WASHINGTON (April 20, 2000) -- For the second week running the Catholic Communications Campaign movie review line recommends Keeping the Faith above most of its other listings for the week of April 21-27. This week's film subjects range from a female high school basketball player to a male yuppie serial killer.
The movie line number is 1-800-311-4CCC. Movies are evaluated according to artistic merit and moral suitability by the U.S. Bishops' Office for Film and Broadcasting. The list includes the following theater releases and their classifications:
- 28 Days -- Because of a substance abuse theme, implied sexual encounters, some crass language and an instance of 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. 28 Days is a pedestrian seriocomedy in which a successful writer and notorious party girl Sandra Bullock is sentenced to rehab for driving under the influence and so must come to terms with her addiction to alcohol and her cynical outlook on life. Despite creative cinematography, the shallow film fails to capture both the real pain and humor of recovery while the few honest moments are lost in melodramatics.
- Gossip -- Because of some sexual encounters, brief violence, heavy underage drinking and some rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-IV -- adults, with reservations. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. Gossip is a mean-spirited drama about three college students who spread a malicious rumor that two other students slept together, but the gossip backfires on them in deadly fashion. Filled with vile, unsympathetic characters, the film's inane storyline and twisted ending offer little satisfaction.
- Keeping the Faith -- Because of questioning of priestly vows, the rabbi's affair, fleeting crass language and an instance of profanity, 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. Keeping the Faith is a problematic yet witty comedy about two dynamic young men of faith, one a rabbi (Ben Stiller) and the other a Catholic priest (Edward Norton) whose friendship is threatened when their childhood friend (Jenna Elfman) returns to New York City, and both fall for her. The portrayal of a conflicted priest is occasionally off-putting, but his vow of celibacy and his accompanying doubts are dealt with in an earnest manner that does not undermine his priestly commitment.
- U-571 -- Because of recurring war violence and fleeting crass language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-II -- adults and adolescents. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 -- parents are strongly cautioned that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13. U-571 is a suspenseful World War II action-drama about a young Navy lieutenant (Matthew McConaughey) leading a daring mission to commandeer a disabled German U-boat and capture a top-secret Nazi encryption device. The intense visual effects are striking and the movie sharply captures the claustrophobia of submarines although bland performances make it difficult to distinguish among the characters.
- Love and Basketball -- Because of an intense sexual encounter, an instance of rough language and some vulgar expressions, 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. Love and Basketball is a notable sports-themed romance covering 15 years in the life of a talented female basketball player who must choose between her passion for the game and her lifelong love for her athlete-sweetheart. The film's slightly pat script and foreseeable ending are balanced by pleasing performances and natural weaving of the sport of basketball into the narrative.
- American Psycho -- Because of recurring violence with gore, including nudity and graphic sexual encounters, recreational drug abuse, some profanity and frequent rough language, the U.S. Catholic Conference classification is O -- morally offensive. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R -- restricted. American Psycho is a repelling tale of a late 1980's Wall-Street yuppie (Christian Bale) who despises his associates and is able to murder women, colleagues and cops with gleeful impunity. Attempts to satirize the greedy excesses of the me generation are overwhelmed by the remorseles main character's killing sprees and the film's core nihilism.
- Easter Parade -- The U.S. Catholic Conference classification is A-I -- general patronage. Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America.
Easter Parade is a 1948 Irving Berlin musical, a story about a vaudeville dancer (Fred Astaire) who loses one dancing partner (Ann Miller) but gains stardom with another (Judy Garland). The story's little more than adequate but the principals make it all seem to matter and the songs and dance numbers are bright and cheery.
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.