Catholic Bishop's website-movie ratings


#1

Have any of you been to that website before?

I mean, the worse rating they have is O

but then they have 3 A AA AAA ratings I think…

So where should we draw the line at watching movies?

Any ideas?

Thanks…


#2

[quote="jason3477, post:1, topic:247219"]
Have any of you been to that website before?

I mean, the worse rating they have is O

but then they have 3 A AA AAA ratings I think...

So where should we draw the line at watching movies?

Any ideas?

Thanks.......

[/quote]

Just want to add some clarification:

New reviews used to be posted at usccb.org/movies but are now posted at catholicnews.com/movies.htm

The previous site went a little more in depth about the criteria and definitions for ratings, and the page for that is still up at usccb.org/movies/criteria.shtml though I don't know if any revisions have been made, if any, since the move to catholicnews.com, which seems to me to only have this page regarding ratings: catholicnews.com/ratings.htm

Each individual review will probably have within it reasons for why that particular movie gets the rating it gets though.


#3

So where should we draw the line at watching movies?

going to the movies is expensive so i hate to get it wrong.

before i go (or allow my kids to go) i routinely check 3 sites:
the USCCB reviews
Focus on the Family Plugged In movie reviews
Richard Greydanus' DecentFims.com

USCCB gives a pretty good synopsis, though i think they try harder than they should to be inclusive and progressive. i tend to think more movies should receive the 'O' morally offensive rating from them, but i agree that most they've tagged O deserve the rating.

FOTF offers in depth reviews that go in the other direction altogether. i've found them to be uber-conservative. routinely, the reviewer counts the curse words and mentions see-through blouses as part of the 'sexual elements'. these reviews are particularly helpful in determining adolescent and early teen viewing.
then i round things out with DecentFilms.com. this is the most balanced review overall but i want more details. so i use all three.


#4

I do go to the website to get an idea of what I’m getting into. There are lots of other threads on here about whether watching rated R movies is “okay”. Many of the R-rated movies do fall into the O category, anyway.

I’m not one to pass up every movie rated O on the site, but I have passed on quite a few after reading the synopsis and review. Overall I just use my best judgment for each movie I want to see. Movies that have happen to have some nudity or curse words but a decent plot would likely be okay for me; yet movies that have crude, unnecessary and pervasive nudity, sacrilegious plots, excessive toilet humor, etc. will get passed up.

It does depend on the person. It would be imprudent for someone with a temptation to unchaste behavior or pornography to see a movie featuring crude/pervasive nudity, but the same movie might be fine for someone who is not tempted by this.

You’ll find many different opinions here, but mostly you have to use your own judgment.


#5

Personally, I tend to disagree with most of the reviews on the USCCB site. Plus, it isn't the bishops who review these films, it is lay people, so I'm not sure how much weight it holds officially (though it might be considered a good guide).

I tend to use my own judgement most of the time. The only site I use before seeing a movie is www.rogerebert.com

I'm not sure because I haven't looked it up, but does anyone know if the reviewers on the USCCB site are just as secretive as the MPAA?

On the other hand, I'm a college student, a big film buff, and know my morality and strong in faith, and don't have kids, so I usually don't check to see if a film I'm watching is "family friendly."


#6

Hey, thanks for these other sites, good to know about them. I used to go to the USCCB site, and like someone mentioned, it was lay people doing the ratings and I think they were a little lax. I saw one movie in college that was negative towards the Catholic Church in a subtle yet strong way (one character planting seeds of doubt throughout the movie) and the review did not mention anything. I knew what they were saying in the movie was incorrect but it still made me think twice before realizing it was. I called them to mention it and they told me the person who did the review was no longer available so they could not do anything about it.


#7

[quote="SalesianSDB, post:5, topic:247219"]
Personally, I tend to disagree with most of the reviews on the USCCB site. Plus, it isn't the bishops who review these films, it is lay people, so I'm not sure how much weight it holds officially (though it might be considered a good guide).

