WASHINGTON (March 17, 2000) -- On St. Patrick's Day the Catholic Communications Campaign (CCC) movie review line (1-800-311-4CCC) recommends for family viewing The Secret of Roan Inish, a fable set in Ireland. And, dare we say "Erin go bragh," to Erin Brokovich?
The March 17-23 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.
- The Next Best Thing -- Because of sexual situations, a tolerant view of the gay lifestyle, fleeting nudity, and an instance of rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. In The Next Best Thing, unlucky-in-love Madonna accidentally becomes pregnant by her gay best friend (Rupert Everett) after a boozy one-night stand and they decide to raise their child together. Its earnest portrayal of a loving if unconventional family is flawed by a clumsy opening, plot contrivances and an abrupt change of tone halfway through the drama.
- Mission to Mars -- Because of brief sci-fi violence and mild 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. Mission to Mars is a sleek space fantasy set in 2020 when four NASA astronauts (led by Tim Robbins and Gary Sinise) head for Mars to rescue the sole survivor (Don Cheadle) of the first manned landing after a catastrophic but unexplained event on the barren red planet. The intriguing sci-fi film is a visually alluring if quite fanciful tale of aliens and their connection to human life on Earth.
- The Ninth Gate -- Because of a devil worshiping theme, intermittent violence, a few sexual situations with nudity and minimal 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. The Ninth Gate is an atmospheric but dramatically dull satanic thriller in which venal rare books dealer Johnny Depp becomes entangled in a demonic web while trying to authenticate a centuries-old book supposedly authored by Lucifer. Despite sumptuous cinematography, the nonsensical plot goes nowhere with its callous characters intent on summoning the devil to their midst.
- Final Destination -- Because of some gory violence including a decapitation, and recurring rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Final Destination is a plodding thriller about high school students who cheat death when they get off their Paris-bound flight minutes before one's premonition that it will crash comes true, but then they mysteriously begin to die anyway. The few suspenseful surprises do not compensate for contrived dialogue and glaring similarities to the tragic 1996 crash of TWA Flight 800.
- Beyond the Mat -- Because of intermittent wrestling violence with some gore, minimal profanity and some rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Beyond the Mat is a well-done, surprisingly interesting documentary following the lives of some famous and not-so-famous wrestlers while it examines the bizarre, complex industry. The compelling documentary is a candid behind-the-scenes look at the controversial sports entertainment, but its inherent brutal nature may be too gruesome for the casual viewer.
- Erin Brockovich -- Because of an implied affair, sexual references, some profanity and much rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-III -- adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Erin Brockovich is a fact-based tale of an earthy single mom (Julia Roberts) who persuades her litigator boss (Albert Finney) to pursue a class-action suit against a major California utility for contaminating local waters. Roberts vividly captures a foul-mouthed but good-hearted woman who makes something of herself in doggedly seeking justice for families beset by cancers.
- The Secret of Roan Inish -- Due to a youngster in perilous circumstances and a wee bit of 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. The Secret of Roan Inish is a wispy Irish tale in which a young island girl whose baby brother was accidentally carried off to sea in a basket becomes convinced her brother is still alive when she hears the legend of an ancestor who married a Selkie, a creature half-woman, half-seal. A fine Irish cast, lyric locales and moody seascapes create a mythic fantasy about the bonds of family, the mysteries of nature and the power of the human imagination.
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 Gerri Pare, Director, and Anne Navarro, Officer, of the USCC Film and Broadcasting Office.
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/index.html.
Reviews of movies classified by the USCC can also be found in Our Sunday Visitor's Family Guide to Movies and Videos, edited by Henry Herx and available in bookstores for $29.95 per copy. They can also be ordered direct from OSV by calling 1-800-348-2440 or ordered online at www.osv.com.