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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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Philip and James: 
		<b>James, Son of Alphaeus:</b> We know nothing of this man except his name, and of course the fact that Jesus chose him to be one of the 12 pillars of the New Israel, his Church. He is not the James of Acts, son of Clopas, “brother” of Jesus and later bishop of Jerusalem and the traditional author of the Letter of James. James, son of Alphaeus, is also known as James the Lesser to avoid confusing him with James the son of Zebedee, also an apostle and known as James the Greater. 
<p><b>Philip:</b> Philip came from the same town as Peter and Andrew, Bethsaida in Galilee. Jesus called him directly, whereupon he sought out Nathanael and told him of the “one about whom Moses wrote” (John 1:45). </p><p>Like the other apostles, Philip took a long time coming to realize who Jesus was. On one occasion, when Jesus saw the great multitude following him and wanted to give them food, he asked Philip where they should buy bread for the people to eat. St. John comments, “[Jesus] said this to test him, because he himself knew what he was going to do” (John 6:6). Philip answered, “Two hundred days’ wages worth of food would not be enough for each of them to have a little [bit]” (John 6:7). </p><p>John’s story is not a put-down of Philip. It was simply necessary for these men who were to be the foundation stones of the Church to see the clear distinction between humanity’s total helplessness apart from God and the human ability to be a bearer of divine power by God’s gift. </p><p>On another occasion, we can almost hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice. After Thomas had complained that they did not know where Jesus was going, Jesus said, “I am the way...If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:6a, 7). Then Philip said, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8). Enough! Jesus answered, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9a). </p><p>Possibly because Philip bore a Greek name or because he was thought to be close to Jesus, some Gentile proselytes came to him and asked him to introduce them to Jesus. Philip went to Andrew, and Andrew went to Jesus. Jesus’ reply in John’s Gospel is indirect; Jesus says that now his “hour” has come, that in a short time he will give his life for Jew and Gentile alike.</p> American Catholic Blog Only in human weakness do many of us begin to rely on God and explicitly repudiate our own divine ambitions. Every pain alerts us to the fact that we are not the Almighty.

Divine Science Michael Dennin

 
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