WASHINGTON (September 18, 1998) -- The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews One True Thing for the week of September 18-24. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of State Fair, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The September 18-24 list includes the following theater releases and their classifications according to moral suitability. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting.
- Rounders -- Because of fleeting violence, some sexual references, brief nudity and drug abuse, much rough language and recurring profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Rounders is a flawed drama in which card shark Matt Damon becomes a law student, then is lured back into illegal gambling by an ex-con pal (Edward Norton) with huge poker debts. Despite some good performances, the situations are unconvincing and the plot is dragged out to a weak conclusion.
- Simon Birch -- Because of a scene of extreme menace to children, sexual references, a few rude expressions and minimal profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Simon Birch is an old-fashioned tale of friendship between two 12-year-old boys, one of whom is seeking the identity of his father, while the other, afflicted with dwarfism, is convinced God has put him on earth to do something heroic. The result is a well-intentioned attempt to explore faith through the eyes of a doomed child but its uplifting message is delivered with a heavy hand.
- Knock Off -- Because of excessive violence, sexual innuendo, foul language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Knock Off is a high tech, low concept action thriller with musclebound Jean-Claude Van Damme battling renegade Russian agents in Hong Kong. Like the title, the boring plot is as bogus as the mindless violence it dishes out.
- One True Thing -- Because of a tragic death, some sexual references, several scenes of inebriation and occasional use of rough language and profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. One True Thing is a contemporary family drama with Meryl Streep as a cancer-stricken mother whose grown daughter returns home to care for her, with both gaining a deeper understanding of the other. The movie is rooted in the traditional values of home and family relationships, though the story unfolds under the cloud of an investigation into the cause of the mother's death.
- Rush Hour -- Because of recurring violence, nasty menace to a child, a few racial slurs and intermittent profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. Rush Hour is a mindless action picture with Jackie Chan as a Chinese cop teamed with a Los Angeles police detective in trying to rescue a Chinese diplomat's daughter from an Asian crime lord. Brutal violence and deadly menace are portrayed as exciting, jokey fun that has no consequences.
- Your Friends & Neighbors -- Because of numerous sexually explicit situations and dialogue, recurring rough language and occasional profanity, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Your Friends & Neighbors offers a sordid series of scenes involving six individuals troubled by unsatisfying sexual relationships. The focus on sex and the varieties of its misuse is tediously monotonous and lacks any moral perspective.
The family video of the week is State Fair -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America. State Fair is a very agreeable musical about a farm family's visit to the Iowa State Fair where dad Charles Winninger and mom Fay Bainter hope to win blue ribbons, while son Dick Haymes and daughter Jeanne Crain find more romantic interests. The 1945 production has a charming cast, enjoyable fairground fun and some great songs.
The classifications are 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); O - morally offensive.
The movie reviews are produced by the U.S. Catholic Conference (USCC) Office for Film and Broadcasting, which each week provides full length movie reviews, brief capsules and film classifications of new theater releases.
Reviewers include Henry Herx, Director, and Gerri Pare, Associate Director, of the Film and Broadcasting Office, which is funded by the CCC.
The capsule reviews are available on the World Wide Web. They can be found on two sites: http://www.nccbuscc.org and http://www.CatholicDigest.org/stops/movies/movies1.html.
Full-length reviews of the above and other movies are available through America Online at the Catholic News Service site on AOL, and can be accessed by AOL members using the keyword, "CNS."