I tend to use my own judgement most of the time. The only site I use before seeing a movie is www.rogerebert.com

I'm not sure because I haven't looked it up, but does anyone know if the reviewers on the USCCB site are just as secretive as the MPAA?

On the other hand, I'm a college student, a big film buff, and know my morality and strong in faith, and don't have kids, so I usually don't check to see if a film I'm watching is "family friendly."

[/quote]

Same is true with me. As soon as I'm married I'll be concerned about making sure any films we watch are "family friendly", but Ebert has a much better grasp of the cinematic value of films than the lay reviewers for the USCCB. Like you, I'm strong in my faith and know my morality, and I don't believe it's wrong to watch films where the characters may not be so lucky. Pervasive sexual content doesn't necessarily make a movie "morally offensive" - whether you are mature enough to be watching that all depends on the individual (I won't want to watch some movies that my parents or classmates can enjoy, even though I'm 22, and I'll watch movies that my adult brother won't watch), and movies should be judged on their cinematic merit rather than some elusive moral one.

There are lots of movies I would never make as a director, since they don't reflect or are compatible with a Catholic worldview, but this isn't going to stop me from enjoying them.


#8

So where should we draw the line at watching movies?

You should draw the line using a better guide than the so-called “bishops’ reviews.” For one thing, they are not the bishops’ reviews, or indeed any bishop’s reviews. They are the reviews of the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting (or now, it seems, Catholic News Service Media Review Office), or in other words, the reviews of a small office run by the (lay)people at the national conference of bishops. They have no authority or canonical status of any kind, and no actual bishops do any reviewing.

The reviews themselves are not very insightful or useful. The people at the film office are not very good literary critics and they’re not very good moral police. Who can forget the time they gave Brokeback Mountain, a movie that glorifies not only gay sex but cheating on one’s wife and so tearing apart one’s family, a rating of L (limited adult audiences) instead of O (morally offensive)? Then when hundreds of Catholics called them on their bull****, they changed the rating to O, itmisunderstand. I’m not kidding.

There are subtler examples as well. Take the Matrix movies, for instance. The first movie in the trilogy, The Matrix, has lots of hand-to-hand combat, gun violence, and swearing, but pretty much no sexual content. The USCCB rating? O, morally offensive. The second movie in the trilogy, The Matrix Reloaded, has (if anything) even more hand-to-hand combat, gun violence, and swearing, and also packs an explicit sex scene and themes that call into question the hopeful message of the first movie. The USCCB rating? L, limited adult audiences. What the h***? And the Office claims that its reviews have become stricter over time!

Someone mentioned the MPAA and how secretive it is. I’d say the Office is even worse, because (as I understand it) at least some of the MPAA’s standards are public and totally objective (e.g. how many f-words you can use). The USCCB office has no actual clear standards that I’ve ever been able to find. They just wing it, seemingly.

I could go on about how they misrepresent the themes of movies that they don’t much like. Check out how they claim Pleasantville is about the enlightenment of the 90s crushing the wholesomeness of the 50s, then watch the movie and marvel at how totally and obviously wrong they are. But I think I’ve beaten the point into the ground enough.

Anyway, where should you go to judge the morality or appropriateness (as opposed to technical or aesthetic or artistic quality) of movies? The answer is, kids-in-mind.com. They have spectacular, extremely detailed accounts of every wide-release movie’s objectionable contents, divided into the broad categories “sex & nudity,” “violence & gore,” and “profanity,” as well as side categories like substance abuse and troubling themes. They’re thorough and objective, and best of all, they’re descriptive rather than evaluative. They don’t tell you what movies are appropriate for whom like the USCCB office does (“adults,” “adults and adolescents,” etc). Rather, they just describe the movies in detail and let you judge for yourself (or let parents judge for their kids).

Holy smokes! Catholics making prudential judgments using reason on a case-by-case basis rather than just being told what is and is not appropriate for them? You’d think we Catholics had a rich moral theology to that effect or something.


#9

And then they gave Bladerunner a rating of “O” because it was robots rather than people being killed.


closed #10

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