WASHINGTON (February 7, 2001) -- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has been cited by the U.S. Catholic Conference as the best movie of the year 2000.
The movie led the list of top ten movies of last year, prepared by the USCC Office for Film and Broadcasting, which is overseen by the Bishops' Communications Committee.
The top movies were chosen from the 240 movies reviewed last year by Film and Broadcasting Office. Of the movies reviewed, seven percent were classified A-1, suitable for the entire family; 16 percent were classified A-II, for adolescents and adults; 43 percent, A-III, for adults; and 23 percent, A-IV, for adults, with reservations, meaning that the movie requires some analysis and explanation to avoid mistaken interpretations and false conclusions. Eleven percent were classified O, morally offensive.
The top 10 movies are listed below in rank order. Their USCC classification and Motion Picture Association of America rating follow each entry.
1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Set in 19th-century Qing-Dynasty China, it focuses on a famed warrior's precious sword that is stolen and must be recovered at all costs. The film blends mesmerizing martial arts with stunning special effects into a script brimming with intrigue and suspense. A-III -- adults; PG-13.
2. Traffic. A powerful thriller that intersects four stories concerning the international drug trade, the movie's stunning visual virtuosity and the stellar ensemble performances create a stark picture of greed, corruption and social decay. A-IV -- adults, with reservations; R --restricted.
3. Chicken Run. This delightful clay animation features a plucky chicken and her hen pals cooped up in a British egg farm who, with the help of a flying Yankee rooster, must escape the cruel clutches of an egg farmer before she turns them into chicken pies. The fantastic anthropomorphized features and the narrative's witty details make the film visually pleasing and cleverly amusing. A-I -- general patronage; G.
4. Butterfly. Set in 1936 Spain just before the Civil War, this moving drama highights an extraordinary relationship between a shy, young boy and his compassionate and liberal school teacher. The intelligent film aptly captures the coming-of-age moments in a boy's life as the tension of pre-fascist Spain subtly fuels the film's momentum. A-III -- adults; R.
5. Billy Elliot. This stirring tale with an engaging narrative and high-energy dance sequences is set in Northern England in which a coal miner's young son rises above the tough macho culture that surrounds him to follow his dream of becoming a ballet dancer. A-III -- adults; R.
6. Best in Show. This droll canine comedy follows a quirky group of dog-lovers going to ridiculous lengths to compete and win at a major dog show. Drawing consistent chuckles, the film mocks this pastime-turned-obsession with an impressive improvisational style, well-drawn characters and zippy pace. A-IV -- adults with reservations; PG-13.
7. Remember the Titans. This uplifting drama set in 1971 tells of the desegregation of two powerhouse high school football teams that learn to overcome racism and go on to victory under the leadership of their African-American coach. The fact-based saga shows the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, fear and societal prejudices. A-II -- adults and adolescents; PG.
8. Cast Away. This is a finely crafted drama in which a harried businessman is transformed after surviving a plane crash that leaves him stranded on an uninhabited island for four years before he makes a daring escape in hopes of returning to the woman he loves. With Tom Hanks' superb performance at its center, the film movingly probes what matters most when someone is stripped of his everyday life and possessions. A-II -- adults and adolescents; PG-13.
9. The Color of Paradise. This accomplished film with spiritual dimensions centers on a blind Iranian 8-year-old, much loved by his rural grandmother and little sisters, whose widowed father callously leaves to apprentice with a blind carpenter before fate intervenes. The affecting drama captures the deeply felt emotions of the vulnerable child, embittered father and tender grandmother, as well as the natural beauty of Iran's lush countryside. A-II -- adults and adolescents; PG.
10. East-West. This movie about a keenly dramatized totalitarian society, tells the story of a physician who returns with his family to his Russian homeland just after World War II only to find brutal living conditions that drive his Parisian wife to desperate action endangering several lives. A-III -- adults; PG-13.
Bishop Joseph A. Galante, chairman of the Bishops' Communications Committee, noted that the top movies offered uplifting messages but regretted that the year overall seemed to have a dearth of quality films.
"With all the talent and money movie makers have at their disposal, one would hope for more inspiring films that families might enjoy and that might lift the human spirit," he said. "Movies have the power to persuade, and it is incumbant upon movie makers to work for good and for viewers to demand the most of them."
The USCC Office for Film and Broadcasting each week reviews and classifies according to moral suitability mainstream films opening in local theaters. Reviews can be found on the USCC Website, www.nccbuscc.org/movies/index.htm.
Reviews of recent movies also can be accessed on a toll-free movie review line, 1-800-311-4CCC.
The movie review service is supported by the Catholic Communication Campaign, the U.S. bishops' media program which is funded by a collection taken up annually in parishes nationwide. Other CCC efforts include sponsorship of TV specials, public service ads in English and Spanish and 1-800-MASSTIMES, a toll-free number for travelers seeking times of local Masses.