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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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Louis of France: At his coronation as king of France, Louis IX bound himself by oath to behave as God’s anointed, as the father of his people and feudal lord of the King of Peace. Other kings had done the same, of course. Louis was different in that he actually interpreted his kingly duties in the light of faith. After the violence of two previous reigns, he brought peace and justice. 
<p>He was crowned king at 12, at his father’s death. His mother, Blanche of Castile, ruled during his minority. When he was 19 and his bride 12, he was married to Marguerite of Provence. It was a loving marriage, though not without challenge. They had 11 children. </p><p>Louis “took the cross” for a Crusade when he was 30. His army seized Damietta ini Egypt but not long after, weakened by dysentery and without support, they were surrounded and captured. Louis obtained the release of the army by giving up the city of Damietta in addition to paying a ransom. He stayed in Syria four years. </p><p>He deserves credit for extending justice in civil administration. His regulations for royal officials became the first of a series of reform laws. He replaced trial by battle with a form of examination of witnesses and encouraged the use of written records in court. </p><p>Louis was always respectful of the papacy, but defended royal interests against the popes and refused to acknowledge Innocent IV’s sentence against Emperor Frederick II. </p><p>Louis was devoted to his people, founding hospitals, visiting the sick and, like his patron St. Francis (October 4), caring even for people with leprosy. (He is one of the patrons of the Secular Franciscan Order.) Louis united France—lords and townsfolk, peasants and priests and knights—by the force of his personality and holiness. For many years the nation was at peace. </p><p>Every day Louis had 13 special guests from among the poor to eat with him, and a large number of poor were served meals near his palace. During Advent and Lent, all who presented themselves were given a meal, and Louis often served them in person. He kept lists of needy people, whom he regularly relieved, in every province of his dominion. </p><p>Disturbed by new Muslim advances in Syria, he led another crusade in 1267, at the age of 41. His crusade was diverted to Tunis for his brother’s sake. The army was decimated by disease within a month, and Louis himself died on foreign soil at the age of 44. He was canonized 27 years later.</p> American Catholic Blog God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty. <br />–St. John of the Cross

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