Once Again: USCCB Movie Reviewers Praise Sex-Laden, Extremely Violent Films as "Morally Grounded"

Original article found here.

My take found here.

(emphasis mine)

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 1, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Harry Forbes, the Director of the USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting, who provoked disbelief from U.S. Catholics when he praised both “Brokeback Mountain” and the explicitly anti-Catholic “The Golden Compass,” has again endorsed movies rife with explicit sexuality and extreme violence, this time in the USCCB’s just released yearly top-10 movie listing. The USCCB reviewer introduces his January 25 top-10 list by praising the quality and “morally grounded” nature of such films as “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” and “Eastern Promises”.

Forbes, who co-authored the article with colleague John Mulderig, went on to list movies such as “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead,” “Eastern Promises,” “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” “There Will Be Blood,” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” “All of these sometimes difficult-to-watch films were well received by the [USCCB] Office for Film & Broadcasting, as they were **morally grounded **beyond their aesthetic excellence,” said the article.

According to the family-friendly film-screening website, Screenit.com, “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” contains several graphically sexual scenes where the characters are portrayed nude and performing sexual acts. It also contains two prolonged depictions of a topless woman.

“Eastern Promises” focuses on life in the Russian mafia, and sex, rape, and extreme and gory violence are all huge elements of the movie. The film includes an explicit sex scene where all the characters are naked, including a man who has a crucifix tattooed on his chest. As the PluggedIn movie review puts it, “Nothing is left to the imagination.”

“Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” has indeed been acknowledged for its skillful execution on the technical level, but has also been widely criticized, even by some of the most hardened reviewers, for its beyond-the-extreme gore; the film includes extended scenes of Sweeney Todd slitting the throats, with extremely bloody results, of numerous victims

While the USCCB shouldn’t be recommending the movie it should be up to the public to decide whether they want to see it. Don’t know if that pertains to the discussion at hand. But I eventually intend to get both Golden Compass and Brokeback Mountain on dvd.

The USCCB should shut down its review board and excommunicate the scum who keep giving good reviews to immoral garbage like brokeback and golden compass.

There are a number of Catholic/ Christian websites that give out good Biblically-correct reviews of many movies.



Here is one, its not Catholic though, but it very good, just visit it regularly.




These are two more. The first is one of the best because it also keeps track of other sites reviews. It’s really good.


I think it is sad when Catholics have to look elsewhere to find information about the moral content of movies. The USCCB does not offer any kind of guidance as to content appropriateness. If I only wanted to know if the graphics were well done I would look for that kind of information in the local news paper secular review.

Sheesh, Lifesite just doesn’t give any slack to the USCCB movie office.

Here is a link to their top ten list. The movies that Lifesite condemns are not on either of the two top ten lists - one for general Catholic content, the other for families. The USCCB only mentions the names of the films about which Lifesite complains.

Sometimes I wonder about Lifesite. :nope:

I actually liked Sweeney Todd…yes, it is violent, and there really isn’t any redemption for the protagonist, but revenge - his sole reason for doing what he does - SPOILER just eventually culminates in his own destruction END SPOILER. I wish Steven Greydanus ran a review for it. I’d like to know his opinion.

I saw There will be Blood, Eastern Promises, and Sweeney Todd. While I wouldn’t suggest the latter two for anyone below the age of 17 (There Will be Blood is appropriate for 13 and above in my opinion), I certainly as an adult and devout catholic did not see anything wrong with them. Yes their very violent. the violence in Sweeney Todd was a bit over the top, but I think it was supposed to be that way.
Eastern Promises was a great movie, and the violence was necassary. We’re talking about the mob here, it not a pretty world that they live. And i can see were one of the main charactors (I won’t say who) was morally redeamed at the end.
I mean, is the USCCB only supposed to give good reviews to movies like Bella? They at least have an open mind.
I’ll agree that giving a good review to The Golden Compass was off though.

Ok, I just read their ‘actual’ list. The ‘offensive’ movies were not even on the top ten.
I applaud the USCCB for being open minded instead of prudish, the picked some truely great movies.

Song of Songs: Sex-Laden
1 Kings: Extremely Violent
Theology of the Body: Sex-Laden
Paradise Lost: Extremely Violent
Ceiling on the Sistine Chapel: Sex-Laden (Nudity)
Lord of the Rings: Extremely Violent

Lifesite has very warped views as to what constitutes “morally grounded.” A film can contain these aspects, but do it in a manner that does not endorse the act being committed.

If you’re looking for films that do not show any offensive element, go to www.screenit.com . Because that is what you’re looking for.

But if you can take the offensive and see it in the proper context of the story, and thus properly discern whether or not the film endorses a morally grounded vision, then you are the proper audience for morality plays like “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”.

:clapping: Thank you. Exactly what I was thinking. If you don’t show the bad, how can you fight it with the good in the telling of the story? Adults should be able to tell if a movie is depicting evil and then showing combat against it, or if it is showing evil in order to glorify and glamourize it.

I have used the USCCB’s movie guide in the past and have found it useful for my family and basically in line with my values. I have used its guidance in making some viewing decisions for my kids.

Don’t get me wrong… I don’t think the USCCB’s movie review system is perfect, and I have often disagreed with its head movie-reviewer on certain opinions.

But this write-up from Lifesite strikes me as nothing more than a (remind-them-that-Forbes-should-be-fired) witch-hunt. Would they write up the Christianity Today Best List (which contains many of the same films)? Who made them the sole definers as to what is “morally grounded.” Where’s their movie review board, and what qualifications do they have (besides working the objectionable-content-counter).

I, for one, think that Harry Forbes’ review of “The Golden Compass” is gravely flawed for ignoring the deeper context… as I admire him for sharing his opinion. The USCCB’s problem is that there is no easy way for him to have reviewed it without the weight of the non-participating-and-almost-never-unanimous-bishops on his back. Had Forbes worked for a different outlet, and the USCCB had dissolved this outdated service (leaving the objectionable-counters to www.screenit.com and the orthodoxy reviews to third party laymen like www.decentfilms.com)), then his opinions would be a non-issue.


Appeasement will kill us all seems about right…

That’s not surprising.

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