Friday, March 7, 2008

The Bishops and Movies

Back when I was a teenager, I can remember greedily looking for the "C" (for CONDEMNED) movies on the list posted in the church vestibule. Not that I - a first child/A-student/"good girl" - would even know how to see one, much less dare to do it, but I always enjoyed seeing the titles of the supposedly hellish films.

Now I find myself looking at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Website for their list of good films to see. The Ten Best of 2007 list starts with this interesting comment, "Though on-screen violence, like sexuality, can often be gratuitous, 2007 saw a surfeit of major films in which it played a strong -- but dramatically essential -- part. Each of them was artistically outstanding and has already been widely honored by many of the awards competitions and in top-10 lists." Things have changed! No longer do you get only films like Song of Bernadette and Sound of Music. I actually like most of the films they recommend, although some are so hard to find that even I can't get hold of them. But take a look.


  1. I think the latest movie to be out of favor is The Golden Compass.

    Do you remember seeing any that were on "the list"? Did knowing you were seeing a movie on the list make it more fun?

  2. I saw 4 of those - Juno, The Lives of Others, The Namesake and Ratatouille. The Lives of Others is not of the 'entertaining' type, but it left the most lasting impression. It was very engrossing. H

  3. I haven't seen juno yet, but I saw the lives of others, the namesake, and ratatouille. loved the lives of others. the namesake and ratatouille were entertaining. in general, i enjoy mira nair's work, although bombay wedding was diminished when they put it on DVD. the lack of the theater ambience just butchered the can't even see all the marigolds!! you no longer feel you are in bombay. and speaking of mira nair, she picked kal penn to play the namesake on the recommendation of her 14-year-old son and his buddy, who were THRILLED beyond words when she told them she picked kumar (penn) for the part. harold & kumar go to white castle probably is not a movie that will ever appear on any bishop's list of recommended cinema, but I LOVED IT. sally and i watched it when she was here once, and we laughed our heads off.

  4. p.s. one time in some kind of church history class in the convent, the teacher, who was pastor of some parish, asked "who has seen the movie martin luther?" i raised my hand (the only one to do so), and he said "it was condemned." and i said "because it was so boring." going to condemned movies was considered a mortal sin in those days (maybe even now). sigh. as chesterton said (or was it hilaire belloc?) "heaven for climate and hell for company."


What do you think?