WASHINGTON (January 9, 2003) -- The U.S. Bishops' Office of Film and Broadcasting (OFB) recently announced its 2002 Ten Best Films List. "The past year saw an abundance of Hollywood films that were "safe" franchise films, prequels or sequels," OFB Director Gerri Pare said. "But happily, there were a healthy number of fine films released during 2002," added Pare.
Supported by the U.S. Bishops' Catholic Communication Campaign (CCC), the Office for Film and Broadcasting is responsible for reviewing and rating theatrical motion pictures, previewing and evaluating television programming as well as providing the Catholic public with information about the role of the entertainment and news media in influencing societal and personal values.
Weekly movie reviews, brief capsules, and film classifications of new film releases can be heard on the office's toll-free movieline at 1-800-311-4222, sponsored by the CCC. Movie reviews are available online at www.usccb.org/movies/.
The U.S. Bishops' film 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); and O - morally offensive.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings are G - general audiences; PG - parental guidance suggested; PG-13 - parents strongly cautioned; R - restricted, and NC-17 - no one 17 and under admitted.
The 2002 Ten Best Films List, in alphabetical order, is as follows:
About Schmidt, a poignant tale of a newly retired and newly-widowed 66-year-old (Jack Nicholson) coming to terms with his unexceptional life and finding peace in tolerance, forgiveness and generosity of spirit. A-III - adults. (R)
Antwone Fisher, the inspirational true-life story of a troubled naval recruit (Derek Luke) who with the help of a Navy psychiatrist (Denzel Washington) learns to cope with the emotional devastation wreaked by childhood rejection and physical abuse. A-III - adults. (PG-13)
The Emperor's Club, an ethics-centered drama about a compromised teacher (Kevin Kline) exploring the crucial importance of personal and professional integrity and its lifelong consequences. A-II - adults and adolescents. (PG-13)
Evelyn, the human story behind a 1950's Irish child custody battle a father (Pierce Brosnan) wages and the faith in God the characters have that justice will prevail against staggering odds. A-III - adults. (PG)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the visually spectacular second installment of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic fantasy, as humble hobbit Frodo and his companions continue their perilous quest to destroy the seductive, evil Ring. A-III - adults. (PG-13)
My Big Fat Greek Wedding, an amusing comedy which gently pokes fun at absurd familial situations, yet reveals the rewards in accepting and loving one's family, warts and all. A-II - adults and adolescents. (PG)
Nicholas Nickleby, a genial adaptation of the 1839 Charles Dickens classic, the tale of a young man's hard-won triumph over adversity. A-II - adults and adolescents. (PG)
Road to Perdition, an evocative, Depression-era moral tale examining complex father-son relationships, smoothly weaving in themes of betrayal, redemption, filial love and responsibility. A-III - adults and adolescents. (R)
The Rookie, a fact-based family film about a small-town Texas teacher and baseball coach (Dennis Quaid) who gets a second chance at the big leagues, charms and inspires without resorting to discernible violence, sex or crude language. A-I - general patronage. (G)
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron, a rousing animated tale set on the 1880's American frontier, whose themes of respect for life, nature, and the preciousness of freedom come across in painterly visuals and a minimum of spoken dialogue. AI – general patronage. (G)