providing missionaries and strongly lashing out against slave trafficking. He alos carried out the tremendous task of pacifying the Catholic states.
Historical Events in Church Annals for August 30:
The Greek Pope Saint Sixtus II is elected as the 24th successor of Peter and would reign for just under a year before being martyred. It was during the martyrdom of Cyprian that Sixtus pronounced the exclamation "Deo Gratias" which would be incorporated into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It was Sixtus who effected the translation of the mortal remains of Saint Peter and Saint Paul.
Death of Saint Pammachius, Roman senator and friend of Saint Jerome who married the daughter of Saint Paula.
Death of Saint Fiacre. This Irish saint migrated to France where he lived as a hermit and there planted a garden which yielded a tremendous harvest every year, allowing him to share all the produce with the poor. He is considered patron saint of gardeners.
Death of Pope Alexander III, 170th successor of Peter who ruled for 22 years. It was Alexander who excommunicated Barbarossa because of his misdeeds, and, by supporting the the Lombard League, defeated Barbarossa at Legnano by means of the famous carroccio. He also called the 11th Ecumenical Council.
Cardinal Pietro Barbo is elected by his peers as Pope Paul II, 211th successor of Peter. Paul decreed that only cardinals would wear the red berretta and reduced the interval between Holy Years to 25 years. His pontificate would last for seven years
Pope Clement X canonizes Saint Rose of Lima making her the first saint from the new world.
Pope Leo XIII issues his fifteenth encyclical Superiore anno dealing with the recitation of the Rosary.
TOP TEN MOVIES OF LAST WEEK
The unkindest cut of all: "Blade" slices "Saving Private Ryan" off top rung!
Continuing with our summer replacement to keep everyone abreast of the proper entertainment to take in, we present this week's top ten movies from a Catholic perspective including our take and the official review by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. To show that the summer malaise in August releases has reached the mediocre, the inept film "Blade" - patterned after a comic-book myth - wrestled the top spot from the critically-acclaimed "Saving Private Ryan" which had held on for four solid weeks as number one. The rest of the pack is mediocre at best and easily forgettable as you'll see by clicking on MOVIES & MORALS: TOP TEN MOVIES
TOP TEN MOVIES FOR THIRD WEEK OF AUGUST
Probably the most cutting embarassment of the entire summer was the fact a quality movie was shaved by another of those late summer trash movies - so much so that the newest entry to this genre - "Blade" slashed through the meager competition to oust four time leader "Saving Private Ryan". Contributing to the summer malaise was the fact that the rest of the movies garnered only single digit numbers for the week, making it the most least-watched week of the summer that has had its share of sexploitive films such as "There's Something about Mary" and "How Stella Got her Groove Back" which followed up the pack at third and fourth and we won't even say "respectively" beacause there's nothing respectful about either of those two bombs. The Nicholas Cage dud "Snake Eyes" rolled a five for the second straight week and another senseless two hour drone on man's sensibilities was wasted with "Dead Man on Campus" which came in a week sixth. The remaining four were the only movies of any redeeming quality that weren't ranked "R" including the new release "Dance With Me" which finished 8th behind "Ever After" and just ahead of The Parent Trap. Outside of "Blade's" surprising showing, the biggest surprise was how far the British spy movie "The Avengers" plunged - from third to tenth in only its second week, guaranteeing it a failure at the box office as well as the complete disappearance of highly promoted bad films "Halloween H20" and "The Negotiator" from the top ten.
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.
Below 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.
