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FRI-SAT-SUN             July 31-August 2, 1998             SECTION ONE              vol 9, no. 149

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


Even though war is hell, Saving Private Ryan is saving face with saving grace!

   &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 long-awaited, much anticipated, critically-acclaimed "Saving Private Ryan" debuted this past week and shot to the top with over thirty million, more than doubling last week's champ - "The Mask of Zorro". The film Zorro had dueled with two weeks ago and defeated - "Lethal Weapon 4" dropped to third. "Saving Private Ryan" is not for the fun-loving viewer but a more-than realistic harsh look at war as WWII veterans truly experienced. Director extraordinaire Stephen Spielberg scores again with this one which many expect will garner numerous awards come Oscar time. Click on MOVIES & MORALS: TOP TEN MOVIES
     The poignant, powerful war movie "Saving Private Ryan" commandeered the top spot this past week from last week's leader "The Mask of Zorro". The latter, like its predecessor "Lethal Weapon 4" dropped into second as the others dropped another notch. Even the box-office appeal of Jim Carrey and Harrison Ford couldn't keep their summer films from sinking into the sunset. What surprised us the most was the sudden plunge of "Madeline" totally off the charts. However, unlike the preceding films, "Saving Private Ryan" is expected to maintain its lead over the next several weeks primarily because of the vivid portrayal director Steven Spielberg has brought to this epic story of D-Day that has cropped up memories in many veterans of the true horrors of WWII.

      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 30.6 million in first 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 MASK OF ZORRO 13.4 million over two weeks Sony
          Though still going strong in its second week, it still could not hold a candle - even though there are plenty of them in this movie - to Steven Spielberg's critically acclaimed masterpiece on war. The difference between "Saving Private Ryan" and "The Mask of Zorro" is that the latter provides good nostalgia 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. Below is the bishop's review of this film:

  • 3. LETHAL WEAPON 4 94.6 million over three weeks Warner Brothers
          The latest Mel Gibson, Danny Glover vehicle is losing its lethalness after three weeks. Coming in number one three weeks ago, it dropped to second two weeks ago and into third last week. Still, the box office take is enough to dub it a success money-wise. 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:

  • 4. THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY 12.5 over two weeks 20th Century Fox
         If you want trash, blatant profanity and something with no redeeming value than this is the movie for you. If it is, we're wondering what you're doing reading this in a Catholic publication because 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. As we said last week, 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:

  • 5. ARMAGEDDON 149.6 million over four weeks Disney
          The asteroid is falling fast and even Bruce Willis can't save it this time. Still it enjoyed its run and made money for the mouse and Michael Eisner but nowhere near the hype expected for this wild ride. 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, rivaling the other asteroid disaster flick "Deep Impact" for the biggest blockbuster this summer. Below is the bishops' review:

  • 6. DR. DOLITTLE 118 million over five weeks 20th Century Fox
         In the zoo known as the fickle movie industry, this furry animal comedy has held its own in attendance. Considering the new movies that debuted this week, the fact "Dr. Dolittle" only dropped one spot spoke volumes for its surprising staying power. 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:

  • 7. DISTURBING BEHAVIOR 7 million in one week MGM
          What the struggling MGM Studios didn't need was a bomb and this is definitely a real dud - a rip-off of "The Stepford Wives". It's trash like this which passes for filmfare that has contributed to the decline of society, providing something with no redeeming value. What's really disturbing is anyone plunking down seven bucks to see this turkey. Now that would definitely qualify as disturbing behavior! Below is the Bishops' review:

  • 8. MAFIA 6.6 million in one week 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. Below is the Bishops' review:

  • 9. SMALL SOLDIERS 40.5 million over three weeks Dreamworks
          What a range of talent - here's a studio that has produced two soldier movies this summer, both in the top ten. One, "Saving Private Ryan" is expected to be a summer blockbuster while "Small Soldiers" is already giving strong repercussions of being a bomb. Even the kids are staying away from this rip-off of "Toy Story". Poor Burger King, they're stuck with the overhyped promotion of a movie that parents have found most offensive for the little ones. BK can't even give Small Soldiers merchandise away. Below is the Bishops' review:

  • 10. MULAN 108.1 million over six weeks Disney
         Disney's newest animation is the longest running film in the top ten, but it's likely to drop out next week. Yet it has done well, not the kind of numbers as past Disney summer animation features, but still relatively well. It has enjoyed a successful six weeks but we'll be surprised if it's still in the top ten next week. You might say, it's time for "Mulan" to move on just as "The Truman Story", "X-Files", "Deep Impact," etc. have done. McDonald's promotional tie-ins have kept this one alive longer than many anticipated. Below is the review of the number three movie this past week:

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


    An unfinished symphony

         In this weekend's issue the Hidden Flower of the Immaculate Heart speaks from her heart on how we place God on the back burner, even on Sundays. We turn to Him only when we are in need, but the rest of the time He is forgotten and this permeates our culture and society today. She shows how each note we lift up to the Almighty continues a symphony that is virtually endless in God's eternal concert. Click on SYMPHONY OF SUFFERING

    Cyndi Cain


    "If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink; for live coals you will heap on his head, and the Lord will vindicate you. "

    Proverbs 25: 21-22

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    July 31-August 2, 1998 volume 9, no. 149   DAILY CATHOLIC