WASHINGTON (October 8, 1999) --The 1-800-311-4CCC movie line reviews Random Hearts for the week of October 8-14. Also included on the toll-free line is a review of Seven Faces of Dr. Lao, this week's suggested home video for family viewing.
The 800 movie review line is a project of the Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC).
The October 8-14 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.
- Random Hearts -- Because of a discreet sexual encounter, brief violence, minimal profanity and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Random Hearts is a plodding melodrama about Washington cop Harrison Ford jeopardizing the re-election of Congresswoman Kristin Scott-Thomas when they become romantically involved after their unfaithful spouses are killed in a plane crash. The picture explores the painful aftermath of adultery in a slowpaced narrative that is emotionally uninvolving.
- The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is G -- general audiences. The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland follows "Sesame Street's" shy little Elmo as he searches for his beloved blanket in a subterranean world where grouch Mandy Patinkin refuses to give back the blanket until he learns a lesson in sharing. The Muppet characters go through their paces in endearing fashion, with preschoolers likely to find messy, garbage-filled Grouchland more amusing than threatening.
- Drive Me Crazy -- Because of sexual situations and innuendo, alcohol and drug abuse and instances of profanity and 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. Drive Me Crazy is a formula teen romance in which high school senior Melissa Joan Hart and surly classmate Adrian Grenier begin dating in hopes of winning back their former heartthrobs by making them jealous, with predictable results. The fitful proceedings are mostly tedious as the cliched adolescent characters moon over the dating game.
- Mystery, Alaska -- Because of stylized violence, several sexual encounters and much innuendo as well as frequent profanity and rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Mystery, Alaska is a slick but mindless sports comedy in which a small-town hockey team challenges the New York Rangers to an exhibition game, though mostly it's about the troubled relationships of individual team members with their wives, lovers and assorted offspring. The quirky characters generate little romantic appeal before the brutal big game and feel-good ending. Stylized violence on and off the rink, several sexual encounters.
- Three Kings -- Because of some fairly graphic violence, a brief sexual encounter and recurring profanity as well as rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Three Kings tells of American soldier George Clooney and three comrades going AWOL at the end of the Gulf War to look for hidden gold, but they pause along the way to protect pro-Western Iraqi villagers from marauding nationalist soldiers. The result mixes intense action with sudden spurts of satire and frenzied visuals that ultimately underline the hypocrisy of politics and the insanity of war as well as its inhumanity.
- American Beauty -- Because of brief gory violence, sexual situations including adultery, masturbation and nudity, some profanity and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. American Beauty is a nihilistic black comedy in which a husband (Kevin Spacey) lusts after a blonde teen-ager (Mena Suvari), his shrill wife (Annette Bening) has an affair with a business rival (Peter Gallaher) and their teen daughter (Thora Birch) finds solace with a drug-dealing classmate from an equally dysfunctional family. Director Sam Mendes paints a corrosively bleak portrait of family life in which the increasingly desperate behavior of self-absorbed characters culminates in murder.
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.usccb.org and http://www.CatholicDigest.org/stops/movies/index.html.
Reviews also appear in Our Sunday Visitor's Family Guide to Movies and Videos, edited by Henry Herx, which is now available in bookstores for $29.95 per copy. MasterCard, VISA, and Discover customers can order direct from OSV by calling 1-800-348-2440. Orders can also be placed online at www.osv.com or by sending payment plus $5.95 shipping/handling to Our Sunday Visitor, 200 Noll Plaza, Huntington, IN 46750. OSV can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.