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FRI-SAT-SUN             August 7-9, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 154

To print out entire text of Today's issue, print this section as well as SECTION TWO and SECTION THREE and SECTION FOUR and SECTION FIVE and SECTION SIX


Saving Private Ryan rescues box office malaise with strong second week!

   &bnsp; 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. The critically-acclaimed "Saving Private Ryan" continued its mastery over the others nearly tripling Disney's remake of the tripe "The Parent Trap" which finished just ahead of the surprisingly strong and disgustingly presented "There's Something About Mary". The biggest shock of the week was how far "The Mask of Zorro" plummetted, plunging to sixth after holding down the top spot and second over the past two weeks respectively. Besides Disney's "Trap," two other new flicks debuted this past week, both ending up in the top five but both far behind Stephen Spielberg's masterpiece on World War II. Click on MOVIES & MORALS: TOP TEN MOVIES


     The poignant, powerful war movie "Saving Private Ryan" once again held onto the top spot this past week while "The Mask of Zorro" surprised everyone by falling out of the top five. Considering it's family appeal, good reviews, this was quite a shock, especially in light of the five movies ahead of it -all weak entries for the summer which should keep Stephen Spielberg's masterpiece ahead for some time though next week's Nicholas Cage thriller might make a dent. Dropping totally out of the top ten were "Disturbing Behavior", "Mafia" and "Mulan", Disney's annual animated summer fare. But Disney traded Mulan's decline with the shocking success of "The Parent Trap" which catapulted to the runner-up spot in its first week, despite the fact it is a rehash of the much better done "The Parent Trap" in 1961 starring Hayley Mills. Some good news: that base film that masquerades as a comedy that opened this past week "Baseketball" never figured in the top ten and for that we can all give joyful thanks!

      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.

  • 1. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN 73.4 million over two week Dreamworks
         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:

  • 2. THE PARENT TRAP 11.1 million in one weekDisney
         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:

  • 3. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 60.1 million over three weeks 20th Century Fox
         While all the others continued to plummet, this exploitive film rose in the ranks. This phenomena speaks more for the poor taste of the American movie-goer, than the financial gain this trashy flick has garnerned. 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:

  • 4. THE NEGOTIATOR 10.2 million in one weekWarner Brothers
          If you like cliche-ridden dialogue, this one takes the cake. "The Fugitive" with Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee Jones was better and the setting and sets are basically the same. Despite excellent acting performances by Samuel L. Jackson and the always spooky Kevin Spacy, this is the sad swan song for versatile character actor J.T. Walsh who died of a heart attack earlier this year while vacationing in San Diego. Though it has its suspenseful minutes, "The Negoiator" is one you might want to negotiate on whether you see this movie or opt for another. Below is the Bishops' review:

  • 5. EVER AFTER: A CINDERELLA STORY 8.5 million in one week20th 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:

  • 6. THE MASK OF ZORRO 62 million over three weeks Sony
          This swashbuckling romance action adventure recalling the early days of California provides a nostalgic look of that masked man who many of us grew up with in the television milieu when Disney was respectable, where many of us hummed the Zorro theme - you know, the one we couldn't get out of our heads. The movie version is more complicated, but the presence of Antonio Banderas who wowed movie goers in "Evita" and Anthony Hopkins who brings excellence to everything he does, adds up to a 90's version that is zesty and very enjoyable PG-13 summer fare for the whole family. Because of the revolving door syndrome of summer films, this one may find its way to the video shelves sooner than many expected but is expected to do boffo there. Below is the bishop's review of this film:

  • 7. LETHAL WEAPON 4 108 million over four weeks Warner Brothers
          The latest Mel Gibson, Danny Glover vehicle is losing its lethalness faster than many anticipated and, like "The Mask of Zorro" has dropped four spots in the top ten. Still, the box office take has been enough to dub it a success money-wise, joining several other films that have topped the six figure mark. It had to be an expensive flick considering the name stars in this one. This fast-paced sequel of the other three is humorous and the chemistry between Gibson and Glover better than ever, but the violence continues and, while Pesci has toned down his mouth, Rock spews obscenities that are really not necessary or pertinent to the story. The choreography of Li's kung fu is amazing, and the sanctity and importance of marriage wins out in the end. Below is the bishops' review:

  • 8. ARMAGEDDON 163.1 million over five weeks Disney
          Even though the asteroid has almost crashed, the financial success of this disaster film shows the star-pulling power of Bruce Willis. Again, like "There's Something About Mary", this doesn't speak very well for the audience's preferences. Still Armageddon is a harmless, if not loud and we mean LOUD movie experience. Those who have seen this movie might still be having hearing problems because of the outrageous decibel level that the filmmakers have foisted on the public's earlobes. Despite the cacaphony it has made noise this summer at the box-office, surpassing the other asteroid disaster flick "Deep Impact" for the biggest blockbuster this summer. Below is the bishops' review:

  • 9. DR. DOLITTLE 126.1 million over six weeks 20th Century Fox
         In the zoo known as the fickle movie industry, this furry animal comedy has held its own in attendance, just this week beginning to drop considerably. Even though this is a tame Eddie Murphy compared with his past movies, we still prefer the original "Dr. Dolittle" with Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley...a bit more British, but much more proper. Below is the bishops review:

  • 10. MAFIA 13.8 million in two weeks Paramount
          Parody has always been a risky venture and in this one by Jim Abrahams the risk of undertaking a film without the Zucker brothers proves he's out on a wire without a net. After such a riotous hit as "Airplane", the brilliant comedic mind of Abrahams, similar to what has happened to other comedy writers like Mel Brooks, has recycled too many jokes to make "Mafia" a tiresome drudge of hackneyed cliches we've already seen. It's sad that the late Lloyd Bridges had to go out with this film on his epithat. This one only dropped two spots but then it debuted in 8th last week and will be gone next week. Look for it at the nearest Blockbuster soon. Below is the Bishops' review:

  • Are we trying too hard to hit the high notes and missing the melody?

         In this weekend's issue the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart continues to speak from her heart. This week she touches on the problems we face when we get too wrapped up in our activities and strive for perfection or the next rung of the corporate ladder. Too often pride and vanity raise their ugly heads while we are totally oblivious to these vices until it is too late. She offers suggestions to slow down, stop and smell the roses and each of us to ease into each's specific Symphony of Suffering in order to make perfect harmony with God. Click on SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING

    Vanity is the cacaphony that sours the symphony

    Cyndi Cain

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    August 7-16, 1998 volume 9, no. 154-156   DAILY CATHOLIC