1. BLADE 17.1 million in one week New Line Cinema
This one could be dubbed "Dracula meets Dorff" or "Dud the Vampire Slayer" because it truly is a dud that stretches the imagination and bores the heart, soul and mind. Oddly, the villain's name is "Dorff" - no relation to the comic midget character played by Tim Conway in so many videos. There's nothing funny about Blade's Dorff and there's nothing redeeming about the excessive amount of blood and violence throughout the entire plot. The characters are shallow, including the lead played by tough guy Wesley Snipes who looks more like Dennis Rodman on steroids. How it ever topped "Saving Private Ryan" is one of the great mysteries of moviedom trivia even though it tried to out-violent and out-gross Stephen Spielberg's realistic scenes. The results: Gross out! No folks, this one is definitely one to be missed. Let's hope it finds the box office graveyard soon like the rest of the terrible fare released in August. Below is the bishops' review:
Blade -- Because of excessive violence, much profanity and constant rough language, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Blade is an ultraviolent horror fantasy
adapted from the comic strip about three heavily armed humans battling a city of
vampires. The gory, stomach-turning proceedings wallow in scenes of brutality, butchery
2. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 142.7 million over five weeks Dreamworks
Before "Blade" slashed into its one month reign, this movie had all the makings of being one of the top blockbusters of the summer. When you consider that a third of the population refuse to see it because of its mind-numbing graphic content that can stir nightmares like nothing "Halloween H20" could ever do, that says a lot for this film's staying power and powerful cast which still finished in double figures for the week. Like his award winning, but disturbing movie "Schlindler's List" Steven Spielberg brings us another powerful, poignant and purposeful masterpiece with a message that will have audiences buzzing for weeks to come. This one is not "entertainment" per se but a realistic look at the horrific casualties of war like no movie ever has. But it is not just for shock value as so many movies try to do today, but, true to the Spielberg purpose of expressing his heart and soul for a cause, the master director takes us there to show us how it really was and the saving grace and triumph of man's soul in the face of insurmountable odds. Below is the Bishops' review:
Saving Private Ryan--Because of graphic battlefield violence, 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. Saving Private Ryan is
a riveting war drama with Tom Hanks as an army officer who leads a patrol behind
German lines in 1944 France to rescue G.I. Matt Damon whose three brothers had been
killed in action the previous week. This realistic re-creation of war's horror and chaos
never loses sight of the soldiers' humanity and loyalty, despite their questioning the
3. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 104 million over six weeks 20th Century Fox
While all the others continued to plummet, this sexploitive film continued to hold its own which - when you consider this movie's contents - is an oxymoron. Speaking of morons, that's what we must call the American movie-goer who plunks down hard-earned cash for this garbage. It is, to put it simply, a story that is blatant profanity and something with absolutely no redeeming value. This "R" rated movie exploits others and holds sex on such a vulgar level that it is so bad that the best thing in the movie is the dog - even in full body cast he's more believable than any of the human characters who don't seem to have a clue what good acting is. How these kind of films get made and the poor calibre of actors and actresses that are being churned out is beyond our comprehension. This is definitely one to avoid like the plague! We have to disagree with the Bishops' review below when they said "the sentimental story helps keep its tasteless humor from becoming seriously offensive." Sorry, your excellencies, but it is seriously offensive! Below is the Bishops' review:
There's Something About Mary-- Because of some comic violence, gross sexual
innuendo, fleeting nudity, intermittent profanity 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. There's Something About Mary is a wacky
but very crude comedy about lovelorn Ben Stiller competing with sneaky private eye Matt
Dillon and others for the affections of the attractive but incredibly naive Cameron Diaz. The
jokes in this goofy romantic comedy range from the dopey to the outrageously vulgar,
though the sentimental story helps keep its tasteless humor from becoming seriously
4. HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK 22.2 million in two weeks 20th Century Fox
Though this farce is targeted to exploit black audiences, white audiences are also falling for the bait which will land something that definitely should not only be thrown back, but thrown out. Why is Hollywood so out of touch with reality and morality? This film answers the question only too vividly by glorifying something God has said is sinful - with no exceptions. As for any redeeming qualities to this movie, don't look for it. Below is the bishop's review of this film:
How Stella Got Her Groove Back -- Because of its uncritical treatment of pre-marital sex,
fleeting nudity and some rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is
A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R --
restricted. How Stella Got Her Groove Back is a glossy comic valentine in which
40-year-old single mom Angela Bassett finds happiness with a man half her age whom
she meets while vacationing in Jamaica. The result is an idealized romantic fantasy
about a one-night stand maturing into a committed relationship.
5. SNAKE EYES 40.5 million over three weeks Paramount
Those who loved Nicholas Cage's performance in "Face Off"), will be greatly disappointed with his latest vehicle "Snake Eyes". Cage, a fast talking detective on the take is definitely good in it, but the story and supporting cast are very shallow. This one bears the label of that great bugaboo among today's script writers: no motivation of character. The violence is very graphic and midway through the film, after they reveal the villain, everything is anticlimatic and boring from there. This is definitely not a movie to bet big on. Below is the bishops' review:
Snake Eyes -- Because of recurring violence, some sexual innuendo, minimal rough
language and frequent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III --
adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. In Snake Eyes
the lifelong friendship of corrupt cop Nicolas Cage and Naval Commander Gary Sinese is
sorely tested when they investigate a Cabinet member's assassination at a
championship boxing match they were attending. The movie is more sleek than
suspenseful in finding its twisted route to the truth and one man's hardly credible
6. DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS 4.7 million over two weeks Paramount
Why should we be surprised that such a movie as this could get made when you consider the work ethics of today's youth. Students at this fictional college elevate the cheat-at-any-cost and anything-goes mentality and spend more time trying to finagle out of things than they could actually studying. The premise is lame at best and the sick pranks and ammoral behavior that follow are sure to remind anyone who ever went to college of Pscyhology I01 or Introduction to Chemistry, in other words: BORING! Not only is it boring, tedious and offensive but completely lacking in taste. But then aren't most films of this genre? Below is the bishops' review:
Dead Man on Campus -- Because of its jokey treatment of recreational drug use,
underage drinking and promiscuity as well as much rough language and profanity, the
U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Dead Man on Campus is a failed comedy
about two college freshmen seeking to drive a depressed roommate into committing
suicide. Its lighthearted depictions of substance abuse, meaningless casual sex and
troubled students make this a dreary exercise in anti-social humor.
7. EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY 42.3 million over four weeks20th Century Fox
At last they might have found a movie where overused and undertalented Drew Barrymore fits in with the scenery and times - the Renaissance era of 16th Century France. This is a different kind of Cinderella story than the one your parents told you and with all your imagination, believe us, Barrymore was not who you pictured, we're sure. Having only her name to sustain her, she is better in this film than all the rest put together since "E.T." and she wasn't very good in that one. It's a romantic fantasy that could well put the men to sleep - you could call it "Sleeping Beauty." with an attitude. Below is the Bishops' review:
Ever After: A Cinderella Story -- Because of some stylized violence, menace and crude language, the U.S.
Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture
Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some
material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Ever After is a fairy tale romance
with Drew Barrymore as a spunky young Frenchwoman who, despite the interference of
her wicked stepmother, wins the heart of the crown prince who is enthralled by her natural
beauty, wit and intelligence. This variation on the Cinderella story offers a modern,
self-reliant heroine in a colorful 16th-century setting, with often amusing and, at times,
8. DANCE WITH ME 4.5 million in one week Sony
Despite a solid cast, this one tries too hard to be the "Saturday Night Fever" or "Dirty Dancing" movie of the 90's but falls short because of its limited beat and weak story line that diverts in too many directions before honing in on Kris Kristofferson's secret. To its credit it could have been a sensual, sexual romp but the director took the high road and keeps the moral curve in tact. It will be a popular video at Blockbuster with its Latin rhythms but as for box-office it won't tango for long. Below is the Bishops' review:
Dance With Me --Because of romantic complications and unmarried sexual
relationships, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion
Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Dance with
Me offers overblown musical romance with a Latin beat as a Cuban youth comes to
Texas to meet the man he's certain is his father, then falls for a dance studio instructor
while helping restart her professional dancing career. The thinly developed story relies on
increasingly elaborate dance routines to provide the interest missing from stereotyped
situations and characters.
9. THE PARENT TRAP 51.1 million over four weeksDisney
Trapped in a void, that's what Disney is with this remake of the successful and funny film of the same title back in the sixties when Hayley Mills became a household name. This one is a cruder remake of that one with nothing new and everyone, other than the young and spunky Lindsay Lohan as identical twins. Who would you believe is more credible as parents: Randy Quaid and Natasha Richardson from the 98 version or Brian Keith and Maureen O'Hara from the 61 film? Thought so. This is basically a harmless film that shows Disney must be hard up for originality. Below is the Bishops' review:
The Parent Trap--Because of some unamusing pranks and a scene of amateur
ear-piercing, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II --adults and adolescents.
The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested.
The Parent Trap is a slow-paced but often charming re-make of the 1961 movie in which
11-year-old identical twin sisters, raised separately by divorced parents, happen to meet
at summer camp, then switch places to work on reuniting mom and dad. The sentimental
premise provides a number of heartwarming moments with comic relief from the
mischievous twins, but the feel-good results are superficial at best.
10. THE AVENGERS 17.8 million over two weeks Warner Brothers
Perhaps because Warner Brothers did not preview this film it did poorly in its opening week. But there is no excuse for the second week which assures this latest rip-off of a popular TV series of being declared a disaster. It could be that followers of the cult-like sixties TV series are staying away in droves since Uma Thurman cannot hold a candle to Diana Riggs, though Ralph Fiennes carries off his role as John Steed almost with the same British aplomb as his predecessor Patrick Macnee, though the role given to Sean Connery lacks the punch and depth normally expected from such an exalted actor. In fact, Connery himself, a connosieur of good scripts, regrets being a part of this one, refusing to promote the film. That speaks to his integrity and the shallowness of this British-oriented film which, even with Emma Peel has no apeal for American movie-goers. Below is the bishop's review of this film:
The Avengers -- Because of stylized violence, sexual innuendo 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. The Avengers is a leaden updating
of the 1960s TV series with unflappable British operatives Ralph Fiennes and Uma
Thurman battling international villain Sean Connery. The agents are smug and
charmless while the villain proves to be embarrassingly buffoonish.
Click here to go to SECTION THREE and SECTION ONE or click here to return to the graphics front page of this issue.
August 28-30, 1998 volume 9, no. 169 DAILY CATHOLIC