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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Fame

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Dancers are seen in the movie "Fame."
Director Kevin Tancharoen's remake of Alan Parker's 1980 film "Fame" (MGM) jettisons most of the elements that rated the original an "O" classification from the Office for Film and Broadcasting. But, though the proceedings are tidier, the results are mostly tepid.

The premise remains the same: an ensemble drama with music following the ups and downs of a class of gifted students through four years at a New York City high school for the performing arts, an institution meant to replicate the real-life academy that currently goes by the unwieldy name the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Providing the main romantic angle are shy would-be actress Jenny (Kay Panabaker) and happy-go-lucky singer Marco (Asher Book), who build a pleasantly innocent relationship.

Preppy Denise (Naturi Naughton) longs to leave her classical piano studies behind and take up hip-hop singing, but her uptight dad (Julius Tennon) will have none of it. Malik (Collins Pennie), a streetwise aspiring actor-rapper, has to grapple with his equally clueless mom (Michael Hyatt) who kills his buzz by insisting that he pursue a more practical career.

Guiding the growth of these artistic sprouts are a group of dedicated teachers including acting coach Mr. Dowd (Charles S. Dutton), music instructor Mr. Cranston (Kelsey Grammer) and dance maven Ms. Kraft (Bebe Neuwirth).

But the sketchy plot only serves to string together the musical set pieces which see the exuberant students dancing on the lunchroom tabletops and staging an elaborate Halloween party in costumes reminiscent of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Among these offerings, Catholic viewers will particularly appreciate a lively rendition of the traditional hymn "What an Awesome God We Serve."

The sleekly mounted numbers are enjoyable enough, but anyone looking for more than a pleasant diversion will likely feel that the creators of this latest "Fame" fail to earn their diplomas.

The film contains scenes involving suicide, a sexual situation, underage drinking, at least one use of profanity, a half-dozen crude and a few crass terms. The USCCB Office for Film & Broadcasting classification is A-III—adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG -- parental guidance suggested. Some material may not be suitable for children.
___________________________________

Mulderig is on the staff of the Office for Film & Broadcasting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.


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Pierre Toussaint: 
		<p>Born in modern-day Haiti and brought to New York City as a slave, Pierre died a free man, a renowned hairdresser and one of New York City’s most well-known Catholics. <br /><br />Pierre Bérard, a plantation owner, made Toussaint a house slave and allowed his grandmother to teach her grandson how to read and write. In his early 20s, Pierre, his younger sister, his aunt and two other house slaves accompanied their master’s son to New York City because of political unrest at home. Apprenticed to a local hairdresser, Pierre learned the trade quickly and eventually worked very successfully in the homes of rich women in New York City. <br /><br />When his master died, Pierre was determined to support his master’s widow, himself and the other house slaves. He was freed shortly before the widow’s death in 1807. </p>
		<p>Four years later he married Marie Rose Juliette, whose freedom he had purchased. They later adopted Euphémie, his orphaned niece. Both preceded him in death. He attended daily Mass at St. Peter’s Church on Barclay Street, the same parish that St. Elizabeth Seton attended. <br /><br />Pierre donated to various charities, generously assisting blacks and whites in need. He and his wife opened their home to orphans and educated them. The couple also nursed abandoned people who were suffering from yellow fever. Urged to retire and enjoy the wealth he had accumulated, Pierre responded, “I have enough for myself, but if I stop working I have not enough for others.” <br /><br />He was originally buried outside St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where he was once refused entrance because of his race. His sanctity and the popular devotion to him caused his body to be moved to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. <br /><br />Pierre Toussaint was declared Venerable in 1996.</p>
American Catholic Blog It’s through suffering that we grow in endurance, character, and ultimately, in hope. Our suffering is not without value if we know Jesus. When you are suffering, you can pray and unite your sufferings to the only one who truly loves you perfectly or knows all you are feeling.

The Blessing of Family

 
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Ven. Pierre Toussaint
This former slave is one of many American holy people whose life particularly models Christian values.

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Rejoice with a friend who is transitioning from the highs and lows of daily employment.

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