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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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Nativity of St. John the Baptist: Jesus called John the greatest of all those who had preceded him: “I tell you, among those born of women, no one is greater than John....” But John would have agreed completely with what Jesus added: “[Y]et the least in the kingdom of God is greater than he” (Luke 7:28). 
<p>John spent his time in the desert, an ascetic. He began to announce the coming of the Kingdom, and to call everyone to a fundamental reformation of life. </p><p>His purpose was to prepare the way for Jesus. His Baptism, he said, was for repentance. But One would come who would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. John is not worthy even to carry his sandals. His attitude toward Jesus was: “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). </p><p>John was humbled to find among the crowd of sinners who came to be baptized the one whom he already knew to be the Messiah. “I need to be baptized by you” (Matthew 3:14b). But Jesus insisted, “Allow it now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3:15b). Jesus, true and humble human as well as eternal God, was eager to do what was required of any good Jew. John thus publicly entered the community of those awaiting the Messiah. But making himself part of that community, he made it truly messianic. </p><p>The greatness of John, his pivotal place in the history of salvation, is seen in the great emphasis Luke gives to the announcement of his birth and the event itself—both made prominently parallel to the same occurrences in the life of Jesus. John attracted countless people (“all Judea”) to the banks of the Jordan, and it occurred to some people that he might be the Messiah. But he constantly deferred to Jesus, even to sending away some of his followers to become the first disciples of Jesus. </p><p>Perhaps John’s idea of the coming of the Kingdom of God was not being perfectly fulfilled in the public ministry of Jesus. For whatever reason, he sent his disciples (when he was in prison) to ask Jesus if he was the Messiah. Jesus’ answer showed that the Messiah was to be a figure like that of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah (chapters 49 through 53). John himself would share in the pattern of messianic suffering, losing his life to the revenge of Herodias.</p> American Catholic Blog Let us pray to Our Lady, that she may protect us. In times of spiritual upset, the safest place is within the folds of her garments.

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